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Building the Rock Ridge Railroad

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  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Building the Rock Ridge Railroad
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:27 PM

I'll start with the layout plan. It is still subject to change, but I'll keep the most current plan in this space.

Rock Ridge is located in the California Redwoods somewhere between San Francisco and Eureka around the turn of the 20th Century on the line that would become the Western Pacific in 1907. The Southern Pacific currently owns the main, but you might see a Western Pacific logger (if I can bash an 2-6-2 side tank and I can afford it.)

Southern Pacific through trains run daily both north and south and there is a single passenger train daily. The Rock Ridge Yard breaks down trains and sorting local freight traffic from and ongoing frieght and adding the local outgoing frieght. Refers can take on ice for travels further north.

The three industries for Rockridge are lumber, silver, and beef. There will be daily shipments of these three comodities. On the layout, the Rock Ridge Mill is in the upper right, and just below it is the refinery. The cattle pens are just to the left of the mill yard.

San Francisco and Eureka are represented by hidden staging. Eureka bound trains exit to the right, and San Francisco bound trains exit to the left.

The mine (located on the left of the lower pennisula) and lumber camp (located on the left of the lower pennisula) will will be serviced by geared steam that climb the 4% grade into the heavily forested mountains. Access to this grade is off the main in the lower right of staging.

I'm excited to get started on this. So far the going is a lot slower than I would like. But stay tuned. It will get there. 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:53 PM

So there is a story here. Not about Rock Ridge--although there is a back-story I'll tell as we go--but one of how I came to build this layout.

It started 5 years ago when I was building the second Rock Ridge Railroad. My wife decided it was more important for her to expand her studio space that it was for me to build a layout. So I had to deconstruct what I had done. She said something about her income coming in was more important than my income going out. I think she had already started thinking about moving to Arizona at that time. When we did decide to go, she said I could build a new layout in Arizona. But the house was smaller and I had neither an office or a basement to build a layout in the new house. I think she figured that eventually our kids would move out, but neither looks able to do so in the forseeable future. Then out of the blue on New Years Eve, she told me she would relinquish her studio space in the garage so that I could build a layout.

So the last couple of weeks I've been going through the garage, reorganizing, and getting rid of all the stuff we haven't touched in the 3 years we've been here. This morning the space looked like this.

Garage Space

I won't be starting from scratch though. I have all the rolling stock and structures I'll need--either built or unbuilt.

And I managed to save the legs I used on the Rock Ridge II.

Yesterday, I spent the day ripping 3" strips of 3/4 inch plywood.

Part of the deal with my wife is that I would store everything she had under the table under my benchwork.

Let me tell you. Some of this stuff is prettty ugly. But she needs this stuff to ship paintings she sells.

So, after another day of work. I have the art table dismanted and we are at ground zero.

Tomorrow, I will build the benchwork--at least the lower level--and build the storage shelves and racks so I can get my car back in the garage.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:23 PM

OK, ! build on Chip.  My layout started as a storage shelving thing for our many Tupperware containers of family "stuff". You know the holiday decorations, our grown kids stuff, that Mom insisted on keeping, and etc., etc., and while building this, I unpacked my old HO stuff, from previous "plywood central projects".

I figured out the heavy duty bench top, which was going to be a basement work shop thing, could be a place for a new layout!  I dumped the basement work shop thing, and turned it into a train thing.

The rest, as they say, is history. Laugh

Mike.

 

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:31 PM

mbinsewi
I dumped the basement work shop thing, and turned it into a train thing.

I took your tour. Some nice stuff there.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:45 PM

I spent some time on-line looking at new stuff. I was shocked to learn that in the last 5 years Roundhouse old-time 2-6-0s have doubled in price. 

But the biggest downer was the fact that it will cost $600 to convert my locos to sound. That will take a while on a $30/mo budget I've been given. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, February 01, 2018 8:20 AM

Your story about moving struck a chord with me, when you said how you threw out stuff after seeing it sit for three years.

We endured a move about 18 months ago.  We were blessed...and cursed...to have the move paid for by a corporate relocation.  The blessing was that it was no cost to me (other than taxable moving expenses of which I had to pay tax on).  The curse was that relocating under those conditions is governed by everybody else's timeline, not mine. 

The movers come in on their schedule...they give you a window.....and blitzkrieged the house by packing up everything in less than a day.  We didnt have time to sort it out and we ended up moving a bunch of stuff we didnt need.

The new house is full of stuff that was intended for our old house, and purging the excess has taken more time than I had hoped.

For those of you thinking about retiring, or moving for whatever reason, keep in mind that a lot of stuff you have wont quite fit in the new house, unless you have lots of time to plan.  If you're undecided what to keep and what not, I say throw it out before you move. 

My advice is to rent a dumpster for the stuff you cant sell at a yard sale or donate.  Absent of stuff that will fit in at the new house or is of sentimental value, most people's stuff is just a bunch of depreciated junk that can be replaced via stores in the new town or Amazon.  And it will work better for your new space.  Consider it a cost of moving.

My layout has been down for about 2 years.  I hope I can get mine going soon.  And I'll be sharing the space with storage of household items in tubs under the layout.

- Douglas

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Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Thursday, February 01, 2018 9:40 AM

Wow nice! I'll be following your progress!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 01, 2018 9:58 AM

Doughless
My advice is to rent a dumpster for the stuff you cant sell at a yard sale or donate

 

I'm not sure I should admit this or not...we got rid of 72 cubic yards of stuff before we left--including enough 2" foam to do my layout several times. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by garya on Thursday, February 01, 2018 3:57 PM

SpaceMouse
 

But the biggest downer was the fact that it will cost $600 to convert my locos to sound. That will take a while on a $30/mo budget I've been given. 

 

Welcome to the club.

Gary
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 01, 2018 8:06 PM

garya
Welcome to the club.

 

You mean broke-@$$ old timer, that can remember when the time period they modeled was the current prototype.

 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 01, 2018 8:22 PM

Miller time. In my case it's 805. some micro-brew in the Ventura, CA area. My brother-in-law works for the Bud distriburtor so he gets this beer for me when I visit.

Life got in the way of my layout progress. Not much of an excuse. I only got six supports in place (used 5 legs and a wall.)

The day stared badly. I found out early that the 2' level I was using lost it's accuracy. Lost about two hours redoing things. luckily my 8' level still works. All-in-all, getting the thing dead-nuts level has been a beach--and that is with the adjustable feet on my support legs.

Seems like things got done quicker when I was younger.

I'm not going to have enough lumber to build the shelves for my wife's art stuff. Going to have to make a trip to Home Depot befrore I can put my car back in the garage. 

On the plus side, my daughter got  new android and I get her old one. Now I can replace my DT-400 with an app on my phone.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 01, 2018 8:40 PM

Put your 2' level on top of the 8' level, and see for yourself,  as a builder, I do this alot, just to check them all, after bouncing around in my truck tool box.

All the bubbles should match.  On some levels, it can be adjusted. 

Mike.

EDIT:  Actually, a retired builder, but still working on our place in the north woods of WI.  It never ends.  Retirement just means you can do all the stuff you did on weekends, and after "work", and wishing you could do.  I love it!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 01, 2018 9:28 PM

mbinsewi
Put your 2' level on top of the 8' level, and see for yourself,

I will.

I was a general contractor for 15 years. It shouldn't take so long to build a simple frame. I don't seem to have enough hands when I work by myself these days.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, February 02, 2018 10:56 AM

SpaceMouse
you might see a Western Pacific logger (if I can bash an 2-6-2 side tank and I can afford it.

As I was building my benchwork today, I came across a 2-6-2 that I had. I got it a long time ago at Timmonium (I don't know if that is even close to how it is spelled.) Anyway, it was in a box that said works great. Paid my 40 bucks...didn't work at all. So maybe once I get a track, I'll see what can be done with it. 

This trick would be to turn this unworking piece of [fill in the blank]...

into this

DCC and sound of course.

No problem, right?

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:24 PM

Well, the lower benchwork is basically done. The battery ran out on my impact driver before I attached the last few cross braces, but I have them all cut so I'm figuring an hour to install them. I also got the whole thing leveled. That was a job even with the adjustable feet.

Tomorrow I head to Home Depot and get the 2x4's I need to set my wife's storage shelving up. I'll also get the plywood I need to cover the benchwork.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, February 03, 2018 10:12 AM

SpaceMouse

I'm not sure I should admit this or not...we got rid of 72 cubic yards of stuff before we left--including enough 2" foam to do my layout several times. 

That's got to hurt considering the price of this stuff, and the difficulity of getting this thicker foam in some locales.
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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, February 03, 2018 11:23 AM

SpaceMouse
All-in-all, getting the thing dead-nuts level has been a beach--and that is with the adjustable feet on my support legs.

That's the beauty of risers -- the frame doesn't need to be level.

Byron

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, February 03, 2018 11:42 AM

cuyama
That's the beauty of risers -- the frame doesn't need to be level.

I agree, but the layout is 1/2 yards. Anything not on that level is risers. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, February 03, 2018 11:55 AM

SpaceMouse
I agree, but the layout is 1/2 yards. Anything not on that level is risers.

Risers work with yard areas, too.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, February 03, 2018 4:46 PM

cuyama
Risers work with yard areas, too.

I'm sure they do, but what do you gain? You have to make the track support level at some point, so adding risers to level the yards is just adding another level of complexity. I'll have plenty of risers on the layout, just not on a lot of the lower level where the three yards are. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Saturday, February 03, 2018 5:37 PM

Is your layout going to butt up against that metal shelving? 

If it Is, what about repurposing one shelf for your staging so you can utilize the space on the wooden frame for the layout itself? 

With a little bit of re-design you could gain a bit more "layout" and it wouldn't require any extra space floor wise....

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, February 03, 2018 10:34 PM

GraniteRailroader
This space reserved for SpaceMouse's future presidential candidacy advertisements

LOL

GraniteRailroader
With a little bit of re-design you could gain a bit more "layout" and it wouldn't require any extra space floor wise....

It does butt up against the metal shelving and theoretically we could use it to expand the layout, but as staging it would have zero access so no derails or faulty equipment. I suppose I could have figured something out, but I had alread annexed 20 extra square feet of penninsula, and another 8 square feet she doesn't know about yet. (Hehe. Don't squeal on me guys. What happens in MR stays in MR right?)

We did take some time and rearranged the shelves so we could slide roles of canvas down through the end. That saved a lot of under the layout shelf space. She is going to end up with much more storage space than she imagined. 

Actually, I consider myself pretty lucky. I have enough space that I can model just about everything I want to in a layout. I like yard work and switching and I'll get to work not only the main yard, but the lumber yard, the lumber camp and the silver mine--not to mention the various sidings. 

I wanted to build a town with maybe some humorous scenes, I have cattle and a refinery and even an icing platform. And an old-timey turntable. All this and it is small enough that I might finish it before I'm senile and don't care.

I even have a roundy rounder. Okay, I admit if I just sit and watch trains run in a circle, I'll get bored in 10 minutes, and I'll never come back if I have to sit for 20. But when I'm working on the layout or building a model, having the train running kinda keeps me going and brings a smile to my face.  

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Saturday, February 03, 2018 10:52 PM

SpaceMouse

LOL

A nod to (the late) Jeffrey, since you're back and all. Seems appropriate.

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, February 04, 2018 4:48 PM

SpaceMouse

  

It does butt up against the metal shelving and theoretically we could use it to expand the layout, but as staging it would have zero access so no derails or faulty equipment. I suppose I could have figured something out, but I had alread annexed 20 extra square feet of penninsula, and another 8 square feet she doesn't know about yet. (Hehe. Don't squeal on me guys. What happens in MR stays in MR right?)

We did take some time and rearranged the shelves so we could slide roles of canvas down through the end. That saved a lot of under the layout shelf space. She is going to end up with much more storage space than she imagined. 

Actually, I consider myself pretty lucky. I have enough space that I can model just about everything I want to in a layout. I like yard work and switching and I'll get to work not only the main yard, but the lumber yard, the lumber camp and the silver mine--not to mention the various sidings. 

I wanted to build a town with maybe some humorous scenes, I have cattle and a refinery and even an icing platform. And an old-timey turntable. All this and it is small enough that I might finish it before I'm senile and don't care.

I even have a roundy rounder. Okay, I admit if I just sit and watch trains run in a circle, I'll get bored in 10 minutes, and I'll never come back if I have to sit for 20. But when I'm working on the layout or building a model, having the train running kinda keeps me going and brings a smile to my face.  

 

 

Chip.  I'm not sure what program you used to design your trackplan, but keep in mind Atlas makes "22 inch radius" RH and LH turnouts in code 83 if you want to go that route.  Unlike a typical #4 turnout, the "22 inch radius turnout" ( I believe item #544 and #545) have a curved diverging leg instead of a straight diverging leg.  Its designed to fit perfectly into a 22 inch radius curve.

They may have started calling them "code 83 snap switches", resurrecting an old name. 

For a logging layout such as yours, I'd think they would be nice space savers over the traditional turnout.

- Douglas

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, February 04, 2018 7:15 PM

Doughless
Chip.  I'm not sure what program you used to design your trackplan, but keep in mind Atlas makes "22 inch radius" RH and LH turnouts in code 83 if you want to go that route.  Unlike a typical #4 turnout, the "22 inch radius turnout" ( I believe item #544 and #545) have a curved diverging leg instead of a straight diverging leg.  Its designed to fit perfectly into a 22 inch radius curve.

I'm using XtrakCAD. I'm sure the Atlas code 83 snap switches in their datbase as they have a pretty complete selection of Atlas turnouts. Where were you thinking they would be useful?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, February 04, 2018 7:20 PM

The benchwork is framed and I have the lion's share of the shelving done for my wife's stuff. Unfortunately, my lithium battery died before I could finish. I have to sit in a gallery for my wife tomorrow and I promised my son I would play video games with him on his day off--so the my car is doomed to sit outside for a couple more days. Sheeh!

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, February 04, 2018 7:26 PM

I have a bunch of ME code 70 rail, ties and nails and I thought I might handlay the logging camp and mine, but when I looked at it I realised I would have to lay the track on a ladder hanging over the layout. I need a better plan. Maybe hand laying on a seperate piece of plywood and mounting it as a unit.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:04 AM

I know most of you don't care, but Rock Ridge and Train CityI was a 4x8 layout. Well, actually, I drew the layout using the Atlas Track Planning Software, then built the thing with EZ Track and ended up having to add 6 inches along the side making it a 4.5x8 layout because the EZ Track was bigger.

My whole foray into model railroading began when my son got a Hogwart's train set for Christmas. Basically there was to be a King's Crossing Station on the lower level and the train would climb to Hogwarts on the upper level. But alas, my grew tired of trains before the track was layed, and I adapted it to suit my tastes: The Old West and humor. 

 

Rock Ridge only had one nod to Blazing Saddles. I cut a man in half and enlarged him and set him on an ox. That's right. I made Mongo. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost most of my pictures of that layout so I can't show him to you. Even more unfortunate, I haven't found Mongo who appears to be lost in the move from Pennsylvania. Train City was named by my autistic son. One day he just came out and said, "Looks like Train City."

The layout started in DC, but I had joined the Indiana Model Railfoad Cub that ran Digitrax. To run on their layout, I needed a controller. Then one day the club made a purchase through a guy who knew a guy for a bunch of Digitrax equipment. I picked up my Zephyr at that time. 

Shortly after these photos were taken, I got disgusted with EZ track. The track was too high to line up with my structures and when a turnout switch breaks, you have to take it apart from the bottom, which means extracting it from the scenery with C4.

So I ripped it out planning to replace everything with flex. At the same time I had discovered operating and I had been traveling all over Western Pennsylvania working layouts. I wanted switching on my layout. So with everyting torn apart anyway, I decided to build Rock Ridge and Train City II.

Unfortunately, all I can show you is part of the benchwork, this is the only photo I have.

The layout really didn't make it much further. It was soon after that my wife Co-opted the space for her art table. This brings us full circle to the current layout where she is giving up her art table so I can build Rock Ridge III. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:21 PM

Once again my battery ran out before I could finish screwing down plywood on the shelves. But we did get the lion's share of my wife's stuff under the benchwork. I'll post pictures tomorrow when everything set up. 

I ordered my track--at least the first batch, It will keep me busy for a while. I went with Altas Code 93 because it will line up with my Fastrack turnouts and was cheapest. It is wierd being cheap. When I was working, I seemed to have a lot of money. This time I'm going to have to sell stuff to fund my hobby. Not that big a deal but I hate selling on eBay. No problem though, I'm pretty good at it. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 08, 2018 8:54 PM

Hi guys,

I'm sure you guys will be excited to know that my car is back in the garage. One of the major concerns around here is that packrats get up in the engine compartment to get warm and leave a whole bunch of cactus cuttings in the area of the engine. They also like to eat the insulation off the wiring. I'm averaging about $300 a year in packrat damage repair to my wife's van.

But I digress. I got all the stuff my wife needed to store either under the layout or in the shelving. 

Moving from right to left you see horizontal shelves that we filled with rolls of bulk canvas. Once the backdrop goes up, the shelves will be inaccessable except from the end.

The next thing you see are the shipping boxes stacked vertically in a space designed for them. Also on the area are "folders" of paper and cushioned paper for packing.

The next bin holds my miter saw. I built that space/ rolling platform so that we could move it outside the garage easily. It is heavier than I remember it. Carrying it and/or picking it up off the floor is something  I want as part of history.

The next area is my wife's flat files--paper and cardboard paintings and drawings. On top of that file cabinet are her sheets of 1/4 inch oak ply. She says she never used it so it is mine now. Hehe.

Finally is painting storage. She hasn't yet moved any of her paintings out here, but then again, she's only had a couple of hours. 

Her paper files, bubble wrap, and paper packing materials are all under the layout on the floor. The tops shelf is reserved for me, for my trains construction stuff. 

Today, I was looking through my stuff and found 3 packs of rail joiners. I just ordered a pack from MB Klien yesterday. I figured if I didn't remember having the rail joiners, then I might have other stuff I don't remember. 

Tomorrow, I'm planning to go through all my train stuff and sort it out. If you look at the last photo you'll see a red tool box. Everything this side of that box is stacked up bins of trains stuff. The 4 gray bins you see below the red tool box are also train stuff. Below those bins are four more gray bins of wiring stuff.

That is not counting the four shelves of structures and rolling stock and kits in the gray shelves behind the layout. 

I figure it's an all day project if I am lucky. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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