Monday, April 30, 2012

022 The Utah Night Shift - AP Scenery

AP Scenery for the Utah Night Shift Railroad

I’m going to work on Electrical, Civil and Scenery all at the same time, and Scenery will be the last since I want all electrical and trackwork completed before starting the scenery.  So we’ll focus on this with the intent to get it done by late December. 

My notes in BLUE
Steps I need to take in RED

Here is my check list:
Achievement Program
Master Builder - Scenery

To Qualify for the Master Builder - Scenery Certificate:

1.       Construct a completed section of a model railroad of at least sixty square feet in O scale, or forty-five square feet in S scale, or thirty-two square feet in HO scale, or eighteen square feet in N scale or other scales in proportional relationship to HO scale. This completed section must contain the necessary scenic elements of TerrainStructuresBackgroundLighting, andRealism/Conformity as combined to achieve a realistic effect using applicable NMRA standards. in that particular model railroad scene. The intent of this category is the prototypical rendering of the scenic elements from the ground up.
The dimensions of this HO layout are just over 32 square feet, so we are good there.  It contains three sections that are 7.5” x 20” (12.5 sq ft) for a total (3 x 12.5) of 37.5 sq ft.  Since I’m basing the layout on a real railroad right here in Salt Lake, using photos, the prototypical recreation is easy to justify.
The definitions of the various elements (which may be combined to comprise the setting for the model railroad) shall be:
A.      Terrain (35 pts)
The ground and all natural features such as rocks, water, trees, hills and depressions, as well as man made features such as railroad roadbed, cuts, fills, drainage ditches, embankments, streets and roads, etc.
Also remember different types of vegetation and the effects of weather and of animals. Remember the detail on streets and roads, whether in urban or rural areas: sewers / storm drains, man-hole covers, shoulders, drainage ditches, cracks, patches, road wear marks, oil stains, and tire ruts in dirt roads.
Make the transitions between different types of terrain as smooth as possible. Avoid glaring inconsistencies, such as a New England Farm house surrounded by palm trees. If you are going to have different scenes on your layout, use backdrop dividers or other vision blockers to separate them.
Because there aren’t any big hills or scenic features that stand out, the focus will have to be on berms, the river, and roads.  Extreme detail needs to be taken on the streets.  I probably need to sketch some of this out and keep a LOT of photographs.  Might be a good idea to begin building a powerpoint for this now.
B.      Structures (20 pts)
Structures are considered from the standpoint of prototypical suitability, placement, and appearance as scenic effects - NOT as to construction (which is covered under Master Builder - Structures). This includes bridges, trestles, and culverts, buildings and all other types of structures (towers, power lines, signs, fences, retaining walls, etc.), track and right-of-way features such as turnout controls, signaling structures, crossing gates and shanties, turntables and other service structures, etc.
These are but a few examples - additional features are encouraged. Also remember that structures should be in the ground, not sitting on top of it. Make sure that the appearance of your structures is consistent with your scenery. At the very least, weather it enough to take the "out of the box plastic shine" off of it. Switch machines, if not under the table, should be well disguised (this is one detail that will cause your application to be returned if it is not done). Remember details such as lights over the doors of commercial buildings.
The structures are built off of prototypes and most all will be scratch built, so we need to watch how they are mounted on to the layout.  Gates and fences are critical.  So is the bridge over the creek.
C.      Background (25 pts)
Treatment of the wall, backdrop, and/or ceiling to realistically depict depth, distance, horizon, and sky. 
This doesn't mean that you have to have a photographic or landscape artist quality background. Your background should continue the 'illusion of reality ' that you are trying to create with your scenery. The background should match the scenery, and the transition where the two of them meet is smooth and/or hidden. One good question to ask yourself is: Is there enough good background to allow a photo to be taken without showing other parts of the room? If a wall is the backdrop, make sure that the texture is appropriate, as well as the color (a concrete block wall painted sky-blue, still looks like a concrete block wall!)
I am building removable scenery backgrounds that will be blue only with light clouds.  This won’t be part of the layout, just a one time addition for the AP.  I was kicking around a photo backdrop of the Wasatch mountains, but I’m not sure I want to go to the trouble and expense.
D.      Lighting (20 pts)
Illumination effects from three aspects:
§  a) railroad cars, signals, etc.
§  b) buildings, streets, and roads, etc.
§  c) overall lighting effects - day and/or night.
An entirely daylight scene is acceptable. This lighting information must be included in the material prepared for Section 4 below.
Note that a fully day lit scene is perfectly acceptable (although you may get more points for a scene that allows you to show off more lighting elements). However, even in a day lit scene, there may be evidence of lighting - even if it is not operational (non-illuminated street lights, for example.)
Also note that not every scene will contain all of these elements. If the scene you are modeling is in the middle of the desert, there may not be any buildings or streets there to light!
The layout is designed for night operation.  All building, street and railcar lighting will be engaged.  Black lights will be mounted in the ceiling for an overall night affect, without having a complete absence of light.  I should do well on this.

E.       Realism / Conformity (25 pts)
In the other four judging areas, the judges evaluate what you were trying to do - what you remembered to include in your scene. In this one, they evaluate how well you did what you were trying to do.
Your entire layout does not have to be completed to be judged - just enough to meet the minimum space requirements given above. However, the areas which are not to be judged should be blocked off (visually) from those that are.
Since my layout is based on a prototypical area, I think I will do well here.  The scenes will be close to the photos.
2.       Prepare a set of photographs (video tape presentation is acceptable) and a written description clearly describing the intended setting of the model railroad and the scenic details including towns or cities in the area being judged.
These photos don't have to be professional quality - that isn't what is being judged. However, there should be at least one over-all picture of the layout, and pictures of all the parts which are being judged. Each picture should have an accompanying description.
I’m blogging this, so I can go back to my photo deck and pull out what I need for this presentation. 
3.       Prepare a description of the materials and methods of construction used in creating various features of TerrainBackground, and Lighting.
These can be simple statements - nothing elaborate is required.
This is pretty simple, and can be done at the end.
4.       Attach one copy of materials in Sections 2 & 3 to the Statement of Qualification (SOQ) for use by the judges in determining the effectiveness of the craftsmanship displayed by the member requesting certification.
Easy to do.
5.       Earn a Merit Award of at least 87.5 points on the section of layout being judged.
6.       Submit a completed Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) including the attachments for Sections 2 & 3 and the signed merit judging forms and/or copies of the Merit Award certificates from Section 5.

Further Information

Contact National Achievement Program General Manager, Paul Richardson, MMR, or your Region or Division Achievement Program Manager for more information.
Forms available for this category:
§  SOQ Form: (PDF)
§  Record and Validation form: (PDF)
§  Judging Form: (PDF)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Review: How To Operate a Modern Era Switching Layout

How To Operate a Modern Era Switching Layout
By Lance Mindheim

This book is a MUST READ for folks that like switching layouts or modern day model railroading!  I was so intrigued by this book that I threw out the the plans for my steam era narrow gauge line and began building a modern day switching layout!  My friends think I'm crazy...but this book really opened my eyes as to what a switching layout could really be.

The book is packed full of eye-opening details about industrial switching.  Even though I've bought rail services for years, I hadn't thought of all the things this book contains.  It covers switch lists, spotting locations and much, much more.

The book suffers from poorly reproduced photos and wide column print, but that doesn't distract from the impact.  Lance is really on the cutting edge of model railroading.

Book Review: How To Build A Switching Layout

How To Build A Switching Layout
By Lance Mindheim

This is a fabulous book for someone new in the hobby that wants to build something quick so they can get up and running.  I wouldn't say anything in the book is revolutionary, but Lance's bare-bones simplicity is perfect for folks that need a primer on model railroading.  The techniques are simple and quick, and even a person very new to the hobby can produce a successful switching layout using this book.  For experienced modelers it won't be of much use to you.

It has some great insight on colors for scenery, on modern railroading models and on shelf layout construction.  The section on structures is very hand and I did get some good tips from that part.

021 The Utah Night Shift - AP Civil

AP Civil for the Utah Night Shift Railroad

I’m going to work on Electrical, Civil and Scenery all at the same time, and Civil will come second after Electrical because I need my layout running well and diagramed before I start scratchbuilding turnouts.  So we’ll focus on this with the intent to get it done by late August. 

My notes in BLUE
Steps I need to take in RED

Here is my check list:
Achievement Program
Model Railroad Engineer - Civil

To qualify for the Model Railroad Engineer - Civil certificate:
1.       Prepare one original scale drawing of a model railroad track plan, identifying overall size, scale, track elevations, curve radii, and turnout sizes.
Before you start drawing your layout plan, look at requirements B & C to see what features you are going to want to incorporate in your track plan. Remember: you do not need to build everything on this plan, just the minimum required part of it. The plan should be neat and legible, but it does not have to be in ink.
You should also consider the requirements for Model Railroad Engineer - Electrical, and Chief Dispatcher when planning your layout - it is much easier to include the requirements in the planning stage than to go back and add them later.
The track plan is about done.  All I have to do is to update it for Civil.  Curve radii need to be spelled out.  I’ll draw in the turntable for Civil and we’ll put it in temporarily. 
This plan must include:
A.      Adequate terminal facilities for handling freight and/or passenger cars
This will vary, depending on the nature of your layout. Keep in mind that a railroad needs to have a reason to exist, other than to provide modelers and railfans something to look at! There needs to be someone that will pay for it to haul something from one place to another, be it lumber, coal, fruit, passengers, etc. (and usually more than one thing). Your plan and your layout should reflect this. Remember, you don't necessarily have to build these facilities, just include them in your plan. This is to show that you know what the design of a logical terminal facility would look like.
The layout is designed around prototypical customers for freight, and a three track yard to handle the receiving of trains and the breaking them down for delivery to customers, as well as the return of the empties/loads.
B.      Adequate terminal facilities for storage and service of motive power
This doesn't mean you need a turntable with a twenty stall roundhouse. For a small operation, a simple engine house with a fueling track may be sufficient. It should be consistent with the theme of the rest of your plan. Again, remember that you don't necessarily have to build these facilities, just show that you know how to plan one.
There will be a single track in the yard for light maintenance and storage.  This will include fuel, office, sand, and tools.   My prototype does not have a covered building for locomotive work.
C.      A minimum of one mainline passing siding
The passing siding is next to the yard and main.
D.      Four switching locations, not counting yards, interchanges, wyes, and reversing loops
There are more than four spurs for industries on the layout.
E.       Provision for turning motive power (except for switchbacks, trolley lines, etc.)
A turntable will be drawn in to the plan, mostly for Civil, but will be removed after completion of Civil.
F.       Provision for simultaneous operation of at least two mainline trains in either direction.
The DCC system and its electrical propulsion drawing will satisfy this.
2.       Construct and demonstrate, the satisfactory operation of a completed section of the model railroad and track work described in #1. Containing at least 25 linear feet in Z, N, or TT scale, or 50 linear feet in HO or S scale, or seventy five linear feet in O scale, or 100 linear feet in G or #1 scale, or other scales in proportional relationship to HO scale, with appropriate ballast, drainage facilities, and roadbed profile, which may contain spurs, yards, etc.
Notice that last part - 50 feet of track, not 50 feet of main line - all operational track counts. While there is some element of scenery (appearance) to the track work and ballasting, the greatest number of points come from Construction and Conformity. In other words, what you need to show is that you know how to build track following prototype practice.
I need to do a final check on the 50 feet for this HO scale layout.  I’m sure I’m over it with the large yard, but I’m still moving track.  I have extension room if I need more.  The track will be built as per Trax manual guidelines and from actual photographs.  Stone ballast, drainage and shoulders, etc will be from prototype photos.
The track work must have examples of six of the following features:
Items not used or considered have been removed.
§  Passing Siding – one on main and yard area
§  Spur – several of them
§  Crossover – two of them
§  Simple Ladder (3 tracks) – in the yard
§  Super Elevation (add to drawing on Trax mainline curves)
§  Service Pit Track (need to add this to the drawing)
              Construct for Merit Judging, scratch built scale models of any three of the following, and demonstrate their satisfactory operation:
Items not used or considered have been removed.
§  Turnout (point type)
§  Crossover
§  Crossing
Commercial frogs are not permitted to be used in any of these items. These models may be built and demonstrated as part of the layout or separately.
              You must win a Merit Award (at least 87.5 points) with the items in section 3 above.
Notice that you only have to win a Merit Award with the items in section 3 - the trackwork items in section 2 don 't have to be judged at all, except to demonstrate that they work. They must be available for examination by the judges, however.
              You must submit a Statement of Qualification (SOQ - available from the Regional AP Manager) which includes the following:
 .         Attachment to the SOQ showing the track plan required in Section 1 above. The attachment should include:
§  Identification of all scratch built features Start a word file on all these items.  Mostly from the Blog.
§  All commercial components used
§  Materials used in building the model
A.      Description of the track work features, methods of construction and identification of commercial components used in Section 3. Start a word file on all these items. 
B.      Verification of the Merit Awards
C.      Witness Certification showing that each of the above models meets all applicable NMRA standards.

Friday, April 27, 2012

020 The Utah Night Shift - AP Electrical

AP Electrical for the Utah Night Shift Railroad
I’m going to work on Electrical, Civil and Scenery all at the same time, but Electrical will come first as I need the layout operating before I install hand built trackwork items or the scenery.  So we’ll focus on this with the intent to get it done by late June. 

My notes in BLUE
Steps I need to take in RED

Here is my check list:
To qualify for the Model Railroad Engineer - Electrical certificate, you must:
A. Construct and demonstrate on own or club layout, the satisfactory operation of an electrical control system on a model railroad capable of simultaneous and independent control of two mainline trains in either direction, and containing at least:
The UNSRR (my own layout) will be a DCC operated layout.  The layout will have two DCC locomotives with sound for demonstration.  Need to build the shelf to support the DCC system!
For conventional DC wiring (non-command-control), five electrical blocks that can be controlled independently. For command control wiring (DCC, TMCC, and others), sufficient gaps and switches to maintain polarity, phase if needed, and troubleshooting.
The layout is in three sections, so each section will be electrically isolated by insulator connectors.  These are for trouble shooting only.  There is no need for polarity switches.
1.       One mainline passing siding.  The passing siding is on the Utah RR main.
2.       One reversing loop, wye, turntable, or transfer table. There is no plan for this on the layout, which is a switching layout.  I need to draw on the plan an optional Atlas turntable that will be bolted on to the yard section for demonstration, then removed after completion.  There is no requirement for the turntable to be powered, so it will be remain manual.  I’ll probably build a small, self supporting box section that just bolts on to the inside part of the layout, and then wire it.  The Digitrax system will handle the auto reverse.
3.       One yard with a minimum of three tracks and a switching lead independent of the main line.
The yard has three tracks (some may be removed later for scenery as they aren’t needed for operation) and the yard lead, separate of the main, will function also as the connector to the Trax line.
4.       Facilities for the storing of at least two unused motive power units
There is a siding next to the yard that is long enough to store two locomotives, and provide fuel, light repairs, etc.  The DCC system provides for “power down”.
5.       One power supply with protective devices (short indicator or circuit breaker) to ensure safe operation.
The Digitrax DCC system provides the protective devices which include an audible short indicator and an automatic circuit breaker and reset system.
B. Wire and demonstrate the electrical operation of at least three of the following items:
1.       Turnout
The layout features many turnouts, so one will be chosen and wired with a Tortoise switch machine.
2.       Crossing
There are two 90 degree crossings that will be wired in.
3.       Crossover
The left hand crossovers will be wired together for simultaneous throw, normal for Trax operations.  Most likely with Tortoise machines and buttons on the front panel.  I may do both crossovers.
The rest of the options were removed.
C. Wire and demonstrate the electrical operation of at least three of the following items:
      Items not needed/considered have been removed.
7. Electronic throttle with inertia and braking provisions. (This requirement could be combined with requirement A-6, above.)  This is mandatory with a DCC system, so I will demonstrate how the inertia and braking work on a DCC throttle, plugged in to the bus.
11. Installation of an advanced electronic and/or computer control for the model railroad.
This is mandatory with a DCC system, so I’ll demonstrate the Digitrax implementation with is both advanced electronics and computer controlled.
15. Installation of a command control throttle buss line around a layout capable of handling at least two throttles at three or more separate locations.  This is mandatory for DCC so we’ll include this one.  I’ll put in three DB5’s, two inside and one outside.  I will have two throttles.
D. Prepare a schematic drawing of the propulsion circuitry of the model railroad in (A) showing the gaps, blocks, feeders, speed and direction control, electrical switches, and power supplies.

Note that this requirement includes ONLY the propulsion circuitry. It is not required to include the wiring for electrical turnout control, signal systems, building lighting, etc. You do not need to include the details for parts of the diagram which are repeated. If a number of parts are wired in the same way, it sufficient to draw one section in detail and indicate other locations with rectangles.

Prepare a separate electrical layer(s) of the track plan to cover these items.  Use common symbols for the indication of components. Focus on propulsion circuitry only!

5. Prepare schematic drawings identifying the wiring and components of the six items under (2) and (3).

For the sake of clarity, these schematics should probably be separate from the propulsion circuitry schematic in (D) above. If you already have one over-all schematic of the layout, you might want to consider making multiple copies and going over the applicable lines with a highlighter for each feature.
Note that this is just turning in the kind of documentation that you should be preparing for your layout anyway. It will make trouble shooting much easier in a couple of years when you 've forgotten how it all went together!

Prepare a separate wiring drawing layer for these six items.

E. You must submit a Statement of Qualification (SOQ - available from the Regional AP Manager) which includes the following:
1.       The track plan for the layout used in (A).  Be sure to update the final plan and then print it.
2.       A description of each of the features used in (B) and (C), including:
a. A description of the item.  Start a separate word document with photos for each of the 6.
b. The methods of construction.  Add to word file.
c. Identification of commercial components used. Add to word file.
3.       The signed Witness Certification form, showing that each of the above items are operational and meet all applicable NMRA standards.
Get Mark Evans to evaluate and sign.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

019 The Utah Night Shift - I See The Light!

Hey!  The lights came in!  Wow, that was fast.  Two days for delivery.

 The carrying case is probably not the most sturdy in the world, but for what I paid all I expect it to do is to keep the dust off of everything.

 There are a lot of boxes inside.  I'm keeping the bulb boxes, but the rest will be thrown away.

 The tripod stands are more sturdy than I expected, which is great.  This will do fine!

 I bought the set with TWO bulbs.  Here is the contraption that holds the bulbs and the reflector.  All are easily adjustable and the unit is quite sturdy.  Oh rats...the battery in my camera went out.  Off to the charger!  I must have forgotten to charge it after the last outing.

  I've not configured the camera yet...lots to read and set.  But I did want to play with the lights some.  Here is a shot of a gray covered hopper using just the room lights and nothing else.  The room lights are CF floods.

 Here is a shot with the camera's flash.

 Here is a shot with the room lights and the camera's flash.

 Here is a shot with only one of each of the two new lighting sets.

And finally, here is a shot with both lights on both tripods...much better.  I'll work to set up the camera for this lighting and we'll try some more later in the week.

I like the lights!

My friend Popsicle Rick wrote a post recently on stacking photos....I've got to try this, too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

018 The Utah Night Shift - Track Plan Changes Part 2

Let's keep working on the changes.  The benchwork is ready for track, so I want to get started this weekend!

 In order to work in the full Skretting's fish food plant, I need to swing the transloading facility around to the other side.

 Here it is going into the corner the other way, opening up some room.  I like the longer lead...but that may become another siding.

 I moved the street (have to have the street for operating fun...can't block a street for more than five minutes) and put the factory back in.  But I don't like the factory.

 Ok, let's put in a cement silo company.  This one will go on and off for service and since cement hoppers are small, its a good fit.

 I rebuilt Skretting's which now has the prototypical and very odd siding layout.  It really is this, see for yourself below!  The second siding overlaps the first siding.  Just had to do that!

Here is the Skretting plant.

Ok, so we've moved around a lot of track.  I'll print a copy and study it a while...then make another move or two.  Once I get it settles, we'll have an operating session on 3rd Plan It!  It is a great way to test the plan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

017 The Utah Night Shift - Track Plan Changes

My philosophy is that a track plan is ALWAYS DYNAMIC.  It can change at any time.  Many folks design their layout and once its on paper the way that they want is set in stone.  My thought is that it can change at any time.

So far I like what I have, but I really want to make some changes now that I know so much about the industries.  There are some additions that I need to make for NMRA Achievement Program areas as well.  Let's get started!

 NMRA's AP Civil requirements let me construct a crossing as one of three trackwork items.  I had these installed once before, but yanked them out.  I've decided that since I've hand laid crossing before and these are not in the way of regular operating, that i'll put them back and and scratch build them.  There are build the first one, then you build the second one the CORRECT way and have it evaluated!  Wiring and demonstrating the operation of a crossing is also an item in NMRA AP Electrical, so we'll knock it out, too!

 This is actually the new main line going to other parts east.  If I move and expand the layout, this is a natural extension for other industries.  You'll have to be careful crossing the double tracks in the day time!

 The main line didn't really look like it would have been engineered that way, so I ripped it out here.  We want the main line to flow through and out of the section.

In this modified version the main line smoothly runs through the layout section and over the double track Trax main.  We've added a crossover which now makes a passing siding (although a bit small).  This give us a switcher pocket on the back of the passing siding.  The switching lead is running over Big Cottonwood Creek and you can manipulate the yard now without fouling the main line - which is more like the prototype and more in line with AP Civil requirements.  We also have a three track yard and the loco service track.  Got a bit crowded, but we can remove some yard tracks after the AP evaluation.

Enough for today!

Monday, April 23, 2012

016 The Utah Night Shift - Lights, Camera...Its Too Dark

I've had trouble finding a good electrician for my basement lights, so I'm still in the dark with the can lights that are there now.  Many of my photos look terrible.  My plan is to put in the lights myself one day with I have two hours to myself.

My goal this year is to improve my photography skills....mainly so that I have a better chance at getting published.  The number one reason I've been rejected by Model Railroader was my photos...not the article or the copy.  In fact, they loved the Scott is going to learn to take better model photos while building his new layout.  For those that follow my blog...start watching my pics and please give me feedback.  But wait until I get the new lights.

I've been learning some from Mark Rindflesh and he will be doing two clinics on photography this year...Mark's work is fabulous!

He's also given me some pointers on using Lightroom software and I'm going to get a copy of Photoshop as well.

Today, after reading my friend Popsicle Rick Wade's article on Amazon's photo lights, I ordered a similar set.  He likes his, but I had read that the two bulb stations were better, so I dropped getting a back drop for getting more lights.

Here is his article:  

Here is the set I bought.  Mine will have double bulbs for more light.

I'll bring them in June to the first Photography Clinic so that you can see them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

015 The Utah Night Shift - I Hate Pink Foam!

I really hate pink foam.  After you look at it for a while it will drive you insane.  It also looks terrible in photos.  So, let's paint it!  I always paint the foam.  This 1" foam I'm using didn't have a protective film of plastic on both sides so the printing ink (black) was smeared all over it.  This renders it difficult to draw track center lines.

Needless to say, I always use the best paint possible!  I used a pint of Behr Premium Plus Interior Semi Gloss Enamel in Sand color.  Ok, I lied.  That is the paint I used, but I bought it off the Home Depot rejects rack for $2.00.  What a deal.  This paint has a built in primer and gave the pink foam the best covering I've ever seen for one coat.  For those that have painted foam before, you know it is hard to paint as the color won't always stick very well.

Of course, if you are going to work at painting, you need to recruit some manual labor!  Here' Taylor with a paint brush and rag around her neck.  I was painting on one side, she painted on the other.  It was a great teaching moment for her as she got to learn about using the big brush, how to prevent drips, making long strokes, etc.  She did a great job!

The 52" benchwork is so high for her, but she is a trooper.  I'm still wondering if I made a mistake by building it so high, but if I don't it will kill me trying to lay track and detail the layout.  We'll keep it here for now, but the legs are removable.

Taylor is quite diligent in her work and loves to help.  Her painting was almost flawless.  She even had to go back and clean up MY drips!

The sand color gives me a great base to work off of.  It is a light color, easy to see and easy to mark with a Sharpee.  It is close to the color of the high desert dirt that is here.  I always use a tint lighter than the real ground cover.  Most people say a shade lighter...but that is incorrect.  To darken a color you "shade" it by adding black.  To lighten a color, you add a "tint" of white.  Next time your wife paints her nails with a "shade" of pink, you can correct her as all pinks are tints of red.  She'll slap you, of course.

 There!  All three sections are painted.  Sorry for the bad photos, but the new lighting is coming soon!

We'll let these dry and when I get a minute we'll start working on mounting the three sections together.

Friday, April 20, 2012

014 The Utah Night Shift - UTA Trax Technical Information

Isn't the internet wonderful!  The UTA Trax folks were kind enough to post the ballast profiles and track specs for my model railroad!  They are so kind.

Here's the link to the manual!

I'm still looking for drawings of the catenary poles so that I can build them.

Street profiles to Airport

Sugarhouse Streetcar Technical Details

If you know how/where I can get the drawings for the catenary system for the Trax Blue Line, please let me know!  It will save me a LOT of work!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

013 The Utah Night Shift - Benchwork Week Part 3

Rain, rain go away!  Wow...can it rain all vacation?  I had planned to get out and run, ride bikes and chase the kids around the park but it is insane with the rain.  Oh well, more time indoors.

The good news...the benchwork is built!

 The morning was about doing honey-do lists and of course that means a trip to Home Depot.  I have needed some more Quick Clamps for a long time but never bought them because of the cost.  This set was on sale and it was $26.00.  You can't get two bar clamps for that so I bought two sets.

 Here is what I got for the $52 total...16 clamps, four of them bar clamps.  Can't pass that deal up!  Go get some while you can.

 Putting the legs on sections two and three is the chore of the day.  I made a mistake on one, putting the brace below the lower 12" line instead of above and made everything crooked.  Took a while to fix.  The rest of the construction went quickly.  The tables are sturdy and level and square.  A big accomplishment for your's truly.

 Later in the evening Taylor came down to help.  She was spreading out the foam glue on the table tops while I used the caulking gun.  She's almost seven now and takes directions well.  While I regret having built the layout so high (52" for me, which is perfect) it is a bit of a stretch for her.  We do have two of these small stools that bring her up to the action.  Taylor helped me clamp a spare piece of foam on the top cover foam sheet for the section.  We're letting it dry over night.

 Section two has six legs instead of four.  This is so I can add a shelf on the left hand side for the DCC system and other components and rolling stock. We'll do that tomorrow.  This construction is VERY solid, much more so than the other two.  But once they are in a "u" shape together, they will be stout.

 We glued section two's top foam sheet on as well.

 I still love my moving tool center.  It always comes in handy.  I've written about it in other blog posts, so it should be easy to search on Google.

 The ham loves working on the layout and comes down anytime she can to help.   It was past her bedtime and the eyes are droopy...

She got ahold of the camera, so this is here eye view of the layout and her daddy.  The double chin has to come off.

Oh!  The new locomotive arrived today!  Just as expected.  I'll get it out over the next two days and make a video so that we can see how she sounds.

Good night!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

012 The Utah Night Shift - Raining on My Parade

I seldom get days off.  It is even more rare that I get a day off and some free time to myself.  That is when I take off and go to the tracks.  Today it was cold, windy and much worse could it get?  The sky was dark and it has rained off and on for a few days.  I don't care...I'm taking the camera and going railfanning.

Today's project was to start collecting photos of industries, sidings and track work.  Shooting in the dark and in the rain gives a new perspective.  Normally I'll hike in and get the shot I want, but today I stayed close to the SUV since many of the shots wouldn't come out right anyway.

Here is what I to enlarge.

 Track is a model, just like any locomotive or structure.  Doing it wrong will be noticed by someone who knows, so I've started shooting track shots.  I'm not familiar with modeling concrete ties, so this is new.  Most of my shots are for reference, and probably won't be pretty.

 I love the super clean look of concrete.  Wider spacing, longer ties, less metal holding the rails down.  The color is more black than seen here...the lack of sun was throwing off the color.

 The trains are zooming by all morning....WHOOOOSH!  I was standing on a platform to take this.  I do NOT tresspass on tracks anymore after almost being killed twice.

 Here is a great, fancy track, older wood tie siding, and a very old out of commission siding.  Its a good template for how the track should look.  I did put in two dead sidings.

 Yes, that car has pink dust on it...its a colorful shot, and if the sun comes back tomorrow I may go shoot it again with a tripod.  These are plastic pellet hoppers in the transloading area.

 Silver Cup is a fish food mill.  I betcha never saw one of those on a layout we HAVE to model it.  This is a very big plant, and quite old.  I'll have to study it a while and build a highly compressed version.

 You have this old, old building with this beautiful sign painted on the brick. fun to look at.  I'll go back and get one in the sun where you can really see the colors.

 From across the street this is the transloading facility.  It can handle almost anything and has docks, ramps and collection equipment for spills.  It is fairly new and nice.

 There are about 30 plastic pellet hoppers in the site, and three trailers for hauling pellets, along with a tractor or two.

 I bought a pack of bumpers...they are all over this site.

 There is a short passing siding here...and I took this picture of a mainline to siding turnout for details in producing an AP turnout.  I've taken almost 100 photos of turnout hardware and details this morning.

 I was trying to take shots of the backs of buildings with their graffiti, damage, trash and general wear, but the rain was too bad and accessing the areas was too dangerous.  This is for another day.

 I'll start collecting photos of signs, signals and the physical plant details.

 This is Big Cottonwood Creek, just west of the UP bridge which you can barely see in the back.  They are building a road bridge a little east of here and I can't get to the Trax bridge, which I intend to model for AP points in Structures.

 Again, more detail shots of the wood crosstie turnouts on the concrete tied mainline.  I have enough shots to build a highly detailed turnout.

 This is a bright purple derail that I have shot a ton of photos of.  This goes to Gromore's facility, which may become an industry on the layout.  This is well maintained, so they must be using it, though there are no railcars around.

 Here is one of the prefab concrete buildings that are all over the area.  This one does not get rail service, but I photographed it because it is small and would look right on the layout.  It is a bakery.

 Derails and turnouts are all over the railroad and most are of the same construction.

 As I see signs, I shoot them.  These signs will add a lot of feel to the layout and are critical for a good model.

 I have friends that don't model graffiti, but I believe in modeling what I see...good or bad.  I'm having trouble getting the straight on shots you need in order to make decals...but maybe more when the weather is good.

This is a siding next to a concrete plant...but it actually looks more like a runaway train siding.  Behind these bumpers is a big impact barrier of concrete, wire rope and gravel.  It is not to far from the station.

All in all I shot 266 photos.  Much more to do though!  Need some SUNSHINE!