Remaking of the Ridley Keystone and Mountain

Tompm Mar 6, 2022

  1. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Prologue

    After quite a bit of thinking I came to the conclusion it is time to remake the Ridley Keystone & Mountain layout. The unreliable trackwork, along the desire to add certain scenes is the driving force for this remaking. It will mean the destruction of about 80% of the current layout. This will be the third revision.

    There was no plan when the current layout was begun. It was meant to house dioramas such as the Water Tower, Inland Cement Company, and the passenger station not for running. At the time I was more interested in taking photos than running trains. I never expected to be able to run them with any consistency. That changed when my son got involved. He and a friend got things running. Not long afterward I discovered videoing.

    Then came to long time of no modeling. Things accumulated on the layout. The closet the rolling stock was stored in rusted at the bottom and collapsed. We had the water damage to the house and luckily no damage to the layout. It had to be covered during the repairs.

    A couple years later retirement comes and I again at the urging and prodding of the kids get involved in modeling. First, I have to reorganize and store the rolling stock. I get some storage bins and sort the cars. I also begin working on weathering and building more cars. I acquire some new locos at this time.

    Again, I think I will never get the trains running again. Once more my son comes to rescue one night and gets things rolling. Him and I discuss the current layout, and both agree something needs to be done. After several conversations we decide the best course of action is pretty much starting over.

    What I am hoping to accomplish is something that incorporates some of the dioramas from the current layout. Both my son and I want some type of urban scene. I would also like to add something representing South Jersey for the PRSL equipment. I want to make sure the anthracite region is represented. Be able to railfan the layout is also an important aspect.

    From our brainstorming we have think a simple oval type design will work. There will be some double track sections. Of course, industrial sidings will be part of it. We will use backdrops to section off the scenes. There is room to lengthen the layout by at least other eight to ten feet so that will happen. We want either 22 inch or 24 inch curves on the “mainline.”

    To get things started as you can see in the following photos the current chaos had to be cleared off. I needed to store the locomotives either in the boxes they came in or something else. Any with added detail parts will most required new storage boxes. The Proto 2000 and Stewart locomotives come with shell and body separate so new boxes are mandatory. There was some rolling stock that either did not fit in their boxes or never had any so they needed some.
     
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  2. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is a short photo tour of the mess.

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    The tunnel and hill be going.

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    Not sure about this tunnel portal. The hunting cabin will be saved in some way.

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    The grain elevator will be saved. The mountain will not.

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    The station will be saved. Not sure about the bridges or creek. I used Woodland Scenics water that you pour, and it has not held up well.

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    Inland Cement Company will be saved. This is where the layout can be extended to the right in the photo.

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    This is the corner from Hell. Everything seems to accumulate on this spot.

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    The Water Tower diorama will be part of the new layout. This diorama is the only one not permanently attached to the current layout.

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    The farmhouse and barn (buried under the boxes and felt) will be saved.

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    Each of the scenes other than the Water Tower will have to be cut out from the current layout. All the scenes need some tender loving care. Trees have fallen out, foliage is loose. Ballast needs to be replaced.

    First step the cleaning up stage. Wish me luck.
     
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  3. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    The first order of business was clearing off the layout. This meant packing away the locomotives and rolling stock strewn about the layout. As of the day of the photos there is one locomotive I need to box. It is my NYO&W FTA and FTB. Problem is they are permanently connected with a drawbar and therefore are too big for the containers I have. I don't want to have to unscrew the drawbar each time I store them or take them out.

    You can see the FTB in the first photo.

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    The collection of buildings still has to go

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    Stray cars mostly gone from this area. There is a passenger coach behind the grain elevator

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    This area used to be filled with locos, rolling stock, and junk. Pretty clean except for some rolling stock that either does not fit in the box it came in or does not have a box

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    The rolling stock from a run by is still there.

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    The corner from hell is looking better.

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    The Water Tower diorama area mostly cleared.

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  4. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    All the locos and rolling stock are off the layout and in bins.

    Ready to begin demo. The mountain behind the Farm will be first. It will begin with removing the trees. I am not sure how much if any of the foliage can be salvaged.

    This is how it looks before the tree removal begins.

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  5. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Impressive! And so well documented.
     
  6. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    It has begun. Pulled all the trees from the hill behind the farm.

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    I was able to remove and save for possible future use the rockface behind the big barn.

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    Regarding the big barn I thought I could just cut the whole scene out. The big barn, however rests on two pieces of foam. I need to do some fiddling but I think the barn will have to come up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
  7. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Got some more work done. I began cutting out the farm scene and removed some more of the hill.

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    I was trying to get track. I contacted a few shops online but have not heard back. We have one hobby shop local. I, however, do not like going there. The plain and simple is one of the owners is a jerk. So I was little frustrated as a result.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
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  8. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    During the last months of 2020 I concentrated on weathering rolling stock in order to reduce the height of the Wall of Trains. Once I was down to the last couple of RTR cars to weather I knew it is time to get working on the layout again.

    Over several nights I removed the mountain behind the Farm House and Grain Elevator.

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    Next will be removing some pieces of foam that are stained. I do not know what the stains are. They could be from the water problem as in some places the water did leak through the floor. Since I do not know what they are, the sections will be removed and replaced. After that it will be time to expand the width of the layout. In order to run with 24 inch curves I need at least 65 inches so that the track is not running on the edge. The current width is 58 at this end and 66 at the other end.

    I did not remove the track until I am was ready to relay it. I wanted to keep running trains as long as I could.
     
  9. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    As things were moving along and the preliminary track plan was created it is time to think about what I want out of this version of the layout.

    The size of the layout will be 68 inches wide and 14 to 16 feet long. An additional piece will be added to the layout extending it another 6 to 8 feet. I obtained the lumber I need to expand the width of the layout and hopefully I will begin to add it this week. Next will be the removal of the existing pink foam board down to the plywood. Then replacing the foam board to make the new width.

    Backdrops will act as screen dividers. There will be at least three areas but as things are developed this could change. There will be an urban area, town area, and rural area. When the extension is added there will be at least two more yet to be determined areas.

    The following sections are the results so far of brainstorming sessions and bouncing ideas off my son. They range from must have to possibly having on the layout.

    Passenger Trains

    There will be an urban station and one in the town area and one in the rural area. Long distance and commuter trains will be handled.

    The urban station is presently designed to be elevated over the platforms. The platforms under the station will disappear into a scene divider.

    Coal Trains

    The lines represented are anthracite roads so there must be coal. Plans are to run through coal drags. Deliveries will be made to the Power Plant in the urban area and at least one coal dealer in the town area and possibly one in the rural area.

    Milk Trains

    Since I seem to have an obsession with milk cars and milk tank cars milk trains are a necessity. Thus far operations of milk trains are the most developed and thought out. There will be a milk platform at the town station and rural station. There may be one of more stand-alone milk platforms. A dairy/creamery (Walthers Brook Hill Farms Dairy will be located in either the town or rural area. A team track will be needed in the urban area.

    Roughly the operations will be
    • Milk cans collected at platform sites.
    • Cars carrying milk cans or milk tank cars picked up at interchange track
    • Stop at dairy to drop off milk cans. Pick up milk tank cars. Possible reefers to pick up butter and/or cheese.
    • Stop in urban area using team track to off load milk into trucks for delivery to large processing plants.

    The dairy may also receive coal to be used for powering the dairy.

    Yards

    Possibly one in the urban area and another elsewhere. Urban yard will most likely have some engine facilities such as coaling tower, engine shops, water tower, fueling facilities, sanding facilities. This is still a work in progress.

    Other industries

    Cement, and grain need to be thought out and what facilities that will be needed identified. Express and ice reefer traffic will need to be identified and fleshed out. I am not sure what if any more will be added in the future.
     
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  10. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    I ran what was the last freight train on the layout. Below is a video of the train.



    Of course the train stopped at the end of the video because the front trucks of the front loco derailed.
     
  11. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Time is coming for heavy demo but first

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  12. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Got a good amount of demo the first weekend of February done. First was removing the Hunting Cabin

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    After

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    Next came the rock face.

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    After

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  13. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Now for removing the Grain Elevator. I tried to save as much as I could. The track, however could not be saved as it came up when I started removing the foam.

    Before – Grain Elevator isolated

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    The Grain Elevator removed

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    The area without the Grain Elevator

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  14. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Down to the wood

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    Next up is finishing removing the Farmhouse and the foam on the first board. Then I will start working on the wood for the widening of the layout.
     
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  15. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    It was a struggle, but I was to get the Farmhouse free without too much damage. The road looks fine but it is not and will need to be removed or redone.

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    Here the one board cleared of foam. I still have some dried glue spots to remove.

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    After doing a measurement check on the board a problem arose. It is not 4x8 as thought. It is 4x6.5. This means there as currently situated there would be too much overhang on the near end of the table. Even adding the additional wood for bracing would not help. The solution is to move the table base which is an old drafting table I got from work when the office moved. I got four of them, all ones that were part of my squad area and used by me. Currently two serve as the base for the layout. One is my workbench. The last one is at the moment a junk collector. When the layout is fully realized it will be the third table base.

    In the meantime, I am going to bring in a piece of the pink foam and lay it down temporarily. I want to layout a couple of critical areas of the track plan to make sure they fit before cutting any wood or foam.

    Another part of the project is to hang some new lights over the layout. They are in the box that keeps getting moved around.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
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  16. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    New lights are up.

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    I still have some work to with hiding cords and such.
    After thinking and possibly overthinking installing the lights I am happy they are up ad working. Took me a little while to figure out how to place them. Then I pondered whether to mount them to the rafters directly or on something else. Once I stopped overthinking, I decided to try one on the rafter directly. It worked out nice and installed the other five. Took me about 2 hours to do. I did not do them all at once. I did two then took a break to let my shoulder relax, did 2 more rested, and then the last two.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
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  17. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Before I start cutting wood, I wanted to be sure of the width of the layout. When my son created the track plan, he used a width of 68 inches. He was not sure if that left enough room between the track and the edge of the layout. I built the largest curve on the track plan and measured 68 inches. The yardstick represents the other edge of the layout. 68 inches gives two inches from the track to the edge.

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    I was not comfortable with the 2 inches. I moved the yardstick and adjusted the placement of the curve to represent 70 inches. This gave me 3 inches from the rail to the edge.

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    I need to move the drafting table under the first board. As it is positioned now there will be too much overhang on the one end of the board. I would rather have the majority of the overhang between the two boards where I can build the frame.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
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  18. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Finally got to cutting the lumber and putting the pieces in place for the widening of the layout. They are not secure. That is tomorrow’s job. The two pieces on the near end are off the drafting table so they will be screwed to the bottom of the board. Next step will be building the frame work connecting the two boards.

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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
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  19. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Had a good work session today. I got the foundation framework for connecting the two boards done. I will finish it once the foam is removed and the outside frame is completed.

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    I finished the framework for the widening.

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    I decided the corners need legs. I still have work to do on the legs but for now it will work.

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    The widening framework is 95% done for this board. It is ready for pink foam. However, before I do that I will switch to removing the foam from the second board.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
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  20. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

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    This was a very productive weekend. I worked on the second board. This is what it looked like when I started.

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    In removing the foam, I had to take care and remove the Passenger Station and Island Cement and try to salvage some of the scene.

    Pink foam removed. Passenger Station and Island Cement removed safely.

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    Next step was to cut the lumber and place the cross members for the framework and secure them.

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    Lastly was adding the connecting members and connecting the two boards. I added a leg on each side where the two boards connect.

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    I need to do some final clean up and remove the salvaged foam from the first board. At the end of the second board, you can see another table with a pile of stuff on it. That stuff is scenery materials, detail parts, unbuilt building model kits, and probably a few surprises. Some day in the future this table will get cleaned off and become the third table for the layout.

    After clean up the next step is to begin laying pink foam!
     
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