Progress on the Triple O

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, June 5, 2014 1:08 AM

Glad to here the progress report.

HINT: Just before you start to fill the bed do a couple of quick "fixes." 1. Put down a couple layers of cardboard boxes as ground cover. Will STOP any grass growing up into the layout. Garden fabric will do the same but cardboard is cheaper. 2. Use garden fabric up the inside of the wall to prevent your fill material from seeping through the "leak gaps". If you have any old 'plastic' cloth sandbags, they will work as well.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, June 5, 2014 1:22 AM

Thanks, Tom.  I wouldn't have thought of either trick!  Right now, it looks like we'll be on schedule to fill in late June or early July.  I'll post some photos as we hit various milestones.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 3:57 AM

Status update:  

  • We dug out the retaining wall's perimeter.  CINCHOUSE has approved the final shape and size (phew!).
  • Test fit some track to make sure we could actually turn the trains around at each end of the garden.  More digging followed; however, that is better than finding out I'd screwed up AFTER I had made the wall and filled the garden bed
  • Following the father-in-law's inspection, I now understand what is meant by "leveling" the foundation.  Forgot about that.  More digging to come!  With the zoysia cut away, it is more a matter of breaking up and moving the sand, so that should be comparably quick.

Because i had not even thought about leveling, I am pushing my estimated fill date back to late July or early August.  Progress is nonetheless continuing!

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 7:43 PM

Sounds like you are making progress and learning at the same time. Glad to hear of you success with CINCHOUSE. In my case SWMBO issued approval at each level of planning and construction. She only allowed me total freedom on one of her requests. "I want to be able to send a train somewhere and it not come back for a while." That meant a branch line leaving the pond area across the back fence to the other side of the yard where it wound its way among her fruit trees.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 12:24 AM

Latest update... My leveling job seems to have succeeded.  I just need to see if we can figure out a date to lay the foundation and build the bed.  If the date slips too far, we'll hire someone for this phase.  I was going to upload a photo, but it seems I have to put in a hyperlink...I'll figure this out yet!

We visited the Hawaiian Railway Society to get some 1:1 motivation.  One of the volunteers had had a garden railroad and reconfirmed suggestions from earlier in this post - keep the family involved!  In this case:

  1. If the wife wants a pink one, get a pink one!
  2. If the kids want something goofy with eyes, get something goofy with eyes!
I'll post the next update when the bed starts to take shape.
Aloha!
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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 1:57 PM

By all means, keep the family excited and involved. Especially CINCHOUSE! 

As for photographs, there are a great many free cloud storage sites to put your photo and link them here. My two favorites are Photobucket and Google Drive. For videos, most use YouTube. All provide a link to photo (video) that is easily pasted into your text.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:57 AM

Latest update...

The form is a bit less straight than I hoped it would be, reflecting my lack of skill and the excite if dubiously useful help from my work crew, but the foundation is laid.  The perimeter is just over 100 ft.  I have some professional obligations that will prevent the retaining walls from going up in the next couple weeks, but progress is progress.  Still, I am backing down from my goal to have a mainline ballasted in by Christmas. At this point, I just want it filled with the sectional track down and tinkering for final arrangement in progress..oh, and train(s) running! 

In the meantime, the concrete has brought family and friends on board, as the whole thing is more than a dirty gash in the yard.  We will stage the retaining wall progress to allow us time to determine if it should be one or two blocks high.  CINCHOUSE, in the meantime, is developing her plant wish list, so all is well!

Here is a photo of where we stand at this point:  [View:https://drive.google.com/?usp=web_ww_after_dl#folders/0B4R0NqTe3DtiZWVUY1g2b2lRRkk:600:0].  Our cattle dog is inspecting the work!

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:50 PM

Glad to hear progress is being made.

Double check your photo link. I'm thinking you just copied the web address, instead of using the "share" link. Your link takes me directly to my Google Drive.

Hint: the "share photo link" is not so good of an idea, at least as I've found. I've created an entire directory and shared that with family and friends. Works well. Have a look at "Photobucket" from there you can paste the photo into the page here so that no one need travel outside to look at your photos.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, August 14, 2014 2:45 AM

Thanks again, Tom.  I'll try "Photobucket."  It sounds like a happy compromise between privacy and utility.  For experiment's sake, I've tried pasting the "shared link" in Google Drive below:

edit?usp=sharing

As you can see (?) the lines are not quite straight as an arrow, but this'll do.  I am calling it "character." Once we get the walls built and filled, the intention is to make the part closest to the viewer the start point for the garden.  The furthest point will likely be grassed back in after the tracks are laid, leaving it as free-lay area for the kids while I experiment elsewhere.

I'll post the next update as the retaining wall goes up

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:13 PM

I keep all the private stuff on OneDrive, used to have it on Google drive until my daughter wanted me to join google plus so she could talk to me. Then G+ started self posting the pix. did NOT care for that. I put only the pix I want to publicly share or insert into a post on Photobucket. Photobucket is free if you don't mind some advertising when you are on that page. 

It may be a bit too late to ask this question. Not looking like you left enough room between the wall and fence to get the lawn mower in there. Or are my eyeballs not as calibrated as they used to be?

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, August 15, 2014 2:26 AM

Nope.  Lawn mower space fell victim to other design constraints:  the avocado tree and a conservative estimate of what it'll take to have the tracks and passing siding. The weedwacker will have to do the job back there!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, September 5, 2014 3:08 AM

Quick update...A pause in some professional obligations and my father-in-law's availability coincided.  The retaining wall is up!  I'll post the photos later as I start to source the fill. 

At this stage:

  • I witnessed the power of error propagation.  Not enough to hold things back, but the wall has some..."character."
  • I learned to lay a brick.  Who knew that was in me?
  • My father-in-law asked for piece of track and rolling stock so he can start plotting bridges and buildings.  Maybe I should come up with a track plan.  The kids are fired up, too, and my goal to make this a family affair seems to be playing out.
Photos of the work to date to follow as will updates as they are merited.
Aloha!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, September 21, 2014 12:42 AM

OK, trying PhotoBucket with the latest picture showing the completed retaining wall. O note this is linked to FaceBook, so have fun viewing my Civil War reenactments if this failed!

As a back-up, I am trying Google Drive again. edit?usp=sharing

Per my post elsewhere, I am ready to fill.  I am looking for free stuff, but, in the interest of time and to ensure a good foundation, I may contract this portion.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, September 21, 2014 12:48 AM

OK, Photobucket 5,  Me 0.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 12:27 PM

Belated Happy Thanksgiving!  

Just a quick update, we did decide to get professional help to get the garden filled and tamped.  We just needed to get the project "over the hump."  In the meantime, we are going to be getting all the trains out for Christmas, which will allow for a full inventory of track and stage everything for track planning post-Holidays and ballasting.

Pictures via one website or another will follow as progress occurs!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 2:03 AM

FYI, the work crew showed up today and reinforced the retaining wall.  Glad I hired someone with a bit more experience!  Fill should arrive this week, and then the crew will use a tamper to pack it down.  

On the fun side, we will be breaking out all the trains and track for their annual run around the Christmas tree and off into the yard this weekend!  No more boxes for them this year!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, December 27, 2014 1:55 AM

Merry Christmas! 

 

Thanks again for the forbearance as I use this as a blog to keep me honest and progressing.  

The trains came out of their boxes for their annual run around the Christmas tree and out into the yard.  With my brother's track having sat in storage for 20+ years, it took some real elbow grease to get things running, but the crew (hopefully pictured) was game.  In the meantime, my neighbor started filling the garden, so, while the rolling stock will go back into boxes, this is temporary!  

In the meantime, my father-in-law builte a short trestle.  Not sure, how we will incorporate it, but we will!

As a hunorous aside, I found "ballast"  and "roadbed" have no practical meaning in a state with no railroads.  My neighbor sources beautiful scale gravel, and layed it down forward and aft, port to starboard across the entire garden.  Oh, well, it will allow for the flexibility I wanted, even if it means each plant will get its own planter box countersunk into what will be 5-6 inches of gravel. 

Since I figured out this picture thing, here is an idea of the track I have to work with:  

(Last) Temporary home of the Triple O

I am sure as heck looking forward to not having to constantly deal with the track shifting and derailing things every 10-20 minutes!

 

Some final thoughts....If I had known how this project was going to speak to my immediate and extended family, I would've started years ago.  Seeing my youngest gandy dancer in the almost filled garden with his Tonka Trucks "building a railroad" alone made this experience to date worthwhile!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Sunday, December 28, 2014 12:04 PM

Looking good.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 8:24 PM

The bed is filled!  We'll let the rains help things settle and hold a "Gandy Dancing and Grill" party to lay down the track later this month or early next month.  In the meantime, I will research the best way to build a mountain and tunnel to visually split the "dog bone."

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 12:35 PM
Cute kids! Glad you're making progress on the RR.
 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, January 4, 2015 12:37 AM
Thanks! We think they're pretty good looking, too!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, January 19, 2015 7:20 PM

     I am pleased to report that as of 17 January, 1330 (Hawai'i Standard Time), about  year from the planned ground breaking, the Triple O came to life as an ex-DR Bahn 0-4-0T pulled an international somrgasboard of gondolas, a hopper,  and a battered caboose around the mainline.With the addition of a bog plant to the pond and the hasty repositioning of some jade plants, the inspection train even had a nominal garden to run through as it tooled along an otherwise barren landscape of small rocks. 

The mainline is in place.  An interior loop sits on top of the gravel, as I don't want to set it until we put in some landscape features, and I am hemming and hawing about where to put sidings.  We are able to run two trains at once, which is more than the family could want!  We will probably start transplanting some herbs and permanently planting the jade plants this week or next.  In the meantime, we are just enjoying rotating the trains through the garden (such as it is) and discussing the possibilities.

Thanks for the advice scattered over the course of the year, as I know you all guided me around some "mission kill" mistakes.  More questions to follow as this rolls into the next phase!

We are a long way from being the feature railroad of GR, but, by gum, we have garden railroad!

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, January 19, 2015 8:35 PM

Cheers all around. Glad you got the first train running. The real fun now begins, and I'm not talking about the fun of running the trains. No, the real fun comes when the Railroad C.O.O. (that's you) is confronted by a land management battle between CINCHOUSE and The Land Minions. Take care and enjoy.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 8:56 PM

Very quick update.  The camera died, so no photos!

 

  1. Track Plan.  This continues to evolve as we decide how we want to run things.  Mostly, this has to do with where the sidings will go.  The kids, who have put hollow tile to use as buildings, are leading the way.  The double dog bone will remain the basic shape.
  2. Plants.  The various herbs intended for the Boss' kitchen are starting to come in.  A few scalish-flowers are also looking nice.
  3. Mountain and Tunnel.  When my father-in-law showed up with hollow tile and rubble, that determined the means of construction!  I am transporting lava rock one hatchback full per day to form around the hollow-tile portal.

Oh, and the Triple O successfully delivered adult beverages from the lanai to the grill!  Design success!

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 5:33 PM

Looking good my friend. So glad you have made this an entire family project. I have seen several layouts that have scenes of Star Wars and Cinderella done by the younger generation. Allowing the kids to add their bit just makes the whole thing so much better.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, March 23, 2015 12:22 AM

A little progress this weekend working on the tunnel interior (See my post entitled "Working with Foam (Or go to Plan B?)").  I'll post the results of that first foray into foam craftsmanship there, with a final picture here.  I hope to have the tunnel capped by the end of this week.

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, April 16, 2015 2:03 AM
Tunnel delayed when the labor crew was redirected to remove old carpeting....Updates to follow soon!
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Thursday, April 16, 2015 3:22 PM

Nice progress, the layout is really taking shape! 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, April 20, 2015 2:42 AM

Aloha Everyone!

We have now trained our guns on our mountain / tunnel complex.  After learning the intricacies of workig with paint, glue, and enthusiastic children, I abandoned my plan of carefully washing the concrete and foam to blend harmoniously and chose, instead a brown that reasonably matched our lava rocks as base for all exposed concrete.  We then glued some rubble at the base and practiced our washed to provide some geometric and color transition (Out of sight...great place to practice!). The end result looks a bit like this:

Today we stacked, but did not glue, the tunnel "caps."  We also started to experiment with stone placement.  I am weighing the merits of using left-over bits of cinderblock to form a core around which to place the rocks, as is my geologic engineer:

 

The other challenge will be making the face of this look like something other than cinderblocks.  I have concrete rubble I can glue to the face to at least make it look rough.  Unfortunately, I did not leave enough distance between tracks to sink thinner pieces of rock to extend outward from the portals.  Foam will simply not stand up to the wear and tear on this line!

 

Finally, you'll note the "Easter Bunny" apparently rides a LGB rail bus....

Thanks agains for providing a venue to keep me honest on this project!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, April 23, 2015 1:46 AM

Today we glued concrete slabs and hollow tile in place to form the cap of the tunnel walls and the core of the mountain.  It looks like an abandoned industrial site for the moment, but it already adds a sense of the trains "going somewhere."  This is what lies ahead:

  1. Sort our lava rocks to see how we can best use them.
  2. Stack the lava rocks.  I will probably use mortar to hold them in place rather than "Liquid Nails" for cost and aesthetic reasons.
  3. Soften the corners by gluing on debris, chiseling away at them, or planting things.  From reenacting, I've learned trying to hide something too hard can make it stand out.
  4. Fill exposed seams.
  5. Paint / wash exposed concrete.
  6. Fill voids with dirt and plant our mountain top forest!

I envision this will take a few weeks, working as best we can between professional and family obligations.  I am trying as much as possible to keep the job an "all hands affair," too, which is guiding my approach as much as my available time and funds.

My oldest daughter was the photographer today, so pictures will be forthcoming if they add to the narrative and have an absence of her trademark thumb.

Eric

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Thursday, April 23, 2015 7:44 PM

Mortar is definitely the best choice for cementing rocks together. The Liquid Nails doesn't work as well on irregular surfaces.

I don't know if they're available in Hawaii, but there are concrete pigments you can add to mortar to make it blend with the rocks. 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, April 23, 2015 11:36 PM

Ray,

Thanks.  I will pick up the mortar next week, and I will look for the pigments at that time.  It'll save me the paint and keep everyone a bit cleaner!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:56 AM

Ray,

Mortar and die are on hand.  Professional and family obligations brought work to a near stand still; however, we have sorted the rocks and all is staged to proceed.

Sorry, but no photos this time. Our photographer neglected to note company policy that no photos may be taken of siblings choosing to gandy dance in the buff, so our latest efforts will be stowed for future, private use to embarass a teenaged version of said gandy dancer!

We did make another nursery run.  Herbs are making good stand in for trees (and really making CINCHOUSE's cooking pop!).  Lower growing plants, however, are not doing as well.  My theory is the direct sunlight for most of the day may be frying them.  We are working with the local nursery to find suitable ground cover.  Overall, the greenery that did thrive is helping to make things look a bit more like a garden and less like an abandoned quarry.  A progress to date shot is in order.

Oh, no permanent structures yet.  I lack the time, none would survive the kids, and we have too much heavy landscaping yet to do.  They will be next year's project.  Maybe.

On the technical side, I did experiment with some quick disconnects from Radio Shack to make hooking up the power supplies easier.  Ultimately, I may move to heavier gauge wire and stereo jacks to make it really plug and play, but we are still determining how we want to control the trains (trackside?  lanai? ), so that can wait.

The tracks have been outside long enough to usually require some buffing when we first get the trains out (2-4 times a week!), and things usually run pretty well.  Curiously, the trains run better after the tracks have been powered up for 20 minutes or so.  I've identified a few areas that are problematic, and I'll probably start soldering key sections together.  A few cracked ties where the LGB track clips hold the sections together suggest I ought to use short pieces of wire soldered to each track to allow for thermal expansion.

I must have subscribed to GR at a great time, as most of my issues - power, track, tunnels, ground cover, etc. - have been feature articles at some point since beginning this project!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 7:04 PM

A quick suggestion for your "trees". Give 'traveling potted trees' a thought. Whatever you use for your trees, potted plants are easier to take care of. I have an assortment of minature 'Cork Elms', Rosemary & Thyme (supported by copper wire armatures) potted trees. All three of these plant prefer intermittant direct sunlight. Solution: Put the trees into old fashion clay pots. Where the tree is supposed to grow, dig in a non-draining plastic flower pot large enough for about one inch of gravel on the bottom so that the clay post is at the same surface level. Now your tree is easily removable for feeding (I dunk mine in a tray full of Miricale-Grow for a 30 minute bath), trimmming (so much easier to sit in a char and turn the tree to trim the tree than all folded over on the GRR.) Since my plants require limited direct sunlight, I have three sets of them. One set in place and two sets on the covered patio. Replacement process; grab the outgoing tree at the base of the trunk and lift out, scoop by hand almost all the pea-gravel out of the plastic pot. Set incomming tree in position and backfill with the gravel just removed.

The pot helps stunt the growth of the trees much the same as with Bonsai trees. (I know I most probably spelt that wrong, apologies). Also allows branch trimming (monthly event) root trimming and repotting with fresh soil (an annual event). Deep bath watering (weekly) and fertilizer bath (monthly). 

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, May 22, 2015 12:15 AM

Quick update...

Last weekend I switched to a mortar mix intended for building walls.  It was about 50% successful.  The failures, though, were rocks I tried to stick on with the mortar at the bottom of my mixing trough, so maybe it was too little / to dry / too poorly mixed / whatever.  I'll take another crack this weekend.  I am going slowly, as the amphibious assault across our pond demonstrated if it can be crawled on or through, it will be.  I don't need a wall of lava rock tumbling on anyone!

The concrete dye was a bit red, but I think it'll blend in time or easily blend with a wash.

I am having trouble with the exposed vertical surfaces.  Construction adhesive doesn't seem to work, and the mortar mix just slides down the face.  I would appreciate suggestions.

 

A few other neat points...

  1. Spousal buy-in. I overheard CINCHOUSE use the first person plural and plural possessive in referring to this project.  Score.
  2. Use for old gear.  My "dead" locomotive has new life as our "work train" (i.e. I use it to test turns, tunnel fit, levelness, etc.), which our smallest engineer enjoys freewheeling around the track.
  3. Food storage on the railroad. If you leave a gondola full of basil in the sun, the gondola will smell nice, but the basil will be useless.

I'll post pictures when progress on the mountain warrants it.

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 8:24 PM

Sorry for the delay.  We are making progress, but other hobbies, obligations, and weather did slow things down a bit.

We solved some of our issues as follows:

  1. We didn't try to stick rocks in places they wouldn's sit without rolling.
  2. We used more mortar.
  3. We used less dye.
  4. We switched masonry glues.  We also reserved it for the broken pieces of concrete we are hoping will camouflage some of the vertical surfaces.

Here are some of the results...

This is the "back face" of our mountain (above).  The mortar joints are obvious, but hopefully future washes will tone them down.  You can also see who we use the broken concrete to hide the hollow tile.  Our work train, my dummy 0-4-0T and the longest and tallest rollling, stock is entering the tunnel.  

This is the front face (above).  We stopped when the end of nap time brought eager, but less apt, "help" to our "assistance."  We'll pick up here when we make our next effort.

Of course, all progress came with a few stumpers.  The picture below shows some of my sticking points.

  1. How do I plug large holes between rocks?  I tried mortar, but it just ran and puddled.  I tried cementing concret bits, but it looked like, well, concrete bits shoved in a hole.
  2. How do I cover this hollow tile face?  I want this to look vaguely like a cut, so I've selected some rocks to put in the foreground (not the ones shown).  I am weighing stucco or something similar or more broken concrete slabs. I am leaning towards stucco for clearance reasons.

A couple weeks of slow to no progress are before us, so I have time to ponder the answers.

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 27, 2015 9:11 PM

Taking a break after about 5 hours hauling lava rocks and gluing debris to concrete faces...

My father-in-law brought in a chipper that I used to shape some of the hollow tile and to remove straigh edges from non-loadbearing parts of the tunnel.  We added some wire to the one long flat face in hopes that this will facilitate covering it with stucco or concrete.  Those gaps in the rock where lava stone meets hollow tile, however, continue to stymie me.  Is there a foam I could inject into them?

I figure we are close to running a wash over everything, filling in the hollow areas with potting soil, and then adding some plants.  That will bring the hill to life and soften the remaining angles.  After that, I will clear the remaining construction material from back half of the dog bone and take a "pause" as we ponder the next step. That will include tinkering with the track plan (free) while we try to resolve an issue with our little pond (not so free) and solder a few rail joints (mostly free).  

I'll try to get pictures up when that flat face is covered in concrete and the whole is ready for a wash with some earthtones.

 

Aloha!

Eric

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, June 27, 2015 11:16 PM

PVT Kanaka
How do I plug large holes between rocks?  I tried mortar, but it just ran and puddled.

 

Sorry I didn't see this sooner, but if your mortar is runny and puddling, it's too thin. Add more mix, less water. Be advised though that the thicker it is, the faster it will set, especially in hot weather.

 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, June 28, 2015 10:31 PM

Thanks, Ray.  We'll take another crack at it using your suggestion.  Might be a week or so before we get the chance, though.

 

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Sunday, June 28, 2015 11:18 PM

A quick add to Ray's advice. Keep the batches SMALL. When I was working on the stonework for my waterfall I used a dog food can as a scoop for the motar mix. Two scoops, a bit of die, a touch of water. This gave enough to place two stones. The slight variation in color in each area added to the believability of the color.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:09 AM

Tom and Ray,

 

Thanks for the tips!  I used your advice today, our first opportunity to do some work since our summer travels.  We worked in small areas, letting each layer sort of set while we moved on to the next hole.  I still have some mortar that is a bit too red, but, by varying the dye amount, it did help with the looks. A few washes I I hope will tone things down. We will apply similar techniques when we make our next big push.  It is nice to have pressure from the family to amke spend more time on a hobby!  I have photos, and I will upload some shots of the progress when shortly (I hope!).

 

You'll note i use "we."  I continue to make sure that the kids are involved to the level they wish to participate, which helps get that family "buy-in."  It has led to some interesting pruning and a bit of extra clean-up, but that is OK.

More generally for those from Arizona who may stumble across this post, I wanted extend my thanks to the folks fo the Tucson Garden Railway Society for their demo railroad at the Tucson Botanical Gardends and the various clubs at Scottsdale's McCormick-Stillman RR Park.  Lots of inspiration for the clan!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:30 AM

We packed the dirt into all the spaces in the rock work yesterday.  Tomorrow, it is off to the nursery!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, August 23, 2015 9:22 PM
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Posted by BluPete on Saturday, September 12, 2015 11:33 PM

Love all the updates on the Triple O! I am in the first steps of building a GRR, trying to convince the Checkbook Holder that this is something to start now , not 5 years later when it will be harder to bend over. would love to try a raised roadbed , but too much mature landscaping and a pool prohibit that idea. Keep up the pictures and I hope more show their GRR here.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 14, 2015 1:50 AM

BluPete,

Glad to hear you are enjoying our progress! You might add "educational value" to your sales pitch, as the project has led the kids to some basic engineering solutions as they troubleshoot stalls and derailments!  Big Smile

Since my last post, I raided the box-o-tracks to add some sidings, as I want to add the concept of switching their play, whether it be Barbie dinner trains, lego transport, or grill-side beverage delivery.  Naturally, we have had torrential rains (Good for the basil, not so good for the newly planted sedum!), so proof of concept will come later.

Our next project is the gorge.  I have plent of left-over lava rocks, but I need to figure out how to excavate the gorge without risking the rest of the bed collapsing inward.  A cash diversion from the Triple O to the FORD FOCUS, however, has given me time to ponder this next step!  Pictures will follow as the project gets underway!

 

Aloha,
Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, September 14, 2015 2:49 PM

Eric

May I suggest that you start the digging process in the middle of the gorge, an area that will eventually end up "high in the air above the gorge." Dig down about 3~4 inches and experiment with different side slopes as you dig outward to the edges. When you reach the "edge of the gorge" with the 3~4 inch drop mix some of the spoils with a bit of cement or mortar mix and construct the face of the gorge for that step. Add some of you lava rock, thinest pieces first to finish that step. Then begin in the middle again for another 3~4 inch depth. Set the next layer of rock in place. You will eventually end with a step sided slope that will be firm and stable. The farther down you dig, lessen the steepness of the slope for that step. You will most likely want to chip away at the back side of all these "facing rocks", bag and save these chips for each layer, you will want them as rubble at the bottom of the gorge. If your rock have a varity of color then you may want to have color zones on the wall of the gorge with the darkest colors at the bottom. In real life, the lower you get the more rubble has fallen down the sides and the lesser the slope. At the bottom add the bagged chips with the darkest ones on the bottom of the gorge. You will probably want a section with a shear face wall, just undercut the rocks in place (they will stay in place by the mortar) and put the next layer under the existing rock to acheive the vertical face.

An alternative method: Dig to the depth you want and a bit wider. Build the gorge walls with rock and mortar with near shear walls facing into the gorge but with a somewhat pyrimid shape with a more gentle slope on the back side. then backfill to the gorge walls.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 21, 2015 3:44 AM

Tom,

A belated "Thank You!"  I'll get a photo up this week to show the scope of the project.  Roughly, it'll be about 2 feet wide at the end of the gorge and 18 inches deep.  I eyeballed the length at 2-3 feet. 

I have to sort my remaining lava rock, all of which is the size of small bowling balls.  Off hand, however, I believe it to be of relatively uniform color. 

Currently, I am leaning to the first method you describe.  It seems it would meet one of my preferences, which is to maintain operations in between pushes to get the gorge gouged out!  I think I could probably do the second option in a dedicated Saturday, but those are few and far between.

- Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, September 21, 2015 8:25 PM

Eric

Do NOT try to "push" through the work in one day. Several times I have done that and not been completely satisfyed with the end project. Twice I ripped every thing out and started over.

In order to maintain operations while digging out the gorge, build the deckwork for your bridges first. From your local building supply store get some 3/8" square tube steel several inches longer that the bridge will become. Probably 3~4 inches longer than both ends of the bridge. Mount them under the bridge deck under the rails. This will support the track while you take your time to build the gorge. Once the gorge is complete build your bridge abutments and any desired intermediate supports. Then build any topside add-ons, walkway, truss assemblies, and the like. This was the way I built my 17 ft timber trestle bridge. After the street car was running I spent the next few weeks constructing the timber bents to place under the bridge. In my case I built each timber bent taller than the tallest one would end up being. When I started placing the timber bents it was under the supervision of SWMBO, trimming off the bottom of each bent to fit the location that she wanted. Always remember that SHE has a more estetic eye than you do.

In case you've not seen it before, SWMBO = She Who Must Be Obeyed, CINCHOUSE.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, September 25, 2015 3:24 AM

Tom,

Thanks so much again!  I will take your advice and take this in steps.  I am really reconsidering my options, and may push off as I deal with a really irritating electrical connectivity break in my tracks and tinker with a sprinkler head merrily blasting into the retaining wall.

Part of the issue is I have to backfit two bridges, a 19" truss bridge, and 16" long x 16" high trestle into the project.  My father-in-law, who is handy, has a woodshop, and possesses a really creative bent, made both early in the project but without informing me they were in the works.  I feel compelled to shoehorn them in to honor his intent, especially as I had never so much as poured a sack of concrete until he helped me get the Triple O over the hump.

Here's a photo to sort of orient you and the rest of the community:

The plan is (was?) to have a narrow gorge that began back by those potted plants and got progressively deeper until it hit the retaining wall (about where you see the leaf), possibly even right down to the yard by removing that section of the wall.  Originally, this was to have been a second pond (slap down some concretey, seal it, voila!), but that would hide the trestle and give the wet legs the life expectancy of a mayfly.

 

I have rejected taking the opposite approach and adding a small, elevated loop as that would ultimately lead to very brief and traject flight of whatever train had the misfortune to be on that loop.

 

At any rate, I am going to use the lava stones this weekend to mark off different options - gorge, pond, dry stream bed, whatever.  I am just grateful I got your warning before committing shovel to ground!

Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Friday, September 25, 2015 2:07 PM

Was not aware (I may have forgotten) that granddad was that involved. This adds a whole new light upon your sitituation. The through truss will be easy enough to put in place while you dig the gorge. The timber trestle is a different story. You may want to conference with him about construction of a pair of approach spans, if you two have not already.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, September 26, 2015 12:03 AM

Tom, thanks again.  The family buy-in has been a major driver in this project.  I appreciate your understanding on the matter.

 

I took serious stock of my remaing lava rocks and positioned them in the approximate area of the gorge.  I even evaluated them for shading, as you suggested, to get that light to dark look.  I still have plenty of the broken concrete I used on the mountain project.  This would need staining in place, but that is no issue.  From a materials stand point, I think I am in a good place.

Rocks don't get up and run away, so I have time to confer with all parties to see if they want another little lily pond or a dry gorge as well as to discuss the approach spans with my father-in-law.  I'd hoped to start digging this weekend, but it seems some more research and consultation is in order.

 

In the meantime, I still have that sprinkler head to adjust...

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 2:10 AM

Progress!

 

  1. Bridges and Family.  How I employ the trestle, whether to span a gorge or pond, is irrelevant to its creator, so long as he can claim all "cool points."  He has volunteered to craft approach tracks as required.  Maybe he'll show me how to do it, too.  SWMBO (Im stealing that! Big Smile) will return from a ladies' getaway and will render the verdict on whether th bridges will span a dry or wet feature.
  2. Quirky Operations. I found a roll of wire in my box-o-tracks and ran some to the backside of the inner loop after observing that trains, if they make it there, slow or stop.  This helped tremendously.  I still have some flaky joints, but now I have them pinpointed.  I just have to run the math to see if rail clamps or a few longer pieces of track are the most economical answer.
  • I am enjoying the fact that everytime I get stumped by one project, I can find another that needs doing, if not several, and many of them fit the 15-30 minute intervals I can afford to spend.
  • Aloha,
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 5, 2015 12:05 AM

CINCHOUSE has spoken...A dry canyon it will be!  I had to work this weekend, so some sort of ground breaking should occur this week.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 2:32 AM

OK, mortar mix is on hand as are some concrete dyes.  I plan to make the first dig this weekend.  I just wanted to get some quick opinions:

  1. Should I forgo the lava rock?  The boulders are quite large (bowling ball size), and I am worried I will have a hard time concreting it in place as I dig down.  I have lots of small bits of concrete rubble that have a look of lava rock, take paint and washes well, and seem easier to work with.  Will using this material make it structurally sound?
  2. How thick should the layer of concrete / rubble be?
  3. I planned to sink some bricks to provide flat, solid foundations for the approach track and a smooth surface to etch "blocks" into later.  Is that advisable?  Or is is overkill?

I have located some scrap lumber to serve as a "bridge" until the gorge is deep enough to place the trestle. The truss bridge I plan to just sit on the proposed bricks.  I think I can make this project a "go" while maintaining operations!  If I can forgo the lava rocks, I can then repurpose them to help blend the mountain into the gorge or to make another small elevate feature.

Thanks as always for the guidance and suggestions!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 7:21 AM

I for one, would think that your lava rock would give a very nice texture. Bowling ball size stones not so much. If you have the time and energy I say break out the BIG hammar and chisel, Slabs are what I would advise, about the size of your hands, wrist to finge tips and about as thick. Flat slabs half to one inch thick would make an interesting canyon walls. If you must use lava stones try to keep them near the size of the end of your thumb else there will be entirely too much cement showing. Concrete chips when well placed woud look good as well. To strengthen the walls have a thought to digging out the canyon walls a couple inches wider. Use your fill material and some cement (no gravel, no sand) and mix up to form the backside of the canyon walls. This will also provide a good place to attach your canyon stones, be they lava or concrete. I may have missed the measurement of the canyon depth, but from looking at the timber trestle bridge I'm guessing the depth to be around 10~14 inches. A depth like that should be held in place nicely with a 3~4 inch cement and fill material wall plust the 3~4 inch stone placement, I would think you would be goog to go.

The bricks. Are you talking about standing bricks on end as your bridge abutments? If so, yes. If you are talking about placing lengthwise under the track before it gets to the bridge abutment, NO. Your fill material is brand spanking new, in geologic terms, and has not finished compacting itself in place. No matter how hard you tammped it into place it will settle more over time. I would expect that in 3~5 years you will notice your fill level has dropped by as much as an inch. Adding brick under the rails will add to your long term maintenance. You will, of course need to add some balast to the rails as the ground level next to the bridge abutments falls away. 

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, October 8, 2015 2:13 AM

Tom,

 

Thanks for the rudder correction!  I did, indeed, intend to place a brick lengthwise.  Looks like a question in advance saved me a headache later.  I will reorient them and place them vertically as you suggest.

The trestle is about 16", so your recommended wall backing should hold.  After much consideration, I think I will use the broken concrete and save the lava rock for something where I can take the time and stack it to avoid large gaps.  I will experiment first to see if it will break into slabs, though, before I go either direction.

Looks like digging down is turning out to be a much harder project than building up!

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 3:09 PM

Rain...digging rescheduled for Wednesday!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, October 17, 2015 12:55 AM
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 19, 2015 1:33 AM

Well, we cleared down to 4" today.  I relelveled and concreted in the future abutments.  I will see if they hold.  I am having a real trouble keeping back the to layer of fill, as it is all gravel and inherently unstable. 

 

Based on today's efforts, my plans going forward will be to break things into even smaller chunks to ensure I have at least 4" cleared down to the dirt fill.  I also plan to abandon any effort to texture the concrete walls beyond some coloring and, possibly, some pebble-sized concrete rubble in the concrete mix.

My biggest fear is accidentally underming upper levels as I excavate deeper into the bed.  I am guessing it is easier to use some concrete patches and paint to fix a bad look than it is to rebuild the entire canyon wall!

Have a good week!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 26, 2015 11:27 PM

Aloha!

We made progress, excavating down to the first four inches of our canyon.  Based on the advice of a friend and licensed civil engineer, I cut the concrete mix 50/50 with some rubble (Coincidentally eliminating the rubble-bucket / mosquito-rookery along the way!) and some concrete dye, pouring in layers to about four inches back.  The colors are a bit light, but the effect is actually pretty good.  The results are below:

 

We can fix the colors with washes later.

We did optest the bridges, temporary and permanent, and they carry the weight of the trains just fine.  In the next picture, I left the trestle to show how much deeper I've yet to dig!  Uncharacteristically, the Triple O is actually running things that might have actually been seen together in real life:

 

 

Later runs proved that the temporary bridge can carry a train to the hibachi station loaded with a bottle of adult beverage, so construction passes the basic operation test and its economic value test!  Thanks again to Tom for detailing a basic method for maintaining operations while excavations commenced.

Progress will be slow over the Hallowe'en week.  This is giving me time to reflect the next steps:

  1. Building up.  I want to tie the gorge into the rest of the layout, so I plan to use my remaining lava rocks to give the impression everything is part of an ancient range.  I will concrete and rock up to the top of my gravel fill to serve as a cofferdam, too.
  2. Digging down.  I then need to finish excavating the gorge.  I may ladder it like a series of dry waterfalls.  Aesthetically, it will offer me more planting areas and I thinks some visual interest. Practically, I can guarantee I won't undermine my bridge abutments! I plan to use mortar mix and a 1"x1" block to etch in some "bricks" on the abutments, finish coloring the "rocks," and start planting.  My oldest daughter determined this would be an excellent site for a depot so people could visit the gorge, giving the Triple O future economic potential.
  3. Breaking out.  We will break the retainig wall where the canyon "terminates." This will help CINCHOUSE determine if I want to finish the retaining wall such that it implies an extension of the the landscape or such that it implies "real world ends here, garde RR begins now."

We have lots of other stuff to do in the interim:  replace 12" sections of track with longer sections; rail clamp trouble spots; green up the newly landscaped section; raise that sprinkler head; add some sidings; think about structures; etc.  While we obviously have a ways to go, I am pretty proud of what we have accomplished! 

 

Thanks for the continued support and guidance.  I will continue to pust updates and hang-ups as they emerge!

Aloha,
Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, November 6, 2015 8:34 PM

Nothing picture worthy this week, but my daughters did start to arrange remaining boulders around our gorge to form a second mountain.  While not the shape I would choose, I am letting them take the artistic lead on a not-to-interfere-with-operations basis.  We will not make much permanent progress next week, however, as I have family in town, who will see our efforts to date for the first time.

This weekend, the Triple O will also play host to a guest train.  My wife's friend's husband picked up a used Bachmann circus trainset, and we offered to let him give it a run.  Per a post elsewhere, we found that vinegar proved a useful solution for touchy track joints, so we hope to give him and his family a good show.  Who knows, maybe this will lead to a local co-hobbyist, too?

Enjoy your weekends!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, November 28, 2015 1:42 AM

Aloha & Happy Thanksgiving!

Progress has been slow, but steady.  Weather, family visits, and Thanksgiving delayed progress.  Photos will follow, but we are suffering serious internet issues. No pictures, sorry!  Here is what has transpired:

  1. Digging down.  The gorge is dug to about 4" deep per earlier suggestions, with a mix of concrete and rubble bringing its edge even to the edge of the top of the garden.  My father-in-law made some semi-scale timbers for cribbing for the bridge approaches when the digging is done and the finishing begins.
  2. Buidling up.  I am playing with my lava rock.  To make a really nice mountain, I am going to have to secure more.  Otherwise, I can make a low rise.  Fiddling has given me the chance to evaluate what I want to do, and I may shrink its base, make another "cut" in one face, run a siding, and, someday, maybe have a little industry with a crane or trestle lower to-be-determined raw materials to the siding below.  Lots of time to think as I look for free rock!
  3. Breaking out. CINCHOUSE has yet to deliver an opinion as to how the retaining wall post gorge "break out."

We have also made some minor progress in other fronts.

  1. Reliability.  Using a tip from this forum, we used vinegar and WD-40 on some rail joints.  This REALLY upped the speed from cold iron to operating!  My Christmas gift will come early in the form of 6 x 4' sections of track to reduce joints, provide short tracks for stub sidings, and hopefully further improve operations.  I will evaluate the impact, and then proceed with another bulk purchase or targeted rail clamps if required and when funds permit.
  2. Fun Factor.  Our guest train, the Bachmann Circus set, ran beautifully, and our friends enjoyed seeing it go.  Unfortunately, the afternoon concluded with, "Well, now it's going back in the box!"  No new hobbyist...My folks, meanwhile, got our kids the little LGB battery powered starter set, bringing it with them to deliver their early Christmas gift,  so the kids can run the railroad whenever they want with THEIR train.  For now, it is running in the office!  Oh, and my Dad really enjoyed "playing with trains," most of which went into deep storage for about 20 years in the '90s only to reemerge permanently this year.
  3. Emerging Purpose.  The kids and I are starting to discuss "what does the railroad do?"  While I doubt that the Triple O will ever shine in term of prototypical operations, these discussions are helping to shape how we landscape and where we will put future sidings.  Ever industrious, my father-in-law built a dock and semi-scale bait shop.  We now have an industry!

With luck, all hardscaping will be done by year's end.  If not, we are having fun!  Thanks as always for helping to keep me honest as we take a whim to a hobby!

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

P.S. I got a recent admission from CINCHOUSE.  "The only reason I let you start this project is that I thought you would never carry through! I am glad, however, that you did!"  Lucky me!

 

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Posted by BluPete on Friday, December 4, 2015 11:03 PM

regarding your PS, nice backhanded compliment from the CINCHOUSE. Now that upper management is on board with the project, pretty soon they will be either offering "suggestions" or just showing up with I thought this would be nice for the railroad, unexpected work orders. Keep up the updates, it gives me inspiration that these things can be started with a little CINCHOUSE approval and can grow to reality.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, December 7, 2015 1:50 AM

Aloha,

Internet issues continue to bedevil us, but I wanted to make a quick update.

  1. Digging down. We finished excavating our gorge today, test fitting the trestle as we went.  We will have to trim its legs a bit.  I know that this should be removable, but do I dig a well to sink the legs in?  This would seem like a water trap.  Or should I just build up a rubble pile around the legs so they can drain?
  2. Breaking out.  I have to figure out the best way to cut out the portion of the retaining wall.  We are then leaning towards a "natural look" for the retainin wall.
  3. Building up.  I am at a hard stop, looking for rocks.  I have sufficient concrete waste on hand, and I may go that route.  My oldest daughter wants a pine forest, and, since part of this project's point is to make it "all hands," I am probalby going to use the concerte and rubble option as well as my remaining lava rock.  As I hope to make the garden a canvas for the whole family, whether the trains, the plants, or the pond is the main focus of any given individual, I think continued progress trumps looks, at least until that interest is self-sustaining and relatively independently driven.''

On more mundane fronts, the 4' sections of track arrived, so we put them in placem yielding a bonanza of one foot straight tracks that quickly went to some new sidings, to include one near the future lumber operation.  The reliability jumped once we got everythign situated and hit the rest of the line with scotch brite.  I will still need some clamps, but this was a very worthwhile purpose!  Speaking of purpose, the kids asked, "Shouldn't we run a siding to the bait shop?" Success!!!

I'll post some photos when the internet supports it.

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, December 7, 2015 7:08 AM

Drainage and solid support are very important for the bridge legs. You will want something that is non-pourous to act as footing. Regular bricks and cinder block caps will hold moisture, especially when buried. Recommed you stop by you local kitchen & bath counter supply store. Pick up a few ceramic tiles of a dark color. Place these tiles at ever so slightly off level so they will drain. After trimmin the bridge support posts seal the exposed edges, I used automotive rupper paint, normally used in car battery boxes. For my bridge I got some very dark brown 6 inch squares at 5 cents each. End of production run clearance sale. I paid them 10 cent each to cut them in half, so I was working with 3x6 tiles. A light covering of quarter inch minus crushed rock served well to cover the tiles. Do not use the crushed rock dust as it will hold water. I used 1/4 inch wire mesh to screen out the larger pieces, the sifted through regular window screen to remove the rock dust. A small spirit level can be used to keep the tiles slightly off level buy placing the tile so that the bubble in the level just touches one of the center lines.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, December 12, 2015 5:59 PM
Tom, Thanks again. My father in law has tool to make short work of the retaining wall. We will mount the bridge after it is gone. Should have a real bridge in place by Christmas!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, December 12, 2015 6:01 PM
Glad to help, BluPete!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, December 21, 2015 1:09 AM

Aloha All!

I wanted to get "proof" of progress up on this post.  Many thanks to Tom and others for their guidance via this and other posts!

 

As mentioned, the circus came to town, and we had a guest train on the Triple O's rails...

...It was great fun to see her run and the kids follow the circus, but, alas, this set is bound back for the box.  Although the big locomotice handled the curves, it did affirm my decision to guide the Triple O to small locomotives and small cars, again rougly guiding on the sugar cane trains of old.

 

The arrival of "Oma" and "Opa" borught an early Christmas present...

...and she actually does OK on the line! 

 

 

I am glad, however, we have effectively no grades.  She is a little light in the traction department.  It also took some finagling to get her to start reliably.  I think something jammed the button in shipping.

 "Opa," meanwhile, got to put together a train for the fist time in many years!

The O-6-2T we call "Gustav" is about as big as we can go and have it look right.  If anyone wants to give me a nice Forney, she'd be right at home! Big Smile  Or at least no less at home than an Austrian locomotive pulling D&RGW rollingstock in Hawai'i.

On the technical side of the house, we'd been struggling with electrical connectivity.  I converted some overtime into 4' rail sections, and turned my team loose wherever we found 1' sections of track. 

This, along with some tips gleaned from a different post - vinegar, WD-40, and lithium grease - has helped tremendously.  Oh, and the process freed up lots of tracks for stub sidings, as aptly demonstrated by yours truly below...

 

 

The siding in my front serves adult beverages to the grill master.  Very useful.  The rest will have uses in time.

 

On the geography front, my father-n-law brought over his chipper and saw, and we made progress today, busting out the retaining wall and fitting the trestle. The crew clears rubble below...

 

The next shot gives an idea of what this will look like.  Removing the retaining wall really added a sense of drama, if a I may say so.

 

I'tll need some touch up concrete in the interior, of course, and some clever "boulder" placement to hide where the legs will be.  We slightly modified Tom's suggestions, gluing the tile to the base of the legs after we cut them, rather than trying to fit the tiles into the canyon. As I landscape the canyon, I'll build up to those feet.  In the meantime, he is going to cut some planking for the deck and approaches.

 

Finally, my father- and mother-in-law designed, built, and painted this little station...

It looks even better with our railbus making a quick stop!

The structure is designed to survive the kids, so the scale is "good enough."  With the addition of a door and some detail parts...later...this is pretty good for a free lance "scrap box" structure!  I am pretty envious of their skills!

In summary, the digging down and breaking out are done with the exception of fitting the trestle and touching up the hardscape.  I also no have plenty of scrap concrete to proceed to the building up!  Much of this will probably have to wait until after Christmas, however (I asked Santa for the LGB "Olomana" loco and string of short stake-side flat cars!).

 

Again, mahalo (thanks) to all for your encouragement and suggestions!  May we extend to you and yours "Mele Kalikimak a Hauo'uli Makahiki hou!"

- Eric

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, December 28, 2015 1:27 AM

Really quick update.  I was able to make some headway this weekend.  I fixed a few issues with how we were running track power (soldered some terminals for easier connection to the power sources and used longer wires to pull the power sources out the yard and into the lanai to allow for all-weather operations).  More importantly, the concrete work on the canyon is now done! 

"Gustav" is pulling the afternoon express (sorry to the purist out there for the consist) over the firmly set trestle (below):

I have to do some detail work to make the abutments look like, well, abutments, but that should be a matter of mortar and then scribing in some brick lines.  The same goes for the truss in the rear.  Both may also require some cribbing in the approach. 

On to the last major landscape feature, a mountain at the canyon's head, after the New Year!

Hauoli makahiki hou (Happy New Year)!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, January 11, 2016 1:15 AM

Aloha!

Funds and time redirected towards a new blue ray thing-a-ma-jig (Sigh...).  Still, we inventoried the remaining concrete, hollow-tile, rubble, and lava rocks this weekend.  Some of the hollow-tile got countersunk into the garden to form the foundation of our last (until we expand the empire! Big Smile) mountain.  Nothing picture worthy, but it is progress.

In the meantime, last weekend while visiting relatives on a neighbor island, CINCHOUSE initiatied the following conversation:

  • Her:  If we had the yard, we'd have the trains cross that drainage ditch and then switchback through the lava rocks to the top of the yard before coming back down and crossing the ditch elsehwhere.
  • Me:  Did you ever think you would ever evaluate a backyard in terms of how you would plan a garden railroad?
  • Her: Shut up.

Actually, the kids and I had made much the same comment already!  We also took some time to visit the Laupehoehoe Train Museum  for some 1:1 inspiration.  Though closed, some of the outdoor exhibits really excited the kids.  It is also the only surviving dual gage track in the Islands.  Worth the stop if you happend to be on the Hilo side.

I have that old Stainz to fix in between cracks at the mountain.  Always something to do as we approach the Oberammergau, Ogden & Olomana's first "birthday" next week.

Have a great week!

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, January 16, 2016 10:33 PM

Mixed progress today...

On the upshot, my in-laws added a nice strawberry farm for our strawberry patch.  Looks nice!

On the TBD side, I started building the mountain. I had thought I had learned something building my tunnel; alas, the lesson learned was apparently not learned well enough. I am using the hollow-tile and scrap concrete approach I used before, but I am not sure my mortar is holding.  I never seem to get this right (I am using Quickcrete brand).  The vertical hollow tile aren't "sticking" to their countersunck foundations, and the horizontally stacked concrete fragments (palm- to hand-sized)are sticking about half the time.  I am letting all things sit overnight, and I will reevaluate my way forward tomorrow.  I may sacrifice hieght, remove the hollowtile, and finish the permimeter with my remaining lava rocks. I also have construction adhesive for the concrete bits. I found out the hard way it works only when in compression, so maybe it'll work for this.  We will see. 

On the GRRRRRR!!! side, I lost a thrust bearing from my disassembled STAINZ. @$#%!!!! Angry

The weekend marks one year of operations on the Oberammergau, Ogden & Olomana, and I had hoped to have the mountain formed so we could focus the next year on bringing the world in which it runs fully to life.  Oh, well, it is a hobby, and we are still having fun.

As ever, assistance in getting over the latest hump is appreciated!

Aloha,

Eric 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 2:18 AM
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, January 24, 2016 7:31 PM

For what it's worth, we made some progress on our Jubilee Weekend, too.  Gobs of construction adhesive and concrete scrap used as bracing held things in place.  I will use more mortar mix on my next crack at the backside of our mountain in hopes that will hold things together better.  At any rate, here is "Christmas Thomas" making a pass in front of the emerging mountain:

After I get it textured, I'll do what i did on the tunnel and use mortar to fill in the gaps and then color the lot with washes. 

The front is mostly lava rock, which tinted mortar holds together.  I have a few other stones that will go on top to give height once it is filled in.

Aloha!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, February 4, 2016 1:45 AM

Aloha!

Sorry, no pictures this week, but I did want to make a quick update...

The mountain finished rising from the gravel!  From the previous push, I learned:

Lesson #1:  Construction glue and potting soil lead to a neat second degree burn look on your hands for about 3 days until the glue peels off, I decided to rediscover the magic of latex gloves for last weekend's efforts.

2 of my 3 crewmen joined me.  We finished concreting in the lava rocks on the base that faces the lanai and forms the head of the canyon.  We then took smaller ones to give it height.  Afterwards, using quick-crete and bits of broken concrete, my oldest daughter covered one hollow tile and scored it to look like a cut (she included a giant petroglyph), and we then stacked broken bits of concrete along the rest of the perimeter to make it look like an irregular rock wall. As we were preparing to stop, we learned...

 

Lesson #2:  If you leave a hose near a three year old, he will use it and aim it at something you don't want to get wet.  In this case, he soaked my bag of quick-crete.  It was now use lose!

As we wanted to use a different type of rubble for the upper portions of the hollow-tile, I swapped over to foam based glue.  I also banished my hoseman from the worksite.  We donned our saftey goggles, and tried to open the pressurized can, learning, in the process...

Lesson #3:  Spray foam glue is harder to open than it looks.  I botched something, and now this can was use-lose. 

 

We glued on those slabs, touched up some wobbly lava rocks, and fought to keep foam strings out of view.  In the meantime, of course, we still had that damp concrete, so I finished mixing it and we used it to fill gaps, cover flat areas, reinforce this, that, and the other thing, and hide corners and obviously too-straight areas.   Waste not, want not!

My daughter, heck bent for leather to get "her" pine forest on top of that mountain, gamely dug her (gloved) hands into the mixed and helped see the day's work through.  Huzzah!

We will fill the mountain this week and place my remaining boulders on top to give it more height and some irregularity in shape.  We will also have to get out our latex paint and start washing the concrete areas as well as the canyon (lack of color control on my part led to some rather erratic coloring) to bring it all together.  After the dirt settles, we will plant, doing our washes on the exterior as we go.

This is the last major landscaping project on the Triple O.  My raw materials are all now stowed behind a shed, never to call our garden bed "home again."  It is a visual sign of progress.  This frees us to start greening the back half of the garden and to better set the approaches to the bridges.  All of this is with an eye towards populating our miniature world after I stucco and stain the garden's retaining walls.

I will post photos of where we stand when I our camera issue.  If anyone has pointers on fixing the colors, I'd appreciate them, as I am considering just repainting everything and starting from scratch.

Until the next update!

Eric

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 22, 2016 1:55 AM

Aloha,

I wanted to show a bit of our progress since my last update.

 

The crew joined in to apply some washes with diluted brown latex paint to exposed and poorly tinctured concrete:

You can contrast the results shown below with my last post.  Various "Barbie-like" items help give a sense of perspective (The Triple O takes passengers regardless of scale! Big Smile):

 

Finally, I wanted to show a birds-eye view of our canyon.  I had totally botched the dyeing of the concrete, but I think it looks OK now:

I am debating planting something in the canyon or leaving "as is."  Likewise, I may restain areas of the canyon and the mountain later, but I want to see what a little wind and weather does to them first.

Beyond, the hardscape work, I also showed my oldest daughter how to hook up the power supplies, helping her draw her more deeply into the project, and I have let all the kids use the little torpedo level to troubleshoot the tracks (Best $5 I could spend...The thing lets me fix derailment prone areas and often fixes bad connections while i am at it!). As an expirement, one night I just put the locomotives out on the main loops and stashed cars all over the road's sidings.  With some guidance as to "how," they kids figured out how to make and break trains, and they have started asking about new / improved sidings.  Back to the box-o-tracks to see what we can do!

The other progress has been more mundane.  I raise a sprinkler head, and I experimented in an out of the way area with different ways to cover the retaining wall.  A major car repair means that planned rail joiner purchases and a few more 4 ft track sections are on the backburner, but I have some inexpenisive projects, such as the approach to our bridges and making their abutments not look like paving bricks to keep us busy.  This will also give us a chance to evaluate some of our new plantings.

 

As ever, thanks for letting me use this space to keep myself honest and to glean suggestions from others!

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, February 22, 2016 3:39 AM

Looking good. I hope I can resume work on my raised bed line this spring/summer. My hip seems to be getting better now that I'm getting some good therapy.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 22, 2016 11:11 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Tom! Glad to see you'll be back in action soon! Aloha,Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 29, 2016 1:16 AM

...and this weekend we kicked back and had fun with trains!  Geeked

 

Have a great week!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 12:56 AM

Aloha all!

 

1:1 scale upkeep on the home have taken their toll on my time.  Overall, this is OK as it is time for me to have a "good think" on "what next?"  To enhance my meditative powers, I have undertaken the slow slog of covering about 96 feet of retaining wall with a thin layer of dyed and scored concrete.  This was cost effective, and, aesthetically, it will blend wiht the materials and techniques I used to build the mountains.  I have opted to not texture the top of the retaining wall.  For one, this will provide a foot and hand rest for access.  For another, it won't interfere with future builds (roads, building flats, a new mountain, whatever).  It also will be conducive for sitting and tending the hibachi...and for the placement of rail delivered beverages!

This project will take me some time and allow the wallet to recover for the next big push...whatever it will be.

I have a few other small projects, as, to be frank, this concete work is far from exciting (It is the only project with which my kids want no part!) :

 

  1. Install a new motor in one of my STAINZ.
  2. Finish my abuttments (Waiting for someone to get caught up on her math.)
  3. Place my recently unsealed boxes of Wild West themed PLAYMOBIL on the road for fun and old time's sake! 
  4. Build / Buy shelves for same said PLAYMOBIL

 

Have a great week!
Aloh,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 1, 2016 2:10 AM

Aloha!

 

Just a quick update on the halting progress.  We had a new crew member "join the company," which has taken from railroading time!  Still, one length of the retaining wall is concreted over, the STAINZ has a new motor, the PLAYMOBIL has been liberated, and parts bought for the shelving.  Meanwhile, we have overcome "subtraction in three digits" as an obstacle to finishing our bridge abuttments, leaving only "word problems with money" between us and that project, and math success from another quarter earned someone else some little annuals.

Also, although the Triple O really needs the equivalent in railclamps and / or four foot track sections, neither is likely to excite a four year old on his birthday.  The extended family pulled together and "Charlie," a Bachmann railtruck, joined the Triple O's fleet in late March.  "Charlie" is getting ready for his first run below...

...and has since transported ninjas all over the Triple O on various missions.

The concrete work is tedious, and I have no good estimate on its completion time.  It is, as CINCHOUSE reminded me, a hobby after all. This phase has allowed us to level our tracks and adjust for settling, so I suppose it is a good thing to have this stretch of limited activity.

At any rate, I thought I'd just share that we are moving forward!

Enjoy your weekends!

Eric

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, April 9, 2016 10:00 PM

Aloha!

 

Slow progress due to a cold on my part and recalcitrance on my civil engineer's part (The Battle of Word Problems up to Three Digits).  As a result, only one bag of mortar went to coat the retaining wall, the abuttments remain unfinished, and trains went unrun.  Lots of track polishing to do when we fire them up again...

One thing I noted, however, as I reflected on progress to date is a certain "down side;" namely, is that the nicer we make the railroad look:

a.) The more work I note needs to be done elsewhere in the yard and the house's exterior.

b.) The more skills we've (I've) developed to address those skills.

c.) The more CINCHOUSE expects I will apply "B" to address "A" using the appearance and enjoyment of the Triple O as rationale.  Even if resistance were not futile, how could I argure against this line of reasoning?

In the meantime, my father-in-law is cutting timbers for shelves we can use to stash the liberated PLAYMOBIL, making it easier to populate the Triple O for special occasions with things that are reasonably to scale.

Enjoy your weekends!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, April 21, 2016 1:13 AM

 

Aloha,

 

Finally, some progress!  My civil engineer made the requisite progress on her mathematics, and she reminded me this Monday there was no longer any excuse to turn-to on our bridge abutments.  Using tips donated on another post ("About Abutments") we assembled some scrap wood about the width and height of railroad ties to make shims to fit between the abutments and the bridges, filling a gap that resulted from some settling as we made and concreted the canyons. 

 

The abutments themselves got a covering in stucco, which we were going to scribe as rocks.  I had surrendered this part of the process to my daughter as part of her rewards.  I must have mixed the stucco too thinly, as scribed lines simply didn't look right. She was about to simply give it a poured concrete look, when she hit upon the idea of simply pressing rocks into the stucco.  It came out looking pretty good and a whole lot better than bare paving bricks!

 

We did make a bit of a mess.  The trestle was glued / concreted into the canyon bed and could not be removed, so tomorrow we will have to scrape off / paint over some spillage.  Likewise, my trusty can of brown latex paint will do duty (again) to cover spills on the canyon walls under both bridges.  I think we will also need to use a dark grey or black wash on the abutments to both tone down the stucco and, of course, to cover more spillage.

 

I'll post pictures later, but I did want to continue to keep myself honest by posting an update.  Overall, while no thing of beauty or scale elegance, this was fun, and my daughter and I enjoyed working together to apply tips shared with me, gleaned from GR, cherry picked from this forum, and from photos of the real thing to come up with a solution that met our needs and her - and MY - skill level.

Oh, and this is a nice respite from covering the retaining wall with tinted mortar mix!

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, May 12, 2016 2:55 AM

Aloha!

Sorry, no pictures tonight.  My computer arced, sparked, and died, and it is taking me a while to get things squared away.  I did want to mention that the shims we made for our abutments greatly enhanced operation by removing a sag point in both of our loops. Many thanks to Tom Trigg for his guidance on this part of the project.

We had an opportunity to put them to the test when a friend came by to unload a Bachmann "North Star Express" set and a whole lot of track.  I didn't need any of it, but the price was ridiculously good.  Everything ran beautifully, and the Bachmann track replaced LGB track inside the house, freeing the latter for some tinkering in the garden.  As the Bachmann track is stamped to shape an not solid rails, this was the best use for it.  Besides, it keeps the kids engaged when the weather turns south.

Professional obligations and rainy weather have otherwise brought progress to a halt.  We will return to building shelves for the PLAYMOBIL, as the kids - to include this one - really liked seeing the trains go someplace where people lived and worked.  And, of course, the slow process of texturing the retaining wall will continue when weather and time cooperates.

-Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:55 PM

Eric

Glad to hear that the shims are working well. The side benifit of shims is that their height is adjustable as time goes on. Sounds like the "Triple O" aquired a set of equipment. The B'man track is best indoors, it should give years of service. Not sure about your microclimate, but here in North San Diego county it has an outdoor life span of six to nine months. Between the fog, the sprinkler system and the dogs marking their territory it rotted out from the inside. Found out the hard way. My B'man "Annie" (my heaviest at the time) was on a good run when the rails collapsed under the weight.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:58 PM

Looking good, my friend. Looks like your civil engineer needs an extra scoop on her next ice cream cone. Like her idea.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 7, 2016 1:57 AM

Aloha Tom & Co.!

 

No great shakes, but I did want to report in.  The slow, turgid work of covering the retaining wall continues.  Were I to do it over, I would not have tried scoring it; I would've pressed a pattern into it or simply smeared on the tinter mortar.  I was feeling a bit down, until I covered either side of our canyon's mouth and the mortar showed it could do what I wanted to do, namely provide a textural and color transition from "our" world to the world of the Triple O.  As our zoisa slowly spreads into the canyon, this effect should strengthen. 

I still have a few bags of mix to apply before this is complete. While I will be glad to see this phase of the project astern of me, I am grateful that it was relatively inexpensive (~$10 a bag) and relativley time consuming.  This gave me something I could afford that provided a visual show of progress over couple months that saw another round of appliance deaths.

Meanwhile, the old Pola locomotive shed found itself back in service, thought its gutters were too deformed from years of improper storage to be glued back in place.  To be honest, the detail parts would not have survived Hurrican Offspring or Typhoon Cattle Dog, anyway.  My father-in-law also helped me install some shelves, so Old West themed Playmobil is coming out of boxes for the first time in a quarter century.  The crew is anxious to get them all out on the line before summer ends (You might imagine I am, too!).

This comes to the larger question of "What does the Triple O do?"  The potlach of equipment makes this tough to answer.  The line can deliver grill supplies and beverages on call, but, absent a grill party, I am working to develop a theme in a effort to keep the kids involved and the project focused.  They have no problem mixing and mathing toys and scales for the world of the moment, but I want the RR to mature with them, both to keep this a family endeavour and as a means of cost control over time. Selfishly, I also want this to be a project I will continue to enjoy after they move on without a major rebuild (years away, but time, tide, and formation wait for none.).  I have kept my remaining switches in reserve as I / we work on this.

I wanted to also address the next round of plantings, a continuing challenge for me.  Our winter, a rainy season, rotted out our non-native succulents. The dry summer, a result of local mountains, is creating issues. This summer killed some of our Thai basil trees, but others are going strong. All are so close to one another as to defy logical conclusions. Elfin thyme on or mountain that flourished all winter provided a lesson in microclimats, with those with a little bit of shade cast by a 4" tall rock hanging on and those exposed to the late afternoon sun now dead (I may try a sedum on this side.  It flourished for a while on the ground level last summer, but for the feet of enthusiastic hominids and their canine.  The location in question is on a mountain and thus more foot-proof.).  I have also become aware of a creeping rosemary, and I may experiment with it if I can find it.  It would be nice to have it grow over the edge of the retaining wall...when the latter is finally covered!

In closing, I did want to report a possible recruit to our ranks!  The issue of the hobby's size came up last month in GR, so I thought I'd share the approach.  Basically, a coworker was looking for an activity that would get his kids activities outdoors and offer opportunities for them to discover hobbies that could grow with them.  I shared my experiences over the last 18-24 months, and, as of last week, he was trolling Craigslist and thinking about where he'd lay tracks.  In the end, the lack of used gear out here may cause him to abandond the idea, but I thought I'd share the approach for you folks out there where free shipping applies!

Sorry for a long, somewhat winding (and long winded) update, but I did want to let you know progress continues!

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, July 18, 2016 12:02 AM

In a change of pace, RR time this week went from concrete work to troubleshooting "Charlie" the railtruck.  I am learning a bit about how things are wired inside a simple locomotive, but, to be honest, I am disappointed this knowledge is being gained on fixing a nearly brand new piece of equipment.

Oh, my civil engineer chose a bevy of annual flowers for "her" section of the garden.  So much for "massing!"  Still, the colors are a welcome break from what had become a decidely industrial looking section of the lined.  I tried some sort of sedum, too, on the moutain that backs them.  I suppose I owe photos.

Enjoy your weeks!
Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 1:17 AM

Aloha All!

I will try to get some pictures up later this week, but I did want to regist "life" with a quick progress update.  In truth, the addition of a new "creman" earlier this year, coupled with summer visitors and professional travel, took its toll on my free time.  We had our first encounter with ill-behaved visitors and passive parents  Angry , a learning point I did not need.  The concreting of the retaining walls has progressed in fits and starts, and it is now ~75% done besides a nice wash to help blend it all together.  I am glad I undertook this cosmetic work; however, it has been tedious.

Meanwhile, the railtruck was "written off," though Bachmann made good on the warranty with a nice 2-4-2. christened "Smokey."  This means we can actually run all American locos and rolling stock, which looked very nice indeed as 3 pairs of eager hands tore into my old Wild West themed Playmobil today to bring the Triple O to life.  It should've been a no-brainer, but the addition of a town and people to move, and all in the right scale, proved transformative in how the crew interacted with the railroad.  We shall have to do this again.

In the meantime, my old Austrian 0-6-2T "Gustav" seems to be dying, so I will have another opportunity to practive swapping out LGB motors in the near future, I am afraid.  Depending on finances, this will delay purchasing the insulated rail joints and electrical switches required to finally allow us to run three trains by parking one on an isolated passing siding.  Oh, well...

As mentioned, if any photos from today prove photo worthy, I will post them.  Until then, have a great week!

- Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 2:24 AM

Sounds to me like you have acquired a 'static display'. Place the railtruck on a stub- siding with a small trackside structure, add a pair of folks 'loading' the railtruck and instant 'activity diorama'. Quick hint, with the christmas season approaching pay attention to Wallmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Michaels, Ace True Valus and the like. Often they carry a 'Lite Brite" train set at christmas time for about $75 (Calif pricing). They are powered by 6 "C cell" batteries. They are NOT intended for outdoor use, and have an indoor life span of a few months. They come with plastic rails that are not UV resistant. The box cars make an execelent track side depot warehouse, cabooses make an very good yard office, The engine and tender make good city park attractions. Everything will require several coats of spray paint (I use 3 coats) to protect from UV radiation plus a color and weather coat, including the plastic rails. At one time I had one of the engines bashed up as a derailment that was abandoned where it fell from the tracks. As these sets nbormally do not sell out they are hit with massive cuts to their price during clearance sales. I've never paid more than $15 for a set. One year I picked up 2 from WM for $10 each and 3 from HD for $7.50 each. Just something to keep in mind as I know you are having problems sinding goodies from local stores. If you are lucky enough to find one with passenger cars - instant fast food joint. The toy dept of WM will also have a selection of 1:24 vintage vehicles. One year the wife found one (metal) that with about an hours work became the delivery truck for her vegetable stand.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, September 8, 2016 1:47 AM

Tom,

Thanks for the tips, especially regarding the "Lite Brite" sets.  At $15, I can afford to pick up a collection of spare parts after Christmas! 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 12, 2016 2:55 AM

Aloha!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  As promised, I wanted to get caught up on some of the photographic evidence of progress.  Tonight, it is just this picture of our newest piece of equipment, Bachmann's 2-4-2.  As mentioned, they gave us this in lieu of repairing "Charlie" the railtruck, who is riding the low-sided gondola into the shops.  I couldn't resist posing the 1:20 scale crew for the shot:

I will hang a few of "Wild West Days on the Triple O" just for fun sometime this week. 

In other news, we made it to the nursery today.  I am trying sedum again on one of my mountains, and I got a few more "Cherry Archangels," which seem to thrive where all esle wilts.  They look nice, too, if not especially scale (Thyme dies as if before a plague in my care.  Go with what works.).

- Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 26, 2016 3:09 AM

I am pleased to report that our retaining wall is at last covered entirely in tinctured, and textured concrete!  I won't pretend it looks like natural rock, but it looks a darn site better than plain hollow-tile!  The red-brown hues just soften the transition up from the yard, and, of course, I can always stack rocks and dirt up against it later.

The final push brought all hands on deck.  When help arrived, the process became slower and messier (scratch one t-shirt!), and my careful attempt at uniform inscription to mark the name of the road, the date of groundbreaking, and date of first run went pretty much out the window.  It all added to a final, folky finish to what has been a tedious project, and the crew is looking forward to allocating funds to something else on the Triple O! 

Before closing this chapter of the road's evolution, I wanted to mention that the wall bears the 5 handprints, 1 foot print, and 1 paw print of each principal crewmember.  They have all had their hands / feet / paws in the project, now those hands / feet / paws are forever ON the project.

I have authorization - but not funding - to build a mountain and waterfall and to expand the pond, but that is years away.  I am looking forward to working more on the railroad and less on the garden (beyond planting) anyway.  The short list:

  • Isolated passing sidings so we can run more trains.
  • Toying with our stub sidings to make sure we are getting the most fun out of them.
  • Hosting Oktoberfest for my fencing club with an appropriately laden train or two...
  • Pouring foundations for the Playmobil buildings / future home of other buildings (lesson learend from Wild West days.  Pictures coming, I promise!).  Wait, that involves concrete...Pass for a while...

Lots to do as we tinker away!  Thanks agains for a space to keep me honest and (pun intended) on track!

Have a great week & aloha!

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, September 26, 2016 3:30 AM

PVT Kanaka

 

 

Nice pic.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 2:10 AM
Mahalo (Thanks)!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 3, 2016 1:47 AM

OK,  Today's "update" is truly just for fun.  As mentioned, a couple week's ago we got out about half of my 1980-s vintage PLAYMOBIL for "Wild West Days on the Triple O."  To be totally honest, some of these may be stretching the purpose of these pages (exchange of technical advice), but, with GR's recent run of getting kids involved editorials and articles, I felt justified! 

On the techical side, though, our fun did reveal a few issues I'll have to address,particularly horizontal clearances, building foundations, and ease of transport of buildings.  For the moment, however, please indulge me in simply enjoying the moment.

 

Here we go...

We staged buildings, cowpokes, the 7th Cavalry, Winnetou, etc. at the bite in our dogbone...

 

The town took shape here.  This is about 1/3 of the buildings in the collection...

The photo of "North Star" pulling out gives a sense of both my clearance and foundation issues!  The fort in the background of the previous photo took some jiggering to get trains to pass.  Long term, I will also have to find a way to make sure buildings are level.  For now, no one cared.

Our rural section...The crew divined this is how I envisioned the Triple O would develop.  Winnetou and his clan are in the dwarf roses, you can make out settlers far to the rear, and the crew, meanwhile, is loading boxes and furniture into a lowsided gondola.

OK, "Proud Dad Shot."  The crew populating the Triple O.

Finally, for in order to end on something vaguely adult, "Smokey" pulls a short freight past some frienldly folks on a buckboard waving to gunslinger / strawberry farmer.

 

 

OK, that is it for tonight!  We had cavalry columns and wagon trains out there, too.  We ran out of time, however, to see how that would've gotten integrated into the whole. 

Thanks again for indulging me tonight!  I hope that the above justifies the time spent providing guidance to me over the years!  Now on to those passing sidings...

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 24, 2016 2:02 AM

Aloha!

 

Progress continues at a pace if not apace.  We dove into the box-o-track to see about improving our passing siding in advance of readying for multi-train operations.  All is we; however, a TV blew up Super Angryll, so the order for the requisite clamps may have to wait, given I was going to bundle it with some other odds and ends.  Why we need  TV in Hawai'i remains a mystery, but I like being married...Whistling

Other projects have kept me, and sometimes us, busy.  Gustav, my LGB O-6-2T, decided to call it quits, so I had to open him up.  The motor works, but one of the tabs was bent.  Bent it back into shape, and he worked on the test track, though today when I finally got him out on the road, he remained touchy.  Everytime he stopped, I picked him up, burnished his wheels, and let him go.  Now it seems there are  just a few touch spots that Gustav, and Gustav alone, will not cross, even as his headlights work.  Oh, well, trouble shooting is free.

This work culminated about 10 days of tinkering with the roadbed.  As Tom predicted, things have settled a bit.  My gravel pile is starting to shrink as I fill and level things.  On the other hand, the garden is taking on some terrain that makes it less sterile, and, as things level out, the trains run much better with fewer derailments and power interruptions.  Also, it is free.

The garden has also undergone some minor alterations.  Hell's Mountain, in which nothing seems to grow, has yet to kill some sort of sedum I stuck up there a couple weeks ago.  After talking with the nursery today, the issue of bake and flood on our side of the island is at the root of it (no pun intended), so I mixed in more cinders to promote drainage.  We'll see.  We also hacked away at a white fly infection; the infection being too close to our pond, we are taking the trim, fertilize, and hope method.  Not quite free, but no shipping!

Finally, we, and this is a WE, took a small saw and some half inch by half inch "timbers" to make simulated shoring at the entrances of some tunnels.  This covered the most obvious concrete blocks and made the whole look so much better (Shokingly so, I think).  I'd like to make portal wings, but, with too many small humans still tempted to make passge through the tunnels,they can wait.  On the "downside," this inspired the need for a quick purchase of few other "timbers" to make vertical reinforcements (this week's project!) and a few other strips of "lumber" to make a simulated door frame on one of my in-laws' creations. All of the above has been practical application from some of the GR articles. 

At any rate, I wanted to document progress, such as it is. With our weather going from dry and wonderful to wet and still pretty wonderful, beach activities are likely to slow, so I imagine more puttering will occur, especially as we begin to unlock what is possible with a few hand tools and some glue.

Have a great week!

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:49 AM

Aloha & Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Not too much to report...After a quick trip to the continent, I picked up the railclamps for the planned passing siding project, some HLW "mini" gondolas for their kid friendliness, and a Dremel motor set for the heck of it (~$30 cheaper than I have ever seen it out here!).  Oh what the latter little tool portends!  The wet season has hit, and that seems to have given my sedum a boost for the moment, too.

I am back at work troubleshooting "Gustav," our venerable LGB 0-6-2T, but I hope to have some more subtantial update on the line writ large when the passing siding project gets underway.

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, December 16, 2016 1:20 AM

Aloha,

I owe some pictures, but I did want to at least verbally report progress:

  1. Gustav, our 0-6-2T, is operational after much fiddling with internal bus bars.  Unfortunately, his test run tonight showed recent rains fouled track joints and caused some minor undulations, leading to interrupted power and derailments.  It also revealed some of my pond liner has worked its way up, and a fold now blocks part of the track.  Something to work on.
  2. The cinders in Hell's Mountain may have done our sedume some good.  Despite the onset of the rainy season, I dare say the sedum and some withered succulents are thriving!
  3. With the new Dremel, I cut up a solar power law ornament to light a house per a recent GR article.  Botched it, cut up another one, and lit the house.  Now the crew wants me to do the same to "their" buildings.
  4. All parts are on hand to proceed with electrical switches to isolate a passing siding per teh project on the October 2013 issue of GR.  I have opted to use a pre-fab bird house from a craft store if a suitable one exists rather than making the shed from scratch.  Baby steps...
  5. I have some rail clamps on hand, too, to address a few trouble spots.
  6. I even tried lubricating an older, second hand BACHMANN 4-6-0.  What a difference!

The above are small things, but they are things that, to me, mark a transition from defining the boundaries of the Triple O to defining the world that lives inside of it. 

Pictures should be up again, but, should I be remiss, I wanted to take a moment to wish all those who celebrate Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) and wish all Hau'ol Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!

- Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Friday, December 16, 2016 8:28 AM

Eric,

Over the years I have used many birdhouses in my GRR. The first ones fell apart after about 2 1/2 years. For the replacement bird houses I did a bit of advance repairs. Gently pry off the bottom foundation board. Cut a notch in a 2x4 to hold the house so that a corner was at the bottom, flow in a bead of liquid nails (or other wood cement) to the inside corner, let it set up for about half hour the rotate to the next corner. After all the inside corners are "glue up" paint the inside. Before replacing the bottom I let it soak in an old cake pan with a wood preservitive. Lots of copper to prevent wood rot. It takes about 2 days for the preservative to dry for paint. Reattach and paint the putside of the house. This extended the life expoctancy from 2 years to 10+ years. All of my birdhouses are from Michael's craft stores. When looking at birdhouses get out your credit card, if the long side of the credit card matches (or close to) the size of the door, the house will be in scale with most everything else.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:09 AM

Tom,

A belated thank you for the tips above.  We will probably get cracking on this after Christmas.

Speaking of which, Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Aloha,
Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, January 13, 2017 1:52 AM

Aloha, All!

As promised, some photo proof of progress!

First, one of the buildings we lit up using solar garden lights per a recent GR article.  Gustav pulls his first train in months after repairs (he was jumping the track after his return to service.  Turned out things had shifted pinching a curve. All is well!).  You can just make out our rough portals for the tunnels in the background.  Nothing great, but, by hiding the concrete block, it was a major visual improvement:

My oft-mentioned father-in-law inspects where his new swtich tower will go.  He made a pair for our station.  The signal flags move the light switch which now turns power to the tracks on and off!

The project to emplace those towers and allow for multi-train operation was a most-hands-affair.  Per company guidance, all major projects are voluntary, with "employees" joining and drifting away as they see fit.  First, we prepped the rails for the new SPLITJAW clamps:

Then, we used shards of hollow tile to make a level base:

This was followed by some soldering and quick jiggering of one clamp (I had accidentally jumped across an "isolated" gap.):

And finally, of course, testing the whole thing!  Our newest "employee" beat us all to the punch (He crawled over, hoisted himself up, and was amazed at what those shiny boxes did!):

All of this has prompted some discussions about where to put our throttles, and it has created a new position, yard master, for operations.  Of course, my stress level is up a bit as the crew figures out how to avoid collisions...

Meanwhile, we have contined plantings, testing something called "Jamaican Mint" as a possible "tree" and attempting to "bonsai" rosemary for the same purpose, again using recent GR articles as our guide.  We may have even turned the corner with the sedum on Hell's Mountain!  Maybe that gets a picture, too...

Thanks as always for the interest, and do pardon me for indulging again in a few "proud dad" shots. 

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

-Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 1:16 AM

Aloha,

 

A quick post here to acknowledge two years of operations on the Triple O, celebrated in grand fashion with some older relatives and, yes, the hibachi and a the beverage train (on the newly islotable siding to the left awaiting its load!).

You can see some of the progress (not shown, the locomotives we learend to troubleshoot and repair over the last year!) if you compare it to last year's post.  Mainly, the hollow tile is all covered, tinctured, and textured and there is a new mountain over to the right.  Another key feature is the switchtowers barely visible to the right that serve to power the station's tracks on and off, which, as mentioned, has opened up some fun.

I reviewed my posts from last year, and, barring inspiration, I think we will contine to focus on the world we have now defined by the existing retaining wall and geography.  Key will be finding more "bullet proof" plants (the Jamaican mint just bit the bucket).  I also have Mr. Jack Verducci's "Building Structures for Your Garden Railway" on hand and the new GR CD-ROM compendium on order to help address populating the Triple O with buildings.  As ever, there will be constraints of cost and the maturity of my four most anxious helpers, the latter constraint balanced against a need to keep this project interesting for them.

I did want to close with a question of sorts.  My oldest daughter has said she "likes working on the garden railroad, but just watching trains run gets boring."  Ouch...With the caveat that I have to be able to run two loops and I only have one fully functioning turn-out left in reserve, can anyone recommend modifications to the layout as shown?  For now, I am considering removing the connections to the inner and outer loops at the far left, elevating that section a bit, and using those turn-outs as sgub switches serving the little farm off to the left and a too be determined industry elsewhere.  Alternatively, and one that wouldn't force me to try to move plants that are actually growing well, I was thinking of reworking the "yard" off to the right.  As ever, your thoughts are appreciated, as is my continued appreciation for the continued help and guidance!

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 4:35 PM

Multiple train control with trains going in opposite directions, the need to pass each other will liven up the action. I think you are track power, the Revolution Train Engineer is inexpensive, adds sound, and the kids will have a ball.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, February 9, 2017 2:22 AM

Greg, I am assuming that the product at this link is what you are referring to: http://www.revoelectronics.com/product/57001.html. Is something that would be "plug and play" with our newer Bachmann 2-4-2 "Smokey" but would take some tinkering and skill to backfit into our older LGB stuff, assuming I was inclined to try that?

That being the case, could I hook up "Smokey" and let his analog pals run on the same loop, or would they be restricted to the separate, isolated loop? Thanks!

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Thursday, February 9, 2017 10:38 AM

It's not plug and play, but there's enough expertiese on this site to walk you through the installation step by step.

If you already have track power, then what you can do is:

Run "normal" analog locos as you have been.

Leave the voltage on the track at about 18 volts and run "revolution equipped" locos with independent control - as many as you like.

Run some trains on analog, and then the revo-equipped one(s) would run at that speed or lower, but independent control. This let's you mix locos, but you know the revolution is pretty darn cheap, the receivers are pretty low in cost, and you can start with one transmitter and receiver and add incrementally. The additional fun of the bell and whistle is not to be underestimated with kids (or grownups ha ha).

In addition, your locos MIGHT be low enough current to run the HO revolution, I used one on an Aristo eggliner. That could save a few bucks on additional receivers, from $100 each to a bit less... (I'm beta testing them now).

 

Anyway, it's food for thought and you can convert over bit by bit. The independent wireless control with sound will definitely increase the fun factor.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:56 PM
Greg, Thanks. This is definitely "food for thought." I can probably justify one big purchase this year, and I am weighing things like table saws and that nifty hotwire foam crafting kit. These are obviously to start building the things that the Triple O serves, which would add to the fun, but this wireless controller would make operating what we have more fun. I am going to mull all of this over, as going wireless like this had seemed beyond the realm of possibilities. -Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 13, 2017 1:14 AM
Greg, the clan voted...Structure building will be the emphasis this year...Absent overtime! I am going to look into converting "Smokey" in the not too distant future! Thanks again! -Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:00 AM

Aloha!

 

Busy weekend on the Triple-O...Re-grading a few areas and adding rail joints to trouble spots occurred catch-as-can throughout the weekend.  Our big project, however, was improving our pond.  While most of the improvements were made with an eye towards fish-keeping issues that are probably beyond the scope of this blog, I am pretty proud of some of the scenic efforts.

I decided to take advantage of some settling to see if I could use last year's skills of cutting craft store "timbers" and gluing them to concrete to make retaining walls.  Here is the before (Pardon the PLAYMOBIL.  We were having fun!):

And here is the after:

I am not sure if the sand will stick to the pond foam or not.  We'll see.

I use the rest of the can of pond foam to build a barrier around the edge of about half the pond, backfilling behind it with gravel.  This is a major visual improvement.  I sprinkled some sedum clippings in to see what would happen in 1/2"-1" of gravel.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I am not thrilled with the glossy look to the hardened foam, but I want to see how / if it fades before cutting it away.  Likewise, I want to see if the foam holds up to kids playing and a cattle dog cooling before finishing this effort.

Oh, and to tie up some loose ends from my last post, we did move some sidings around.  It took about 30 seconds before the crew figured out what that meant they could do, and before long barnyard animals and what-not were shuttling around the Triple O.  Still have my eyes on that controller, though! Big Smile

That's a wrap for now!

Have a great week!

 

Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:31 AM

Eric:

A good number of us have a water feature in our garden empire. I have a 2,000 gallon Koi pond. The key to a sucessful fish pond is moving water and filtration. I don't know if you have a stream feeding your pond. If not good circulation is key. Step one, determine your total number of gallons, select a pump and filter capable of pushing your water total water supply every 3~4 hours. Read the information charts for pumps and filters. Look close at the 'lift flow rate' for the pump. In my case I have a waterfall 38 inches above pond level. To get the desired 800 gallons per hour over the falls I needed a 2,000 gal per hour pump. Splashing water is a good way to oxygenate the water. Since I don't remmber seeing a water fall you should look at airation bar or stones like needed for an indoor fish tank. When looking at filter systems, look to over size the filter. The larger the filter the less frequent the maintenance. If you have any questions, just ask. Of the seven Koi we started we lost two from flooding by rain and two from large birds. Actually saw a Red Tail Hawk take one.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 27, 2017 12:46 AM

Aloha Tom.

 

Our little pond is far  simpler, about 50-75 gallons.  The funds and space were not there for a proper koi pond, and I wanted to take advantage of year round tropical weather, anyway.  I had intended to make this a water garden, balancing fauna and plants, as I had with an empty 55 gal aquarium for years, with Southeast Asian anbantoid species (Many evolved to live in hot, low oxygen environments.) as my target "showcase" critters.  Long story short...too shallow, too exposed, and too quick to fill.  We even lost critters to dragonfly larvae, and I put the whole thing in a reinforcing loop of stupid...no fish led to bugs, but not enough fish allowed dragonfly larvae to get established which led to no fish which led to bugs...We sorted the whole thing out by erecting a shade over 2/3 of the pond and backed it off until the water hyacinth - nature's sewer plant - took.  We have had a colony of feeder guppies and a pair of mollies established for about 18 months now, so, at long last, i will try my anabantoids, probably blue gouramis.

I have been looking for a solar powered pump to move things around a bit, but no joy in that department. Internet research has come up dry beyond small decorative things of dubious quality.  As the the pond serves as a source to water plants, the water gets refreshed regularly.  Regular removal of water hyacinth and duckweed is how I get rid of organic material and keep the fish happy over the long haul. 

 

Long term, the pond will be the sump for a proper water feature.  With filtration and flow, the sky is the limit given our climate.  I will probably take my cues from local hotels that have similar set-ups centered on African Rift Lake Cichlids.  However, there is the foam tools, the tablesaw, that DCC controller, some rail clamps...let alone the mortgage, food, and car repairs...between now and that vision!

Have a great week!

Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, February 27, 2017 3:05 AM

Eric:

Solar powered water pumps. Have a look at "Camping World" (google search) or any RV store site. They carry a line of solar panels for charging RV 'house batteries' and water pump replacements for RVs. A neighbor, 3 doors down, uses them to pump his front yard pond. He has two of the $125 pannels, on a south facing fence, powering a $40 RV replacement water pump. He uses 3/8 inch clear 'rubber/plastic' tubing. His pump is directly below 3 plastic 'rock bowls' as a small waterfall. His intake line runs to the other end of the pond. He "de-greens' the pump and tubing twice a year by lifting the small stones from the tupbing and has the system pump from and to a 5 gallon paint bucket filled with water and one cup of beach for an hour, then flush the lines with fresh water before putting it back into normal configuration. In four years the only problem he has had was when some migratory rabbits found his wiring and ate trough the insulation. Just a thought for the future. 

I have two units myself that I use when at a 'primative' camp site. One for the vehicle battery so I can listen to the cab radio and charge the phones.The other for the house battery. The only time I need to run the generator is for the morning coffee and the microwave for the frozen breakfast sandwiches.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 27, 2017 11:33 PM
RV sites? Never would've guessed....I sure learned a lot about commercial shrimp hatcheries doing my search! Thanks for the tip!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 7, 2017 2:56 AM

Aloha!

 

Just a quick post to report an attempt at a HardieBacker building is under its dusty way and that the foamworking kit is finally on order.  The solar powered pumps for the pond will have to wait.  If anything, the we have more shade over the pond this year, and the guppies did just fine last summer.

In the meantime, we had a recent "Little People on the Railroad Day," which, beyond being a lot of fun, got the clan revved up to try their hand at structure building.

For fun, here are a few of some of the more railroad oriented portions of "Little People on the Railroad Day" that highlight some of the progress we have made...

For starters, this time we used some drop cloths to catch detail parts as we set up.  We also topped off some of our gravel to get level tracks and buildings:

We incorporated Tom's suggestion to use "Charlie," our broken railtruck, as the center for a vignette.  This sort of got the crew to focus on how to populate scenes around the line.

This is the pond area, with my father-in-law's handywork clearly visible behind the water hyacinth.  Adding a siding led to a brief argument with Charles of "Charles' Marine Supply," but after resolving it, did add interest and fun.  This is part of my effort to get folks to think about "What does the Triple O do?"

"Hell's Mountain" in bloom!  We've since trimmed back the daisies to let the sedum continue to come in.  The mountain is scrap concrete and lava rock.  There isa plan to add a mine with a track for mine carts to come out over the siding.  First the fairies will have to move...

OK, I just think this one is cool. 

Cattle ranch...mine...dock...and the theme became "Trains moving critters and folks to a wedding party."  Oh, well, the kids figured out which cars to use, switched them about, and got everyone to the nuptials on time!

 

That's it for now from Sunny Hawai'i! I imagine the next update will include what I shall generously call "handiwork" with my attempt at structures.

Until then, ALOHA!

 

- Eric 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:09 AM

Aloha!

I will provide pictures shortly, but this week we started foresting one corner, using my "poor man's pine tree," rosemary.  I topiaried two of these over the last couple years into a tunnel, which I now loathe and everyone else loves, and it convinced me to try "bonsai-ing" this stuff.  It lives, it takes aggresive trimming (kids love to trim!), and it is less than $2 a plant.  I also got out the pond foam to hide the last of the unsightly vinyl liner.  Not a perfect solution, but slate is absurdly expensive out here.

Unfortunately, on the train side, the weekend was frustrating.  We had not run them in about a month, and there were many testy rail joints.  Needless to  say, this weekend was one of chasing faults and not enjoying the trains.  This has convinced me to really look into soldering my foot long sectional tracks into longer sections, especially in those areas that really preclude much more fiddling with the track plan due to space or where I feel a stub siding is a long shot.

This week or next, I am going to get some half hollow tile to use as foundations for my building under construction, for a few out in the garden, and as a subradoadbed for some switches.  The latter float on the gravel, and, beyond the stray rock getting wedged in them, also seem more subject than the rest of the road to getting off the level and causing derailments. 

Looking ahead, I've noted some areas that have settled about 2 inches, and I will need to shore up the right of way.  I like the look from the settling, as it makes the terrain less sterile, but it causes more swaying and electrical connectivity issues than I like.  I have used some broken hollow tile, glued wood to it and used it successfully in one are.  I might try this or something similar (foam?) on a larger scale in another area.

Busy this week as we close on Memorial Day, but I will try to show photos of what was accomplised and issues that need addressing later.

Aloha,

Eric!

 

P.S. 15 month old vs. a mountain and my long-suffering sedum.  15 month old won!

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:21 PM

Rosemary makes nice trees!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:23 PM
Ah! Saw this picture somewhere when I did some cursory research on the use of rosemary!
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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:08 PM

That picture is from my web site, my site does have about 1.5 million hits, and that Rosemary bush is on a layout here in San Diego. So, you probably saw it from my site, under miscellaneous trees.

https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=151

Often, I post a question on a forum, and then google it, only to find my post or my site as the "answer"...

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 29, 2017 3:00 AM

Too funny!  Also, for the funny column, note that my oldest daughter discovered I had bought 3 blue lavendar and 1 "tuscan blue" rosemary, so now I get to see if lavendar can be "bonsaied."  We have had OK luck with dwarf lavendar, but the real stuff, which CINCHOUSE wanted for cooking, has yet to survive a summer.

We shall see how these "trees" work out this time.  For the moment,  they do smell nice!

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, May 29, 2017 11:38 PM

PVT Kanaka

but the real stuff, which CINCHOUSE wanted for cooking, has yet to survive a summer.

That means you just need more!

After multiple failures with 'minatue pines' (they only got about 3~4 hrs of direct sun per day) SWMBO brought home a dozen Thyme 'trees'. The first Saturday of each month she would harvest (trim) them to shape. After 15 years they are still going strong. Truth be known, I really need to trim them back, they are starting to interfer with coal tipple.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, June 2, 2017 1:07 AM
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:03 AM

Aloha all!

 

Just a quick update as we ponder our next effort...I finally attacked our track plan a bit, replacing some stub sidings we weren't using with another passing siding, as all hands deem passing sidings "more fun." As an upshot, I got to operationally test some turnouts I had to repair (one had a pinch in the rails; the other had an issue with the frog.  Both had a date with my Dremel.).  Success!  I guess I am learning something after all...We will wire these for multi-train operation later.  Of course, monkeying with the track had second order effects as I had to push and shove the rest of the track to get everything to line up correctly, and I had to repostion our POLA loco-shed.  Oh, well.

Plantingwise, I found purselane seems to grow in our climate conditions, with clippings even sprouting.  This has addressed our ground cover isse in our forest are.  In that same region, the lavendar is barely hanging on, but that means this time I can buy the rosemary I meant to buy in the first place!  Our heather seems to be on the verge of dying, and our poor thyme did not survive a transfer mandated by the track move.  Based on the August 2017 GR article discussuing mulch, I am wondering if my low plants get cooked from the heat reflected off the stones.  

Our next project will tackle some of the settling.  As we've planted, we have replaced gravel with soil, we have moved the gravel elsewhere to fill low spots, especially in areas I have designated for urbanization.  We have so much planting to do, this should suffice in some areas for years to come.  Over by our little pond, however, this won't work unless I build up the pond's walls.  I don't want to do that, and, actually, I enjoy the sense of a changing, rolling terrain the limited settling provides.  Anyway, I stuck a bunch of "boulders" under the track to serve as a retaining wall in one area.  Functional and attractive, I think!  In another area that has sunk about 1-2" and runs for about 48", I think we are going to engineer something out of bricks, then cover that with a foam sheet we can texture and paint.  I had some ideas I gleaned from this site and another forum I think I can apply.   I'd hang a photo for a scope of shot, but PHOTOBUCKET no longer allows third party posting.  

All is well, the trains are rolling, and we are still having fun!

- Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, July 20, 2017 3:09 AM

PVT Kanaka

 

 I am wondering if my low plants get cooked from the heat reflected off the stones.  

 

Very possible. In my case I found yellowing of the leaves on the underside close to the stem. I substituted a darker crushed rock to solve the issue, with a bit of extra watering.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, July 21, 2017 12:42 AM

Thanks as always, Tom.  I have to make a stop by the hardware store and local nursery this weekend, and I'll see what they have.

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 7, 2017 1:49 AM

OK,

Lots going on in parallel on the Triple O!

  1. We are attacking the settling, using Tom's recommended board-scribed-to-look-like-a-timber-retaining wall method.  I will also make the form for some concrete culverts, both to spot fix a few areas and to get some basic skills in pouring concrete forms.
  2. Attempts at making buildings are going forward, with my HardieBacker monstrosity on site and a rehabilitation of my father-in-law's water tower in progress.  The latter involvled cutting off the legs that had fallen vicitim to cattle dog, constructing a pump house / support structure around a foam core (foam...much easier to work with than HB! Still needs to be developed skill...)
  3. Reforestation continues apace with rosemary.  The purselane is developing into a nice, dense mass that at least evokes a green rise.  I'll take it!  We are also experimenting with sea urchin sedum.  Sedum is sort of catch-as-can out here.  Sometimes you sedum in da store, sometimes you don't!
  4. Mulch is on hand for an effor to plant a yard around our new "house."  We are waiting for dwarf elfin thyme to appear on the local market.  With the avocado tree keeping the temperatures down, I am hoping the mulch may not scorch the thyme like the rocks may have, assuming that was part of the issue.  

On the downside, Little People on the RR Day did not come off as planned last Friday.  A cartoon and the arrival of the kids' playmate preempted the effort.  I have had, upon reflection, a good run as the center of the children's universe. Still...

Lots going on in parallel, but the trains are really running great, and they provided a wonderful backdrop for the summer.  Pictures of my latest efforts to make them run better (the settling solutions) and to make a better backdrop (the plantings) as they are warranted.  

Have a wonderful week!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 21, 2017 12:37 AM

Aloha all!

OK, per my Q&A post on the subject, thre first "timber" retaining wall is in!  What a visual improvement!  Now, if I could get over my reticence to try to solder my sectional track, I'd get the operational improvement, too...I've gotten lots of ideas how to proceed, but, for the moment, jiggling joints is OK by me!

The rehabilitation of my fatherr-in-law's water tower is effectively complete, besides some touch up paint and some shims to level the tower..  The legs fell victim to the dog and kids, so I mounted the structure on a "pump house."  I had intended to make a foam core and scribe stones.  Botched it.  Then I planked the sides and intended to scribe a foam base.  Botched the base.  I shaved off the excess foam, mounted it on HardieBacker, made a fill pipe, and called it a day.  Beyond the door, I do not intend to add much detail.  The cattle dog has discovered the amazing cooling properties of the nearby guppy pond!

Anway, here is the project's start:

And here is its effective finish: 

I am much enamored of the sticks-on-foam method I used here, and I plan to experiment with it a bit more.  I have a need for a tool-shed / siding isloation switch for which I think this would be very applicable.  Given I have no workshop, no storage space, lots of people interacting with the garden, no hobby shops, and limited skill, this may be a good way to start getting something - ANYTHING - out on the road that can last!

Reforestation is at a standstill as I wait for my preferred rosemary - tuscan blue or verbano.  They seem to be the most treeish.  At least the sea urchin sedum is not dead. Yet.

As for a final follow-up, we place some mulch over the newly planted strawberry beds.  The plants did not fry.  We will continue the experiment if dwarf elfin thyme ever shows up in the area again.

 

Finally, I thought it would be fun to close with a series from earlier this summer...

Cue "Jaws Music..."

The predator lurks...

An innocent railfan surveys the surroundings...

THE ATTACK!!!!

But, don't worry, this story ends with a rescue!

No actually offspring or railbuses were injured in the capture of this story.  In fact, no actual railbuses were even derailed!  Got to love LGB!

At any rate, have a great week, and thank again in indulging me and letting me use this blog as a way to keep me honest and (wait for it) on track with this project!

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 1:43 AM

Aloha,

 

As summer bleads into fall and winter (time to get out my 5 mm wetsuit for diving!  72 degree water...Brrrr....), I thought an update was in order on this "build log."  To be honest, progress was a mixed bag.  On the one hand, we addressed some niggling issues with electrical connectivity and with settling, installing scale retaining walls to address the latter.  We also experimented with materials for buildings, though I made less progress in urbanizing than I'd hoped as RR time had to go to repairing a loop coupler on the kids' battery powered loco and some other locomotive repairs (one is ongoing.  I now get to learn to replace idler gears in LGB's 0-6-2T!  What could go wrong?).  The biggest disappointment, however, came in the reforestation department.  The lavendar bloomed and bit it.  Half of the 6 rosemary trees followed into the compost bin.  The heather struggled mightily then succumbed.  The mulch allowed strawberries to take root and flourish, which brought back snails and slugs.  Snails and slugs love strawberry plants, apparently. Worst of all, white flies found my purselane, which had formed a nice mound of green simulating a cut.  No more purselane.    You can get a sense of it below:

At least half my dwarf lavendar died to make sure a little bit of everything got off to the compost bin.

The return of cooler weather, though, will bring with it another go at reforestation.  Sedum and native succulents seem to be doing OK atop Hell's Montain, even spreading in the case of sedum to the mountain's base.  Experimentation will continue, one $2.00 plant at a time, and I hope cooler, wetter weather will give things the chance to root before the summer.

On the upside, the effort continued to keep folks entertained.  We had another little people on the railroad day, and, of course, the Triple O delivered many a libation over the last couple months.  I also had a chance to get some 1:1 motivation at the Colorado RR Museum and chat with the volunteer running the garden RR.  Having been inspired to at least think about kitbashing (Why do used bits cost more than whole used locomotives?), I picked up "Next Stop Honolulu" at a revisit to our historic line last weekend.  A quick skim showed, with regards to Hawaii, anything went and thus anything goes!

 

OK, I don't like to end on too negative a point, so here is a shot of part of the RR where plants did seem to grow.  The flowering things are impatiens, which a.) don't die, b.) serve as a nice view break, and c.) look nice.  Native Akulikuli is growing over the tunnel complex,  "some kine tree thing" and Thai basil serve as trees, our roses are recovering from white flies, and blue daze is, if not thriving, at least surviving.  

Off to ponder getting at those idler gears!  Have a great week!

 Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, November 20, 2017 12:05 AM

Aloha and Early Happy Thanksgiving!

Lots happening on the Triple O.  The last two weekends proved too windy and rainy for beach activities, so the crew (or elements thereof) and I took to the garden.  Pictures will follow later this week.

Rosemary trees have gone back into the "forest," and I have noticed that as dust and debris settle into the rocks, my sedum seems to be grabbing little toe holds here and there.  At least one of the 3-4 species I have tried seems to be working...Today, for fun, we also planted some out-of-date seeds we got free from our nursery.  At worst, we get nothing.  At best, some greenery for the railroad and the kitchen.

We also turned-to on the bridges spanning our gorge.  Shifting tracks had caused the mainline and trestle to misalign.  Rather than break the trestle free (I had accidentally cemented it in place when I installed it.  Ooops.), I ran a stringer along its length.  The track now sits on the bridge again.  This left enough space on one side to run a walkway along its length.  Of course, as soon as my daughter and I got the glue down, it rained, the wood swelled, the walkway buckled, and we learned another lesson.  Suprisingly, the glue remained in place, and by noon today the good folks of Pu'u'o'ma'o (Green Hill when we are in Wild West theme) had a safer way to cross.  We plan to install a safety rail next.

I have never like the approach to the neighboring truss.  The Triple O doesn't have much going for it  in terms of "realism," but I loathe "flying tracks."  I am happy to report my oldest daughter used a handheld hobby saw to cut some timbers and assemble some cribbing.  Looks much better.

Meanwhile, the I broke out the foam cutter and some scrap wood to build a new steeple topper for the 1st Congregational Church of Haluku'ilio (Dog Wallow in the Old West), an old PLAYMOBIL builiding I have on my shelf.  Not overly detailed, but a good enough solution and good way to develop what the ancients called a "skill."

On the downside, "Gustav," my LGB 0-6-2T, remains down as I ponder how to get at his fried idlers.  Tonight, just as I sat back to enjoy dinner, a beverage, and a sunset, "North Star," a BACHMANN 4-6-0 started whining and stopped moving.  This leaves the Triple O with no prime movers and only one operating American locomotive.  Frustrating, but I suppose this is the price I pay for starting with 30+ year LGB and gambling on a used BACHMANN starter set.  Got to do some headscratching on how to proceed.

Anyway, again, let me extend a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Aloha,
Eric

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, November 27, 2017 12:16 AM

Aloha!

 

I trust all had a Happy Thanksgiving.  All was well here, if "cold" in the low 70-s...

Anyway, as promised, photographic "proof" of some attempt at progess follow.

     First, the little steeple top. To be clear, the old PLAYMOBIL buildings only come out for special occassions and then go back inside.  They also come off the shelf if I need a diversion for the crew during inclement weather, which does, in fact, occur.  I opted to use foam for its price, ease of cutting, and forgiving qualities.  I did purchase a block for this at a craft store.  I shaped it with a HotWire foam knife, and after  gluing back on some "over shaping" planked it over with craft sticks:

    

I sealed the lot with exterior paint, before painting the front and back blue.  100 grit sandpaper serves as roofing material, and bit of a shattered epee became my roof topper (the second function beyond staking plants I have found for broken epees).  I think the reverend is quite pleased, even if his congregation seems a bit tardy this weekend:

Meanwhile, my much simpler if rain addled efforts to put a foot path over the trestle seems to have held up well.  The Triple O's work crew was pleased with the results:

And "North Star's" crew posed shortly thereafter...and shortly before she ate her own gearing for lunch...

Saftey railings will have to wait.  They will not survive Kid-zilla, even if they would make life better for the good folks of Pu'u'oma'o!

A new chassis for the 4-6-0 is on the way.  "North Star's" gearing failure coincided, happily enough, with a sale at BACHMANN (Whatever will I do with all those spare wheels and rods?), and this week I am going to get up the nerve to cut that part holding 0-6-2T "Gustav's" two sides together so I can replace his idlers.  The part is not structural, barely visible, and standing between me and getting the old fellow back on the rails.  The Triple O will have a prime mover before long!

Have a wonderful week!

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, November 27, 2017 3:56 AM

"Saftey railings will have to wait."

I was going to ask. Well done. Keep expanding your skill levels.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:13 AM
Thanks, Tom. I...and to some extent we...keep trying!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, January 4, 2018 1:27 AM

I just scratched tunnel portals off of my 2018 "to do list" based on this just discovered photo:

This could've gone terribly wrong, but the little 0-2-0 just barely had the clearance!  The photographers have been advised next time they should work to prevent the attempt...

Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) to all!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 1:09 AM

Holy smokes!  This weekend marks three years of operations - such as they are - on the Oberammergau, Ogden & Olomana RR!  As such, below please find the obligatory overhead and crew shots when we brought out everything but the Christmas stuff to celebrate the occassion:

And the crew, to include the oft alluded to, rarely seen, CINCHOUSE:

 

And, yes, the above are shameless "proud parent photos."

 

To be honest, when I reflected over the last year, I was a bit disappointed about the progress.  We suffered plant die offs, and my efforts at building making were, while educational, a bit rough and even more infrequent.  On the other hand, with lots of help from you guys, we got this system up and running well.  Whereas it used to take an hour of trouble shooting to get a train to move, with a little spot polishing, our iron horses are off and running in minutes these days.  Also, time intended for buildings went to locomotive repair, so, while I regret the mechanical issues, learning happened.  Likewise with the plants.  We now know what works.  We can move forward from there.  Overall, we have firmly set what is possible given costs, interests, and stage of life to make this a living, breathing, family (if dad-led) project.

The kid of course have drifted in and out in participation, with Oldest Daughter being my chief companion and Youngest Son (aka Kid-zilla) being the most enthusiastic - if dangerous - partner.  CINCHOUSE has determined that the whole project is of sufficient value that non-railroad items count as household, vice entertainment costs (I cannot convince her that LGB's "Olomana" would improve our property value...).  The project also continues to serve as a center point for entertaining and family get togethers.  I would score these all as successes. 

Looking ahead to 2018, I hope a few more buildings will pop up and that the environment will continue to green as sedum, rosemary, blue daze, and impatiens begin to spread.  We are debating a "strategic purpose" - a table saw for modeling?  a new loco to give my decades old locos a break? more long lengths of track to make things more reliable?   We shall see.   There will be more stabilizing of the roadbed (might actually try those culvert!) as well as more strategic rail clamping on trouble spots in the meantime, to be sure.  We are pretty happy with the track plan, so I MIGHT actually solder some of those 1' tracks together this year (Soldering as a skill continues to allude me.).  Even better, the first rumblings about an expansion have emerged around the dinner table.  If the road serves Hawai'i in the sugar era, shouldn't it have a mill at Pu'u'oma'o?  Hmmmmm....But that is for another year!

I would be remiss if I did not offer thanks for the guidance on this forum, to include some personal correspondence from "Chochowilly."  It hard to be the only show in town.  You guys make this a lot less  lonely proposition!

So, with that I close a year of operations and start a new one.  And remember, when booking your Hawaiian vacations, tell your travel agent, "Eh!  I like go on the Triple O!"

Aloha!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 6, 2018 2:23 AM

Aloha All!

I am overdue for an update, but, in fairness, we have been busy!  Also, the regular maintenance routines are far less dramatic than  creating mountains from rubble or the Wild West from PLAYMOBIL.  Progress though is progress and deserves some mention (and even some bragging)!

In February, we took part in the Large Scale Central sponsored "Mik's Annual Build Challenge".  This got me off my duff and into the woodpile to make a building that would house electrical switches for a passing siding and enable even more trains to operate at once.  The kids and I missed the deadline to finish, but we had a gas making our 2x4, popsicle stick, and shishkabob skewer wonder.  I'll post the final picture when the Pu'u'omma'o Yard Station and Observation Platform is in in place.

Spring also saw the renewed effort to reforest a section of the railroad using rosemary, our preferred plant.  In the picture below, you can also see how our sedum is finally starting to spread:

Oldest Daughter also helped with beach restoration.  Cattle Dog baths and guppy fishing took their tolls on the pond foam that we use to hide the liner.  I should mention that covering the exposed black liner also kept the pond cooler, which did wonders for the guppy survival rate:

The foam will weather away nicely, and we actually salvage chunks of the old stuff to serve as "rocks" in areas where we needed to shore up and level the mainline.

Meanwhile, my ever resourceful father-in-law spent a buck fifty and saved this toy loco from the scrap heap:

You can see Kid-zilla sneaking up on the poor thing.  Though this thing rarely makes a full loop without derailing, it serves both as a distraction while we are engaged in other activities and a as training device for little engineers. 

   

Given Kid-zilla's propensity to attack non-moving trains, this loco has probably saved more than a few handrails on more valuable rolling stock!  It really deserves a name for its prophesied martyrdom, but none has come to mind yet.

I should again give credit to my father-in-law's creativity tonight as well.  He recently applied it to salvaged toy cars to make the hand car and little diesel pictured below:

  

Both went back to his shop for tinkering.  We'll see if they return to the Triple O or morph into something new.  Oh, and yes, I am plumbing him for every trick he wishes to divulge in what is for me the black art of tool wielding!

The other big arrival, as mentioned elsewhere on this forum, coincided with my parents' visit.  By shear coincidence, a model my brother and I lusted over in the 1990-s was available locally.  Like all new motive power before her, the newly christened Nuernberg poses with the Triple O work crew on the Pu'u'oma'o Trestle:

I had wanted to give her a Hawaiian name, but CINCHOUSE said the new mogul had Christmas colors, Oldest Daughter wanted the mogul to have a German name, CINCHOUSE suggested "Nuernberg" because of its Christmas market, and I let slip that this loco probably came from Nuernberg based on its "Made in Western Germany" stamp.  I posed the issue to my Dad / the kids' "Opa," who happened to mention that same fact and then preceeded to remind the family he had lived in Nuernberg.  That sealed it.  Someday, I will have my way on something...anything...

Naturally, like all my purchases, this one had its issues, and I had to rip the old girl apart to get at a connectivity problem.  "Fortunately" I had help:

It turned out she had been reassembled incorrectly somewhere along the line, and simply cleaing the innards and flipping the brass busses did the trick.

Back on the line "Opa" volunteered to serve as track gang, got dirty doing some regrading...

...and the Triple O is now able boast Nuernberg as its second - and last (Is there really ever a "last?") - big American locomotive.  We can now go "all in" American, inching the Triple O closer to its real world strategic guide - the OR&L.

I may as well update all on our venerable 0-6-2T Gustav tonight, too.  Gustav hitched a ride with my parents back to the Mainland for repairs.  I simply could not crack the code as to why the after idler would not enage the after set of drivers.  With luck, Gustav will again pull the Triple O's "Festzug" come later this summer!

Lots to mention and lots of ground to cover tonight!  Thank you for your continued forbearance as I document obstacles and the occassional spasms of progress!

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Friday, April 6, 2018 2:53 AM

Looking good, my friend. As for the "black art of tool weilding", looks to me like you are doing rather well. "Made in Western Germany", haven't seen that one in a long time. Back then, they were made to run forever. A little TLC andd it should keep running after you stop.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by chocho willy on Saturday, April 7, 2018 8:30 AM

   Personally I think Nurnberg is a great name, very fitting being as your father was very instrumental in it's arrival. There will always be time for you to have your way. congratulations on your new "Hao Lio", Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, May 4, 2018 12:36 AM

Aloha All,

 

In the spirit of Bill (aka Chocho Willy), I saw opportunity in "garbage."  Today, we slavaged four wheelbarrow loads of lava rock from a neighbor's yard.  There is some concrete, but careful placement should allow for any of a number of uses...

  • ...footstep where the kids access the pond.
  • ...shoring up a few areas where settling has left the track prone to shifitng off the level.
  • ...beefing up our tunnel area (it always looked spindly in my mind).
  • ...slightly raising the inner loop (Strictly aesthetic; it sank a bit below the outer loop in one area which I find disconcerting).

I have had a number of projects founder on the Shoals of No Locally Sourced Parts, but Quickcrete and dirt are always available.  With things largely working, I am approaching the future with an attitude of having multiple projects at the ready so I can get folks moving as tools and parts and whatever come available.

Speaking of tools, I will be getting that cheaper table saw when I pass through the Contiguous 48 later this year.  No point in paying 1/3 of the price of the product for shipping!

I have now put myself on notice I intend to do something with these rocks. The crew and I will hold a council, then I'll post an update.

In the mean time, malama pono (stay well)!

 

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Saturday, May 5, 2018 10:31 AM

Well where is the proof, no picture, LOL

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Posted by ttrigg on Saturday, May 5, 2018 11:33 PM

Hope these lava flows are not raising too much havoc in your area.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 7, 2018 1:43 AM

No photos, no proof!  What is this, one of my SCUBA or tropical fish forums?  Stick out tongue

On a more serious note, no, Tom, the lava won't impact us.  We will get hit with the sulfur rich gas plume, but I am typically not much impacted by it.  Now if Pele really wants to speak, a tsunami could be an issue.

As it happened, I was at Kilauea Crater on 1 May (I was in Hilo for May day for, of all things, a Civil War living history.  Google "Spencer's Invincibles" if interested.).  Halemaʻumaʻu was filled to the rim and overflowing in a few areas.  Quite an awesome spectacle that puts human power and time itself in perspective.

 

Not train related, but neat (and photographic "proof" Stick out tongue)...

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 21, 2018 2:27 AM

Aloha!

OK, first, proof of rocks:

You'd think on a volcanic island, these things would come cheaply.  They do not, costing about $10 a rock minimum.  We can easily hide the concrete when we place them.  This was a real rock...I mean WIND...fall!

As for use, one will go near our guppy pit to serve as a stepping stone.  No point in fighting kids or dog on their preferred access to the pond!

Some of the smaller ones will be countersunk to shore up the mainline and to help blend it visually to the lava-rock tunnel and cut network.  Our shattered but venerable "Little Thomas" came out to help me visualize the project (He may yet get a makeover if for no other reason than to gain practice.):

As I alluded to earlier, that tunnel lacks mass and thus looks a bit spindly.  The inner loop has sunk beneath the outer loop which bothers me a bit aestehtically.  The pictures below help scope the issue (pardon the foot):

        

I can add mass to the mountain by building "back" (travel right from my foot in the left hand picture) towards another mountain.  It has the advantage of space, would allow an elevated section for structures, and would add a sense of trains going somewhere by providing a visual block. The back side would be half hollow tile, and, yes, I'd leave plenty of access ports as otherwise it would put my most notoriously cantankerous run of track out of reach! On the other hand, this would accelerate funding authorization for additional 4' lengths of track.

The other option would add mass and attack that aesthetic issue by raising the inner loop where "Little Thomas" is parked in the right hand photo.  I like the idea of a vertical separation between the two loops, as it reinforces the idea they serve separate communitites and industries. My tunnels have the extra vertical clearance to allow the trains to start their climb, peak about where "Little Thomas" is sitting, then drift down back into the tunnels.  I am wondering if I have the clearances, however, between the loops to allow this, especially where that tank engine is sitting.  As the area sees lots of 0-2-0 and cattle dog traffic, letting the tracks leave a raised peninsula and arcing out on a trestle is not in the cards.   We have salvage rights on some hollow tile we found abandoned at our church, so that provides options in terms of a sub-roadbed and / or wall, using the scribed and stained concrete technique we employed elsewhere early in the project.

Anyway, these rocks are our summer project!  In general, rather than fight logistics, I am trying to remain open to projects as materials become available.  Others in the works include lights for my coaches (the electronics store may as well be in Idaho given its locaiton and hours), the "Little Thomas" makeover (Pending a parts queen of any make that appears locally), or a buildng (getting my little table saw this summer on a run to CONUS!).  In the short term, it is time to work a few weeks' rain and oxidation out of the line to prepare for our annual "Grill & Chill" next week!

Have a good one!

 

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, June 18, 2018 2:06 AM

Aloha all!

I thought a quick update was in order.  We hosted an annual potluck for my work teammates, team alumni, and their families late last month.  An unspoken rule is the first drink comes by rail!   The Saturday beforehand, it was all hands on deck to ensure the Triple O ran smoothly..

Rails got buffed, joingts got clamped, trees got trimmed, etc. to ensure that the Triple O ran like clockwork!  Although some of the luster of having a garden railroad has worn off, the kids all still take pride in showing it off!

The next day, the snapshot below reminded me of an important element of this hobby and this undertaking...shear joy:

The anticipation of kids and parents alike as a train rumbled by with a load of beverages made the previous day's efforts worhtwhile. 

Anyway, this weekend we began moving rocks to shore up some of the mainline and took possession of the oft-mentioned cinder blocks for a possible future project.  The former is, if nothing else, a visual improvement!  Photos to follow!

Have a great week!

 

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, June 18, 2018 3:48 AM

Looking good. 

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, June 18, 2018 10:15 AM

Eric, really looking good, the pile of rocks reminds me of the good old days of coquina rock finding, as they use to say "the mother load". What is the building in the corner picture, in front of the water tower, looks like a 2 story switching tower? Is that one you were working on for the MLK? Keep up the great work, Bill 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, June 21, 2018 2:40 AM

Bill & Tom,

Thanks as always for the encouragement and kind words!

Bill, the my father-in-law built a pair of little switch towers to hide light switches tha turn the two station tracsk on and off.  The 2x4 beauty the gang and I crafted for the build challend on Large Scale Central is just visible in the rear.  You can see its outsized observation platform.  This, too, has swithes to turn tracks on and off, but we've yet to wire them in due to family travel and bad weather.

Next on the "need" to build is a replacement for that little truss.  Kid-zilla did a number on it.  It is holding for now as I dither looking at options - wood vs. vinyl; deck girder cs. trestle.  At this stage, simple and durable will win out.

Oh, photo proof of progress...

Oldest Daughter buttressed this turn into Haluku'ilio.  She observed Mr. Otto the Cattle Dog follows this path to the guppy pond, and figured we should double brace the curve:

My father-in-law built the structures from his scrap heap, by the way.

We worked together to countersink stones in here to suppor the outer loop, add visiual separation, and give more sense of mass to the tunnel complex.  These are before and after shots, though obviously taken from opposite sides of the railroad:

Before:   After:   

 

We also replaced a series of small stones with larger rocks to shore up the mainline to Pu'u'oma'o.  Again, you have different angles, but you get the idea.  Also, I thought it time I submit proof I occassionally get dirty on the railroad, too!

Before:     After:  

Trains ran great after we leveled the grade, though the slight rise from right to left where you see the caboose disappearing still seems to slow trains down.

Hope your week is going well!

 

Eric 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, August 5, 2018 2:27 AM

Aloha All!

Just a couple quick updates.  First, Gustav, our venerable 0-6-2T made "his" way back from repairs at Western Edge of Tombstone.  The old fellow had been a featured derelict on this and another site as I chased faults that had accumulated over 30+ years.  Basically, he needed every last link, gear, and rod replaced.  He came home with us after a visit with family in Arizona.  I'll try the video:

<iframe src="https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=DBFD37561B825D5F&resid=DBFD37561B825D5F%2114363&authkey=APxI97n7apSIRjA" width="320" height="180" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Failing that, here's the photo:

The trip provided an opportunity to take advantage of the hobby's congeniality, and yet another Tucson railroader opened his home and shop.  I got to hold a live steamer for the first time...Hmmmm....

In the meantime, the "strategic parts order" arrived, so we can slowly build up our war chest of traction tires, idlers, rail clamps, coupler bits, etc.  Again, another generous hobbyist unexpectedly donated a collection of LGB hook-and-loop parts, so we can start double-ending some cars and reparing / replacing worn out couplers.  Oh, the railclamps are the type with vertical screws.  I am curious to see how they compare with "Split Jaws."  They cost much less, for sure.  Anyway, rail clamping is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the tablesaw follies continued.  I'd hoped to find a cheap 4" one in Arizona.  Nope.  Our local big-box hardware store has one for ~$100, making it almost a wash with regards to shipping.   Our truss is giving out, so there is a need (in the hobby sense of the word) to cut timbers for a replacement trestle, probabaly one along the lines of the one in the most recent GR. I have a book full of trestles from our local sugarcane plantations, so I might even make an attempt to at least be evocative of those.  Then again, I might just focus on not cutting off a finger...

Our 1:1 scale fence goes in later this month.  As mentioned elsewhere, I see no better use for the dirt than to put it into raising a portion of our inner loop.  Salvaged lava rocks are on hand for that one!  

I should mention I had to divert time to another project.  A well meaning relative gave Oldest Son a roughly HO-ish toy train for Christmas.  He wants to use it for his own garden railroad.  I had a pallet in my garage from a home improvement project, gave him my hot knife, glue and styrofoam, and off he went.   

  

I am not sure how far he will get, as it is his project, but, at Bill's (aka ChochoWilly) prodding some time back, I have been looking for a way to get him going.  I consider the time diversion as a strategic investment for later.

And that is that!

 

Hope all are having a great weekend!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Sunday, August 5, 2018 9:03 AM

Eric it sounds great and I'll bet the youngster well have it done in half your time, sure I don't need to tell you but keep those pictures and post cards coming, Bill

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Posted by Neiler on Sunday, August 5, 2018 2:50 PM

Neat engine. Too wet here to play in the garden. 

My son flew over from Oahu last weekend and helped with stuff that has been bugging me. I should head over to take him to Ewa. He still likes to ride the rails! I did something right. Good for you to instill a passion for creating things in hour children. 

Malahini boy, Neiler

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, August 5, 2018 5:03 PM

Neiler,

 

If you ride the Ewa train, the LIONEL club in the railyard had LGB for sale from a large donation they took in a while ago.  You sort of have to show interest.  I picked up my LGB 2018D for a song, which the guy there still put them ahead relative to a consignment sale.

Lunch and then to the garden!

 

ALoha,

Eric

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Posted by Neiler on Sunday, August 5, 2018 5:50 PM
Thanks for the tip!
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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 4:58 PM

Nice to see the next generation growing into the hobby.

 

Dictated by Tom, typed by Carrie, Tom's daughter.

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Posted by chocho willy on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 5:23 PM

Tell Tom I said hi, thinking of him, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 13, 2018 2:14 AM

Aloha All!

Well, the Triple O had its Summer 2018 "Little People on the Railroad Day."  200+ mostly Wild West themed PLAYMOBIL came out to really bring the road to life, and Pu'u'oma'o becomes Green Hills and Haluku'ilio becomes Dogwallow.  To be fair, the trains become secondary to the Little People once I let go and let imaginations take over, but that is OK.  

For me, this event was particulary poignant.   If GR was proof a couple years back this project was possible, Tom Trigg's kindness, guidance, patience, and mentorship pushed possibility into reality.  He has crossed over to a better place, but he made a whistle stop in Hawai'i yesterday to join us, I am sure en route to his final destination.  The trains rain beautifully, Tom, so thanks for stopping by.

If the photos that follow are not train centric, they are a tribute to Tom, who has gifted my these memories by guiding me into this hobby.  ALL ABOARD!!

Set up begins about 0800 by placing drop cloths around the perimeter.  This saves most of the detail parts.  Oldest Son prepars to bring Dogwallow to life:

Meanwhile, the girls get Winnetou's village into order.  Note the "tree-pi."  

Meanwhile, I get to have fun, too.   I get to set up a miners' camp in our gorge. This truss is about to give out and the trestle to come will be the first product of my table saw.  I also get to set up the cattle drive, mostly because I am the only one who has seen one in a Western.

    

OUr authenticity director, aka Kid-zilla, ensured that only US rolling stock was on the railroad today...or about 18" above it, in any case:

Somebody took a shot of an actual scene of railroad personnel doing actual railroad things.  Accidents happen:

It would not be a Wild West day if deperados didn't try to rob a train!  A band of ruffians waits in our forest (rosemary) to hit a passing a freight! The ensuing melee was a two hour affair, settled by none other than Doc Holliday and the Earps, seen approachng from the left in the second picture.

     

The Ladies of the Triple O help Winnetou and his band on a hunting expedition in the Dudestep Range.  The mountain is covered in what are allegedly native succulents called 'akulikuli.  The Dudesteps themselves are lava rock and concrete rubble stacked on half hollowtile.

Meanwhile, Kid-zilla helps the good folk of Green Hills go about their business.  In the background is Hell's Mountain, named for its inability to grow anything...until we gave it a name.  It is aslo a concrete rubble and lava rock creation with "Some kine" sedum, daisies, 'akulikuli, and random succulents than seem to come and go with relative abandon.  The large tower, by the way, lets us turn a passing siding and engine service track on and off.  The townsfolk are flying a banner commemorating its receipt of the "2018 Spirit of the Mik" award on Large Scale Central.  Ugly, but fun to build and functional!  

I am always impressed by the details the kids put into their vignettes, too.  Oldest Son set up 1st Section, Battery B, 2nd US Artillery doing gun drills outside Fort Union, a good Triple O customer, and someone took the time to set up the smith at work and the parson at prayer:

    

 

By 5:00 p.m., though , all was stashed away, and the boilers dropped to cold iron.  We were outside; we were dirty.  I think Tom would've been pleased.

The Nuernberg is in want of a crewman, Tom, and I think you best get aboard!  Until we meet again, aloha 'oe!

 - Eric

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, August 13, 2018 4:24 AM

Thanks for the kind words for dad.

If your engine takes off on its own, probably just dad out for a joy ride. As much as dad talked (phone, text, email) about you and your garden railroad he had some pride in your efforts. I was in high school before all of my 'toys' were ejected from dad's railroad. He even shared some pictures of your layout with me. Like I said before, I always thought you were a short drive from his house and I thought he had been to your place a few times.

Carrie

Tom Trigg

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, August 13, 2018 10:20 AM

Eric, as always, great pictures, great story, great placement of actors, you should have been a movie set director. That's probably why I never got into the war of the sugar cane moguls with you. It would be like a "d" class movie compaired to a block buster. Wonder ful job always like looking and reading your story lines, Bill

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, August 13, 2018 5:37 PM

Eric

I need your postal mail address. indymis@cox.net 

About a month ago dad told me that there are a couple wood passenger car kits in the garage that he wanted me to send to you. Today I was clearing out mom's closet, dad still had ALL of her stuff after eight years. I found a box wrapped in Christmas paper, tagged from mom to dad but not her handwriting, must have been one of her care givers. I opened the box, a wood kit for a passenger stop. I'm not sure of the proper name, it's not a station but more like an overgrown bus stop shelter. The engraved place name for the roof is "Rosebud Falls" the name of dad's railroad.

If you are interested send me your address. I'll start clearing the garage next week.

Carrie

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 12:12 AM

Carrie, 

I am touched beyond words, both in that our efforts here brought joy to your Dad and that he should think of us, too.  We will be honored to allow the Triple O to become a physical a piece of your Dad's legacy.

I shall send a personal e-mail entitled "Eric in Hawaii" in a moment, but please do not hurry to respond.

 

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, March 8, 2019 1:06 AM

Aloha All!

I cannot believe over half a year has passed since I made an update here!  All is well on the Triple O as it passes into its fourth!!!! year of operations! Normally, I post an overhead shot to show where things stand, but a combination of bad weather, flu, and family activities prevented that this year.  It was now or never to make an annual report of our efforts.

 

First and foremost, the railroad's evolution continues to be an all hands affair.  We took possession of some lava stones, and the last great landscaping push of the Triple O - and our last great effort under the tutelage of Tom Trigg - began.  

 

I documented a slight modification to our "plantation loop" elsewhere on these pages, where we took some recycled cinder blocks and those lava stones to add a slight rise to increase the vertical separation between our loops, taking the somewhat mundane:

  to the pleasant:  

 

Tom's passing had me casting about for help on the next phase, adding a saddle to connect our two "mountains."  Fortunately, over the years, I have befriended Bill / ChochoWilly here and a number of other folks at Large Scale Central (LSC), and clan Mueller parlayed Tom's admonition to "Get outside and get dirty!" into an all-summer, all-fall push that involved the long-agonized over table saw (Thanks Bill, for the prodding!), rocks, concrete, more rocks, more concrete, foam, composite fence pickets, and a host of techniques gleaned from here, GR, and LSC to add what will probably be the last major landscaping item unles...ummm...UNTIL...we expand the Triple O's world!  

 

Beginning with this...

...we moved through various phases of stacking, gluing, painting, testing, and concreting...

  

  

...followed by some more gluing, some foam shaping, and some more painting...

...which all resulted in the following...

For the 1:22.5 men of Battery B, 2nd US Artillery, this was a vast improvement in their lot!

 

Along the way, I hadn't realized what began as a gravel pit slightly dignified by the presence of my ancient LGB into the miniature world below:

In between garden projects, I finally succumbed to Bill's gentle prodding as well as some help from the folks at LSC, and the crew and I began a project to ressurect Little Thomas, the shattered LGB M2075 as a learning project.   Though still underway, the railroad's elder went from this:

..to the more respectable this...

I was amazed what a little paint could do to the old boy!  He briefly lurched to life under his own power for the first time since 1979 or 1980 with a pair of Tamiya toy motors.  One burned out, the project went on pause, but the crew and I have used Little Thomas as a learning project on and off all fall, winter and spring.  He can still make the loop on a single motor, pulling a short train, so he has "earned" an opportunity to serve as a test bed for us to tackle dry transfers and  weathering.  More to come as we tinker and explore possibilities of "junk" equipment.

 

Most recently, we again had fun with LSC's annual build challenge, cobbling craft sticks and a shattered Bachmann Big Hauler chassis into the world's only double-hulled sailing locomotive, or ka'a wa'a, named ka Wahineokaalahao (the Lady of the Iron Road).

The crew, as they always do, drifted in and out of the project that they selected, adding their energy to this off-shoot of their Hawaiian studies courses and their Dad's (and hopefully the family's!) hobby!

 

There are those transformations I cannot picture.  Losing Tom, to whom I credit taking an idea to reality, hit me hard even though I never met him.  On the other hand, through the hobby, I have expanded my network of friends to include Bill and other enthusiasts.  In fact, for the first time ever, the Triple O played host to a traveling garden railroader!  After so many years of recieving advice and hospitality, it was wonderful to return the favor...at least in the hospitality column!

So what will 2019 bring as it enters the 2nd quarter?  I will continue to have a host of projects to attack as material and funds come available, with an emphasis on sourcing things locally when possible to save cash.  I am already researching power supplies, and I will probably explore the DIY approach.  Oldest Daughter and I have begun to sketch a plan for a trestle to replace a failing truss, and, as ever, there will be a plant to try, a fault to fix, a building to repair, Little Thomas to tweak, and maybe....FINALLY...that grand push to actually make some buildings.

 

I do not know if that will translate well into more updates to this long running thread.  If the Triple O has not matured, it is maturing.  It is no longer a railroad struggling to be, it is a railroad that is.   It is a part of our weekends and how we entertain.  It is expected to have something new for visitors to find.  It is an area where we all retreat from time to  time, even if only to trim a plant.  None of these daily interactions provide the same sweeping changes to document in words and photographs, but they all nonetheless provide opportunities to study, imagine, overcome, and, "Get outside and get dirty!"

 

Until next entry, happy railroading!

 

Eric

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Saturday, March 9, 2019 9:18 AM

Eric, as usual another perfect production and nice to see your return, always a pleasure to CFRR tenter and RPOsee and read your posts. Looking forward to seeing the progression of the power supply and the passenger cars. Looks like you have got a few things to keep you busy. Now i want to see those passenger cars in come good Hawaiian colors like my Florida ones, may be with a logo with diamond head, till then, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:54 AM
Ha! We are actually discussing what our logo will look like. The OR&L Co. was a square with the letter around it and ampersand in the middle. We were thinking of doing likewise but around a triangle. As for paint, the OR&L seems to have been a nice pine green...I see no reason we should be so restricted! Project #857 on the list...
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, April 8, 2019 2:19 AM

Aloha All!

I just wanted to document a little progress...

 

First, I took advantage of a wandering Naval Reservist to hand transport some R2 curves to the Islands, which effectively solved a stalling issue on Deadman's Curve.  Second, the first of two power supplies rolled off the lanai courtesy of Bill's prodding, technical help from Greg E., and encouragement from other.  Whille inelegant, it uses a lap top power supply, a DPDT switch, and a voltage controller, all protected by a fuse:  

Meanwhile, my father-in-law has been at it with one of his contraptions that combines wood workig skills, salvaged toy parts, and a his unbounded creativity:

Oldest Son claims he is not really interested in the railroad.  His expression as he and Grandpa work on the latest contraption says otherwise!  We'll see of this little creation returns to our rails or comes back as something else...

 

Also, below, you'll find our trame Fiery Elias happily at work:

Actually, the picture is awful.  It is noteworthy only in that Elias is happily at work on someone else's railroad!  At long last, I stumbled across fellow enthusiasts and spent a pleasant day running trains, talking trains, hearing trains, etc.  There are, in fact, more garden railroaders here than Civil War reenactors (I know.  I am in both groups!).  This has been a long time coming!

 

Alas, however, this weekend our 0-6-2T came out of the shops again only to strip his gears again, and I fear Gustav may have rolled his last mile, begging some hard thinking about how to treat the rest of my aged and aging fleet.  Also, our new PIKO Clean Machine's battery clip failed, of all things.  On the upside, PIKO came through in spades with near immediate e-mail response, a soon-to-arrive new part, and the offer to pay for shipping should the repair / replacement fail.  I hate to have had to avail myself of it, but THAT is customer service!

 

Have a great week!

 

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 1:11 PM

Only being able to visualize and not really see I believe that the triangle is a better idea than the square as it would symbolize the triple "O" and green is always a good idea as long as it's a pretty green and mix in some other bright color like out line in red , yellow or,orange the brighter the better, make it pop, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, September 20, 2019 3:23 AM

Wow!  I cannot believe it has beem five months since my last update!  We have had a busy summer, and I have done my best to keep the kids involved with the project.  I have taken some gratification in the fact my daughtes have translated their skills and desire to create from the railroad to their own creative endeavors, but I would be lying if I pretended that I missed their help in each and every project!  Oldest Son has drifted away a bit, but Kid-zilla is in a full on "trains are cool mode," so I am taking advantage of every moment!

 

Crew evolution aside, here is what we have been up to on the Triple O.  Many thanks are due to Bill Barnwell, a frequent poster here, who continues to push me to try new things, as well as forum members here and on Large Scale Central.

 

The big project was replacing a bridge. My fathe-in-law built the truss below...

...but it tended to catch trains and fall out of alignment.   Tropical conditions had taken their toll, too, and it was time to replace it.  We used a combination of techniques, to inclue a recent GR article on easy trestles as well as  2003 article in the PC GR collection to convert a "fiberon" fence picket into a passable bridge.

 

Oldest Daughter helped with measurements and alignments...

...and later on Oldest Son helped to place and plank it...

Failed attempts at ripping this material provided ample material for crude bents...

...and with the addition of some craft stick decking we got a decent bridge:

Meanwhile, we have also slowly plugged away at a decades long dream to repower an ancient, formerly battery powered LGB 2075 that last ran about 1979...

I had delayed this resurrection project on advice of the late Tom Trigg and others until I had an operating railroad and a bit of skill under my belt. Another recent GR article on revamping sad sack locos, more cajoling from Bill, and a challenge for the folks at Large Scale Central got us rolling on this project again late last year.  Along the way, the old boy, Little Thomas in Triple O service, briefly came to life under his own power using Tamiya motors...

 

...but at least the old boy looked better!

This summer, I finally broke down and canvassed e-Bay for parts, and married an LGB "Stainz" chassis to the cab / boiler shell, carved a chassis extension, and mounted some couplers...

 

Little Thomas awaits a new motor, some filling of gaps, some additional painting, and some dry transfers, but the old fellow is closer to entering Triple O service than he has been in years! It has not been a cheap process, but it has been a learnign process, and, while not shown in the photos, the kids and even the surviving Nisei, both nearly a century old, have their hands in this project. 40 years, four generations, three families, and two cultures have their mana in this project. Hopefully, the next update to this blog will include Little Thomas, rechrisened Komaka Iki, underway, making way in new paint and lettering.

Other than that, the Triple O has settled into the pleasant routine of a maturing railroad.  The occasional new piece of equipment makes its way from the local used market the rails, as Lenggriess recently did...

...replacing our beloved but glithcy LGB 2071 Gustav as our heavy for "all in European" days.  This loco, or one like it, served the area near my father's hometown growing up, and it completes our "legacy buys." Maybe...

 

Other improvements included a final installment of 4' track sections...

...which means we can redeploy our railclamps to curves and other trouble spots.  Of course, replacing 24 feet of 12 inch sectional track introduced new bugs, but the boys, Lenggriess, and I isolated and repaired those.

 

 

Lots of little projects, but, as predicted nothing too dramatic.  I anticipate the fall will be more of the same, as we continue to improve the Triple O's reliability and overall appearance.   We have a dock to repair, a pond to consider replacing, Little Thomas to finish, at a miminum, but I predict the coming weeks will unveil new opportunities and new challenges for us to tackle and overome!

 

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Friday, September 20, 2019 2:43 PM

As always Eric, it looks great and I am ver envious of your supply of "slave labor" I should be so lucky the funny thing is the all look like they are enjoying themselves!!! Tom T would be proud, keep up the great work, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, September 21, 2019 3:16 PM
Mahalo (thanks), Bill.
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, December 14, 2019 7:03 PM

Aloha All!

     It is hard to believe 2019 is almost over, and with it the Triple O's first half decade since groundbreaking!

    As predicted, this year did not see the grand sweeps of progress of a railroad coming into being.  At first, this sort of bummed me out, to be honest.  I looked back over this long-running blog, though, and I see we did make progress in terms of developing skills, understanding materials, following (and when necessary, deviating from) plans, gardening (or killing plants more slowly, anyway), and maximizing the visual impact of our limited space.  

     A key part goal of Triple O has been to make it a family project.  This has become more difficult as the kids have gotten older and developed their own interests.  I am glad, though, that the joy of creating we established in the garden together has found expression in the other activities they participate in as individuals, so I will take that as a "win."  I still follow our policy of "all may participate, none must participate," and, by varying the projects in type and scope, I can maintain their interest in the project.  The other thing I have had to do is to let go and walk away and see what they will do with what I give them. Sometimes, I get left with glue and parts to pick up.  Sometimes, I have been surprised!  Witness Oldest Son's mineshaft entrance:

    OK, philosophizing over...Let's see what we've been up to!

    Little Thomas was the focus of our fall efforts. We managed to marry an LGB 2010 STAINZ chassis to "his" boiler and cab, popped in a new Buehler motor, chanted the Mystical Incantation of Electron Flow, and brought the old boy to life - permanently - for the first time since 1979!  Below please find the crew, all of whom have their hands in this project, as Little Thomas / Komaka iki of the Mueller & Koito Sugar pulls a train under his own power. These cars are the same ones that drifted down with "him" from the 1970-s, by the way:

 

     At the suggestion of folks on Large Scale Central, we did weather "him."  I showed Oldest Daughter how to do washes and to dry brush, and, yes, went away.  I am very proud of her work, which I will show of next:

She enjoyed this so much, she asked for her own coach to serve as her own canvas!  Oldest Son enjoyed the tinkering more than the painting, so I am going to have to find a project for us to continue to keep him engaged.  Time to get our busted LGB m2071 Glitchy Gustav off the shelf again.

     I did hesitate to share the next update, as it rings of a "bragging collector," but it is consistent with how I use this blog, and it may give hope to those scouring the used market for an entrance into the hobby.  As you know, one prt of the hobby that has always confounded me is "used stuff and detail parts."  We have no train shows, few  hobby shops, and horrific shipping costs.  Through the generosity of others, I have taken in donation and trade hook-and-loop couplers and odds-and-ends to keep things rolling between "strategic parts orders."  I have learned from "Chocho Willy" (a.k.a. Bill), to keep a weather eye to the used market, but only if I first arm myself with an understandning of the object's value and the resolve to  walk away from a purchase if the seller wants too much.  With his advice in mind, I have gotten sort of lucky twice.  Recently, I got really lucky and took home a trunk full of LGB for pennies on the dollar.  Patience, and prior negotiations with CINCHOUSE for purchases-of-opportunities, enabled the score.  Key finds follow:

Olomana

The prototype ran for almost 70 years in Waimanalo, the next town over.  It takes its name from a mountain in view of our house, which legend says is the skeleton of a slain giant.  I have been on the trail of Olomana for years given its connection to my home here on O'ahu.  It was a thrill to welcome Olomana, even in model form, "home" to O'ahu's windward coast!

 Emerald / Emelala

I needed a STAINZ like I needed...well...a STAINZ!  Emelala came to us with a starter set, and the boys took that set, its skeleton, cars, and the consist behind them like chocolate sauce to ice cream.  Oldest Son, the one most susceptible to lure of the Silicon Succubus, started inquiring after creating a mine for Emelala to serve.   I am leaning towards maintenance-of-way train.  We'll see where inspiration takes us.

 

Badly repainted coach

 

Oldest Son inspects what will become Oldest Daughter's canvas!  Score!  We are already discussing paint schemes, and her work will set the colors and heraldry for the Triple O as long as it runs between the cliffs fof the Ko'olaus and the waters of the Pacific!

     Anyone doubting whether "kids these days" can still be excited by trains should've been here when I came home that day.  If the stuff to start a small railroad is avaiable in Hawaii for less than a price of a tablet, it surely must be available elsewhere!  

    With all due apologies for talking about that like a fishermen bragging about a prized muskellunge, I thought I'd conclude with our plans for 2020:

 

  1. Ongoing - Glitchy Gustav. We will yank "him" apart and try again as time allows and inspiration strikes.  We found that the Little Thomas project served as a useful if sometimes frustrating learing project, and maybe Glitchy Gustav can do the same until in 2020.  
  2. January - The Mik.  This will be our third year participating in this for-fun challenge hosted on Large Scale Central.  We cannot wait for the theme!
  3. February - Pond Rehab.  We took a friend's abandoned 70 gallon pre-formed pond to replace our leaking pond liner.  It is stepped and deeper, which will allow for a greater variety of plant and fish species.  The budget prohibits filter and water fall, but we will place it with the intention of installing them "someday."  This project will probably spur some other landscape work to correct minor issues that impact the road's look.
  4. Early 2019 - Cane Cars.  A friend has offered to send us his cast off wheel sets, strip lumber, and hook-and-loops to assemble a cane car and industrial car set for Little Thomas and Olomana.  We plan to use this as stepping stone towards rehabilitating my ancient LGB caboose and Oldest Daughter's new / old coach.
  5. Latter Half of 2020 - Caboose and Coach rehab.  We want to build towards this with the other projects.  We found bringing Little Thomas back to life that, yes, you can make broken things worse!
  6. Aspirational - Things We'd like to get to:
  • Actually make those buildings I keep saying we need to make.
  • Mine or quarry for Emelala. This would require an extension or major rework.  I hate to disappoint Oldest Son, but...
  • MOW equipment.  I saw an article geared for kids projects in my GR CD about a simple crane.  Maybe we could marry that to the remains of Little Thomas' original chassis?

Mind you, these are not New Year's Resolutions!  These are the vision that will serve as basis from which to deviate as we adjust to weather, time, interests, and available material!  What I can assure you is that we will have fun as we heed Tom Trigg's advice to get outside and get dirty!

     And with that, may I wish all those who celebrate "Mele Kelikimaka (Merry Christmas)!" and everyone "Hauʻoli makahiki hou (Happy New Year)!"  

Happy Railroading in 2020!

 

Eric & the Crew of the Triple O

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, December 15, 2019 8:42 AM

I'm coming in late in the game, and I'll need to go back and read your thread from the beginning. But, I just wanted to comment on Olomana.

I saw Olomana in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania back in '08. She is in a picture in my scrapbook. I missed out on the LGB model !

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, December 15, 2019 6:45 PM
Paul, Thanks! I was stoked when saw LGB had a loco with local connections! Then I looked at my wallet... FYI, here is a history on the plantation: https://totakeresponsibility.blogspot.com/2012/10/waimanalo-sugar-plantation.html. You can see Olomana or one of the similar locos in action. A brief history of the original is here https://music.si.edu/object/nmah_687427, though naturally I couldn't find the references here to the Olomana's link to Walt Disney and Hawaiian mytho-history. Eric
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 10:50 PM

I have 3 out of 4 of Gale Treiber's books on Hawaiian railroads, and they're fascinating!! I'm not finding anything on Waimanalo plantation, but perhaps in volume 3, which I don't have.

It is mind blowing to me the enormous system that Oahu Railway and Land once operated ! Like so many narrow gauge lines, I'm sure you would be hard pressed to find any trace remaining today....

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, December 19, 2019 10:27 PM

Paul,

 

I am still building my library!  The definitive work on the OR&L is "Next Stop Honolulu," by Jim Chiddix and MacKinnon Simpson.  It also covers all the plantations the OR&L served, which did not include Waimanalo.  The OR&L only went about 2/3 round the island.  Some of the plantations had private railroads that would rival modern shortlines!

 

As for what is left, you can find cuts on and bridge abutments O'ahu's North Shore, a few rails poking throug in Waianae on the West Shore, and the last operating segment in Ewa, which is under the care of the Hawaiian Railway Society (http://www.hawaiianrailway.com/).  The irony, of course, is that our light rail system will go within a few dozen to a few hundred yards of the original right of way and have its major yard where old OR&L had its long-vanished yard in Iwilei!

We are relatively lucky.  Hawaii Island has only a few buildings left and a small museum with a little equipement at Laupehoehoe; Maui is struggling to bring back the tourist line remnants of the Lahaina & Kanapali; and Kauai has only a few rusting rails left, though a plantation near Princeville has some original track and functioning steam engines and the Kilohana Plantation near Kihei laid 3' track, added WP&Y equipment, and runs tourist trains.

 

Eric

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Thursday, December 19, 2019 10:51 PM

A lot of rail history in Hawaii, and many people probably don't realize exactly how much. We had some pieces here at Travel Town , in Griffith Park. There is still a coach, combine, and caboose. O, R,&L 85 used to be here, I have pictures.

My wife and I rode the L,K,&P in '92, sorry to here it's out of service.

Paul

  • Member since
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  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
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Posted by chocho willy on Friday, December 20, 2019 10:19 AM

Encouraging to see that all the holiday train rides were sold out, get looking stuff and really like those saddle tank engines, thanks for the share Eric, BillEncouraging to see that all the holiday train rides were sold out, great looking stuff and really like those saddle tank engines, thanks for the share Eric, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 1:20 AM

Aloha All!

 

I thought it was time to update my running "blog" about our little railroad...and to put myself on notice for what is to come!  First, I am happy to report we actually got a lot of things done that we wanted to accomplish.  Some are detailed separately on the forum, so I'll just rack up the scoreboard here!

     January we replaced our too shallow and unattractive pond.  Passing squals made the ground easy to dig, kept us cool, and made for a muddy day. The results are visually pleasing, our dwarf lily revived, and the guppies seem happier.  We like tropical fish, and we are hoping the deeper pond, in addition to providing a shelf for bog plants, will provide a cool space for larger fish.  As an aside, foam we had used to edge the pond had a really nice moss covering. We covered bits of wire hangers with aquarium safe silicon - metal and fish keeping are often at odds wiht one another - and anchored the best to the side of the pond:

If we can find some terrestrial plants that can creep from shore to foam, the illusion of a bank would be nearly perfect.

   Of course, the pond project allowed for some new plantings and new approaches to planting.  We had planted our roses too deeply for instance.  All but one survived, and the survivors are for the first time ever thriving!  We've also tried false heather and various sedum before, usually with tragic results.  Better soil, better planting, better care, and things are actually looking green.  

 

 

     January, we also participated in Large Scale Central's "Mik's Build Challenge," a budet limited, time limited annual event centered on somehting a bit off-key.  This year, the organizer donated a chimney.  I had just helped a friend unbox his new electric organ, and, for the first time ever, came in possession of insulating foam.  We cut it to shape, scaled it to 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL, and created  "Mama's Bakery No Ka Oi."  

 

  Glitchy Gustav remains glitchy....moving right along...

 

   A pen-pal had crammed a flat rate with some 1/2 inch x half inch redwood, lots of wheel sets, lots of old hook-and-loop couplers, and a mandate to create cane cars.  This necessitated a trip to the Hawaiian Railway Society for inspiration and rough measurements.  None of the pictures came out right, so please go to their website.  This gem, from a pre-World War II fuel tank project, proved a real inspiration for "field railway:"

Correspondence with garden railroader and cane-hauler enthusiast in Australia as well as another gentleman into South American extraction railways led to the following - each railway built to its own needs with what it had on hand.  I then referenced Eric Schade's recent GR articles about DIY tipper cars, drew up a design that met the dimensions of the extant example here, and, after numerous carboard and masking tape mock-ups, came up with the prottype below:

 

 

The journals are simply 3mm brass tubes with gromments glued on the end.  Some cars needed some shims to roll smoothly, but this worked.  A complete set behind their intended loco, the rebuilt LGB m2075 Komaka Iki / Little Thomas, is seen below in the yards at  Pu'u'oma'a:

Decking, bulkheads, and chains will have to wait until after the lock-down.  Future flights will probably use commercial journals, but I am very, very pleased with our first attempt at prototype inspired free-lance scratchbuilding!

 

     And that brings us to the present.  We are taking advantage of the lock-down to tend to deferred maintenance on our house, our selves, and, of course the Triple O.  The latter has gotten some minor landscape and track adjustments necessitated by the pond project, natural shift of the rails, and five years of experimentation.  Oldest Daughter had recieved a kitbashed combine with that timber with the orders to "Finish it!" She spent about 2 hours in the shops out in Ewa to get paint samples, photograph the surviving oringinals and artifacts, and observing the reconstruction of an original.   The project is underway, and I look forward to bragging about it for her later!

 

I'll close with a couple photos:

Oh, and one of the newest crewmeber...or crew-bird:

Kiwi Bird is ready for the next quarter of railroading on the Triple O, and so are we!

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 1:35 PM

Eric, the cane cars look great ! Thanks for posting.  I have memories of the cane fields in Queensland, Australia, from 40 years ago. The cane went on for miles and miles! Not the first thing you think of about Australia, but QLD is very tropical climate. I have some pictures somewhere. Look in' great !!

Paul

idea: processing mill !!

HCF
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Posted by HCF on Friday, May 1, 2020 3:31 PM

Eric, 

The whole journey of the Triple O so far has been a delight to read. I found it really heartening as a beginner just to see how much progress can be made in ~four years which happens to be the amount of time I have to get my railroad really running. 

I'll try to take a page from your book and involve my family in the railroad too, though I think it won't be easy to get my fam super excited about the trains.

You and the Triple O have helped me to adapt my mindset too and now I'm thinking about my railroad less in terms of expansion and more in terms of bringing life to the track I already have. 

Your cane cars make me want to begin researching ore cars in order to build my own since copper ore is the blood of this state.

Thanks for the inspiration and I look forward to seeing where the Triple O goes next, 

Holden

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, May 3, 2020 1:23 AM

Holden,

     Mahalo (Thank You) for your kind words.  I wrote the blog as a means to ask questions, record answers, and to commit myself to action.  I am flattered to find it can serve as a way to move another's railroad into being!

    As for getting family involved, see if you can  integrate the railroad into their interests.  Does someone cook?  Find herbs that will grow where you plan to run tracks.  Is someone into fish?   Try an easy "tub pond."  Do they use the yard to entertain?  Make sure the trains can carry appetizers (It's a great party shtick you only need for about 20 minutes as guests arrive).  As someone once told me, to be successful, if "Someone in the family wants a pink one or something with dopey googley eyes, just do it.  It'll pay off later."  Be flexibe, and incorporate their needs into your vision.  They may never become active in the hobby, but, if you let them see a bit of themselves in your railroad, they will actively share in your pride for whatever your ultimately create.

 

Eric

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