Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Heat

Summer has arrived in full force here in the Northeast, with August-like temperatures and humidity to boot.  That means less time inside and working on the railroad, but there is some news - namely that both mainlines are in-place and operational.  I can run two trains at once, but in the same direction and only with about 4 units total - the amount that my old MRC Tech II DC transformer can handle!  Because I wired for DCC, the mainlines are on the same power source, and so everything is on or off.

Also, CP 277 is fully installed and operational.  Just two more interlockings to wire!  At this rate, I think that a DCC system will be purchased later this summer, before yard tracks are installed.  The jury is still out on that one.  :-)

Photos to come soon include two trains at once, and shots of CP 277!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Track 1 In Place

Track 1 is now in place, and curing overnight.  Once the weights are removed, a full through route will be available on both main line tracks, and switch machine installtion and the wiring for track power and switch machine power and control will begin.

A few photos:  more locomotives are being upgraded.  It's nice to see some of these again, for the first time in several years!  This is a model I detailed and painted to represent Conrail's last SD40-2 as ordered from EMD.  6524 was the last as-delivered SD40-2 on the roster, and today is CSX 8868:
And an overview of the future engine facility at Onondaga Yard:

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Mainline Route is Open!

As mentioned in the last post, Track 2 is now complete, allowing for trains to run around the whole circuit of the main line! Here, Conrail C39-8 #6000 leads two other units and a train that represents Conrail's SEEL (Selkirk, NY to Elkhart, IN) upgrade crossing over from Track 1 to Track 2 at CP 277. The unit is a kitbash I did a few years after college:Here, the train comes west across the newly installed 9 Mile Creek through truss.
And a going-away shot of the same train at the bridge:

It's fun watch the train cross the bridge, with shadows from the truss moving over the rolling stock and locomotives!

The bridge was finished by painting it silver, and then weathering it with an airbrush and also hand-painted rust and grime. Then I applied a coat of dullcoat to take away any remaining shine. The bridge track was weathered separately, using a neat product by Floquil - weathering pens. These are paint pens that allow you to just weather rails or ties, which can then be oversprayed to create good-looking weathered track. An overall view:
And, a closer shot, showing some of the details and also the un-weathered, un-installed bridge track for Track 1. Yet to be installed are the code line conduits that will hang on the outside of the main truss, as well as the ribbon guard and guard rails on the track itself. The weathering really allows the rivet moldings and details to stand out:
I'm continuing to lay track, and at this point have only about 10 feet of Track 1 that remains to be put in, including over the bridge as you can see here. I hope to have that complete this week, and will then start to install switch machines, and finish mainline wiring.

In the mean time, I have been continuing to replace wheels on locomotives - a few images of that will be along soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Track 2...

...was completed over the weekend, just in time to run a few trains Sunday evening! This required that the bridge be painted and weathered. The final product turned out very well. Photos to come soon.

In testing, I tried a train of 30 cars and had no issue, and a train of 51 cars, which had a few issues for lighter cars at the front of the train. Once those cars were moved towards the rear of the train, I was able to run a 3-unit lashup with 51 cars with no issues at all. That is longer than most of my trains will be, but it's nice to know I can do it! The sound of that many metal wheels was neat!

I will be laying Track 1 around the remainder of the mainline, and upgrading locomotives as time allows. Next comes the full wiring of the main, and then the installation of switch machines and their wiring.