Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quick Update

It's getting into my busy time at work, so I've used what little free time I have working on the layout rather than blogging - and there's been precious little free time, unfortunately. I haven't even been able to host the (now-no-longer weekly) Photo Library Night for a while now. But that's ok - my work schedule is predictable (it's extra busy around the same time every year) and I have some good friends helping out when they can.

Speaking of friends - and by way of a very quick mention of the Springfield show - thank you to all of you that took a moment to mention that you read this here blog. I'm not gonna lie - my head did grow just the tiniest little bit, but only because I'm proud to be able to showcase some great work by great friends. And that you appreciate the effort is, in turn, MUCH appreciated. So Thank You!

And I was even able to add to the stable - yes, I got another New Haven K-1d, so now the Valley Line is totally covered motive-power-wise. I need only to get another J-1 class mikado to round out the Steam Era roster for my four locals. Some New England State Ltd magazines and scenery materials rounded out my purchases for a very successful day. The dinner with friends in the Parlor Car at the Steaming Tender Saturday night after the show was a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend with friends.

After Springfield, BillC and I spent that Sunday afternoon finishing up the leftover work from the Friday night ops session, and then took a deep dive into the Shoreline trains schedule. He took a long look at my staging script and I could almost hear his brain's gears meshing...

Here's what I started with:

which I thought was pretty good. But here's what he came up with after a few days:

All the trains are color coded by size and type, and each staging track is accounted for by occupancy and time. Suffice it to say there's a LOT of information packed into this 17"x33" chart, and I'll go into it in more detail in a future post (beware PeteL - this is your schedule too...). The good news - tentatively at least - is that it looks like I'll be able to run all 33 prototype trains during my ops session, just as the New Haven did according to the 1947 timetable. Pretty cool. Just have to do a "dress rehearsal session" to confirm...and maybe get more rolling stock...

Speaking of "Bill"s, BillS came over for a bit to help me destroy start reworking Wethersfield for what has to be the upteenth time. Long time readers will recall:
  • Finishing the trackwork in Wethersfield, then removing a long passing siding and reworking it all since JohnW mentioned that the siding was removed long before my era;
  • Lowering the backdrop since I needed to flatten the topography in the area to be more prototypical; and
  • Extending the bulk track since it was far too short for prototypical operations.
Well, suffice it to say, we're starting on the area around Goff Brook at the south end of Wethersfield and working our way north. And, as it turns out, the topography in the area has to be reworked yet again:

Yup - all that cardboard lattice and plaster cloth came out - as well as the Valley Coal siding. That would be why Bill brought in the extra large garbage can. All that stuff had to go somewhere...

To console myself a bit after this "2 steps forward, 1 step back" approach to layout building, I decided to install a few more throttle plug in panels. I'll go into that saga process also in a future post. But suffice it to say for now that if you want to add power to your cab bus, do not assume that "all you have to do is" plug a power supply into the power jack at the back of the panel. Nope. It's much more complicated and involves cutting PCB traces and soldering in little resistors. Like I said - that drama will be for another post.

After all this, I figured I could handle a couple simple things on my punch list from the last session. I have a "Three Strikes" rule for freight cars - if a car gets written up 3 times, it goes to the bench for a full working over. C&O double-door boxcar #9994 had coupler complaints one too many times, so I got rid of the Accurail "scale" coupler boxes and split-head couplers and replaced them with KD #58 scale couplers in KD boxes. I also added KD washers to raise the carbody:

I also did some "car raising" (bolster washer installing ) on CP 221026 and New Haven NE-5 caboose #555 and put all three cars back into service.

Now that those are off my bench, I hope I can get back to my DERS-1b and finally finish the detailing. With all the trains I need to be running soon, I'm going to need all the motive power I can get.

Ah! Speaking of motive power - thanks to the Missus, TomD, BartH, and BillS, I have an even dozen (and a few beautifully weathered and decoderized) DL-109s for my Shoreline trains. But - alas - more about those will also have to wait for a future post. Hope my work schedule calms down just a bit pretty soon so not only can I make some more progress, but I can get a chance to share it with you here.

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