Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'The Light at the End of the Tunnel'

All interlocking switches are now in place - we're getting closer and closer to having the mainline track complete.

Here is a view of all mainline track at CP 280, east end of Onondaga Yard, looking east. Yard tracks to the left are not laid yet. I have placed them there there as space holders:
I built west from CP 280 and am now laying Track 2 around the final big curve towards the 9-Mile Creek bridge, and simultaneously I put in CP 277 and am working west towards the same location. But there won't be a 'golden spike' ceremony when east meets west - that will wait for the new control system, backdrop, and a small section of finished scenery to host the 'official' event.
Looking back west, with the mainline to the left and preliminary yard tracks to the right, and CP 280 in the foreground:
Working east around the big curve, I thought an overview would be helpful for you to see where things stand now. Track 2, the closer mainline track, is in place around the majority of the curve now, with staging below: On the other current 'end of track', working west, is CP 277, freshly laid in place as a basic universal crossover. This will allow trains to work around each other when the local is out on the line, or when a big freight is tying up a main track while working Onondaga Yard. Tracks to the left and right are staging leads and will not be visible once scenery is in place:
One of the things that having the mainline complete will allow is operating 6-axle power for the first time in years. In advance of that, I have started to change out all the old Athearn sintered iron wheelsets to nickel-plated brass wheels, made by Northwest Short Line. Here is Conrail SD50 6789 with her new shoes:
The track looks pretty toy-like, right? I put a bit of old ballast down to see how that looked. It's too white, and still, the track needs weathering. All those things in good time :-) For now, here's 6789 positioned westbound approaching CP 277 with some ballast down:

And, finally, a shot of 6789 again, this time positioned on the big, superelevated curve westbound coming into CP 280:Before long, it will be time to weather the 9-Mile Creek bridge and install the bridge track to complete the main line. Then I can run big trains while working on wiring, yard tracks, backdrop, and upgrading locomotives...but at least there will be trains running!

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