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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff

Hmmm, I got it wrong, tonight was not a work night, next Tuesday is. So we had to quickly clean up the layout to run a session. Everyone checked out the new Lincoln with no complains, now only time will tell how well it switches. We are almost through all the new cards and it seems to be working well. I didn't run, but I did observe. In my opinion, we are running trains that are too long, some trains should be shorter, we should adopt a courtesy movement policy, don't just arrive in the next town, if you are just passing through, ask for permission to pass, or wait until the switching ahead of you is done, we all start from the two yards, we need to leave trains on the layout to be completed and   Run the other trains, branch, ore, log, passenger trains, we should have a train schedule to gets the other trains running, we should be fixing rolling stock issues and need the supplies to do it, the good thing is we can do all of the above with little effort.
Looking to the new year. We have accomplished a lot. The upper loop is nearing completion. The changes in Lincoln just need some scenery. The 2 new cross overs just need testing and scenery. The code 100 replacement on the branch is working well. What's next? We still have updates to Wellington to be worked out and scheduled. Some have talked about replacing the rest of the code 70 track in Ortona, which would allow us to redesign it to allow for more industry there. But first we need to relax and enjoy what we have accomplished,
Happy New Year everyone!

Ore trains returns to Ortona.

 Glen switches Lincoln.

Passengers wait to board at the Lincoln station.

 Freight train arrives at Elsewhere

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rolling stock list

We counted the cars on the layout to see what we need.
Box cars need between 46 to 58, we have 47 and Glen is bringing a couple more.
Tank cars need between 19 to 23, we have 17, could use a few more.
Hoppers need between 31 to 43, we have 28 could use a few more.
Cov. Hoppers need 18 to 24, we have 19, could use a few more short ones.
Refers need 8 to 10, we have 10.
Gondolas need 10 to 13, we have 14.
Stock cars need 8 to 10, we have 9.
Flat cars need 14 to 17, we have 8, could use a few more.
Piggyback need ? We have 1, could use a couple more.
There is also cars to be repaired that we're not counted.
I think we should run for a while to see if we still get shortages before bringing in much more

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday fun

I guess everyone agreed with the changes as outlined on the blog, so it happened. The crossover in Miller was installed and the tracks were repositioned to fit. That crossover and the one in Valleyview were wired. The new area in Wellington was painted and some ground cover was added. A new turnout was put in to make the new run around in Lincoln, and it was wired in.
The water tower and switching shanty may be put back between the tracks. Tom also painted this area.

 Jim also wired in the on off switch for the switcher shed in Lincoln.

 Two turnouts were removed at the old Miller Interchange yard and replaced with track and wired. Hay Co. was moved to the old Miller Interchange yard area. This whole area had scenery added. Hay Co. Now has a log delivery track.

 The old siding to Hay Co. Was shortened and straightened. The piggy back ramp was added and scenery put down.

The freight station was moved to the old Allen Lumber siding.

 Buckley Mill was removed, turned around and positioned on the old piggy back track and this area had scenery added. Going to add a truck loading dock to the back of Buckley Mill.

Don putting the glue down, so it can't be moved.

 Allen Lumber now sits where Buckley Mill was. The city block will be put back where it was before.  I think everyone will like the new Lincoln.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Car counting

I tried to estimate our car requirements. At any time there are about 90 cars at industries plus say 3 trains with 8 cars or another 24 cars or 114 cars in total with none in the yards, so add another 90 cars for the next day and you get 204 cars max. Cars needed. The total 2 top days in a row, for all car types is 198 cars. That puts 42 cars in each of the 2 yards, with 3 trains on the layout, that I would guess would be a good max. count. The total industry car count only varies by a max of 6 cars for any 1 car type, per day. Guessing the car count for any type will only drop by 10 or under, for the first 4 trains of the session, until trains start returning, maybe we could use 1/2 the next highest count for the min. Cars required. This works out to 46 to 58 box cars, 31 to 43 hoppers, 18 to 24 covered hoppers, 14 to 17 flat cars, 10 to 13 gons, 8 to 10 refers, 19 to 23 tankers, 8 to 10 stock cars or 154 min to 198 max. That means at the min. count there would be 20 cars in each yard with 3 trains running, a much better number. This does not include piggyback cars and sawdust cars maybe a total of 5 cars. I have no idea how close we are, but I would guess we are close to the min.

Branch card system

How this sound. The first idea was to select the cards and then use them in a reverse order to the main, that is, you would first pick up cars at the locations your will deliver to, take them to Elsewhere and then get the cars to deliver, not the ones you just delivered. Confusing and you would always run the same cars both ways.
What if you select cards. Say you have 1 box car for the pier, 2 hoppers for the coal dock, and 2 flat cars for the saw and a passenger car. You pick up the cars at Ortona from yesterday's freight and a passenger car. Deliver yesterday's cars to Elsewhere, stopping at all passenger stations on the way. Turn your engine after setting out the cars and make up the return freight. You would leave Elsewhere with 1 box car, 2 hoppers, 2 flats and your passenger car. Stop at all mainline station on the way to Miller. drop 2 flats at the sawmill, and pick up the cars there, say 3 flats. Then drop 2 hoppers at the coal dock and pick up the cars there, say 1 hopper. Proceed to Northdale stop at the station and deliver the box car to the pier, picking up the cars there, say a box car and a flat car. Return to Ortona dropping the passenger car, 4 flat cars, 1 hopper, and a box car. So now there are 6 freight cars for the next train to take to Elsewhere. This is more like the mainline trains and the consist will be different both ways.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lincoln plan update.

Changing the way we run the branch line, running it as a separate railroad that now interchanges with the mainline at Elsewhere, has had an impact on the Lincoln update plan. We no longer need the interchange yard at Lincoln, and do not need to reroute the mainline. It now boils down to adding another run around to help the switcher to set out and pick up cars, and moving a few buildings.
A lot of discussion was held about changes at Lincoln. A plan was made that requires little track work changes. It involves, moving the freight station to where Allen Lumber is, which opens the space to make another run around using that siding. Move Allen Lumber where Buckley Mills is, and move Buckley Mills to the other side of those 2 sidings, this makes uncoupling rolling stock at both of these industries better. Shorten the siding that now services Hay Co. and put the piggyback ramp there, just to the right of Hillcrest Packers. Put the city block where Hay Co. is, and move Hay Co. where the old Miller Interchange yard is, removing the 2 middle tracks and shortening the back track, which will serve as a log dump track. It was also suggested we put in some tanks for bulk glue.

We need a name for the branchline, O & E (Ortona and Elsewhere), M.&N.W. (Miller,and Northdale , Western), M & N R.R. (Miller and Northdale Railroad ). Any input is welcome! 

This coming Sunday morning and Tuesday night are work days, bring your tools. 

The crossing shanty, water tower and the freight station will be moved and a turnout will be installed on the track to the right of the crossing shanty and the track will be connected to the track at the freight station, giving us a new run around.
The track that looks like it is headed towards Hillcrest Packers will be the new piggyback ramp track.
The yard in the distance will be the new home of Hay Co.

Tuesday Night at The Huff & Puff

More rolling stock has arrived, thanks to all. Discussions were held on the Lincoln update, more on that later. Thanks To Doug for the ice scrapers and pen sets. Thanks to Don for his raisin, oatmeal  cookies. Don also suggested that people wait in the crew lounge for train assignments, to reduce the congestion at the start of a session, what do you think?

 Glen installed the rock liner for the upper loop tunnel.

The ore train got it's first run in a long time.

Things that can be worked on during the work days, Sunday and Tuesday.
Finish the Trent's Hill tunnel and wire and electrify that turnout.
Work on the scenery at Wellington Station.
Install Heritage Furniture.
Ballast and wire the Valleyview crossover.
Install, wire and ballast the Miller crossover.
Install a turn off switch for the branchline engine house.
Install and wire the new supper snapper.
Clean the branchline track.
Clean up office and remove clutter around the layout.
Lincoln update? See next blog entry.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts from Gap

running the branch train as a mixed is a good idea. CN did this on many branch lines in the 50's. Psgr cars could include a coach,a baggage car or combination car for mail/lcl express/baggage.These were on the tail end of the train of course.

The mixed could be run from the end point on the branch six days a week alternating the destination yard and having it return shortly after arrival back to the branch. This type of operation was very common in steam days. Running it this way avoids having the confusion of cars dropped at Lincoln 
Never thought about running the branchline train from Ortona. Cards could be there and passenger cars could be stored there also. May work. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ore train

When the cross over in Miller is installed, we should start running an ore train, what's your thoughts.
X number of cars run from Ortona straight to Elsewhere? Should a smaller number of cars be brought to Lincoln until there is enough to be run on the mainline? When it is run to Elsewhere or Wellington should it wait for another train order, or wait a few minutes and returned to Ortona? Should it be run around one of the loops and return immediately? Should it run every day? If run more than once every 5 days, should the car could vary every run? Should we add a siding for it in Elsewhere? Any other ideas?

Branchline idea

What if we run a branch line freight from Elsewhere to the Ortona yard and back. This freight would only switch the branch line towns, Miller, Northdale, and Ortona. Why? This would take pressure off the mainline as 1 train crew would be on the branch line. It would take congestion out of Lincoln, because this train would only pass through Lincoln.  It would eliminate the confusion about the cards and switching the branch. It could be a mixed train with a couple of passenger cars. It would reduce the changes we have to make in Lincoln. How? Use the another set of card holders, which we have, for the branchline cards. It would be run as a separate railroad with its own set of cards. It would interact with the mainline from Elsewhere, eg a lumber load to Hillside Lumber driven by the mainline cards. This may require a through freight to return flat cars for lumber, tank cars, and coal hoppers needed for branchline industries from Wellington to Elsewhere. Maybe this could be the first part of this train order. You would pull the cards for the branchline mixed freight, if some of the rolling stock is not in Elsewhere, you would get them from Wellington. The log train will be just a branchline operation.
What do you think?

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a happy holiday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday Night at the Huff and Puff

Good to see Doug back. Thanks to Barb Owen for the shortbread cookies and Trent's Mom for the coffee. Also thanks to the members who have brought in rolling stock for the layout.

Don did you just give that car a figure flip?

Again we ran with the new card system. It moves too much rolling stock, hmmm. Even with someone switching Lincoln, we still get bottle necks there. We still run out of rolling stock. Trent pointed out that there were 5 or 6 trains running, with 10 our more cars each, maybe over 70 cars on the move. Add another 80 cars at industries, and another 20 on the branch line, 170 cars are not in the 2 yards. I counted at 1 time of the 28 box cars 24 were at industries. I guess that's 1 thing I didn't think of, there will always be cars at every industry.  We need to space out our freight trains maybe by having 2 man crews, maybe a freight can't leave the yards until one has returned, run passenger trains. Maybe a freight shouldn't leave for the next town until the freight switching there is done, sort of a self imposed dispatch system.

Some paint added to the stone walls.

new tunnel positioned

a new coaling tower being built for the club by Mike.


Christmas train is back.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Operating Procedures

Should we have something like this as our standard operating procedure?
Steam engines : 
    Train cars are dropped on the incoming track for the switcher to position in yard
    When they arrive with a train need to have the ash dumped and be turned for the next trip . If the ash dump is by the turntable might work well.
    Before leaving they would need water,coal and sand. 
     I f it is a passenger, then the express freight car needs to be picked up
    They are then parked on a ready track for the crew to pick up , get their orders and couple to their train and pck up a caboose

  Diesel engines; 

    The train cars are left on the incoming track for the switcher.
    Depending on the type of engine it may need to turned on the turntable in readiness for the next trip
    Needs to go to the prep tracks for fuel and sand before 
    This allows time for the switcher to move the incoming train and position the next outgoing freight. 
Submitted by Jim Long.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff

Had our monthly meeting, glad to hear Doug is on the mend. He has 20 percent off on in store stock. The new card system is a go and we will try having some members on switching duties at some of the towns. Had a few visitors, 2 Fallowfield's and an old friend Leroy. Even though it was a work night they sill got to see the layout, which from the comments they enjoyed

Don started on the crossover at Miller. The run around now ends down past the coaling tower and is hard to reach. So we used the first part of the siding to the coaling dock to create a new one where all the switching is.

Don and Tom work on the crossover in Valleyview. It was need to cut in half the 13 foot run around there. This will help switching the cement plant and allow someone to pass a stopped passenger train.

Mike and Donald swap out a turnout to the coal mine to make the siding line up better. Replacing the right hand turnout with a left hand one removed a sharp curve there. We will be backing up 6 hoppers at a time through that switch.

We are all but done plastering the upper loop. The wall on the out side of the loop was installed, including the highway bridge abutment and ramp, and the tunnel portal. The buildings are not where they go but we needed to clean up the layout for next Tuesday.

 Glen has made a tunnel portal for the other side of the middle wall, more on that next time.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunday fun

With energy supplied by my wife's lemon bars (many thanks from the crew) we started plastering the upper loop. The inner wall, the gap, the different levels and road, plus some of the outer wall were applied. Glen also made a tunnel portal, template for the hole in the wall. Great progress on the land forms around the town area. Tuesday should finish up the remaining plastering.

This long stone wall will be broken up by a lot of buildings. A hillside breaks it in the middle with a bit of greenery. We will also add vines to the wall.

The first section of the outside wall is in place.

The gap is also plastered on both sides of the track.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Trial Run

After making up all the new cards, I ended up with 32 cards for Monday, 34 for Tuesday, 29 for Wednesday, 30 for Thursday and 27 for Friday. Not to bad. I then picked Tuesday and started picking cards until I had a train of 15 cars (it should have been 13 or under, but 8 cars were for the interchange). It took 8 trains to run all of Tuesdays requests using trains of 13 or under.

This is the first train I picked. The train order had my train leaving the Wellington yard with 14 cars. There was only 2 covered hoppers in the yard so that was all we could deliver.  The first drop/pickup was 1 box car for Woodgen. The train then departed for Valleyview where it was to drop/pickup 3 box cars at the Warehouse, 2 covered hoppers at the Silos and then switch Cliff's Junk Yard with 1 gondola. The next drop was at the Miller Interchange Yard in Lincoln. There we left 3 tank cars for City Services, 2 box cars and 3 flat cars for the Miller Sawmill. The cards for these cars were left in the box marked Branch Line Deliveries. After picking up any cars and cards for the mainline our train continued on to Elsewhere. The cars were put into the yard and the engine was turned.  The cards were placed in the back of the Tuesdays box.
This train was not actually run on the layout, just in my mind, but it shows the concept very well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Card System

I have been discussing this system with our members and have had only positive input so I will continue working on it. A couple like it so much they are interested in using it themselves.

This car forwarding system would be based on industry requirements instead of rolling stock. Cards would be made up for each industry. Lets use Zorra Cement as an example. The weekly or daily needs would need to be decided. Say 1 hopper of coal per week, 1 covered hopper a day to Cyclone loaders, 2 covered hoppers per day to the silos and 3 box cars a day to the warehouse.  So if the week is 5 days long, the cards for this Industry would include, 1 card for 1 hopper of coal, 5 cards for 1 hopper to the cyclone loaders, 5 cards for 2 covered hoppers for the silos, and 5 cards for 3 box cars to the warehouse. When someone delivers say 3 box cars to the warehouse siding, they also pick up all the cars there, so no siding will ever be full. This will also eliminate stranded cars. Even though Zorra takes 16 cards, there are 4 delivery spots there. A place like Cliffs Junk Yard may only have 1 card for a gondola of scrap. 
With this system specific cars are not required, eg. If a box car is needed, anyone will do, no more miss-placed rolling stock or looking for a specific car number. The team track would have 5 cards, 1 for each day, they will say, 1 car load, so just about any car could be used, same with the harbour Crane. Places like the coal mine, the stock yards, the refinery, the ice house, the coaling towers, the coal dock, the coal dealer, Oxford sand And gravel, and Coastal Oil, only need 5 cards, 1 for each day, with multiple cars on each card. Others using 2 types of rolling stock may need 10 cards and so on. I estimate About 53 cars are needed for each day, so our card holders will still work.
 Train crews will select enough cars to make up a train of about 8 cars, until all the cars for day 1 are done. When trains are completed, the cards will be returned to the back (behind a divider card) of the day 1 box. Cards in a box can be shuffled to add variety. In some cases 1 card may list 2 types of rolling stock, eg. 1 box car and 2 covered hoppers to Mutual Grain I made up a set of scrap cards for day one. At an average of 10 cars per train it would take 8 trains per day. When I picked random card for each train of about 10 cars the results were quite interesting. Never did a Train switch all towns, 1 only went to Lincoln. The quantity of cars delivered will be varied for each day to add variety. What I see good about this system is - its simple, no sidings should be full because you take away all the cars on that siding, it's logical, if a location ships a box car they also need 1 to load, train consists and industries to be switched are never the same, volume shippers get multiple pieces of rolling stock, only car types are important, car numbers are not used, no rolling stock gets lost, it doesn't matter if 2 cars have the same Numbers. One set of boxes will service Wellington and Elsewhere. What's bad, if you swap box cars at one location how do you remember not to use it at the next location, is that important, it could be empty going to be loaded? Someone could put Mondays cards in Wednesdays Box, but they will have the day at the top so not hard to sort out.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dispatching a Throttle

how to dispatch UT4R throttles.
I asked this question on MRH and this is the answer I got.

While un-plugged press and hold the DISP button.
Keep holding the button down and plug in.
You will (Should) get a solid red light.
Your now dispatched.
Un-plug and select a new loco. there is no need to turn the dial while your plugged in. The DISP key does the de-selection internally.
Also keep in mind the DCS system has internal ops Switches that you may find useful, but be carefull especially if you have a whole lot of engines consisted together.

Ops Switches 36 through 39 will give your command station a lobotomy. You may want to check also that ops switch 44 is set to closed which will give you the max 120 slots.
Diamond River Valley Railway Company


We could use this idea on parts of the hill on the upper loop.
This is used with permission. Tom Patterson uses this method to make a hillside of trees.

I use black polyester fiberfill that I purchased in bulk to make the trees. The photo below shows the "trees" ready to be sprayed with adhesive and covered with ground foam.  The trick here is to pull off a hand-sized clump, stretch it out into a thin line of fiberfill and then then gently bunch the fiberfill together. As you can see from the photo, each "tree" has a unique shape. I grab the tree in the center with long needle nosed pliers, apply adhesive, and then hold the tree in a coffee can half full with ground foam. I shake the can so that the ground foam covers the tree. By shaking the can and the foam around the tree, instead of dropping the foam into the can, the tree tends to maintain its unique shape. I use Woodland Scenics Medium Green and Dark Green coarse turf and Flock and Turf Spring Green Coarse foam for the foliage.

finished trees mounted on tooth picks
Tom Patterson
Modeling the free-lanced Chesapeake, Wheeling & Erie Railroad, Summer 1976

Water Colour

Rick Owen has loaned a painting to the club. He was lucky enough to pick up this water colour by Duane Fenwick in Burlington, at a church bizarre. It will hang in our office. Thanks Rick.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday Night at the Huff & Puff

A few of us got there early. The wiring on the upper loop was completed.

Ralph and Donald replaced more of the rock wall on the branch.

Trent and Jim positioned Heritage Furniture at its new home in Wellington.

As most members had now arrived, we started operating. First order of business, attack the goody tray supplied by Rick, thank you.

Because everyone was held up, there was a lot of congestion in the main aisle until a few trains got going. Taylor took out his rotary snow plow of a test run. He thinks the snow will be heavy this year and wants to be prepared.

Today I will follow a way freight operated by Glen, who had left Elsewhere earlier. When I caught up to him, he was spotting a flat car of pipes at the Harbour  Crane.

His next stop was Lincoln, always a busy spot, so busy in fact that we plan on having a switcher stationed there to do most of the work. Glen is moving a load to the Miller interchange yard for the branch line to pick up later.

As Glen switches the stockyard Don is held on the passing track.

Now that Jim has cleared the turnouts Don heads out to Springbank, told you Lincoln is a busy place.

Arriving at the end of his run, Glen spots empty stock cars in the Wellington yard.

Glen shows a friend, Eugene the layout, who snapped a lot of pictures to show his friends.

Another visitor, John watches the as Don and Mike switch Lincoln.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanks for the invite Larry

Back in 1970 I had an industrial accident which caused me to feel quite sorry for myself .Fortunatly I had a neighbor who lived across the street who invited me to come and assist him in building his model empire. This is when the model railroad bug finally got me . My preferred scale is HO and my favorite part of the hobby is building structures, mostly bridges but I will not back away from any project. I have built several compressors for fellow modelers has well has paint booths complete with exaust fans to the outdoors, many of these items are still in use today. One of my best remembrances is when I was approached by a local high school to teach a course in model railroading has a night school class for several years. It was quite a treat to be paid to do what I enjoyed so much. I model in the transition period of late steam and first generation diesel I prefer to model CP units and I have named my branch has the Ontario Great Lakes Railroad, OGL for short.. In 2012 I aproached a friend of mine to see if he might assist us in supplying a location for a club layout and he gratiously offered the site that we now use .


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff

The night started with a problem solving exercise. There was no power to Wellington, Elsewhere and the loops. Knowing the last section wired was the upper loop, the power feed to block 2 was removed. We now had power everywhere but the upper loop, so there must be a short in that section. Under the bench work I go. It's hard to figure out where you are under there, but a set of backward wires was found. With Glen as my eyes above the layout we found that a turnout was wired backwards, problem solved. By then most of the members had arrived and we started the nights ops. Our operating sessions are are not organized as yet so operators make up a train and run it. After the construction is finished we will try to set up a system of train orders.

A couple of buildings with local business signs.

Trent, Tate and Don all switching Heron's Landing.