Saturday, August 15, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Various Progress Update

Yesterday, I made more tabs for a friend Larry.  These are test tabs for him as he is using Avery dot stickers now.  Hopefully, he will like them an proceed with full tabs.

Created more Blue 217 Tabs to replace the GTW tabs.  Applied the labels to the PQ Gray tabs.

Late this afternoon, I started work on the benchwork for the Bureau Expansion Project.  Just cut the lumber tonight.  I hope to get some parts assembled tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Tragedy at Westclox

Late last night, feeling inspired lately, I decided to take a look at the Westclox building to match with photos to determine what will need to be painted and worked on to get the ball rolling with this structure.  I picked it up and the building fell completely apart on me.  I had only lightly glued the wall sections together years ago on the v1.0 layout.  It was a tragedy but will be fixed.  I want to get this building underway.

Even later last night, crews were working on removing one of the driveways from PQ.  With the change in location for unloading the sand, I needed the track space to spot empties as they were unloaded, but didn't want crews to worry about blocking the barely used grade crossing. Crews ripped the asphalt out last night and will clean up the mess later.

This driveway was added to match the prototype today, but will confuse crews as they shove cars through the building to be unloaded of sand.  I don't want them to worry about cutting the cars to avoid blocking the road crossing.  So, crews were ordered to remove it.

Helicopter view of the PQ Plant.

Destruction.  I need the "Tornado" Shop Vac to come back along and clean up the mess after our guests depart.

The carnage at PQ.

The temporary unloading building until a permanent building can be constructed.

Yesterday, a deal was struck between the Rock Island: Illinois Division and The Little Rock Division to swap some freight cars.  We needed more tanks.  They needed more box cars.  So, the Hooker tanks are here to stay.

Today, I made some more PQ2 and yellow (Santa Fe) routing tabs.

At lunch, I rode over to Lowes to pick up some lumber for the Bureau expansion project.

This evening, after enjoying some homemade ice cream....

I worked on painting the brick on Westclox building.  I nearly got all the outer walls done, but stopped short on the last big wall by the truck loading lot as I was just too tired and started to get a headache.

The building pieces from last night's carnage at Westclox.

I mixed some Testors model paint red and brown together in a bowl.

Here is what the first wall looks like.  I think it will work with some weathering with powders.

The paints used.

Quite a few of the wall sections completed.

I completed the lower one and the left half of the upper one tonight.  Only the right side of the upper one needs to be painted.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Minor Expansion is a Go!

Whoa!  Rumor has it the Rock Management has decided to go with the smaller expansion project to Bureau Junction.  Management has been reported to be gathering materials as we speak.

One issue I mentioned the other night is connectors for the bus power.  I researched today and decided to go with the Anderson Powerpole PP30 connectors.  This is used in Ntrak modules.  They sell them at various stores but I found what I needed on eBay for a few dollars cheaper.  Here is a list of what you need:

Anderson Powerpole Connector Black #1327GS

Anderson Powerpole Connector Red #1327

Anderson 30A Contact #1331

Here is a link to more info on the connectors:

Ratcheting Crimping Tool for 16-18 Gauge Wire

Here is one online vendor you can find these materials at:

Tomorrow, I believe its time for a trip to the Home Depot at lunch.

In other news, I have listed a bunch of stuff on eBay.  This evening, I painted up another Evergreen #266 C-Channel for more tabs.  I need to create more PQ2 tabs for the change in location for the sand hoppers being delivered there.  I created a few more ATSF interchange cars that will be sent down the Peoria Branch as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Expansion

So, today I have been pondering the expansion of the layout.  As much as I want to expand the layout into the guest bedroom, we just have too much stuff in our house as it now.  So, I don't see that happening.  It would have been nice to add a fifth operator, but that will just have to wait to another time and another place.

Last night I was up late cleaning up the layout room for some family coming in over the next several weeks.  I quickly realized I have too much crap.  I will be listing quite a few things on eBay over the next few weeks.  Feel free to check out my auctions as my ID is atlittle.  

Returning to the reality that my layout is limited in distance, I thought what if I expanded just out to Bureau Junction.  I think it would add more variety to the jobs and ensure a solid four person crew required to operate.  Currently, the fourth person (me) is more of a pseudo position of merely running short distance trains back and forth.

So, let's look at the challenges and benefits of a Bureau Junction only expansion.

Trains Operated:
OTSW - Ottawa Sand Job Switcher would operate as normal.  (Operator 1 would operate this the entire session)

UTSW - Utica Chemical Job Switcher would depart after the arrival of the #113 Joliet to Bureau Turn.  It would originate as LaSalle Yard as in previous sessions.  (Operator 2)

Peoria Rocket - would start at Bureau Junction on the Peoria Branch.  Make station stops at Bureau, Utica and terminate at Ottawa.  This train would be run by the same crew that operates UTSW. (Operator 2)

#113 Joliet to Bureau Turn - would originate in East Staging.  It would work Ottawa Yard, LaSalle Yard, Bureau Junction and return delivering any cars to LaSalle and Ottawa on the return trip.  This train would incur the biggest changes as currently it just works Ottawa and terminates in LaSalle (west staging).  It would model the movement of traffic between the towns like I want to reproduce.  (Operator 3)

Soo Local - would originate at Bureau Junction on one of the main tracks (most likely staged after the lunch break).   It would operate from Bureau Junction to Ottawa and return.  It would not work LaSalle Yard.  (Operator 3)

Ottawa Yard Job - same duties as before but car routings would change slightly.  Strong limits would be set on the number of cars that can be added to #113 due to storage track limits).  (Operator 4)

GTW Unit Sand Train - most likely replaced by #217 Blue Island to Ottawa Sand.  This train would be run as required but most likely very session.  It would bring empties to Ottawa from East Staging, layover in Ottawa and return later with sand loads to be distributed to the east.  (Operator 5)

Longer run for the road locals and passenger trains.  More prototypical flow of car traffic on the layout.  

Constructing an extension to the layout that is lightweight but solid to extend the layout.  Must be able to lift into place and drop legs.  Can be up against the wall but not attached.  A short lift out section would have to be created to remove when traveling downstairs during the session lunch break and when visitors arrive/depart.  Another drop leaf section would have to be created (much like LaSalle Yard) for the Peoria Branch lead and storage track.  I don't think this will be bad as I have already achieved this type construction at LaSalle Yard.  Oh, and run power connectors at the end of each section to connect to the next section.

So, this is what I'm challenged with.  Now, to make it all work.

Track Plan:
Here is the revised track plan I drew up today.  I would have to add a second ladder to the yard at LaSalle Yard (stud end yard currently).  There would be a Silvis Storage Track and Peoria Storage track at Bureau like the prototype.  The local would have at minimum a two locomotive spots lead past both storage tracks.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Peru Power Construction Continues

This evening, I wandered over to Peru to see that construction has resumed on the Peru Power Plant.  It is good to see crews engaged in work once again.  It appears crews were working on the rear wall today.

Next Op Session
Good news!  The next operating session date has been set for September 12th.  That gives me a little over five weeks to get some work done on the layout!  I'm excited!  I always get more done pre-op session than any other time of the year.

In other news, I received the results back from my 48-hour heart monitor test.  The doctors found that I had a 13 second episode of SVT (or superventricular tachycardia) during my sleep.  Basically, the wiring in my heart is messed up and my heart rate will jump up for no reason.  I'm being referred to a Cardiologist to see what the next steps are for discovery and treatment.

Otherwise, I have been extremely busy with lots of family time, so train time has been very limited.  I'm doing my best to get something done as I do have a date set to operate.