Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Various Progress

Early this morning, I cut and made all my Anderson Pole connections for the bus wire to extend out over the former LaSalle yard, new Bureau Junction lift out section and Peoria.  I reiterate again.  I highly recommend purchasing the Anderson TRICrimp tool for the connectors.  It works great.  I had a terrible time when trying to use a knock off brand from Amazon.

Went to Lowes at lunch to pick up some bolts to secure the lift out section in place when operating.  

Went ahead and assembled all my ground throws to save time at home.  Also assembled the UTP fascia panel for the NCE system.  

I glued down the tracks for the Ottawa Silica crossover.  Good friend Larry hooked me up with some slide switches.  I'm going to use these instead of the Caboose Ground Throws in this area due to the tight fit between the yard tracks.  Once the track dries tomorrow, I can go back and install the slide switches.  Thanks Larry for hooking a brother up!

Crossover at East Ottawa Yard glued down.

My weight system (old marble coasters) work well for holding down the track as the glue dries.

Turnouts for Peoria arrived today!  Wahoo!

The re-staging process has become a little more complicated as I have cars moving in many directions.  I created a cheat sheet spreadsheet so as I fill out the orders for the industries, I will mark each car with a tab and note their origin location.  I key in the cars at each location at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  This information lets me know how many cars will be on #113 Westbound and Eastbound, the starting number and ending number of cars at each of the Peoria interchange railroads as well as the amount of cars to be stored at Bureau Junction on the Silvis and Peoria storage tracks.  I should have entered into a career of logistics.  I love this stuff!

From this I can see there will be fourteen cars to start in Peoria.  Four cars will interchange with the other railroads in Peoria.  A total of thirty six cars will arrive in Peoria off the Rock to be distributed among the four railroads.

#113 will be a small train arriving at Ottawa, but by the time it arrives at Bureau Junction it will be a monster at twenty two cars.  Coming back east it will be a smaller train starting off with sixteen cars at Bureau Junction and ending with twelve in East Staging.  That twenty two car train will be interesting.  It might hose up half the layout.  I'm being generous on the limits this first session.  I might have to scale that one back for next session if it becomes a problem.  

Have I mentioned I'm excited to see how this plays out?  Well, I am!  It is all that I have been thinking about lately.  Looking forward to operating with good friends to give this new plan a good test run.

This evening, I worked on adding bracing to the Bureau Junction lift out section.  It fits in nicely now with no bows.  The weight is still pretty light so easy to handle as well.  To secure to the layout, I purchased some 5/16" bolts.  I drilled the holes and installed.  They are a little tight.  I need to ream out the hole a little bit more so they easily slip out.  I timed myself unbolting the lift out section and placing it out of the way.  Only two minutes.  That doesn't seem bad at all.  

I worked on laying out the track and marked the track arrangement on the lift out section.  The track coming off Main 1 from the LaSalle side (which will be the main track down to Peoria) has a broader radius.  The wye leg that meets up back with Main 1 on the west side of Bureau Junction is tight, but doable.  I ran some longer cars around it seemed to work ok.  Crews will be instructed to travel at reduced speed around the wye.  You know this is the Rock.  You can't expect track conditions to be the best anyway.  :-)  It should work fine.

Here are some photos.

A view of the lift out section.

The 5/16" bolt securing the lift out section to the layout at West Bureau Junction.

Bolt to secure the lift out section on the Peoria side of Bureau Junction.  

A view of the track arrangement at Bureau Junction.

A view of the messy room.  The room is a hot mess right now.

A view of Bureau Junction looking west.  Two mainlines going straight and the Peoria main going to the left.

Here I added the Peoria storage track on the right of the Peoria Main coming off Main 1 at Bureau Junction.

Another view of the Peoria Storage Track.

Really late this evening, I worked on two more projects.  I installed the slide switch ground throws at the East Ottawa Crossover.  The smaller slide switches worked perfectly.

I ripped out the mainline behind Peru Power and added the turnout for the Peoria Storage Track.  I need to go back and add a Caboose Industries Ground Throw and repair the ones for the crossover from Main 1 to Main 2 and the Peoria Main switch.

Overall, I didn't feel like I got much done (mainly because there is no track being laid at Peoria), but when I look back, it was a good day!

Goals Update
So, this is what I need to accomplish in the next 11 days.  
  • Tear down old TV cabinet off wall
  • Construct new Peoria Section and Lift Out piece
  • Install new turnout for Peoria Storage Track off Main 1 at Peru
  • Add Caboose Industry Ground Throw and Repair others at East Bureau Junction
  • Re-work track at LaSalle for Bureau Junction
  • Run new bus wire and attach to new portion of the layout.
  • Lay Track in Peoria
  • Install all ground throws for new track.
  • Wire up new track.
  • Install new Sand Clean out Track at Ottawa Silica
  • Glue down new Crossover at East Ottawa Yard.
  • Install slide switches at East Ottawa Yard crossover.
  • Repair three broken turnout points on old turnouts.
  • Add new crossover at East Utica.
  • Add new crossover to access Utica Storage Track.
  • Stage Layout
  • Clean Track 
  • Clean Locomotives
  • Prepare paperwork for operating session.
Slowly, but surely, I'm knocking items off my To Do list.  Getting Bureau Junction tracks to line up with the existing layout will be key.  Once I get past that milestone, laying track in Peoria should go pretty fast.


  1. Looking good your making good progress

    1. Thanks Dwayne. It is starting to come together. I have 10 days left to pull it off.

  2. I'm sure its covered in you plans, just don't forget a DCC reverser for your "Y". Coming along very nicely.

    1. Yep. I received a Digitrax AR1 to install. I need to add that to my list though.