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Carnegie Falls: Layout Construction Journal

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Carnegie Falls: Layout Construction Journal
Posted by Carnegie Falls on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 12:46 PM

Hello everyone.  I've lurked on this forum the last couple months gathering lots of insight and info.  Thanks to all who participate and are willing to share their knowledge and experience.

 

My grandfather was into model railroading.  He joined the local club and also built in his basement or garage.  My mom recalls fond memories of spending time with him and her brother working on the trains.  The boys would usually be doing something mechanical or electrical and she would work on scenery or buildings.  My brother and I had a single oval as kids with a few plastic buildings but it only came out during the holidays.  I've always loved model trains but I never really gave it much thought.  I have a young son who loves trains so I found myself watching for events that would have model trains set up, including model train shows.  It dawned on my that I am an adult (sometimes I forget this) with a house and I could actually build my own!

 

My family life has become difficult and stressful over the last several years.  Caring for a sick spouse in addition to two young children, going to graduate school, and having my spouse's condition slowly transform into a mental illness has been a challenge.  My time, energy, and resources go to others which is fine, but, for my sanity, I needed something for me.  Enter model railroading.  Luckily, the kids enjoy it too so it ends up being a family activity also.

 

So here's the plan.  4x8 (actually 4'6"x8'6") HO scale layout based LOOSELY on Pittsburgh/western Pennsylvania.  I actually would've modeled Florida, but I needed mountains.  One outer oval (2% grade, 22" curves) that serves industry, including a brewery and a molten slag dumping area (from a steel mill that is "off-layout").  Inner figure-eight track for passenger line (4% grade, 18" curves - GASP! I know, I know).  The passenger train has a stop at a trolley station.  Trolley is a point-to-point auto reversing bachmann track that runs through the "downtown" area.  The main passenger depot will share a parking lot with an incline (aka inclined plane, or funicular, railway) modeled after the Duquesne Incline.  A main feature of the layout will be the river.  It will cascade down a mountain in several waterfalls.  A whitewater rafting outfitter will be running trips right after the main falls when the river calms down a bit.

 

In this rough sketch of the layout: pavement is grey, dirt road is brown, buildings are (very) light grey (trolley stops not shown), mountain topograhy is shades of green, incline is yellow, rail lines are all red, river is blue with falls indicated, the two bridges are black, tunnel portals are purple, and those weird yellow/orange triangles are the slag dumping area.

 

The only real chunk of real estate left is the area below the downtown.  It's on the passenger line, so it can't really be industry.  Based on my kids' input, it may end up being a city park with a playground.

 

(Edit: updated layout diagram based on streetcar route modification shown as dashed line)

 

Edit: New layout diagram with more details for areas on top of mountains.

 

That's enough for now.  I will continue to post as I make progress on the layout.  I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this community.

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:30 PM

I am happy you decided to join us, and that you now are focused on some self-maintenance of this kind.

Just a comment, but based solely on your diagramme above: two curved turnouts would afford you access between the inner figure-8 and the outer loop you show.  The curved turnouts would face each other at the frog ends with their inner routes meeting between either of the two ends, east or west side of your layout as oriented.

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:48 PM

Selector, thanks for the input.  I don't know anything about wiring and turnouts, etc. so I'm just trying to get a layout up and running since this is basically in the middle of my house.  I plan to possibly add stuff like that later if possible.  As you can see from the pics below, I think there may only be one spot where a turnout could go, where the two tracks are at a similar elevation briefly but not in a tunnel (currently where the road leaves the layout on the bottom left corner).

Here's the foam for the track base laid out.

 

Here the track base has been installed on the appropriate risers and the inclines are glued appropriately.  If the table is 0" elevation, the inner figure 8 goes down to 4" and up to 8"; the outer loop starts at 6" and goes up to 8" in the back.

 

Even though I went to the LHS with a plan to buy Atlas flex track I got talked into buying some kits with ez-track.  I set up the ez-track and starting running some trains.  Here the Bachmann Liberty Bell Express or whatever it's called passes over the first model kit I built.  Not sure why the Liberty Bell car wasn't attached for this photo, but the kids have since broken the bell and one of the couplers on the passenger cars.  I have since switched to flex track.

 

And just to make a bunch of you cringe, here's a shot with Thomas chugging around the inner track.  Hey, my 3 year old son loves it and my 7 year old daughter loves the fact that his eyes move.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, February 20, 2015 4:07 AM

Carnegie Falls
And just to make a bunch of you cringe,

Doesn’t make me cringe at all!!  Model Railroads are Fun.Big Smile Thumbs Up
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by HO-Velo on Sunday, February 22, 2015 1:01 AM

Doesn't make me cringe either, but did bring back some very fond memories.  I retired Thomas, Clarabel and Annie a few years ago when the grandkids grew into teenagers and the new layout became DCC.  But this past holiday season Thomas and his crew found a new home and are again doing what they do best, bringing smiles to children's faces, and the adults too.

I think it very cool that you're carrying on family tradition and model railroading with your children, "the ties that bind."

Thanks and regards,  Peter

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, February 22, 2015 2:03 AM

Carnegie Falls

In case nobody has said it before, WELCOME to the forum!  Welcome

You have made great progress already. You have obviously done some research on track planning so you are fully aware of the limitations imposed by your radii and grades. Hopefully they will work if you stick with short trains.

I have to congratulate you for making the decision to do this as a family affair. Your kids will have good memories of it for their entire lives. When my kids were the same age as yours are now I was so swamped by trying to make a living running a bakery that I missed huge portions of their formative years. I was simply too exhausted to interact with them regularly. Despite your trials you have managed to strike a balance.

If I can offer one suggestion based on my failings as a parent, let your kids do some of the work. Don't let them simply be spectators. So what if they mess up. It can always be done over and they will learn many skills, plus the knowledge that their dad trusts them.

There you have it! My version of Parenting 101! In other words, do as I say, not as I did.

Dave

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Monday, February 23, 2015 10:17 AM

Bear, HO-Velo, and hon30critter, thanks for the comments and inputs!

This update will start will a little diversion, but it's train related.  For the last few years, we've managed to get the kids on the North Pole Express run by the Florida Railroad Museum.  You board a train and go to the North Pole where you meet Santa, etc.  This was in early December (the previous layout photos are also from that time).

 

Back to the layout.  It took a month or so to get all this done.  The foam bases for the majority of the paved areas, roads, river, and waterfall are in place.  I also got the structures for the tunnel portals installed.

 

Here's a closer view of the waterfall and river.  The river will fall off the first fall then travel to left where it will fall down to the river. 

 

Another angle so you can see the drops in the river elevation (rapids) as it turns the bend.  This picture also shows the rough-ins for the roads.  This is a good way NOT to do it.  I guess I should have installed foam pieces next to the track base at the same elevation.  I didn't think the fiberboard/posterboard and tape would cause problems but after plastering it left a noticeable bump that would surely be visible/troublesome for trains.  My solution was to put two layers of plaster down on the train base and then sand the plaster at the road crossings to get it close.  Hopefully it's good enough.

  

 

I realized I would have to install the bridge in the back of the layout sooner than later so I started working on those bridge supports.  I painted them gray, applied a darker wash, and hit the hightlights with a dry sponge and a lighter gray.

 

I was happy with the piers/supports so I started putting stuff in to see how it looked.  Here is the second bridge I built from a kit (this one was way harder than the first arch bridge).  When doing this I did not like the difference in color between the tunnel portal and the pier.  I realize they could be different stone or whatever, but my eyes didn't like it.

 

This led me to gather all my stone tunnels, piers, and retaining walls.  It's tough to tell from this photo, but I had about 4 different colors/shades, and a couple would definitely have to be changed for various reasons.

 

Since there were many tunnel portals and they already came slightly weathered, I decided to use that gray.  I matched it the best I could and painted everything else.  Again, tough to tell from these photos, but they look better and pretty much the same color.

 

Then we weathered everything in the same manner with an acrylic wash.  Here is my daughter working on one of the bridge piers.

 

Here's a before and after shot of the tunnel portals.  Way better.

 

That doensn't quite get us up to present day but it's close and this is already too long.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 23, 2015 2:00 PM

 A young Brett Keisel fan there, I see.

          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Monday, February 23, 2015 2:28 PM

rrinker

 A young Brett Keisel fan there, I see.

          --Randy

 

HA! Yeah, maybe I'll have to dye that shirt black and gold for next year.

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 3:22 PM

Today's topic is rusty bridges.  I realized that rear bridge on the outer loop would need to be completely done before I could lay track so I've been motivated to take my first shot at weathering something.  The big lesson learned here is to paint/weather a kit as much as possible before assembling it.  Wow, that would have been a lot easier.  Here is the bridge in place - all new and shiny.

And here is the (mostly) final version.

 

My basic plan was to make it look like it was originally painted black and is now old, weathered, and rusty.  This would include those brown wooden walkway planks and those shiny new railings.

Sorry for some of these photos.  They were with my point and shoot and the ISO was set way too high by accident.  The first step was to paint everything black.  I did this with a brush because I didn't want to get the planks and railing covered also.  I wasn't too worried about getting every square inch.  The next step was to apply a brown/rust color layer of paint, mostly where I wanted there to be a lot of rust.  This picture shows half the bridge black (left side) and half the bridge with the brown layer (right side).

 

Here are some shots of the bridge with the brown paint layer, although more touch-ups were done after the photos.

 

Don't mind the orange stuff you can see on top, that comes later.

 

At this point, I wanted to add some more dramatic orange/red/burgundy rust color and I wanted it to highlight the details like the crevices and rivets, etc.  I think the preferred method for this is to use a paint wash (we called it antiquing back in my crafty days).  But I didn't know how that would work with a rust color; I'm used to pretty much using black for that.  I was looking through some old art supplies and I found these "oil pastels" I think made by Prismacolor.  They're like big soft crayons.  Not good for the crevices, but they are so soft, they easily leave pigment behind on raised areas and edges - great for highlighting details like rivets.  I started with a brown pigment and then got daring and went with orange.  They left fairly large chunks of pigment which looked horrible when viewed closely.  I found that a stiff brush (like one used yesterday that was never cleaned) worked perfect to knock it down and blend it into the base paint layer.  I even tried a wet brush to kind of turn it into paint but that just muddied it up and sort of covered those details I was trying to accentuate.

I placed the bridge to see what it looked like in a photo (the camera and bright flashes are much less forgiving than ambient room light).

 

OK, pretty cool, but you can obviously see that I skipped detailing those inner steel zig-zag supports.  Back to work.  The pastels have relatively wide blunt tips so I had to sharpen it down to a point to reach those small spaces.  Back in place from the similar angle, things look better.

 

Slightly different angle.

 

I'm toying with the idea of taping off the railings and completely repainting them.  I think that can be done without too much difficulty.  I tried to dry bush some black on them while doing the rest of the bridge but it just came out sort of splotchy.  The wood planks are decent enough.  They were just painted with black paint and then wiped off with q-tips to leave the paint in the grain.

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Posted by Capt. Grimek on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 5:10 PM

I think it's wonderful that you are working so closely with your kids on this project and railfanning!  The average age of model railroaders these days is in the 60s, so new/young people are most welcomed.

Which manufactuer's bridge is this? (Sorry if I missed it...skimming as I leave the house to run errands).

Jim

 

Raised on the Erie Lackawanna Mainline- Supt. of the Black River Transfer & Terminal R.R.

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 7:02 PM

Thanks for the comment Capt. Grimek.  We're having fun.

Capt. Grimek
Which manufactuer's bridge is this?

This is the Kibri Steel Elbow Bridge (Kibri 39700)

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Monday, March 02, 2015 9:58 AM

I need to do some plaster work so I can lay track.  I went ahead and installed my profile boards/fascia since the plaster cloth will wrap over these edges.  I plan to have four wired controllers; the square cutout in the front panel will be a recessed area to house the controls.  The far right corner was installed before I decided to make it a slag dump.  I plan to lower that foam foundation in the corner and cut the profile boards lower to give the dump more vertical relief.

 

22" curves of a 4' wide table put the train right at the edge.  I've read that a good way to make things look more realisitic is to have some stuff between the track and the edge of the table.  By using foam spacers and bridging the gaps on the corners with posterboard, I was able to use standard 4x8 sheets of foam while providing a little scenic buffer and hopefully a place to catch derailments before they reach the floor.  This is looking down between the table and the profile board.

 

I got the plaster cloth placed in all the areas where I need to install track. 

 

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Friday, March 06, 2015 10:11 AM

I got all the flex track put down for the outer and inner loops.  I plan to weather the track as soon as I replace the ties that were cut off for the rail joiners.

 

All the joiners are soldered. The layout is in an air conditioned space so I didn't leave any rail gaps.

 

The trackwork is OK. At least there don't seem to be any problems in the tunnels so I feel comfortable moving forward with closing those in.  There are a few spots that might benefit from some tweaking.  One weird spot is shown below; the far rail dips down for some unknown reason. I may try to glue down the correct areas and shim the low point to try and force it up, or I may just leave it alone.  The trains sort of sway as they go over it but it hasn't caused any derailments.

 

Unfortunately, the Bachmann EZ Auto Reversing track system for my streetcar doesn't seem to be working.  It worked out of the box (mostly) but went back in the box for a couple months until we were ready for it.  Now that I set it back up it refuses to work.  I'm talking with Bachmann to see what my options are, but I may have to scrap that plan and just use another solution.  I've heard plenty of other spotty reviews about that product.  Since that track isn't working, I went ahead and put the streetcar on the outer loop to give it some running time.  This is the Bowser PCC Pittsburgh streetcar (Brighton Road version without sound; the top electric pole is not yet attached).  The choices were Brighton Road and Carrick.  Since I didn't have a connection to either of these locations, and the streetcar will be across the river from my version of Mt. Washington, I went with the Brighton Road car.  Only after receiving it, did I learn that my mother's first years were spent in Carrick before moving to Liberty Borough.  Another example of how model railroading is teaching me history about Pittsburgh and my family.

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Friday, March 06, 2015 11:36 PM

We headed out to the Tampa Model Train Show and Sale around Christmas time.  We had just started our layout so I thought it would be good for the kids to see some finished products to help get them excited.

I made my only purchase at the very first booth by the door.  Came away with a Mantua 1993 Steelers Super Bowl boxcar for $8.

The Lego User's Group had a big layout.

 

 

This layout had a nice trestle/river scene

 

One of the clubs had a disaster theme.  Every module featured a different type of disaster.  My kids really enjoyed the plane crash, alien attack, oil spill, and flood, but their favorite was the earthquake which included this fire scene.

Another favorite was the O (I think?) scale layout which had a remote control Chinook flying around.

 

The kids enjoyed hanging out here sporting their engineer hats provided by the CSX booth.  They were nice there and told my daughter about how their Chief Transportation Officer was a female.

 

And not to bury you in kid photos, but we had to try the kid-powered trains on the way out.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 07, 2015 12:55 AM

The smiles on your kids' faces tell all!

Dave

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 9:08 AM

Thanks Dave.

First order of business: our train room is pretty dark which can make work difficult.  I finally added a light kit to the ceiling fan in the room which made a huge difference.  Before and after photos using the same camera exposure settings:

Next up is some more bridge weathering.  Here's the original bridge (Faller Deck Arch Bridge #120541); plain gray structure with brown/burgundy deck (most of the deck is hidden by that gigantic ez track in this photo).

I painted the steel flat black and the deck flat camo brown.  Due to some layout field changes, I purchased two more pieces and now have a longer span.

 I skipped the brown/rust color paint step I used in the last bridge.  I went straight to using my oil pastels but didn't use as much.  A new step was my first try at using Tamiya weathering powder ("orange rust" from their "C" kit).  It was more yellow than orange in my opinion which is why I used orange oil pastels first.  This photo shows the black compared to the weathered.  I lightened the dark tones in this photo otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the detail in the black.

One piece done.  I think I probably should have been more subtle.  Oh well.

My daughter wasn't going to let me have all the fun

Here it is in place on the layout.  It's more yellow and the bridge in back now looks more brown/burgundy but that's OK.  At some point I may add some Tamiya weathering powder to that back bridge to make them more similar.

The bridge supports were weathered with the stone abutments and tunnel portals with an acrylic wash but since they're plastic they didn't take it as well.  I used the gray Tamiya weathering powder to darken them up a bit with a little more at the bottom where I believe the rising river water would leave the discoloration.

Next up was some track weathering since I received my Testors CreateFX paint pens in the mail.  Some other folks in another thread said they didn't have much luck with these pens for this purpose but I wanted to give it a try.  Here's Atlas flextrack code 83 out of the box:

Ties on the left half are "rail brown" - ties on the right side are "rail tie brown" - rails are painted with the "rust".

 The whole track sprayed with Krylon camo brown:

The whole track sprayed with camo brown; then the rails painted with rust pen: (I did this mainly since the other thread had several complaints of paint not sticking to the rails well enough; I wanted to see if a "primer" of camo brown would alter the rust pen application)

I started looking at some prototype photos and thought the weathered ties should be a little lighter.  I tried out three other colors: (from left to right, two ties each) mud, earth, and grime:

The earth looked promising, so I combined it along with "rail brown":

Eh, that was OK but the difference between the two colors was too great.  Even though I think the camo brown is a little too dark, it's closer to the "rail brown" and provides a more believable variation.  I think I've decided to spray the camo brown on my laid track randomly, coating a little less then half of the ties.  Then I'll go through and paint 75% of the remaining ties with "rail brown" and the other 25% with "rail tie brown".  Then paint the rails with the rust pen.  Adding my ballast coated the ties with a little powder/dust that lightened them up perfectly.  I figure I'll go with that, or maybe even us a white acrylic wash if I need to.  The ballast is mostly WS medium gray blend with some medium brown mixed in.

 

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Posted by bogp40 on Thursday, March 12, 2015 3:29 PM

A fun time for all. A real awsome Grampa, these times will be remembered for an entire lifetime.

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:25 PM

I love watching your progress. Not only is it great that you're building this with your children, but the level of workmanship is awesome.

And even better, you're from Pittsburgh!

Jim

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Posted by -E-C-Mills on Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:42 PM

I like that Faller arch bridge.  Thanks for showing your work.

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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:13 AM

bogp40, ctyclsscs (Jim), and -E-C-Mills, thanks for the kind comments.

The main update has to do with reconfiguring the streetcar route.  Originally, I knew I wanted an incline but didn't know how to power/control it.  I figured a plug-and-play Bachmann auto reversing ez track trolley set could be set up on the other side of the layout and a wire connected to the streetcar could go under the table, through a bunch of pulleys, and also control the incline.  So the streetcar route was dicated by the ez track pieces in the set and the distance I wanted the incline to travel.  Well, I don't trust the Bachmann set to live for years and started to fear having to replace it (the plan was to have the track embedded in the pavement of the street).  And I found a separate reversing controller to use on the incline.  So I just decided to use flex track for the streetcar and use some add-on wiring/circuits to control the back and forth.  But, wait...if I'm using flex track, and I don't have to control the incline with the streetcar, and the PCC streetcar can handle 8-9" radius...why not completely redesign the route to make it a loop?

Here you can see the ez-track auto reversing set where it was planned.  (the far end of the track does not meet the figure-8 track; it's an optical illusion because fo the height difference)

I embedded the ez track into the foam so the rails would be flush with the ground.  I had to cover that up with tape and plaster over it.

And now here is the new layout of the streetcar route.  It's a loop so I can use a regular controller and just let it go around, but I might get something more advanced that lets me program stops and even have it pause inside the mountain for awhile making you think it's over serving other areas. 

I'm doing a few things to differentiate the streetcar route from the train tracks.  The ties are painted black and I will use fine black cinders for ballast.  No real (prototypical) reason, just something different.  No track bed for the track either.  The street crossings will be paved over while the train tracks will have wood grade crossings.  This was also an opportunity to use different tunnel portals.  I'm imagining the train tunnels were built a long time ago using stacked stone, but the streetcar tunnels were more modern and used poured concrete.  Making them much shorter also helps split things up.  I cut the portals out of foam.  Then I added some square styrene rod pieces at the top, and flat styrene strips below that, along with some sheet styrene for a keystone/date plate kind of thing.  I plan to write a year on the keystone piece to show a construction date.

Here's a portal in place with a basic coat of paint - I'll weather them more later but I have more pressing needs right now.  I scoured the expansion joints/seams with a knife, then expanded them with a pencil.

And in line with the train portals.  I've ballasted all the train tunnels, but haven't glued them yet.  Once the ballasting is done, I'll weather the track, gleam the rails, and finally be able to put the back profile board on and start building my mountains.

The trains and streetcar entering their tunnels.

Nothing specific here, just a fun shot with the streetcar on the tracks.  The streetcar portals were too blue so there were repainted before taking the above photos.  On a side note, how does adding a little bit of black paint to white paint make blue?

I think I'm going to need a lot of rocks, so I've started pouring molds as I have time.  Here are some made from my three 5x7-ish Woodlands Scenics molds. 

And although I don't think the Youghiogheny River actually has rocks like this on its banks, I've poured a bunch of the WS stream bank rocks to use on the river scenes.  I think I've managed to pull one or two of these out without breaking them.

A closer look at the detail.

 

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Posted by HO-Velo on Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:29 AM

The layout is looking very good, you and the kids are really going to town!  Thanks for sharing.

regards,  Peter 

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Posted by wildecoupe on Thursday, April 02, 2015 7:33 AM

Love the layout!  Hope to see more!

Tim 

P.S. I'm from Carnegie, PA.  Big Smile

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Posted by PRRT1MAN on Thursday, April 02, 2015 2:02 PM

So great to see a Dad doing something with his kids!  Welcome and love the progress you are making!  I try to do something with my girls every chance I get!  Time goes so fast! Cherish the memories you are making!

Sam Vastano
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Posted by Carnegie Falls on Monday, May 04, 2015 9:19 AM

Peter, Tim, and Sam: thanks for the kind words.  Tim, I'm originally from the east hills, near Monroeville.

OK, I finally made enough progress to post an update.

Last weekend we didn't have time for our layout, but we did manage to stop by the Suncoast Model Railroad Club's Open House.  Here is my son checking out the N scale layout.

First bit of business, I replaced all my plastic couplers with Kadees.  I think I meant to get the #5 standard "bullet-proof" ones but I got ones with finer detail (mini, or micro? I can't remember the part number right now).  They look way better and most of the plastic ones were broke.

Before moving on with my terrain/mountains, I had to ballast and weather the track going in and out of tunnels. (that messy part of ballast is not glued down yet since it's not inside the tunnel)

The last step before closing in the tunnels with a mountain was to clean the track.  I wanted to gleam them since these areas will be hard to reach.  The threads on gleaming, and other cleaning methods, have been very useful but I have heard several people say they're not sure if it really matters with fine scratches that aren't visible to the eye (bright boy, fine sandpaper, etc.).  Here are some photos to document my process, shot using a small handheld magnifier/microscope.  We start with a section of Atlas flex track straight out of the box.  Nice and smooth with a beveled edge.

Then after painting, spraying, ballasting, etc., I used 400, then 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to get this.  It obviously looks very scratched, but I have no idea what effect this actually has on allowing dust or or other dirt to accumulate.

Then I gleamed the rails with a stainless steel washer and got this.

That's pretty good, but it doesn't seem able to get those beveled edges, unless one made an effort to rub at an angle which I did not do.  After gleaming, I went over the rails with metal polish (blue magic or something?) and got this.  Uh, I don't know how my rails were this dirty after sanding them.  This dirt was from a short section of track (couple feet).  Maybe it's what rubbed off the washer (my hands were silver/dirt after handling the washer even though it came in a sealed bag).

Anyway, here's a closeup of the rail after polishing.  Visually, it looks pretty close to the original condition.

With the track taken care of, I was able to install the rear fascia/profile board.  The new horizontal foam layers will have crumpled newspaper and plaster cloth to create the mountains.

Modeling the fictional western Pennsylvania town of Carnegie Falls in freelance HO.
  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • From: Tampa Bay, FL (from Pittsburgh)
  • 135 posts
Posted by Carnegie Falls on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 9:59 AM

June update: plaster, plaster, plaster.

Here's the mountain on the left ready for plaster.  I have decided to model my childhood home here.

Same section with plaster.

This shows the future house layout.  I pulled the floor plan off the county property website and printed it out to scale.  Those pieces hanging off the edge are going to be decks.

Now the mountain on the right side all ready for plaster.  

And now with plaster.  I placed a piece of track there to show where the incline will go (the actual incline will have two tracks).

Since I decided to make that front right corner of the layout a slag dumping area, I had to increase the size of the hill there.  I cut out some plaster and cut a good amount of the profile boards away.

And now with plaster.

Another view.

I had to remove the bridge piers in order to plaster so the bridge is being held up by ribbons for now.  I finished off the river bottom to make it flush with the profile board.

Not the same angle, but here is the river and future dirt/gravel road to the right all plastered.  The river will get a layer of hydrocal to make it watertight.

The plaster step is forcing me to finalize some details so I'm starting to place some of the retaining walls.

And an overview shot.  I did two layers of plaster just about everywhere that will be landscaped.  Looks a little more like the Alps than western Pennsylvania, but oh well.  A good covering of green trees should change that.

Modeling the fictional western Pennsylvania town of Carnegie Falls in freelance HO.
  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 42 posts
Posted by wildecoupe on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 1:02 PM

Just pretend it's eastern, western PA around Altoona.  Wink  Looks good!

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • From: Pittsburgh, PA
  • 325 posts
Posted by ctyclsscs on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 4:37 PM

Looking great! Can't wait to see the incline.

Jim

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Potomac Yard
  • 1,690 posts
Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 6:05 PM

Actually, a lot of the hillsides in Pittsburgh would be taller than that.  We don't really have the ability to eyeball how tall a hill is because they're so huge and there's not a lot of ways to reference them.  The Hill District is something like 350 feet higher than the Strip District and that's almost a vertical cliff.  I'm guessing the bigger hill with the tunnels would only work out to around 250 feet from foot to summit.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=72144&nseq=55

Look at that hillside and think about how tall it has to be for the top of it to not be visible in that image.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=203563&nseq=75

Here's a slightly different angle.  Look how tall and vertical parts of it are.  Properly scenicked, your big Alpine hill won't look out of place at all.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 353 posts
Posted by JAMES MOON on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 6:40 PM

The incline track reminds me of the real one.  We rode the incline with the granddaughters while they were attending a dance clinic on top of the hill.  Certainly a part of Pittsburg's historical charm.

Jim

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