2015-2016 Eighth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 20, 2015

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  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Spent the past week getting ready for Saturday's operating session: cleaning track, fixing track problems, tweaking cardboard mock-ups (and adding a mock-up of the crusher and shredder buildings, shredded metal conveyors, and scrap gon loading facility), refreshing scenery, making new maps and job descriptions for the 50+ trains that could have been run on my layout (we only got through about half of the potential jobs).
    Took some pics of the coal train:

    Jim Wiggin, TB Staffmember, had a conflicting train event that prevented him from attending this op session, but he dropped by a few days ago with the 2 Paducahs he customized. Here's a video of them made at the end of yesterday's session.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  2. Rocket Jones

    Rocket Jones TrainBoard Member

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    I'm getting a "Video Unavailable" message, no permission to view it.

    Love the coal train!
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Seeing the same message here.
     
  4. Extra 515

    Extra 515 TrainBoard Member

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    I haven't gotten much done but our schedule is getting easier soon so hopefully I can get track started.

    IMG_20160131_140650375.jpg
     
  5. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

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    Since my three week marathon I haven't gotten much done scenery wise. Although all my containers of ground foam are lined up ready to go.
     
  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Probably some user error on my part, but I can't seem to post videos from my phone directly to TB, so I have been first uploading videos to my Facebook acct (which apparently performs some techno-magic that automatically converts my phone video to a TB friendly format), and then I copy the FaceBook URL to embed it in TB media. Try the video now, guys. Originally, I had it marked as "Friends Only" when I copied the Facebook URL to post it to TrainBoard, but changed it to "Public" late this afternoon, so you should be able to see it now. I want everyone on TB to be able to see it, so please let me know if there are still issues and I'll troubleshoot some more.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    :( Still cannot see it.
     
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Ken, Kevin, et al:
    Try it now...I've edited my post above so it is now just a direct link to the video on FaceBook, instead of a Gallery image embedded in the post from my Layout Projects album in RailImages. Can anyone see it in my RailImages Layout Projects album or is that also still giving you a "no permission" message? I can see it both here and in my RailImages Layout Projects album.
     
  9. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Since work on Jim Wiggin's locos wasn't completed until the end of Saturday's run session, I decided my first Layout Party activities for this week would be to get some railfan shots of the new locos making their first run on my layout.
    IC 8026 and IC 7964 leaving the Diesel Shop to pick up their southbound cars.
    IC Train # 291, headed up by IC 8026 and 7964, departs from the PPU East Peoria Yard for Decatur.

    Train #291 passing by Tuloma Propane, Sconey Distributors, and the abandoned former GMO ROW.

    I set up this second shot of passing the industries near Hillards Siding and entering Grove, in order to capture a long distance view of the train.

    This last video shows Train #291 at the Jackson Street grade crossing in the Morton Block of the Pandeic Subdivision (P&E and IC Main) in the Regional Division.
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  10. Tracy McKibben

    Tracy McKibben TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks to 10 inches of snow overnight I was able to "work from home" today. Which means I was totally focused on work. As a result, the inn is starting to look like an inn. Or at least a building of some kind. Three walls assembled, more or less at right angles.

    2016-02-03 15.49.08.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If it snows more often, soon you'll be finishing this project! :)
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Glad to see these links are now visible. In that last video, it was interesting to see the IC/ICG units growling past. And then hear their sound fading in the distance. Dunno why many folks dislike...
     
  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Most of this week's activities for the Layout Party entailed improving paperwork related to operations.
    For last week's op session, I had marked 4 dozen maps of the Eastern, Western, or Regional Divisions to show operators which tracks their trains traveled on in each division, and there were cards on the fascia by each industry showing where specific types of cars should be spotted. Even operators new to my layout and car movement system were relatively independent in using the maps to correctly move trains from one of the 12 RR yards to another, or properly spotting cars at industries as needed; however, for 4 RRs, I did not have any descriptions of how 3 trains arriving at a regional yard at different times should be broken down and re-built into 3 departing trains. As the RR superintendent/dispatcher/track manager, hostler, and primary question answerer, I had to individually coach crews in the proper movements when they arrived at any of those 4 yards...so, this past week, I drew up some car classification cards (comparable to my industry car spotting cards) for those 4 yards. Pics of 4 of the 46 maps operators used. I still want to type up job descriptions for each train and combine them with the maps and info from the industry car spotting cards into a booklet specific to each train. My hope is that, booklets with the maps and industry car spotting cards, plus the car classification descriptions for those 4 yards, and turnout information for properly moving through the helixes, will allow operators to work more independently.
    When the booklets are completed, each operator will have a clipboard that holds a throttle (with a velcro patch that will be put on the left side (top in the pic)) and on the right, a 4.25x11 inch booklet with info about the train he/she is running. The pic shows a sample page (a schematic of the Western Division) that I drew up in Excel this week. I've got the Eastern Division schematic 85% finished and still have the Regional Division schematic to make. I hope I'll be able to enlarge portions of the schematics near industries to 4.25x11 to provide operators with info on car spotting at industries served by their train.
    Most of the main aisles on my double-deck layout are 3 to 4 feet wide with four narrower choke points where the aisles go through doorways with track on one or both sides of the doorway, and 6 wider places where 2 people could be working trains on both sides of the aisle and a 3rd person could pass comfortably between them.
    Unfortunately, the 4'4" X 35' portion of the layout that is under our front porch only has a 26" aisle. This is the doorway choke point that enters the area under the porch. And this pic of the 26" aisle is taken with the doorway just to my left.
    At last week's open house/operating session, train meets went fine, but--especially in the porch aisle--people meets were a problem. This week I've been testing/tweaking the order of trains a little bit to space out the train schedule so there is only one train in this portion of the layout at a time. 34 trains (17 each direction) pass through this section of the layout on the upper or lower decks. Trains running at scale speeds and not stopping for any switching take between 4 and 6 minutes from entering to exiting through the doorway, and those doing switching may need up to 10 additional minutes to finish their work.
     
    Kevin Anderson likes this.
  14. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

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    I've taken a step similar but each operator will have a binder clip with the train info attached to a lanyard that they can wear. Since the largest card they will carry is a 3 X 5 index card and a small stack of car cards it should work nicely.
     
  15. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Been busy with shows and work, but progress will be made starting this week.
     
  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I really like the lanyards that a fellow operator in the area uses for his Digitrax throttles. I've purchases some for my throttles, but haven't attached them, yet.

    Until this session, I've used a 6x9 inch clipboard for paperwork (train route maps, job descriptions, switching instructions, etc), and used a velcro patch on the back to hold the throttle. This has worked well, although some operators preferred the throttle on the same side as the paperwork. Now that I'm trying to move all switching paperwork to the car spotting cards at each industry and only use the booklets for adding details for those operators less familiar with particular train jobs, I'm going with the larger clipboard that can hold a throttle and booklet on the same side.

    Car cards and waybills are working "okay" for my HO switching layout which has a maximum capacity of 60 cars--but only 48 cars for now. I have car card boxes on the fascia at either end and hooks for hanging the throttle when necessary (instead of using a lanyard). Because the already very narrow aisle has discouraged me from adding a 3 inch shelf along the fascia, I find myself juggling my pack of 8 to 10 cards a lot, and frequently setting them directly on the layout to organize my switching. Another local operator has fashioned car card boxes behind slots close to the bottom edge of his fascia, and that got me thinking that I might be able to fashion a drawer/tray that slides out from behind the fascia when I need a shelf, but disappears out of the way after use. [Sigh...So many projects, so little time.]

    I've avoided car cards and waybills on my N-scale layout, because there are currently over 1200 cars on the layout, many of which are duplicates, and it's getting harder for me to read the little numbers. To work around the small road number issue, I've adjusted my system for determining car movements to depend on the (much more easily seen) particular type of car and its road name, rather than the specific number of the car. For some of my generic black tank cars, I've determined which industries they go to by using the reporting marks (GATX, UTLX, ACFX, etc) but not the numbers; however, even those are sometimes hard for me to see. So, for a while now, I've traded a little bit of prototypical appearance for a lot more visual ease/convenience by adding letters, numbers, or colored dots to supplement the reporting marks when deciding which industries a car should go to. With the car spotting cards on the fascia by each industry and yard, operators only have to juggle a throttle and uncoupling pick (and a clipboard/booklet, if they want it). I suppose purists might argue that car cards and waybills better represent prototypical movements because they never generate an improbable sequence of car movements, such as a boxcar moving from a lumber yard to a machine shop, to a brewery, and then a department store warehouse. My system could potentially generate such a scenario, but since all traffic goes from an industry served by one train (and operator), to a yard where another operator classifies it, and then to an industry or yard served by a different train (and 3rd operator), the continuity of any improbable sequence is broken...and remembering where 1 specific car out of 1200 cars started at during the last operating session is highly unlikely...so the car movements (while not exactly prototypical) are represented realistically enough for me to enjoy them.
     
  17. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

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    Here is my card card boxes. Yes they are the plastic gang boxes from lowes. And here is the lanyard with the engine decoder card[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  18. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Appropriate that the sub topic is operations and card systems. I purchased a book by Tony Koester on operations at the Springfield Massachusetts show and finally have some quiet time to read it today. Because my layout is small and operations based, it's imperative that it is operated as the prototype. Fortunately, even in my small corner of the world, my modules have an interchange track with the Santa Fe and a connection to the Q main just off the layout (for now). I've enjoyed Dave's OP sessions in the past and I'm enjoying everyone's input on this thread of operations as well. Onward!

    The mundane task of cutting, gluing and fitting all that cork is about finished. Here we see module #3 with the Santa Fe track main and start of the long siding which also acts as my interchange. My buddy in Michigan has the other modules that connects to this and completes the siding which is about 7 feet long when together and from my records is scale length. The spur is the lead to an industry which from older photos looks like a gravel or maybe concrete plant. The siding is still there today and is rather long and from the aforementioned photos, stored a respectable amount of cars. This spur also continues on to my friends module.

    With the cork foundation 95% down and completed, my goals for this weekend are as follows:
    • Finish the small area on module 3 that requires me to fill in with cork foundation.
    • Install a socket plug into my Tam Valley Octopus turnout controler for a small 12 VDC transformer.
    • Find and correct the source of a short on module 3.
    • Re-level all three modules and sand cork foundation flat on top and all sides of the modules.
    • Paint track.
    • Start the road surfaces.
    • Construction of buildings for modules 1 & 2
    There are other little pesky things in there that always seam to rise up but I'll deal with them as they happen.
     
  19. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I haven't documented any progress lately, so here goes:

    Accomplishments:
    • Basic benchwork completed
    • Plywood subroadbed installed at Ravenswood
    • Narrow, ceiling fan-style boxes installed on benchwork for lower level lighting
    • Laid 14' of road bed on the main from the end of layout eastbound through Ravenswood.
    Immediate plans:
    • Lay out turnouts on west end of Ravenswood yard.
    • Test a portion of lighting to determine if 4' spacing between fixtures is adequate (suspecting not)
    • Rip backdrop material into proper height and install.
    Photographic evidence of progress:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  20. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    This is the last week of the Layout Party. The official ending day is this coming Sunday Feb 28 at midnight, so participants should try to post a final progress report and pics of their work in the next week or so.
     

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