Casper Progress – 2022 – July through September

Casper Construction Progress – 2022 – July through September

9 July 2022

I haven't been updating much because the latest version of WordPress, which is what generates this website, is full of bugs! But I'll struggle through on this update.

On June 15th I repaired the section of moutainside I cut out, using hydrocal-soaked paper towels (I'm out of plaster cloth). It looked like this after the repair:I'm not worried about the small holes you can see in the patch, as the area will mostly be covered by rock castings.

And speaking of rock castings, that afternoon I added one on that same repair area. It didn't come out as good as the earlier ones. I learned not to make them quite so big. Not a major issue, though - this kind of stuff is very forgiving. I'll do some repair to the rock and when it's all stained and painted you won't be able to tell it was patched at all. Thank the starts mother nature is so random!

Those broken up bits to the lower right will make great talus, and I'll need lots of that!

A couple days later I'd added two more rock casting on the mountainside next to the track. The color differences aren't a problem because the rocks will be heavily stained and painted. The grey color is more just to make sure any chipping that may occur won't result in a glaring white spot in the landscape.

By June 18th the south end of the canyon looked like this. I've added a hydrocal layer (the brown) to as much of the plaster cloth as I can for now - what's still exposed of the cloth is all single layer. I need to add a second layer to continue on.

For the next several days I was busy cleaning the train room and preparing the layout for an operating session, and putting together the 2nd birthday video, which was all on June 25th. This is the layout birthday video:

For the operating session I had three people besides myself in attendance. From front to back, they are: Kurt, the local friend who has helped out on occasion for two-man jobs on the layout, Dave, the retired railroader from Basin I visit from time to time, and Sean, a younger guy from Greybull that Dave knows.
The layout ran well, and everyone reported they had a good time. Dave and Sean arrived about 10 am, and after a brief tour of my layout we all headed over to see Kurt's creation. After that we headed out for lunch. We arrived back at my place about 1:30 for the operating session. Kurt left about 4:00, and Dave, Sean and I sat around and visited until about 6:00, when they left for the drive home.

There was one casualty - the decoder in my Doodlebug fried when the bug split the switch at Shobon.

On 28 June I drove up to Thermopolis to take photos for the backdrop on the layout. I'll stitch those together in the same way I did to make the Casper backdrop.

Then I turned to an experiment in making sagebrush for the layout. Wyoming has lots of sagebrush, so I'll need a lot of it, especially between Casper and the Wind River Canyon. Following some advice I got from the folks over on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forums, I bought a small block of floral foam and ground it up in a blender.

I cut a very short strand of sisal twine to use for the trunk and branches and stained it with some Hunterline weathering mix.

Finally I sprayed the trunk with some #M Super 77 adhesive and dipped it into the bag of ground foam. I got this.
It's kinda sparkly right now, but some Dullcote fixes that.

I sprayed the sagebrush with Dullcote yesterday, and today propped it up on the layout near Shobon.
Doesn't look too bad, but I'm sure they'll get better as I make more.

And boy, do I have a lot more to make!

On July 3rd I posted my latest layout update video:

For most of this past week I've focused on adding a plaster layer all the way from the west end of Casper to the beginning of the mountains in Wind River Canyon.

7 August 2022

I spent a lot of time in July working on the Suydam kit. On the 14th I added the porch

Then on the 19th I Glued the porch roof in place.

By the 24th I was detailing the main roofs and adding details.

 

On the 29th I placed the structure, which I call "Tood Brothers Pallet & Crate" temporarily on the Empire State Oil siding in Thermopolis.

In between work sessions on the structure kit, I was also working a little bit on the area between Casper and Powder River. I laid down tile grout dirt in the area:

Then began adding prairie grass. This is just the very beginning, so it doesn't look too realistic in this shot.

I also installed the new decoder and a keep alive in the Doodlebug. You can see a video clip of it in the August layout update, published on 3 August:

The last few days I've spent building the Worland / Greybull peninsula benchwork. There's just one more small section to add onto the near end, which I'll do tomorrow.

16 August 2022

On the 8th I finished up the Worland / Greybull peninsula benchwork:

Then I spent several days building a very nice Intermountain Railway tank car. I picked up a group of five that were special runs for the NMRA Rocky Mountain region about 20 years ago.

 

I ended the first day of construction, the 8th, by caulking some solder into the bottom of the tank for weight.

A few days later, the 11th, the car was finished, weathered and placed on the track in Casper. This baby has seen some miles!

After that it was back to the Worland / Greybull peninsula. I was going to begin building the subroadbed for Worland, but common sense prevailed (unusual in my train room!) and I began working on the Cody branch first, which will be located underneath Worland and Greybull. I cut the subroadbed from sheets of 1/2" plywood, and here I'm laying it out to see how everything will fit. I have a track plan, but real life often forces tweaks, so I lay things out to fit them together before starting permanent installations.

After getting everything arranged laying flat on the benchwork, on the 15th I started raising it to the proper elevations. At the far distance (the curve to the right), the line dives under Greybull and Worland (coming towards the camera) with just under 4" of clearance. It descends on a 2 1/4% grade all around the peninsula.

After ten or twelve hours between yesterday and today, I got the Cody subroadbed finished all the way around under Worland. It ends for now at the spot that will be under Greybull. I'll add the rest of the line back up the peninsula once I'm sure what I want to do there.

The track plan has Powell (the first town on the Cody branch out of Frannie) on a deck below Powder River, but depending on how the clearances look I may move it to under Greybull instead. I think the clearance to Greybull will be too low to work well, but we'll see how it looks once I have the Worland to Greybull turnback curve in place.

Meanwhile, here's how it currently looks.  Next step is roadbed and track, then wiring. Then I'll be able to start on Worland.

10 September 2022

On the 17th of August I laid the cork roadbed for the Cody Branch:

On the 18th I laid track:

And on the 19th I wired the new trackwork.

Over the next few days I built the Worland subroadbed.

While I was working on the Worland area, I also built three additional tank cars. These are the remaining Intermountain Railway kits I have. The orange tank is a molasses car; the others are standard petroleum cars. Here, on the 20th, the tanks have been assembled.

By the 30th, the cars were complete and on the layout.

Then I switched gears a bit and worked on the prairie area between Casper and Powder River. Here I've extended the grassed area a bit further west from Casper.

On the 1st of September I began adding more detail to the grassed-in area.

By the 7th I added more scenic detail, including variations in color to represent grasses going to seed and weeds interspersed.

Yesterday I "finished" the first bit of scenery. After I extend the scenicked area to Powder River, I'll remove the tape from the track and ballast it.

On the 3rd I posted my latest layout construction update video.

Yesterday I also started wiring the new mainline track through Worland, running buss wires and installing terminal blocks. These will feed all the track in Worland and Greybull, around the turnback curve on the other side of the peninsula. Today I'm installing feeders on the Worland main.