Thursday, January 23, 2020

Coal shipments begin on the layout

In my original plan for the layout I was going to include the Sierra Pacific coal burning power plant at Valmy, Nevada which would have been where Battle Mountain is on the layout.  The reasons for this change were explained in the July 2017 post Decisions about industries.

I still thought it would be nice to have some coal cars running as through traffic on the layout and started to think about what industries beyond my modeled area to the west would use coal.  The coal would have come from the Powder River Basin east of my modeled area.
I know of no coal fired power plants west of the Sierra Nevada and during my modeled era there was no coal being exported from any California ports.  However are some coal fired cement kilns in California and one near my home is shown in this photo.

Up to now I have not had any appropriate coal hoppers to use in this service but recently I was able to acquire 8 Micro-Trains, 3 bay, 100 ton hoppers in both Burlington Northern and Rio Grande.

In photos and videos I have seen hoppers identical to these being pulled up to the local cement plant.  The build dates on these models are in the late 1960's so they fit great into my 2 earlier (76-82 & 83-88) eras.  In more recent years I see mostly 4 bay hoppers on the line to the cement plant but do still see a few of these 3 bay models in the mix.   Maybe later I can add a few 4 bay hoppers for my later (89-96) era.
With smaller customers like cement plants it could make sense that a shipment of a few cars would be in a manifest train between Ogden, UT and Roseville or Oakland.  Here is a west bound SP train near Golanda with a few coal loads.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Starting a scenery window box

The path of my around the room layout passes across the middle of a window and that's where I am working right now.  I want to still be able to use this window sometimes for ventilation but still have some background scenery behind the tracks.

So what I decided to do was to build a sort of window box that will hold a continuing of the background scenery and can be lifted up and out to access the upper part of the window.  The window can still be opened from under the layout even when the box is in place.

Here is the window box a little further along with a coat of primer and almost ready to start adding some scenery.

To be continued.

Friday, January 3, 2020

A New Year and another Layout Party

Happy 2020 !

Once again this year I am participating in the annual Trainboard winter layout party.  This is a forum thread that goes from about mid December to the beginning of March.  Anyone can participate by posting recent progress on their layout projects.  I have found that I seem to get a lot done when these are going on.  So what have I been doing so far ?

Still working in the Palisade Canyon area of the layout.  Added about 6 feet of profile fascia board.  This time instead of gluing and nailing with my nail gun I held it with welders clamps until the glue dried. 

The terrain around the front edge was filled in with a combination of insulation board and cardboard strips covered with plaster cloth.  This then gets a coat of dry wall joint compound spread with a wet paint brush.

Also been working with the sky board and am liking the look better as I work with it.  Trying to blend in the white to lighten the and have been getting the effect of having some clouds.  This view is from the Harney section of the layout.

My goal for this year is to get the bridges and track in so I can put a temporary loop on the end and have the main line open again by March 1st.