Friday, December 28, 2018

December Construction Report

Work on the bathroom remodel has been moving along nicely as of late. Finally with the milestone of a functional toilet and sink I can turn some of my attention back to the layout for a bit. 

Bathroom remodel going well.
After spending a while gathering my thoughts about where on the layout to start, I decided to just start cleaning. As many of you know layouts are horizontal surfaces which when under construction do a great job of gathering anything in sight. Eventually I thought of a good project to dig into.

A curved section of track between Dillonvale/Pine Valley Yard and Adena had proved to be a bit sharper than I had planned. Coming out of the east end of Adena Yard the mainline standard 30" radius curve had tightened to 24" to accommodate an old route change around the water heater. In testing it wasn't causing any major issues other than just bothering me. To broaden the curve I found I would have to add a 3-4 inch bump out accommodate the new route.

Prepping for new foam side extension, pre-track and roadbed removal.
A small section of foam was cut out to ease the addition of a new wider section of foam. The green line represents the new right of way. To help hold the new foam section in place I inserted a few tooth picks in the foam.

Glued and clamped.
 As seen above the new foam section was glued in with Foamboard adhesive. A couple of clamps helped hold things in place as the glue set up.

Foam extension, roadbed and track in place. 
A section of roadbed from an abandoned idea for a continuous run connection was torn out to make way for the new right of way and a new spur for a small coal truck dump operation that existed just east of Adena Yard. The new mainline roadbed was then glued down following the new 30" radius curve. I used Cascade Rail Supply's homasote roadbed and Micro Engineering code 70 flex track, both glued down with DAP clear adhesive caulk. 

This revamped section will still have the west Long Run Tunnel entrance but instead of the portal being near the duct work it will be pushed back toward the furnace to make room for the truck dump spur. Unfortunately the duct work will over hang the scene but no basement is perfect and certainly not this one. 

After so many months it's nice to make a little progress. Especially on a section of track that had been a visual thorn in my side.

Monday, October 8, 2018

NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Model Displays

To read about the NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention activities click on the below link.

Click Here --> NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Highlights

NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Model Displays

The best part about the modeling displays at NKPHTS conventions is that contests are a thing of the past. So there's no pressure, rivet counting or perfection needed, just a show and tell event.

I've tried to display all the info I could about each model including the modelers name, and any details known about the model. Unless noted all models are HO scale.

NKP 232 SW-9 by Mike Pfaff

NKP 345 SD-9 by Mike Pfaff

NKP 325 RSD-12 by Mike Pfaff

Atlas NKP Caboose 772 by Tim Adang

NKP Baggage 347 by Bud Brueggeman

NKP Baggage-RPO 358 by Tim Adang

NKP Boxcar 13498 with roof hatches and NKP 90525 3 bay covered hooper by Bud Brueggeman
 The next three N scale models are by a David B, I couldn't make out the last name sorry.
A unique N scale NKP Gas Turbine by David B.

N scale NKP Snow Plow by David B.

N scale NKP MoW Crane by David B.

Overland NKP Caboose 1207 by Mont Switzer

NJ International NKP Caboose 747 by Mont Switzer

Overland NKP Cabose 911 by Mont Switzer

Overland NKP Caboose 416 by Mont Switzer

NKP GP35 910 by Mont Switzer

NKP GP30 908 by Mont Switzer

NKP AS16 321 Alco rebuild by by Mont Switzer 

NKP AS16 323 EMD rebuild by Mont Switzer

NKP C420 578 by Mont Switzer

NKP SW8 109 and NW-2 18 by Mont Switzer

To read about the NKPHTS Indianapolis Convention activities click on the below link.

Click Here --> NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Highlights

NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Highlights

This year's Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society Convention was held in Indianapolis and featured a solid line up of activities.

Friday started with a tour of Amtrak's Beech Grove Facilities. Built in 1904-08, this large former New York Central (Big Four) facility now performs rebuilding and overhaul work on Amtrak's diesels and a majority of the passenger car fleet. Our tour guide was fantastic, explaining each area of the shops and what special work was performed there in great detail. He answered all our questions and more with his deep knowledge from 40 years of service. Sadly no photos were allowed but Brendan and I definitely left with some great memories.

Then later we traveled to Cicero, IN to ride the newly established Nickel Plate Express which currently runs on the former IMC Division between Cicero and Atlanta, IN. With a former Erie Mining EMD F-7A(soon to be repainted) and four ex Santa Fe El Capitan High Level cars we traveled at a leisurely pace though the Indiana cornfields.

Nickel Plate Express at Atlanta, IN with ex Erie Mining F7A

Harvest has started in some fields.

Downtown Atlanta, IN

Monon Caboose 81528

Mr Muffin's huge O scale layout

O scale Monon F3s

Another view of Mr Muffin's huge O scale layout

A tiny center cab switcher helps in the push-pull train operation.

At our stop in Atlanta we had enjoyed a catered lunch and visited Mr. Muffin's Hobby Shop and huge O scale train layout and collection. After an hour roaming the hoby shop and layout in the small town we boarded the Nickel Plate Express and headed back to Cicero. The groups running the train and  small town tourism have done a great job and have a bright future ahead of them for sure.

To close out a busy Friday we visited the Convention Host Jim Canter's large Proto 48 layout and enjoyed a excellent BBQ dinner. Jim's collection of O scale NKP equipment was nothing short of breathtaking!

Brendan for scale next to the Proto 48 NKP C420 and background steam engine

A pair of NKP Hudsons

Full yard

Thanks to Jim for inviting practically the whole convention to your home and sharing your amazing layout with us.

On Saturday the convention had a more relaxed pace with only nearby layout visits and membership meetings and clinics.

Brendan and I choose to visit the nearby Naptown and White River Model Railroad Club. The clubs huge 60' x 40' layout is housed in their own building and is fully scenicked except for a newly added industrial area. Upon arrival Brendan was immediately offered to run a CB&Q Zephyr passenger train and happily did so for almost an hour. Thanks to the N&WR for opening your layout to the NKPHTS!

Naptown & White River Model Railroad Club

Naptown & White River - city scene

Brendan piloting a passenger train

Nothing but green signals ahead

Afterwards we attended the NKPHTS Membership meeting and later I spoke with two members that grew up in and around Adena and Dillonvale in the 50's and 60's. Lots of great info was exchanged and I'm glad I could share some of my old photos of that area.

Brendan and I headed home early due to Sunday plans so we missed the Banquet Dinner and auction but we had a great time overall. Thanks again to Jim Canter for hosting another successful convention!

Because the NKPHTS modeling displays contained so many great models I've made a separate post which can be accessed by clicking on the below link.

Click Here -->  NKPHTS 2018 Indianapolis Convention Model Displays

Friday, September 28, 2018

Akron Mini Maker Faire Report

Last Saturday's Model Railroad setup at the Akron Mini Maker Faire was a lot of fun and seemed to be well received by the Library and the attending crowd.

I wanted to bring model railroading to the Maker Faire because model railroading is such a multifaceted hobby that encompasses electronics, art/painting, woodworking and engineering. I also felt the Maker Fair was a place to show the hobby to an audience that was not expecting to see our display unlike going to a train and toy show.

Our display was unusual in that it was the first Ohio marriage of Free-Mo and Sipping & Switching Society module standards.  Matt Robins from the S&SS bought his branch line modules which made up about 65% of the display and the Free-Mo modules from Tim Moran and Wayne Buran made up the remainder. Our setup was about 60 feet long with a point to point track plan.

Being this was my first "show" where I was a part of a display I quickly found out its kinda like hosting a party. Nine hours later I can say it all was a blur and was over before I knew it.

In all Brendan and I had a great time and thanks again to Tim, Wayne and Matt for bringing their modules and to the Akron-Summit County Public Library's TechCenter staff for hosting the Mini Maker Faire.

Below are a few of the photos that I remembered to take.


Show opens

A NKP GP9 on a local

Full length view

Brendan running his modern stuff

Tear down time

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Akron Mini Maker Faire this Saturday 9-22 from 12-4pm

This Saturday September 22, 2018 come see a HO scale modular layout presented by the Western Reserve Free-Mo in downtown Akron, OH. My son and I will be there helping to expose the hobby of Model Railroading to a new audience.

What:   Akron Mini Maker Faire
Where: Akron-Summit Country Public Library Main location
             60 S. High St. Akron, OH
When:  Saturday September, 22, 2018
Cost:    Free!

Come see us by the Children's Room on the 2nd floor!

As a bonus the Nickel Plate Road #765 will be running on the CVSR a short drive away in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

25 Years Later...

No, twenty five years later is not how long it's been since my last post but it has been almost a year since I posted anything of substance. Hang on for an explanation of the blog post title later. I do apologize for the lack of layout postings and I appreciate the concern that some of my regular readers had for my blog disappearance.

A lot has happened since last my last non-Wordless Wednesday post both good and sad. Last year in the fall I took a new position at an organization I had previously interned with while finishing up my degree. I could easily say it's my dream job and feel very fortunate to return to the public sector and where I first started the path to my new career.

After a few months of settling in at my new job, I had hoped to turn my attention back to the layout but a complete bathroom gut and remodel took priority. Even as I write the bathroom still commands my attention but I can finally see light at the end of that tunnel.

Yours truly putting down tile board
As for the sad, after a long illness we made the hard decision to let our cat WahWah find peace in late November. He was a very vocal companion that thankfully never showed interest in the layout as a playground and will be sorely missed after 17 years in our lives.

WahWah seen napping with a Fast Tracks template as a blanket.
Earlier this year my wife and I also faced the first loss of a parent together when her Father lost a long battle with brain cancer.  When growing up at some point you realize the possibility of loosing a parent but it always seem like something so very far away. It definitely puts a certain perception on life and where you are at in life it when it finally happens, whether it's you or to someone very close to you.

After this personal update now lets get back to trains. I found once you get removed from your hobby for a while it can be difficult to find where to dip your toe back in, especially if you're in the midst of building a layout. The best place I thought to start was to clean my workbench up.

This in turn spurred me to complete a few projects that had been lingering for a long time, such as the PRR hoppers I picked up for cheap on eBay awhile back. I also put together a large number of Accurail W&LE hoppers that had been piling up.

Accurail W&LE hoppers.
The "25 Years Later" name of this blog post comes from not my absence but the time it took me to complete an old Walther's kit.

While organizing my pile of "to build" kits when cleaning, I dug out a modern day Walthers tank car I bought as a teenage N&W/Norfolk Southern modeler. On inspection it looked like I had started construction but probably gave up frustrated with either the handrails or ladder based on the glue marks. Back then with a limited budget I didn't quite have the tools I do now, so with the right size drills to ream out better holes and some CA kicker I finished the build only 25 years later!

While it has no place in my NKP steam era collection, it will fit in nicely with Brendan's modern day equipment.

All good things in all good time
It's crazy to think of my teenage self unknowing beginning to build the car not for myself but for my future son!

I hope to share some of the other little things I've accomplished model railroading-wise over the past year. Thanks for hanging in there.