Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Construction Report: January 31, 2017

Not a whole lot to report this week, I've reached the point with the benchwork at Pine Valley Yard where I can start laying foam.

I had a couple of ideas to use structures on either side of each stair frame opening to help take the eye off the fact the yard essentially goes through a large wide tunnel. In order to make this idea work the layout needed to surround the corner stair frame. So I cut a couple lengths of 1x2s to help support the foam and began measuring and cutting foam to fit the space. I also attached the end plate for the permanent section.

I won't glue the foam down just yet, it has been easier to line up the foam pieces on the floor to plan the track layout due to the stair "tunnel". FYI, there will be no turnouts under the stairs, that would just invite trouble. If you haven't read Chris Adam's "The Valley Local" blog through my links of favorite blogs at the left, then at least read "Weekend Working through the Punch List". That post has made me reevaluate certain design aspects of my layout for sure!

I also took a moment to finally glue down the foam panel for the east end of Adena Yard.

Next up is taking the foam around the corner and behind the furnace to link up with the "over the washer/water heater" section.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #112

I love doing mockups as a proof of concept, a progress report or sometimes just as a sanity check. On the permanent part of Pine Valley there is now room for two mine runs and their cabooses to await orders on the main line. Compare this view to the one at the end of the Construction Report for January 8th. The chunk of 1x4 is the Grocery Distributor :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Construction Report: January 22, 2017 Redux

In the comments for yesterday's Construction Report , Jeff questioned the access to the lower right panel screw for the Breaker Box. That section of the benchwork was attached in a slightly different position than it was built for and did not clear the fuse box as designed. Since I could still open the panel door I thought nothing of it. However after reading Jeff's comments I double checked access to the screw and found that while "I" could get to it, I'm not sure an Electrician could or more importantly would want to.

I don't relish the idea of undoing any part of the layout but this had to be done should we ever need an electrician to open up the breaker box.

Don't worry, I did not saw while holding my phone, I took this to show Jeff what trouble he caused. Actually I'm thankful he pointed it out.
The rebuild didn't take very long. I chopped off about 3 inches and screwed the end plate back on. Then I just had to find a larger piece of plywood from my stash leftover from demolishing the old shelving structures when prepping the basement for the layout. I was all done in course of an hour not counting dinner.

Fully clear
The old vs the New
Because the gap now measures 19 inches, I'll take a look at bracing the plywood somehow to prevent any future sagging.

In other construction news, yesterday I also started the "future" expansion section for an engine terminal for Pine Valley. I started now partly to help figure out the overall track layout of the permanent section where the Yard Office is located as seen in Wordless Wednesday #111.

Again a 1x4 wood structure and birch plywood end plates to mate with the permanent section comprise the basic construction. When finished it will be 6 feet long and around 40 inches deep at it's widest narrowing to 12 inches at the far end. I still need to add a box frame for where the Walthers 110' Turntable will go.

Benchwork and paper turntable for planning.
Here's a look at what the track layout might resemble.

Model Pine Valley Engine Terminal version 3 or 4?
Here's the prototype to help figure things out.

Prototype Pine Valley Engine Terminal circa 1947
Ambitious? Like other my other ideas for the layout probably, but I also plan to not be in a rush to build this part as it's not critical for operations at first. Then again I didn't think I would build any of it yet and here is a major chunk of it sitting on my basement floor.

Hopefully I can lay some foam down next on the permanent parts and maybe some legs for the engine terminal.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Construction Report: January 21, 2017

I finished the removable section in front of the Fuse box yesterday. I needed to add two pieces of styrene to shim a bit of a sideways wiggle due to a bigger gap than expected with the triangular key pieces. Now it fits perfectly and is very stable. All this will be topped with the 1 1/2 pink foam I've been using. I'll probably use a hot knife to get a nice separation of the foam for the removable section. This way it will remain easy to lift out for when someone decides to use the George Foreman Grill and Toaster at the same time.

Photos below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Construction Report: January 16, 2017

Progress continues under the stairs and around the corner on the benchwork for my version of Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale, Ohio. Pine Valley will act as a open staging yard for two of the four timetable freights and as it did in real life the starting point for many of the mine runs in the area.

I plan to make a stand alone blog post about the role that Pine Valley Yard will have in layout operations and how it will be modeled. On to the benchwork photos.

Having the benchwork go under the stairs was not the most ideal situation but it gets me the room to hold at least three or four 9-10 foot long trains. There's no way I could have switches starting the yard behind the furnace for access reasons so the run had to be extended.

This was one of of those building phases I probably spent too much time thinking about the best way to proceed. I originally wanted the benchwork to fully attach to the wall but the stairwell framing and stack pipe made that difficult without designing an overly complex 1x4 box frame. Before becoming overwhelmed with decision paralysis I went with the simplest solution, another simple rectangular 20" wide 1x4 box but with one end a little longer to attach to the rest of the benchwork with a cleat. A  small 1x2 block that can be seen below the phone and to the left, keeps things square to the attachment point under the stairs.

Speaking of which there are only three attachment points for this section as seen below. I was originally concerned but the section turned out to be very strong. I'm sure the large metal shelf bracket helps a lot.

I still need to cut a nice piece of birch plywood for the end plate and a matching piece for the future expansion  As I mentioned in my previous Construction Report, I would still like to expand this area with a removable engine terminal module for operating sessions (or until my wife says "Get that thing out of my path to the laundry"). Part of me feels like I might just build the module now while I'm on a roll.

Here's another look at a quick mock up, this time on the completed benchwork.

I think I'll angle the scene out of the curve (somewhat like seen above) so the yard ladder closes along the layout edge (bottom right and probably on the removable section). This will open up more space for the engine terminal. Thanks to Mark Flood for the idea, he drew his track layout for Minster, Ohio at an angle to include more buildings while designing a modular NKP Minster Branch.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Construction Report: January 8, 2017

After my December update the work on remodeling the bathroom was pushed back until after the holidays. In the meantime however I'm warming up my construction skills by building more benchwork for the layout.

I knew the difficult parts of the layout to build would be the sections that run over the laundry area and another part that will run behind the furnace. Each section needed a part or all of it to be removed for maintenance reasons. The washing machine/water heater section that represents east of Adena to Long Run Tunnel was completed in Construction Report: September 3, 2016.

The west portal of the Long Run Tunnel will be a bit left of the various vent ducts as seen below. Everything beyond begins the next section of benchwork. This area will be "hidden" as it goes behind the furnace.

This section from Long Run Tunnel runs to a "open" staging yard which will also double as a very abbreviated representation of Pine Valley Yard at Dillonvale. Due to a combination of the narrow space and the overhead duct work I switched to a traditional 1x4 open grid style construction instead of my wall studs and shelf brackets benchwork method. I feel by the time I'm done I will have used just about every possible construction method on this layout!

The furnace section will have the mainline running downgrade so the Pine Valley Yard/staging can clear the framework of the basement stairs. Coming off the mainline after the tunnel portal will be a diverging route that will run upgrade to meet with the far other end of the mainline as a continuous run track. To achieve both I needed to use risers hence the open grid benchwork.

I made the section directly behind the furnace in two pieces so one section can be removed to perform maintenance on the humidifier. The removable section is bolted to a bracket on one side and the rest of the benchwork on the other. We only run it in the winter so it will be a few years before I have to access the humidifier.

Here's the completed section before installation.

Here is is installed and connected to the benchwork along the back wall. As you can see the Humidifier creates a brief narrow 7 inch space between it and the wall, plenty of room for 2 tracks.

Along the back wall is where Pine Valley Yard/Staging will begin. Here I continued the open grid benchwork due the need for another removable section, this time for fuse box access.

The dark colored wood to the left is not support for the benchwork but just a headboard for a bed in storage.
On the other side the benchwork continues through an odd shelf built into the stairs. The fuse box gap will be filled with an easily removable plywood section.

Under the stairs and around the corner. SPAX screws are awesome by the way.

Before I could build the the final section the weather turned bitterly cold making it no fun to cut wood in the garage, but here's an idea of what I hope to accomplish.

A crude mock up of the engine staging scene with the Pine Valley Yard Office. The little wood shelf still needs to be removed.
The end of the staging yard will also function as the starting point for all of the mine runs. Just like at the real Pine Valley, each mine job will be staged at the Yard Office waiting for their turn to head out. I don't need a whole lot of staging tracks as research has shown the mine runs didn't return with much, leaving a vast majority of the coal in Adena.

I'll build this last part with the thought to expand in the future by adding a proper engine facility. For now this arrangement will serve the immediate needs of the layout.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017