Coal mine project

Coaltrain Sep 27, 2004

  1. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    The coke ovens are done and I have "planted" them into the scenery. I added the last details over the holiday week, the door trolleys and chains.

    I also installed the supports for the slack bin to the scenery, I built them from balsa wood and painted them to look like concrete. I still have to add the handrails to the slack trestle and I have to attack the slack bin. In the photos the slack bin looks like it is leaning a little because I have to trim the bottom of the legs so that it will sit level.

    Over the last week I scratch built the coke crusher from photos of the prototype located at the Pine Branch tipple located on the Interstate RR. I still have to finish the loading conveyor and mount the building to the scenery.

    I am getting closer to the tipple everyday. I ordered a Walthers conveyor to go from the slack bin to the coal tipple, after I get that in I will work full time on the tipple. I have to stop working on this project again for a couple weeks because I have another operating session to get ready for. My goal is to have this area finished by the end of March. After I get done with the coke side of the tipple things are going to get much easier and it should go faster.


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    picture of coke crusher / loader and the slack bin in the background.
     
  2. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bravo!! [​IMG]
     
  3. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The finished project is going to be amazing! Wait a minute - it already is amazing [​IMG]
     
  4. Benny

    Benny TrainBoard Member

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    I wish I had the house to build my layout so I could enjoy projects like that! Salivating!!!
     
  5. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    I am now moving on to the right, no more pictures of the coke ovens because they are done. I am now working on the area the handles the slack coal that is used for making the coke and the coke crusher that is used to load coke that is gathered from the ovens on the back side. I have been building both the slack bin and the coke crusher and last weekend I started to add them to the scene.

    I added some lights to the slack bin and glued it to the platform. I made railings around the platform from .028 brass wire. The stairs going to the ground are from Plastruct. The platform sits on concrete pillars made from balsa.

    The prototype coke oven had a massive ground storage pile of slack coke. The slack coke was pushed into a receiving pit by a bulldozer. I didn't have space to show this so I just simulated it with a slack coal receiving building that would be open on the back side to allow a bulldozer to push in the slack coke. I made a slack receiving shed from styrene and use a Walthers conveyor to go from the receiving shed to the top of the slack bin.

    I had to raise the coke crusher up a little and now the stairs don't fit. So this week I will have to modify the stairs and finish building the loading conveyor. Then I will add lights and glue the building into the scene.

    The end of this week will be my last post on this for a little while because I have to get the layout ready for an operating session on the 21st.

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  6. racedirector

    racedirector TrainBoard Member

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    Wow Jeff!

    This project is getting better and better every time I see new pics. You have once again outdone yourself. Great work, keep them pics coming!

    Cheers
     
  7. Comet

    Comet E-Mail Bounces

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    Your hand painted backdrop is looking better and better with each picture as well.
     
  8. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, it has been a while since I have posted to this topic. Sorry to those who were following it, I had to take some time off to work on some more adjustments to the track and control system. I am back to work on this project but I have changed my mind. Instead of having a truck dump and receiving pit I have decided to use that space to add more company houses. I felt that the small space I allowed for company houses on the other side of the wye did not give enough feeling of a company town. So I removed the old lift out that was located just east of the mine (where the truck dump was to be) and I built a new one with a different shape to the scenery. The new lift out is not as tall as the old one was so I will have to patch the back drop and repaint it in above the new lift out.

    I build two different types of company houses, both based off of houses found along the Clinchfield RR. I have decided to use the houses that have their front on one of the long sides (of which I build two so far) along the tipple lead tracks, and the houses that have the front on one of the short sides (of which I have build three so far) on the opposite side of the wye and east of the depot. I will also add a company store next to the tunnel entrance.

    In mocking up the new company houses I found that I can fit three along the tipple lead and I will have room to add an Atlas water tower as well. Just an FYI, the Atlas water tower mold is getting old and the tower supports are not molding well at all and it will force me to have to build new ones just as I did in Roda.

    I have also pulled out the plaster in the town of Derby, behing the depot, because I want to rearrange the town and include a small Freight house (a very small freight house), a post office, church, a row of stores, the lumber mill, and as many company houses of the second type as I can fit in (at least 5-6 I hope).

    I will try to get back to building the tipple very soon, I just want to get the new town designed so I know which direction I will be going. I made this change so that I could model the entire coal mining scene of the 50s', and the town was as big a part to the mine as the train part was and I want to include them both.

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  9. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the update. It is good to see some non-railroad structures appearing, it will give the whole scene a very realistic look.

    Wonderful work [​IMG]
     
  10. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

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    Great work continuing, I see! [​IMG]

    I build two different types of company houses, both based off of houses found along the Clinchfield RR. I have decided to use the houses that have their front on one of the long sides (of which I build two so far) along the tipple lead tracks, and the houses that have the front on one of the short sides (of which I have build three so far)

    For me, that is the kind of subtle differences I like to do. Sort of like detailing engines and each one is slightly different.
     
  11. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    Here is what is happening with this project. I am still working on it, just about every day, but most of the time has been spent reworking the scenery around the front of the coal mine area. I didn't like what I had and after I decided to model more of the company town I had to remove the plaster scenery I had build and I replaced it with a scenery base built from foam. I have been reshaping it and adjusting it to fit all of the new buildings that have been making. So this project changed from building a huge coal mine to building a large coal mine and a coal mining town. Here is what I have as of yesterday.

    I finished the company store Which I scratchbuilt from an onld RMC article. I have some detail parts that are not shown in the photo that I will add when I add the ground cover around the structure. The church next to the company store is almost finished, I still have to finish the steeple roof and add the cross. I was going to scratchbuild the church also but I found a Walthers one room school house that looked like a church. To make it look more link a church I built the steeple from styrene. The roof of the steeple is covered with shingle strips.

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    Here is how the company town is starting to look. The scenery base is foam which I spent a lot of time carving all kinds of gradual elevation changes. I did want any part of the town to have a flat level serface. It took a ton of carving to get all of the gradual elevation changes in but in the end it was well worth it, they are hard to see right now but I think as the ground cover is applied and the roads painted you will be able to see it better. The roads are made form WS Smooth it, which at first I had my doubts that it was going to work but it ended up working very well. The gas station is a metal WS kit and the small freight house is from a kit which I can't remember the name of the manufacture. The back drop is in the basic stage of painting and I will finish it now that I have the scenery finialized. To the right of the church will start a row of company houses, to the right and across the street of the gas station will be some other stores.

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    This last picture is taken from the loads track of the tipple looking at the company town. The water tower on the left is part Atlas (the tank and roof) and part scratch built (the legs down). It was a real challenge to get the footings to work out on the sloping ground. To get it all to sit level I cut out a level patch from the foam and glued in 12 identical height footings made from balsa wood. Then I filled in between all of the footings with foam scrap. I used Sculptamold to blend in the area around the footins and build up the narrow road that leads to what will be three company houses and the mine's bath house. The road will just be a narrow dirt path, most mines walked every where back then. The depot was scratchbuilt. I had to recast much of the rock work in this area because I lowered the hill and replaced most of it with new foam. I used foam this time because most of the hill is a lift out to get at the turnouts in the staging yard that is located under this area. The rocks are cast using molds that I make from a large chunk of coal. I colored the rocks with washes of thinned WS stain using Stone Gray, Burnt Umber, and Raw Sienna.

    I also had another set back in this area. I was never happy with the track infront of the depot and the west turnout that leads to the wye, the track didn't have a smooth flow and there was a very big dip right infront of the depot. The did was hard to notice when a diesel went over it but it was easy to spot when a steam locomotive went over it. I pulled up all of the rail in this area and two turnouts. To fix the dip I glued new ties on top of the existing ties and I sanded them all level, checking often to make sure I was to making a new dip or building a hump. I also removed some ties to realign the track so it had a nice smooth flow. I had to build two new turnouts to fit the adjusted track but I am much happier now when I watch a train travel through this spot.

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    As for the actual coal tipple, I have started to work on it once again. I have finished covering it with the metal siding and I am going to add the roof sections next. I have to scratch built a coal boom which I want to spend lots of time making it right because it will be closly viewed. I should start posting pictures of it over the next few weeks.

    This project has been huge and I never would have guessed it would take some much time. I know I have worked in reverse for a while but I had to make some changes that were bothering me and because they was not happy with some areas I could not get motivated to do the work I needed to do. this is also the last area on my layout to build and I want to savor it a little.
     
  12. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, I'm back to work on the tipple. I finished adding all of the metal siding and I painted it the same light gray / blue color as the company store. I weathered the tipple with acrylic washes thinned with windshield wiper fluid.

    For the roof I preweathered the same metal siding material that I used for the side using Radio Shack PC board etchant just as I had done on the small coal loader if you had read that post. The photo below shows a scale 4 x 8 piece of siding mater in a cap full of etchant. I found that if I poured a little etchant into a washer fluid cap I could get the etchant to react much faster. The warmer the etchant is the faster it will etch. Once I got a piece to etch I would grab it with a tweezers and wait until the entire sheet was etching (it will turn a dark gray) and then I would drop it in a cup of water to stop the etching process, then I would quickly drop another new piece into the etchant and it would start to etch right away. I got into a rhythm and it went really fast, but there is a fine line between each piece not etching enough and a piece etching too much (unless you wanted a really rust and rotted piece). After I got a water cup full of pieces I would run clean tap water into the cup until the water in the cup turned clear. Then I dumped the water out and spread all the pieces out on a paper towel to dry. At this point the pieces all looked a dark gray, but as they dry they turn different colors of rust.
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    One interesting thing happened, one day I had etched about 12 pieces and I had them sitting in the cup of water, which had become discolored from the diluted etchant, and my wife asked me a question upstairs. After we had talked for a while I forgot I had these 12 pieces sitting in the cup of water and I turned off the train room lights and went to work for the day. When I returned home from work I remembered that there were pieces sitting in the cup and I ran clean water into the cup until I could see them. I was disappointed to see that they had turned light gray. I laid them out on a paper towel anyways and returned to the train room to weather some more sheets. When I returned to the where I had laid out the light gray sheets I saw that they had rusted a little and resembled weathered galvanized steel that had just started to rust. I used these panels to represent sheets that had been replaces a few years ago and they are just starting to rust.

    You can see some of the light gray sheets in the photo below. Sheets that are only half weathered were not left in the etchant long enough and I used those sheets where I needed half of a sheet.
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    I also started to build the Link Belt conveyor that will be exposed. I am using styrene to build the conveyor. The tall angle iron pieces will support a roof of lightly weathered siding, I will try to duplicate the light gray weathering method that I discovered on accident.
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    Sorry for the dark photo, I am still trying to get the hang of this new camera.

    I also started to add ground cover around the "empties" tracks. I have seen lots of photos of empties tracks at tipples this size where the tracks are covered in weeds and grasses. I have uses Silflor and ground foam to try and simulate the weed overgrown effect. In the photo below the ground cover is still very wet from gluing it down with diluted matte medium, the colors should lighten when it gets fully dry.
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    I'm sorry this has taken so long to get back to working on the mine structures but I had to go change some scenery so in the area and I wanted to do it before I got any closer to it so I would not chance messing up all of the work I would be doing on the tipple. I back in business full steam and I should have more regular postings again if you’re still following this. I'm hosting an operating session next week so I will have to clean up the scenery mess and make sure trains run through this area again.
     
  13. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent work on the Mines and Coke ovens, Coaltrain!

    I wish I had the tools, time and skill to do all that! [​IMG]
     
  14. LR&BRR

    LR&BRR TrainBoard Member

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    dont suppose we should ask if you will be making a kit of this ???
    sorry that was evil of me
     
  15. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry, too late to make this a kit. I did about making the company store into a resin kit, but I wanted to get it done so I just built it.

    For anyone that started following this post I am still working on this mine, a little slower than when I started but I still make progress. I will post what should be the final pictures next week as I am just about done (I think). I can't believe that I started this project 9 months ago and I am just now starting to see the end of it.
     
  16. SD70BNSF

    SD70BNSF TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow coaltrain. I hadn't seen this thread in a while either, but I must say, great work. Looks really nice.
     
  17. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ok Jeff, will look forward to next week's pictures [​IMG] You definitely took on a long term project!!! :D
     
  18. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    I don't believe I missed this topic before now.

    Wow, what a project! It looks amazing what you have done so far!

    I will be keeping an eye out for updates on this one.
     
  19. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

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    Really beautiful work! [​IMG]
     
  20. Coaltrain

    Coaltrain TrainBoard Member

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    This is not the official last post for this project, just another update.

    When I saw that there were some replies to this topic I noticed that I had made some progress since the last time I posted photos.

    So here are some new photos.

    I completed the exposed loading boom. Everything is scratch built from styrene. This model is really close to the edge of the layout so I wanted to spend a lot of time making it look as close to prototype as I could get with the limited photos that I could find. The conveyor is a Link-Belt type, which is a conveyor that has a metal-segmented material belt. The belt is made up of metal plates that are pinned together like a chain. Each plate has a raised rib to move the material that it is conveying. In the early years of coal loading most tipple simply had chutes that dumped the coal into cars (as did this tipple), but what happened was that the coal would have to fall so far that the first coal that would fill the car would break up. Customers that bought a specific size coal would find that the bottom coal in the load would be pulverized and only the top three quarter of the load would be usable. To eliminate this problem coal tipples installed boom conveyors that could be lowered into the car and the coal could be carefully loaded into the car, raising the boom and the coal filled to the top of the car. To stop the coal from "rolling" or sliding down the conveyor they used these Link-Belt conveyors.

    My Tipple represents a tipple that has had many upgrades and changes over the past 40+ years of operation. The original tipple only loaded on the two tracks to the right using coal chutes.

    The first upgrade was to install an early version of a coal boom that is housed in the long extension that is now over the middle track (it used to be the last track until the "new" track was added on the end of the tipple). When the first coke ovens were installed behind the tipple the original inner track was used as a switch lead into the coke yard (originally one track to a set of bee hive ovens).

    The coke yard has recently been rebuilt with the new ovens, crusher, and a second track. The inner track still loads with a chute but it now loads only what is called "slack" coal, a very fine grade of coal, which does not require a loading boom.

    When the coke yard was added a new coal-loading track was installed between the mainline and the outer loading track (which is now the middle track under the boom extension shed). The new coal-loading track has a more modern (modern for the late 40's / early 50's) coal-loading boom that is not housed in a shed. The boom is lowered into the car from the overhead hoist and is counter balanced with the concrete weights located in the hoist support structure on each side of the car. The old coal-loading boom also had counter weights but they are concealed in the boarded up section of the wood support structure.


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    Here is a close up of the new coal boom, notice the concrete counter weights.
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    There is not much more to do now, I just have to finish a few more details and I will be done. With the holiday weekend I don't know it I will get a chance to work more on this project but my guess is within the next two to three weeks this project will be complete if all goes well.
     

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