Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Project Update

So, I went back through the blog and found a few projects I was reminded of that need to be worked on.

#1) One of my "A-Team" operators Larry Keller had requested a crossover at Ottawa Silica for quick run around moves.  Approved!  Rail for turnout has been ordered and will be constructed.

#2) At the last session, we began experiencing issues with the turnouts at the A/D track at Ottawa Yard.  The turnouts installed currently are the highly suspect Micro Engineering turnouts.  If you look at them wrong, they will fall apart on you.  Rail has been ordered and replacements will be constructed. 

It has been a while but I will build these turnouts myself.  I plan on just taking my time with them and doing it right.

#3) Peru Power: I require another Walthers Northern Light and Power kit to complete the back walls of the Peru Power main structure. The remaining wall sections are not brick so I plan on using styrene for those.  Walthers kit ordered.

For now, I believe I have enough styrene to complete the back walls of LOF and most likely get a good jumpstart on the structures at Ottawa Silica.  I will hold off on ordering that now.

My main focus though will be working in the LOF (i.e. Project #1) area.  It shouldn't take much to complete the LOF factory building and additional building flat on the background.  I need to build some covered conveyors and piping between between the buildings as well.  I have a lot of scratchbuilding materials so I should have everything I need.

I need to paint my structures though.  I have a cheap airbrush that I picked up at Harbor Freight and a compressor from Home Depot but need a hands-on lesson.  One day, I will get up enough nerve to try it.

So, as far as recent acquisitions, I mentioned the Soo Line SD40-2 acquired the other day.  

Another project of custom painting a Kato E8 that had been in the works for over a year now had come to a stalemate.  Plan B has been activated now.  Here is the loco in primer paint ready to depart for Tucumcari tomorrow on freight train #01 for paint in the Rock Island Red/Yellow paint scheme.  This locomotive will become power for my Peoria Rocket.  It is estimated this power will return sometime next month.

While hanging around South Ottawa, I caught the RI crew testing the loco down 
by Ottawa Avenue this evening.

The RI crew was nice enough to stop at the crossing so I could videotape the Mars light on the unit.  

Here is the prototype of the paint scheme for the model that will become power for my 
Peoria Rocket.

After grabbing a bite to eat for dinner, I wandered over to Utica to hang out for a bit.  I caught a late #113 Joliet to Bureau Turn traveling east with a string of Hooker tank cars.  I hear they are being used at some of the chemical companies down south in Peoria.  The opportunity arose for me to acquire some of these cars earlier today.  Management hasn't made a final decision but thinks the cars will work great for the expanding Peoria based traffic.  

A late #113 Joliet to Bureau Junction Turn headed back east through Utica at the Mill Street crossing.

Ooh!  Look a CR&E coal hopper!  This as well as five others were decaled up by
my friend Marcus Neubacher.  Thanks Marcus!

The Hooker Tanks on loan currently until management can decide if they will be a good fit
for the Peoria chemical traffic.

I also snapped some photos of a few box cars as well.

As #113's caboose rolled by, I noticed Billie Joe (B.J.) McKay was loading up a truck load of clocks over at Westclox to deliver to distribution warehouses.  As a kid, I was a big fan of the show watching it with my dad.  I think it is pretty cool to have a replica of the truck now in N Scale.

The detail on this truck is amazing.

In other news, thanks to track diagrams provided by Harold Krewer, I learned I had the cars spotted in the wrong locations at Phialdelpha Quartz.  I spotted the sand hoppers on the far track closest to the mainline.  They are actually supposed to be unloaded on the #2 or middle track.  I had assumed dry chemicals were being loaded on the middle tracks from the Bing Map photos I had seen, but now realize those are large sand hoppers being unloaded.  It appears they received caustic soda on my #1 track (I number all tracks up from one closest to the aisle up), unloaded sand on track #2 and shipped liquid chemicals of some sort on my track #3.  I'm still unclear exactly what they produced there.  I need more tanks though!  Good thing a package of them arrived from Nebraska today.

Here is the Utica map.

Here is a photo of the cars aligned on the proper tracks now.

Those three sand hoppers on track #1 closest to the aisle are mis-spots.
I found those when moving when moving the cars around.  They should have went back 
to LaSalle at the last op session.

Tanks unloading caustic soda on Track #1.
Sand being unloaded on Track #2.

Tanks being as well as some PQ hoppers being loaded with finished chemicals on track #3.

The next crew will have to handle these mis-spotted cars.

That reminds me!  I need to create some new tabs to correct this snafu in car routing.  Add that to the To Do list my good friend.

Speaking of donuts, I was looking at Google Earth of Utica today.  Wow!  They have really built up the sand operations at Belrose Silica (now Unimin).  They added another loader and sizeable yard to the east of the existing loadout that I model back in Rock Island days.

The left circle represents what I model on the RI.  Belrose Silica is on top and PQ on the bottom. 
In the right circle is the new loadout and yard added.  Wow!  That's a lot of sand being moved!

In other personal news...
So, I was going to make a joke about me being wired up on this heart monitor today.  I'm about 30 hours into my 48 hour test.  So, far no shortness of breath attacks.  Go figure.  

Anywhoe, so, like I said, I was going to make a joke about my heart monitor as I feel like I'm wired up to pick up satellite tv with all these wires connected to me.  So, when staging up train #113, everything was working fine, then I noticed my throttle froze.  I unplugged and replugged in, but still frozen.  I reset the system.  When I did that, the throttles were still froze and now one of the Atlas Soo locomotives was running buck wild crazy at full speed.  What in the world?  I reset the NCE system a few more times, but still the same thing each time.  I took the locomotive off the layout and restarted.  The throttles were all responsive again and I could control my train.  What is with that locomotive?  It was one of the locomotives acting queer before too.  Two of them have done this.  One RI GP38-2 and one Soo GP38-2.  Both are made by Atlas.  I may have switched the chassis on these units, but I don't recall for sure.  I think I need to send these off to my friend Allen to check.  Something is shorting these locos and creating a failure on the layout.

I haven't worked on the layout in months and on the second day, mystery electrical shorts.  Lovely.  


  1. Lots to work on Steven. Love the weathered cars and that truck damn looks very cool. I could not afford them as the exchange rate has gone to hell plus freight would have cost almost $80.00 landed, for a static model I don't think so.
    Make sure your heart wiring is not causing hiccups with your loco LOL.

    1. I have been getting those cars off a guy on eBay. He does great work. We may be on to something with the DCC short and loco acting crazy. We need to test. I'm also thinking my booster might just be bad.