Friday, February 27, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Silica Dreams plus Last Minute Projects Update

Well, the snowmageddon didn't pan out.  It snowed about 3-4" and then fizzled out shortly after 11pm Wednesday night.  We lost power for a few hours, but that was about it.  I was unable to work from home today as we had business pressing at the office to attend to.

I was hoping to work on creating many more "happy little trees" Thursday night, but that didn't pan out either.  I spent most of the evening cleaning the house.  After all that, I was spent.  I went to bed early and slept for a long time last night.

But, today is another day.

Today, I was daydreaming about the Ottawa Silica box car bulk sand loading building.  Here is a prototype photo from back in the day.  The building to the left is no longer there and won't be modeled on my layout.

I thought about modeling that place where two box cars can be loaded via the platform on the right, but it is pretty tight in that area between the lead for the box car bulk loading tracks and the staging yard.  So, I probably won't go this route.

This is what I'm thinking on the layout.

I drew out where the Ottawa Silica building will reside on the right.  As mentioned earlier, the building to the left and the overhead enclosed walkway will not be modeled.

This is what the other side looks like.  I want to flip the building so that the Ottawa Silica Logo is on the aisle side and can been seen by operators/visitors.

I was wondering how to create the logo decal and Allen came back within a few minutes with a logo created from CorelDraw.  I said I need a decal and replies back print it on paper and thin it out.  Thin it out?  What the heck are you talking about.  He sends me this video he had found on YouTube.  Well, I'll be damned.  What a great idea!  Thanks Allen for the info and creating the logo!!!!

Happy Little Trees Update:
So, I have been itching to get home all day so I can work on trees.  The girls and I got together and funked up the layout room with hairspray making many many happy little trees!  Later in the evening, I planted everything I had.

Here are photos of the new happy little trees plus various other parts of the layout.

The girls and I worked for about 45 minutes and created a box of trees.  The girls still had plenty of energy, but I ran out (of two bottles) of hairspray.  Plus, the box of Super Trees is getting pretty low too.

To make the trees, I use Scenic Express Super Trees, spray with an extra hold hair spray and roll in Woodland Scenics coarse or fine ground cover.  


I added more trees around near Westclox.


Eastbound Signal at Utica.

I love the colorful trees.

Mill Street looking west toward Westclox

Looking west on the mainline from Mill Street.

The homes are barely visible through the trees.  I need to add more ground cover on the hill.

Another view of the neighborhood up on the hill.

Utica Station

Part of the Philadelphia Quartz Plant

Diesel Fuel storage tanks at Ottawa Yard

Mainline just west of the yard looking west.  Tracks curve around Philadelphia Quartz (PQ).

Looking east at Ottawa Yard

A 40' Box Car being cleaned before being delivered to Ottawa Silica for bulk sand loading.  This is a new procedure added to the session.

A few trees added by the creek that runs under the Ottawa Yard.

Ottawa Yard

Ottawa Yard looking West.

Ottawa Avenue in South Ottawa

LOF Float Glass Plant Entrance

LOF Float Glass Plant - a few trees added

One tall tree added next to the loading tracks.

The LOF sand storage and processing building - South Ottawa

Looking north from Ottawa Avenue at the Ottawa Silica Plant

Ottawa Silica Plant

Westclox (again)

Looking up the hill at Mill Street in Utica

Looking toward the Belrose Silica plant entrance - Utica

Belrose Silica plant entrance.  Mainline to the right.

Looking east in Utica (Belrose Silica on left, PQ on the right)

Philadelphia Quartz (PQ) - Utica

Philadelphia Quartz (PQ) - Utica

Engine Facility / RIP Tracks at Ottawa Yard

It's the night before the op session.  All the trains are ready to go, track has been cleaned.  Let's hope for no electrical gremlins tomorrow.  

On the agenda in the morning before the guys arrive:
  1. Test run each loco set one last time for about five minutes or so on the test track.
  2. Setup the fast clock on the MacBook
  3. Take video for another Video Update Installment

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Happy Little Trees

Not a lot to report tonight.  My time was mostly consumed today dealing with the HVAC guy and working.  I'm happy to report that we have heat again at the World Headquarters of the ROCK tonight.  Wahoo!

Late this evening, I was spotting cars (playing with trains) at the new LOF Float Glass Plant.  I think I will do a short switching video like Mike does on his Cleveland & Eastern Railroad

This evening, I did create and plant roughly ten "happy little trees".  Tomorrow, I plan a major forestation of the layout.  Hopefully, by operating time on Saturday there will be trees o' plenty on the layout.  :-)

Photos and possible video to follow tomorrow.

Oh, the snowpocalypse has arrived.  It was supposed to start as rain, but it started as snow here.  According to the weather, we are in the bullseye of this storm.  Tomorrow will include snow photos of the snow fallout.  Nearly 65 degree temps expected Monday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Last Minute Projects Update

Late blog post tonight, but wow! we are excited over here at the ROCK at our latest accomplishment.

Train Line-Up for Saturday
I'm surprised how much I can run on my little point-to-point layout, but the addition of first the LaSalle staging and now the East Staging opens up a lot of possibilities for me.

Scratchbuilding Update:
This evening, I cut out the wall pieces (for the visible sides), dock doors, shipping doors for the float glass factory.  I measured the doors with some 50' box cars.  I then lined up a different batch of box cars and was wondering why the heck are these cars not matching up?  I found the box cars with the longer shank couplers throw off the alignment.  I guess I should have designed it where they could all be separated and spotted individually.  After re-staging when I placed the factory in it's permanent spot, I found that the cars with the longer shank couplers need to be spotted next to an open spot (see a few photos below).  Maybe it will make an interesting operational situation for crews paying attention to the door spots.

I'm just a novice at scratchbuilding, but I'm so proud of this factory.  I turned out much better than I could have imagined.

Only two walls are built currently.  The walls facing the back won't have any windows or doors so they should be easier to complete.

50' Box Cars spotted at two of the four rail doors.

An overall view of the plant.

Looks like LOF has some business.

More cars.  The ATSF car on the far right has the longer shank couplers so it had to be spotted separately.

A close-up of the cars spotted at the plant.

Welcome to LOF Float Glass Factory

Here you can see the Blue LEDs indicating the cars are being loaded and must not be moved.

An overall view of the LOF complex.  On the left, the sand storage silos and processing plant.  On the right, the float glass factory.

Another view of the same.

Snow Apocalypse Update:
Local forecasters are foaming out the mouth about the Texas snowstorm coming our way.  I have seen anything from 4-8" predicted for the region.  The way the forecasters are so wound up, you would think it is going to snow butt deep to a giraffe!  We'll see how it goes.  I may get some extra time to work on the layout before the op session which would be nice.

No worries right?  Well, I came home today and noticed the house felt a little cool.  I checked the thermostat to find it at 64.  Well, that seems odd.  I don't hear the heat running.  What gives?  Turn it off and try again.  Nothing.  Sadness.  Called in a repair guy.  Luckily, he came out tonight.  Evidently, we need a new gas valve or control board (that sounds expensive).  He will acquire parts and return tomorrow (hopefully before the snow starts).  At least it didn't go out during the snow storm.  I'm thankful for that.

Our cat Lily hanging out at the warmest spot in the house.