Front-End-Friday

It’s a day late, I know, but here’s a couple photos of my newest engine:

This GP-38 will be used for light duty freight: a few box cars, a reefer, an open hopper, a couple tankers, log+lumber etc.  I bought this Atlas engine on e-bay.  It came with DCC+Sound and cost me $94, including shipping from Alaska.

Track Plan

Here is a look at my track plan.  It consists of two outer loops and various sidings for industries.  The spur on the left will be expanded down to a coal unloading dock on the coast.  Industries in the center will include a sawmill where logs will be dropped off and lumber will be picked up, a liquefied propane unloading station and various shipping depots.  In the upper right corner, the cut out shows the two loops traversing a mountain via a tunnel.  There is a spare switch in the mountain for a potential helix.  This helix may eventually lead to a future upper deck where passenger service will be managed.  The layout is currently in one corner of my home office, there is a lot of potential for expansion.

NScaleLayout Grampy

Box Car

Picked up box car # 8019.  Like with the refer, it got new wheels.  Almost every car I buy needs a wheel upgrade.  The factory flanges are tall and ride on the railroad ties.  Such was the case with this car. #code55problems

2016-01-07 21.01.30

Refer Gets an Upgrade

I upgraded the trucks on my reefer.  I removed the stock trucks and installed Micro-Trains Bettendorf trucks with short extension couplers. (PN# Micro-Trains N 00302021).  I also replaced the plastic wheels, which come stock on the trucks, with BLMA N PN# 9810 33″ precision metal wheels.

Plastic wheels replaced with metal wheels
New Truck with Knuckle Couplers Installed

Trinity RD-4 Hoppers!!!

I’m very excited!  Look what arrived in the mail today…

 

"Spirit of Alaska" Joins the Fleet

I picked up a Kato SD70MAC recently.  Engine #4001, the Spirit of Alaska, now runs my rails, hauling my passenger cars instead of the B&M Alco I was using.  I quickly bought a DCC chip for it and gave it a test run: nice and smooth.

Spirit of Alaska
The “Spirit of Alaska”, SD70MAC #4001

The front and rear guard rails need to be painted white.  I’ll also have to do some tinkering with the coupler.  The body mounted coupler on the engine pulls the truck mounted coupler on the railway post office (RPO) to the outside of sharp curves, causing a derailment.  This happens because the truck on the RPO sits so far back and the coupler shank can’t swing far enough in its factory supplied gear box. 

Derail
RPO Pulled Off the Track

I’m planning on swapping out the truck mounted coupler, on the RPO car with a body mounted coupler.  That should solve the problem.  For now, I have a boxcar in between the two. The truck mounted couplers on the boxcar keep the train on the track.

ARR
A Box Car Makes for a Temporary Solution

New Passenger Car Set – Kato Smoothside in N-Scale

Picked up a 6 piece passenger car set on ebay.

 

RPO: Railway Post-Office
Baggage Car
Coach
Diner
Sleeper
Observation

I  can’t wait for these new cars to come in!  Of course….I have nothing to pull them, but still, nice find at $20 under original retail price.  (I paid $155 for the set)

From https://katousa.com/N/Smoothside/

News, Bittersweet News

Has it really been over a year since my last post?  Wow…time sure does fly.  I’ve been very busy with work and family.  I have not had much time to work on model railroading in the last year or so, but that all changed recently.  Just look: my son helping me with my N-Scale layout!

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My son, Chad, and I terraforming.

Here is a catch up story.  My grandfather, Cyrus Palmer, started me in model railroading when I was very young.  If I had to guess, I was around 8 years old when he and my father helped me build my first 4’x8′ HO layout.  Later that expanded to a second 4’x8′.  Since then, I have always had an interest in the hobby.  Through college and the first few years with my wife and son, I had no time to invest in it.  Money was also an issue: everything I had was in pretty poor shape and all controls were DC.  Most of what I had, I played with as a kid, and it was showing its age.

Skipping ahead a couple decades: My grandfather passed away last month.  He was 93 years old and had lived a very full and successful life.  Before he passed, he told one of his daughters, he wanted me to have all his model railroading gear. Little did I know, that gift would reawaken my interest in N-Scale model railroading.

I loaded his layout into the back of a pickup truck and hauled it home.  Along with the table came boxes of parts and pieces, rail cars, trees, shrubbery and…..a complete MRC DCC system!  I quickly set to work tearing down the start of an N-Scale layout I had in my office.  I made room for the largest portion of his layout then filled in around it and expanded it.

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The large part of Cy’s layout.

 

News, Bittersweet News
Area inside the red lines shows the large part of Cy’s original layout.

To move Cy’s layout, I cleared everything off it, leaving only the track and mountains behind.  All buildings, trees, cars, and loose pieces came off and were packed up.  In the picture above, you can see his layout in its new home.  I spread new grass, planted trees and placed the buildings.

The layout was an “L” shape but the smaller leg was too long so it was removed.  Cy had a mountain on the removed portion, along with a couple sidings, so not much was lost.  I salvaged everything from it and relaid the loop that would have ran through it.  In fact, in the first picture, you can see my son helping me fill in around my grandfather’s mountain with new Sculpt-a-mold.  I reused as many parts of my grandfather’s layout as I could, including the mountain, honorably named “Palmer Hill”.

News, Bittersweet News
Filled in around the original layout and rebuilt the removed loop.

Its only been a month or so, but I’ve worked on this new layout almost daily.  It is a blessing to have been given such a wonderful gift and with it, some form of responsibility.  Each time I work on it, I think back to the days of watching my grandfather run his layout, with an 8 year old me at his side.  I inspect the way he constructed his roads, buildings, trees…I am still learning tricks from him, even though he has passed.

Thank you “grampie” for introducing me to the world’s greatest hobby.  Thank you for mentoring me, loving me and leaving me with that which was so dear to you.  I miss you, but know that part of you lives on in this model railroad.

New Trinity Hoppers!

I’ll admit, I’m pretty excited.  After searching the web for a couple weeks, I finally found a set of 6 Walther’s Trinity hoppers!  These will be the first ARR hoppers to grace the rails of my layout.