Sunday, November 29, 2009

Layout Construction - November 23, 2009

Tunneling the Hill
I decided to take a break from building turnouts. I’ve completed the three so far and the newest one is better then the one built before it. My soldering technique and building time are getting faster. I thought it was time to build the half tunnel wall between Denton and Lewistown. I tried using aluminum flashing thinking it would curve easy and maintain that curve without support. Well, that didn’t quite work out. The aluminum was very hard to work with over the 39” length of the tunnel. I opted to use poster board and foam core supports.

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The top edge started to become wavy without support. That did not seem to matter since the bottom of the ravine floor flatten out the waviness.

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Next came the fun part of ballasting the track. This had to be done since access will be very restricted after the ravine floor is installed. Here is a before and after of the track.

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This a artistic rendition of what the area will look like after the bridge, scenery and fascia is installed.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Layout Construction - November 11, 2009

Now that the roadbed is starting to go down, it is time to begin building turnouts. I have hand built turnouts in the past and decided to give it a try again. After doing a lot of research on building turnouts, I decided that the method described by Joe Fugate would be the best method. This method has been posted on Joe’s Siskiyou Lines website. He uses Central Valley tie strips and printed circuit board ties. I won’t go into the construction explanation in this blog. Here is a link to his forums where he describes how to build a turnout. (Click Here) This method is  definitely easier then the way I have done it in the past.

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These turnouts shown below were built off the layout on a template and used the “fill the frog and guard rail with solder, then use a saw blade to clean everything out” method. This worked, but did not create a smooth turnout. I will provide more photos after the new turnouts are installed.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Train Show - November 7, 2009

How to Empty a Wallet
We attended the Utah NMRA show at the Utah State Fairgrounds. This was one of the largest shows they have had in years. There were lots of layouts and vendors to choose from. Picked up a few cars to add to the collection and metal wheels to replace some of the plastic sets that come with kits. Overall, a very enjoyable show with lots to see.

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A few of the goodies collected from the show.

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Layout Construction - October 31, 2009

Back to the Track Gang
The next project after our vacation was to finish gluing down the roadbed in the Lewistown area. I made a slight variation from the original track plan. The industrial spur and storage tracks were moved closer to the front of the layout. I did this after seeing the tight space for reaching back and re-railing cars. It will also allow more room for industries in that area.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vacation Time - October 23-30, 2009

Back to the Bridge
It was time for our annual vacation to a time share condo in Island Park, Idaho. I did not get any work done on the layout, but I worked on the plans for the trestle over the middle of the layout. I will create the bridge abutments for each end.


This a Google Sketch 3D view of how the bridge abutment and small section of the trestle will look. I placed a figure to try and give a representation of the size of the trestle.


We saw a few Montana Rail Link trains while traveling to Billings, Montana to visit with family. We were not able to stop and photograph them. We did stop in Bozeman and shoot a few photos of the old Northern Pacific depot there.

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West Yellowstone
This is the Union Pacific depot in West Yellowstone and a friend that we found while in the park.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Layout Plan

I should take the time and show the plan for the layout. It will be a two level around the wall type layout. The upper (Falls Yard) level is 55" from the floor and the lower (Lewistown) level is 40 3/4" off the floor. A helix will join the levels at the far end. Removable staging tracks are located at the opposite end of each level for the off-loading of trains. Along with Milwaukee trains, the layout will also have Great Northern trains passing over the line on a run through while their line to Billings is being repaired.



THE UPPER LEVEL (Falls Yard/Geraldine)
This level will be represented of the line from Great Falls to Geraldine. The Falls Yard will be a terminus for all Milwaukee Road trains. Great Northern trains will not stop and pass on to staging tracks to simulate their terminus at the Great Northern yards off the layout. At Falls Yard switching will include trains bound for Harlowton and point east or west on the Milwaukee mainline. Trains will also be made up to exit the staging to represent movement further up the branch to Agawam. Switching in this area includes a large grain elevator, fuel oil depot, freight house, farm implement dealer and team track.



The station at Geraldine will include a grain elevator and stock yards. The track has been extended to have an area for storage (M.O.W. or other cars). At the far end the is a loading ramp that was thought to be gravel or some other bulk material. After some investigation by the members of the Yahoo Milwaukee Group, it turns out the original ramp was used in the early years as a way farmers to dump their grain into boxcars. (See photos below). I will continue with the original plan and use it as a gravel loading ramp.

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THE LOWER LEVEL (Lewistown/Denton)
This level will be the incoming trains from Harlowton and out bound trains to Great Falls. A small holding yard will store a minimum of cars to be switched at the local industries. These industries include a large grain elevator, freight house, brewery and flour mill. A siding will represent the branch line to the gypsum plant at Heath (See photo below). A major part of the Lewistown area to be modeled will be the beautiful station that is now the Yogo Inn.  Here is a photo from years ago.


Lewistown Depot (Yogo)-1940 Heath Gypsum Plant--1986

The town of Denton will be a standard railroad town for the state of Montana. A grain elevator and stock yards are about all that existed on most small towns on the Northern Milwaukee line. This town will be used as a passing siding for east and west bound trains.


THE HELIX (Connects both levels)
This is the helix that will connect both levels.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Layout Construction - October 18, 2009

Time to Lay Some Track
I received an box of cork roadbed from Now it was time to begin laying out the track plan on the foam. I started on the Lewistown area since I had placed roadbed from the tunnel the previous day.

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This is after a few hours work. While starting on the roadbed, I decide to alter the track plan a little. The industrial siding and yard tracks were moved closer to front for easier access. No track in place yet.

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Before finishing for the day, I decided to test fit the trestle bents to see how much modification was going to be needed. Looks like I will have some work to adjust the height of each tower.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Layout Construction - October 12, 2009

Tunnel Construction
Now that all of the benchwork is secure and the pink foam is glued down, it was time to concentrate on the bridge/tunnel area. I added the supports for the bottom of the creek and top of the tunnel.

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Now the base support for the creek is in. The tunnel area will need to be finished before the bridge can be built. The tunnel will feature a half tunnel wall to hide the background. In the foreground, the fascia board will cover the center section leaving two access holes to the tunnel track on either side.

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A view through the east tunnel entrance. The pegboard masonite will be covered and not visible after the scenery is put in. At this point the cork roadbed has glued down, but the track has not been set.

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I Can See the Light
I also installed the under cabinet lights for the lower level. A scrap piece of peg board was used to test the height of the fascia. I was concerned about the fascia covering the lights and being small enough to not block the view of the lower level. It looks like during work and operating times a stool will be required. I used 23" under cabinet lights that are inter-connected from Walfart. A good deal at only $9 a piece. There is a limit of 5 connected lights.

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A view of the lower level lights with the main room lights off.

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