Friday, August 21, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Bureau Junction Update

Worked on the Bureau Junction expansion project.  It went pretty well, but I'm concerned about the reach at Bureau Junction.  Coupled with the height of the layout, it makes it difficult to reach cars across the layout.  So, use a stool right?  The only problem is that there are tracks near the edge of the benchwork for the Peoria Branch and Peoria storage track.  People with more girth (myself included) could pose a problem reaching over to uncouple cars at the far end of Bureau Junction.  So, I feel somewhat defeated.  I need to ponder this some more and see what I can come up with.

On top of that, two of the turnouts I purchased from Atlas had broken point rails.  I called up Atlas today and they wanted me to ship them back.  I can buy a replacement for the cost of shipping.  So, they allowed me to take photos to send to them.  Two more will be shipped to me on Monday.  Thanks Atlas!

Here are photos from today:

Atlas Chinese Quality Control.  Yeah...that sucks!

The Bureau Junction module temporarily held in place with clamps and makeshift 

Close-up of the Bureau Junction module.

Looking back to the drop leaf LaSalle Yard.

Permanent legs added.  They are screwed in now, but I want to bolt them in.  The bolts I have are too long.  So, I need to pick up a few more.  It locks in well to the wall by the bedroom door.

Looking back toward the layout.

A temporary piece added to bridge the gap.

I laid out some cork.  This is when I discovered it will be a long reach.  I need to think about this some more.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Various Progress Update

This evening, I didn't get much done.  I did receive in the Atlas Code 55 turnout order from MB Klein today.  I removed the crossover from AD1 to AD2 at the east end of Ottawa Yard.  I had Micro Engineering turnouts installed originally, but the point rail would keep slipping out at the heel.  See diagram below for details.

I had fixed it before, but this last time it grew to be a bigger problem affecting operations.  I cut the track and have it in place, but had difficulty getting the Caboose Industries ground throws re-installed.  Honestly, I don't know how they worked before.  It must have been a small miracle.  After screwing around with it for a while, I said forget this.  I went rummaging in my electronics box for a pair of Tortoise switch machines.  I only had one as I forgot I used one on the East Staging yard expansion project a while back.  So, off to the hobby shop in Spencer on Saturday to pick up another one.  I should probably pickup two just in case.  I might need one at Bureau Junction as well.

So, here are photos of the little bit of progress tonight:

Turnouts removed at the AD1/AD2 crossover in East Ottawa Yard.

The rail issue I have been having.  I have tried repairing, but there seems to be too much play preventing it from working properly.  This is a key turnout when working the yard so I need to perform flawlessly.

Later in the evening, I worked on re-staging the layout.  I have all of the cars parked at industries tabbed and ready to go outbound (or for internal transfer between industries).  Next, I need to work on the inbound freight tabs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: The Peoria Rocket & Westclox Update

In the past, I had purchased the Walthers RI passenger cars.  Those things were awful!  They would derail on straight track.  Numerous friends of mine took a look at them but nobody could figure out how to make them run better.  On v1.0 of the layout, I simply used Wheels of Time cars with other road names for my passenger trains.  They ran well so I was pleased.

Years later, I was talking to Allen in Nebraska.  I decided to try the Kato silver side passenger cars from a CB&Q set to see how well they would work.  They performed flawlessly.  I had the thought that I could replace the decals with RI road and car names.  Luckily enough, Microscale offered just that. 

Today, I finally got around to removing the CB&Q reporting marks and name and replaced with the Rock Island.

Here is how I did it.

I believe I used Micro Sol in the past, but the Micro Set worked just as well.

Purchased the Microscale 60-85 Rock Island Streamliner Passenger Car Decals for N Scale.

The Kato Burlington Passenger Car before...

I dipped a pencil eraser in the Micro Set, let it soak on the car for a minute or so and then scrubbed off with the pencil eraser.  It takes about 15 seconds of scrubbing and BAM!
The Burlington is erased from existence!

I applied the new decals by cutting them out, dipping them in water and sliding into place.

The new passenger cars added to the fleet:

Not an exact match to the prototype, but a very good representation.  Most importantly, they operate well.  I'm pleased with the results.

This evening, I worked on installing the windows and doors in the Westclox structure.  I need to figure out how I will do the section of walls that extends out over the roof.  For now, I will leave the structure as is until I have more time to work on it.  I have other projects I need to tackle.

Placed the Westclox structure back on the layout.  I found myself railfanning my layout at that point.  Here are some of the photos I took.

Local rumbling past Mill Street in Utica, IL.

Westclox in the background.

Westclox truck loading area.

I love the look of the structure since adding the window pieces.

The local running past the signal at LaSalle.

The local in front of the Westclox plant.

The local passing behind Peru Power at Putnam Street.

The local's caboose passing by Mill Street in Utica.

The local's caboose by Westclox.

Putnam Street's crossing signals must be using some futuristic LED lights which are incredibly bright (and that is with a resistor added!).

Afterward, I worked on taking account of the cars at the industries and yards to prepare to re-stage the layout.  I plan on re-staging the layout assuming I get Bureau Junction up and running before the September 12th operating session.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Various Progress Updates

I made some slight changes to the track plan.  Reviewing the operations in my head, I decided to add a crossover from Main one to Main two just west of LaSalle on the lift out section.  I also added a locomotive pocket track at LaSalle Yard.

I updated the crew instructions assuming the expansion will be complete by the next operating session.  I also added instructions for train #113 Joliet to Bureau Turn as its duties have changed drastically.

Turnouts, flex track and cork are arriving the week.  The Anderson Powerpole connectors arrived today.  

This evening, I painted the brick on the last wall section of Westclox.  I sured up the building with straight edge supports (long balsa wood strips).  I also painted all the windows black.  I'm really pleased with how this structure is coming together.  Not an exact replica by any means, but I believe anyone that has seen the building in person would instantly recognize it on the layout.  Really, that's all I'm after.

Painting the brick made a huge difference on this structure.

I noticed I will need to realign the track slightly on the left side of the structure, but I expected that.

Here are photos of the prototype I took last summer.