Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Action shot with some base scenery down.  Still much to do in terms of details etc.

Turnout control - Ground throws installed on layout fascia  for easy control and keeps hands off the layout.   Steel wire in a 3/32 tube.  Frogs powered by Tam Valley Juicers (blog entry on these awhile back)

Ingot Train

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A-FURNACE - Part 40

Trying to get back to my regimen of model railroading.  Since spraying the track in the blast furnace area, I have a whole new area to scenic.  The past few nights have consisted of installing one or two ground throws (not as easy as it sounds as most of the throws are on the edge of the layout, connected to the turnouts using styrene tubing and steel wire) - then ballasting or ground foam on a section, usually one or two bottles of thinned glue - finally working the rest of the evening on the A-Furnace stoves.   Lately, the work has focused on the upper clean-out access platforms and the upper walkway railings.

Four stoves - four upper platforms per stove - endless.   Out of the 16 I have  11 complete - 3 that are just platforms only  (no railings or supports) - and 2 that have to be installed.  The work left will have to wait until I turn the stoves around, only when I'm done everything on the current side.  Lots to complete still - three or four hot blast valves - two trolley cranes - mixer valve platform - upper walkway railings and bracing - chimney valves - etc....  You get the picture.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013


We broke up and threw out our four Free-mo modules today.  Sad, but we are going in a different direction in terms of Free-mo.  Eventually we plan on each building a new, smaller module, with a single smaller industry as the focal point.      The modules had become too bulky to store, transport, and set up.  The only time hauling them was worthwhile  for us was to a Steel Mill Meet or Timonium - both multi day events.    A larger problem, however, was that because of our storage situation, it was hard to pull a module out between shows to work on, and even then, the module could only be set up outside.  100% of the work on these four modules occurred in the week before a show, sometimes in February on our front porch.    Our hope is that a smaller module will be easier to set up inside somewhere and leave set up to work on for a greater length of time.    In hindsight I should have tried to sell or give away these modules - I thought I would be able to salvage the trackwork and reuse on my permanent layout or on the new modules, however, I was only able to recover about 25% of the turnouts and track.  The caulk that I had used to install the track was impossible to break down with water and using a putty knife to gently separate the delicate track didn't work well.   Amazing tenacity for inexpensive latex caulk.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Train Fix - Inspiration

Delivering Iron Ore to HARSCO, running the  P-7 Ore Drag.  The train was loaded at the Philadelphia docks - half the cars were left at the Harrisburg, PA HARSCO plant shown here, the other half destined for Pittsburgh.  Three six-axle Alco Century units pulled this heavy train.      It was part of a much needed train fix last night at Rick Bickmore's Harrisburg Terminal Layout.   I spent most the night running through freights, ore drags, and one local freight.   The latter I screwed up slightly by missing three pickups/set outs at McClay Street and heading straight to Capital Street, where the majority of the trains work was.   The McClay Street work was an easy trailing point siding when heading eastbound, but switching it on my westbound return run to the Division Street Yard, I had to tie up both mains to run around the train, much to the ire of the Harris Tower Dispatcher and three other train operators.   I managed to get the work done and pull of the main into the Division Street Yard just in time for the Trailer Train Hot Shot.    Running trains last night has actually inspired me enough to head downstairs as soon as I post this and work on some projects.

Monday, May 20, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - INDUSTRIAL Railroading Volume 2

I've stated before on here that I'm not usually disappointed in spending the $60 for one of these Morning Sun Books - well I am on this offering,  Industrial Railroading Volume 2.   I've stuck with this authors Steel Mill Series through Volume 4 without regret.  I did purchase the first Critters - didn't regret the purchase but wasn't thrilled enough to move on to Volume 2.  Didn't get the first Industrial Railroading book, but the steel mill shot on the cover of Volume 2 hooked me, and since they are wrapped in plastic, I didn't realize that the bulk of the photos in the book are just locomotive shots, mostly of bland SW or S units, with the occasional interesting shot and a handful of steel mill views, not enough to justify the purchase cost.  If you are a big Extra 2200 fan, ie locomotives, builder's numbers, loco lineage,..etc.. you won't be disappointed, just not my cup of tea.   Only one photo really intrigued me - it was a 1940's view of the Ford River Rouge  - one of the few shots with no locomotives - just some gons and a Ford 55 ton hopper and of interest to me, some unique bridge cranes that moved scrap from ground level gons to an elevated scrap prep area - something I've wanted to do at my open hearth, but didn't think a prototype existed.

 I've think I've said this before, if you are a steel mill modeler with a limited budget and can only afford one of these Morning Sun books - the Union Railroad is the purchase you should make.  Although the subject matter is almost solely USSteel and their subsidiary Union Railroad, it is chock full of mill shots, rolling stock, train movement info, support facilities - cement, scrap, slag dumps,..etc..  

Monday, May 13, 2013

O-Scale Diversions

A 1/48th Scale Bulldozer - For my occasional dabbling in On30 a useful little kit for a future diorama.  1940's era Komatsu bulldozer.  Could pass for an American prototype, and with heavy weathering,....etc....  Maybe even a flat car load.
In the past few years, military armor and vehicle modelers have shown an increased interest in  1/48th scale -  a little smaller than 1/35th and a little larger than 1/72   There are a number of offerings now that could be used to represent non-military prototypes.