Saturday, August 25, 2012

Progress Report 08.25.12

Today, I worked on the layout off and on.  I'm happy to report that crews have completed the installation of all slide switches!  I'm *so* glad that is over.  It gets old quick.  The last slide switch was actually a tortoise install as it was the west switch of the Bureau wye.  Due to its location, a traditional slide switch wouldn't have worked.  It took a while to get it in place as I could have really used a second person to assist.  I finally managed to get it installed and tested.  Ran wire and installed the slide switch power control on the fascia.  Tested.  All good!

Installed some more benchwork and started laying out the buildings in Bureau.  It's time to get the tub of wall plaster and putty knife out to do some scenery!

Began the process of vacuuming off the top of the layout.  I have a string of about thirty cars stretched across Ottawa currently.  These are all cars that passed inspection.

The new overpass in Ottawa

A view of a train entering Ottawa Yard from the East

Look at all those sand hoppers!

After everyone went to bed, I decided to clean up the wiring under the upper level (always has been an eyesore).  I had cheap Walmart Christmas lights before.  After hearing feedback from other layout owners regarding the LED strings, I decided to investigate.  At first the price was too high, but the price has dropped considerably since I first researched them.  I was in a state of shock and dismay when I saw the first string of LED lights lit on the layout.  Holy smokes!  That's freaking awesome!  I nearly ran to wake up my sleeping wife I was so excited!

I have posted photos of before and after in various scenes.  Please excuse the mess as I was too excited to document vs. clean-up the layout/room first.

Rock Island, IL Before

Rock Island, IL After

Silvis Yard Before

Silvis Yard After

Carrie Ave Shops Before

Carrie Ave Shops After

Hennepin Canal Before

Hennepin Canal After (Atlas Bridge)

The residential district of Bureau, IL Before

The residential district of Bureau, IL After

Looking west through Bureau Junction Before

Looking west through Bureau Junction After

Pre-Session Project update
1) Install slide switches
2) Re-stage the layout
3) Repair identified rolling stock that doesn't meet code (in progress)
4) Repair identified motive power that doesn't meet code
5) Construct Hennepin Canal bridge
6) Install LED Lights
7) Test all new trackage 

I'm so ecstatic over the layout.  I have attempted to build various layouts in the past (ever since I was 13 years old) with only one layout being somewhat successful (the HO ICNW Switching layout).  This layout has been living out a dream for me.  I would have never thought I could create something so nice.  It looks good, it operates well and a lot of fun.  I'm so pleased with how far I have come.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Progress Report 08.24.12

I wasn't sure if I would get around to working on the layout this evening or not as I spent a lot of time on yard duty and working in the garage.

I did manage to get up to the layout and install six of the ten remaining slide switches including three of the troublesome ones from the other night.

Replaced two turnouts that were used and damaged due to failed slide switch installations.

All this wouldn't have been possible without the speedy shipping of Chuck at Feather River Trains.  Without his help, the ROCK crews would have been at a standstill tonight.  Thanks Chuck!  If you haven't visited his store online, check it out.

I glued the piers (all four of them) to the highway bridge over Ottawa Yard.

I'm excited as slide switch installation is nearly complete which will allow me to clean up the layout top and work on more fun projects.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Highway Bridge at Ottawa

No work on the layout tonight as I'm taking the day off.  It was a long, tiring day.  Came home and took a nap instead.  I did want to post some pictures of the new highway bridge.  I have yet to come up with a name for the new road/bridge.  I'll have to think on that one for a while.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Progress Report 08.22.12

Management secured some screws this morning allowing crews to continue on slide switch installations.  I managed to install six more.  It's amazing how on some I have near surgical precision bending the wire and installing quickly and with great ease.  Then, the next few, I feel I can't handle the simple task of tying my shoes.  It's so frustrating!  After failing three times, I had to walk away from the layout.

I must have been feeling better later as after everyone went to bed, I tackled the slide switches again, but different locations this time.  I managed to install four more in the hard to reach Utica.

I counted up the remaining switches waiting installs.  I have nine plus one that needs repaired on the original layout.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I then constructed the new highway bridge that traverses Ottawa yard.  I will post pictures of that tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Progress Report 08.21.12

Management reviewed the bridge install from yesterday.  All looks good.  My daughter even conducted a few 100mph tests through the new bridge.

This evening was a potpourri of work on the layout.  I installed one slide switch (somewhat tricky).  The battery on the drill died.  Started working on some freight cars.

Properly weighted about twenty sand hoppers.

The quick charge completed on the drill.  Noticed I was out of screws to secure the slide switches.  Started drilling the holes for all the remaining slide switches and placed the slide switches in the holes.  Then realized that I didn't have enough.  How could that be?     I know I have some more somewhere.  I tore the room apart looking for them, but I couldn't find them.  I'll have to resume the search tomorrow.

Worked on a few more cars.  I can't remember how many I said that needed repair in the beginning.  I still have around 30 or so.  Many of them simply need couplers.

I'll be glad to finish up with slide switch installs.  They are messy.  I need to vacuum up the layout and the sawdust all over the floor.  It's amazing how quick the room can get dirty.

Created new train instruction cards and local blocking cards.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Progress Report 08.20.12

Yesterday, I worked on the layout for about 45 minutes or so.  I only managed to get five slide switches installed.  Three were in difficult locations.

This evening, I assembled and installed the Hennepin Canal Bridge.  I think it looks real good.

I updated some yard blocking cards that are used throughout the system.

I install eight slide switches.  I was getting frustrated and started damaging track toward the end so it was time to walk away.

Pre-Session Project update
1) Install slide switches (in progress)
2) Re-stage the layout
3) Repair identified rolling stock that doesn't meet code (in progress)
4) Repair identified motive power that doesn't meet code
5) Construct Hennepin Canal bridge
6) Install LED Lights
7) Test all new trackage