Sunday, August 30, 2015

Late August Update

The month of August is quickly coming to a close and so are my projects that I had planned out to accomplish. Let's walk through each of items that wrapped up this weekend and also get a sneak peak at Septembers projects. 

Car Cards & Labels
Changing up from switch lists to car cards required having a good railcar fleet inventory (Excel), Avery labels, and 3x4 plastic sports card holders (Inspired by Mike McNamara's NEK post). 155 cards are completed with another 25 cards to be compete on MOW, unit aggregate, and undec cars when brought into service.
We will dive deeper in a future post about my car card / blocking system which deserves a post of its own.

Fascia / Valiances Installed & Painting
This task goes a long way to help bring consistency and a finished professional look to any layout. Amazingly it took an entire 4x8 sheet of hardboard to complete this task. The results speak for themselves, and having a good color such as Valspar Kettle Black additionally helps bring it together. 

Car Card Holders
Since these 3x4 cards are larger than the tradtional car card, I found acrylic clear business cards holders at Staples to be the perfect fit. Each holder can hold 11 cards which fits into my average track car capacity.

Operational Aids
Before the fascia work began I did have DTC block cards and station diagrams mounted but their placement was temporary. With the fascia painted each of the different aids was installed using Velcro so an operator could pull off the station diagram to review closer and the put back. The DTC cards are meant to removable when the operator has authority to operate in that specifc or multiple blocks. Additionally using our label maker the blue point hand throws and staging power toggles received labeling.

Dispatcher Panel
I saw an article in Model Railroader some years back by Roger Kuwaja (AGW RR) about creating a dispatcher panel for your railroad. Very straight forward using printed linear diagram sandwiched between plexiglass so the dispatcher can use dry erase marrkers to indicate train authority. Well here is the completed MCIS St. Clair Sub (West end) and Port Belle Branch panel.

This wraps up August's project tasks, let's take a sneak peak at Septembers. For my regular followers, anyone have a guess from previous posts on the location of this sneak peak?


Stay Tuned for Septembers update getting more in depth on these two sneak peaks and another modern operational change being implemented. The upcoming month will sure to be busy as the layout will be getting cleaned / staged for the October 3rd operating day.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Musings

While working on the layout this evening I found a great photo angle looking from east staging (inside helix) towards the station of Gerhard, Michigan.
This is east end mainline switch where the "GERH" DTC block ends and the "GRAY SDG" block begins on the diverging side of the turnout. The "GRAY" block begins just beyond the station on the straight portion of the switch. The track at left in the foreground is a upper level continuous run, but during an ops session it doubles as a long lead track for the local road switcher that works Gerhard / Grays Lake.

Closer view of main and siding at Gerhard. CN overhead train Z-BKPH-27 led by CN2224 holds the main, while M-BAPH-28 is parked on the siding. Both trains are holding for a maintenance window to wrap up near Kincaid (offline).

Closeup of these modern motors with downtown Gerhard in the background.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mid August Update

Well other than my Wednesday posts its been almost three week since my last update. During this time the layout has seen a flurry of activity working to complete lighting, fascia, and ballasting progress.

Let's take a look at the progress which should be 95% complete by next week (not ballast part).

My August 4th post I had showcased some of the new upper level lighting added along with a similar valiance giving the upper and level decks a consistent layout. 
                   Upper Huron

                       Grays Lake


Fascia Panels
Some of the layout sections were missed fascia panels this past week we remedied this problem adding panels to parts of the upper and lower deck.
   Quincassee Creek Bridge (fascia added)

          Bay Indusrial Spur (fascia added)

Finally completed the fascia at Gerhard with Blue Point Turnout controls.

Ballasting Progress
While I may have been a little ambitious about ballasting Bay Yard in the month of August, the process has begun so we are going to enjoy the journey. Ballasting for me is very relaxing so I try to work a little section every few days.. Slow but steady.

         East end of yard getting rock 

  Conductor vantage point of "BAY2" mainline at Bay Yard. The concrete flex track expansion here turned out well.

A lot of great things happening on the layout, stay tuned for updates next week.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cool & Comfortable Friday

Well it's another scorcher here in Texas, but maybe these pictures representing a comfortable / clear sky day in early summer Mid-Michigan will make you feel a bit of relief. You can almost feel that breeze off Saginaw Bay!

R-GEGL-05 (5 empty / 4 loads) on the main between Gerhard and Grays Lake enroute to switch the later name towns customers.

     Closeup of MCIS EMD GP40-2

Overall view of this corner. The fascia, valiance, and LED lighting really allow for a "cool-comfortable" atmosphere as well in the layout room.

Happy Friday, thanks for stopping in.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bringing Things To Light...

On my last post everyone had the chance to preview some of the upper level lighting and the effect it provided. After much deliberation it was decided to add this LED lighting to the upper level. Over the weekend maintenance forces installed all of lighting and 95% of the Masonite valiance. Enjoy a few pictures of the room. My mid month update will contain more pictures, but until then enjoy these few.

Overall layout view - as you can lower and upper decks now have similar lighting styles. The valiance also gives the upper level a more defined look from the room. Each of the layout decks in this shadowbox form is easy on the eyes for operators or visitors.

            Gerhard - Before

      Gerhard - After with new lighting