Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thinkin' Like A Shortline

Yard design for the M&E was recently completed, at least regarding the general layout of the tracks.  The yard area will be dominated by the major industry, the 'anchor' customer for the short line:  the Doelger Brewery.  Named after the real Peter Doelger Brewery, which was one of the largest breweries in New York City in the 1800's, my version will recieve barley and grains via rail, and will ship bottled beer. 

I figure that's a great industry to have on a model railroad!

Here's a little diagram of the current plan for the track layout at Euclid.  The brewery, located on the north side of the yard, will have another turnout and two longer sidings; one will accept loaded hoppers, the other will load insulated and refrigerated boxcars. 

Designing a stub-end yard like this is challenging, due to the fact that as a train arrives, the engines will be at a dead-end and must run around the train before switching.  Therefore, you must maximize the length of the runaround - in this case, the first switch is part of the runaround, as is the last one.  This should allow two 4-axle units to run around a train of the maximum length - for me, I have just under 8 feet, with equates to about two engines and 12 cars.  I think that's longer than almost any train I will run on the steep grades of the M&E.

Tracklaying is under way, photos of the new yard coming soon!

~RGDave

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Progress on Several Fronts

As the summer digs in, large blocks of time for layout construction are few.  However, with the water meter repaired, I have moved forward with several major projects as time allows.

First, the engine facility at Onondaga Yard is taking shape.  Here is an image of it, test-fit on location.  The servicing platforms and pit tracks are in place and the columns are attached, awaiting bracing and walls.  Once the entire structure is complete, it will be installed, and I can finish tracklaying in the engine yard.  Conrail C32-8 6611 sits in the facility to give some sense of scale:

Also, the bridge at Skaneateles Creek on the short line is now weathered and permanently in place:
Built from a kit, this bridge received a heavy dose of weathering to represent a structure on a short line without much money to paint bridges.   Still to come here are the guard rails and final abutments, but I'm excited with how this came out.

A close-up view of one of the weathered gusset plates:

Having that bridge in place has allowed me to lay track up to and through the staircase:


Now that the shortline's route is in place up to Eulcid Yard, it was time to put the yard roadbed in place.  With a large, stub-ended area, I decided to try 1" thick insulation foam as a base.  I attached it with latex adhesive caulk, and then clamped and weighted it to ensure good adhesion.  Here is the progress before removing the weights:

So, plenty of progress, little by little!  I will continue working on the engine terminal and shortline in order to try and finish tracklaying before the end of the summer; then once the shortline is operational, it will be time to take a shot at backdrops.  That promises to change the overall look dramatically!

Enjoy the summertime and stay tuned!

~RGDave