Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday night at Kenton

Sunday evening and the Kenton station is a madhouse when the Amtrak Downeaster and Cape Ann's Acadian are at the station simultaneously.

Diner prototype

Here is the prototype for the diner. Note the AC unit and ductwork on the roof has been copied on the model.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bill & Irene's Diner

What to do with a dummy trolley that is way too old for your layout's era? Add some lights, signs, details, and tack on a kitchen out back.

An AC unit has been hoisted onto the roof, with ductwork from a scrap plastic sprue. The rooftop HVAC unit over the walk in cooler is a Lego block with washer fans on top. Wood furniture screwhole buttons make the two domed vents over the grill. #24 wire forms the plumbing vent stacks over the kitchen sink and rest rooms. 

The diner is named for Bill Sweet and Irene, model railroad friends from Lockport NY.

No more dark territory

June 28, 2016 was a momentous day. On that day, four years after the first rail was laid on the Cape Ann,  the last of the temporary coffee-stirrer block marker flags was removed and tossed in the ditch. By the end of the day, there would be no more dark territory as the layout became fully signalized. This required the installation of 40+ signal masts and 2 signal bridges. All are controlled automatically as blocks are selected from the control panels and comparator circuits beneath the layout compare adjacent block assignments to light the correct aspect.

Signal masts are scratchbuilt from brass tubing, LEDs, ladder from plastic canvas, and bases from old computer keyboard keys. Details >>

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tyco flats with containers

Tyco 40' flats have been repurposed from carrying those little pipe sections to carrying intermodal containers. This required grinding off the divider tabs on the floor of the flats. The molded-in tray holds the containers nicely!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Simple Car Cards and Waybills

Simple Car Cards and Waybills

Routing on my layout is by homemade car cards and waybills. 

Each industry or destination is assigned a three letter code. 

The car card (yellow) and the waybill (white) are tucked together in a baseball card sleeve. The waybills can be 2 cycle or 4 cycle - these are 2 cycle - pull it out of the sleeve and turn it over to reveal the next destination. Destinations are written in large red letters for easy visibility. The destinations also appear on the U-channel which runs along the fascia. The U-channel is vinyl molding made for bathroom tile, and has a flange which is tacked to the underside of the fascia. The U-channel makes a handy spot to store the cards.

These two cars have just been spotted at PTC. After the session, one of the housekeeping tasks is to go around and advance the waybills so the next destination is showing.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cab-eye view at Cascade Pass

Rugged landscape on the Cape Ann. This is as we come around the curve at Cascade Pass heading into a long 3% downgrade to Kenton. Be ready to apply the brakes.

Cable spools and pallets

Some quick yard details … found some clear plastic sewing bobbins at W-Mart. Some grayish paint and a little wire made some nice cable spools. I used some scrap stranded #24 AWG from CAT5 network wire. The pallets are glued up from flat toothpicks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tight quarters at Marias Industrial Park

Switching at Marias Industrial Park is a bit of a challenge. The park is a simplified version of a John Allen Timesaver layout. It has one entry, and has a mish mash of facing point and trailing point spurs, as well as several industries which share a spur, often requiring moving a car temporarily in order to service the other industry.

Action at Quinn Intermodal

Quinn Intermodal Yard sees a lot of container movement. This yard primarily serves 40' containers, but there are a few 20's stacked up at the moment. The double stack train in the background is being offloaded. Here is an article on how the Quonset hut was scratchbuilt >>

Monday, January 8, 2018

Davis station

The passenger station at Davis is a Tyco kit. It has been painted in the railroad's color scheme, and the roof painted with flat dark grey. The window have been glazed with translucent plastic from a milk bottle, and a light placed inside.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Plymouth Shop Switcher #207

Here is cute little Plymouth switcher 207, used as a shop switcher at Bolton Shops. We see it poking along with Wheel Storage Car 916, which the shop crew jokingly refer to as a "Grade Indicator Car".

Alco 1000 #273

Here is Cape Ann 273, an Alco 1000. The railroad got it in a trade for some surplus gondolas. It has not run since it was towed in. Now it is parked on the rear track of Bolton Shops. When the shop crew has nothing better (meaning, revenue producing) to do,  they tinker with it. If they can get it running, it will serve as their shop switcher. So it is unlikely to ever get cleaned up and repainted in Cape Ann colors.

Tower KT - Kenton Tower

Kenton Tower (KT) controls movements at Kenton Yard, a small fright yard; and Kenton Passenger Station, seen in the background. Kenton is the only stop for the Amtrak Downeaster on the layout, and Cape Ann's passenger traffic transfers at Kenton for points served by Amtrak. 

Cape Ann's passenger system is not a part of Amtrak. Being entirely an intrastate system (operating only within the State of Maine) it opted out of joining Amtrak in 1971.

Tower DT - Davis Tower

Tower DT, Davis Tower, controls movements in Davis Yard (foreground) and the lead to Quinn Intermodal passing behind it. 

Tower ST - Sanford Tower

Sanford Tower is sometimes - incorrectly - referred to as "South Tower", as it controls the south interchange tracks. It is at the end of the scenic'd portion of the layout. Note the train order signals. If an operator encounters a red train order signal, they must stop and inquire of the tower operator for their train order. This is done by rolling the dice. Here a 5 has been rolled. Referring to the posted card, the train must back to Kenton Yard for minor RIP needed on the loco.

Note Emma the Stegosaurus, Organic Switcher #13. A tribute to John Allen, her job is to inspect incoming interchange for hot boxes.

Tower MT - Marias Tower

This little no-frills tower is smack in the middle of Marias Industrial Park, which can be a switching nightmare. If you are familiar with John Allen's Timesaver switching puzzle, Marias Industrial Park is a simplified version of it. One lead in, with a mishmash of facing-point, trailing-point, and shared spurs to negotiate. 

Tower GT - Glen Cove Tower

Glen Cove Tower is the busiest tower on the layout, as every train passes by it. It serves the junction of the "high line" mainline up to Cascade and Pamola, and the "low line" serving Glen Cove, Cape Ann and Davis. To add to the chaos, Kenton Freight Forwarders, the busiest customer on the layout, is served by a spur here shared with the Bolton Shops; so traffic is constant here.

Glen Cove Tower also has the dubious distinction of having the worst record in switching moves. Not a session goes by that a train winds up on the wrong track and has to back up.

Tower PT - Pamola Tower

Remote Pamola Tower (PT) and section house. Pamola siding is in the background. The black signals in the foreground are train order signals set by the tower operator. If a train encounters a red (stop) train order signal, they must inquire with the tower operator - by rolling a dice and reading the (random) result from a card posted nearby.

Tower QT - Quinn Tower

Quinn Tower (QT) which controls movements in Quinn Intermodal Yard, off to our left. Behind we see Davis Tower (DT) which controls movements in Davis Yard (off to our right).