Friday, November 8, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.08.13

First and foremost, more turnouts are on the way!  I should have them Tuesday or Wednesday next week!  YAH!  I can continue laying track!

Early this morning (before 6:30am), I was feeling pretty good.  I started soldering the components of the gantlet track for West Yard in Ottawa.

This evening, I worked on the gantlet track for a few hours.  It was slow going tonight.  I completed soldering the skeleton and cleaned it up.  I had a lot of tweaking and filing to do (much more than the first one), but I got it completed and it tested well.  Now, I just have to add the ties and paint.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.06.13

My friend Allen in Nebraska provided a great tip for removing decal reporting marks from my Atlas centerflow hoppers.  I have a lot, but only a handful of unique numbers.  I used Micro-Sol and gently rubbed off the last two digits of the reporting marks.  It worked like a charm and extremely easy.

I removed the numbers off four cars in a matter of ten minutes or so.  Thanks for the tip Allen!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.05.13

This evening when I got home, I worked on cutting and shaping the parts for the Ottawa "West" Yard scale.  Hopefully some other night this week, I will be able to construct the scale track.  Maybe lightning will strike twice and I'll create another one (that actually works).

So, off and on, I have been working on creating the paperwork for the first op session.  A little premature I know, but I'm ready to operate!  Tonight, I was wondering just how many sand hoppers would fit at Ottawa Silica and Libbey-Owens-Ford (LOF).  Ottawa Silica has four tracks with a capacity of 52 sand hoppers!  This doesn't include the 8 box car loading spots or handful of other cars.  Wow!  That's a lot of sand!  LOF can hold 10 sand hoppers.  Belrose Silica and PQ is yet to be determined (until I lay the track).  The total potential spots to be switched on the Ottawa local is 85!!  WOW!  You gotta love N scale!

I estimate the layout will have a total of 130 spots or so.  If memory serves me correctly...  Oh why am I guessing....let's do a search on the blog.  Holy smokes!  The last revision of 1.0 had a total of 122 spots.  This new layout has more spots but in a heck of a lot less space!  Wow!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.04.13

This morning before work, I assembled 29 Caboose Industries ground throws for the remaining turnouts to be installed.

I ordered a scale house for Ottawa.

I need to purchase a Micro Trains scale test car next.

Operations Update:
I learned over the weekend that Belrose Silica did not have a scale.  During the days of the RI, they weighed their sand at the small yard in Utica.  In 1980, when purchased by Unimin, they converted to a weigh-in-motion scale under the loader.  Majority of the sand went east to Chicago connections.

So, that mystery has been solved.....but....the flaw in the slaw for this operation is that I don't have the room for a small yard at Utica.  So, I will have to modify the operational plan for the crew to take all the sand loads back to Ottawa to be weighed there.  In reality, Ottawa did have a small scale track in the yard.  I never noticed it before, but after going back looking on Bing Maps I found the evidence of where it once was located.

So, another gantlet track is in my future.  I can't say that I'm overly excited about having to build another one, but it must be done.  Speaking of weighing cars, since I will have a scale in the yard, we need to expand on this idea.  I would assume coal bound for the Peru Power & Water plant will need to be weighed before it is delivered.  It is my understanding loads like this were weighed sometimes twice (near the source and again near the destination).  I would also assume that chemicals being shipped via covered hoppers from PQ would be weighed outbound.  I don't think the tank cars would have required weighing.

I learned that Ottawa Yard was referred to as West Yard by crews looking to talk to the yard clerk.  Otherwise, they called for Ottawa Ticket when contacting the station agent.  All crews will address the yard as such.

I found out PQ had some of their own covered hoppers and tank cars.  I need to see if I can find someone to print up some decals for me and see if there is a model that would closely represent the prototype.

On the RI: Illinois Division, I knew of some of the freight train numbers from a 1972 guide, but locals I had to guess at.  I knew the range for the most part, but not the actual number.  I learned this past weekend there was the Joliet to Bureau Local #113 (evening extra #115 on occasion) that would shuttle cars between various switch jobs, distribute empties for loading or move outbound cars into blocks at Bureau (cars for Peoria and West), Ottawa or Joliet for pickup by road trains.  The train arrived in Ottawa around mid-morning and returned east through Ottawa around mid-afternoon arriving back at Joliet by dinner time.  This train will be staged out on the mainline in Ottawa at the beginning of the session.  At it's "arrival" time (I will create a random formula to generate a true arrival time) the train will enter the yard to swap cars and then head west with its outbound cars.  Later in the afternoon, the train will return to pick up loads headed for Chicago.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.03.13 - Gantlet Track Installed!

I worked on the layout at various times throughout the weekend.

Saturday, I glued the trackage for the through track, run around track and gantlet track at Ottawa Silica.  While that was drying, I worked on creating Ottawa Avenue that runs between Ottawa Silica and Libbey-Owens-Ford.  I used .060" x .060' square styrene strips as borders for the road.  I filled with plaster.  I will go back and fill in some more as well as sand the road before painting.  I also got out a few details to see how the scene will look.  I'm excited and more than ready to start on scenery.

Sunday, I briefly worked on the layout.  I broke the turnout bar hole (ripping it completely out) when installing the ground throw Saturday (upon gluing it down).  Uggh...  Using a new bit, I drilled a new pilot hole for the ground throw and reamed it out in place.  I was worried about this since the gantlet track was glued down, but all worked out ok.

Here are quite a few photos and some video of the progress.

The styrene strips in place to construct Ottawa Avenue.

Gates up!

Atlas Signal Box - A detail part I picked up recently.  My goal is to be more detail oriented on 3.0.

Ottawa Avenue with the first coat of plaster laid down and a few accessories.

The much anticipated Scale Track.  It's not the highest quality of work as the turnouts I'm receiving off eBay, but I'm very pleased with it.  I think it looks really nice and functions well.

Some sand hoppers lined up to be weighed.

The points are fine.

The Boulder Creek Engineering WeighStation installed. 

This will be a common site on the layout.

Looking south.

Looking south.

I created a concrete pad out of styrene and painted with Floquil spray bomb concrete color.

My companion Lily the cat that often comes to sit with me while working on the layout.

An overview of the completed track in Ottawa Silica (looking north).  I still need to complete the track behind the plant (to the right), but waiting on a right-hand turnout.

Another view looking north.  You can see the scale track on the right side.

A road crossing that will be installed for trucks entering the Ottawa Silica Plant.

And the video as requested by some readers.