Tuesday 30 December 2014

Fascia Rough in Complete

Another major milestone for the D&H

Well, today I finished the rough in of the fascia boards made from 3mm MDF board around the entire layout. There are 23 sheets that are 610mm x 2440mm x 3mm that cover the front of the layout. That's just over 56 meters of fascia board.

The fascia runs from Plattsburgh around the layout past Willsboro, to Whitehall, to Ft Edward to Saratoga Springs to Corinth and North Creek. So, if a train was to run just on the main deck around the layout from Plattsburgh to North Creek, then it would cover just under 56meters and if I convert that to scale kilometres that's just short of 8.9 scale kilometres. Wow that's a long run..

Here are a few pictures with all the fascia installed.

Now for the big job of cutting the holes for the panels and cutting in the hill / maintain / ravine  contours along the top section of the fascia. Some will be simple as they are along the front of towns and will be relatively level, although I may leave in high sections for road over passes and perhaps signal protectors. I intend to do 1 sheet at a time to enable me to get a uniform finish and that includes making blocks that mount behind each join so they sit flush and smooth.

Till next time.!

Sunday 14 December 2014

Fascia Time

Procrastination gone, fascia on the way.

After much procrastination, or I call it preparation, for fascia, I have now started the long task of installing roughly 52 meters 3mm x 2400 x 600 of fascia on the layout.

This will be a long task as not only do I need to install it, I need to shape it for hills and gully's, I need to cut holes for all the turnout panels (18 of them), the UP5 / UR92 (7), car card sorting shelves (6), portholes for the transition tracks from staging to the main desk (too many to count)..

Today, I finally got started on it and installed 10 lengths of the 2400mm x 3mm MDF. As you can see from the pictures, at present I have only roughed in the fascia on all but 2 of the sheets as I figured I would get it all installed, then one by one shape each sheet, then one by one, cut all the many holes in the fascia.. Then finally finish it with a lick of paint. Hopefully, now that Christmas holidays are here, I can make a decent dent in the work needed.. (that is if Michelle does not plan on family holidays away..!!!)...

As this is the rough in stage, the joins between sheets need to be blocked from behind to leave a nice join and also the screws need to be counter sunk.

Shish, any wonder I procrastinated for so long before I started this!...

Here are a few progress pictures..


Till next time....

Thursday 11 December 2014

Car cards and more car cards

Time to sort some car cards.

Now that the last test operations session is completed and the planning and preparation for installing fascia is well under way, I decided that I needed to sort our my car cards and place them with each of the cars and figure out what cars I have cards for and what I don't.

I am also in the throws of preparing to develop a schedule and that heavily relies on all cars and loco's having a card each.

Some time ago (about 5 years) I photographed all my cars and loco's and made car cards for them. Since then, there have been additions to the fleet and this issue needed to be resolved.

In order to find all the cars with no cards, I had to take all the trains out of staging and get them up onto the main level where I can see the numbers on the cars. I then sorted the cards into car type and this then enabled me to do many many laps of the room to find all the cars.

I placed each card next to the relevant cars. This then enabled me to locate the ones that don't have cards.

I then made up a stack of cards that belong to each train and moved the trains back into staging. The cars left over are the ones with out cards.

I then rounded up the cars and placed them into 1 location so I can photograph them and make cards for those cards.

Here are a few pictures to give you some perspective of the size of the task..

All in all, about 6 hours to sort, find, place cards, make train stacks and move the trains back.

There are around 80 loco's, 440 cars all in 13 different trains and cars at industries.

Now that I have taken a break from the fascia work, I will now get back to that.

Until next update.

Friday 21 November 2014

Full layout tour - cab ride

Cabe ride the full layout.

Per my last post and the cab ride to North Creek.. Here is the cab ride from North staging up to Plattsburgh, around the full main deck and back down to South staging.

If the quality of the video does not appear to be good, then click watch in Youtube and then click on the cog in the bottom left and chose 480p or 720p. (If your internext connection is fast enough)

Hope you enjoy.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Cab ride up to North Creek

Time for a cab ride.

Now that the first ops session is completed, I figured I would take some video of the layout.
I loaned my fathers small video camera that fits nicely on a flat car.

I have taken 2 videos over the last week or so and here is the first one.

This is a cab ride or should I say flat car ride behind 2 Baldwin sharks from Whitehall up the North Creek branch line.

Once I have finished a quick edit on the complete layout tour video I will post that also.

In terms of progress on the build of the layout. I have now installed some extra guards or sides on the hidden track that were missing from before in preparation for the fascia to be installed.

Now for the challenging part.. The fascia..
I have 10 x 2440 x 1220 x 3mm MDF sheets ready to go. I will cut them in half and then install them on the layout and then cut holes for the various turnout panels, UP5's and shelf's that will be used in each town for car cars etc.

The MDF will be cut to 620mm tall. Most of the layout from the main support to the deck is under 470mm, however I need extra height to allow for hills etc in fornt of the main line.

Well, till the next update, have a look at the short video.

Saturday 8 November 2014

First Operations Session Completed

Open the doors and they will come.

Today was the day I invited a number of good friends over to give the D&H a good workout. I had called it the Golden Spike ceremony, however, as all the track is now laid, and I did not have a golden spike on hand, things quickly developed into a operations session.

Per my previous post, I had completed a fair bit of planing for the occasion, with train cards, full train schedule, fast clock etc. So all was sitting in readiness just waiting for the big wheels to roll on the D&H.

At the prescribed time, my good friends, Rod Warren, Bill Black, John Colliver, Graeme Meyer, Peter Sutton, Noel Purdey, Ron McFarlane and Chris Elliot had arrived with throttles in hand and eager to put the D&H through its paces.

After a quick inspection and a bit of discussion the run button was pressed on the JMRI fast clock and trains started to move.

The newly installed, and as yet untested, dispatcher phone system was soon humming with dispatcher to engineer instructions.

The time table was set up for a 6:1 fast clock and 18 hours of fast clock time. It soon became apparent the the fast clock was too fast and I reduced it to 5:1. This seemed to suit the planned schedule just nicely.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

Bill and Rod working the North Creek turn.
Peter and Graeme working in Ft Edward.

Ron and John managing the main yard at Whitehall.
Chris working the local at Ft Edward

Noel working a train at Saratoga Springs
Rod and Bill in the hole at Saratoga Springs waiting for a meet.

Chris returning to Whitehall with the Saratoga Springs local

John switching the yard.

Here is the Whitehall yard work sheet. This enables the yard operators to know what is up next and what trains need to be built.
Here is one of the hand sets used on the Dispatcher to engineer phone system.

Here I am manning the dispatchers desk with the 19 hour long train schedule spread across the desk.
 Here is the dispatchers desk with JMRI running with a very basic panel, the crew call sheet and the train cards.

In terms of the flow of the day, two trains in the middle of the schedule did not run due to the lack of engineers. While the room had 9 people in it, it did not feel full and there is room for more..

There is room for improvement in terms of the schedule and next time I hope to have the card cards in operation for the layout.

All in all, the layout ran incredibly well for a first session and I'm very proud of how things went today. Bring on the next session..

Now back to getting the fascia installed.

Till next time.

Thursday 6 November 2014

First basic Ops session on the D&H

Its all in the preparation!.

This coming weekend I have scheduled a ops session on the D&H.
The session is going to be a basic session with a full train time table but no car cards.

I have the car cards for each car in my fleet, however, I dont have the time needed to plan the flow of traffic. So, instead I have set up a time table and as each train moves around the railroad, they will have drop off and pick up towns pre defined and the engineers can randomly pick up and drop off cars up to the max 20 car limit for each given train.

I have created small cards for each industry in each town so that engineers can figure out what type of car may be required for each industry.

There will be a number of through freights plus a pair of passenger trains as well as the North and South local plus the North creek branch local. The locals will do most of the work in each of the 5 remote towns.

In terms of time table and supporting documentation, I have created a crew call sheet so each engineer knows when they are needed, a Whitehall main yard work sheet as well as train cards for each train to provide instructions to the engineers as to what they are to do.

Here are a few examples:
Crew call sheet
The graph showing the movement of each train and where they cross is 10 pages wide

Train cards

Whitehall main yard instruction sheet

Well, thats all the planing done.. How let see how things go on Saturday.

Monday 27 October 2014

Track painting - Completed

Track work now nice and grotty!

Aver the last few weeks I undertook the large task of painting all the track that is on the layout including the staging and staging approach tracks.

Well, today I can confirm that all the painting for the track is now done.
I used Olive drab to paint the track and it looks great. I did all the track in the one colour with the plan to go back to the little used sidings and give them a more rusty look later on.

This gives the track work a more uniform look and it covers up all the raw timber ties under the hand built turnouts and also where they were added at the track joins.

Here are a few random location pictures to show the progress efforts to date.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Track painting

Time to start covering up all those timber ties and hand laid turnouts.

After I completed the track work at Corinth, it was time to remove all rolling stock from the layout (some 400+ pieces plus 70 off loco's) in readiness for the train painting to begin. It took me 2 or 3 days  (in 1 or 2 hour sessions) to get all the rolling stock off the layout and back into their draws.

I arranged for a good friend Jason Miller to come over and help out with the first session of track painting.

Jason brought with him some new paint from Metro Hobbies that is ready to go straight into the airbrush. We decided to try 3 colours. Olive Drab, Camouflage medium brown and camouflage light brown.

For the main line I decided that I liked the look of the Olive drab, so we set to work.

I think the light brown and the medium brown will be good for the spur tracks and the little used tracks in the yards of the layout so will start with Olive drab and then lighten things up with the light brown later.

See below for a collection of pictures showing the final finish of the olive drab colour. In some photo's you can see the difference between the unpainted Atlas flex track compared to the painted. I think the painted looks great and take away the shine on the side of the rail and also hides all the copper and wooden ties that make up the hand laid turnouts.

Note the difference in the unpainted compared to the painted track?

Well, thats the update.
I have completed all of North and South staging, south staging approach, Ft Edward, Willsboro to the entrance to staging at Plattsburgh.
Now to complete the rest of the North staging approach and the other towns..

Stay tuned for the next update.