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Gulf, Atlanta & Eastern - into the second decade


Barry Ten
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  • RMweb Gold

Most Amtrak stations that have had rebuilt platforms are now like this. Santa Barbara is the same but the old platforms were at rail level or lower.

 

I can remember when I got on a high platform but I'd struggle to remember the difference between a foot-high one and a low one. Recollection is that Sacramento, Oakland and Bakersfield were all low but I could be wrong.

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Even the foot-high platforms are low-level. The difference is a step down or a step straight. The coaches still have low-level doors. The high-level platforms on the NE Corridor require high-level doors. Older coaches could manage both because the floor was at a high level (although the conductor would still need to place a step-stool outside the door for a track-level platform). Coaches like Superliners and Bombardier Bi-Level Coaches have doors on the lower level and are unsuitable for high-level platforms. The bombardier coaches built for NE corridor work (N Transit and now MARC) have the doors on the intermediate deck level at the ends to make them level with the platforms.

 

Compare the doors:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_BiLevel_Coach

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_MultiLevel_Coach

 

Post #36 here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/23117-craigs-canadian-project/page-2

shows a current GO Transit station. The accessibility ramp is at floor level for the lower deck of the Bi-Level coaches.

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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  • RMweb Gold

Continuing with developing the landforms around the yard. Apologies for the blurred foreground; must not have locked the tripod properly.

 

post-6720-0-94744300-1418594047.jpg

 

The Walthers freight office is the old Water Street kit, which was one of the first models I bought in N, a year or two before I started the current layout. It's had a few knocks over the years, and one serious drop on the floor, but it should come good once painted and detailed. Somewhere I've got a rooftop sign for a "Southern" freight house.

 

post-6720-0-22105900-1418594073.jpg

 

The peninsula allows a view across the layout to more distant scenery. From some angles you can look across about half a mile of N scale distance.

 

post-6720-0-95598300-1418594093.jpg

 

One issue I haven't solved yet is lighting the peninsula. Since it sticks out from the main layout, it doesn't get the benefit of the tubes which illuminate all the other modules - and yet I don't want to build a dedicated lighting rig out over the peninsula. The freight yard side isn't too bad as it sits under the room's ceiling light, but the other side is in permanent shadow and looks a little underlit compared to the other areas. One solution might be movable spot lights for operation and photography sessions, but I don't know yet.

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The peninsula allows a view across the layout to more distant scenery. From some angles you can look across about half a mile of N scale distance.

 

Fantastic views there!! Just remove the NCE Powercab next time.... ;) :lol:

 

Seriously - this is a great layout!! :locomotive: :sungum:

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

Here's a bit more work going on in the yard and depot area. I finally glued all the bits back onto the Walthers freight terminal, and have given it a coat of paint - although it still needs a rendering wash to tone down the brickwork.

 

I wasn't all that crazy about this model until I finished it, but the extra bits do make a difference, and once painted I think it has a bit more presence and character than it did in the bare plastic. I'm still missing one window on the back wall, unfortunately, so that'll either have to be scratchbuilt or bricked over.

 

The siding serving the freight house is lower than the mainline, and I've added a metal fence to separate it from the area where the passengers wait for their trains. There's an uncoupling magnet buried here so cars can be left in the siding without using the uncoupling tool.

 

post-6720-0-66609600-1419801429.jpg

 

Just before Christmas I also built the Pella depot kit, which goes together very quickly with minimal grief. Since the tracks are on a curve, I had to decide whether to line the depot up parallel with the track, or parallel with the freight house. The latter way looked more believable to my eye, so here it is. I've built up the area in front of the passenger depot with several layers of card, topped off with Slaters plastikard in a kind of chequerboard pattern. It doesn't match the herringbone paving provided by Walthers immediately in front of the depot, but you have to get in pretty close to spot the difference in patterns. Mainly I wanted some texture here to contrast with the large area of road behind the depot.

 

post-6720-0-79839500-1419801818.jpg

 

Eventually both depots will be bedded in around all four walls, but for now they're just resting on the scenery. Neither will be fixed permanently in place as I like to keep the option of adding lights at some point.

 

post-6720-0-43951300-1419801864.jpg

 

Thanks to all who have read and commented on the layout thread during 2014, and may I wish you all a happy and prosperous (nearly wrote preposterous there) 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

More glimmers of progress over the festering period...

 

Ballasting. Love it or hate it. I actually don't mind it, provided I'm in the mood. Then I find it quite therapeutic, provided there's something good on the radio and I take it in small, manageable sections, taking special care around pointwork. I don't even try to get a finished result in one evening, preferring to go back over the same section, filling in missing bits, then adding weathering and so on until the trackwork starts looking of a piece with what's already done.

 

One thing I started noticing with the layout a few years into the construction - when a lot of the track was already ballasted - was that i had some problems with electrical flow across fishplates. Never having had a similar problem in 00, I hadn't bothered to add lots of voltage feeds or to solder the fishplates. Now I double up on power feeds and solder all the fishplates, and that seems to have provided a good solution for the newer areas of the layout. In the older areas, I've had to go back and solve each area on a case by case basis.

 

As an aside, I didn't have any electrical problems until I started painting the rail sides using those Woodland Scenics track pens. It might be coincidence - maybe it was just time to start having problems -  but I wonder if the paint is able to somehow wick its way into the fishplates and hamper conductivity?

 

Soldering the fishplates does make it trickier to lift track if you later need to adjust things, but it's worth it for the extra electrical reliability, I find. Anyway, I've been adding ballast to the yard throat, taking time and making sure everything still works afterwards. Sometimes the moisture from the wetting process or the PVA itself can seep into a point motor and gum things up, but a zap with electrical contact cleaner (aimed down through the point) seems to solve that issue pretty quickly.

 

post-6720-0-97486700-1420494570.jpg

 

Once the pointwork is ballasted and working, I like to spend a bit of time disguising the Peco tiebar mechanisms. That's still to be done here. They're one of the big visual giveaways for N, so I reckon it's worth the effort to reduce their impact as much as possible.

 

post-6720-0-75387700-1420495053.jpg

 

The main tracks are ballasted with the usual grey stuff, but for the yard tracks, I've used a loose mix of ash and a couple of other ballast shades. Once it's all down and weathered, it should look suitably down at heel, with a much less maintained appearance.

 

post-6720-0-45268300-1420495084.jpg

 

Here's the yard control panel, by the way - not sure if I've featured this before - but it's a quick and dirty job using markers onto white hardboard. The first panel I did for the layout was a posh one drawn up on the computer, but I've since decided that it's best to allow for changes as the work progresses.

 

post-6720-0-31461400-1420495200.jpg

 

The track assignments are shown on the panel. I'm slowly working my way into proper car card operations, and as part of that, I've had to locate the layout in some sort of vaguely plausible geographical space. To help reinforce that, I've also indicated the "offstage" directions for trains heading off the visible portion. Here's the southbound direction (above the loco terminal panel), showing that trains heading to the left are on their way to Atlanta.

 

post-6720-0-81709100-1420495427.jpg

 

There's a similar one at the other end, where trains crossing the three-span bridge are already in South Carolina and on their way to Greenville, SC.

 

Meanwhile, while I was in the ballasting mood, I also tackled the long stretch of single track which swings around on the far side of the peninsula. Here trains skirt their way alongside a steep cut, punctuated by a short tunnel close to the state line border between GA and SC.

 

post-6720-0-25253200-1420495632.jpg

 

The sound on this BLI E8 is quite fantastic, by the way. Why can't we have factory sound on some F units, I wonder?

 

Anyway, that's it for now - thanks for reading and happy new year to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

I like your approach to ballasting.  "Small, manageable sections", that's a pretty good recipe for many things in life I think.

 

That last shot of the E8 snaking it's way along the track is magnificent! The variety of rock and stone works really well, I think. 

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  • RMweb Gold

I like the line of cabooses. Where did the nearest one come from? It is very nicely done, even if some of the details aren't quite prototypical.

 

Adrian

 

Bluford shops I think, Adrian. The other bay window ones are the old Walthers model, on new trucks. The transfer caboose is also Bluford I believe.

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I do have one of the Bluford transfer ones. I thought that the plain bay window one might be an Athearn - it looks like one of the 2010 releases. http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATH23254

 

I'm in the process of converting a couple of ConCor bay window cabooses (the only ones that can easily be made to have the right number of windows), but that has stalled since the decals are not currently available (Microscale).

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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  • RMweb Gold

I do have one of the Bluford transfer ones. I thought that the plain bay window one might be an Athearn - it looks like one of the 2010 releases. http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATH23254

 

I'm in the process of converting a couple of ConCor bay window cabooses (the only ones that can easily be made to have the right number of windows), but that has stalled since the decals are not currently available (Microscale).

 

Adrian

 

You're right, it must be the Athearn one.

 

I'm not at the point where I worry about the number of windows (yet) - it's enough of a struggle just to find enough cabooses!

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You're right, it must be the Athearn one.

 

I'm not at the point where I worry about the number of windows (yet) - it's enough of a struggle just to find enough cabooses!

 

That is one of the issues of modelling a railway that isn't one of the big western roads and that tended to do things differently. Fortunately for my PRR stock, Bowser makes a couple of very nice PRR-prototype cabins. The Southern, unfortunately, doesn't have as much manufacturer support.

 

Adrian

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The sound on this BLI E8 is quite fantastic, by the way. Why can't we have factory sound on some F units, I wonder?

 

Ask, and ye shall receive...

 

Intermountain is showing sound-equipped FT units ($420 for an A/B pair) with 4 different A/B pairs in Southen green, due in June. Also, their mid-year F3 and F7 releases will be available with sound ($240), but no Southen ones in that release.

 

Adrian

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Ask, and ye shall receive...

 

Intermountain is showing sound-equipped FT units ($420 for an A/B pair) with 4 different A/B pairs in Southen green, due in June. Also, their mid-year F3 and F7 releases will be available with sound ($240), but no Southen ones in that release.

 

Adrian

:O $420 ???? Suddenly O Scale prices don't seem so bad..... :sungum:

 

.... well, the sort of O Scale prices I pay, anyway.... :D

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  • RMweb Gold

Pushing on with the peninsula - this week's been mostly about more ballasting and finishing off the basic hill contours at the end of the module. I've now ballasted the first two yard tracks, using a combination of brown ballast and cinders, going well up to the tops of the sleepers and adding lots of weeds and grass at the same time. These two tracks also have uncoupling magnets at one end, and I'll need to wait to get another magnet before ballasting the third track.

 

Here's an overall view looking back over the peninsula to the rest of the layout:

 

post-6720-0-71305500-1421100972.jpg

 

and from a slightly different angle:

 

post-6720-0-82139500-1421101051.jpg

 

As can be seen, after passing the depot, the mainline takes a sharp swing to the left before plunging into a tunnel, with (for the sake of compromise) a turnout actually set into the mouth of the tunnel itself. I could have set the mouth a bit further back, but that would have made the tight radius of the hidden track more obvious. As it is, trains begin to unkink themselves as they emerge into daylight, so the tightness isn't as obvious as it might be, although I can't pretend that things aren't pushed to the limit. Clearances are tight as well, but I tested the running with modern locos, intermodals and 89 foot cars, so we should be OK. The hidden curves are 11" radius, so the same as the concealed turnback loops elsewhere on the layout. As with them, I used Atlas Code 80 set track for these tight bits, as (at least for me) it holds a more consistent radius than flexible track.

 

What about that half-hidden turnout, though? No matter how well it's working now, it'll be a magnet for trouble unless it's easy to get at. So as per the rest of the layout, I've resorted to a chunk of removable scenery over the offending area:

 

post-6720-0-11175100-1421101652.jpg

 

post-6720-0-67995000-1421101678.jpg

 

With the chunk removed, I can get down and poke at the turnout if required - great for peace of mind!

 

That's it for now, thanks for reading.

 

 

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