Monday, October 24, 2016

Late October Update

There has been a flurry of activity on the layout with the approaching DFW Interchange this weekend. Let's take a quick look at the projects that will be enjoyed by the operators.

With progress on the sugar beet plant at Upper Huron, I realized an important LOC (layout operations characteristic) would be modeling the sugar beet campaign and the traffic that comes with it. In building the layout I captured an important LDE (layout design element) with the processing plant. The beet season known as a "Campaign" starts in mid-late August which is the timeframe I model. Like the Huron & Eastern Railway which hauls beets from the thumb to Bay City in large cubic hoppers, the MCIS was going to do the same thing but selectively compressed.

Using the existing fleet of MCTR/MCIs marked bethlehem 3 bay hopers, a portion were removed from Illinois Basin coal service and cleaned. The plant will still burn coal for sometime but will lease RDL 5 door type hoppers which are readily available. The HESR prototype uses large former coke / woodchip GMO cars but we are going to compress with a 3 bay hopper. Saves track space but gives us the feel of beet hauling.

Back to our beet loads, let take a look at how I created them quite easily in just two days.

My base is plaster coal loads, the ones that need some work to look like a load.

We will use Modelmaster Light Earth and a Rustoleum almond colors to paint the loads.

        Generous base coat of Almond 

               Dusting of Light Earth

Overcoat dusting of Almond to tone it down. I then allow these to dry overnight in a well ventilated area. The porous loads soak up the paint quickly.

With the loads dry I then apply a generous coating of white glue then followed by sprinkling of Fenugreek seeds. Use a pan so you can collect the extra seeds not used. I also set the loads on foam or cork risers to keep them off the pan while being worked on. After an hour of letting the glue setup I then drizzle scenic cement over the loads to secure any loose seeds on top. Let dry overnight, it is ok if the beers are piled high as they would be in the prototype short haul move. 

     Loads drying post scenic cement 

    Finished loads dry ready for ops

Finished load ready for delivery to the processing plant. The loads are removable for load / empty flipping between sessions. Later on I will add a light coat of an India ink wash to highlight details and give them a dirtier look. Overall the effect works for me and is a pretty cool loads right behind the power on the M-PHBA manifest.

One side effect of installing signals at the west end of Grays Lake was realizing the signal mast fouled the Grays Industrial Spur lead. In short order I decided to use Sunday night to refurbish the spur. While no customer locations or tracks changed, I did a two run around with engine escape track allowing the R-GEGL room to work without inferring with the mainline. Truthfully I was not very happy with the track layout and knew there was a better setup.

Old configuration, no run around meant the R-GEGL "Grays Local" would have to use the main and passing siding to make a run around to serve the industries since two are facing point and one is trailing point moving east to west.

The best part of using track nails is ability to change without ripping up track. I wanted to keep the track footprint very similar to what I had used before, just differnt layout.

Track reinstalled, Cooperative Elevator to our left, Crop Production Services to our right, and runaround with escape track in the middle.

Looking west at same industries above. Adding the run around track gives the local a lot more flexibility

3M track, Grays Spur, Run-around, and mainline

Industrial spur lead relocated to the right to clear westbound ABS signal. 

We can expect to see a single 3800 series EMD GP38-2 assigned on the R-GEGL out of here. 

We are around 80% complete with the ABS signal project. While I will save more detailed discussion of the last install phase, I did want to give you a sneak peak of the kitbashed signal bridge installed on the East end of GRAY/GRAY SDG DTC block in Gerhard.

R-GEGL-24 with GP38-2 (3833 and 3827) returning from Kincaid, Michigan. Kincaid is not modeled but is represented by fiddle storage in east staging where I will or remove / add cars for this station. The local runs east to Kincaid on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

In November we will wrap up the signal install project, recap the DFW Interchange Ops weekend, and look at some new projects on The Clair.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!


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