Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#006 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - Corrected Drawings

Before I go too much further I want to make some corrections to the drawings.  Now that I have a print out I can see some things I need to fix.

  1. On drawing #1 of the trusses, some are two truss sets, some are one.  But they are different from one side to the other.  So I'll need to mark these on the drawing.
  2. The nbw's on the base of the bridge are holding rods and are not bolts.  These need to be the 3" variety and need to be increased in size on the model, like the ones on top of the bridge.
  3. Align nbw's on the base with the nbw's on the truss sides.  They should all match, but a few don't.
  4. On trusses, remove lines where the trusses cross.
  5. Draw in the queen posts.

Tomorrow I may take a break from drawing and work on the Doctor's Office model.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#005 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - AP Pre-Judging

Normally I do this way before I'm this involved with a model.  But I like this bridge and would build it anyway, so I'll push on.  One thing I'd like to do is to pre-judge it (yes I know I haven't built it yet) so that I can get a rough idea of how it would score.  This way I know if I have a chance at a Merit Award, or if I should start working on scratchbuilding 200 nbw castings!

I'll start with the Judging Guide for Motive Power, Cars and Structures on the NMRA AP website.

Construction:  This model is a bit more difficult than others due to the angles of the bridge trusses.  Great care will have to be given in order to get them all straight and on the bridge beams.  A judge will look for glue, fuzzy wood, straightness, alignment, and NBW placement.  I would expect it to be classes as moderately complex on the grid, and I would do a very good job of assembly.  This would score 25 points.

Details:  This model will be 100% detailed, which is good.  Spiking the rails, all the NBW's and the wood finish should do very well.  I'll need to make sure the rail sections are cut and spliced at 39' intervals.  On the grid I would say it would be classes as extensive detail, and evenly between easy and hard to add.  Truss rods are tough!  This would give me a score of 17 points

Conformity:  The bridge is supported by excellent documentation with several photos and a complete set of drawings for assembly.  It is very prototypical and matches the photos.  I'll be sure to mention the errors in the original plans and other models.  While some of the timber sizes may not be exact, they are very close and would have been exact if they had known dimensions.  Wood is wood, metal is metal with the exceptions of the NBW's.   On the graph I would say it is completely prototypical and almost extensive for a score of 21 points.

Finish & Lettering:  It is hard to score lettering points on this bridge as there isn't any really.  The finish will be excellent as I'm very good at staining and weathering real would and duplicating rust.  Weathering will be the critical item here.  I'm thinking simple and better for a score of 16 points.

Scratchbuilt:  Drawings will be provided and the model is almost completely screatchbuilt with the exception of the nbw's and the turnbuckles.  I'm not really sure if a judge would call this Moderate or Complex, so we'll use Moderate and Completely Scratchbuilt.  This will yield a score of 13 points.

Summing it up:

Construction - 25 points
Detail - 17 points
Conformity - 21 points
Finish & Lettering - 16 points
Scratchbuilt - 13 points

Total - 92 points

That is a good potential score!  I could build the nbw's and turnbuckles from scratch, but they may wind up hurting me instead of helping me, so I won't bother.  Construction will be the place I lose points if I don't do a good job on the assembly and cutting of the wood.  But I have 4.5 points of room to play in and usually prefer 5.  That should get me a merit award!  Let's finish the drawings and build this sucker!

#004 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - Big Bridge!

Ok...confessions of a rubber gauger.  I normally understand the scale that I'm working with at the time, but occasionally I get surprised.  Like today.

I have layouts in HO and On30.  I also build models in S and have friends with N scale layouts.  So I'm always switching back and forth.  Sometimes when I've got a few HO and O scales projects going on at the same time I don't stop to think what size the model is going to turn out to be.

After waiting a few days because I ran out of toner, I finally got to print the O scale Howe Truss Bridge drawing out in full scale.  Crap!  It's huge!  After spending days drawing it I guess I just never really thought about how big this silly thing is.  Its over 16 inches long!  Now, I should have known that, as I drew the damn thing.  But it just never sank in.  Same with ordering the lumber (which I went ahead and did Sunday afternoon.) 

But I'm surprised.  Actually, this bridge will look better in HO.  In O it really will show any slips in the construction.  Also, I can use it.  But I don't want an 85 point bridge!  Double crap.

Oh well...I'll sleep on it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

#003 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - The Drawings Part 3

Howdy!  A quick correction before we start.  I realized later when looking at my timber stock that I had incorrectly drawn the bridge base timbers at 12" deep, when they should be 18" deep.  This has been corrected.  This is what I don't like about making drawings.  One little mistake will cost you lots of time and material.  Be careful!

F.  Draw the bridge base.  The bridge base is the surrounding frame that joins the two truss assemblies.  These require strength and squareness.  I first started with the long beams and then the cross members.  While looking at Wolfgang's model I noticed a gap in several spots.  This is when I started getting concerned that nothing was holding the bridge together from side to side.  Going back to Harry's drawings I realized that he left out the cross members.  This is something a judge would catch easily.  The reason it happened is probably because the timber size for these pieces is not listed on the drawings.  When making drawings step back a second and ask "would this really work?" or "if I'm building this how would the engineer actually build it?"  Little thinks like cross beams stick out like a sore thumb.  He left the tie rods on the bottom out, too.  Never build from someone else's model, but learn from what they did.

G. Draw in the details.  Same as the previous section we need to put in the tie rods and the nbw's.  We've put a section of the truss upright in the drawing so that we can match the nbw's to the tie rods.  This points out that I drew the nbw's in the wrong size, so those will have to be corrected.  Are you starting to learn that I'm not a draftsman or engineer?

H. Make a list of materials needed.  This time we have to keep in mind that the truss sides are already built.  We only need the new materials.

That's all for now.  Next time we'll start on the upper deck and put in the outriggers.  If you know the proper name for these things, please let me know.  Is it a queen post?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

#002 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - The Drawings Part 2


So here is where I am with the drawing.  Determining the dimensions from the photos has been rather difficult, so I'm staying close to Harry Brunk's drawing.  When I finally evaluated the pitch of the trusses (35 degrees) I was able to draw in the trusses and figure out the rough length.  Seems Harry's drawing is not that far off.  Will I ever be able to draw it precisely?  No, I'm afraid not.

Click on Drawing to Enlarge

B.  Set up the drawing.  At this point I decide what scale to draw the drawing in and set up the Cad drawing space.  We'll draw it in O-scale since I can actually print it out full size.  I'll reset the grid (the graph lines) to be one foot apart, with a darker four foot line for reference.  I'll make the whole drawing area 70 feet long which gives me extra room for notes and dimensions.  Then I'll set the layers of the drawing.  We'll have the main layer (turning of the track component option), dimensions layer and a text layer.  I always keep the text separate so that I can remove it easily for drawing.  The last stage is to put in my drawing text block that tells what the drawing it, the scale, who did it and the revision.  As I draw I save the file like this.  For starters I use 1.001.  The first one is the major revision number.  The next three numbers are the drawing numbers.  As a rule I save a new revision drawing every 15-20 minutes, or when I make a major change in the drawing.   The file is now saved as Clear Creek Howe Truss Bridge 1.004 since I've made a few mods to the drawing already trying to figure out the length.  For more information on Cad drawing I recommend you join one of the many Cad specific Yahoo groups.

C.  Draw the side truss frame timbers.  As this is probably the most complicated part of the drawing, so we'll tackle it first.  This will be the diagram for building both side truss frames and we'll build on the drawing so it must be very accurate.  One thing I like about making my own drawings is that it forces me to understand the construction and to build the bridge in my head.  Assembly goes much faster this way and I make fewer and less costly mistakes.  We won't need the rod trusses underneath or the

D.  Draw in the details.  I like to complete detail a model piece while I can keep it flat on the table.  It is easier to drill and glue on a horizontal surface.  So I'll go ahead and draw in all the nbw castings.  There will be TWO sides no, an OUTSIDE and an INSIDE.  That is the fun of a Cad system because it is easy to copy and paste.  First I'll have to draw an nbw or two, then some side views, then just past them in place.  One of the things you have to watch is "what am I connecting with these bolts?" While checking the picture vs the photos I've already found that along the top beam there should be two nbw's between each truss, not one.  So we'll correct it on our drawing here.

E.  Make a list of the materials needed.  Since I'm building this in component sections and am familiar with the parts right now, I'll go ahead and make a list of materials and put it on the drawing.  This makes it into my own kit.

Material for two truss side frames.
  • 9 x 18 - 400 scale feet (100 inches)
  • 9 x 9 - 900 scale feet (225 inches)
  • 3" nbw - 28
  • 2" nbw - 100 (some extra)
  • Brass (Piano) wire - 168 scale feet (42 inches)

That's all for today.  We'll start on the base of the bridge tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

#001 07 Clear Creek Timber Howe Truss Bridge - The Drawings

As I'm doing this one I thought I'd blog about HOW I do a project, from beginning to end.  Magazine articles generally can't cover 100% of a project because it would turn into a book.  Since I'm still sick with bronchitis the only thing I can do is write... here we go.

Step 1.  What do I want to build? 

I know I want to build a bridge.  While I need it for my AP Structures list, I also like wooden bridges and have always wanted to build one.  So this project is a wooden bridge.

Step 2.  What kind of bridge?

The bridge has to be something interesting and challenging, otherwise I'll lose interest and it will never be completed.  It also has to be able of scoring 87.5 points for an AP Merit Award in an NMRA judging.  This means it has to be rather complex.  A trestle might accomplish this, but I've built lots of trestles.  I need something more difficult.

Step 3.  Search for a prototype.

All modeling should start with the prototype.  Many models that I have seen have been built from seeing other models!  While I'm all for freelancing and imagination, to really score Merit Award points you should pick a good prototype.  To me, reproducing something that exists (existed) is the most challenging of all.

Having a good home library of railroad books is a blessing.  I have a library room with four large bookcases fill with train books, a comfy leather chair and a good light.  A large stack of books will be pulled off the shelf and I'll start looking at pictures.  For a bridge with a lot of character I often turn to the narrow gauge railroads who often had to build with what they had.  One of my favorite books is Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge by Harry Brunk, a professional illustrator and artist.  His sketches are fantastic and he is a model builder, so the information for modeling is usually all there.

While browsing through the book (it is actually a lengthy collection of his famous magazine articles) I found just the bridge I'm looking for.  The Colorado & Southern Railroad had a wooden (timber) Howe truss bridge spanning Clear Creek in the Clear Creek Canyon.  See the picture below.

Step 4.  Evaluate the Prototype as a Model

Now that I might have a prototype I give it the acid test, which is a battery of questions in order to decide if I'm going to build it or not.

A.  Do I like it enough to spend hours constructing it?  Yes.  While it is complex looking, it is more repetitive than difficult.  It is attractive and interesting.

B.  Can I use it on my layout?  Yes.  Generally I don't build things that I can't use on my layout.  I used to build structures for pay and put myself through school doing it, but no longer.  Each piece that I construct has to be either for the layout or to build my skills for a bigger project in the near future.

C.  Can I build it?  Yes.  This is the real test.  Is my ego bigger than my skills?  In this case no, so I have a good chance at success.  There are a lot of pieces, but not anything requiring skills I don't have.  I did find on line other modelers that successfully built this bridge, which is another indicator of success.

D.  Do I have enough information?  Yes.  This is something I always ask.  Sometimes one photo is enough.  This one is a little more difficult.  While Harry gave us some nice drawings, they are NOT plans, which is different.  Some of the key dimensions are unknown, such as the length and height of the bridge.  Harry even admits that if you want a more accurate bridge, you may have to go back to the photos.  My next step is to jump on the computer.  A few hours later I had more photographs and several shots of models of the bridge.  I even conversed with a fellow in the UK that built one and got some pointers from him.  The last step is to send off a request to the NMRA's Kalmbach Library for which I was rewarded with five pages of photos.  Yes, we can make drawings from this.

E.  Can I make a good set of construction drawings?  Yes.  I'm not talking magazine drawings but construction drawings.  These will allow me to cut materials accurately and assemble them in the proper fashion.  They can be as simple as graph paper sketchs or as complex as 3-D cad drawings.  In this case I need the extra points and will produce a set of 2-D Cad drawings.

F.  Are the materials needed readily available?  Yes.  Simple wood timbers and nut-bolt-washer castings, along with turnbuckles and wire.  All available by scratch or the local hobby shop, which is Trainmaster Models.

G.  Can I afford to build it?  Yes.  This is a VERY important question.  When you look at a kit vs. a stractbuilt project you often THINK that scratchbuilding is cheaper.  This is not the case in most projects.  A buck here, a buck there really adds up.  In this case I ran the numbers and don't believe that the cost will exceed $30.  Details are what you have to watch!

H.  How much time will it take?  20 hours.  Wow!  Really?  Actually it will take more than that.  For instance, just doing the research I've spent 5 hours and haven't even gotten a good start on the drawings.  Do I care?  No, but there are opportunity costs.  If I'm building this, I'm not building something else.

I.  What skills will I develop or learn?  Precision.  This is always good to ask yourself.  Every model should be a challenge in some way or other.  For this one I am trying to develop a higher level of precision.  Attention to the fine details is important as I progress on to more and more difficult projects.  The drilling of holes and making the angled supports uniformly straight is tricky, and may require the use of jigs for a higher level of precision.

With all those questions answered in a positive light, time to move on to the next step.

Step 5. Analyze the Prototype.  I've gotten the photos, sketches and documents related to the bridge.  I'm still missing some precise measurements, but we'll extrapolate them from the photos.  With large printouts of each document I carefully scan the model.  Using MS Word I've started a document to capture information.  That board is crooked, that board is broken, there are four bolts on this side, etc.  One thing I really noticed was the bridge foundation as one side is concrete and the other is build of crossties.  One of the tricky things is NOT looking at someone else's model for prototype information.  Wolfgang built a nice model, but he did it from sketches, not drawings, and some things don't look right.  I'd like a more precise model so I'm going to have to throw Harry's beautiful sketches out the window and draw a set of plans.

Step 6.  Determine how to build the model.  This is the step where we sit back and go "if I were going to provide this to the public as a kit, what would the kit look like and how would I build it?"  This is a very important step as a mistake here can cost you time and materials.  Still, no matter how well you do, you won't be able to do this perfectly, so do wait for perfection.

For the bridge, I see it as several components.  Each side is a component, the bottom is a component, and the track and ties are one component.  So we are looking at four sub-assemblies.  If I build the bridge supports, that is five.  Great!  This tells us how to build it.  The sides are identical, so we can build them in tandem.  The ties/rail can be built separately and then added to the model at the end.  The toughest part will be the bridge base, which can't be done until the sides are ready.  Ok, so we build the sides, then the base, then the supports and then add the track.  

Step 7.  Evaluate Drawings.  What drawings do I need?  Well, they should match the components listed above.  We'll need a side drawing (top and side), a bridge base, a track drawing and then the supports (two since they are different).  We'll do these in Cad since we'll want to get AP Points and because I'd like to share them with people who might want other scales.

Step 8.  Begin the Drawings.  This is where we lose people.  The armchair guys never get past this point.  But we are.  I've begun the drawings on 3rd Plan It Cad.  Not the best in the world, but what I happen to have and know.  Like other things, there are several steps here.

A.  Determine the overall dimensions of the model.  This is a problem right off the bat as I don't have a full length or height dimension.  Will have to extrapolate it.  Harry Brunk's drawing appears to be roughly 1/8" to the foot.  That makes the bridge 66'.  I have a picture with a man standing on the bridge.  It scales out to about 50'.  Big difference.  I'll have to work on this.  I'm also having trouble determining the angle of the supports.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 015 Scott Perry - Bridge Over Troubled Waters

While at home laying in bed and coughing I've had plenty of time to plan and think. Tried working on models but the cough medicine makes it hard to focus.

The mail came today with my information from the wonderful NMRA Kalmbach Library. If you don't use this asset, you are REALLY missing out. Our researcher Thomas Mossbeck sent me a stack of photos of the Colorado & Southern's Clear Creek Canyon Timber Howe Truss Bridge. So nice to have good prototype photos sent to you for just and email and a $3.25 copying and postage fee. Especially when owning the books would have cost me $200.

I really got interested in this bridge from Harry Brunk's book called Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge. It is one of the most fun books I have and is full of his fantastic pen & ink drawings. While not simple to build, it really lends itself to a great scractchbuilding project and has the potential to earn the points I need for an AP Structure. You gotta have one bridge.

Armed with photos and diagrams and Brunk's rough drawings I'll make a set of scale plans that I'll share with you soon. We'll build this to On30 standards and publish the work on my Okefenokee Railroad Blog since I'll probably use it on that railroad.

Wayne Wesolowski’s Sweet & Sour Weathering Solution

While attributed to Wesolowski, it is the invention of Wayne Hume.  The concoction first appeared in Railroad Model Craftsman (Jan 1986).  This is a solution for simulating rest and works fairly well.  I’ve used it on models where metal such as a nut/bolt/washer casting have rusted and have streaked onto the wood below.  You can also use it to highlight nail holes.

Here’s the recipe

  • One pint of white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • Steel wool pad (very fine, no soap, grade #0000)

Cut up the steel wool pad, or tear it up and put it in the vinegar.  Cap the bottle loosely so that it can breath and let it sit for several weeks.  When done the steel wool should be dissolved (you’ll have some in the bottle).

For steel gray wood, just soak the boards in the solution and dry them under a sheet of glass so they don’t warp. 

I’ll make some up sometime and get some photos.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 014 Scott Perry - Building Again

Sorry to not have built anything in a couple of weeks.  I caught the flu and it turned into bronchitis.  I'm still out sick today and the only I can do is work on a model and cough.  We're back on the Doctor's office since I've been to the doctor three times in the past seven days.  (cough,cough).

Still trying to make AP progress, Coach Larry!

Scott Perry

Monday, March 22, 2010

Building a Steam Locomotive from Scratch

A most amazing picture story of building a 4-4-0 locomotive from scratch!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeling Better - Getting Ready to Build!

I am still not 100% from having the flu, but I do feel better.  Steve-Bay came over today and I cleaned up the shop while we chatted.  Looking much better now!

I set up the projects in the shop:

1.  Finish the pier (drill holes, mount NBW's, add shack and crane, final assembly, add ocean)
2.  Build a turnout for AP judging
3.  Build the Dr's Office in O - set up at the computer in my office
4.  Finish the O scale engine shed
5.  Build the scenery base on sections 3 & 4 of the Dixie Central (Sunday)

Lot's to do!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 013 Scott Perry - Judging Criteria

Thanks to my new best friend Mark are the judging criteria for Civil track elements!

Mark also added...

More to help answer your question -
Construction = quality of the work you did on the item of track work. Clean solder joints, ties now cracked or broken, rail has clean cuts......
Detail - How much detail is there - if the prototype had 4 spikes per tie then the model would. If you only do 1 spike per tie then that seems to me to be less detail than more. NBW castings on joint bars ? You get the idea
Conformity - does your track item look like the real thing - doesn't matter what the real thing is but have photos so the judges can see what you were trying to recreate in miniature.
Finish/Lettering - Ties stained the right color (or not)  - rail weathered per the prototype
Scratch Building - Cut ties from a tree or a piece of stripwood versus using laser cut ties. I actually scratch built my harp switch stands. This one can be tougher than the above.
Food for thought

And some great advice from Bruce Wilson...


The times I have judged civil we basically followed what was written

in the requirements and what is shown on the Judging Sheet.

The first thing we did was check everything with an NMRA Track Gauge

to make sure all clearances were correct. The looked at the pieces
for neatness of work how complex was the piece etc. Were we able to
run a locomotive through all possible routes. Remember to have
enough track for the loco beyond the piece you are modelling. You
will have to make sure the wiring is correct as well (Wait there a
minute! Sounds like part of the requirements for Electrical Part 2
doesn't it? You can use your three Civil examples for electrical as well)

Next we looked at the overall details such as were tie plates added,

bolt details on the frog, fish plates, spikes, stretcher bar details,
switch machines or hand throws etc. Look at the P87 stores site to
see some great detail.

Did the modeler get it right with respect to following the

prototype. Some of the ones we judged provided photos of what they
were trying to reproduce

Finish. Ties stained, rails weathered, grease around moving points,

ballasted, etc. Does it look real.

How much did the modeler build from scratch. Look at was is allowed

and not allowed. Cutting ties from stock will get higher points, you
can make your own spikes etc.

Remember you only need to build three examples that must get 87 1/2

so it makes sense to go all out with the details. Also remember the
three you build do not have to be on your layout but can be on separate boards

Hope this is of some help.


Bruce Wilson
Barrie, Ontario

My thoughts...

Now having read the judging form, here's what I'm thinking.  First, like I always do, I score the model before I start building it.  Here's what I came up with.

Not good.  Just barely getting to 87.5.  Looks like I needs a new strategy.  I'm avoiding a lot of added cost by not buying and adding detail.  I like Mark's idea of a scratchbuilt swithstand.  Cutting my own ties is easy, too.  For some really good points I could etch some tie plates.  Either way, I've got to put on more detail.

(cough, cough)

I'm still sick, so I'm headed to bed.

AP Program Mentoring 012 Scott Perry - Here Comes the Judge!

Question to our Division AP Chairman...
It appears that different divisions judge turnouts in different ways.
How heavily detailed must my turnouts for Civil be?

Scott G. Perry, CPM

From Bob McIntyre, Division AP Chairman...
Technically not too much. I have had a MMR in the region tell me that if it works and is not ballasted you should still earn 87.5. However, all you need is ballast and a switch stand. I did spike every tie for more detail points. Bob

Monday, March 15, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 011 Scott Perry - Building Turnouts

I started today working toward Civil! Yeah, me! Today I ordered the materials I'll need to begin work on my three track items. You can read about it here...

#001 The Great Turnout Project - Civil Engineering

Since I'm taking heavy doses of cold medicine I'm not able to start work, but I did get my ducks in order. Got all the research done, have all the plans, have all the print outs. I reviewed the how-to videos, my own how-to deck (I taught a class in hand laying turnouts so you'd think I'd saved one or two!) and basically did all the planning that is needed. Now I just need to build them.

Shouldn't take too long. I've built tons of turnouts. The three way turnout will be the most interesting.

Scott Perry’s Blogs

A guide to hints, tips, techniques and products related to the hobby

A portable sectional layout designed for benchwork, scenery and trackwork skill development

Exciting coverage of the On30 Okefenokee Swamp Railroad, a model train layout constructed in On30. This unusual layout is based on the prototype Hebard Cypress Company and the Waycross & Southern Railroad that occupied this large Georgia swamp in the 1920's.

The NCIOG is a Model Train Building and Operating Club Located in the North East Atlanta Suburbs. This is a Round Robin Club with Limited Membership.

My Better Beginner's Layout that features operations and simple construction to help new modelers get the most out of their layout!

Follow Along With Me as I Designs Model Train Layouts!

Descriptions, Ratings and Demonstrations of Modeling Tools

Watch as I design I. D. Jackson's version of the Georgia Northeastern, a modern 3rd class railroad that runs in north east Georgia.

Layout Design Event Featuring the B&O's Cumberland and Mountain Divisions

Join us as I test techniques, tools and products while building water scenes.

Look at Dan Berman’s Layout, Designed by Me Just For Dan

Welcome to Scott Perry's next On30 adventure! A small layout in On30 based on Alaska's White Pass & Yukon Railroad.

This is a small mining layout based on a real 30" railroad. Follow along as we design the layout.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 010 Scott Perry - Cars: Civil Disobedience!

Ok, I know I'm supposed to be working on Civil today, but I'm tired and I've been at the pool with my daughter all day, so I don't feel like being in the basement.  A friend wanted some scans of my On30 cars, so I'll work on that tonight.  I have this wonderful book...

Hidden Treasures: The Story of the Ohio River & Western Railway
By Edward H. Cass

It is an amazing book full of photos, drawings and history of a true narrow gauge wonder.

The cars that I'm modeling are mostly from this book and the drawings have for a large part been published in the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette.

I just need to collect the drawings that I'm using and get my data in order.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 009 Scott Perry - Civil Ladder Clarification

I would like to build a 3-way turnout and use it as a entry to a three track yard.

The 3-way or "lap" turnout would make this a simple ladder, a compound ladder or neither?

Item #2


Scott G. Perry, CPM

AP Program Mentoring 008 Scott Perry - Civil - Trackplan

Speaking of Civil, let's get started.  First thing I'd like to do is to pre-qualify my track plan.  There will still be some tweaks to it, I'm sure, but for the most part it is done.

Link to Plan JPG

Quick note about the layout.  It is a cotton hauling Southern railroad in 1945, hurt by weevils and competition from abroad, a small fictional shortline moves cotton from the farm, to the gin, to the knitting mill and finally to the dock.  The design is for a transportable demonstration/training layout for giving clinics and taking to train shows.  It is lightweight and designed with four distinct circular sections.  Each section is visually isolated by backdrops and side panels.  Each season of the year is shown; spring, summer, fall and winter.  The time of the day rotates around the layout; dawn, morning, afternoon, and dusk.  It is also a water demonstration layout containing a stream, creek, waterfall, river, lake and ocean.  Read more on the Dixie Central Blog.

Item 1 on Civil (See Tracking Document) states the following:

1.  Prepare one original scale drawing of a model railroad track plan, identifying overall size, scale, track elevations, curve radii, and turnout sizes.
This plan must include:
1.      Adequate terminal facilities for handling freight and/or passenger cars
2.      Adequate terminal facilities for storage and service of motive power
3.      A minimum of one mainline passing siding
4.      Four switching locations, not counting yards, interchanges, wyes, and reversing loops
5.      Provision for turning motive power (except for switchbacks, trolley lines, etc.)
6.      Provision for simultaneous operation of at least two mainline trains in either direction.

Pre Qualify
Prepare one original scale drawing of a model railroad track plan, identifying overall size, scale, track elevations, curve radii, and turnout sizes.

Adequate terminal facilities for handling freight and/or passenger cars

Adequate terminal facilities for storage and service of motive power

A minimum of one mainline passing siding

Four switching locations, not counting yards, interchanges, wyes, and reversing loops

Provision for turning motive power (except for switchbacks, trolley lines, etc.)

Provision for simultaneous operation of at least two mainline trains in either direction


#0.  The track is missing curve radii which I won't put in until I finish the trackwork as they may move a bit.  Size is included, as is scale, elevations and turnout sizes.  The drawing is in CAD and different layers can be turned on or off.  The electrical system is a separate layer and is turned off.
#1.  There is no passenger traffic, but there certainly is freight.  The town of Martinez has a three track yard for sorting cars, along with a yard lead which doubles for the passing siding.

#2.  The railroad has two small locomotives and both will share the siding at the service facility.  This is a DCC layout so no need for power blocks on this track.  Water, coal, oil and sand will be available, as will maintenance from the nearby workshop.

#3.  There is a passing siding in Martinez that doubles as the yard lead.

#4.  There are four switching locations (industries) on the line; The cotton/sand loading ramp in Toccoa, the cotton gin in Elberton, the pier at Tybee and the knitting mill in Martinez.

#5.  For turning motive power we have a turntable at the engine servicing track.

#6.  Provision for running two trains simultaneously is provided by Digitrax DCC.

Larry, see anything I missed???

AP Program Mentoring 007 Scott Perry - Prioritization

So ordered...

That makes the layout a higher priority than the structures, so I'll change how I'm doing things and put more time in on the Dixie Central.

Completed Certificates:

Certificates to Earn:
Scott G. Perry, CPM

AP Program Mentoring 006 Scott Perry - Prioritization


You done good and yes electrical isn't that complicated as you see with DCC.  One suggestion on it and this is easy to is to cut the Dixie Central into power districts.  These will act as blocks and really will
give you better distribution and trouble shooting ease.

Ok lets change your priorities.  Move Civil and Electrical to the top two positions, Structures is an on going project and I would put it third.  Scenery you are nibbling at, so put it fourth with cars dead
last as nothing other then gathering the material for them has begun. This will allow you time to gather the materials for them and then gang build them as they all have the same underframe.


AP Program Mentoring 005 Scott Perry - The Master Plan

Larry, here is the Master Plan.  I've built five documents that outline what I will do to accomplish the five AP Certificates.  These are shared on a website so anyone can see them.

Here are the links...

Completed Certificates:
Certificates to Earn:
Larry, when you have time, can you check each one to make sure I'm on the right track.  Especially check electrical.  To me, this seems too easy with a DCC system.

Again, thanks for the support!

AP Program Mentoring 004 Scott Perry - My Certificates

AP Program Mentoring 003 Scott Perry - The Master Plan

Hey I like that!  We'll call it the Master Plan!  See if this makes sense, Larry...

The Master Plan

Completed Certificates:
  • #1 AP Author (Service to the Hobby)
  • #2 AP Volunteer (Service to the Hobby)

Certificates to Earn:

  • #3 Cars (Railroad Equipment)
  • #4 Structures (Railroad Setting)
  • #5 Scenery (Railroad Setting)
  • #6 Civil (Railroad Construction & Operation)
  • #7 Electrical (Railroad Construction & Operation)

Certificates Not to Work On:
  • #8 Motive Power
  • #9 Official
  • #10 Prototype Modeler

Scenery, Civil and Electrical will all be accomplished while building the Dixie Central layout.  Cars and Structures will be accomplished while building the Okefenokee Railroad layout.

Using Marty McGuirk's idea for a red/yellow/green tracker, I'll list the projects and put them on a shared spreadsheet that my Mentor and I can review and prioritize.

Cool!  Thanks Larry!!!  I'm all over it!

AP Program Mentoring 002 Scott Perry


I have read over over this report and find that you are doing what a lot of others have a tendency to do, shotgun the whole thing. So lets go look at what you should be concentrating on rather then what can I do in all of the certificates.

As you know, maybe you and others don't, there are four areas within the program for you to get certificates. Model Railroad equipment, Settings, Engineering and Operation, and Service to the hobby. You must have one in each category to receive your MMR. Some modelers have a tendency to get top heavy in one category and then end up having to get eight certificates to meet that requirement.

You have already completed the service to the hobby section of the requirements and therefore you should drop the officer certificate from your list.

Equipment: Drop the motive power and concentrate on your cars. The cars are for you railroad and you will gain something out of this that you can use. I didn't know that streetcars ran in the swamps.

Settings: You are well underway for structures so concentrate on that remember only 6 have to be scratch built. Sorry about the Dr's office, you and I need to talk about an easier way of building the walls instead of making a casting.

You should go after scenery if you are working on the Dixie Central. You only have 32 sq ft to complete whereas on yours you will have 64 sq ft.


Do both civil and electrical at the same time and do them on the Dixie Central. With your skills and background you should have these knocked out quickly. With the new daughter coming you should be able to build you turnouts etc when you are up with her until she gets into her routine and starts sleeping all night, lol.

So there you have it. Your plan for MMR Concentrate on these 5 certificates only.

Larry Smith MMR

Friday, March 5, 2010

AP Program Mentoring 001 Scott Perry

Dear Larry Smith, MMR...

Thank you so much for agreeing to mentor/coach/train/kick my butt as I work through the Achievement Program. I think it is a GREAT idea that we copy the NMRA AP GROUP on our correspondence as this mentoring process takes place. Hopefully other AP hopefuls like myself will engage other MMR's for help.

You asked me where are we starting from. Currently I have two of the necessary seven certificates. My first one was AP Author, and the second is AP Volunteer. Both of them I've had for a while.

As to progress toward other certificates I have:

Motive Power

* Project to build three Cincinnati Curved Side Trolleys in O scale. Research done, some drawings, but no work.


* Extensive study, plans and prototype photos for these eight cars. None have started construction.

     Build the following in On30 Freelanced Hebard Cypress based on actual O & W cars:

     1. Logging Flat Car – loaded with large log

     2. Gondola Slab Car – loaded

     3. Gondola Slab Car – loaded

     4. Box Car – standard with interior

     5. Box Car – standard with interior

     6. Tank Car – old style

     7. Combine Passenger Car – regular (Argent)

     8. Combine Passenger Car – Jim Crowe (Argent)


1. Abbott's Sawmill: DONE. Won 88 points for a complex kit built in O scale. It is already documented and in the book. I gave it to a friend that needed a mill, but I kept the write up and photographs this time!

2. Tybee Pier: Almost Done. Should earn 87.5 points and is scratchbuilt. Take to SER convention or Piedmont train show

3. Dr. Bank's Office: Planned. Scratchbuilt. Small wood structure with detailed interior. O scale for the Swamp. Should earn 87.5 points.

4. Engine Shed. Under Construction. Detailed Kit. Small brick and stone structure with detailed interior. Narrow gauge On30. Stand alone model.

5. Cotton Gin. Planned. Scratchbuilt for contest. Board or metal construction with detailed interior. HO scale. For Dixie Central.

6. Sand Barge & Loader. Not planned. Scratchbuilt for Dixie Central. Will not be judged, but will be highly detailed.

7, Trestle Bridge. Planned. Model of the Turnip Town Trestle on the GNRR in HO scale. For judging. Board by board construction.

8. Logger's Home #1. Planned. Built in same format as Dr. Bank's Office but without dress front. Using pre-cast interior framing and board by board construction. In O scale for Swamp.

9. Logger's Home #2. Planned. Built in same format as Dr. Bank's Office but without dress front. Jim Crow structure, different from #1. Using pre-cast interior framing and board by board construction. In O scale for Swamp.

10. Logger's Home #3. Planned. Built in same format as Dr. Bank's Office but with a different dress front. Designed for Wood's Forman and his wife. Using pre-cast interior framing and board by board construction. In O scale for Swamp.

11. Slaughterhouse #5. Under Construction. Detailed kit with scratchbuilt cattle yard and interior details. HO scale. Model for Paul's layout.

12. Hebard Engine House. Not Planned. On30 engine house for the swamp. Highly detailed. Not prototype located yet. Build for contest/magazine.


* Working on the Dixie Central layout in HO. Should be finished in a year or less.
* Blog for circular layout:
* Track plan:

Prototype Models

* Nothing planned or in production


* Working on the Dixie Central layout in HO. Should be finished in a year or less.
* Blog for circular layout:
* Track plan:


* Working on the Dixie Central layout in HO. Should be finished in a year or less.
* Blog for circular layout:
* Track plan:


* I have experience operating but don't enjoy it.


* I have one year as a Region officer

So Larry - what do you think I should do from here?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NMRA Achievement Program Yahoo Group

NMRA Achievement Program Yahoo Group is a new way to find information, guidance and the sometime necessary kick-in-the-pants to help you earn your Achievement Program Certificates and become a MASTER MODEL RAILROADER.

If you are an NMRA member and would like to join, just go here…

I’m Scott Perry, long time Yahoo Group host and found of several groups such as…


And others!

So come join the fun, make new friends and make a plan to Achieve!

Scott Perry

NMRA Achievment Program

I just opened up a new Yahoo Group called NMRA Achievement Program.  It is for people like me that are working dilligently on their AP Certificates with the hopes of being a Master Model Railroader one day.

Join now!  Its available to any NMRA member.