Saturday, April 10, 2021

Been a slow layout week...

I've had a slow week working on the layout as I got involved in a few DCC installs on some locomotives. One thing I've learned is DCC installs are NOT a part of the hobby I enjoy. One install has become very involved and frustrating but hopefully will be complete soon. 

I did get a bit more work done on the Washington St. overpass. It's hard to see in this pic but I've got the flooring in of a wooden walkway installed. I'm waiting on an order of scale lumber to come in the mail to do the railing. Hopefully, it will be here soon. I also did a little more weathering on the steel beam, added the caution lights and conduit details. These lights have LEDs installed and will be wired into a light control board under the track and will alternate flash when track power is turned on.

Monday, March 29, 2021

More bridge work

Got a little more work done on the Washington St overpass. A little weathering and added some bolt head details. Also thickened up the deck for better support. Hope to get this one in place by the end of the week.

I also started working on another trestle that will cross a small drainage ditch on a spur track just past Washington street. Got the bents done. This one should be simple. After it, I've got a triple track trestle for the main that crosses the same drainage ditch. Ready to get these downtown Starkville bridges done!!!

Lastly, I did some cleaning and organizing. This chest of drawers is an old typesetting storage piece my father had in his printing office years ago. The drawers are perfect for HO scale!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Another bad weather day so another day in the layout room.....

Had some layout time today so I tackled several projects.

First, I use DecoderPro to program my locos with a laptop through my NCE system. I'd not updated the program since it was first released many years ago and I was running it on an old Windows XP system. So, time for an update. I got the latest version of JRMI installed on a MacBook I don't use much. It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped and I ended up losing my roster of programmed locomotives. So, while working on layout projects, I rotated locomotives onto the programming track to read them into my new roster. It will be an ongoing process as I try to rebuild my complete database of locomotives.

One lesson I learned within the first year of my layout is to NEVER soldier EVERY rail joint. Instead, soldier every other joint and leave a slight gap in the rails in the un-soldiered joints. This allows for expansion in the rails as the benchwork settles and expands with changes in temp and humidity. I soldiered every joint when I laid the rail and leaned the lesson when rails started buckling.

Today, I cut out and repaired a section of buckled rail. The broken rail was cut out, roadbed sanded smooth and the new flex track laid and glued down. I used gray caulk originally but today just used some white glue. It should hold it well enough until I can get ballast down to really hold it.

Also made some progress on the Washing St bridge. Got the basic structure built. Gonna start adding some details. Can't wait to get this one in place

Friday, March 19, 2021

Continuing with bridges

 My immediate plan is to get all bridges on the layout completed this month. Got several more to go.

Here's my next project, the Washington St underpass in Starkville. All but two crossings in Starkville are grade crossings. University Dr is a road overpass that's simply a result of topography. Washington St however could have easily been a grade level crossing but the lowered the road and made it an underpass. This was done many years ago because of switching in the downtown Starkville area. It gave motorists a detour to get around switching activity. Anyway, it's a pic of the bridge. As you can see, it's an interesting combination of steel beams and wooden bents and stringers. This is going to be a fun build.

Notice that clearance sign. I've seen many a Uhaul truck captured by this bridge.

Here, I've started the section with steel beams using Rix Highway Overpass beams glued to a styrene deck.

Working on the double bents.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Tornados and trains...

 We're under a 5 out of 5 threat for tornados today so no better time to work on the layout!

Today, I finished getting the small trestle built and roughed in place. It'll stay this way until I start on the hard shell scenery base.

On the locomotive front, I ordered some DCC decoders to replace some decoders that don't seem to be working. Hopefully they'll be here this weekend. I'll post when I start on the install.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Trestle construction moves forward

 A tip for you married modelers. If you can't find a tool in your train room, tell your wife you looked EVERYWHERE for it and it's just not there. She will find it in less than five minutes!

The trestle bent jig was found and the first bent is in and the glue drying. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

13 year anniversery!!!

Today marks 13 years I've been working on the layout. I should be a LOT further along but.....

One of the worst things about the six year break is finding tools I used years ago. For example, I was planning to finish that trestle I started this week but I can't find the Black Bear Construction Co. Bent Jig I used. It was a six piling jig. I found my five piling jig that came with the jig pack but don't know where the six piling jig is. So, the hunt in on. I've been through the workshop and under the layout once but a second attempt will be made in case I over looked it. No reason it shouldn't be in the workshop. I've also got a search on eBay for one just in case.

I did make a little more progress on the trestle. The deck is from a Walthers Trestle kit but I'm using balsa wood for the stringers and bents as they look more natural than styrene. Here, I've added the balsa stringers to the bottom of the deck. Hopefully I'll find that jig and can get going on the bents soon. 

I also checked on the GP7s in the IPA bath. With a light scrubbing from a toothbrush, the paint just peeled right off. I'll get these cleaned on up and ready for primer soon.


Well, that's a quick post. Back to the layout room to continue the jig hunt!

Been a slow layout week...

I've had a slow week working on the layout as I got involved in a few DCC installs on some locomotives. One thing I've learned is DC...