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Version 5 of The CB&Q in Wyoming

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Posted by wickman on Saturday, January 7, 2023 2:53 PM

Your vision is coming along really nicely, Ive found time to watch a couple of your videos that I enjoyed, get better quickly.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, January 7, 2023 6:56 AM

That is very good news. Yes

I can't help but note that the hospital gown looks better than some of those shirts that Mark wears in his videos. Smile, Wink & Grin

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, January 7, 2023 4:28 AM

I just found this on YouTube. Click on 'I survived' at the top of the page:

 

Good news!!

Cheers!!

Dave

P.S.:

Mark, I am certainly not happy to see you in pain, but I am extremely happy to see that you came through the surgery successfully!!

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 selector on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 7:44 PM

God bless you, Mark.  I hope you're back'n at 'em inside of a few days at most.  I enjoy your videos, and like seeing the progress.   Another wonderful helix from you. Stick out tongue

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 10:30 AM

3 January 2023

My latest layout update video is now up on YouTube:

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, December 31, 2022 11:21 PM

Thanks DaveBig Smile

31 December 2022

The last week I spent getting the Basin area ready for track. After all the headscratching and measuring was done I began by installing subroadbed. Here's how it looked on the 28th:

The level is clamped to the plywood to minimize any waviness as I get ready to install the risers.

On the 29th I finished installing all the risers.

This was a close thing - I was almost out of the 1-by wood I use for the risers, and I can't go out in public right now because of the upcoming surgery (trying to avoid getting sick, as that would delay it). Fortunately I found an old 1X4 in the garage and used it to make the far risers - the brownish ones in the shot.

Yesterday I tied the new Basin subroadbed into the Himes Curve subroadbed at the far end of Basin, then added the cork sheets to Basin itself. I just finished up marking the mainline and sidings centerlines on the cork about 9:30 tonight. This is how this model railroader celebrates the new year!

Tomorrow I plan to start laying the mainline into Basin.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 25, 2022 8:37 PM

Merry Christmas Mark,

Seeing the layout all in one video shows just how impressive it really is! The amount of work that you are putting into it is amazing!

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, December 25, 2022 8:59 AM

Thanks Dave and Rich! I just hope the surgeon doesn't sneeze at an inconvenient moment... Sad

25 December 2022

I just uploaded my first annual (I hope) Christmas Layout Tour.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 6:26 AM

Mark, very nice work as usual. I love the helix. What is the circumference?

Best of luck on that surgery. I never like the word "major". Anything short of success is unacceptable at this point. I haven't followed this thread this long to have it come up short. Smile, Wink & Grin

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 9:19 PM

Hi Mark,

The helix looks great, and it works too!!

Here's hoping that your surgery goes well and that you aren't laid up for too long. I am absolutely certain that you will be posting future updates until the layout is finished, and then we will be able to watch your operating sessions and future improvements for many years.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 8:28 PM

20 December 2022

I finished the first group of three new hoppers - the CNW ones, in early December.

I shoed this shot before, but it needs a bit more explanation. On the far right is where the liftout section will be for access to the train room. To the left in the background you can see the tracks for Holly Sugar. The subroadbed closest to the camera in the center is Himes curve, which leads off camera to the left to Basin and to Frannie / Greybull across the liftout on the right. Behind that, the center curve, is the beginning of the Cody Branch, which comes from Frannie / Greybull on the right and disappears under the bluffs just behind Himes curve, and the farthest back roadbed is for east staging, which also comes out of Frannie / Greybull.

2 December I had the Cody subroadbed from the above shot tied into the subroadbed and track that runs underneath Basin (Basin isn't built yet):

Early in December I got my Christmas present - an Anycubic 3D resin printer and a wash and cure station.

I tried to print out a set of ties for my Fast Tracks turnouts, and the third effort was successful. Over time, this thing should save a lot more money than it cost.

On December 8th I did the last bit of deconstruction on the revised Cody Branch, taking out this turnback curve at the end of Worland peninsula to make way for the new 1-1/2 turn helix that will fit there.

Then I spent a full two weeks building the helix. After cutting out the base and subroadbed from 1/2" plywood I set about fitting everything in. Here most of the base is laid in place to see how it would fit. Note the notches cut in the plywood sections to fit around the risers for the track above (which is the curve from Worland around to Basin on the left).

By 11 December I had the base permanently attached to the benchwork joists (for the most part) and began positioning the subroadbed tiers on top. Then I started drilling the pilot holes for the threaded rods that will support the whole thing, using an 18" long 1/8" drill bit. I stuck wooden skewers into the holes as I went to ensure noting moved while I was drilling.

Over the next few days I opened the holes in teh base to full size - 3/8 inches. I also began cutting the threaded rods to length with a hacksaw and dressing the cut ends on my grinder. That last was cold work. I cut and dressed the rods in the garage, where it was about 30 degrees! I'd do a half dozen or so rods and then come in the house for awhile to warm up! Later I cleaned up the threads at the rod ends a bit more with a file until the nuts would screw on easily. As of the 12th I was this far along:

Then I was able to start adding the helix itself, starting with the lowest tier. The far right end in this shot is where the helix leads out to Powell.

Since it would be nearly impossible to add roadbed and track on the lower tier with the upper one in place, I laid roadbed and track before adding the top tier.

By 17 December I had the top tier added and tied into the track from Greybull on the left.

At this point I needed to adjust the grade in the helix. To do that from the outside would be very difficult so I modified the benchwork by cutting away the center of the middle joist so I could work from inside.

On the 18th I was finally ready to set the grade. To do that I just ran the nuts up and down the threaded rods as needed to adjust each tier. Here I am hard at work (yeah, right!) adjusting one area.

My wife caught this shot of me while I was sitting in the helix. That's about the best I ever look (horrors!).

After running around the helix about three times, the grade was pretty well set. Adjusting those rods was a lot like tuning a guitar - as soon as you adjust one string the rest go a bit out of whack, so it's an interative process. After three iterations, everything looked good. I was able to lay the rest of the track on the 19th, and the finished product looked like this.

The whole assembly needed testing, so I set a train on the tracks and shor this short video.

The Mikado was working hard, but it was able to pull 16 cars plus a waycar up the helix. Cody Branch trains will typically be 12-14 cars, so the test was a success.

I was a bit concerned because, with a 2-and-a-smidgeon % grade in the helix the compensated grade, which takes into account the curvature, is right about 3%. 

=====

By the way, the afib has settled down again, but another problem was found when I was in the ER on 21 November, and I have major surgery scheduled for January 5th. I'll be doing my usual update video on the 3rd, and if there's never another one you'll know the surgery didn't go well. Crying

Meanwhile, y'all have a great Christmas and New Years!

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, December 15, 2022 3:20 PM

I just uploaded episode 9 of Building Casper this morning...

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, December 3, 2022 9:54 PM

Hi Mark,

Thank you for the very interesting analysis and redesign of your layout! As I said in an earlier post, I think the new plan is excellent.

Your videos are really well done.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, December 3, 2022 6:37 PM

That's a scary story, Mister Beasley! I hope things dont go like that for me!

Douglas, my PVC's tend to come in clusters. There almost completely gone again now. Hopefully not to return for a long time.

3 December 2022

I posted my latest layout update video a few hours ago:

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, November 28, 2022 9:54 AM

Very interesting update Mark.  Your redesign prompted by the operations discovery was handled very well.  I hope it makes for an even more satisfying layout that wouldn't have happened without the additional information.

Good luck with the heart.  Sounds like you've had plenty of discussions about it with doctors.  I had PVCs come on about three years ago.  At times they were disruptive when I laid on my left side...annoyed me so much I had trouble falling asleep.

I went on small dose BP medicine and eliminated caffeinated drinks, and I haven't had them in over a year.  

- Douglas

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, November 26, 2022 7:10 PM

I have AFIB too.  I think the doctors were was too eager to do an ablation and charge the insurance company and Medicare for it.  When I got out of the OR my heart rate was about 30 and the next step was a pacemaker.  The AFIB came back a couple of years later.  Did this do me any good?  Seriously, I would probably be better without it.  My cardiologist now isn't worried and is much less of an interventionist.

This cardiologist is also an electrophysiologist so he understands my pacemaker.  I get along well with him.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 26, 2022 6:51 PM

hon30critter
I think the final version of the Greybull yard is fantastic and very well thought out. I like the idea of using the main line as the yard lead. It appeals to my devious side Smile, Wink & GrinMischief. It will create some fun during your operating sessions. Every time your Greybull yard master wants to use the main you can throw a special at him!MischiefLaughLaugh

Smile, Wink & Grin Thanks Dave! I do have some seasonal trains that might work well as a monkey wrench...

I sincerely hope that your heart issues can be resolved. If you end up with a pacemaker you will have to be very wary of getting a shock from the layout.

richhotrain
Mark, go see your doctor today. "The last few days" is too many days for such a condition to go unchecked.

Thanks for the concern, Dave and Rich. I've had afib on and off (mostly off) since early 2014. I see a cardiologist regularly. So far they've said it's not dangerous. 

I had the last bout in Feb 2020, just a few months after I moved back to Wyoming. Almost three years without anything, then about six weeks ago it came back with a vengance. Saw the cardiologist - he said to see an electrophysiologist (specialist who deals with the electrical side of the heart) when he comes to town from Salt Lake next month. Probably will recommend an ablation, but we'll see.

I occasionally also have another arrhythmia - PVCs (premature ventricular contractions). Almost everybody gets this occasionally - colloquially known as "heart skips a beat." This has happened at the same time as the afib on two separate occasions now, including Sunday night. I went to the ER Sunday night as a precaution, and the doctor again said nothing going on is dangerous. Sure is unsettling though.

Again, thanks for the concern. If you never hear from me again, you'll know the doc was wrong. SurpriseWhistling

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, November 25, 2022 5:00 AM

Pruitt

The last few days I've been experiencing some atrial fibrillation(!) so work has slowed a bit

Mark, go see your doctor today. "The last few days" is too many days for such a condition to go unchecked.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, November 24, 2022 10:31 PM

Hi Mark,

Interesting developments (except for the heart stuff!!!Bang Head).

I think the final version of the Greybull yard is fantastic and very well thought out. I like the idea of using the main line as the yard lead. It appeals to my devious side Smile, Wink & GrinMischief. It will create some fun during your operating sessions. Every time your Greybull yard master wants to use the main you can throw a special at him!MischiefLaughLaugh

I sincerely hope that your heart issues can be resolved. If you end up with a pacemaker you will have to be very wary of getting a shock from the layout. One of the members at my old club had a pacemaker so we set some very strict procedures for turning the power on to the layout. Losing a decoder is one thing, but losing a member is a whole 'nother kettle of fish! Sorry for the black humour.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 8:14 PM

Thanks Dave, Ray!

23 November 2022

Right after the operating session I turned bak to scenery west of Casper. The area around Powder River was just too flat to look right, so I added some low hills at the backdrop. Here I've hot glued the first bit of hilly foam in place:

And here's Powder River with the new hills painted and grouted.

On November 7th I added static grass to the hills, and also dirtied up the ground between the siding and mainline a bit. I haven't done anything else in the area since then.

Also early in the month I began laying out Himes Curve. This is the tightest mainline curve on the layout, at 28 inch radius. I would have preferred to stay with my typical 30 inch radius, but a solid wall left me no choice.

This curve represents the real Himes Curve, though on the layout it curves the opposite direction of the real one:

The longest wheelbase steamer that could navigate this 10-degree curve (one degree sharper than Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania) was a Mikado. Northerns could not make the curve. Even today, trains are limited to 10 mph here. Dave told me he could feel the trucks on the six axle SD's he used to run through here buck and jump on the curve, though he never did have a derailment.

At this point work on the layout came to an unexpected screeching halt for about two weeks. I learned that my operating concept, which I thought I had based solidly on prototype operations on the line, was seriously flawed!

I thought all local trains came out of Casper on the division, and I was very chagrined to learn that all of them came out of Greybull for the entire Big Horn Basin, including the Cody branch! I spent a lot of time for nearly two weeks looking at how I could incorporate the changes in my scheme, and how that would impact the track plan. Dave (who had been the bearer of this bad news) and I spent hours on the phone and in emails going back and forth about what might be possible to do without major revision to already-built parts of the layout.

Greybull had been envisioned as just another switching location on the layout. I knew there's been an engine facility in Greybull during my modeling era, but I had left that out of the master layout plan. Greybull also had a yard, and that was left out as well. I hadn't yet detailed out the track arrangement for Greybull; I've been doing that for each town as I approached it during construction. But it would be similar to what I came up with for Thermopolis, here:

[NOTE: All these diagrams are much more readable if you click on them to enlarge them]

Now I would need to include the yard and engine facilities at Greybull if I was to model operations as they were really done, so I spent the next several days working out how to fit everything in the spot allocated for Greybull. With Dave's input I came up with a few variations on Greybull:

None of these or several other arrangements were satisfactory. There just wasn't enough room to build the trains I needed (thanks in large part to a very inconveniently placed supporting column)! Then I began thinking about train routing and traffic flows. I wondered if I might be able to combine Greybull with the Frannie and Orin interchange yards. The Frannie-Orin combined yard had a lot more length along one wall than Greybull did on the peninsula. So I did a schematic of train movements along the entire line. Here's the first one, with all trains originating from Casper in my original concept:

Here's the second one, with local trains originating in Greybull in its original location:

And here's the final one, showing train routing from a combined Orin / Greybull / Frannie yard:

Three major things to note:

  1. Moving Greybull opened up another spot for a town I had omitted in the original plan - Basin. This makes the eastbound local out of Greybull much better;
  2. Greybull has the length to allow trains to be built on one track (see the following layout of the new Greybull), rather than breaking them up onto two separate tracks. Also, the stub-end tracks have much greater capacity; and
  3. This is maybe the most important. On all the other concepts, trains to Cody had to make an unprotypical turn-around move at Frannie to go down the Cody branch. Now the train will leave Greybull headed in the right direction. No more turning around mid-route.

 

Here's the new (and semi-final) Greybull arrangement:

If you study the yard a bit, you'll find there's no yard lead. This is prototypical. On the Casper Division of the CB&Q, the mainline was used as a yard lead by the switch crews. Really!

While I was reworking the track plan anyway, I took the time to revise the Cody branch design to move Powell under Worland and eliminate a bunch of hidden trackage. I also completely redesigned the west and east staging to straighten out traffic flow into staging and eliminate another bunch of hidden track.

Finally, with all the redesign work behind me, I got started on construction again. On the 17th of November I installed the benchwork supporting Himes Curve (leg on the left is temporary):

On the 20th Himes Curve subroadbed was in, and on the 21st I began installing the subroadbed for the Cody branch and East staging as well.

The last few days I've been experiencing some atrial fibrillation(!) so work has slowed a bit, but I am spending some time assembling a large group of hoppers (in Burlington and Northwestern liveries) to be used as beet hoppers for Holly Sugar. Here's the first batch in process:

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 4, 2022 3:24 AM

Hi Mark,

Thanks for another very interesting video. Watching the close up view of the train going through the curve was very entertaining even if it was brief. I much prefer the trackside views of running trains vs cab views. Cab videos would benefit from having a much wider field of view imho, but I don't know if that is even possible in a train mounted camera.

Cheers!!

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 Colorado Ray on Thursday, November 3, 2022 7:14 PM

Great update, Mark.  I'm in awe of your prairie grass.  Wish I still lived in Colorado. I'd gladly make the drive to Casper to be part of your operating crew. 

Ray

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, November 3, 2022 6:15 PM

Thanks Dave, Rich!

You know Rich, I didn't know any of these guys three years ago. If you check around the area a bit, you might find some folks who would enjoy operating your layout with you (if you're so inclined). The entire metro area (if you can call it that) of Casper is only about 80,000 people. That's smaller than most of the country. Maybe where you live has enough people within driving distance to make a crewed ops session possible.

3 November 2022

I just posted my latest video update:

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, October 31, 2022 5:36 AM

Pruitt

On 25 October, last Tuesday, I held my first full-up operating session. I took the time to stage three trains (one is a passenger train - a Doodlbug with trailer) in Casper yard the night before, so that the session would start out quickly.

And Tuesday afternoon the layout came to life! From front to back we have Larry, who took on the chore of switching the Casper industries, Phil, who served as Casper yardmaster, Frank, who never has attended an operating session before so just watched, and Harry, who was running the CNW local.

There were several others in attendance as well, including my good friend and retired railroad engineer Dave from Basin. He took on the chore of switching Holly Sugar. When we run sessions set in autumn Holly Sugar will be a madhouse, handling trainload after trainload of beets.  

Mark, you are very fortunate to have personal friends to operate your layout with you. As a lone wolf, I can only imagine such an opportunity to share my love of this hobby. I have never been a member of a train club and surely at this stage never will, but I doubt that a club would offer the level of enjoyment that a session with your buddies would. You are to be envied.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 30, 2022 10:29 PM

Hi Mark,

Everything looks great! Congratulations on hosting your first formal operating session!!

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, October 30, 2022 10:22 PM

30 October 2022

Over the last couple weeks I've finished Worland trackage, including the Holly Sugar complex, except for Crown Cork & Seal. Here's the mess I made while installing the Holly Sugar siding and leads.


Here's Holly Sugar trackage completed. Only the spur on the left is glued down at this point - the two beet delivery tracks at the right will be elevated over the beet pits by about 12 scale feet, and the molasses loading, coal and lime delivery track, the 2nd from the left, will be open below the tracks where the coal dump is.

Here I am checking the reach for uncoupling cars. The beet tracks will take cuts of cars, with no uncoupling required between cars, so I'll be able to set the couplers to delay mode back at the switch (where the soldering iron is) and push the cars up the low trestles. I'll have to do the same thing with the coal deliveries, since the main plant will be between that track and the aisleway.

I also added feature names to the fascia in some spots, plus mounted throttle pockets and cup holders. Here we're looking towards the yard ladder in Casper.

On 25 October, last Tuesday, I held my first full-up operating session. I took the time to stage three trains (one is a passenger train - a Doodlbug with trailer) in Casper yard the night before, so that the session would start out quickly.

And Tuesday afternoon the layout came to life! From front to back we have Larry, who took on the chore of switching the Casper industries, Phil, who served as Casper yardmaster, Frank, who never has attended an operating session before so just watched, and Harry, who was running the CNW local.

There were several others in attendance as well, including my good friend and retired railroad engineer Dave from Basin. He took on the chore of switching Holly Sugar. When we run sessions set in autumn Holly Sugar will be a madhouse, handling trainload after trainload of beets. 

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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, October 10, 2022 11:36 PM

10 October 2022

In September I spent just a few hours working on the prairie between Casper and Powder River. Here's what things looked like in early September:

By 14 September I added a few more inches of grass. Powder River is off frame to the right.

By the end of September I'd added more layers of scenery. That new area of grass is closest to the camera in this shot:

But I spent most of the past month working on Worland. About the middle of the month I had cork sheeting over the entire area:

By the 24th I had the trackage through the center of town laid, wired and fully tested. Still to come is the Holly Sugar complex in the far distance (in the dark corner), and Crown Cork & Seal off the turnout on the right near the camera.

Crown Cork & Seal will have the tightest curves on the layout - about 18 inch radius. This is in keeping with the real spur to the facility:

According to my retired BNSF engineer friend, when switching Crown Cork & Seal they could manage to get one Geep through the curves to the facility, but the SD's were too large and could not take the curves.

In early October I built the bench top for Holly Sugar. Support brackets:

And completed platform:

I'm using foam for this area because the beet flume is partially below ground level. It's a lot easier to carve a trench into foam than into plywood!

After the Holly Sugar benchwork was finished, I thought I'd better start building my beet hopper fleet. I began by completing a set of six hoppers. Here's one of them:

And today I started constructing the turnouts I'll need for the sugar plant trackage.

  • Member since
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 7:40 PM

hon30critter
I think I might be patron #1.

Cheers!!

Dave

Yes Dave, you are! Thanks!

Fortunately, you're not "the one and only."

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 3, 2022 7:40 PM

Hi Mark,

More great progress despite the stomach issues. Sorry about that.

I think I might be patron #1.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 3,384 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Monday, October 3, 2022 5:32 PM

3 October 2022

I just posted my latest layout update video:

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