Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Recent work, and Springfield!

A quick update on some things I have been working on. But also, this weekend, the big train show up in Springfield, Massachusetts will be happening, and I'll be on hand again with my Woodstown Junction Free-mo modules, setting up a big layout with the New England Free-mo guys. Hope to see you there!

I was able to get the 2 new turnouts situated in Morrisville in order to add the new run around. Of course one of them had the points centered directly under a subroadbed support, but luckily it was as simple as removing a couple screws to get the support out off the way. I'm glad I followed hat advice about drilling up into the subroadbed from below instead of down from above. A few pieces of track reconnected everything, and a few new feeders, and I was able to successfully test it out running a train back and forth. No Tortoise machines yet - that will have to wait until after the Springfield weekend.

All track is back in place, and the siding to Lamoille Grain company is ready to receive a few loaded grain cars. Next up will be adding the Tortoise machines and doing some testing before paint, ballast and scenery repairs.
A while back, over on Trevor Marshall's Port Rowan blog, Trevor wrote about rebuilding his workshop and using some Ikea furniture to build things out. I have used a few different Ikea products, including my workbench and chair, a couple of racks for paint bottles, as well as a metal cabinet that stores lots of supplies. Trevor made mention of an Ike drawer system called "Alex" and how someone he knows uses it for extra car storage (Trevor went with some different cabinet choices). I've started to suffer from having completed and in progress cars and locos in various places around the layout room, so I decided to investigate this as a solution. It turns out to be a great solution, and I was lucky enough to get an after holiday 15% off sale price too. These would work well for lots of different things, like styrene sheet and strip stock, but I'm glad to have the one just for my various rolling stock and locos.

The unit provides 5 shallow drawers (the 2 lower are a little deeper) that work great for holding rolling stock and locomotives. I did not try to max out the space, but it would seem easy to hold upwards of 100 pieces or more of rolling stock.

The whole unit is on casters too making it easy to roll out and around if needed. This storage freed up a number of other areas around and under the layout and nicely centralized everything related to cars and locos not currently on the layout, but already out of their manufacturer boxes.
One of the drawbacks of the way my staging yard came out is the limited visibility for operators to see their trains when they enter or exit the yard. It is not overly complicated or a long distance to travel, but almost all operators prefer to visually see their train at all times if possible.

I've often thought a mirror would help operators get a visual on their train, just to see that they are moving and at what speed. Turns out we had another Ikea item in storage, purchased many years ago, a simple 9 inch square mirror. I played around with one to see if it would work. What I like is that it is not a giant mirror but just enough to see the yard ladder when you stand in the right place. I think the operators will appreciate this addition.

I made a simple triangular shelf and an angled support for the mirror. I used just one screw on the support so I could make some minor adjustments. After it was up, I decided to add a front trim piece to give a better appearance to the shelf. This mirror handles the Maine Central track into Portland bound staging (Portland, Bartlett).

A second mirror is up at the CP/BM end of the staging yard.  This one was built the same way.
This picture demonstrates how standing in the proper location will provide a nice view of the staging yard, making it easy to see trains on the move.
I've been slowly progressing on the ET & HK Ide building. I completed adding the embossed paper to represent the metal panels, and completed the loading dock, overhang, and windows and doors. Up top the windows are covered over. In front of them will be the unloading chutes up to the conveyor. Two holes in the roof were added so these can pass through. Still plenty more to do, but getting there.

I decided to place the in progress structure in its proper spot on the layout between work sessions. As I do not have the road underpass (which would be where the CP Rail switcher is, over to the V&O boxcar), this structure is more representative than prototypically accurate. Still I am trying to capture as much of the look and feel as possible.
One final project, I installed a Soundtraxx SoundCar into a BAR boxcar. I really wanted to get this done before Springfield so I could take it up there to try it out.

All the components are installed, including the SoundCar module on the roof (so it can be operated with a magnet), a Current Keeper module to prevent sound drop outs, and a spare Railmaster speaker I had on hand that doesn't seem likely to fin fit into any of my locomotives. 
Initial playing around was pretty neat. The consist via magnet works great. I adjusted a few volume settings, so I look forward to running this on trains through Woodstown Junction and out on the big Free-mo mainline this weekend.


Shannon Crabtree said...

Wow Mike you are getting some stuff done! I really like the Ikea cabinet. Looks like I might have to get one. I have my cars in 3 plastic drawers with wheels but not a fan of them. The neat appearance is a plus too! I've never been to the Springfield show but hope to do one of these days. Have fun!

Trevor said...

Hi Mike:
I'm really glad you found the post on the IKEA cabinets useful. I picked up that lead from Terry Gaskin, if I recall. I would have used these cabinets for my rolling stock, but I found I needed deeper drawers in S scale. They would work just fine in HO, as you demonstrate.
Wow - the power of blogging, eh?
As always, I enjoy your layout and your posts: keep 'em coming!
- Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

Mike McNamara said...

Thanks Shannon and Trevor! Yes, I've been in a good groove lately getting things accomplished, and I know enough to continue to with it as inevitably a lull will occur at some point.