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Friday, 4 January 2019

"Model Railroads" book 1954

My friend Brian gave this book Model Railroads that was printed in 1954 which would have been nice to have a long time ago. Brian thought I would find it interesting and a good fit to have a book writen close to my era. Having said that, if I had seen it for sale I most likely would have dismissed it as being too old and maybe plain. Here is a picture of the cover and on the spine the only words are Model Railroads. The copyright is 1954 and the Library of Congress number is 54-12466.

The part that amazes me about this book is that the operations portion of the book could have been written in the last 10 years. It is amazing to see the vision Frank Ellison had for modelling operations that advanced back then. The only thing that would give this books date away to the reader would be some of the rolling stock and some of the scenery techniques.
I guess my point is that if I had had this book I could have skipped a lot of the other reading that I have done around track planing and operations. I also could have skipped the fatal error that just about everyone makes by not paying attention to operations.  We really have not invented anything new over that time period, Frank Ellison really had a grasp of this topic with his diagrams, text and pictures. It is too bad that it is not available as an ebook or PFD because every person who is starting a layout or rebuilding one should get to read this book. It did use some reprinted material from Model Railroader magazines from 1949, 1950 and 1951. It is another gem that I happen to have in my collection of books. I have started putting it out during operations sessions for ops to look at during down time.


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Sources for building plans

This is just a quick post. Since I scratch build a lot I have always been on the look out for building plans. These apply to my era but some of them can apply to new more resent eras. Now not all these plans give you every measurement but you can easily fill in any blanks if needed. I redrawn some plans from these sites, I just haven't had the time to build them yet. They will get built as I, work my way through the rest of my scenery.

North Dakota State University Has a lot of farm building, tools, livestock equipment, grain and some house plans. You will notice in one column the year the plan can out.

Colorado State University This also has a lot of farm building, tools, livestock equipment, grain and some house plans. You will again notice in one column the year the plan can out.

Sears House Plan Archives This one is interesting if you are looking for older house plans plus you get some history about Sears also.

Shorpy Photos are just really nice pictures that can show you details of older eras that you would not normally get to see.





Saturday, 22 December 2018

Farm Details 2 Combine


I had a couple of questions about where I got my John Deere 12-A combine from or did I scratch build it. The combine comes from GHQ Models and happens to look like a 12-A. It is a nice little combine. The actual machine was built from 1940-1951. So this model fits my 1959 era.  It has a PTO drive but the real combine also came with a "ULC" independent motor if your tractor didn't have PTO or live PTO.
John Deere then released the model 25 from 1952-1955 and then the model 30 from 1956-1961. The 30 combines are slightly different as they can have a pickup and have a table auger with enclosed  feeder house.
In this  era John Deere also released the model 65 in 1958 but there are no HO scale models of this machine currently available.
During this era John Deere also released 3 other self propelled models. The 55 1947-1959. The 45 1954-59. The 95 round back 1958-59. There are no HO scale models of these at this time. There are models in S scale so you could build a model taking measurements off of one of these.
Finding historical information on farm equipment is not very easy. Finding info on tractors is much easier. All of the above information applies to what you would have seen on the Canadian prairies. I am just scratching the surface of this topic as there are other manufactures such as Massey Harris which was a Canadian company that was a power in combines.

GHQ has some other nice models - as you will see on their page - that happen to represent real life machines.  North American farm equipment in HO scale of any kind is hard to find. To build this combine you just have to remove a little bit of flash from the metal parts and glue it together using CA or 5 min epoxy. The reels are etched brass and look really good but you have to take care working with them. I painted some of the drive belts black which takes a steady hand. I have a very small brush, you could also try using a tooth pick to paint with. The feeder house on this combine is canvas with wood slats. same as swather canvas. It is a light grey colour when new and the slats were unpainted wood. I had the decals custom printed as none come with the model. The model dosen't come with the straw spreader so I am considering building one. Because it is a 6' straight through I doubt the speader did much. I have added the straw deflector and the table lift arm though. The color of the reel bats are hard to tell as I only have black and white pictures - they may have been painted green. You can see in the John Deere add above they show reels and bats painted yellow. I painted mine plain wood with a little green colour as much of the paint would have been worn off by 1959.


Here are some pictures of the 12-A that is in Camrose at the museum. This has tines along with wood bats on the reels. It also has the independent ULC motor to drive it. The other thing of note when looking at this combine is that the combine is set to the left of the hitch. If you look at the hitch of a JD 65 the combine is on the right side of the hitch looking at it from the back. This change of rotation from going counter clockwise to clockwise around a field occurred on other towed equipment in the 40's and 50's. You can find lots of pictures and a few videos on the internet of any of these combines. I just can't post them because I do not have permisions.



 In this picture you can see where the motor is mounted on the left side in the picture. The hitch is swung over to the transport position. The canvas feeder is not installed. 



This John Deere add shows the model 30 with a motor drive. Note the pickup and table auger.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Scenery part 2

 I am now working on the scenery from the edge of the small shelf  up to Waldron which is on the right side of my layout drawing. The buildings will be covered in different posts on there own.
 This is what it looks like at the start and how it has been for a while.
 In Oct I added the page wire fence on both sides of the right-of-way and painted the first coat on the telegraph poles to make them look aged. Some have the white paint on the insulators. They will get translucent green next to highlight the glass insulators.
That is a diamond harrow draw bar in the field at the back. I have not built the harrows yet but have them drawn in CAD. I am thinking of building a pull type rock picker to add to the scene also. I have made the drawings for it.
 You can see the white sign for Waldron, the small one further back is the whistle sign and the one closer to the bridge is the flanger sign.
 I also have just painted the backdrop. This field has just been seeded.
 The field in the front will be stubble that is being summer fallowed.
 There is a barbed wire fence that will get added coming out to the front. And one going to the back on the other side of the track.


This shows where the oil pump jack is going to go. Not really a Saskatchewan thing but I spent a lot of my career in the oil patch be it in large plants. But back in 1978 a farm kid from Sask worked for a year for a company out of Nisku Alberta that repaired these and we traveled all over the province. The steel bins are just resting there for now. These bins model 1650 bushel 5 ring Westeel or Rosco bins. They are actually Rix N scale bins that scale out really well. If you take 1 row of rings off you would have a 1350 and if you add a row you would have a 1950.
I have painted in the road on the back drop. The monument and sign just to the right of the bins is where the last spike went in back in 2010. You can also see the flanger sign.

Also painted some more back drop and built the snow fence in Oct

The elevators have to be finished, an anex for one or both and a coal shed. I find it interesting in this photo that the road at the back that is painted actually goes in the other direction at about the same angle when you look at it straight on

This photo shows how far this series of posts will go. The rectangle drawn on the scenery is where the station is going. This will be an E Class GTP. That is a passing siding on the right.

The 2 red bins are scratch built and represent plywood bins that were relatively common and hold 1350 bushels. You can now see how the painted road has changed to the way it was painted, although the angle is a little steeper than it looks straight on.
There is a loading platform where the boxcar is sitting. The thing at the coupler on the gondola is the brakes. It is a pin with green tape on it. If a car will not sit still the crew can apply a brake. Still need to add the wheel stops to the ends of the rail. The idea is there will be a steel scrap pile where the gondola is currently sitting. Also still need fence on the right hand side of the right-of-way.


Here is closer look at the snow fence. It is all styrene with 1x4 and 2x6. The posts are 6x8. The grass it seems to photograph really brown so I will have to fix that. It is a light green but you just do not see it.

I will continue to add posts until this piece of scenery is complete.


Friday, 16 November 2018

Scenery part 1

I am currently working on scenery and thought I would take you along as I am working on it. This will be a series of posts.
 This narrow shelf is on the right had side of my layout drawing. It is 5' long and 4.5" wide. The scenery on this was completed in Sept. I painted the back drop, added the fence to the right-of-way, added the static grass, weathered the road bed and added a piece of snow fence. The bare spot at the end is the start of the next piece of scenery to Waldron. There is a strip of Plexiglas on the left to keep things off the floor. The shelf was built this small so there would be enough room to move things from the stairs to the other room.
 The page wire fence is some window screen cut 4 scale feet high. It is the closest thing I could find. The posts CN used were ceder mine are balsa stained to age them. I just cut the posts strips out of a sheet and then chopped them to length. The vast majority of the right-of-way had this type of fence because when these lines were built the vast majority of farmers had livestock. The barbed wire fence is styrene .02-.04 rod painted wood brown. The barbed wire is grey coloured thread. I ended up picking this colour as you can see it so it get bumped less.


 I can't remember who made the telegraph poles. I first drag the main pole with 80 grit sandpaper to give the plastic some wood texture. Next I weather them with white paint and black fabric dye see the link weathered wood on how to weather plastic to look like old wood. I then paint the insulators white acrylic and then paint them with a translucent green from Gallery Glass...... The last step is to paint the support braces a steel or dark oxide colour.


This is what they look like from start to finish




This looking back the other way. The farm is around the corner. You can see the whistle and flanger signs on the right side. The snow fence is between the 2 signs.

The bridge was covered in it own post CNR Wood trestle part 2






The finished scenery

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Using JMRI for Operations

I thought this was an appropriate time to do a post on this topic as I have just recently done a tuneup on on my JMRI operations with some help from the JMRI users group and Dan in particular.  There were a few things that I needed to understand better to improve car movements. This extra knowledge will  enable me to help others also. I have been using JMRI since 2010 and it has worked well, I am just trying to make it run better in the prototypical way that I prefer. I also use TT & TO to run my operation sessions. When I started out I used car cards but found this to be a bit cumbersome and so I switched to JMRI operations which handles all my car movements. I never did get to the part of having to build all the card holders and such. Like most things in each system has a few points that may result in compromise.  Living  in the Edmonton area where we have 10-12 layouts doing operation sessions that use both methods there are always conversation about it. I also use JMRI Decoder Pro and can't imagine running without it - I will cover this topic in another short post. None of of my comments in this post are meant as a slag against how anyone else runs their operations.
The great thing about JMRI is that it is open source so you do not need to purchase it to get to play with any of its features. I use other open source programs like Libre Office, LibreCad, and  Gymp which are all open source programs that are free.
It does take a  bit of time to set it up very similar to creating all those car cards. The JMRI site gives you access to a very well written manual.  Now I know most of us are men and do not need to read manuals "hahaha"  but you do need to read this one, most likely a couple of times before you start. and a couple of times after that.
It does take a little maintenance but so does flipping all those car cards before each session. The purpose in using any computer program is to make repetitive tasks much easier and it does just that.
JMRI Operations generates manifests and switch lists for trains that are printed out on 1 or 2 pages, which is easier for new operators to use since they have a sheet that gives them instruction on what to do. There are even switch lists for the yard operators. They  do not have to handle a stack of cards which for a 30 car train is about an 1 1/4 " thick and for the yard ops this can be huge.  For example my yard is on the smaller side but still holds 70 cars. The other thing this does is tell operators exactly what track the cars are going to as you can see below in Melville. Below is a what a manifest for  through freight 715 looks like. Rivers is in east staging and Watrous is west staging. The one thing that JMRI operations doesn't do well is block cars so I use this manifest to block the cars before a session starts. This is done in staging.
The first paragraph is mostly instructions I have added. This way even new ops have this with them all the time they are on this train.
Rivers is really just showing what cars and power 715 is leaving staging with and what track their train will be on. In this case the train will be on track 6.
Next it shows places they will pass and that there is no work there.
Then we get to Melville and it shows what pulls and spots there are and what tracks the cars are going to or coming from. The yard master will usually sort the pull cars ahead of time to a track and if busy the yard master can have the train drop all the cars to track 2 to keep things moving and move them later.
Watrous shows what cars you have and what track you are going to in staging. All my trains depart and arrive on the same track in staging. Each track just has different virtual names. Upon arriving in staging the train is reversed on the loop and then stored on its track. It will leave Watrous next trip as 716 east bound.


Manifest for train (715) West Through Freight
Valid 6/21/1959 17:29 (Tuesday)
At Rivers get your clearance, train orders and manifest
Drop cars to Track 2 at Melville and pick up cars from Track 3 West.
Or as instructed by Yard Master
At Melville take on fuel. Steamers can also take on water.
Get your clearance and train orders 10min crew change

Scheduled work at Rivers, departure time 07:00
 [ ] Pick up CN    9030   F7A      from Track 6                   
 [ ] Pick up CN    9037   F7B      from Track 6                   
 [ ] Pull    CN    478548 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    LNE   352    Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    500799 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    485338 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    483916 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    544559 Boxcar       40'  L< Boxes>    from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    NYC   168265 Boxcar       40'  L<Supliment> from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    GM&O  75003  Flatcar      40'  L<Ties>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    GTW   591599 Boxcar       50'  L<Auto>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    479667 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    500899 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    526844 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    CN    543790 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Melville         
 [ ] Pull    NYC   712675 Gondola      52'  E<mpty>      from Track 6                   -> Watrous          
 [ ] Pull    CN    78934  Caboose      36'               from Track 6                   -> Watrous          
Train departs Rivers Westbound with 15 cars, 792 feet, 830 tons

No work at Cana Jct
No work at Atwater
No work at Bangor Jct
No work at Waldron

Scheduled work at Melville, arrival time 07:30
 [ ] Spot    CN    478548 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    LNE   352    Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    500799 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    485338 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    483916 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    544559 Boxcar       40'  L< Boxes>    to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    NYC   168265 Boxcar       40'  L<Supliment> to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    GM&O  75003  Flatcar      40'  L<Ties>      to Track 2                   
 [ ] Spot    GTW   591599 Boxcar       50'  L<Auto>      to Track 2                   Ensure End Door Is Facing Ramp
 [ ] Pull    CN    110473 Hopper       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 3 West              -> Watrous          
 [ ] Pull    CN    533503 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      from Track 3 West              -> Watrous          
 [ ] Pull    CN    143201 Gondola      52'  E<mpty>      from Track 3 West              -> Watrous          
 [ ] Spot    CN    479667 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 5 Mixed East        
 [ ] Spot    CN    500899 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 5 Mixed East        
 [ ] Spot    CN    526844 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 5 Mixed East        
 [ ] Spot    CN    543790 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 6                   
Train departs Melville Westbound with 5 cars, 354 feet, 372 tons

No work at Burmingham Jct

Scheduled work at Watrous, arrival time 21:12
Reverse Train Before parking
 [ ] Set out CN    9030   F7A      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Set out CN    9037   F7B      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    110473 Hopper       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    533503 Boxcar       40'  E<mpty>      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    143201 Gondola      52'  E<mpty>      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Spot    NYC   712675 Gondola      52'  E<mpty>      to Track 6                   
 [ ] Spot    CN    78934  Caboose      36'               to Track 6                   

Train terminates in Watrous

The manifest  makes it easier for ops that are new to operations as everything is explained. There is also a switch list for the yard that shows what cars they need to spot and pull from local industries. I also have a train lineup sheet that the yard master can look at which tells what trains are coming including the extras which are not on the time table. I don't normally have a dedicated dispatcher except for me so it works well on my layout. The biggest thing I am trying to achieve is a less stressful atmosphere for new people to operate in.

In another post we will look at the paper work I use during operation sessions.

















Tuesday, 30 October 2018

CNR Wood Trestle Part 2

This was a relatively easy build that was done in 3 days. I scratch built this trestle from the CNR plans that came in a bundle from CN Lines. The bridge is a wood deck, ballasted and is 43' long. I wanted one these bridges because short bridges like this one are so common in the prairies, although there are many different types. They usually have a slough around it and cross a small creek. This was a feature I could add to this section as the shelf is only 4 1/2" wide and helps set the scene and gives it something interesting. This is built from scale wood from Northeastern and Kappler. No real tips or tricks here just a straight forward build using the drawings and some pictures that I had taken of similar bridges. I used the pictures for details that the plans didn’t show. I partially drew it out in Cad so I knew what it would take to cover the span. Then I created other drawings in Cad to use as gluing templates. The wood was all stained before I started the build. I then taped wax paper over the printed paper so the wood glue would not stick. The deck was made in this fashion. The top deck and end bulkheads were made board by board. Once the deck was done I added the dowel posts and then set it in place. The spots were marked where the posts touched the scenery by putting lipstick on the bottom of the posts. I then drill holes in these spots for the posts to slip into. The posts were intentionally cut longer and were marked and trimmed if needed. The nut bolt washers are from Tichy. The ties are mainline Central Valley. I then added the guard rails down the middle using code 70 ME rail and glued them in place. The mainline rails are ME code 83. I regrettably do not have any pictures during the build. The posts are just doweling I had around. It is a tough place to take pictures because of lighting and the Plexiglas that is on the front of the shelf to protect equipment from falling to the floor.











"Model Railroads" book 1954

My friend Brian gave this book Model Railroads that was printed in 1954 which would have been nice to have a long time ago. Brian thought I...