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Version 5 of The CB&Q in Wyoming

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  • Member since
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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, November 12, 2020 8:30 PM

12 November 2020

We've been working on the other side of the basment, so I haven't had much time for the trains the last few days. 

But today I got started on the icing platform for Casper. This is an old CMA kit. It's now made by Tichy. I have this one, but I'll have to buy another one to get the 6' platform.

There are 56(!) identical part sprues, each of which has half a platform support structure on it. All combined, they'll build 28 supports.

Here's a prototype Burlington icing platform. They didn't usually have roofs, so I'm removing the roof framing from the platform supports.

One support down, 27 to go! I'm leaving the vertical posts and very ends of the roof support to act as light poles like in the photo above.

After finishing four supports, I test fitted them into a platform floor section to see how they look.

I've got a L-O-O-O-N-G ways to go!

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Posted by tin can on Friday, November 13, 2020 11:05 AM

Mark:

Don't know why it has taken so long, but I just stumbled onto your website, and this thread.  Thank you for documenting your progress; your layout is stunning, and it is far from finished!  Your pictures answer so many questions.  Keep them coming!

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by tin can on Friday, November 13, 2020 1:24 PM

Lakeshore Sub

Hi Chris,

 

Mark had given me the directions on how he did it in a differenet thread.  Here are the directions.

 

Hi Scott,

 

This will be rather underwhelming (and long), I'm afraid.

First I photographed the area I wanted to make into the backdrop. I used my Galaxy Edge 7 cellphone camera. It's surprisingly good - 12 megapixels. I took about 200 photos, most just normal shots, but a dozen or so in panoramic mode. I'd never used panoramic mode, so I was learning as I go.

Then I went home and loaded all the pictures onto my computer, where I could see them on a larger monitor. I could see that many of them were not very suitable.

Next I downloaded some photo stitching software packages - the free and trial versions. None of them worked very well. I got blurry mish-mashes of the individual photos, none of which were at all suitable.

At this point I was pretty disappointed. I thought nearly the whole photo trip had been a waste. Then I decided to take another look at a couple of the panoramas.

I put them aside at first because they all came out looking like this:

(I shrank this way down from its original size - it was a bit over 12,000 pixels wide!). The files are large - about 33 MB for this one, with a total of over 24.5 megapixels. 

I didn't think this would be at all suitable - the road on either side is the same straight road. The panoramic function on the camera distorts the picture tremendously in the foreground.

Then I realized I didn't need - or even want - the near foreground. I wanted a section that began to the right of the "stop ahead" sign to the left, over to just before the road enters the picture in the right, and from slightly above the mountains in the distance to about the base of the post of the "stop ahead" sign. 

So I opened the panoramic photo in MS Paint (I was a bit surprised Paint would even open it) and cropped the image as I described above. I then blew up the resulting picture so that the height would just fit vertically on a landscape-orientation sheet of 8 1/2 X 11 paper.

Then I printed it out. It took 13 sheets of paper. I cut off three of the four edges - top, right side and bottom at the edges of the image. I left the left side (on all but the left-most page) so that I would be able to line up the next image to the left on top of the page, and using clear tape I aped them together and to the skyboard.

I didn't do any image manipulation other than described above. The 12 megapixel camera resolution makes it possible to blow up the image by 2-3 times without significant pixelation of the image, even close up.

Next I'm going to take the image down to a large-format printer company (FedEx Kinko, maybe) and have the entire thing printed off on a single roll of good quality paper, at their highest quality print setting.

I'll carefully trim off the sky, then use spray adhesive to mount the backdrop to the skyboard. I'll probably do reversed images on either side of this one, which will give me nearly 30 feet of backdrop!

My last step will (probably) be to dullcoat the entire skyboard and backdrop to eliminate any glossiness in the sky (it's really cheap blue paint) and on the backdrop.

So in summary - cellphone camera in panoramic mode and MS Paint (about the most basic image software there is) to manipulate the image. That's all there was to it.  

 

Scott Sonntag

 

Scott:  Thanks for reposting this.  Maybe even technologically challenged me can make a serviceable backdrop.  

jeff b c

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 13, 2020 8:18 PM

Hi Mark,

I gave you the wrong tracking #. Correct # is in a new PM.

Supposed to arrive by Nov. 25th.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 10:25 PM

18 November 2020

Things were progressing slowly the last few days. That icing platform kit takes quite a bit of time! Here's the latest:

I completed the first two structural assemblies for the platform sections and set them on the layout to see how they look.

I've completed a third section and am now working on the fourth.

A couple days ago I almost placed an order with Tichy for the second platform kit I'll need to finish the project, but I held off. I'd already placed a sizeable order with Walthers about a week ago. Have to space those purchases out a bit, you know.

I'm glad I did wait, because last night I was looking for something and instead I found a second Tichy icing platform kit! I bought it at a train show some years ago and forgot all about it! I certainly didn't need a third kit. Here's the two boxes right next to each other. Identical except for package graphics and manufacturer.

I've also spent some time on the scenery on the shelf between Riverton and Hudson. Here it is as of today, with the Celluclay ground cover complete about halfway down the shelf:

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, November 19, 2020 6:41 AM

Mark, how do you plan to ballast the yard? What materials will you use?

Rich

 

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, November 19, 2020 10:20 AM

Rich, since I have Woodland Scenics cinder ballast on hand, I'll use that. In between the tracks the ballast will be mixed in with dirt. I'm thinking real dirt from my backyard since I live in Casper, but I'm not sure yet. 

I tried scenicking and ballasting the end of the yard tracks a couple years ago, but that didn't turn out too well.

I used the same cinder ballast then, and that seemed to be okay. I used very watery plaster of paris between the rails and that gave me a mess. So this time I think I'll try ballast first, then dirt, slightly darkened with india ink, carefully applied between the tracks. That might give me the ballast-and-tracks-embedded-in-the-dirt look I'd like to achieve.

Then I'll add some sickly looking grass tufts randomly here and there, except around the icing platform and tracks, which will have more and healthier looking growth (still mostly grass) because of the moisture from the melting ice.

I'm sure open to suggestions on this. I'm not at all sure of myself here.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:24 AM

Mark, those photos of the yard ballast look sloppy, dirty, and messy. Perfect!

I ask about ballasting the yard because I recently took a shot at ballasting mine.

My main challenge was to apply the ballast to look like it all was scattered at grade level as opposed to road ballast applied on a slope.

My solution, for better or worse, was to thinly apply the ballast directly onto the plywood surface and then glue it down.

I have yet to "weather" the yard to get your enviable sloppy, dirty, and messy look.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:49 AM

Thanks Rich. I think my ballasting job looks like crap.

So how about a photo or two of yours? I'd like to see how it came out. 

I'm getting ready to try again - maybe in a week or two (trying to work up the courage!).

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Posted by selector on Saturday, November 21, 2020 11:47 AM

I have only ever built the one yard, and that was on my second layout, the one that I posted so many photos of 12 years ago now.  I glued the tracks directly to the plywood and then sprinkled sifted garden dirt mixed with some plaster of Paris to stiffen it once I wet it.  I used the round side of a baby food jar to roll it flat, and of course a brush to work it nicely into the ties.  Once it all looked like a typical yard surface, I sprayed with wet water (water 'wetted' by adding a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent for penetration).

I'm just about to solder feeders to my various ladder tracks, and test electrically each time I solder to ensure no foulups, and then I'll be using three layers this time.  First, 'clean' playground sand that I will screen to ensure homogeneity in size, sprinkled as an initial fill.  Over that, more garden soil, dry, sifted, and over that W/S cinders.  Then I'll use a light glue spray in the wider patches, and dribble it between the rails so that I don't have a lot of rail wiping to do.

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 21, 2020 3:38 PM

Either one of those sounds like a pretty good approach, selector. I may try your current approach, minus the sand.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, November 21, 2020 3:43 PM

I should have explained, Mark, that I am literally using the sand as a filler first layer because I only have so much sifted garden soil laid by.  I don't have enough to cover the entire layout, or so I fear.  I would not use the sand as an initial layer either.

Wife's discarded pantyhose makes a GREAT soil sifter.  Helps, of course, if you have a good soil with lots of organic solids and sand/grit for drainage.  You'll get a lot of usable filtrate in no time at all.  You'll need close to 8 pounds of it for your yard, maybe more for proper depth.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 4:06 PM

Wayne uses very fine limestone "gravel" (i.e., limestone dust) as a material in ballasting his yards.

Rob Spangler (wp8thsub) has ballasted his yards in a way that, to my mind, are the finest example shown on these forums. Take a look at his photos in this thread.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/282584.aspx?page=1

Rich

 

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 21, 2020 10:24 PM

I remember that thread. If I manage to get anything that looks half as good as Wayne's and Rob's, I'll be very pleased.

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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:59 PM

23 November 2020

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to need a lot more reefers for my railroad, to support the large icing platform in Casper yard. Well, to my great surprise and delight, Dave (hon30critter) unexpectedly offered to send me a few reefers he had no use for on his layout. Of course I said "Yes, thanks!" very quickly, and a few days ago four reefers arrived in the mail! Here they are sitting on my kitchen counter right after unpacking:

After switching out the trucks on three of them (everything I run has Kadee sprung trucks) plus adding some light weathering, here they are on the icing tracks:

The Express reefer will follow shortly.

Thanks again, Dave!

And I've been making progress on the platform itself. Here's the first kit structure complete on the workbench.

And here it is set in place on the layout.

Yes, it apparently does have a slight curve along the length. I sighted down it as I was assembling the sections, and I swear on the workbench it was absolutely straight. Space must be of a different curvature at the workbench than at the layout. Tongue Tied Well, time to get started on the second kit. I may add it to the "finished" piece section-by-section to avoid any more curvature.

I also finished installing the last spur on this end of the layout.

This is a multi-industry spur. I'll talk about it in a future post.

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, December 3, 2020 3:23 PM

3 December 2020

I just posted my latest monthly video update:

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 3, 2020 11:56 PM

Hi Mark,

I don't think that you need to worry about keeping your videos to five minutes. Every bit of your progress is very interesting so please continue to share it all with us.

Thanks for acknowledging the reefer donation.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, December 4, 2020 3:29 PM
Gidday Mark, I agree with Dave, generous chap he is, in that you shouldn’t worry about the length of your video update.
 
I personally find that you have a pleasant presentation style, and that your videos are informative yet relaxing. With the first coffee of the morning, it’s a great way to start the day.
 
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 richhotrain on Sunday, December 6, 2020 6:30 AM

Mark, you have a great voice for narrating videos. Nice job!

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 10:43 PM

Thanks Dave. I tend to lose interest in a video after about ten minutes or so, so I use that as a rule to limit the length of my own videos.

Bear, jeez, I'm blushing! I guess my videos would be a great way start the day, though - after that you know the day can only get better!

Rich, thank you.

You know, it's kinda funny - my hats seem to be getting smaller... Wink

9 December 2020

The last week or so I've been focused on two (layout) things. I've been laying out and installing tracks for the west end industries in Casper, and adding "dirt" to the CNW shelf over Casper.

Here's the current state of Casper's west end:

The tan building with the green doors is a stand-in structure for Schultz Walter Grocer's Warehouse. Beyond that you can see Wyoming Concrete Producers facility (at least the part of it's that built. Beyond that will be the spur for Natrona County Lumber (and maybe the remote ice house, if there's room), and if you look close you can just make out the track centerlines for the Standard Oil Company tank car loading racks. If I go with the Walthers kit for those, I'll need about 11 more kits (I have two already).

Here's the current state of the CNW scenery:

"Dirt" (tempera paint powders mixed with plaster of paris) is down about 2/3 of the way along the laid-down Celluclay. The farthest bit is very dark because it's still wet. Next up here is ballasting the track (probably will work best if I take the tape off the track first). One of the last things I'll do, after all the oversprays are finished, is remove the wax paper covering the backdrop.

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, December 17, 2020 10:23 PM

17 December 2020

I finished putting the first layer of "dirt" on the ground along the CNW line (hard to even tell it's there from this perspective, isn't it?), and removed the tape on the track in preparation for ballasting. Now I'm just waiting for the ballast to arrive in the mail. The wax paper will come off the backdrop when the ballsting is done.

I've been building the new turnouts I need to finish Casper. The first one is in, along with the spur to Wyoming Concrete Producers. Here's an overall view of Casper (except for the engine terminal) with the new concrete plant and spur in the foreground.

Now that cars are distributed at the industries, the rolling stock is looking pretty sparse. It will be a lot worse once the Standard Oil tank car loading racks are in place in the left foreground. I need to assemble a lot more rolling stock!

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, December 17, 2020 11:38 PM

Pruitt

Now that cars are distributed at the industries, the rolling stock is looking pretty sparse. It will be a lot worse once the Standard Oil tank car loading racks are in place in the left foreground. I need to assemble a lot more rolling stock! 

Mark, I feel your pain. When I distributed LCL box cars among the 13 freight houses at Dearborn Station, my freight yard looked bare.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, December 20, 2020 12:09 PM

20 December 2020

Tank car loading rack tracks are in place for the Standard Oil Co. refinery. They're not powered yet, though - I'm waiting for a shipment of wire from Digikey.

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 7:15 PM

23 December 2020

I got my wire from Digikey a couple days ago, and now all the sidings are powered in Casper. I still need to install the second turntable access track and coal supply / ash dump removal track and the engine facility trackwork will be complete. In fact, that will complete all track in Casper.

But with completion of the industrial sidings, I got the urge to focus a bit on the roundhouse again. During all the jostling from the move to Casper and all the moving around while finishing the train room, quite a few windows were knocked loose (amazingly, I didn't lose any). I spent a couple hours re-glung most of them in place, then started chasing the light leaks I saw when I first built the roundhouse in early 2019.

I started with the main roof sections, adding a strip of scale 6X12 sturene to the underside front and rear of the roof sections. The one on the right in the photo below shows them installed, and the one on the left is after the strips are painted.

I had enough strips to do all the main roof sections except the far left side one, which was sitting on the opposite side of the roundhouse from where I was working and so got missed. I did about a third of the small forward roof sections the same way before I ran out of styrene strips. I'll have to order another pack to finish.

But here's how it looks right now:

Obviously there's still work to do. Some of the "leaks" on the main roof are actually light through the clerestory windows reflecting off the underside of the roof overhangs (those are the "leaks" to right and center of the structure). Those will be eliminated by painting the underside of the overhangs flat black.

Just for comparison, here's roughly the same shot right after the roundhouse was "completed" in 2019. 

Looks like I'm making some progress, anyway.

Until I get more materials, I'm switching my focus to building the two Walthers oil loading racks I have on hand. I'll need eight more to finish the racks, but at least I have something to start with.

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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, December 25, 2020 12:46 PM

25 December 2020

(Sorry for the verbosity of this post, but...)

Well, what a Christmas Eve I had! About 9 pm my roundhouse suffered a RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly).

When I first started building the roundhouse in late 2018 in New Jersey, I saw a discussion about plastic cements on Model Railroader Video Plus. The presenter (I'm not completely sure who it was, so I won't mention a name) spoke very knowledgeably about the characteristics of the various cements, and one thing in particular stuck in my mind - Plastruct Bondene had the unique property that it would bond parts together right through paint! WOW! Since I had a bottle on hand, that meant I wouldn't have to clean the paint off contact surfaces before cementing them. What a great timesaver!

So I proceeded to assemble the entire roundhouse in just that way. Big mistake!

Through the ensuing move to Casper and the subsequent shifting around of the engine facility section of the layout while finishing the train room, quite a few windows popped loose. None were lost, so I didn't think it was a big deal. Plus I have a lot of spare windows from the kits. So I would just take a couple hours and reinstall them.

I've talked about doing that, plus working on the roof, in the last few posts. Well, I finished the windows last evening, and as I stepped down off a step stool, I lightly bumped the table. Several windows fell out again! In frustration, I banged the table with my fist, pretty hard. A whole bunch of windows fell back out, and a few other glue joints in the structure sprang apart as well! Now I was pissed, and unfortunately I had a roof section in my hand. I threw it down on the roundhouse, and what you see in the pictures is the result.

The entire roundhouse was about as robust as an eggshell! It didn't take much force (that roof is not very heavy) to break the glue bonds!

Most of the roundhouse just came apart! Turns out, despite what the "experts" say, that Bondene does not glue through paint, unless you consider a light tack to be "glued."

Granted, I should not have gotten angry, but it's just as well, because the roundhouse would have slowly fallen apart over time anyway.

I briefly considered just dumping every bit of model railroading materials, track, locos, cars and all of it, into the trash. This was a major blow.

Instead, after a very bad night's sleep. I got up at 5:00 this morning and went down to the train room to assess the damage and start rebuilding the roundhouse.

Turns out very few if any parts are broken. The glue joints simply separated. So I picked up the mess and started straightening things out. The LEDs and interior supporting framework are all okay, except a few broken pins where a couple of the legs attached to the floor. Most of them had simply lifted away, though. I quickly had this:

I started by cleaning up some of the back wall sections and laid out a couple where I would start reinstalling windows.

Then I laid out the windowsto prepare them for reinstallation. Here you can see the crazed paint where the Bondene was supposed to (but did not) penetrate to make the bond with the wall (where you can also see some crazing around the window holes).

So I sanded the edges of the window frames to remove the paint and provide a clean surface for gluing.

So I installed the windows using Tamiya liquid cement (since I'm pretty much out of Bondene anyway). After it cured, I tried to pop the windows back out again. They are very firmly attached this time.

Now to reassemble the rest of the roundhouse. That will take weeks, as I work on the rest of the Casper area at the same time.

Moral of the story: Don't just take someone's word that a technique will work. Even the "experts" can lead you astray. Try it out and see for yourself.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, December 25, 2020 1:00 PM

Mark, I was about to ask you a question about your roundhouse, only to read about the Great Roundhouse Collapse, or RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) as you call it. Sorry to learn this bad news.

Anyhow, here is my question. It looks like you have an 11-stall roundhouse. Do you expect to keep all 11 stalls filled all of the time?

I ask because I have a 9-stall roundhouse, and I also have 9 steam engines. But, I am considering reducing my steam roster by as many as 4 steamers, leaving only 5 on my layout.

While my 130' turntable and 9-stall roundhouse look great, I find them cumbersome and time consuming to operate. I have toyed with the idea of using one of my freight yards as a visible staging area and just running my steam engines in and out of the yard. If I did that, I would scrap my roundhouse and sell the turntable on eBay.

Tell me about your plans for your roundhouse.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by NorthBrit on Friday, December 25, 2020 1:53 PM

Mark.  My wife, Dawn taught me not to trust on one 'expert'.  Get  confirmation from others as well.

 

Rich.   It appears you are not happy with having a roundhouse and turntable.  If that is the case then keeping it will be a 'thorn in your side'.   Changing the freight yard to visible staging area seems a good idea.  Go for it!

I was in a similar position on my layout and 'struggled long enough'.  Now having altered things I am much happier with the layout.

 

David

 

 

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, December 25, 2020 3:00 PM

NorthBrit

Rich.   It appears you are not happy with having a roundhouse and turntable.  If that is the case then keeping it will be a 'thorn in your side'.   Changing the freight yard to visible staging area seems a good idea.  Go for it!

I was in a similar position on my layout and 'struggled long enough'.  Now having altered things I am much happier with the layout.

David, thanks for your supportive words. I do like my turntable and roundhouse a lot. They look great at the far end of the layout, but they can be an annoyance when operating the layout. It just seems so mechanical and time consuming to bring a steam engine out onto the layout. That's why I am curious how Mark plans to operate his turntable and roundhouse.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, December 25, 2020 5:15 PM

Pruitt

Well, I finished the windows last evening, and as I stepped down off a step stool, I lightly bumped the table. Several windows fell out again! In frustration, I banged the table with my fist, pretty hard. A whole bunch of windows fell back out, and a few other glue joints in the structure sprang apart as well! Now I was pissed, and unfortunately I had a roof section in my hand. I threw it down on the roundhouse, and what you see in the pictures is the result.

The entire roundhouse was about as robust as an eggshell! It didn't take much force (that roof is not very heavy) to break the glue bonds!

Most of the roundhouse just came apart! Turns out, despite what the "experts" say, that Bondene does not glue through paint, unless you consider a light tack to be "glued."

Granted, I should not have gotten angry, but it's just as well, because the roundhouse would have slowly fallen apart over time anyway.

I briefly considered just dumping every bit of model railroading materials, track, locos, cars and all of it, into the trash. This was a major blow.

Geez, I just re-read this post, Mark. I had not read through the entire post the first time around, since I was concentrating on asking you a question about the roundhouse.

OMG, who among us has not experienced a layout calamity and wanted to do the same thing that you thought about, that is, just dumping every bit of model railroading materials, track, locos, cars and all of it, into the trash? Take heart, better days are ahead.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, December 25, 2020 5:52 PM

Rich, I do plan on using the roundhouse extensively, but not all stalls will be filled because several steamers will be out on the road at any given time, most notably in staging with trains ready to enter the layout during an operating session. In fact, counting switchers, I already have more steamers than my roundhouse will hold.

Part of my operating sessions will include "hostling" the locomotives, moving just-arrived losos through the service track and into the roundhouse, while at the same time assigning a fresh loco to the train if it's a through job, or assigning locos to originating trains.  ALL trains will switch out motive power in Casper (that's all assuming I have enough operators to do that).

If your roundhouse and turntable won't get much use, it may be better to eliminate the facility (as you know, they're very space consuming). Steam facilities are very impressive, but so is a large-scale model of the Titanic. If I were you I'd probably use the space for something else.

David, I have learned my lesson. Maybe Bondene does work fine through some specific paint chemistries, but clearly not all.

Rich again, I haven't felt like dumping everything into the trash for a long time. With this kind of setback, I'm really questioning if I will get to where I have an operational layout with at least some scenery complete.

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