29 June 2019
I've painted all the track outside of Casper.
First I prepped the layout by hanging newsprint over the backdrop and putting painters tape over all the switchstands to protect from overspray. I also laid newsprint over the end of Casper yard. I spray painted the track with a Rustoleum brown. Before the paint hardened I cleaned the top of the rails, first with a paper towel wrapped around a 2X2 block, then with a brightboy to remove the more stubborn stuff. I painted all the track I've laid outside of Casper yard - all in all six switches and around 40 feet of track. It took about half an hour to clean off all the rail tops afterward - not much of a pain at all! Here's what it looked like before I removed all the newsprint:
Here are a few shots of the finished track. You'll see some bits of paper towel in a few places on some switches - I hadn't picked those out before I took these pictures.
Casper switch to westbound tracks (towards Powder River. Paper towel-wrapped 2X2 cleaning block in the upper left corner):
Powder River switch:
Orin yard throat:
And the mainline looking east from Shobon:
After waiting about six hours for the paint to dry, I went back and ran my crankiest locomotive (from an electrical contact perspective) over all the newly painted track to make sure it was clean. It had no problems.
Finally, I placed several chunks of foam that will act as scenery base around Powder River and behind Orin:
The next task is to fill in the space between Powder River and Orin with scenery base.
25 June 2019
Fascia is in at the bottom of the Casper / Powder River aisleway:
The last few hours I spent on my most favoritest of tasks - adding replacement ties at the ends of track sections(ugh!). Here's the Orin yard throat before:
Then I started adding supports for the foam scenery in the same area. The supports are glued to the Orin risers and clamps are in place until the glue dries:
21 June 2019
This past week I've been working on the Orin end of the Orin / Frannie Interchange Yard.
Early May I was this point when I stopped to work on other areas of the layout:
Then in mid June, after completing work on the Powder River backdrop, I switched back to working on the Orin end of the yard. First I installed the ramp from the mainline into the yard ladder:
Then I installed the first ladder turnout:
And I was off to the races! A few days later I was installing the track on the last body track:
And this morning I finished installing feeders. I cleaned the rails and turned on track power. My DCC system indicated a dead short!
I forgot to cut gaps at the frog on the second new turnout! Short work with a Dremel and a cutoff wheel (then repairs to the turnout where the wheel bound and broke, pulling up the rails beyond the frog) and no more short.
I tested the track and turnouts with a loco and a few cars, including my John Allen track cleaning car to wipe dust off of unused rails on the run up to Orin:
Here's a trackside view:
And from the other direction:
Obviously the tracks will get longer at some point. But all track is now finished in the Orin throat area and Powder River, so as soon as missing ties are replaced and tracks are painted, scenery can commence in this area! I hope it turns out better than my efforts at the end of Casper yard did!
15 June 2019
I've been installing ceiling in the train room, and building turnouts for the Orin / Frannie yard. Not a lot to share photos of. But I've also been working on the Powder River / Shobon and Greybull (back side) backdrops. Here's where I was with them on June 1st:
The clamps at the end are holding a sharp bend in the styrene at the end of the backdrop, where it curves around a roughly four inch radius to travel back on the other side of the 1X2 supports. It worked out pretty well.
I cut several new sheets of styrene to width, installed them, and joined them to the first piece behind Powder River. After that I filled the seams with Squadron White putty, then sanded everything to smooth the filled joints and give the styrene some "tooth" for the paint to grab. They're now painted. This is the Powder River side:
And here's the Greybull side:
Early in the month I also put a new sound decoder kit in one of my Walthers (Life-Like Heritage) 0-8-0 switchers. This was a first run loco with no tender power pick-up. It struggled with stalls even on my #6 yard ladder switches. Ran much better after I added the new decoder with a keep-alive circuit. I installed TCS kit # WSK-WAL-1, which is made especially to fit these 0-8-0 and 0-6-0 locos. Here's a video of the before and after:
5 June 2019
A couple days ago I posted Layout Construction Video #11 on my YouTube Channel:
31 May 2019
I started putting up supports for the Powder River backdrop:
And I've clamped the first section of the backdrop in place to see how it will look:
I also laid the first piece of track on the CNW Lander branch. This is code 70, as all visible track on this branch will be. I'm playing around with the idea of laying some code 55 track in Lander itself.
And I've extended the convenience outlets to the Benchwork at Powder River, Shobon and Wind River Canyon. Note that this is not something you should try unless you know what you're doing - 120VAC can kill you! This installation is OK since it's on the layout, which is plugged into an outlet in the basement, and is not a part of the permanent house wiring.
24 May 2019
One year ago today, I started construction on the layout. To celebrate, I made a video chronicling the journey. Here it is:
There's been some progress on trackwork as well since I last posted. Roadbed was laid past Shobon and into the Wind River Canyon:
And track was laid. Here's an tank train from Casper passing the Boysen Reservoir on approach to the canyon. The trackless roadbed to the left is the CNW route to Lander:
18 May 2019
Subroadbed work has been continuing.
I've progressed past Shobon and into the Wind River Canyon. This view is looking from Powder River out to the Canyon. The subroadbed on the left goes into the canyon. The one branching to the right will disappear behind the foothills of the canyon, and is the CNW line to Lander:
This is looking from the canyon back towards Shobon and Powder River:
12 May 2019
The last few days have seen work on the Shobon peninsula. I built a couple new code 83 turnouts - one for Powder River and the other for Shobon.
Here the Powder River siding roadbed has been laid:
And here the siding ramp, consisting of 20 layer of 1/4" masking tape, has been placed:
And the siding itself has been laid! This is a shot of the track on the ramp just past the switch. The siding is code 70 and the mainline is code 83.
And finally, a view looking from the switch down the siding. I sure like the way that siding drops down from the mainline.
To the left of the siding will be the stock pens. They will be sized for loading a maximum of six cars at once. Here's a couple of prototype pictures of the stock pens, taken in April of 1995:
I sure hope my scenery skills prove adequate to the task!
7 May 2019
Quite a bit going on in the last 10 days or so!
First, I installed several new lights, over the Wind River Canyon / Holly Sugar area:
Then I added the benchwork for the Canyon and Holly Sugar, plus the corner piece that connects it to the Shobon Peninsula:
Here's a view looking down the inside of the Shobon Peninsula (Greybull side) towards the WRC area:
I added track to the newly-installed hidden roadbed for the NP:
I uploaded my latest construction update video to YouTube:
And then I started adding subroadbed and roadbed to Shobon:
And finally, I finished a new car for the layout - a PRR covered hopper that will be used in Bentonite or Natron hauling service. The one on the right is ready to go; the one on the left is its fresh-out-of-the-box brother for contrast. The brother will be appropriately weathered and have sprung trucks installed before going onto the layout permanently.
The car has (in theory) been knocking around the mines and refining plants in and around Wyoming for several years. Some day an agent from the Pennsylvania RR is going to come knocking and demand their cars be routed back to their territory!
Hopefully the weathering jobs will improve as time goes on.
27 April 2019
I've been doing a lot of infrastructure work this month - here's another group of ceiling panels installed. Lights are yet to come. I'm getting really tired of painting these panels!
I finally got around to adding joists to the last L-Girder base:
And I'm adding a bit more of the hidden trackage under Frannie / Orin. Here's the subroadbed going in:
21 April 2019
Roadbed is down for the Casper end of the Orin / Frannie Interchange yard:
Some track will go down over the next few days, but I need to build more switches to continue much farther. Also, right now I'm spending more time installing ceiling panels and LED lights, and extending the benchwork beyond Shobon on the peninsula.