Sunday, February 25, 2018

A scratch built car puller

In my original plan for the layout there was going to be a coal burning power plant where the Battle Mountain section is.  It was to have it's own 44 ton switch engine to move cars around the facility.   Battle Mountain has 4 smaller industries, each with a single spur track.  In all but one of these industries cars can be spotted by the local in the correct location and won't need to be moved by the facility itself.

The Barite crushing facility in Battle Mountain will have a long enough siding for six 2-bay covered hoppers to be moved through the loader.   One car can be loaded at a time and then the string of cars will need to be moved one car length to get the next car under the loader.  I began to wonder how an industry like this moves railroad cars down the track without having their own locomotive.

Researching this topic on the web I discovered that railroad customers use a variety of methods to move rail cars around between the times the railroad either drops cars off or picks them up.   This prototype photo shows just one of those.

I decided that to position the 2-bay covered hoppers under the loader the barite crushing facility would use an electric winch.   In the mood for a small scratch building project I came up with this.

I keep all my small styrene scraps in a sandwich sized Tupperware bin and that is the first place I go to get materials for a project like this one.  All of the stryene came from that bin.  The spool sides were punched from a scrap of .020 styrene sheet with a hole punch.  The motor is .125 styrene rod and the shaft is .020 brass wire.  The control / reduction gear housing is .080 x .125 strip and the doors .020 x .125 strip.  Some copper magnet wire was wrapped around the spool.

Here is the same model after being painted.  There is the motor and drive shaft.  The drive shaft enters a cabinet where there are reduction gears and also electrical controls.  Doors on the cabinet allow for maintenance access.

Another shaft from the reduction gears then exits the cabinet to drive the pulley.  This would all need to be securely anchored to a thick concrete slab.
Here is how this now looks on the layout with the track ballasted.   When I posted about this project on the replies seem to indicate that these were more common than I thought so it was strange I could not find any ready made models of it.  This seems like it would be a good project for 3D printing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Barite crushing facility in Battle Mountain

Barite is one of those minerals that is mined in Nevada.  It is used to make a mud like product that has several applications with one of the largest being in the oil industry.  There is a fairly new Barite crushing and rail car loading facility operated by Halliburton not far from Battle Mountain and there is also another similar facility right in town so it is a natural for the 4th industry on this section of the layout.  The dry Barite powder is shipped by covered hopper as it needs to be kept dry until ready to be made into mud.

As a starting point for my facility I chose the Walthers Glacier Gravel Company kit.  I have built many of the Walthers kits in the past and have always found them to be easy to modify to fit whatever space I had available.

The area for this industry is long and narrow at about 4.5 inches deep by 12+ inches wide so a bit of modification would be needed here.   I want to represent a place for trucks with ore to be unloaded, the processing building, and the rail car loading facility.

After quite a bit of playing around with the arrangement and modifying the kit this is how the area looks today.  I recently picked up some more material to add conveyors to the loading structure.

So that is at least a start on all 4 of the industries for Battle Mountain.  Now that this section is in it's place on the layout I will be going through and finishing each industry scene.  As I do, I will post more about each industry in detail.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Installing Battle Mountain

The new 8 foot long Battle Mountain section of the layout has been installed and the turn around loop section relocated to the left or east end of Battle Mountain.  Test trains have been running through the new track without encountering any problems.

The track between the Golconda and Battle Mountain sections has been connected and the work to blend the scenery between the two sections has started.

Next will come additional fascia on the front, finishing more scenery and the rest of the industries in Battle Mountain.