Saturday, April 20, 2019

FPS 1218 is on the move!

FPS 1218 was spotted earlier this week in Henderson, CO on the Denver Pacific Division of the Union Pacific.

With all of the problems that this railroad suffers on a daily basis, it's unlikely that Big El will move on any time soon. 

Actually, this is Jim Rollwage's railroad and it was featured in the January 2014 edition of TrainMasters TV. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, as is evident in this picture, and it runs even better.

So how long do we think it will take Jim to find Big El?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Push-button Finale

So the dreaded West Staging panel has finally been replaced and the toggle switch replacement project is complete. This was the last panel to be converted and I'm glad to finally have this done! The photo below shows the panel prior to conversion.

While I thought the layout was pretty clear, crews often got confused at to which toggle switch they needed to get a route lined to a particular track in the yard. Once I started misrouting trains on a fairly regular basis, I knew something had to be done.

The photo below shows the new panel with push-button routing. All you need to do is push the button for the track you want, turn on the track power, and everything will work just fine. I hope. 

So now every panel on the railroad has been replaced with push-button controls. And once the last signal bridge in North Pierce is in place, the conversion to full CTC and Signals By Spreadsheet route control and signaling will be complete. For now.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Freight Car Friday 2

In this installment of Freight Car Friday, we'll look at N&W 160578. This was the first real kit-bash project I ever undertook and it was based upon two articles by Jim Eager in Railroad Model Craftsman in the early 1980's. In the November 1980 issue, Jim described how to modify the ends of the old Athearn plug-door boxcar to more closely resemble the ACF Precision Design plug-door car. He also detailed how to remove the rivets and replace them with weld seams. In the may 1981 issue, he went on to describe how to kit-bash a group of double door cars. I followed Jim's instructions to the letter.

There were two significant modifications to the N&W car. The first was the addition of the second plug-door. Jim described how to narrow an Athearn door that had been removed from another project from 8' -0" to 7' -0". The second big change was the addition of the reinforcement plates next to the doors. These were cut from .005 clear sheet styrene and glued in place. The door tracks were extended with pieces of styrene. The photo below shows the modifications to the sides.

The modifications to the ends can be seen in the photo below.

This car was completed sometime before 1983 and I'm not sure what I used as a reference for the car color. The photos in the article were black and white. I mixed up the N&W blue from Floquil paint that I had on hand and lettered the car with Microscale decals. I also weathered the car using thinned Floquil and lacquer thinner. I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did. I originally thought I had overdone the weathering, but I now think it fits in pretty well with the rest of the fleet. I may go back at some point and re-weather the trucks, but for now, the car just keeps racking up the miles on the railroad.