Friday, July 13, 2018

Upgrading grade crossing safety

Up to now I had protected some of the grade crossings of unpaved service roads with a few old models of wooden cross buck signs that I had saved from other layouts but did not have enough to do them all.

I recently discovered that Tichy Train Group has a  line of ready made signs and ordered the cross buck set on ebay.  They arrived today and I am very happy with their quality and scale proportions.   These are injection molded, on square poles, and come 18 to a package.

So far I have used 3 pairs of these where service roads or other non paved roads cross the tracks.  Here is the road that leads into the diesel fuel distribution in Battle Mountain where it crosses the siding for the fuel distributor.
The only paved road on the layout so far is this one that leads into the industrial district of Battle Mountain and it already had automatic flashing signals.  I did add the yellow RR crossing ahead signs that were in my stash of stuff from old layouts.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Finishing the Barite crusher / loader

This project started last February with the post The Barite Crushing Facility in Battle Mountain.   The kit referred to here is a Walthers Cornerstone Glacier Gravel Company kit.

The kit bashed crushing building was air brush painted dark ghost gray then the bottom level was hand painted concrete.  The entire structure was given a good weathering using washes and powders.  I made a sign similar to the ones that I have seen in photos of Halliburton's facilities.
I used the conveyors that came with the kit to move the raw Barite ore from the truck unloading pit to the scratch built concrete storage silo and from the silo to the crushing building.  As the photos I found on the Internet of Barite ore indicate it is a light color, I used some unstained Woodland Scenics small talus to represent this on the open conveyors.

The conveyors carrying the processed ore from the crushing building to the rail car loader are covered.  These were made from some parts from the kit and some Plastuct structural shapes.  Using materials left over from the building kit bash I built this tower to connect the two covered conveyors between the crushing building and the loader.
In the original kit the loader structure was intended to be integrated into the building and had different roof parts so I made my own roofs. All the structures except for the crushing building were airbrushed gulf desert sand then weathered.
Here is an overall view of the finished industry.  This will be the largest industry on the layout both in area that it occupies and in the number of rail cars used in it's operation.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Progress on the Barite crusher / loader

This is how the Barite crushing and loading facility in Battle Mountain looked last February.  I had a good start but there was still much left to do.

I had always figured that these structures would need to be removable and they are.  What I have noticed while conducting switching operations on the siding and the industries at the rear of the scene was that I would sometimes bump these taller structures from their locations.  So I needed a way to make them be more firmly in place yet still removable.

To accomplish this I used a similar technique that I did with the Diamond Plastics buildings, small magnets embedded into the bottom of the structures and steel screws in the base.  I am securing all of the structures this way with the conveyors being anchored between the structures.
The loader structure has 6 columns attached to 2 long footings so not much place to put a magnet or a screw.  I added some thickness to the footings and installed a small nails as shown in this photo.  The nails extend through holes in the base .

I made these assemblies to hold the magnets and glued them under the bench work to hold the loader structure. The nails make contact with the magnets and give the loader structure better stability.
Another thing I have been playing around with is to animate the car puller.  There is the same kind of magnet as in the photo above inside this covered hopper car and the black cable (thread) has the head of  a small nail glued to it.

The idea seems to work OK and can pull the entire string of cars through the loader, just not sure if it's worth doing.  Don't have to decide now, it can be added later.

This is what this industry looks like now,  almost ready for the paint booth.  I have also ordered a pair of drop bottom truck trailers for this industry.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Next 5 feet of the layout is on the way.

 As I have been doing for the past several summers now, I am starting the bench work for another section of the layout.  This one is going to be 5 feet long and is called the Harney section.

Harney is the name of the area in the Palisade Canyon where in 1939 the Southern Pacific's City of San Francisco passenger train derailed at a spot where the track had been sabotaged.   After the derailment which destroyed a bridge, the SP diverted the Humboldt River eliminating the need for that bridge and another bridge.

A temporary shoo-fly was built while the work was going on.  From today's satellite photos the old alignment of the river, the path of the shoo-fly, and even some old bridge abutments can be seen.  I have pointed these out in these first two photos.

This is another spot several miles east of the derailment location viewed upside down to match the orientation of my layout.   This more closely matches my plan for this new section of the layout.

With this being a shelf type of layout with the depth being about 18 inches I don't think I could represent the old river path or the shoo-fly path very well.  What I may do is to have the SP line built up on a levy then through the realignment area. 
My plan for this section which will be 5 feet long is to bring the river back in from the front and progress between the SP and WP tracks as it does in many places along this line.  The WP line will be carried across the river by a BLMA brass thru truss bridge I purchased several years ago.  This section will also begin a transition from a photo back drop to a modeled canyon wall back drop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Finishing Diamond Plastics

I always find it interesting how a scratch building structure project seems to really come together once it gets painted.  Before paint, it's just a collection of white styrene without much character but after it's basic paint job it begs to be finished and I find it hard to put it aside until it is finished.  The basic paint colors I used for this project were a pale green for the building sections and a sand color for the bins both from the Testors acyrllic line of paints.  While I have not been particularly happy about what Testors did combining all their paint lines and eliminating some colors I have been happy with the results I get with this paint and have found that it cleans up more easily.

Prior to painting the 3 building sections I had added some details of the pneumatic piping to the side of the section that would have the storage bins for the plastic pellets.  Piping such as this would be secured with steel uni-strut and clamps.  I simulated this with plastic channel and copper wire.  The copper wire goes through holes drilled through the channel wall and is twisted and glued on the inside of the building.

When building the structure I had aligned the pins on the bottoms of the bid stands with holes in the base, the discharge piping at the bottoms of the bins with holes in the side of the building, and drilled holes near the top of the bids to match the position of the input piping.

With the base held flat on a steel plate with magnets, the bins are eased into position.  Some adjustment was made to to intake piping at the top by bending it so that the bins would fit naturally.    After everything was aligned, the three points were glued.

On the two sections of the building that are where the covered hoppers would be spotted for unloading, I added some vacuum hoses put up on hangers and feeding into underground piping.

On the internet I captured the image of a sign on the side of one of this companies buildings and printed my own paper sign.  I sealed both front and back with Scotch tape and glued to .020 styrene.  This was then glued to the side of one of the building sections.
So here is the newest industry on the layout.  Next I will be adding a bit of weathering and maybe some safety signs to the building and also work on the foreground scenery.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Building the Diamond Plastics Company

Diamond Plastics is an actual company that manufacturers large plastic pipe at several facilities around the United States including a plant in Golconda.  They ship the finished products by truck but receive plastic pellets by rail car.  For the purposes of modeling I am re-locating this industry from it's actual location to Battle Mountain.

This is a satellite view of the Diamond Plastics facility near Golconda.  There is a manufacturing building plus a very large area where finished pipe is stored outdoors waiting to be delivered.  I am only going to model the side of the building where the rail siding is along with some storage silos for the plastic pellets.

This is a photo the company has on their web site of the Casa Grande, AZ facility.  The facility in Golconda looks similar to this. 

Here is my scratch built shallow relief representation of this industry as it looks on the layout today.  This is three separate pieces held onto the layout with magnets.

For the plastic pellet storage silos I am using the Faller industrial silos kit.  It had been quite awhile since I built a Faller kit and noticed quite an improvement in the quality and details.

I also plan to include some of the pneumatic piping and hoses that would carry the pellets from the covered hoppers to the silos.

So I have now started to paint and finish the details on this industry that I had started last November before the Battle Mountain section was even installed in the layout.  I will post on this industry again when it's finished.

Monday, June 4, 2018

On the road again - Kennesaw, GA

Have not been working on the layout or posting on this blog for a couple months.  Had a week long exhibit in April with the Japanese layout then my wife and I took a long cross country driving trip to the southeastern US.

Our time in the Atlanta area included a visit to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.  It is located at the site called Big Shanty which is where Union raiders hijacked a locomotive and that started what has been called "The great locomotive chase"
Here is Nona and I in front of one of the main attractions at this museum.  This is the original General locomotive. 

This museum is full of exhibits on the civil war and railroading and we really enjoyed it.  Thanks to our friend Susan who we were staying with and who took us there.

Before visiting this museum,  I was not very familiar with the story.  I now have a greater appreciation for this important episode in US civil war.

When we got to the museum it was raining but after finishing touring the inside we came out to clearing skies and sunshine.

The museum is located in what is called the Big Shanty historical area.  Across the road from the museum is an old station that was built in 1908.  It is also a museum but was being used for a private function so was not open to the public when we were there.

Hopefully soon I will be getting back to work on the layout.