Monday, August 29, 2016

Op Session Countdown 08.29.16

Less than two weeks until we operate.  This evening, I confirmed up with some of my operators (waiting to hear back on a few) that will bring the layout to life.

Received the decoders I needed to power my locomotives today.  Installed three this evening.  The Kato decoder install goes pretty quick.  I completed three in roughly thirty minutes.

Here are some photos of the progress.

The kitchen table is lined up with quite a variety of motive power.

Kato BN U30C - Stock light board removed.  Kapton tape added per Digitrax instructions.

Digitrax DN163K1C decoder installed.

Burlington Northern U30C #5393

Next to roll out of the shop, Chicago & Illinois Midland SD38-2 #75

As well as Chicago & Illinois Midland SD38-2 #73

The pair of C&IM locos ready for service.

Worked on making some new tabs today and started the staging process (slow process this evening).  I'm changing some things around so I have to wait until I make the new tabs as I go.

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but tore out the track at the south end of Bridge Jct, but realized I didn't have a left hand turnout (had two right hand turnouts instead).  Sadness.  Ordered some left hand turnouts this morning.  Progress will be at a stand still on the revised Bridge Junction until it arrives (hopefully by the end of the week).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Back Shop Report 08.27.16

This evening, I finished cleaning off the workbench and picked up in the room.  I think that part is finally done other than vacuuming.

Swapped out the factory Kato couplers with Micro Trains #2004-1 couplers.  I struggled with this on the custom paint locomotives having to file out the coupler box opening.

Removed the decoders out of two Soo Line locomotives that will be decommissioned and sold on eBay.

I have a couple U30Cs and C30-7s.  Half have the old chassis and half with the new drop-in decoder chassis.  My hope was that I could simply swap the shells so I could drop in some decoders to get some BN power operational for this next op session.  One fit on the swap, the other, not so much.  Sadness!  I may have to order another CN-GP decoder to get it running.  I'm already wary about this install now.  I may see if I can farm out to a friend of mine.

See how the shell doesn't sit down fully on the chassis.  Sad!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Preparation for Operating Session 09.10.16

Hello Everyone!

The ROCK has laid dormant for nearly a year now.  I operated last September 2015.  That's awful!  Life has been busy with my family, work, and entirely way too much research on the Peoria area.  I have found that subject very fascinating!

Anywho, back to the layout.  I tried to operate in July, but there was just no way.  I got more serious after being inspired operating on a few local layouts.  During this off time, I have acquired a lot of rolling stock and locomotives which I occasionally posted photos of the custom painted units.  With so much new stuff, I have the strong desire to implement a few minor changes, but not completely re-doing the layout.  That's way more than I want to take on at this point.  I have decided to merge my Peoria area (the recently built addition last year of Iowa Jct) with the sand operations of Ottawa.

So, here are some changes.

Bureau Junction is being modified.  It will now be Bridge Jct in Peoria, IL.  It used to connect to the RI Yard.  The tracks will now be moved over to the right to connect with the Peoria & Pekin Union (P&PU) Railway.  The former RI yard will remain, but be the Peoria Terminal trackage now.

The P&PU 91 Yard will be extended all the way down to the mainline.  The leg going down to the lower right will lead to the P&PU 90 Yard.

You can see the roadbed was laid in preparation of the track move.

A Burlington Northern coal train is lined up at CNW Jct awaiting to be transferred to the Chicago & Illinois Midland to fuel the Powerton Plant.

These should actually be empties, but I haven't removed the loads.  A unit C&IM train ready to swap with the BN on the main at Wesley Road. 

New Toledo, Peoria & Western Power sitting in the Peoria Terminal Yard just north of Iowa Jct.

Things look normal over at Ottawa Silica.

As well as Libbey-Owens Ford.

The box cars look a little larger, but business as normal at L-O-F.

Hmm....Westclox or Quaker Oats Boxboard Company?

Not photographed - Peru Power.  Looking more like a chemical company now.  

Whoa!  Illinois Terminal train?  Where did that come from?
This train will now run from the drop down staging to Ottawa Yard. 
Completely non-protoytpical, but I want to run it.  
This will replace the Soo Line freight (which was also non-prototypical).

PQ is looking different.  I see a line of grain hoppers and a bunch of these yellow and white 
Corn Products covered hoppers loading corn starch.  CPC International is taking over!

A view of Ottawa Yard.

Jobs will change slightly:

  • Ottawa Yard Job - Duties remain the same although car classification will be modified.
  • Ottawa Sand Job - Duties remain the same.
  • Utica Sand Job - Annulled.  Replaced Peoria Terminal Job.
  • Rock Island Iowa Jct yard - Annulled.
  • Peoria Terminal Job - Starts on the drop leaf staging, works American Oil, CPC International, Quaker Oats and unknown business (former Utica Sand Plant).
  • Rock Island #113 - Joliet to Bureau Turn - Annulled.
New Through Freights:
  • Illinois Terminal Freight #200 / #203 - Madison, IL to Ottawa, IL
  • Toledo, Peoria & Western Freight #121 / #122 - Lomax, IL to East Peoria, IL
  • Burlington Northern loaded coal trains to Chicago & Illinois Midland (power swapped on the main at Wesley (in front of Quaker Oats at Wesley Road).
  • Toledo, Peoria & Western Kickapoo Job - Works Iowa Jct.
Crazy, right?  Why, sure!  But, it's my world and I want to mix it up a bit! 
(without rebuilding the entire thing this time around).

I hope to post more photos this weekend as I get Bridge Jct trackwork redone.  I also have a bunch of decoders on order.  Most of them will be easy drop in decoders, but I have two CN-GP decoders to install on two TP&W C424s.  A little over two weeks until operating day.  Time to get to work!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Paint Shop Update: TP&W RS11

Another awesome unit created by Jeff Gowers of Virginia.  Toledo, Peoria & Western RS11 #400 arrived from the paint shop this week.  Rumors of modeling the Peoria Area are being heard on the ROCK.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Paint Shop News: New TP&W Power

I received two newly painted locomotives by Jeff Gowers of Virginia today.  The Toledo, Peoria & Western (TP&W) Walthers C-424s look super sharp!  I'm very pleased!  I need to add some Micro Trains couplers to the units.  It appears they take the same type as the Kato SD40s.

Here are some photos of the new units.

Here is a quick video I took on the test track.  The units run very well together (in DC mode).  You would think they were consisted and speed matched.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The ROCK 3.0: Paint Shop Quick Peek

Here's a quick peek at one of three projects we have outsourced currently.  Two TP&W C424s and one RS11 are in the works.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The ROCK 3.0: Chicago & Illinois Midland Photos

I was digging through some old photos tonight and found these of the Chicago & Illinois Midland in Springfield, IL.  I vaguely remember taking these.  They are dated July 31st, 2005.  I assume my wife and I were exploring around in Springfield.  Funny, how I came across these now that I'm interested in the C&IM.

C&IM SD20 #81

C&IM SD20 #82

I'm assuming this is the large former Pillsbury Plant in Springfield, IL.

In other news, I'm working on cleaning and sorting a bunch of stuff in the layout room.  I have way too many cars.  Time to consolidate some.  

I have a few TP&W custom paint projects outsourced and waiting for return.  I'm also waiting on some custom Peoria & Eastern and Peru & Pekin Union Railway decals to come in to work on a few other projects.