Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Friday, March 17, 2017

NEK Track Schematic

One of the requests I had from previous operating sessions was a track schematic that operators could refer to to better understand the layout and where locations are in relation to each other. I put together a basic schematic in a drawing program that I can post around the layout.

Not all tracks are shown, but passing sidings are included along with the 2 main yard areas.
The dashed lines represent hidden staging areas.

Hopefully this will be easy to understand. The somewhat unusual part of my layout is the representation of multiple "mainlines" of different railroads.

The top line represents the Maine Central Mountain Division between Portland and St. Johnsbury. Included is the Boston & Maine line between White River Jct. and Groveton, crossing the MEC at Whitefield.

The middle line represents the Canadian Pacific between Newport and East Deerfield. The Maine Central joins in via the A connector. Meanwhile the Lamoille Valley joins in via the B connector.

The Lamoille Valley is on the bottom line and runs between St. Johnsbury and St. Albans. The Central Vermont line runs between Richford and St. Albans and crosses the Lamoille Valley at Sheldon Jct.

Not shown here is the connector between Sheldon Jct. and Lyndonville. This would be the shorter dashed line at the bottom right connecting in via a switch by Lyndonville on the middle line. this is not used in actual operations but only as a way to have a loop for open houses.

Likewise, the connection between Portland staging and E. Deerfield staging is not shown. Again this is strictly for creating a second loop for open house running and is not relevant to operations.

This should be another helpful addition to the various operator aids. I look forward to finding out how useful it is for the operators, and to see what feedback and suggestions they have.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Three Old Boxcars

A few years ago, while planning to do some airbrushing, I decided to plan ahead and paint a number of cars and locos even if I was not planning to work on them right away. I figured given the time spent setting up and airbrushing, followed by full cleanup, it would be best to maximize the units getting painted. As best as I can tell, that was over 6 years ago. Since then I have addressed a number of those projects, bit not all of them.

Part of the lot involved painting some undecorated Details West boxcars. These were the "yellow box" kits that included a few different 50' boxcar styles and included a more enhanced under frame than the standard Athearn "blue box" kits of the day. I've always liked these kits, and one of the things that really drove my early participation in model railroading was the desire to replicate cool 50' boxcars in the "Railbox" style as well as older outside sheathed cars like the DW models.

Recently I have been cleaning things up a bit and moving in progress projects to the recently acquired  IKEA drawer unit. and I came across 3 painted DW shells ready for decals and finishing. I decided to spend an evening dealing these cars while in the family room with my wife watching the Oscars on TV. Decaling is a pretty easy task to integrate into TV viewing,

I feel I have a lack of CONRAIL equipment in general on the layout, but it is really useful in conveying the time period as post 1976. This Champ decal set was in my collection for probably 40 years, so it is nice to finally see some usage. I was not going for 100% accuracy on this car number, but looking to capture the look of similar CR boxcars. I used quite a bit of chalk weathering on this car and I like the way it tones down the whites decals.

Another Champ decal set drove this car. I could not find much in the way of prototype pictures of 50' SAL boxcars and almost decided to skip this particular car, but I like the unusualness of an SAL car (in contrast to my overall roster) and the large logos. It probably is more appropriate for an older style car. I do plan to do a bit more with this car, repainting dimensional data and other things as you would see on an older car in the 1970s. For now it has a basic weathering coat done, but I will get more aggressive later.

Here is a prototype example that I plan to use to drive my additional weathering and detailing.

I had ordered a set of BAR boxcar decals from Highball Graphics in 2001(!). Since then some nice examples have been released in this scheme, but BAR cars were very prevalent so adding another still made sense. Again, not 100% accurate for the number series, but a good representation. This has black ends, and I added some basic weathering here as well, which again gave a nice effect to the lettering looking a bit faded.
It was fun doing these 3 cars and getting 3 projects off the back burner and ready for the rails. All 3 will probably see some more work, from weathering as I mentioned to replacing the stirrup steps on each corner.

Looking through my decals, I have probably a lot more things I planned to do that will probably not happen now. A lot of this has to do with the better quality freight cars that exist now versus when I actually acquired most of these decals. But there will always be that need for something different, and always a desire to go back and enjoy a simple paint and decal project.