Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013 Arrivals

So what did Santa bring this year..... 5 rail cars actually, caught all of them on December 27th, 2013 already in service at Upper Huron, MI heading east toward Port Huron, MI / Sarnia, ON on the M-BAPH-27

 Athearn Genesis 57' Mechanical Reefer (with Soundtraxx) in BNSF marks
   - What an awesome addition, the dimension that the reefer unit sound provides is a nice change compared to what we are use to hearing from our diesels. I look forward to seeing if any of the other manufacturers release the larger 64' Trincool reefers with sound.

These units in prototype service have been retired from the BNSF at current press so its safe to say a patch job may be in the works to make it a "Cold Train" NRDX car.

Atlas Type 10 and 20 Saddle 20,700 Gallon Non-Insulated Tank Cars in GATX marks
   - These cars will be in service moving raffinate by-product from the sugar beet production process.

Intermountain Railway Trinity 19,600 gallon Tank Car in TILX marks
   - Car will serve in molasses or corn syrup service depending on leasee.

Walthers Trinity 6351 4-Bay Covered Hopper
   - Car is leased by Saginaw Valley Sugar Cooperative for Sugar Beet Pulp Pellet service.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Saginaw River Bridge Part 2

I wanted to focus on getting one particular scene of the layout completed and considering its a layout design element or LDE I decided on the Saginaw River Bridge Scene.  

December to do tasks:
- Cut in foam terrain and weather bridge abutments
      (A.I.M. Products Abutments for Central Valley Bridge)
- Assembled the two kitbashed bridge 1/2s into one solid structure
      (Atlas Code 83 Truss bridge - 2 kits + Plastruct parts)
- Built the center bridge pedestal
      (PVC drain cover wrapped in Chooch Flexible Stone Wall)
- Painted Foam Core base that will be the "river" - Installed the backdrop - cutoff the sky
      (Sceniking - Eagle Lake Scene)

                                                   Roughing in the bridge and abutments

                                                               Riverbed masterpiece

To the left and below are progress photos as of this point - we threw in a few Timberline Scenery Trees to see how they would look to get an idea. As this bridge crossing models an active river that is transited by "Lakers" off the Great Lakes you can see the background river and shoreline in both views. 

January to-do tasks:
- Put up clear styrene along backdrop for resin dam
- Scenic around river (ground, trees, etc)
     (Transition to west staging)
- Add wood piers to river for bridge safety
-  Finish detailing and paint / weather bridge
- Scenic river (riverbank talus / rip-rap)
- Set and seal iver bed for resin pour
- Pour "Magic Water"
- Install bridge structure with rail track
    (Removable for maintenance of area)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Early June Update

How time flies by when you have a 6 month year old, it truly amazes me. This past week I happened to be in Wisconsin on a military planning trip and decided to stop by Madison Hobby Shop in Madison, WI. I attempt to pickup cars or engines unique to the different travels I go on with work and the Air Guard when I have some time off. The item picked up on the trip was a Intermountain Railway HO ES44DC in the Canadian National scheme. Being the MCIS interchanges with the CN at Port Huron complete overhead traffic trains for the Twin Cities via upper peninsula, it only seemed fitting to acquire foreign road power. The motor does not have sound but still the details, lighting, and performance are fantastic. The next ES44 for my CN roster will have sound.

Below are a few pictures taken of the unit on St. Clair Subdivision:

Captured CN 2224 operating as lead motor on the M-BAPH with MCIS 3828 trailing. Quite a short train for Sunday.

Caught the train as it came into Upper Huron passing the northbound wye connection for the Port Belle Sub.

At Grays Lake the M-BAPH takes the main while making a rolling meet with the M-PHGR lead by MCIS EMD SD45-2 4570 in the siding. Construction continues on the small support yard - noted by cork, switches, and company material cars. When operational the yard will have a local based out of it that will work Grays Lake and east to Gerhard and Buhler (staging). Photo taken from M-95 overpass.

Heading back towards Bay City I happened to catch the M-PHGR at Upper Huron heading west after making the meet with the M-BAPH at Grays Lake.

Check back soon for another June update on layout construction.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 2013 Update

So it has been a few months since my last post. A lot of work happening on the layout during this time, helping define its purpose and existence in Mid-Michigan.

Motive Power
NRE Genset 3GS21B #2101 returned from Fogelsinger Rail' paint shop. This unit will be tasked with working the L-BABC "Bay City Local". Ironically the first picture shows the unit MU'd with one of roads older motors EMD SD45-2 #4570. On a model railroading I recently attempted my first Soundtraxx Tsunami install with the newly released AT1000 decoder specifically for this genset (Cummins QS19K motor) with Soundtraxx speaker. The sound I feel is a spot on match to the gensets that ply the Fort Worth Terminal Complex on the BNSF Railway. Hear them daily on my lunch break runs to Quiktrip.

Old meet New - 3GS21B and SD45-2

NRE 3GS21B - MCIS #2101

Upper Huron Construction
Yesterday I had 2 hours free so I finished up wiring the wye at Upper Huron Junction. The wye connects the "Port Belle Sub - east fiddle staging" with the St. Clair Subdivision mainline. Since it was a wye, special wiring was required.... In this case a Digitrax AR-1, what a great deal automating the power reversal versus a DPDT switch. Trackwork has some super elevation to help offset the tighter radius which is between 26-28". The wye allows the continuous upper level run to go back down the wye and is a cool operational add. With the sugar beet plant at Upper Huron and numerous trains for the Port Belle Sub this track will see plenty of use. The modeled town of Upper Huron will be a few buildings up against the backdrop that hides the helix interior and fiddle / staging area. The Michigan Sugar - Upper Huron continues to take shape. Recently acquired Walthers kits will makeup the majority of the backdrop industry. More on this industry and its construction later.

Looking east - east wye leg on left / mainline on right. M-54 will be in the foreground going into Upper Huron.

MCIS GP40X #4035 with 5 new Trinity 5161 covered hoppers holding on east leg awaiting DTC clearance onto mainline.

Michigan Sugar - Upper Huron Plant

Grays Lake Construction
Recently a brief demo was completed between Grays Lake and Gerhard to re-align the mainline and passing siding. More pictures to follow once the trackwork is put down, right now road bed is in place sanded ready to go. One section that was improved was the super elevated curve coming off the Quanicassee Creek bridge heading into Grays Lake.

An awesome curve when viewed from track level over by the bridge. Salt mine will be in upper right corner on spur. Town of Grays Lake with be in the lower left foreground.