Saturday, January 10, 2009

Progress Made

We've made some progress toward the objectives that I stated in an earlier post.  Of course, you never get as much done as you would like, but I'm satisfied.    We spend most summer weekends as well as some fall and spring at the New Jersey shore or on our sailboat, so usually the modeling slows a lot during that time period.  In early September we were reenergized by our attendance at the annual "Steel Mill Modelers Meet"  in Lancaster, PA.  This annual event is organized by John Glaab, owner of Peachcreek Shops in Maryland.    The photo at right shows Jimmy in the display room next to the Magarac Steel Module.  This was Jimmy's favorite room - he spent pretty much every spare moment in it perusing the many items for sale or looking at the excellent model displays.
  I really can't say enough good things about this get together -  the presentations on thursday night and all day friday were excellent, and the layout tours on saturday were equally well done.  We are looking forward to next years event, which I believe will be in North Carolina.  We hopefully will be contributing with a free-mo mo
dule, depicting a modern pipe foundry - look some construction blogs on this in the spring.  

Summarizing the progress on the layout since last spring -
1.  The additional benchwork for the steel mill section is mostly complete and about 75% of the track is down.  We need to go back and substitute curved turnouts on the approach tracks to Blast Furnace A.  We cheeped out and used standard LH/RH/and wye #4s and the flow just doesn't look right.  We still need to lay all the service tracks for Blast Furnace B and extend the main switching lead in this area.   We have modified the plan slightly and this 
area of the layout will include two blast furnaces, a partially modeled ore yard with bridge cran
e, a portion of a rolling mill,  a high-line to service the blast furnaces, a heat treatment shop, a pig casting machine,  and many auxilliary structures.    We are modeling the Open Hearth Furnaces on a different part of the existing layout.   
2.  The steel mill staging yard is mostly complete.  All that remains is to build a connecting line to the high-line.   This yard will serve as the destination for all freight transfers from the main line.  From there cars will be sorted for different trains serving various parts of the mill.  The yard will also serve as staging for the remainder of the mill not modeled.  For example, we are not modeling a slag dump, so slag from A Furnace (B Furnace will have a slag pit) will be transfered to this yard, representing the move to the dump.  The recent book on Bethlehem Steel Railroads was a valuable source of prototypical operation info.  
3.   The connector line from the main, thru the mill, to the staging yard is complete.  This is one part of my layout that I'm pretty unhappy with because of the extreme grade.   I have
two basic choices - lower the entire rest of the layout or live with it.  It functions fine, actually much better than I ever thought, but it just looks bad visually.  I don't have the room for a loop or helix so I'll have to live with it.   (If you don't remember, the steel mill portion has to be lower so the blast furnaces will clear my low ceiling)
4.  I've been working in spurts on Blast Furnace A.  (this in the next few blogs)
5.  Coke works partially built.
6.  More work on the port section of the layout.

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