Monday, July 12, 2010

Layout Construction – June 2010

Helix Construction
I finally got a start on the helix to connect the upper and lower decks. Step one was to build the bridge that spans the doorway. A stable structure needed to be secured to the walls to support both the swing bridges for the upper and lower decks. Once that was completed, the next step was constructing the the first bridge. This bridge needed to support itself when it is swung out of the way of the entrance door. Large door hinges were used to support the bridge on one end and a small shelf attached to the layout on the other end. I added a drop down pin latch to secure the bridge when trains are running. The electrical cord in the last photo is use to connect power from the layout to the bridge.

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Now that the bridge was completed work on the helix could begin. This was quite a challenge while trying to meet certain criteria. The support structure can not have legs to hold it up. We needed to be able to access the area behind the helix for storage and also storage shelves underneath. Once that was completed, I attached a temporary circle of track to test my design. THIS JUST IN: Management has decided that any further work on the helix will be suspended until a new furnace can be installed. We have had the same furnace since we purchased the house. We have also been using a swamp cooler to cool the house in the summer. The swamp cooler will be lucky to survive this season. So, we will be purchasing a new central air and furnace in the near future. It will be easier for the installers if the helix is out of the way. Stay tuned for further announcements.

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Back Drop Construction
I have been anxious to begin creating scenery for the layout. The shelf stanchions for the the upper deck create a problem for making good looking scenery. To cover these up, I will install thin hard baord to create a smooth surface for the background painting.

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Experiments with the “Bullfrog”
I have been looking for a reliable and cheap method to control the turnouts. After experimenting with various homemade controls, nothing worked reliably. The Fast Tracks company (Click here to visit their website) from Canada have created a turnout control call the “Bullfrog”. It is made from laser cut model aircraft plywood. You can purchase them assembled or unassembled. These units are easy to construct and are easy to install. For the control knob, I used a large wood bead and a short length of coat hanger.

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Rolling Stock Storage
I’ve needed a way to store the freight and passenger cars for the various trains I’ll run. While visiting the local Wal-mart I found these inexpensive storage boxes with drawers. They were the right height to hold cars and had room for about 8-14 cars in each drawer. The drawers were then mounted on a board with casters to make it easier to move around. I lined the drawers with Sill Foam Gasket material to protect the cars from damage.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

A special video for our fans

Thought I would throw together a special video for our fans in California. Hopefully this won’t drive “Mom” nuts, again.

A journey to the model railroaders “mecca”

On a recent trip to travel Colorado, I had the opportunity to visit Caboose Hobbies in Denver. This is an amazing place. Well worth the time if you are in the area. I considered it a “Mecca” for model railroaders. They have numerous long isles with almost anything you would need. You can visit their website at .


I not sure who that strange person in this photo is. (Of course, I’m talking about the guy in the yellow shirt)

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Just one of the many isles in the store. Here we have an entire isle of books and magazines.

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They have numerous small display layouts through out the store. All of the layouts are well detailed and a pleasure to look at. We arrived on Sunday the 4th of July and the store was open for only 5 hours. We could easily have spent more time there.

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Along with track and some small parts, that I have not been able to pick-up locally in Utah, I purchased a couple of cars that I have been searching for. First is this unusual paint scheme for a cylindrical covered hopper car. Here is some information I found on the car:
“One of the most unusual and eye-catching cylindrical hoppers ever seen. One side of the car is covered with a large graphic that shows exactly what the car carries: the car is in effect a billboard on wheels! The opposite remains in its standard design and color, in this case a gray potash hopper with red lettering. The car was shopped at Montreal's St Charles shops in January 1971. The special paint scheme was part of CN's visual redesign program to make the public more aware of the ever-expanding role of freight transportation in the life of all Canadians and to emphasize the quality and diversity of CN freight service. The ''rainbow'' or ''LifeSavers'' car has seven rainbow stripes and a printed chemical formula for the bulk commodity chemical it carries.”
"The chemical formulation OCN(CH2)6NCO is Hexamethylene Diisocyanate. The product is used to produce a polymer when combined with Butanediol which is a crystal. The product is used in the production of plastics. Hexamethylene Diisocyanate is also used in the production of enamel paints and gives it that hard shiny surface for a more durable finish and is used in automotive and aircraft paint."

The other car is a special paint scheme the Milwaukee Road used on a few cabooses that were used for the Building and Bridges department. Shown below is an actual photo of the car.

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pictures_4692_Milw BB Crew car Milw  Wis 1985 Mike Sosalla Photo 
Photo by Mike Sosalla 1985

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Remembrance of “Uncle Geek”


Aaron Lawrence Stones
Feb. 21, 1982 — June 28, 2010

Our kind, loving, gentle and wonderful son, brother, uncle and friend died Monday, June 28, 2010 in his home in Denver. He was 28.

Aaron was born in Prescott, Arizona on February 21, 1982 to Larry and Margaret (Baker) Stones. He was a happy and precocious child. He loved He-Man and wearing capes of all colors.

His family settled in Longmont when he was six. He attended Niwot High School where he excelled in drama and was known for his delightful sense of humor. He received his Eagle Scout award and his Duty to God award. He also graduated from LDS Seminary with four years of perfect attendance.

Aaron always loved music and played the guitar, banjo and kazoo. He was a talented artist and enjoyed painting and drawing whenever he could.

In 2007 he married Kiyoka Tamesue. They lived happily in Denver with their dogs Petri Dish and Charlotte.

He loved all animals and found great happiness working with them.

He found a second family in his close circle of friends, who will miss his quick wit and tender ways.

Aaron was loved by his family and was adored by his nieces and nephews. Lovingly referred to as “Uncle Geek”, he spent hours coloring with crayons, building sand castles, chasing balls, stacking blocks and toting small children around on his shoulders.

Aaron will be deeply missed by his parents of Longmont, his wife of Lafayette and his five brothers and sisters: Andrea Dawson (Ben), San Clemente, CA, Mathew Stones (Andrea), Aurora, Erica Lundgreen (Richard), Aurora, Breanne Newson (Ben), Lafayette, Michael Stones (Taylor), Longmont as well as his 9 nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made in Aaron’s memory to the Longmont Humane Society, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, CO. 80501