Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Fascia Board Installed!

After a long day of running errands, this afternoon I got the urge to attempt the fascia install on the lower peninsula.  This process was incredible easy.  After only one piece was installed, I was blown away by the difference it makes.  It really dresses up the layout!  Worked on it off an on, between helping the girls with their Zhu Zhu pets, managing the girls working their chores and working on the layout.  The process took about two hours with all that going on, but I completed the the fascia for all the lower level peninsula.  This was a major project on my pre-March 31st op session To Do list.  This was a great achievement today.  I'm so incredibly pleased by the appearance of the layout now.  What great motivation to continue on!

Here is a sample of the revised timetable schedule which now includes freight trains for TT&TO operations.  This coming session, will be the debut of these type of operations.  I also highlighted the arrival times at stations to assist crews in identifying opposing trains.  I did just notice something on this as Train 1,2 & 57 need to be classified as First Class.  I will have to have a word with our clerical department.  You just can't find good help now a days.  Wait....that's me.  Nevermind!  I will update the timetable.

Also, I mentioned a week or two ago, I cut the benchwork between the mainline and Joliet Grain spur.  I added some drywall putty between the gap.  No more rolling cars down the spur.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Progress Report 02.16.12

Although short for time, I made some progress on the layout today.  Added metal wheels to the auto parts box cars.

Worked on cleaning up waybill paperwork for industries removed or names changed.  Added new waybill paperwork printed the other day.

Completed cutting and gluing the styrofoam for the bluff near McGee Creek that overflows onto the RI Clinton, IA branchline.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ROCK News Wire

-----------ROCK News Wire ------------

Stockdale town leaders have passed a motion to change the name of the town to Ottawa, Illinois effective immediately.

It was announced earlier today that Ottawa Silica Company has purchased the Central Stone Company plant in Ottawa, IL.  Ottawa Silica's plant is the largest in North America, mining fine grain sandstone from St. Peter Sandstone deposits.  Ground and unground silica products from the Ottawa facility have a wide variety of applications including glass production, foundry and refractory sand, abrasives, polishes, paint and other fillers, filtration sand and cement.  Silica sand is shipped in 2-Bay covered hoppers, difco dump cars and coal hoppers.

ADM Milling's lease has expired with the ROCK.  Currently the facility is vacant awaiting new tenants.  It is rumored that Libbey-Owens-Ford Company is considering constructing a plant in this region.

Archer Daniels Midland's lease has also expired.  Garvey Grain is reported to be purchasing the property.  They will receive grain in from Iowa to offload to barges on the Illinois River.

Illinois Valley Grain Company's lease has also expired.  Libbey-Owens-Ford has been rumored interested in purchasing the land.

All industries in Ottawa will now be served by train #217 Ottawa Turn.  #113 Joliet local will only work industries in Joliet.


Progress Report 02.15.12

The ballast project in the tunnel near McGee Creek was a success.  Again, thanks to Marcus for his tips!

The last two days I have been working on constructing the bluff by McGee Creek.  I'm nearly finished.

Its about that time again to create a To Do list of items that I need to complete before the next op session.  I'm better focused if I have a list to work from.  It's time to ramp up the progress on the layout.


Train #57

Like many railroads, the ROCK has one train that is considered the big train.  The big train is the ROCK's money train.  Train 57 runs out of South Chicago, pausing only to pick up extra traffic at blue Island.  From Blue Island it heads across Illinois and Iowa to Council Bluffs, at which point the Union Pacific takes over.  Rock Island tracks continued all the way to Denver (sharing track with the UP west of Limon, CO), but 57 never follows them.  West of Omaha the Union Pacific has a more developed line providing a fast pace across their system compared to the Rock Island's more decrepit track conditions.

Our goal with Train 57 is speed, but not record breaking speed.  We're more concerned with its regularity.  Train 57 pulls from South Chicago every day at 12:30pm.  By 2 AM the following morning, the train is to be safely in the arms of the Union Pacific.  The train is typically overpowered to ensure consistent service.

Train 57 consists of auto parts (along with auto frames and nearly complete auto bodies) that are gathered from various General Motors assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.  The Rock Island is the first link in a chain that leads to the UP (where 57 becomes "ARRO" for Auto RailRoad Overland).  West of North Platte UP's ARRO hands off the train to to the Southern Pacific which delivers to to California plants.

Train 57 is not to be delayed under any circumstances.

Train 57's Blocking Instructions
South Chicago
1 Autos, auto parts, Oakland, California
2 Autos, auto parts, Fremont-Warm Springs-San Jose, California
3 TOFC (piggyback) and other loads

Note: Block 3 will run on trains as tonnage permits

Union Pacific Blocks
Block 1  All traffic Omaha-Council Bluffs to but not including North Platte
Block 2  All traffic, except autos, auto parts for North Platte and beyond
Block 0  Autos, auto parts for Oakland
Block F  Autos, auto parts for Warm Springs, Fremont, San Jose


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Progress Report 02.12.12

This morning, I glued and shaped the extruded styrofoam cut yesterday.  The glued sections have not been permanently affixed to the layout yet as one section is the bluff that the track tunnels through before heading across the Mississippi River.

Later in the morning, with the help of my daughter Elizabeth, we painted the rail and ties roof brown.

This evening, following some tips provided by my friend Marcus, I gave it a whirl attempting ballasting track for the first time.  I believe it turned out well, but won't know for sure until tomorrow morning after it dries thoroughly.  It is a short section through the tunnel that was ballasted.  If all ok, we will add the tunnel portal and lining (black poster board) tomorrow and build the bluff around it.