Saturday, February 27, 2016

Prairie Rail 2016

I was lucky enough to get another invite to Prairie Rail this year and jumped on the chance to operate in one of my favorite places. Dean Ferris and I traveled together. We started the weekend by having lunch at Union Station, which is a fantastic building. I didn't think to look for bullet holes.

I operated on Mike Borkon's fantastic Union Pacific Wyoming Division layout. Mike models the UP mainline thru southern Wyoming around Green River in the late steam era. His space is amazing and he really captures the feel of Wyoming. I had the west yard job.

Saturday morning I went over to Kevin Leyerle's Katy in Oklahoma layout and was the yard master. Keven has done a fantastic job and his railroad ran great. It was amazing how much detail he has in his scenes even though he hasn't really started scenery yet.

That afternoon I was off to Joe Kasper's to run his giant n-scale BN Kansas City yard. So many cars to switch into dozens of tracks. What a blast. Joe's layout is really something to see.

The last session of the weened Sunday morning was Eric Goodman's Santa Fe Emporia Subdivision in 1995. As you might guess, I took the yard master job completing a perfect weekend. It is always fun seeing big modern cars and big modern trains on a model railroad, although 1995 was 21years ago, is it really modern?

A special treat was a visit to Steve and Cinthia Priest's publishing empire for an early look at the Priest family's new AT&SF St. Louis Division. Wow! I think Dean's expression says it all.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Trains running

With all the spline complete for the first section, I moved back to the flat area where Hardin, MT sets. Hardin has a sugar factory of its own along with several grain elevators. There is still a very nice brick, one story passenger station. There used to be stock yards and a freight depot. I'm not going to model the sugar factory, since there is one in Billings. Instead, I'm adding a long spur that comes off the industry siding that will probably have a beet dump on it. 

I started using the caulk again, but moved back to the tried and tested method of track nails and spikes. I like the ability to move track around as I need.

With the track down, I moved on to wiring. I don't generally like to route the bus wires thru the joists, but I am concerned about wires hanging down into the bottom level, so I went ahead and and put them thru.

I like to separate blocks in case I decide to come back and add detection. I toed all the sub-busses together using this terminal strip.

I got these Tortoise's from John McBee. John had soldered wires and added terminal strips. This isn't my preferred method of connecting to tortoises, but I decided to take advantage of John's hard work.

I've also stayed away from suitcase connectors, but after seeing several large layouts use them with a lot of success, I decided to try them and not to solder all the drops to the sub-busses.

I use resistance soldering tweeters to solder drops to the rails. The drops are 22 gauge solid and the busses are 12 gauge stranded. I used to use nothing but solid bus wires because you can bend them and they stay. Also, if you are stripping them to solder drops to, you're less likely to break wires like you are with stranded.

Here's a full shot of the peninsula right before I ran the locomotive down the spur across the switch to the industrial siding.

Here's a Youtube video of the GP9 running.