Monday, September 16, 2013

New Traffic Contract Announced

[GEORGETOWN, KY- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- September 15, 1976] Thayer Consolidated Industries (NASDAQ- TCII) announced today the signing of a major new transportation agreement with the Chesapeake, Wheeling & Erie Railroad and the Kanawha & Lake Erie Railroad. The agreement provides for the railroads to expedite shipments of grain for TCI's Thayer Grain Company subsidiary from locations in the Midwest to the east coast port of Hunters Bay, VA. 

Yvonne Thayer, President and CEO of TCI, said "We are very excited about this new agreement and are confident that it will allow us to significantly improve our service to all of our customers. Our goal is to shorten our delivery times in order to meet the growing demand for overseas grain shipments as a result of the bilateral grain sale agreement recently entered into by the United States and the Soviet Union." Thayer Grain Company will route its eastbound grain shipments from the Midwest to the K&LE at Cincinnati, OH. From there, the grain will travel east under the run through agreement between the two railroads that was recently announced. Stuart Thayer, Vice President of Transportation for TCI, said "This new agreement is part of TCI's ongoing efforts to improve all areas of our operation, but most importantly, it will speed up delivery of all of our grain products to our customers. We are extremely pleased to have entered into this arrangement with the CWE and K&LE and look forward to working with them in the future."

(In the photo above, a long string of Thayer Grain Company covered hopper cars have just been delivered to the K&LE's St. Joe Yard just west of Cincinnati. They will soon be on their way to Morgantown, WV and the connection with the CWE.)

(The photo above shows several Thayer Grain Co. covered hoppers in a long string of TGCX cars as they roll through Big Chimney, WV on the CWE in route to Hunters Bay, VA.)

TCI is headquartered in Georgetown, KY and has investments in a wide variety of natural resources. In addition to Thayer Grain Company, other subsidiaries include Thayer Sand & Gravel and Thayer Pulpwood.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The First One

It may be hard to believe, but after spending over thirty years in the hobby, I've never made a load for a regular service flat car or gondola. I've added a few trailers to some piggy-back flats, constructed a crane tender flat with various tools and small pieces of equipment, and made more than my share of coals loads. But nothing for a flat or gon- until now.

At a recent meeting of NMRA's Division 7 here in Cincinnati, well known author and modeler Matt Snell made a presentation on constructing MOW equipment and including it in operations. His presentation gave me the idea of routing a gondola full of ties to the team track at Big Chimney, WV. Sometime later, I saw a CR gondola that Gary Christensen did over on The Rustbucket forum. Here's a link: You need to join the forum, but membership is free and the site is full of incredible work and absolutely beautiful modeling. Gary's gondola is incredible in and of itself, but what really caught my eye was the tie load. The colors were perfect, and he had really captured the look of recently creosoted wood. In response to a question on the forum, he explained how he did it. That was all I needed to get started on my project.

Following Gary's lead, I cut several pieces of balsa wood to fit into the bottom of one of my gondolas. If I had paid a little more attention, I would have made the base for the load a little thinner so that I could have added a more random layer of ties at the top. I used a spray bomb to paint the base flat black. After that, I cut a bunch of kitchen matches to size and painted them with a mix of black and white craft paint. Once all the ties were painted, I added some more white to the mix and went back over some of the ties to get some variation in color. When the paint dried, I glued them to the base.

The photos above show the gondola spotted on the team track at Big Chimney, WV awaiting the MOW crew. This was a quick and easy project, and I'm anxious to get started on some more loads for some of the other flat cars and gondolas in the fleet.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Victor and the Vanquished

Last month, I finished up a couple of GP38's for the railroad. As I wrapped up the project, it occurred to me that this was the first time in over 25 years that I had worked on a GP38. The new units are intend to supplement/replace the older ones, so's here's a little history on the victor and the vanquished.

I bought two Atlas GP38's at a train show in Cleveland in 1984 along with a Life Like GP38-2 and two Athearn GP9's. I had always intended to have a fleet of GP38's and GP38-2's for the railroad, and this seemed like to the perfect time to start. The Atlas units had the correct width hood, and with some detail modifications, they would make great additions to the budding fleet. I finished the first one in 1984 and the second one in 1987 (I think). I removed all of the detail from pilots and added parts from Details West and Details Associates, carved off all of the grab irons and replaced them with wire grabs, re-built the brake wheel location and step, and replaced the plastic handrails and stanchions with brass wire and Athearn metal stanchions. The photos below show the old unit next to one of the new Atlas units.

Over the years I added different decoders to the older Atlas units. They never ran very well and were extremely noisy. I'm sure they could have been tuned to run a little better, but once newer products came out with better motors and detail, I decided to relegate these units to dummies. Therefore, the motors and gears were removed. The photo below shows 2001 in service with two of the most recent units purchased by the railroad, U30B 3553 and 3558.

Unfortunately, 2015 will have to be relegated to the display case. When I modified the frame to accommodate the new brake wheel housing, it was bent in such a way that I can't mount a coupler on the  front of the locomotive at the correct height. And at some point in the future- once some additional units are on the roster- the 2001 will join it as the incorrect fuel tank has always bothered me.

The photo below shows a close-up of 2016. The unit was weathered using washes of tube artist's acrylics thinned with Microscale's Micro Sol. Some weathering powders were also added.

A neat trick that I picked up from Rodney on the Rust Bucket forum is to use a pencil to simulate the worn tread on the walkways. Rubbing the side of a pencil along the grating really simulates the bare metal edges where the paint has been worn off.

The photos below show 2016 and 2013 at SJ Cabin at the east end of Hollister Yard.

As you can see from the shot above, both of these units came decorated for Seaboard System- the stripes are visible on the noses. I thought the factory paint was thin enough that it wouldn't show. Note to self- strip the units next time. There's also a detail missing from the pilots. It's a bit surprising given the level of detail on these models. If you look at the photos of the old Atlas unit you'll find it pretty quickly. I may go back and add it later along with some sanding lines on the trucks. I rushed a bit to get these units completed for the last operating session, and little things like this occur every time I rush a project.

The photo below shows 2016 in its regular assignment, paired up with SD35 2505 as power for the Elkwater Branch Roustabout.

Both of the GP38's have Soundtraxx Tsunami decoders, high base speakers and LED's installed. The SD35 was the regular power on the Elkwater Branch previously, and it didn't have sound. With the addition of 2016 to the consist, all of the trains on the layout now have sound units in the consists.

I'm still working on the pair of F7's that will take over the Sand Fork Shifter at some point. Now that the most recent operating session is complete, I have time to work on some other projects such as these units. But I'm not going to get caught up again in rushing to get something completed for a session. It's a lot more fun to work on whatever you feel like versus what you think should be completed for the next session.