Saturday, January 17, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Power Lines

Earlier today, I worked on cleaning up the layout room as we need to organize all the non-train stuff in the room.  I got about as far as placing my Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars up on the shelf and then was done for the day.

This evening, I spent about 30 minutes working on a short section of power lines along Ottawa Avenue.  I only managed to run four lines, but they look pretty good.  I need to run four more plus some over to the LOF Shop building.  I'm using Berkshire Junction EZ Line for the project.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Farm Report

This evening after work, I applied the Doc O'Brien white weathering powder to the sandpaper roads at Franklin Farms.  I believe it turned out pretty good.  I'm anxious to see it after I apply the grass and bushes next.

Looking west at Ottawa Yard / Franklin Farms

The Franklins have a nice view of the mainline from their farm.

The Grain Elevator was on v1.0.  I named it Daniel Grain Company after my dad who passed away five years ago.  I plan on completing the kit and including it on the Franklin Farm scene.  I need to find a way to decal up with Daniel Grain Company, but faded and weathered out.

Here are a few other random photos I took today as well.


Substation at Peru Power.  The empty spot on the foreground is where the main structure will be located.


The scrap pile is growing beside the Ottawa Yard office.

I stopped to snap a photo of a RI Caboose.  Look at all that ROCK in the photo!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Throwback Thursday

Following in line with social media hype, here is a Throwback Thursday post of the layout from about a year ago.  It is amazing how far we have come since then.

Now on to other business.

Signal Dept Update:
Signal Maintainer Johnson added resistors to the flashing crossing signals at Putnam St.  Residents are no longer required to wear protective eyewear when crossing the tracks. 

The Farm Report:
Over in Franklin Farms, I started work on the gravel driveway.  I had tried Highball fine limestone in the past but it was still too big for my liking.  

I had read somewhere in the past of using sandpaper.  So, today at lunch I picked up some 60 grit coarse wet/dry sandpaper from Lowe's.  

This evening, I cut it out and glued it to the benchwork.  I will use gray and white Doc O'Brien powders to create a limestone look.  I think it will work, but time will tell.

This was my first scratch built structure I created.  I'm very fond of my little barn.

I'm excited to see Franklin Farms come together.  It was a special place on v1.0 of the layout as well.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Track and Signal Dept Update

The Track Supervisor went around identifying any turnouts that could potentially be non-repairable if they fail again.  Atlas replacements were purchased to keep on hand in case of major failure.  With the turnouts having periods of short supply, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Signal Maintainer Johnson was out at Putnam St installing the new flashing crossbucks this evening.  They appear to be working well, but seem extremely bright.  I emailed John at Azatrax to see if NJ International changed their LEDs.  I'm using the factory installed resistors, but will need to add an additional one to tone these lights down.  Otherwise, the crossing signals work great at Putnam Street and Mill Street.  It's cool to see both working at the same time.  The crossing signals with no gates is a better solution in this area as trains are often going back and forth through the area.  Crossing signals with gates take more time for the servo motors to operate the gates.

Here is video of a train traversing the Putnam Street crossing.  The new flashing LEDs on these crossing signals will burn your retina!

Rock Island Management met today to identify the wish list of items to tackle before the February 28th Operating Session.
  • Complete farm fields and scenery around Franklin Farms.
  • Complete scenery around the foreground of Ottawa Yard.
  • Construct LOF Plant #5 (building flat) and #7 buildings including piping between the structures.
  • Add trees across the layout.
  • Speed match locomotives.
It's not a lengthy list to complete this time, but should keep me busy before the next op session.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Track Dept Update

This evening, I repaired six turnout points that popped loose.  I also closed the vent in this room.  It's hot as can be with the gas heat in this room.  I think that is part of the problem.  These seem to be more of an issue during winter time with the gas heat.

My friend Allen and I were talking about the turnouts today.  As many problems as I had with the custom turnouts, they don't hardly seem worth it.  I replied it has been a bittersweet relationship.  Cars and locos running across them are smooth as silk.  The broken points has been a pain.  But, with the long term shortage of turnouts.  What can you really do?  I guess all of them have their own set of issues.

Well, this report was about as entertaining as watching paint dry.  It is what it is.  Another task complete.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Farm and Signal Dept Update

Well I started off the evening working on the crossing signals for Putnam Rd.  I managed to strip the wire out of one of the units.  These were already damaged previously and I thought I would be able to repair them, but it didn't quite work out.

So I ordered a new set from Azatrax.  They should be in by the end of the week.

The signals will be used as detailed parts in the yard by the office at Ottawa yard.

I then turned my attention to restaging the layout.  I managed to get about 75% complete with that project.

I pulled up the thumbtacks from the plowed fields at Franklin Farms.  I need to go back and add grass, weeds and groundcover around the edges of the plowed fields.  I think it should turn out pretty good when I'm finished.

To the left of this field will be a thick brush of trees between the farm and the loading track at Belrose Silica.

It is a narrow piece of real estate to scenic but I feel adding the fields will make it feel like the scene stretches further out than actually does.

I'm getting excited about the next operating session.

I think while I wait on my replacement signal set to come in this week, I will work on repairing the numerous turnout points that have popped loose.  I believe I counted six or seven that need repair now.  :-(

I will also try to scenic around Franklin Farms.   I would like to have all that completed before the next operating session.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Signal Dept Update

After dinner, I worked on the layout for a little bit.  The Franklins have been working on plowing their fields at Franklin Farms.  Fields were added in the corner of the layout opposite PQ as well as to the across the mainline from Ottawa Yard.  Photos to come soon (after the glue dries).

The Signal Department installed the new over-the-road crossing signals at Mill Street in Utica.

I found when putting the video together that I have an updated version of iMovie on my Mac.  So, I played around with the video clips a little.  Here's a RI Promo video for the new crossing signals at Mill Street in Utica.

Ok, enough fun.  Here is the regular video.