Saturday, September 24, 2016

What is that?


With some to kill this afternoon, I jumped into the truck and headed south Ruston, LA.  Earlier today I heard some chatter over the Squawk Box about a MOW train working it's way north from Alexandria, LA?  The clouds have rolled in but I figured I give it a shot since it's been a few months since I've been trackside.

Not long after I got settled in near the Ruston crossing and cracking a lid on a cold Dew, I heard the familiar rumble in the distance. About 10 minutes later a headlight came into view!   

I snagged a shot and quickly packed up the gear and headed North hoping to catch it again in DuBach.  As luck would have it I was able to get some shots and keep ahead it all the way North to Haskell.

It was nothing to write home about, but at least I got something!




*****


It's been three weeks or so since I stuck a fork in the kitchen project and getting the house back into order.  I had some time to kill so this afternoon I descended to the laboratory to start getting the layout ready for the next operating session that I scheduled for Oct 8th.

Luckily I chose a Saturday night where the precious Huskers didn't have a game!

I still plan to do all the work on the layout that I listed on the previous post, but first we need to play a little...




Thursday, August 25, 2016

What's next?


With the kitchen project behind me (thank God) now comes the part I really hate.
Doing all the little touch-ups and cleaning up the mess that was made during construction.  While I really want to get back to the basement and lock myself in, I can't.

Tonight I had to do some little touch-ups in the landing:  painting the new trim around the steps into the kitchen, and while I had the brush and paint handy I had to touch-up the casing around the outside of the entry door that I put in several years ago before it rots out.  Well not really, as it's on the inside of the door.  But if I don't, the small strip of raw wood will haunt me every time I walk out that door. So no time like the present.

Next will come the garage, this shouldn't be too bad or take too long.  The place looks like a war zone from about three years ago when Lisa moved in.  She's gone through a lot of her stuff and I need to go through what I have and then see if we can stash it in the garage's attic.  What scares me is what's up there that I can't remember, ugh.  But it's still a little too hot to be doing that, so if I can at least get the garage floor cleaned up so I can at least park in there again I'll be a happy boy.

Then comes the basement cleaning!  All of the dust, wood chips and other crap that sifted down from the kitchen while the base was torn off needs to be addressed.  My work bench is directly below the kitchen and of course I didn't bother clearing it off or put a cover over it before getting started.  This will give me an excuse to clear off the workbench and give it a thorough cleaning that it's been begging for.  Once again, no time like the present.

I've also got two other major personal projects that will need to be worked on, but at least there really isn't a deadline on those, albeit sooner the better!

Now directly regarding the trains and the layout, I have a long list of things to do.
The first and foremost is to get down there before the dry season and static electricity returns and concentrate on replacing a couple of small electronic pieces. I have a PM4 and PM42 that I want to replace with some PSX circuit breakers and one PSX-AR.  I picked these up not too long before I started on the kitchen.  I think I know where I put them???

I also want to get another ops session worked in shortly, at least before winter sets in so I may wait until after the session since everything is working right now.  But before any of that can happen, I need to clean the layout off, both the tracks and layout as it became a catch-all during the remodel.

Other major things that I have planned are some serious track work and re-aligning.
I want to redo several sections of the main for operational improvements.  Quin, Doug and I have discussed this over the spring and summer months.

These include: 
Lengthening the siding at DuBach, removing one of the two sidings at Ruston Jct. and re-aligning the junction track, adding a new stub siding in Winnfield, try to realign the track to the North of Haskell (behind Riceland and through the backdrop), add a new fertilizer plant between Fordyce and Haskell, move the siding for Flappers away from the main so I have room to add some street running as well as realign the south end of  MQ siding at Calion before adding the Ouachita River bridges.

The siding at DuBach will be lengthened so as to match the length of MQ siding. This will be done by moving the south set of turnouts just south of the ARKLA siding.  The reason for this is two fold.  I plan to add a couple of trains to the schedule.  I want passenger service on the Little Rock, but have decided to use TOFC's or fast mail trains and tack on a few passenger cars to the rear of each for both ops and for looks.  If things go as planned these will meet on the layout at El Dorado.  One can hold in either MQ or DuBach siding while the other one works El Dorado.  We'll see how the schedule works out?

Also by increasing DuBach siding this will give us a bit more room to spot cars that are pulled from the DuBach industries and are left sitting on the siding while the Winnfield local continues it's run to Ruston and Winnfield with just the cars that are needed.  We do this now, but if the number of cars are high, DuBach gets a little tricky to work.

Speaking of Winnfield, by adding a small stub siding opposite of Union Scrap I'll be able to move the cars that are spotted on the End Of Track that we exercise their journals each session off the main and on to the siding.  Instead of placing random cars at the EOT I plan to spot ballast hoppers and Difco dump cars there.  These may be used during the sessions as extra train movements for another operation we talked about.  This should provide us with a bit more room while working Winnfield.

At Ruston I originally laid the junction with two sidings for a run around.  Since we changed how the Rock and ICG work the junction, now only one track is needed.  We discussed leaving both sidings in place and use one for MOW storage, but I was never really happy with the over all alignment of the Junction.

The track behind Riceland Ind has always been a little sharp.  I laid it with two sections of 11"r snap track and have always regretted it as longer cars such as auto racks and TOFC's will sometimes derail going through there.  It more or less becomes a dreaded "S" curve as it comes through the backdrop.  I'm hoping I can broaden the radius and realign the track on the Winnfield side of the backdrop as it enters the yard and across the diamond.  Doug and I discussed this one night and I think we have a plan?

Realigning the south end of MQ siding goes hand in hand with adding the Ouachita River bridges.  Right now between El Dorado and Calion is the longest tangent on the layout.  As the track curves out of the north end of El Dorado and heads north, I want to add the Bridges to the mainline and to the yard lead.
Why a bridge on the yard lead?  
Well I made the excuse that the lead was actually an abandoned track that was either a branch line or old industry lead.  

I thought it would look aesthetically pleasing if I had the track swing towards the backdrop just a bit, go over the bridge and then swing back and align with the south turnout of MQ siding and the Calion lumber siding, which will need to be re-laid with different turnouts.  Hopefully things will flow through the siding better after doing this.

Last but not least, I have a large amount of real estate between Fordyce and Haskell.  At Fordyce the Fordyce & Princeton RR crossed the Rock Island.  Since the only place I have to do this would be on a curve, I decided I would model the area with the diamond ripped out and say that the F&P ceased operations.  Then after widening the right of way through Fordyce and move the Flappers siding, I will try to find somewhere to lay in a new turnout that will connect to the old F&P track so as to still be able to service the new fertilizer plant that sits on the old F&P main.

The addition of the fertilizer plant came about as the Haskell turn doesn't have near the work load that the Winnfield turn has.  So I was trying to even out the work load for the two turns.

I know this is a lot of work ahead of me, but after running ops on the layout for a few years, this should improve the overall operations of the layout?  Or at least this is my hope.








Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A New Kitchen part 23......DONE!!!


Finally, the kitchen is complete!
The only thing left is to install the under cabinet lighting and toe kick lighting. These have not been installed yet as we have not been able to find exactly what we want yet, but we're looking.

Last Saturday Lisa and I rounded up all the extra stuff we didn't need and spent the morning running to three different stores.  Once done, we headed for home and got the Refrigerator moved into place, then worked on the Microwave, that turned out to be the biggest challenge of the day!  As luck would have it, my electrician just happened to stop by during my second round of doing battle with it!  After getting it installed, he helped me get the pigtail connected to the stove so that we could bring it in.  









After getting the stove set into place and playing with it a little bit, we decided to put it to the test. We ordered a Papa Murphy's "Take N Bake" pizza!  It worked perfectly!




As a refresher, here is the before picture.



It's been a long time coming, and an enjoyable journey creating this kitchen.

The best part about it?  Being able to share it with Lisa!
Thank you all for following along and thanks for all the comments! 


Now!  Finally I might be able to get back to my trains before winter sets in...





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A New Kitchen part 22


Two steps closer!

First step.
Last weekend I tackled the floor.  I tried a fairly new flooring product that is catching on around here. It's called Luxurious Vinyl Plank flooring or Floating Vinyl Plank flooring.  It installs a lot like Laminate flooring where it snaps together and lays lose (or floats) on the floor.  Unlike the Laminate floor, this is 100% waterproof and it's flexible, not rigid.  

You only need a few tools to install it as well: A sharp utility knife, a square, a tape measure and knee pads, well at least I did.

Here is a video for the brand of flooring I bought.
LVT Flooring   Skip ahead to 3:51 to skip all the prep work and instruction to see how it's laid in place.

After 5 hours on Saturday,  I had the main kitchen floor covered.  After 4 hours on Sunday I was done with the landing and two steps and the closet.  This included some baseboard work on the landing and steps.






It took me most of Monday before I could walk without hobbling along like a cripple, it really took a toll on my knees!

Second step.
Today my tile guy moved up the install date and was able to get all the tile installed and plans to get the grouting done tomorrow!   







The brown vertical trim in the last photo is edging for the tile, you can see it installed in some of the other photos.

Only four more things to do!
One - I plan to install the base shoe this Saturday.
Two - The electrician will tie up all the loose ends.
Three - Bring in the new stove, install the microwave and move the fridge back into it's new home and hook up the icemaker!!!!

Four - ENJOY our new kitchen.  





Thursday, August 4, 2016

A little fun...


I've been posting the progress of the kitchen on some of the forums.  
The other night I posted a shot of my finished breadboard and some of the guys said it looked kind of railroady with all the lines inlaid in it?

One photoshopped the image 




While others told me to add some scenery to it.  So I dug out some Z scale and did a down and dirty diorama for some laughs. Thanks guys.






Lisa said it needed some buildings, so she grabbed the Salt and Pepper shakers...









Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A New Kitchen part 21


One thing I forgot to work on while I still had the cabinet at the shop was to make the actual breadboard.

A few months ago Quin made several cutting boards for presents and for something to do.  Looking for ideas and techniques he stumbled upon a cool video where a guy built a beautiful cutting board and filmed his process.

After seeing this I thought I'd give it a go. I didn't follow his technique to a letter, but kind of wished I had as my end result wasn't quite as good as his but I learned the reasons why he did the way he did. Bottom line I just didn't have the time.  It's something I can always go back and do when I have a few extra hours.  I'll link to the video at the bottom.

I started with plank of Hard Maple and then made a pattern and cut it on the bandsaw.




Here are the first five strips of Walnut and Cherry.





Then the next three and the last single strip.




After letting it dry overnight, I ran it through the wide belt sander to smooth out the joints and size for thickness.



Seen here the board is in place place with the front trim on and oiled down with mineral oil ready to use.



As you can see, some of the strips did not line up correctly.  This was because I just cut a line in the board and added the thickness of the strips which slightly changes the radius of the lines.  But now I know how and why the artist did it the way he did.  

Here's the video:




Last night we got the curtains hung.  Starting to feel like a kitchen again!





The flooring arrived today, so I'll be installing it this weekend if not sooner.  The electrician should be here anyday and the tile is planning to start on the backsplash the 11th of Aug.

Soon, soon I can get back to the trains!!!


Jump to A New Kitchen part 22


Monday, July 18, 2016

A New Kitchen part 20


Finally!!!!  Light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Friday afternoon Jim and knocked off early as he wanted to help me get the Sink base, the Sink upper and the Micro upper installed so I could finish the install over the weekend, it was a big help!

By Sunday night I had all the cabinets installed, countertops installed and then we put the all the shelves in place, the doors on, the drawers inserted.  After that, Lisa got them all wiped down with lemon oil!

I still have a bunch of things to do yet before I can stick a fork in it and call it done, but the majority of the remodel is done!!!!!

Apologize for the crappy cellphone pics.
North wall



West Wall

  

East wall





Things left to do are:
Finish the wiring.
Hook up the plumbing.
Get the base and casing installed.
Install the tile backsplash.

These are waiting for the subs to get the time in their schedules. 

The last thing will be to lay the flooring.  I'm planning to install a Luxurious Vinyl Plank flooring and cover up that ugly yellow flooring!  Then I can get the appliances set into place and enjoy the new kitchen.


Jump to A New Kitchen pt 21