Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Late March Update

Between work travels and home improvement time to work on the layout has been at a premium, but a few late nights of work turned out some good results. Follow along as we cover three areas of interest since my last post:

Rolling Stock Acquisitions
Atlas Boxcar - MNNR 1313

Picked this one up at Becker Model Train Supply in New Brighton, MN. while traveling in the Twin Cities area. Figure it's fitting to acquire a railcar that calls the area "home" wherever I travel.

BLMA Models Pipe flat - PTTX 602332

This car was a birthday gift from family via a trip across to Discount Model Trains in Addison, TX. The pipe load is custom done by local friend and modeler Jock Luckett. He has built many unique railcar loads, and I plan to dedicate a future post to showcasing them.

Long story short when you are traveling take the time to check out google or the back of Model Railroader and visit a local hobby shop. It's amazing to see what they in stock.

Right of Way Upgrades
Part of the 2015 MCIS capital plan is detailing mainline power switches. Being we operate with DTMF remote controlled mainline switches, I am using the Details West switch machine as a basis for the GE / Vossloh modern power switches.

All mainline  turnouts will have a DW switch machine, solar panel, instrument cabinet, and BLMA N or Z scale radio tower. The passing siding at Grays Lake and wye at Upper Huron will additionally get the Details West switch heaters. MOW plans to have these items in for fall 2015.

Grays Lake Industries
The past few months I have been working on a salt mine mockup at Grays Lake. Unfortunately the scale and size just did not work for the scene and was overwhelming to say the least. Moving forward I removed the mockup and focused on a commodity one would find in this part of Michigan's Thumb... Agriculture.

Cooperative Elevator
This facility has capacity for four cars with  a one car load out in shed and dock door for spotting boxcars. This customer ships outbound bagged and bulk dry beans.

View west

View east

AmCan Polymers
This customer viewed in picture above will receive inbound plastic pellet hoppers and resin tankcars that will be transloaded in the building into trucks for delivery to their offline plant. I plan to have a two or three car spot that can host either tankcars or plastic hoppers.

Suburban Propane
Being this part of Michigan is very rural Propane / LPG is critical for homes and businesses. The siding has a capacity to unload three tankcars at once, but is a trailing point switch on the Grays Lake Spur coming off the mainline.

LPG cars on spot 2 and 3 above at Suburban Propane. The background will host multiple LPG tanks as the terminal is a regional distribution facility.

Mainline in foreground with Suburban Propane switch in background. This area will host a grade crossing and buildings representing part of Grays Lake.

With these three customers and a few others at Gerhard and Buhler (staging) there will be plenty to keep the R-GLBU busy.

Like I said not a lot of work done but enough to keep progress in the right direction.

Thanks for checking out the update.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Joe Atkinson's IAIS 4th Sub Tour

Work travels this week took me up to Omaha and while I had some freetime, decided to drop by and see Joe Atkinson and his IAIS layout over in Council Bluffs. I lasted visited in the fall of 2011 and since then Joe has done alot with the scenery and backdrops.

Following along as we tour from Atlantic to Council Bluffs with plenty of photos.

Atlantic, IA 

Walnut Creek, IA

Hancock / Hancock Jct.

McClelland, IA

Council Bluffs Yard

Council Bluffs, IA

UP Pool Yard

Staging (Continuous Run)

The layout has come a long way and is alot of fun to view and operate on with the numerous sound equipped motors that have great momentum settings built in.

For more info please check out the IAIS railfan site that Joe puts updates on:


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Early March Update

Well February flew by and with it my ability to publish the part 2 progress post on Lakes Forest Products. Actually with the extreme cold temps here in Texas, I have been unable to paint in the garage for the past week so that project is on hold until later this week.

So while that project is frozen literally I decided to turn my attention to another part of the layout that has bee in a limbo state, so lets take a look.

This industry spur off the main just east of the Saginaw River is a big generator of local traffic keeping Y-BA04-XX busy during the entire session. Two customers reside here but there setup did not click.

Below are explanations of the industry changes that will be more realistic and provide better gather and distribution for the local.

Huron Bakeries
First thing one would notice versus previous pictures is the large five story DPM structure now gone. I stored this building for future use or trade as it just felt overwhelming and didn't fit the modern bakery that I was inspired by in Hodgkins, IL.

Inspiration: Wonder Bread Bakery

On-Layout Model:

Fort Mackinaw Paper - Corrugated Division
Originally this 2 door (6 car) customer was setup against the backdrop, but with the large footprint it was wasting a ton of good space that could de-clutter the scene. After seeing some inspiration and reading about Chip Cole's CSX Plymouth Sub, I realized that I could make this a foreground open industry. Not only would it be a conversation piece, but it would free up space and still seem like a large industry and would allow operators to see when they are spotting cars inside. To help with the facility size I am going to extend the bench work 5" out to create truck docks and parking lots.

Inspiration: Roanoke, TX and OKC, OK

On-layout Model:

Industry #3
Looking at the picture above you can see  there is now a large spot to install a third industry. While the goal is not to cram track and industries in every spot, being this is a industrial park the spot would look good with a shallow relief backdrop structure.

Some of the ideas I have for industry:
1. Cold Storage Warehouse
      Reefer Cars
2. Metal Stamping Facility
      Coil Cars, Scrap Gondola
3. Bulk Liquid Transfer Facility
      Tank Cars
4. Recycled Glass Plant
      Cvd Hopper, Open Hopper

All of these have good plausibility for the region and modern era. Feel free to weigh in on which industry would look best.