Friday, March 1, 2013

Progress Report 03.01.13 - Clerical Work + Carrie Ave Shops

This morning, I worked on placing all the new car cards back where they belong.  That took some time, but not too bad.

The car shop replaced a handful of trucks/couplers on freight cars this morning.  They also replaced couplers on 13 locomotives.

This evening, The shop continued work on the truck/coupler renovation project replacing a total of twenty sets today.

The ROCK on YouTube!!

Well, the day has come!  The ROCK has gone to YouTube!  Check out the video here.
Thanks to Ben Earp for filming and producing the video.  Great job Ben!  I love it!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Progress Report 02.28.13 - Part II - The Ottawa Rip Track

Just when you think you're finished working on the layout, I end up doing more.  I have been warned about sending reports out to early.

So, Carrie Ave Shops worked some overtime tonight.  I installed a pair of Micro Trains 1015 couplers on one of the Bachmann locomotives.  One down, about 14 more to go.  The first coupler was a booger, but the second went much faster after I knew what I was doing.

I attempted to install a pair of 1015s on the body mounted coupler boxes on an Athearn ACF 2-Bay covered hopper. No such luck.  I will have to file off the coupler box and glue the Micro Trains box to the car.  Those cars will definitely be sent to the RIP track / Carrie Ave Shops.

I ballasted the area for the Ottawa RIP track, added an office, two storage sheds (wrecked 40' box cars) and a few bushes around the perimeter.  I think it will work just fine.

Well, that's all for this evening.......I swear!

Progress Report 02.28.13 - RIP Track in Ottawa

Last night, I was fishing out my tools to check the gauge on my Atlas locomotives.  For the most part they run ok, but some of them pick the turnouts.  I have a feeling that they need to have their wheels spread on the axles as they are set too narrow at the factory.

Anywho, I found an Atlas Wye turnout.  Hmm....This would work perfectly over at Ottawa for my Repair-in-Place (RIP) track to repair cars like the prototype.  I would place the RIP track in the open area at the east end of the yard.  The more I think about this, the more I'm liking it!  I have a vision of how the scene would look.

Completed converting the car cards to the new format.  I'm very pleased!  They look so much more professional.

I updated three of the car card box labels to add the Ottawa RIP Track as well as assigning Kelly Yard #5 to be jointly the Carrie Ave Shops storage track. I replaced the Utica car card box label swapping the industry order.  As it was before, if you read left to right, it would not match up with the industries physically on the layout left to right.  It was a small change, but a source of confusion in the past.

Coupler/truck replacement.  I received more MTL coupler/trucks replacements today.  I will finish replacing what I can in the near future.  There is about 15 to 20 cars that will require more extensive work than simply replacing the trucks.  All those cars will be routed to either Carrie Ave Shops or the Ottawa RIP track for repair.

I created a few more signs identifying some industry tracks in Ottawa.

Speaking of Ottawa ... This evening I cut in the switch and installed the new Ottawa RIP track.  I also finished gluing the ballast that I spread earlier in the week.  The yard looks too clean now.  I will need to add some bushes, dirt, etc. to make it look more like the ROCK.  I need to go back and install the slide switch and drop a pair of feeders for the RIP track.

Overall, a productive day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Progress Report 02.27.13 - Ballast Work in Ottawa

Late last night, I resumed ballasting in Ottawa.  I managed to ballast all the way up to the Hwy 6 road crossing (this includes the main, siding and all the yard tracks).  I still have to ballast the industry tracks though.

After ballasting quite a bit, I have developed a routine using paint brushes that seems to work for me.

1) I pour in a little ballast in between the rails and use a stiff paint brush (one that wasn't properly cleaned in the past) to really work the ballast in between the ties.
2) I then shake (back and forth parallel to the track) a cup of ballast on the outside of the rails.
3) I take my stiff paint brush to remove any ballast on the ties outside the rail gauge.
4) I use a thicker, very soft paint brush for gently sliding across the side profile of the ballast.

This seems to evenly spread the ballast without excessive build-up between the rails.

This morning I began gluing the ballast.  I got about 2/3rds complete before having to leave for work.  I believe once I complete the ballast work in Ottawa, I will start running some test trains through all the ballasted areas to ensure we don't have any issues.

I also completed creating/printing all the new car card labels.  Now, to apply them to all the existing car cards.

Ballast Project update...

1) West Kelly Yard to East Kelly Yard Switch - Complete
2) East Kelly Yard Switch to Jarrett's Tunnel (2 1/2ft) -
3) Jarrett's Tunnel to East Rock Island - Complete
4) Farmer's Grain to West Bureau - Complete
5) West Bureau to Main Street (Bureau) (8ft) - in Progress
6) Peoria Branch (Washington Rd Crossing) to East Bureau Junction - Complete
7) East Bureau Junction to Utica - Complete
8) Utica to East Ottawa Bridge (18ft) - in Progress
9) Utica to BN Crossing in Ottawa (12ft) -
10) East Ottawa Bridge to JD Tower (Joliet) - Complete
11) JD Tower to Burr Oak Yard (Chicago) (21ft) -

* This doesn't include industrial track, Kelly yard or either staging yard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Progress Report 02.26.13 - Ballast Work in Ottawa

The family must have left early this morning as it felt like I had a lot of time to work on the layout.  I ballasted (not glued) from the BN crossing up through the yard ladder at Ottawa.  The ballast looks good as it hides all the imperfections of the cork (or lack of) in some places.

This evening, I continued ballasting up through the yard covering most areas up to the Caldwell Road overpass.  My back started hurting leaning over the layout so I sent the workers home early tonight.

Here are some pics of the ballasting progress.

I also worked on upgrading the paperwork on the ROCK.  I have been wanting to do so for quite some time, but never got around to it.  I finally created the necessary documents in Excel to make it so.  I'm pleased!

Below are pics of before / after.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Progress Report 02.25.13 - Ballast Prep Work in Ottawa

Last night, I had a little bit of time so I looked around the room trying to figure out what I will tackle next.  I set my eyes upon Ottawa.  I removed all the cars from the yard and started painting the rails brown.  I didn't get far before I stopped to play the Wii with my daughters.

This morning, I was too exhausted to think about anything much less the layout.  This evening though, I resumed work.  I managed to paint all the rails (including the yard and industry tracks) from the BN crossing up to the east turnout at Ottawa.

I'm expecting a big ballast blitz to occur tomorrow.

I still have a ways out until the next op session on the 23rd, but I hadn't made any concrete goals before then.  I have already accomplished a lot since the last session (which seems like forever ago).  I guess three things that would be awesome to complete:

1) ballast all of Ottawa
2) ballast Kelly Yard at Silvis
3) massive tree building session to fill in the bare areas.

One of the layout's most enthused fans from Texas is coming up in two weeks.  I wonder what I can get done before his arrival.

Ottawa Yard is looking pretty sad this evening with no freight traffic.  Oh, I did add a new tool shed (a former Santa Fe box).  It derailed on the property....the Rock never returned it.