Category Archives: Modelling

Everything to do with modelling

Site Seeing – The Operations Gold Mine Edition

Seeing how others conduct their operations, and their session is a valuable learning tool. Visit the Burnt Hills and Big Flats railroad for some great ideas and examples.


The Burnt Hills and Big Flats Ops Site

Steve Prevette’s layout is a great layout in its own right. Beyond that he’s made it a great example of how to operate also. Of more importance, I think, is his willingness to share his operating information online.

His site (listed in the Resources section below) shows thoughtfulness and planning. There’s overviews, details and instructions and in all it is an excellent site to see how things “should, and “can” be done for a layout large or small.

I hope that you enjoy reading the information presented by Steve as much as I have.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Yeah. It’s been a while. Don’t worry, it’s me, not you.

So what’s been happening on the layout of late? Not a whole lot to be frank. We’re in the middle of packing prior to a move back to Melbourne (Vic not FLA). As a result I’ve been clearing, cleaning and packing, books, models, tools and so on, while still trying to fit in holiday time and work.

I’ve not been completely idle; just short of available time to write and blog and post stuff. I’ve yet to complete Part 3 – building trestles – but it’s close. For now I’d love to give you a quick update on where I’m up to: putting down cork and track laying.

As shown in previous posts the track outline, feed points, frog wiring and so on is drawn on the foam prior to lifting all of the track and prepping for cork to go down. A couple of weeks ago I got the mainline, and the spur into scrappy’s completed one day. Then sanded the entirety of the laid cork to get it smooth.

Here’s an overview of what that looks like to date:

Click on the image to go full size. The spur into Scrappy (lower right) had two separate heights of cork laid. The higher one for the mainline and the thinner one for the spur itself. They were then sanded (power) to blend them in so that the spur drops from the mainline to the spur height and on the end of the spur I sanded it right down to the foam height as I want to have the track disappear into the scenery here.

You’ll note that I’ve dug the trenches in the foam for the wire-in-tube switching for the turnouts. These will be operated by double pole – double throw switches from beyond the end of the baseboard. These will be wired from under the board and will switch frog polarity also. Some more images of this below:

I’ll sign off for now. I’m expecting an enforced period of recovery later in the week, where I hope to get more work done on the layout. I aim to be at running status before we move in late november so I’d better get my tail in gear.

Later gator

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

Site Seeing – Books on Operations (Real and Model)

I talk a lot about operations for model railroads. There are many reasons for this. Primarily I urge railway and railroad modellers to consider this aspect of the hobby because it allows greater play value – no matter the size of your layout space.

Today while packing for our upcoming move I got to my operations section. Two books on my shelf stood out and I wanted to share them with you. One focuses on the prototype, the other on the model. Both enlighten on their own the mysterious world of operation. Together they provide a great insight (at least to me when I was learning) and compliment each other in helping you understand how operations works.

The Railroad – What it is, and What it does (The introduction to railroading)

By John H Armstrong

Everything you ever wanted to know about railroads (*or railways for that matter) is in this book. Ans as a railroader primer, it gets you inside the industry quickly and explains the why and what in clear easy to read language.

Starting from the absolute basics of how trains evolved to using the flange, through train speeds and the reason for trains, and not individual cars, you’ll soon find that you are on the inside, rather than struggling to understand.

Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of the rabbit hole, that is the railroading industry, but what a great way to start your journey. My version covers me though to my operating period.

The newest version (which I have yet to buy – waiting on some of those books to sell!) covers equipment to procedures and marketing to maintenance.  Amazon’s blurb says: “This book is ideal for novices and experts alike. The easy-to-read narrative presents a brief history of railroading from the coal-fed ‘iron horses’ that helped build a nation to the latest generation of EPA-compliant locomotives. You’ll also find current information on new technologies such as ECP brakes and computer-assisted transportation systems. The fifth edition is a resource for anyone wanting to learn about modern day railroads. The book delves into many facets of the railroad industry including such topics as freight cars, locomotives, track, signal and communication technology, intermodal traffic, operations, labor relations, and design engineering.”

If you don’t have a copy – go get one. Simple as that. It will make your understanding of the railroad and your ability to see beyond the layout so much better.

Operation Handbook – For Model Railroads

By Paul Mallery

This book is (in my opinion) the best of the readily available model railroad operation books. Are there others out there? Sure there are. Tony Koester has one, but I feel it is merely a glossary for the better works of Paul Mallery and Bruce Chubb.

Paul Mallery’s books provides a complete handbook for running a realistic model railroad. It covers every aspect of operations, including timetables, orders, signals, waybills, communication, passengers, freight, locomotives, and MOW.

At 200 pages with a full index I highly recommend it to you if you want to put the learning from the first book, onto the layout.

Resources

The other book to which I’ve referred above for the modeller is:

  • How to Operate Your Model Railroad by Bruce A. Chubb.

I believe that this is the best of the model railroad operations books available. Getting a good used copy is difficult, very worthwhile though.

 

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Wanted to share some photos of the new layout build. I’ve been preparing, and where I needed to, buying wiring materials to complete the major wiring. More…


The layout – as built

Here are some more images of the layout build as it stands at the moment. You’ll note that the layout is freestanding, resting on trestles (hand built with simple woodworking tools in my garage – more on that later in another post).

I’ve included the final trackplan; it’s important for me to point out that you can plan forever on screen, but while ever you don’t take the plan to the baseboard I really cannot see what I have and what I need to do to make the layout visually appealing (well at least that’s how it is for me).


Track laying

When I begin to lay out the track I print out the track plan, and using a grid marked out on the plan and layout board, begin to match up the plan to the layout.

Then I mark up the top of the layout surface (in this case 2″ blue foam) using a pencil to mark the outside of the ties. This enables me to positively place the cork where I need it to be once the track is removed, drill holes for feeds and frogs, and although not shown in these photos mark out the sub-terrain ‘rod in tube’ locations from the tie bar to the front fascia of the layout.

These markings allow me to dig out the foam before installing the cork, drill the holes in the fascia and install the tubes in place using hot glue. There’ll be a post on that too in the not too distant future for those that may not know about this switch operating method.

 


Wrap up

That’s it for this post.

I’m finding that time to write posts is really short at the moment – work is an all consuming animal as we live 120 Km from where I work – so I’m adding 4 travel hours a day to what is an already 9-10 hour day. Looking forward to moving back into Melbourne later in the year which will give me a lot of time back in my life.

I have three weeks of holiday coming up in 1 week batches over the next 6 weeks – looking forward to that and to getting more photos and posts out to you all.

Next week I’ll be working broken shifts and will be working on posts covering these topics:

  1. Layout Build Part 3 post on building Trestles,
  2. Track laying,
  3. Switching infrastructure (rod in tube), and
  4. Wiring.

I hope that you’ll ask any questions that you have either here through the comments, or on the facebook page.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the

Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update (A name finally)

It’s nice to have the time to allow ideas to form in their own way, and in their own time. Deciding on a name with the new layout has been one of those journeys…


Finding a name

Tonight after dinner the family and I caught the end of my favourite movie ‘Field of Dreams’. I believe this movie is the ultimate Dad and son movie. The constant refrain in the movie is: ‘If you build it, he will come’. I’m under no illusion that my Dad will walk out of the corn field any time soon to spend time to operate with me. (I don’t have a cornfield, and I’m avert to cornfield meets in any case.) On the odd chance that he does walk out of the corn he’ll have a great time working the layout. So you know – there’ll be a complete post covering everything you’ll want to know about operating the layout in a future post – never fear.

I doubt that I would have my love of trains and transportation if it were not for my Dad. We were not a well to do family but my father made sure that I had a train set or two, including a Triang 00 scale Dock shunter set. We had our issues he and I, but then which father and son do not? Without his early influence I doubt I’d have had my life long passion of railway modelling and transportation.

My Dad (Evan Louis Martin) was a World War 2 veteran, suffering silently all of his life after service with PTSD. Passing through the veil in 1993 I will be celebrating him in October 2021 on his 100th birthday.

It’s fitting then that the man who started it all for me should have this layout named after him. After my ‘Field of Dreams’ moment last night I’ve decided instead on celebrating the man who bought me to my passion. So I’d like to welcome you to the Evans Hollow Industrial.

There’ll be another post on the layout soon, Part 3 covering the building of the trestles. All the best until then.

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Just a quick update on the new layout build. The woodwork was completed before I went back to work on Sunday this week. And the layout was set up in its temporary location until we move back to the big smoke later in the year. Where it will again live on the trestles I’ve built for it.

Between now and then my goal is to get the layout up to operating standards (track laid, wired, tested, trains running etc.). Once we move back to Melbourne I’ll complete the basic scenery such as ballasting and landforms. Then there’ll be the large industrial buildings to build, the junk yard fence and the junk to complete. From there I’ll be detailing the layout.

Today however I want to look at the track plan, and setting that up on the layout board. I’ve been a big fan of working things out on the board now for several years. And today’s exercise has reinforced that.

Here’s a reminder of the version I was working to when I began setting down track today:

Image 1: The original track plan (version 4)

The basic layout design and the track layout are very close. I was happy with the original design on paper (and screen). In the flesh however, it was ‘off’, just not quite right (NQR). So out came some cars, and a couple of extra switches and away we went. I like the more organic look of the track formation now. It is pleasing to the eye, and the camera (see Image 2 below).

Image 2: An overview of the layout design modifications

There’s enough straight lines about this layout (baseboard and the two warehouses – the two spurs at back left). To ensure that the viewer would not be overwhelmed by that I decided to change the 4th turnout from the straight in the plan to a curved turnout. That change to the geometry has created what is now a serpentine look to the layout. By ensuring that the trackwork is ‘going in all directions’ provides a ‘real’ feel to it all. And that pleases me very much.

Image 3: A lower shot showing the organic flow of the track arrangement

So much for a short update! I’ll be posting over the weekend in regard to the layout board and legs; as both are a new way to work for me. All the best. You thoughts and comments are most welcome here and on Facebook. Please share and let me know your thoughts.

Site Seeing – The Little Critter that could edition

It’s not often that you get to see internal (in-plant) company railway operations today. Thankfully “Saginaw Terminal Docks” (Facebook and YouTube) posted a video from Reid Machinery in Lansing, Mi showing how they use old freight cars to store valuable machinery on their site prior to sale.


Reid Machinery’s internal railroad

Reid Machinery Inc of Lansing Michigan have specialised in moving machinery, primarily in the forging industry, throughout North America since 1992. And while that may not seem like the most worthy thing to write about on the third Tuesday in July – I urge you to hang around a moment longer. You see they also hold their large (as in big – not lots of) inventory on and in their own railroad assets.

Yes – they have their own switching layout.

Thanks to Saginaw Terminal Docks we have a front row seat, and a cab ride on one of these switching moves. I asked him about connections to the rest of the world. He tells me that the in-plant line connects to the JAIL/Adrian & Blissfield on over a mile of old track through Lansing’s south side.

And this is so modellable…


YouTube video

Some of the things to watch out for in the video are:

  • The three person crew (Engineer, conductor, and digger – and yes it’s a guy with  a shovel)
  • Slow switching speeds
  • At around the 18 minute mark – opening the boxcar door with the forklift forks (we often model the result but the actual operation is rarely filmed)

So sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy the show.


Resources

Site Seeing – the Realistic Rust edition

I’m always looking for better techniques to model rust weathering. This video comes courtesy of a post I found on the MRH website by YouTuber MarklinofSweden. He shows how to create a realistic corrosion effect very simply. Take a look at the video I’m sure you’ll be impressed.


Modelling realistic rust


Got another technique that works for you? Please share it with me and if you found this post useful please like and comment. I’m really interested in what you’re up to with your weathering journey.

Site seeing – The ‘Barmouth Junction’ edition

This video came to my notice thanks to a post on the Australian Model Railway Magazine’s (AMRM) Facebook account. And while not Australian in any way shape or form, Geoff Taylor’s Barmouth Junction layout is a visually stunning model.


Barmouth Junction

Well worth the time to travel over the line and listen to it’s creator tell you about the layout. It’s a masterpiece and while not a small layout it is so well modelled and I imagine it is just as good to operate on that I wanted  to share it with you.

Well done Geoff and the thanks also to British Railway Modelling (BRM) magazine for showing us the layout.

Jack ‘Shortliner’ Trollope – RIP – April 27, 2019

For those of you reading, who did not know Jack “Shortliner” Trollope, AKA Shortliner Jack, you really missed out on an experience. Jack was a courteous and caring man, modeller and mentor. Always giving of his ideas, and time, with many across the world of model railways.

His passion for small space railroad modelling ignited my passion. It wasn’t until today that I realised I have been in touch with him regularly for most of the last 20 years online, in forums and through the Model Trains International magazine and website. He was the person who first took an interest in my designs and got me to write several articles for MTI over the years.

His most enduring design (I think) was Box Street yard. A timeless design along the lines of Cyril Freezer’s ‘Minories’, Alan Wright’s ‘Inglenook’ and John Allen’s ‘Timesaver’. To have a layout design spoken about in that august company should by anyone’s model railroading standard be considered an honour. I’ve included an image of Box Street below (image courtesy of Carendt.com) . Click on the image to get taken to the site for a full review of Jack’s layout design. A fitting tribute to the man and the modeller.

To his wife and family you have my deepest sympathies. I’ve shed a tear, and to his memory I’ll raise a beer shortly. RIP Jack. You’ll be greatly missed. You’ll not be forgotten.

Andrew