Casper Construction Progress – 2021 – October through December
3 October 2021
Well, I discovered that my BLI Consolidation, which I acquired new at the North Platte, Nebraska train show in April, has some sort of problem. It behaves very oddly! I put together and posted a short video on YouTube that shows what's going on...
I contacted BLI Tech Support, and they also reviewed my video. I was told that the behavior of the loco was certainly not normal, and they provided me with an RMA number to return the unit for repair. It will go out tomorrow or Tuesday.
After positioning Casper, I replaced all the casters with new feet. I would have left the casters in place, but there was no height adjustment on them, and with a slightly uneven floor, that would have meant the track in Casper would have undulations in it. That would result in cars rolling out of their spots - not a good thing! So off came the casters, and on went adjustable feet.
Finally, after well over a year of work, I can finally extend the benchwork around the room. I wasted no time in getting started, and built the bench work for Powder River and Shobon off the "west" end of Casper's benchwork. I even got the mounting strips for the backdrop installed behind the Powder River area.
Today I uploaded my latest layout construction video to my YouTube channel.
9 October 2021
20 October 2021
23 October 2021
A couple days ago, a friend from the Casper train club, brought three locos over that he weathered for me. One of them was this 2-10-2 Santa Fe. I added a general coat of dark brown weathering chalk to kill any remaining sheen, and this is the result.
This is a Proto 2000 Heritage unit. Nate does really good work! He enjoys weathering motive power, though his personal preference is diesels (well, nobody's perfect!). His prices for doing this are very reasonable. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Today I started extending the subroadbed past Powder River and through the curve towards Shobon. At the end of Powder River I'm transitioning from foam to 1/2" plywood.
That PVC pipe is the drain line from the sump pump. I'm going to reroute it farther back into the corner and the backdrop will curve around in front of it, hiding it from view on both this level and in Riverton above.
28 October 2021
9 November 2021
Also on the 3rd I uploaded my latest layout update onto youtube.
12 November 2021
The steepness of the grade still bothered me, though. As I was relaxing just before bedtime, I decided to check the track plan elevation against the build. Sure enough, the roadbed was rising much faster than my plan said it should be. At first I was thinking the level was bad, but then I looked closer. The level defaults to degrees of slope, not percent! That two degree slope equated to nearly a 3 1/2 grade! So I spent a few hours regrading the entire line out of Shobon. This looks better:
18 November 2021
On the 16th the Peco Code 70 flextrack I ordered arrived, and on the 16th and 17th I laid some track on the CNW line past Shobon.
Once the track is around the curve and out of sight past Shobon, I switch to Atlas Code 100 flextrack, which I have an overabundance of (we're talking about eight scale miles of it!). No need to use the expensive new track when I have a ton of old but clearly serviceable track to use.
Here's the transition from the Peco code 70 to the Atlas code 100. The Atlas track is on the left.
This kind of transition is actually very easy to do. I put an Atlas code 83/100 rail joiner on the Atlas track, with half extending out, as you normally would. Then I cut through the upper part of the joiners with a Dremel and flatten the extended end with a pair of pliers. Then I simply line up the top and inside of each rail separately and solder it in place. Trains run over the transition just fine!
The Consolidation had no trouble hauling the short train (four cars plus caboose) up the 1 3/4% grade. Once a bit more track is in I'll have to run some tests to see how many cars can be reliably pulled up the grade by the two CNW locos I have. Five to six car trains plus caboose is the plan - the line to Lander was never very heavily traveled, except maybe during the apple harvest in Lander.
I know the track looks a little squiggly, but the camera's perspective make it look worse than it really is. I'm not too worried about it since all this track will be hidden. That's why I'm using nails to lay the Atlas track rather than caulk.
23 November 2021
Then I made a short video - "First Trains Through Shobon" - and posted it on Youtube.
30 November 2021
I laid additional Burlington track almost up to the turnback curve, where I stopped. I'll need to superelevate the curve, so I have to extend the subroadbed past the curve into Thermopolis. Right now I'm ruminating on what the trackage in Thermopolis will look like. I might take a trip up to the city museum there in a few days to look for ideas.
19 December 2021
I was under the weather for a bit early in December, but I did manage to post my December layout update video on YouTube.
I finished installing a wowsound decoder and motherboard kit in my Bachmann 10-Wheeler. No photo of it yet, though...
The CNW line subroadbed through the Wind River Canyon Peninsula has been nearly complete for several weeks now. I finished detailing out the Riverton benchwork plan in order to complete the connection into Riverton (I did most of the design months ago, but had to work out the connection at the east end of the town down into the peninsula).
23 December 2021
28 December 2021
31 December 2021
In early December I set the goal to have the CNW line connected through to Hudson by the end of the year.
Today I made it!
There isn't much of anything at Riverton except the turnouts for the siding, but the line connects through Riverton to the track that's been in place for a while above Casper yard, and it all works.
Here's a few shots of a train making its way all the way from Casper to Hudson.