Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hello, old friend.

On November 14th I took the British Oak/ Crigglestone Screens layout to the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud MN. It was two years since the layout had last been there, and when I pulled the layout out of storage I was pleasantly surprised with the condition that it was in. I touched up a few pieces here and there, but for the most part everything was fine. The only real issue, as it was last time was bits of the "coal" bouncing out of the hoppers and onto the track causing derailments. I added some side curtains to the hopper chute in the hope that this would cut that down. It did. But not as much as I'd hoped. There must be another way around this. It might mean a total reconstruction of the loading facility. The structure was going to be rebuilt anyway. We'll have to see. 
Still, it was very reassuring to have the layout operate nigh on perfectly for the length of the show. It does vindicate my decision to build the APA box layout.

There was something that happened that made this day a very special one indeed.
I was operating the layout and a young kid said to me.
"Do you mind if I ask you an unusual question?"
"Sure" I think...
"Do you recognize me?"
"No." Should I? I wondered.
"Remember the Princeton Train Show in 2009?"
I wasn't quite sure where he was going with this.
"I'm Jeremiah."
It clicked. I remembered Jeremiah. He had paid a lot of attention to my Wingett's recycling layout back then. He was cognizant of what was going on with the operations. I think I even let him operate the trains. I even blogged about it back then.
I was so pleased to meet him again. He proudly showed me pictures of a project he was working on. Using a caboose as a basis for a snowplow. I was very touched that this boy had remembered everything from back then and I like to think I'd done something to inspire him to carry on in the hobby.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Off we go again

So we begin again. With a couple of invites to model railway shows in the offing, (Granite City Train show and Princeton, MN train show, both in November) I really should get on and start the rebuilding work. 
The first problem area to work on was the track and the front uncoupler. I've made a concerted effort to straight the track out over and around the Kadee magnet and done quite a bit of testing so far and the performance is much improved. I will be doing still more testing and tweaking to hopefully make it perfect. The switch that leads into the yard has been replaced as my KISS method of using only the switch blades to keep current flowing through the turnout was failing an brand new PECO turnout was sourced and installed. Though it may yet come out if I decide to replace the second switch as well it too is a bit dodgy, but is more buried in place, so it would be more awkward to remove. As you can see I've already removed a lot of ground cover already in the other work so I would be loathe to remove any more. The final thing I've done is removed, and pretty well destroyed, the original factory building. The new structure is going to be much bigger , more in keeping with the heavy industry I have planned. There were a few twinges of regret when I started the out and out destruction but now progress is moving on I feel much better about things.

Track relaid, old structure removed and the area cleared for the new industry. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Loaded up

The thing that has fascinated me about Hamon Deltak across the road from my workplace, is the varying types of loads that leave there on flat cars.
Here's just a couple that I've photographed (one that I have modeled)
Interesting view that shows some kind of transportation cradle fabricated from girders (painted yellow)

This interesting piece of equipment appeared in the yard today, It could make for a very interesting model load for the new layout.

A couple of years ago three of these huge heat exchangers appeared in the yard on a fleet of flat cars

Model based on the above photos. It's basically a box made from Styrene sheet
These loads aren't the kind of thing you can buy from a hobby shop, you really have to make them yourself. Best thing is you can guesstimate the size. They don't have to be spot on accurate. As long as the proportions look right, you'll be fine.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Second time around

Hello again! (I wonder if anyone is still reading this)
It was way back in September 2009 that I started this blog and the Wingett's recycling layout. The layout went to a couple of shows including a successful turn at the Worlds Greatest Hobby show in St. Paul in November of 2010. After that show the layout went into hibernation, with the best laid plans of adding some more details and improving a few aspects etc: Well the hibernation went into a fully fledged sleep, and plans got forgotten about. The idea of an indoor scrapping business seemed sillier and sillier.
Yet I never broke the layout up. I knew it was a good layout. I was attached to it and kept it in the model railway room, where I could see it and be proud of it.
I never did write the article for Model Railroader though.
So let's fast forward through the intervening years. My employers moved location close to a rail served industrial park, and I got to see a lot of rail activity. One of the industries served was Hamon Deltak, a manufacturer of heavy industrial waste heat removal equipment. There have been several lunchtimes where I would watch large flat cars be delivered there and a week or so later they would leave, loaded up with some unfeasibly large industrial creation.
Naturally, this had an effect on me and I wanted to model such things. I bought loads of flat wagons of all types and sizes. Right now my largest model is the Atlas 89' 4" TTX flat car. These cars need loads so I also have scratch built several outsized loads for each of the flat cars I own.
I even built a 9'+ long layout with a huge factory on it to accommodate these vehicles and their loads. It only went to one show as there was something not quite right about it. So I went of modelling other things.
Facebook came along and I joined a few groups that specialized in small model railway layouts and other list members asked about Wingett's, and I looked at it again. The factory building was looking rather sorry for itself but the layout was still sound, so a week or so ago I made the decision to refurbish Wingett's and replace the scrapping idea with a heavy industry not unlike Hamon Deltak, (see below) I liked what I saw so I decided to start work on the project.
Here, I have mocked up a typical large heavy industrial works. I like how the differing roof lines and annexes to the main structure give it an air of authenticity.
And so, we begin again. The first thing I have had to do is realign the front road. I was having issues with the Kadee uncoupler magnet as it was set on a slight curve. I hope that straightening that out a bit will help. 
Track lifted.
I'm also going to replace the switch into the factory grounds as the wire in tube operating system had been damaged.
So there we go. Hello again, welcome back and enjoy the ride.

Monday, August 26, 2013

British Oak in an APA - The Concept

Here's the idea then. The APA box we are all familiar with. If not, review this other blog posting
A Google search for "British Oak coal disposal point" will reveal some remarkable pictures to whet your appetite.
Trackplan wise there's not an awful lot you can do in 25" x 11" and given the industry the plan sort of suggests itself. One road to deliver empties to which are then picked up by a small shunting loco to be loaded at the screens. Yes, really loaded. (You know my beliefs about how small layouts should have working features to keep peoples interest up.) before being returned to the front road to be collected and sent off to the rest of the railway system.
As I got to thinking about this basic idea my attention was caught by my DMIR stock and looking at pictures of loading screens on both sides of the Atlantic I realised they aren't all that different and one structure could easily cover both locales. As this rendering shows.

So, a transatlantic layout could be on the cards then. This would make things very interesting at a show.  Bored with operating UK trains? People not interested in British Rail Blue? Change it over to DMIR maroon.
I like this idea.
A lot.
Follow along.

...and we're back.

So, after lying low for a few months things are moving again on the British Oak Coal depot scheme. With, however a significant change. That being the layout will be built in an APA box.
What prompted this return to modelling? And in an APA box too.
Well I've always liked the idea of having an English outline layout to show at train shows in the Midwest and already having the stock means that if anything was going to get built it would be something along the British Oak lines. (Pun not necessarily intended)
I don't quite know what prompted me to consider using an APA box for it though. I think I was perhaps inspired by what people were doing with the APA on the RMWeb community. They were putting me to shame. I mean, I proposed the idea of building layouts in APA's and I've done so very little with them. I was in the mood to do some "hands on" model making as much of my model making lately had been concerned with learning how to create 3D printed models for a new T scale layout. While technically "model making" there's no hands on cutting and measuring, just dragging boxes to shape and size on your laptop screen. That's not what I need right now, I want to feel like I'm building something.
So, I'll share the scheme with you later as blogger still doesn't seem to be suited to the iPad with regard to image posting.
But rest assured, there is progress a d new will be coming soon.

Friday, January 25, 2013


It doesn't work.
Spreading the concept out over a period of time. It has to be done on 5 continuous days.
Monday was Martin Luther King day. I expected to work on the layout.
Below zero temperatures kept me inside.
But there was no motivation, no inspiration.
Nothing to get me off the couch and get modelling.
Big Fail.
Questioning my abilities in the hobby.
Other people have no problem building layouts.
Check back when I'm done feeling sorry for myself.
Normal service may be resumed.
Who knows?