Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Progress in Yardley Yard Spokane

Thought it was time to give another update on progress on the UPBNSF Joint Line. I've been making steady progress with scenery and ballasting of the trackwork in the Spokane area. As much as I dislike ballasting track, the one thing you can say is that you can see progress as you go....and practice makes perfect!!!!!

The photos show various parts of Yardley yard from the West end through to the East end. This section of the layout is 4.5 meters long and the mainline and Yard lead sweep around a 180 degree turn at the West end. Thierman Rd industrial area is located inside the mainline track curvature at this location. 

The first 5 photos show the progress from the last blog update at the western end. 

Three industries are located at Thierman Rd: King Beverage, Brenntag Chemicals and Boise Cascade Industrial Materials Supply (BCIMS). This industrial area will provide plenty of switching opportunity and variety during operations sessions 

Photo 6 / 7 is a helicopter view looking East. In the foreground are industries located along Mission Avenue which runs parallel to the tracks. These industries consist of; Cargill Grain, Exxon Oil and Fuel, Melcher Mfg, and American Recycling.

Adding the scenery to this area of the layout has also prompted some track changes. I'm excited and looking forward to the next Ops night to see how these changes will impact operations. Oh BTW, can you see any similarities between the photo above and below? 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Layout Update - Spokane works

 I finally managed to get out from under the layout and have commenced doing scenery, and some remedial track work to enhance the operations. For the last 3 weeks I've been working on the Spokane area of my layout.

The following list of works have been commenced, some completed but I still have a fair way to go. 
  • Relocate the engine service facility to the eastern end of Yardley Yard
  • Shorten 2 x interchange tracks to add an industrial spur track....The yard tracks never got filled during ops sessions so I thought it made more sense to add another industry
  • Relocated Eagle Intermodal yard from Trent Avenue to where the engine service facility was located at western end of Yardley Yard. This will add for enhanced operations
  • Changed the track work on Mission avenue to allow for individual industrial spur track feed. This required adding 2 x turnouts to allow for logical industry switching which will make life easier for the operators and be more prototypical
  • Finally settled on the industries in the Thierman Road switching district and the industries to be placed along the Mission avenue area
  • Commenced ballasting the track in the Spokane area..approx 40% complete at the writing of this blog
  • Additional rail feed droppers installed
  • Removal of the old car card holding boxes as they are no longer required . I am fully into using the JMRI operations paperwork 
  • Painting the Spokane backdrop 
The following photos should bring you up to speed with all the activities and the current status. 

Further it would be remiss of me if I did not acknowledge the help that I have had from Stephen Ord, Jim Younkins and Frank Kenny. 

Stephen has been coming around here at least once a week for the last few month. His contribution to the current progress of the layout has been significant and I thank him immensely. 

Jim and Frank (Both in the USA) are inspirational with great advice. I often bounce my ideas of these guys. They soon straighten me out!!!!!!  

Here are some photos taken today of the works in progress:

Yardley yard before the backdrop painting commences

I've placed a wood cover over the track work to protect it from paint!!!! Please note this is important if you are about to do the same. Also note that i've sketched lines for the distant and foreground hills

Here I've taped off the top of the backdrop. This is done to give a nice straight edge to the top of the backdrop

I've placed all my painting equipment on the protector board, A 2 Meter section of sky blue has been completed and Im now ready to commence the artistic stuff.!!

OK, About an Hr later I've done the 2 meter section, and put buildings etc all back where they should be.

Another 2 hrs down the track I've roughed in the backdrop at the Western end of Yardley.  This was hard work as I had to lean in some way to reach the backdrop in this area.... I still have some final finishing to do but the backdrop is about 80% complete in this area.

Here you are looking at the Intermodal yard and the eastbound interchange tracks in the background area. The bridge is the Havana St bridge across the throat of Yardley yard at the Western end. The building to the left in the foreground, when completed will be; Ashgrove Cement  

Exxon Oil, and Cargill Grain, in the foreground

Now you are looking East along Yardley yard

I'm standing on Mission Avenue looking across the East end of Yardley Yard

American recycle in the foreground and the newly done engine service facility in the background

Looking East. the bridge is N Farcher St

I've ventured into the Exxon Oil farm and taken a snap of the yard looking East!

Ok well I need too get back and do more work now so that's the update for today. Hope you enjoyed. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

OPs session 8th Nov 2014

On Saturday 8th November 2014 I hosted my regular Operations session. I say regular in lieu of monthly as sometimes due to events out of my control we have to wait an extended period before I can hold an ops session. The Oct ops session was cancelled as I was OS visiting my good friends in the USA

Saturdays ops session began at 2pm. As it turned out it was a fairly layback session and proceedings never really commenced until about 2:30pm. There were 8 participants in all and I think everybody had a great time. The session was wrapped up with a sausage sizzle and drinks around 6:30pm. 

As we are now heading into summer I will reflect upon an appropriate commencement time for the OPs. I think that it may be far to warm for sessions to be held in the afternoon and therefore we will revert to the late afternoon and night sessions for a few months. 

Below are some snapshots of the ops session. 
Trev 2 and Mathew are all attentive and focused on switching tasks in Wallula

Trevor is studying the switch lists. This helps him determine the moves he needs to make 

The west bound BNSF Manifest is ready to depart Wallula

Laurie and Stephen hamming it up!!!!

Stephen has switched the industries in Lakes Road and cleared the main just in time for a BNSF intermodal to makes its way eastbound

Stephen focus's his attention to the switching he needs to perform whilst Laurie guides a BNSF manifest past Empire Avenue and into staging

All focused

A westbound UP manifest train entering the single track between Wallula and Boardman

UP Manifest crossing Walla Walla Creek

UP Manifest drifting down grade near spiral

Still lots of switching to do at Wallula

Spiral!  Who would have guessed

Trev2 is playing brakeman and uncoupling cars in Boardman

West staging

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Operations session held for visitors from Hervey Bay

On Saturday 21st of June I hosted a group of model Railroaders from Hervey Bay. This group had traveled to Brisbane from Hervey Bay (some 450kms away) to participate in an Operations session. This was organised by a good mate of mine, Merv Bagnall who now resides in Hervey Bay and has been a coordinator of a model railroad group in that region for some time. 

All up there were 12 people on the day and the ops session was a great success. This was also the first time I have trialed an afternoon ops session. We ran from 1pm - 5pm, then had BBQ before people departed.

This is the 6th consecutive monthly operations session. By doing regular sessions I am now learning the strengths and weakness's of the layout. All in all I'm very happy with the layout design. This seems to be working effectively and now that I've settled on the operations methodology and the ops hardware, each ops session is improving.
The gang: Steve, Merv, Malcolm, Matthew, Roger, Trev 1, Julie, Trev 2, Gavin, Harold and Ian


During the afternoon we ran 13 through freights, 4 locals, and 4 turns. For the session each guests was partnered with one of my regular operators. Thanks to Steve, Merv, Malcolm, Trev 1, Roger and Matthew for training the guests. This made life easy and I'm sure the Hervey bay crew appreciated it.

Trev 2 and Roger, guiding a BNSF Reefer train across Joso Trestle

From the outside looking in!!!! Merv is checking the turnout alignment into the Eastern staging yard.

Julie is all smiles as she switch's the limestone plant in Cheney

The boys are switching both ends of Yardley yard in Spokane

A BNSF intermodal is on the lower deck. Ian is operating this train with Rogers guidance.

Malcolm, is checking the throttle settings as he switch's Boardman industries

Ian bringing the BNSF Intermodal up grade just south of the Boise Paper plant in Walulla. At this point the head end of the intermodal has just crossed the Walulla river.

Gavin is setting the turnouts ahead of his train

All concentration as the switching moves in Boardman are figured out.

Trev 2 is observing the action 

Matthew is offering instruction on switching Boardman, and a bit of history of the layout.

Its near 5pm and everybody is doing there last chores on the layout. Steve and Julie are bring a train upgrade at Hopper Junction for the last time on this session