Friday, January 31, 2020

North End Staging Track Rework Teaser

The other end of the staging yard, which terminate the north end of the railroad, is in need of a curve broadening as well.

This side is significantly more involved as the main line also passes through this bit of area.

Doing some testing showed that the benchwork needs to be widened to about 11" to 12" to give the amount of room needed.

Here are a couple of in progress shots from the testing that was done before sawdust was made.

I also took this opportunity to sand out the manufacturing defect in the homasote that was causing a hump in the track right as it entered the wall.

Note we are having to the use the space for main #2
Reverse view.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Staging Entrance-Exit Track Rework Doswell Branch

As mentioned in previous blog posts, the tracks that enter the upper staging yard on both sides (North End and Doswell Branch) have curves that are too sharp.

The track plan originally had 30" curves in these sections but during build the curves were installed much sharper due to trying to fit the track to the physical space that was in place.

After the first op session ran, it was discovered that the curves were causing tracking problems with long (85') cars. Primarily, these are passenger cars, the Amfleets (new production Walthers Proto) and Superliners (a mix of Kato, Walthers and Walthers Proto). As there are something like 10 or 12 Amtrak trains on the full operations schedule, we needed to rework these areas to solve the problem and make entering or exiting the staging area perfect.

The Doswell branch side was tackled first as it was only going to impact the track into staging. After a survey was performed (lots of measuring, test fitting and game planning), the area was torn down to benchwork and new subroadbed up was installed.

After the rework, a 37" radius curve is now used and there were two industrial spots added to give the staging/Doswell crew more operational interest.

The walkway into the staging room was also enlarged so this effort was a ringing success all the way around.



The plywood on top shows the original size of the structure.
Curve in and planning out the new industrial spots
All finished!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Work Session - December 2019

A work session was held on Friday, the 6th of December to help finalize the railroad for the operating session the next day.

We started around 09:00 and went into the middle afternoon. I can not thank the attendees enough for their contributions to getting the layout ready for the first session.

Attendees:
John V
Scott L
Mike G
Thomas N
Ken M
Dick M
Mike P


John V digging through a box looking for electrical supplies.
    
Ken getting the shoo fly track's wiring in to complete the railroad



A complete loop.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

List of work from Op Session Number 1

During the operating session in December, a list of not functional items was captured.

The next couple of blog posts are going to be about the various rework efforts so I wanted to set the stage for why certain tasks were done.

  • Track curvature to/from staging on North End of railroad too sharp; Amfleet cars rub
  • Track not level to/from staging on North End; apparent hump in homasote
  • Track curvature to/from staging on Doswell branch too sharp
  • Staging ladder on North End power issues
  • Staging ladder on North End track gauge issues
  • Staging ladder on Doswell branch power issues
  • Some cars are missing Kadee couplers
  • Missing feeders between Hamilton and XP control points
  • Martin Marrietta spur; switch needs rework as it won't completely throw
  • N. Doswell cross over has feeder on flange side of rail
  • S. Milford industrial track missing feeders; totally dead rail
  • Frog power needed on staging ladders
  • Frog power needed on mail line cross overs
  • UP5 needed at staging yard throats
  • Tortoises need power/control connections
  • Potential Loconet issues
There were a couple of bad order cars that were removed, but that isn't something outside the norm from an operating session.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sad News - Keith Stillman has passed away

Keith Stillman passed away January 18th.

Keith was the Superintendent of the Easton and Potomac. His railroad was the leader in the Richmond area for prototype, TT&TO operations.

I met Keith now over 10 years ago via the local hobby shop. Keith's name and email address was given to me from the gentlemen at Chesterfield Hobbies as one of the local "train guys" that was very active in the hobby.

I had been living in town about a year or so and had started finishing the
basement in the previous house for the construction of a railroad. (Richmond Terminal version 1). It seemed like a good idea to make contact with other modelers, so I sent him an email.

I didn't know it then, but that was a turning point in my approach to the hobby. Keith was the person that introduced me to true operation of model railroads. Up until that point, I would certainly "play train" but it didn't occur to me that there was a way to approach the play with an amount of rigor that made the challenge have excellent replay value.


Keith attended the first work session on version 1, and pointed out a design mistake during our work. I had a S curve that was spaced poorly and he mentioned checking out the John Armstrong book for options on fixing that sort of track arrangement.

That was the beginning, but certainly not the end of the mentoring. I would see what he had done with the E&P and then sought to figure out how I could do that on my own layout since he had solved a novel problem or I could learn from his experience.

Keith dispatched the RTRRv1 a couple of times as well as filling other slots. He approached operations seriously, but didn't let that take the humor out of the situation. He never let a good opportunity to make fun of us "train nuts" and himself, by extension, go to waste. He set the standard for documenting a railroad, even with his frequent complaint that model railroaders can't read.

We lost a craftsman, an author and a contributor to the progress of the hobby with his passing. I am indebted to Keith more than I can put into a couple of paragraphs and I expect that I'm not alone in reflecting on his impact.

Keith dispatching V1 before I moved the DS office under the stairs.

Status Update

First operating session was held in December on Pearl Harbor Day, 2019.

Broken stuff was found and a long list of fixes was written.

I didn't give up and take up model airplanes as a hobby, so that's positive.

I am sifting through something like 500 plus pictures so I can add some more content to the blog. Please bear with me a bit here.