Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #137

A neat piece of railroad history rolled through NE Ohio a few days ago. On July 21 Norfolk Southern train 17N contained the Illinois Railway Museum's ex Conrail E33 RPCX #4601 (former CR 4601/PC 4601/NH 300/N&W 230/VGN 130). It sat at Altoona, PA for over a year waiting restorative work but then was shipped back to the museum where that work will now be done elsewhere. The fact that it once hauled coal on the Virginian Railroad's electric lines in Virginia and West Virginia in the late 1950's makes it pretty cool in my book! Chris Ellis Photo

Friday, July 14, 2017

Construction Report: July 14, 2017 Pine Valley Trackwork Update

Last night I wrapped up the cutting and fitting of the west yard ladder of Pine Valley. Everything was glued with DAP adhesive caulk, the soup can express was parked on top and dried overnight (almost there's a few white caulk spots were air flow was blocked by a soup can). This weekend I'll solder the rails at the removable section edges and then cut those gaps along with frog gaps with my Dremel. The turnouts will also need spiked down since the copper ties do not touch the caulking and sorta float around.

As seen below the yard ladder starts with a curved #8 then a curved #6, all made with Fast Track's paper templates. The main line also now extends west all the way behind the furnace to the Long Run Tunnel area as seen in Wordless Wednesday #114. I've had to make some changes to the prototype track layout of Pine Valley Yard but I'm pretty happy with what I've fit into the available space.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

DCC: Decoder Wire Source

Recently I've installed a few DCC decoders in my son's equipment so that he can run his engines now that track is being laid. I have some nice thin flexible wire but would soon need more. I was reminded not too long ago about a potential source for the thin flexible wire that's perfect to use for decoder installs, PC ribbon cable!

Being that I build my own computers I naturally have a lot of old parts and cables stashed away. Old hard drive ATA and floppy disc drive ribbon cables are what you need to find. Cut off the cable ends and just like string cheese, peel off a few strands. In my example below, I had a fancy ATA cable that was designed to improve air flow inside the PC case. Even better it has three colors of wire to pick from! I hope this little tip can help you save a few bucks on DCC supplies!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A "Key" Engine Addition

I almost chose to not model the Adena area on the NKP's Wheeling district due to one thing, lack of inexpensive/easy to find Wheeling & Lake Erie-type Berkshire. In my mind the ex-W&LE K-1 Berkshires were a signature engine that would easily identify my layout as set in the NKP's Wheeling District. Renamed into the Nickel Plate's S-4 class and numbered 801-832, they looked similar to NKP Berks but with a few differences such as the disc-like Boxpox drivers. Without this engine I felt like it would be like trying to model the 1950's Union Pacific in Wyoming without it's signature Big Boys. 

Eventually the urge to recreate the NKP's coal operations in Appalachia Ohio became too irresistible. Research proved I could fill the S-4 engine gap with S and S-1 Berkshires, H-5 and H-6's Mikados that were bumped to the Wheeling by new diesels arriving elsewhere. The remaining I-3 2-6-6-2's, ex-N&W 4-8-2's and M-1 Heavy Mikados would help mark this layout as Wheeling territory as those engines never left their home rails. With this new approach to building a steam roster I could bide my time and wait for an opportunity to acquire Key Imports NKP (exW&LE) S-4's or possibly figure out a way to kitbash the Proto 2000 or Bachmann Berkshires into a S-4. 

Finally this past fall, thanks to a fellow NKP modeler switching to O scale, I finally managed to add a S-4 by Key Imports to the roster. Hopefully over the years to come I can add a couple more to my fleet, but for now she's my pride and joy!