Cultivating the Train Plant

574 views
13 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
HCF
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 13 posts
Cultivating the Train Plant
Posted by HCF on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 11:35 PM

Hey Folks, 

In my other thread I got some useful starter advice and some warm welcomes! I'm so excited to meet you folks.

Eric encouraged me to start journaling the progress of my railroad so that's what I intend to do in this thread. 

I'm not quite sure what I'll call my railroad yet so for now I'll call it the Seedling Road because I like the idea of the garden railroad being nourished and grown like it's a plant or a tree. Possible permanent names might incorporate the names "White Deer", "Surprise", "Magma", "Praying Monk" or "Pacific" because of family history and familiar geography. I might go with "South West Pacific" but I haven't decided yet whether it's personal enough to this railroad. 

Influences are going to be the Southern Pacific, Central Pacific, and AT&SF railroads and maybe some others if I decide. I think my era is going to be somewhere in the range of 1870 to 1920. Haven't settled yet and I'm ok with that. I might even start with the railroad in the 1870s and update the history and it's story as it grows. 

But enough rambling. Let's get to the fun stuff: the trains! 

The Seedling Road is starting out with two Bachmann 4-6-0s. Not sure what they'll be named yet but I've already decided they're sisters. Their names will come once I've run them more and learn their personalities. #21 is South Pacific Coast with lots of good detailing. Anniversary loco I think, that's what "her" box says. #49 is Santa Fe. Not super sure on the details about "her" other than she's Bachmann. "She's" not as detailed and doesn't have metal driving rods. #49 is missing her bell and her whistle fell off. She also won't work so I'll need to investigate why that is. 

As for rolling stock, SR is starting with a baggage car, a combine car, a flat car, a box car, and a 2 axle caboose. The baggage car is Denver and Rio Grande, combine is Santa Fe, box car is Rath Packing Co., flat car is B&O, and caboose says "Pardee and Curtin LBR Co." I think this is a lumber company which must make this caboose a logging caboose! It's missing a break shoe so an interesting project will be fashioning a replacement. The baggage car is missing a wheel set so finding a replacement will be going on the to do list. 

I love how I have some projects to work on already. Already excited that this hobby is providing me plenty to do. 

Look forward to the journey ahead and the comments, advice, and prodding from you all that will make this journey a more fun one. Pictures will come soon. 

See you soon space cowboys,

Holden

 

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 1,761 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Thursday, April 9, 2020 11:58 AM

Hi Holden,

 love those Bachmann Big Haulers!(4-6-0). Your Anniversary engine should be a really nice loco right out of the box. You mentioned the other does not run. These engines were in production for an eternity, with many revisions to the drive train. If you go to the Bachmann Trains web site, you can order an anniversary chassis that will fit your engine for around $79. This will be an upgrade,to the new drive train. The last time I looked at it, they were starting to sell out, so sooner is better. 

They are great looking engines!

Paul

HCF
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 13 posts
Posted by HCF on Thursday, April 9, 2020 12:57 PM

Paul, 

Thanks for the advice! I actually just got #49 working I took it inside and ran it on level ground and it worked alright though she's making a bit of a whining noise, not sure why. Maybe it's just noisy. Anyways #49 has plastic driving rods and I hear that the older big haulers will sometimes give out. Do you reckon it'd still be worth buying a new chassis?

Thanks, 

Holden

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 1,761 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Friday, April 10, 2020 9:22 AM

Hi Holden,

it may be making a noise because it needs lubrication. Long term, I would still consider getting a new Anniversary chassis, because it has the improvements incorporated into the drive train. It will give you better operation over the long run. Not expensive, and the benefit is huge !

Paul

I just checked, they have the Anniversary chassis, and the bell. Not accepting orders until the Covid crisis is lifted.

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 606 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 10, 2020 11:08 PM

Holden,

 

You absoluteyly should buy the new chassis.  We had a second had B'Mann that came in a Christmas set.  "He" ate his own gears within a couple of weekends of routine use.  Even if #49's chassis holds on, it won't be forever.  

 

Alternativley, consider #49 your "parts bin."  Bill Barnwell, who haunts this forum, is a master of reuse and repurpose.  He dragged me kicking and screaming into the realization that no part of a busted loco is waste material!

 

Oh, as for the name, I am going to take crack at where you are...How about the Praying Monk & McCormick Park RR?  

 

Aloha,

Eric

HCF
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 13 posts
Posted by HCF on Monday, April 20, 2020 2:22 PM

Hey Folks, 

Still getting the railroad up and running. I promised pictures last time, so here's #21 pulling a mixed train on a kidney of track. 

I think I'm going to keep #49 and get that anniversary chassis when the Bachmann shops reopen. I think it would be a fun challenge to detail #49 so it looks right next to #21. I think my plans for the future (and this depends on getting that more powerful chassis for #49) will be to make #21 our passenger and express locomotive and #49 will be our freight loco. Of course they'll fill in for other duties when there is need for it (breakdowns, or when I want to mix things up.) 

Speaking of parts bins, do people in the hobby ever make locomotives out of junk? I was looking at an old cat scratching post in our living room and I saw the cylinder take the shape of a boiler. Wouldn't actually work because it's made of cardboard but perhaps a piece of pipe more suitable for outdoors could serve as a boiler? As a tank car? 

As for railroad name... still unsure. And Eric, you got it. Surprise Didn't think anyone would figure it out so quick. 

Thanks, 

Holden

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 1,761 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Monday, April 20, 2020 7:54 PM

Off to a great start !! 

Just wanted to clarify that the purpose of updating the chassis would be performance related, the pulling ability will not change. It will run very smoothly, you'll love it! 

Lookin'good!

Paul

HCF
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 13 posts
Posted by HCF on Monday, April 20, 2020 8:55 PM

Oops good catch. Thanks Paul!

That's what was in my mind but not what came on the page. Good to clarify that though too so that I know what exactly I'm planning for haha. 

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 606 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:13 AM

HCF

Speaking of parts bins, do people in the hobby ever make locomotives out of junk? I was looking at an old cat scratching post in our living room and I saw the cylinder take the shape of a boiler. Wouldn't actually work because it's made of cardboard but perhaps a piece of pipe more suitable for outdoors could serve as a boiler?  

Oh, Bill, I think you have a budding disciple!

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
  • 346 posts
Posted by chocho willy on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 8:55 AM

Holden check out "making of Old Joe" on this page, I used parts from just about everything, Bill

Tags: Old Joe
HCF
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 13 posts
Posted by HCF on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 7:57 PM

Heya Folks!

As the semester winds down, I get to spend more time focusing and planning the railroad! 

I've been playing around with track plans trying to figure out what I like. After playing around with the browser based layout planner 'Trax' I think I've come up with a track plan that I'll be using.  I like it because it has a good balance of straights and curves. 

Now in my hauls I've recieved two powered switches and a manual switch. It's my understanding that with powered switches you can create block sections in a way so that you can run one engine while the other is stored. Is this correct or am I mistaken? The dream is to eventually create a switch yard on the right of the layout and I think it'd be a good idea to block it off from the mainline. 

Speaking of switching, I think I've found that I like mainline running in a circuit but I also enjoy the option to build and break trains. When it comes to switching it's a little frustrating when voltage is spotty. I want to do what I can to achieve smoother operations. Am I correct in stating that the best way to get smoother running is to clean connections between tracks and clean residue off of rails? Did I miss anything? 

Now something that's long overdue, some pictures of the trains. 

Engine #21

Engine #49 

Passenger Cars

Freight Cars

Ok now that I have provided something pretty to look at, it is time for questions! DevilWink

So both engines have sound tenders but curiously #21 does not seem to want to make noise. I've tried fresh batteries, made sure the knob on the bottom is turned, and made sure the switch on the locomotive is switched on. Is there anything I might've missed? Anything to keep in mind when doing any of the steps I've mentioned? 

Something you may have noticed in the picture is that some of the stock is missing parts. A missing axle on that baggage car, a missing not sure what the correct term here is so we'll say hub cap on #49's leading truck. Anyone have any tips for getting small parts like these for cheap? A special case perhaps is the caboose that is missing a break shoe. Anyone have any tips for creating or finding a replacement? 

For reference, here's what a proper shoe looks like. 

Finally, some questions that aren't immediately relevant but may be soon. My two passenger cars have different colored windows in their roofs, anyone have any ideas of how I may get those windows to be the same color? 

Thanks so much for your help folks, 

Holden

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 1,761 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 10:58 PM

Hi Holden ! You're making great progress, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can, and I have one myself: your track plan looks great, does each square represent a foot ? It looks like a healthy run.

Layout design is personal taste, and some will like operations, I am like you, I like to let 'em run, with an option for switching. Not sure about powering sidings through switch contacts ( I think that's what you were asking ) because I've never done it that way. I had a powered switch, but the switch motor stopped working after being submerged in a heavy rain. My previous layout was all hand throws, and I moved them all to the front of the layout. Mostly, my trains ran unattended, while I snoozed !

You are fortunate that both locos have similar paint schemes. Check out the Bachmann web for missing detail parts and engine chassis. Sometimes you can pick up a used car or engine cheap to take parts from.

Engine sound : " white noise generator", most likely a break in the wiring in the tether you plug in. Try the working tender in the engine with no sound to see if this works. Also, 21 is 10th Anniversary engine, and has 2 ports to plug into, one is for sound, one is for the backup light. The sound must be plugged into the correct  port, and it should be marked. The early engines only have one port, but be careful with the Anni's 2 ports that it is in the correct port.

The Clerestory windows different colors: personal taste once again. I have the green and pink windows mixed in a train, and it doesn't bother me. You will have to find another car with the correct color to take from. Bachmann also used to make these cars in kit form, but they are very common, and you could probably find a used car to take from.

Hope this helps ,

Paul

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 606 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, May 14, 2020 3:13 AM

Aloha Holden,

 

     Glad to see progress is happening!  For parts, frankly, I work on the "if it doesn't stop it from running, don't worry about it" principle.  I catalog all my broken bits, and, too save on shipping, make a "strategic parts order" once a year.  Bachmann does  have an extensive parts catalog, but you may be able to score on the used market.  I came across two broken B'mann 10-wheelers last year, and they would've been years worth of bits at a steal... had I actually bought them (Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Crying  I have also benefitted from folks I've met through the hobby that have gladly donated their suprlus bits as they upgraded wheelsets, couplers, etc.  If you have a local club, you might be able to tap into a similar network.

 

     Looking at your engine that is not making noise, my 10-wheeler has the same issue.  If I am frank, I don't miss it.  My yard is a bit small, and the continuous sound got sort of annoying after 10 minutes.  I look at that tender as dead space for a potential (distant) upgrade to battery power, anyway.  See how you like it running silent, and then proceed with Paul's suggestions.  As a last resort, you may consider opening the tender and inspecting the wiring.  When I upgraded my 10-wheeler, albeit not the tender, I found the wires were short and the solder beads rather small.  Something may have pulled loose or rattled free in its previous life.

 

    Tracks and power...Echoing Paul, again, the track plan is a personal choice.   I had two goals for the Triple O: 1.) run two trains at once, and 2.) be able to run a train to any point on the railroad.  This has led to an inner and an outer loop, each with its own sepearate power supply.   Taking advice from Bill again, I dug out a crossing track to be able to run trains any which way.  Yellow plastic rail clips  hold the tracks together and insulate one another.  All of my switches are hand powered because that is what I had, I had no desire to spend the money to power them, I have no talent for things electrical, and I like the fact it forces me to get up and walk about to shuttle trains about when I am not simply relaxing and watching them go.  That being said, I took an tip from a GR article a couple years back, used some of those isolatingting clips again, a couple buildings, and some light switches, to allow us to manually power some sidings on and off.  It proved relatively easy.... even for me!  As a result, we can "park" three trains and run two.  

 

     That brings me to power.  Bill and forum member Greg Elmassian (see his web page here:  https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12&Itemid=813) pointed out my "track problems" were actually "power problems."   I am assuming you are using a starter set power supply.  You will quickly find this thing irritatingly underwhelming in all but a small layout.  Do yourself a favor early, spend $35-$50 on components and build yourself a real, 24 Volt / 5 Amp power supply.  I built two, and it transformed getting trains running from a 45 minute fight to a 5 minute cinch.  Again, if I can pull of this sort of electrical project, anyone can!

 

Eric

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
  • 346 posts
Posted by chocho willy on Thursday, May 14, 2020 2:02 PM

Here is the instructions for building your own transformer, and from my understanding is pretty much all the Atlanta cumb members use

http://www.trainelectronics.com/PowerController/index.htm

Tags: transformer

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy