Progress on the West Ridge Branch Line

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Monday, September 28, 2020 6:51 PM

Greg, Luckily I have a small case of OCD so I’ll be at it with a level until I feel really confident with the results.

 

Eric, the passenger cars are something I’d like to add.... definitely not any 3 footers haha but maybe 1-2 shorter ones for mixed local service on a mainly freight branch line.  Looks like piko makes 14” cars and LGB makes 18” cars in the DRGW with a drovers caboose.  My current engine is about 13” long so I don’t think the longer ones would look odd and would be better for a larger engine down the road.  I guess it really is up to the individual with how realistic they want to get right?

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Monday, September 28, 2020 11:01 PM

Hi John,

to answer your question: LGB makes models of both standard and narrow gauge American prototype. You can tell what your looking at by: the narrow gauge cars will have truss rods underneath, and will usually have simulated wood detail. They are virtually all the samesize,and not really scale, but look great. I would say also that although there is a great increase in quality of LGB engines, you could probably do just as well with less expensive cars; Bachmann, Aristocraft/ Delton classics, etc. They are similar in detail, and you could save a few bucks....

There has been a movement in recent years for trulyscale cars. Accucraft and Bachmann make these, and the narrow gauge cars are enormous, but require at least R3. Maybe not best for starting out.

Opinion: I went down the scale 1:20.3 road, but came back ! My conclusion is that most people only see a train on the track, and the overall illusion is more important than the scale! 
There's my two cents....

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 1:47 AM

Sorry, I meant models of 3' gauge railroad equipment, not 3' long cars! Three feet of anything would stretch across my entire empire!  I heartily concur with Paul and your own observation.  Run what looks best together in your circumstances!

 

Case in point (and leaving aside the Easter-themed cargo) there are four manufacturers (Bachmann, LGB, Delton, and Hartland Locomotive Works) and at least as many scales in the photo below:

Looks OK to me, anyway, in my slow build towards something evocative of the real Oahu Railway & Land Co., which ran on 3' gauge track.

 

To be honest, I have found by sizing everything to my PLAYMOBIL collection, I can get the right "scale" for what I want to achieve given my available space and budget.   My father-in-law, in fact, based those buildings on some PLAYMOBIL dude shortly after the collection came out of hibernation.  I jokingly call this "1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL scale," as I have found that 1:24 makes measurements easy for my hackneyed attempts at scratchbuilding.  In fact, I have a PLAYMOBIL "work crew" I keep handy as I bumble along to check size and look as I go!

 

At the end of the day, the main thing is to have fun.  Our museum has some finescale models of OR&L equipment.  They are things of beauty and exquisite craftsmanship.  If I had waited until I possessed the talent, tools, and time to produce a model like that, I wouldn't be having fun with what I have and what I am capable of achieving en route to that end.

Eric

 

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:11 PM

That all is good advice and lines up with my ultimate goal.  I like the look of DRGW narrow gauge but I'm not looking for perfection amonst cars.  The main purpose of the railway is for enjoyment and ambience followed by realism and operation.

We had rain today so I decided to start experimenting with building my 10 foot bridge that will span the pond. I'm using 1x4 pine boards on each side with 4x4 pieces in between as the base.  On top, I'm placing 1/2 inch square balsawood planks accross the top.  I'll have more 1/2 inch planks running on each side of the tracks to keep them in line and will fasten the ties to the planks with wire allowing them to flex with the change in temperatures.  Thats the plan anyway.... do you all see any issues so far?

 

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 9:31 PM

Hi John,

all good so far, except maybe balsa wood. Wood selection is a hot topic, and I'm sure many others will chime in. Basically, you want something tough enough for outdoors. Many will recommend Redwood for outdoors. I used it for ties years back, and I found it to be far too soft as a wood, and did not hold up over time.

I had excellent results with poplar, which is one of the softer hardwoods. I treated it with a coating of deck stain/ polyurethane. It comes pre mixed in a can, Minwax, I think.

Currently, my ties are 1x1 garden stakes from Miracle grow, cut to 4" lengths.

You want something tough enough for outdoors. My personal feeling is to use oversized cross sections of wood for ruggedness. Scale to me is secondary to toughness, but that's something you'll have to decide for yourself.

Looking good!

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 2:39 AM

John,

 

I am still trying to master the art of the straight cut, so I am going to watch how this unfolds and learn from you!

 

You might want to look into synthetic and composite materials, too, if you are not too far committed to your current course.   Bill, who haunts this forum, does amazing work with vinyl and various plastics, sometimes repurposed from very out-of-the-box sources.  In his hands, these synthetics become wood to all outside appearance.  Bill lives a climate like mine, so I am taking a cue from him and moving in that direction for  material choices.

 

For what it's worth, I built a deck bridge with a composite material that looks pretty good and holds up well to bugs, water, and heat.   The issue I had, though, was that it lost structural integrity as I ripped it down to smaller than 1/4" x 1/4".

The smaller cross-pieces are giving way after a year in the garden, but the main, load bearing elements are doing OK.

 

I have to return to this  area of the railroad after I get my sugar mill in place!

 

Eric

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:11 AM

Good morning,

I was planning on using a wood sealer for decks or prime/paint it after the bridge is completed.  I'm designing it so it can be easily removed for pond maintenance and in the winter when not in use.  Not sure if that changes anything for you guys.  Honestly the pine and balsa was more of a cost driven choice.  Down the road, I'd like to possibly build a metal bridge but that priced way too high for now with all the initial costs for track, etc

Thanks!

john 

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:05 PM

Good evening,

I took your advice and got rid of that "s" curve.  It looks a lot better and everything fit with some slight escavations.  The longer straights and turnouts arrived so I was able to clamp everything together after doing some final adjustments to the sub-roadbed utilizing a level.

The Mrs. really likes the look of the bridge and wants to stain it to match another wood piece we have in the garden near by... so that settles that decission Yes  Here's a few pictures of the progress.  It feels very sturdy and I'm hoping the sealer/stain will give it a good lifespan until I decide on a metal or hardwood bridge down the road.

 

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:23 PM

John,

 I take my wooden buildings inside, I don't leave them out. If you seal your bridge, and take it in when the weather is rough, you should be O.K. for now. 
So, enjoy the railroad! Off to an excellent start!

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, October 1, 2020 1:22 AM

BLT_BY_LIONEL

 

The Mrs. really likes the look of the bridge and wants to stain it to match another wood piece we have in the garden near by... so that settles that decission Yes  

 

Wiser words were rarely spoken!  Big Smile I, too, bow to the suggestions of Commander in Chief House (CINCHOUSE)!

 

I envy your saw skills, and I applaud your decision to have a good enough bridge now to get things up and running.  I've had a couple projects die of "analysis paralyis!"

 

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Thursday, October 1, 2020 7:12 PM

That trackwork looks WAY better! Get a really good penetrating stain for the bridge. I use a very good deck sealer, something that is designed to protect wood from direct sun and weather. It's more expensive than the junk you get from Home Despot or Low-down Lowes, but a few extra bucks is worth it. Often you can buy these premium penetrating stains from wood supply places that sell premium wood decking.

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Friday, October 2, 2020 3:26 PM
Paul, I plan on taking it indoors during the cold months when not in use and if there’s a major storm expected.
 
Eric, I’m using a hand saw and it’s far from perfect.  I’m sanding down the uneven cuts (they’re still not perfect but not noticeable unless you’re looking for it.)  I’ve been placing the cut ends on the side that will not be in view from the deck as well.  Since it’s sturdy and for my family’s enjoyment rather than a museum, I’m not worried about perfection.
 
Greg, I’m going to take your advice and not cheap out on the stain/sealer.  It’s going to be a lot of work compared to just spray painting, but I think it’ll be worth the effort.  And thanks again for the heads up on the s curve.  I actually like the look of it better as well as it being better for operation.
 
Here’s my latest progress.  I’ve made it to the water’s edge and waiting for the bridge to be completed.  I kept moving in the opposite direction around the rock garden.  About a third of the main line is now in place waiting for ballast.

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Friday, October 2, 2020 5:50 PM

John, looking fantastic!

  it's great starting fresh with new track, should be fun to operate!

Me, on the other hand..... I'm using primarily recycled track from my previous railroad.Only the cog branch is about 75% new track.

Because, my old track avearaged about 2.00 a foot back in the day.

And never one to throw away a nickel....

Paul

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Friday, October 2, 2020 6:15 PM

Thanks!  Ugh... to be able to pay $2 a foot for track!  I thought about used track but the prices were not much different from new on ebay. I would do the same thing in your shoes.  My track looks like it could last for decades if kept clean.

On a side note:  we decided on a new name for our railroad that would fit the scenery...

The Koi Harbor Garden Railway (KHGR).  Its going to be a fictional branch line somewhere in the mountain west area that serves the Village of Koi Harbor.  There will be two stations, at least two sidings for industry and im trying to find a dump car to eventually find a way to dump koi food into the pond.

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:16 PM
John, fantastic progress! Koi harbor will be well served! Have a great weekend, Eric
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:22 PM

That's a really FUN idea! You have an option later to involve children, when that day arrives. Cherish those moments!

At one time, my daughter and I were enjoying gardening together in the backyard railroad. Then, she became too busy with school, then off to college.

 When she finds a free moment, we still paint together on the Swiss Alps mural, which is fun.But she usually has a full social calendar....

Paul

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Sunday, October 4, 2020 2:31 PM

Paul, I would have been in heaven as a kid if my parents had a garden railway so I'm sure when that time comes we'll definitely enjoy it.

Progress update:

The bridge is completed and temporarily in place before staining (busy with work and good weather this week so I'll leave it out there).  The fish don't seem to be alarmed by it and the Mrs gave the thumbs up.

 

Have a great day!

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, October 4, 2020 4:03 PM

Looks like you might get to run a train soon!

This is great!

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, October 4, 2020 6:38 PM

Beautiful!  I wish I had that pond!

 

Eric

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 5:26 PM

Thanks guys!  Since my last post, I started building the elevated track platform that will follow the pond just above the rock/ivy covered pond border.  First I used a t-bevel to mark the angle I needed to cut to make a circle of platform sections that would match the radius of the curved sections.  After that was done, I hammered in 18" metal stakes and bracketed wood posts to the stake.  Fianlly, the platform was fastened to the wood posts and will be weather proofed like the bridge.

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 5:56 PM

You're doing a fantastic job! I had to cut something similar for my 180 degree curve of R2 on the cog line. I made one piece with the correct angles, and used it as a template, and just duplicated it many times. You have a more scientific approach! Looking great!

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 3:11 AM

John,

 

I really like your approach to crossing that low area.  I would've done something boring like built a retaining wall and filled  it in!  You are going to have lots of flexibility in how you choose to interpret that piece of track.  Low plants and a dry stream bed will make it a bridge.  Bushy foreground plants will hide the bridgework and give the illusion of a sweeping curve on the crest of a hill!

When are you taking bets on "First Run Day?"

 

Eric

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 7:16 AM

Good morning guys,

I like the scientific approach description but lets just say it's not an exact science haha.  I'm no carpenter but luckily construction on this scale is a lot more forgiving.  My vision of the elevated section is just that... the plants under the platform will hopefully grow around it and give it that hillside look.

As far as a first run estimate, Im waiting on my last shipment of track to arrive this week and then I can finish the last leg of the loop (hopefully).  I'm guessing I'll have a train running within the next week or two.  Then I can start working on staining and other details.  I guess the great thing about this hobby is that there will always be something to do (adding on, maintenance, etc).

Thanks!

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, October 8, 2020 1:17 AM

BLT_BY_LIONEL

I guess the great thing about this hobby is that there will always be something to do (adding on, maintenance, etc).

It took me about a year to find that out!  I had to get trains running reliably before I noticed I needed a mountain, some buildings, another mountain, more plants etc!  The downside, of course, is that developing the skills to build and maintain the Triple O meant that suddenly I was expected to apply them to household repairs!  I joke that we've save at least as much on repair bills as we've spent on the railroad, so it's a wash.  

 

Oh, and first train has to have a video, or it didn't happen!  Smile, Wink & Grin

 

Eric

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Monday, October 12, 2020 8:20 AM

Good morning guys!  Lots of progress in Koi Harbor over the past few days.  I have about 75% of the roadbed tamped down and leveled out.  I was able to temporarily set up the full loop of track using bricks and wood to prop it up.  The 2063 LGB locomotive pulled two cars (one with pumpkins and a candle) up the steep grades on the unfinished section without a problem.  I'd like to post a few videos of the progress and train running.  Does anyone know how to post videos on here?  I can't find any instructions and shutterfly doesn't seem to allow video uploads.

Thanks,

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 12, 2020 4:15 PM
John, congratulations on your first train! As for videos, I use MS OneDrive. I create a shareable link, make sure I turn off any editing permissions, and then use the hyperlink function on this website. I'll typically bold precede the hyperlink with the word "video" and bold the word that has the link. I am sure you could do the same with an equivalent Google or Mac cloud drive service. Eric
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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 8:12 PM

Thanks for the advice.  I'll give that a try shortly... hopefully my lack of tech skills won't get in the way.  For the time being, here's a few photos of the railway in action:

Have a great week!

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, October 15, 2020 1:04 AM
HUZZAH!!! That first picture looks like it came from a much more mature railroad and not the newest one! Wonderful, wonderful use of existing terrain and vegetation to give a sense of age to your work!
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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Friday, October 16, 2020 11:07 AM

Thanks buddy!  We were very lucky to have the existing landscape.  I decided not to rip out all the "weeds" for that reason.  In the spring my wife and I will plant lots of perrenials and maybe I'll keep some of the weeds to give it that grown-in look.  More progress to come once the weather holds up.

Have a great day!

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, October 17, 2020 2:39 AM
"Weed" is a relative term. If you want the plant where it is, even crabgrass is a carefully cultivated perennial!

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