Thursday, May 21, 2015

Less than 2 weeks to go .... (just)

I've been "wordless" for the past couple of weeks since I'm squarely in the middle of my busiest time of the year at work. We all experience these times with our jobs; thankfully, mine is a bit more predictable. But when it comes around, I can do little but work, sleep, and eat.

So suffice it to say I haven't done anything on the layout lately (other than run a train for a good friend's 3yr old - thankfully, it ran flawlessly), and I can barely even get a "Wordless Wednesday" out on time. Heh - you'll detect the current theme: Hartford, where I'm spending anywhere from 16-20hrs a day at the office.

But we'll be adjourning June 3rd at midnight, and after catching up on my sleep, I'll be chomping at the bit to get back to the layout with a renewed fury enthusiasm - not to mention motivation. I'd really like to make some substantial progress before my open house in August, including getting the mainline finished.

In the meantime, I'm in survival mode. The layout isn't going anywhere and will be waiting when I can get back to it. So don't wander too far away - I hope to be posting plenty of regular progress soon.

Until then, I hope you enjoy the Wordless Wednesdays!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On the Valley Line Today....

This is the view from my back deck this morning - "New Haven" J-1a 2-8-2 #3025 (Valley RR) heading northbound.

In case you wonder why I model the Valley Line and love living where I do. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Staging Fascia & "Backdrop"

I made my way down to the basement again tonight. But what to do? That question has stopped many an-otherwise-potentially-productive evening: there's always SO many different things you *could* do, you sometimes fail to do anything. But I've been trying lately to "do at least a little bit" each time I go downstairs, no matter how little that bit is.

Tonight I decided to deal with the ends of the joists, which I've run into more times than I care to recount (and have the bruises as evidence). Here's how things looked when I started ...

Notice the joist-ends: a real hazard, as it turns out. The solution? Fascia!

I had a couple 8"x8' strips of 1/8" Masonite left over/scrapped from my last layout that worked out perfectly. I trimmed the ends of the joists with my small (and easier to wield) saber saw, and attached the Masonite to the ends of the joists with one screw per joist. I would typically use more, and add some bracing, but since this area is "just staging" I decided to experiment. So far, the fascia seems rigid enough - even with just one screw in the end of the 1x3. 

The fascia really dresses up the edge of the layout, but more importantly, it's much safer. 

While I was doing all this, I got a little annoyed that I kept having to move a couple large (2x8') pieces of foam board out of my way - so I decided to prop them up behind staging. Voila! Instant "backdrop!" At least for now...

I'm really enjoying seeing how all my little bits of time are adding up. More than a couple of folks have remarked how much progress I'm making, despite it being my busiest time of year at work. But like so many of you, I've had to confront the reality that large blocks of time are rare as hen's teeth and if I ever hope to get this layout done, I need to keep chipping away at it. Bit by little bit...

Hopefully you're able to chip away a little bit at your project this weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another Small Bite of the Elephant

I took advantage of an hour squeezed out of this evening to make just a little more progress...

Here's the base for the staging yard -homasote screwed to a plywood base. 

The plywood under the homasote is a bit thinner than what I'd use for subroadbed and consequently useless for that purpose. But as a base for homasote, it works fine.

The resulting sandwich is thicker than my usual subroadbed/cork roadbed, so I'll have to ramp the staging tracks up slightly. But I think the resulting ease of staging track installation (instead of using more cork or - worse - attaching the staging tracks directly to the plywood) will more than make up for the ramping. 

I'll paint the homasote to seal it, and then it's off to start benchwork for the Essex to East Haddam portion of the Valley Line. I'm going to need much more than a spare hour for that. But I'll make it eventually - one small bite at a time.