Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday #20

Remnants of the Adena Railroad. Looking north to Adena, behind would be the Halls sidings and the Harrisville Tunnel. At Greaves Road, Harrisville, OH 11-29-2014 Chris Ellis photo

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Basement Improvements

When I created the peninsula mock up, a problem called the treadmill exercise machine, was instantly elevated to a major problem.

The treadmill was trapped between the layout and a support pillar with barely enough room to squeeze by on the layout side. As I moved toward starting real layout construction I knew this had to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Trying to move around the treadmill in it's present location during construction or future operations would be a nightmare for myself and guests.

Removing the treadmill from the basement altogether was a no-go as it gets used frequently in the worst of winter and during rainy weather by my wife and supposedly myself. There was also was no room for it anywhere upstairs, or so I was told.

So it was time to get creative.

Here's the treadmill, as seen in an earlier posted photo.

There's the treadmill cramping the peninsula's style.
Next to the basement stairs is an sort of alcove that we have always had a freezer chest in, but could possibly fit a treadmill folded up or down. I realized that next to the furnace was an area that could possibly fit the freezer chest.

A 10 minutes later the freezer had a new home. After test fitting the treadmill into the vacated space and showing the idea to my wife, the plan was approved!

Now the new home for the treadmill needed fixing up to become a pleasing running environment. The old wood structure for the stairs needed a coat of white paint to brighten up that side of the basement anyways. It was one of the last areas to get painted as I prepped the basement for layout construction.

Ready to paint the outside of the stairs!
I painted several coats all Sunday (I'm not so sure about this primer in the paint stuff), then after everything was dry on Monday I moved the TV and associated electronics into the space.

A great solution to a problem which was taking up too much space in the middle of the basement.

Part of the layout will pass by the treadmill eventually but it won't be in the way anymore, folded up or down.

Now thanks to a little imagination and an understanding wife, everyone's happy.

Plenty of room now for the peninsula and people. The cardboard hanging off the edge at the end of the peninsula shows the true curve radius of the structure.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Local Railfanning Excitement

As with other posts covering Norfolk Southern's Heritage Units or Foreign Visitors on the W&LE , I will occasionally share my note worthy railfanning trips or encounters and today was one of those times.

In 1995 the Union Pacific purchased the Chicago & North Western and over the years their snazzy yellow and green locomotives slowly disappeared, painted in to the UP's armour yellow and grey colors.

Now amazingly 20 years later, two C&NW engines still remain in their original paint, left that way on purpose until a major repair forces one of them into a UP shop where it will finally repainted. Or so the story goes on internet forums.

Usually seen around Iowa and the Illinois area, one of the two C&NW engines slipped out of Chicago on a CSX train headed for a rare visit to the eastern side of the U.S. right though Akron, Ohio.

C&NW 8646's trip east on the CSX Chicago mainline through Akron caught me by complete surprise. I work right next to the CSX mainline and even though I am often unable to see what rumbles by, I can listen to a radio scanner sometimes to hear the crew call out a nearby signal with their lead engine name and number. When I heard the crew call out "C&NW 8646", I knew I had missed something special and would have to hope for a return westbound trip a couple of days later.

On Friday it finally began making is way back west from Baltimore, attracting quite a few people trackside along the way. Passing though Akron couldn't have been timed more perfect on a very busy afternoon for me. I was able to catch it with my son Brendan, who managed to get out of school just in time to see it. And that deserves a special thanks to my wife for liking trains enough to speed Brendan straight from school over to my waiting spot so we could share a high five for catching another rare engine together.

C&NW 8646 westbound with CSX Q137-17 at the Exchange signals, Akron, OH 4-17-2015 Chris Ellis photo

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pine Valley Mockup Version 2

Here's a quick update that also explains last week's truly Wordless Wednesday with no photo description.

Months ago I originally made a partial mock up of the Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale on the longest straight section of wall I have in the basement, a natural spot for a good sized yard. While this is a great setting for a mostly uncompressed version of the yard, over time I realized how much it impeded the flow of the rest of the layout design. It's location hindered the beginnings of the branches out of Adena(shown here), and prevented a easy to build solution for "off layout" staging without the use of loops or a crazy helix.

I moved the yard to the top section of a peninsula that had been originally planned for part of the Adena Branch and flipped it's location, giving a longer run. Then by compressing and trimming some tracks I was able to fit the yard into the space and was still able to keep it's main functions and many key scenes.

Keep in mind this is just a rough non functioning mock up, the engine terminal/turntable area needs major tweaking, a real train order signal by the yard office and the whole thing will be about 12" higher.

In all I'm pretty happy with this even though I had to make some painful compromises in the prototypical realism department. 

Soon I'll share the rest of the plan. 

Here's a few photos.

Main view of the yard, there will be a divider down the middle. The side with the orange tape measure is Dillonvale with it's freight house and the main continues to the right to Adena.

Looking east down the yard with a piece of foam now as the backdrop.

Engine terminal with some issues still to be worked out.

Pine Valley Yard Office. This is a foam core mock up I made a few evenings ago using blueprints I scanned at the CSU Special Collection Library. I do realize that no NKP S-2 Berkshires worked the W&LE District. Sadly, brass W&LE Berkshires are too rare to populate this layout. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015