Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Biddle's new engine facility and shed

After the new turnout arrived I got it cut in for the caboose track and shortened the pocket track to allow space for the shed and got the tracks repainted.  The industrial lead is still just tacked in place and will be for the foreseeable future until I decide what to do with the industrial area.


After deciding on using the Walthers Machine Shop for the engine shed, I figured I'd take my time and see how bad I could screw it and how fast it'd wind up in the trash?  Just the name Machine Shop conjures up a filthy place, and being used for a engine shed, an oil and grease covered floor would be a given. So some heavy weathering would be called for.


As for the roof, on the last building I printed the roof from Google Maps and stuck it to the plastic roof, this time I wanted to try painting one.  Although the texture detail isn't very visible in this image, I painted the roof with a grey acrylic and laid down a Kleenex, let it dry then painted over it again with a medium gray.

Once dry I used a fine black Sharpie marker for the tar lines, then applies a couple different colors of gray for varying aged roofing effects.  Finally I came back with some Pan Pastels to vary the overall color, eventually I may come back with some Ochre and browns to lighten things up a bit more and add some dirt and rust stains.


The sad part of all this is that the roof will be locked in place and will not be removable, so much for the dirty floor.  Oh well, it was good practice for some exterior concrete pads that will be needed.

Once I got the shed assembled far enough along I was able to set it in place to test fit it to make sure things would work as planned.  I also added some back ground images to hide all the layout clutter in the background. 

I've still got a lot to do the shed before sticking a fork in it, but I think it's going to work as intended?  

Next I'm going to have to decide where the concrete pads  will be placed.  I've got a couple of sanding towers to play around with and will have to make some simple fueling racks.  I think what I've got for the vertical fuel tanks will work just fine.  I'm gonna have to jostle things around and see if I can find a place for everything.

The amount of detail that I'll be able to add to this place alone should keep me busy for a long time:  A couple of sheds and an office extension, parts on pallets (brake shoes and stuff) and general junk,  fuel pumps, sanding tower, 55 gallon drums, spare wheel sets, a few spare trucks.  

Then there are ground level power poles with transformer and then perhaps crew vehicles and a couple of heavy breakdown vehicles could round things out.  The building would likely only do general light repairs & trip inspections but no major overhauls or heavy work.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The new engine facility in Biddle

Work is still continuing on the new yard.
To recap, this is the stage where I'm at to date.

The other night I started playing around with the facility, laying in some styrene sections for concrete pads. No matter how I laid them out I always felt that it looked too modern for what I was trying to portray.

My first thought was to have just the pads and no shed or buildings around, but again, it always looked too modern whenever I'd stepped back to get an overall view. So the other night after feeling stumped, I decided to go to Google and see if I could find something that had the right flavor for me.

Keep in mind this nothing but an open staging yard. But I've decided to smear a little lipstick on the pig to see if I could make it a bit more presentable.

As far as operations go, there won't be much happening in the yard. Everything will be pre-staged before a session begins and the crew will grab a consist and attach them
to the staged trains on one of the first two tracks. The closest thing to yard work might be having the crew or a switch crew grab a caboose and tack it on the end of the train before it leaves the yard.

Simple and basic.
Just enough yard work to give it the feel of something railroady.

The same goes for the engine facility as well, simple and basic, you might even say that it's only purpose is for esthetics. So after looking on Google images for engine facilities, I came across images of Mike Confalone's Madrid yard facility and it really caught my eye.

It was simple, basic and practical. The first thing I noticed was the lack of concrete pads other than what the fuel racks and sand tower were mounted on. All of the track was right on the ground and not surrounded by concrete. The only thing I didn't favor was the two track engine shed as it was just a little more than what I wanted.

So I started looking around for a small shed, something in brick. Pike Stuff makes some awesome kits, but I've already used a lot of their stuff and didn't want to that look everywhere.

So I started chatting with a few friends about this, one said a small single stall shed, the other said an open air shed?
I kind of wanted something in brick since a lot of the old buildings in Biddle yard were brick.

While looking for what they suggested, I stumbled across a kit that I thought might fit the bill. The Walthers Northern Light & Power kit, it was brick and older, but I didn't like the Art Deco era look, then I found this kit which I happened
to have one in my stash.

It was brick, not too old and not too modern and it looked like it would fit the area nicely without dominating the scene.
So I started playing around with it and started throwing the idea back at my friends to see what they had to say.

This is what I came up with. Note I removed some of the tracks with my image editor to get a better feel of what it would look like.
Left to Right: Fuel/Ready track, switcher pocket, house/service track and finally a caboose track.
The industrial lead is still up in the air, but I will probably give it another bend so it kind of parallels the facility area more or less.

The backstory on this area (I always like to have plausibility or is it OCD) is this is all that's left of a once larger shop.

The industrial lead used to lead into a roundhouse and more loco facilities and car repair shops, but that has all since been removed (in reality all the buildings survived until shutdown)
I'm modeling in the last few years of The Rock, so this place isn't as bustling as it once was. I can't say for certain that this will be the final rendition, but I'm thinking it will be close.

Once the turnout arrives I'll get the house track re-laid and add the caboose track.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Color change

Nothing too much exciting, I just got the tracks sprayed with Krylon Camouflage Brown.

I had originally planned to brush the track with a latex version of this color, but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to spray it.  The Krylon covered the old Fleckstone paint that I used for a Faux ballast (when I first built the yard) much easier and in one coat.

Up next, the ballast.  I want to try to make this yard looked well used and non maintained.  Basically I want it to look like the track has sunk into the dirt and overgrown with weeds.  I also want the ties to look dry and sun bleached but don't want to go to the hassle of painting them individually. 

I'm thinking some sort of a wash or highlight after the ballast is done and before I apply the weeds?


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Fillin the gaps

With the majority of the track done in the new yard, the next thing I needed to do was to fill in the missing ties.  This is done by simply removing some ties off old track, slicing off the spike heads and slipping them under the rails where the ties are missing.

I used PECO C55 this time and since the rails are embedded further into the thicker ties I had to find some thinner ties.  I scrounged up an old section of ME C55 flex and started removing the ties.  As before, I sliced off the spike heads and sanded them down a bit so they'd fit snuggly.


Ah, much better!

In a case like this where I used insulated rail joiners, I took another section of ties and shortened them on one end (close to where the rails would sit) so they will just butt upto the insulated joiner.

In this situation, again, I had insulated joiners but really couldn't shove them under the center track, so I got creative and shortened the middle section and did the outer two sections as before.

Now if any of the ties are loose, I'll come back with a small drop of CA glue to hold them into place until I get the ballast installed. 

I suppose there are better ways of doing this, but this satisfies my needs.  The ME ties are narrower and thinner and they do not match the PECO ties perfectly, but these will do fine.  Once the track gets painted and ballasted they should blend right in, besides that, most ties are installed unevenly anyway.  But at least you won't see big gaps in the ties.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

The new engine facility

The rail joiners finally arrived today, only 2 weeks late!

As of now this is how the engine facility will look.  Only thing left to do is to finish securing the tracks, drop the feeders and connect them.

At present, they are just tacked in place as I'll probably make some minor adjustments moving forward, such as shortening the three facility tracks a bit.

For reference I updated the rough drawing.  The blue dotted industrial tracks will come later.

Recently, someone asked me what NB & SB meant.  This is where I'll pre-stage the cars that go South and North, and the Running track is an open track that the consists can use to get to one end of the yard and to the other.

In due time I hope to get videos made showing how the session will start and how the tracks will be used.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Gettin closer

What's finished...

I got the inner rear staging track connected, secured the turnouts leading into those tracks, then I dropped and connected the feeders.

The engine facility/caboose track and the industrial lead is still laid out temporarily as I'm waiting on a few turnouts and metal rail joiners to arrive.  Once everything shows up, it shouldn't much to wrap that area up.  Then I can get the rest of the feeders connected.

With the area I have to work with now, I decided to go with two engine facility tracks and one caboose track.  The caboose track will also be long enough that I can use it as a MOW track to store my track cleaning cars on it so that they are ready to go when needed.

The rest of the industrial trackage won't get laid out until I get some buildings assembled and placed.  But that will likely be awhile as I have more pressing things to work on.  

As of this post I can now run a train through the yard, Yay!  But the rest of the layout still looks like a storage shelf.  

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The new yard takes shape

95% of the track for the new yard has been laid down.  That leaves the engine/caboose tracks and I still need to connect the rear inner staging track, but I'm holding off on those for now.  

I ran out of joiners but more are on the way and since I've used PECO large turnouts, they've pushed the industrial lead a little further down the yard than I had previously planned.  So I'm playing with a couple of ideas as to where it will be placed now.

One thought was to have the lead come off just before engine/caboose tracks or actually have it come off of the rear staging tracks?

I chose to stick with 1-1/2" spacing again.  I'll still be staging by hand plus I had plenty of room.
Left to Right: SB & NB staging, Run Through track, Car Storage tracks and Consist storage track.