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'Henderson Bay Branch' - 1:87 Scale
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 Posted: Wed Sep 11th, 2019 09:42 pm
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Reg H
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Tested and programmed the Digitrax DS52 stationary decoder,
for the east end throat turnout switch machine.

Very simple and it worked great. 
Now I just need to install everything.

Reg




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 Posted: Sat Sep 14th, 2019 09:18 pm
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Reg H
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A vexing problem got solved today.

The problem is based on my wishing to return to my long held routine of manually controlled turnouts. 
I really like the feeling of being part of the action and manually controlled turnouts contribute to that.

The On30 layout featured remote controlled turnouts. 
Switchmaster switch machines to be precise. 
They worked well (except they tore apart the flimsy commercial turnout kits),
but I missed the manual controls.

So on this HO layout, I have returned to manual turnouts using Caboose Industries great little ground throws. 
They are a bit out of scale for HO, but they work well, are reliable, and inexpensive. 

But a problem raised its ugly head.  





You may note that the throat turnout for the small yard at the east end of the layout,
is west of the peninsula on which the mill is being located.

Operations, with the manual turnout control, involved continually walking around the peninsula. 
That got to be a bother.

Upon doing a little research, I learned of the magic of fixed DCC decoders. 
So I ordered up a Digitrax DS52 and installed a Switchmaster on this throat turnout.  

The Switchmasters are very easy, and quick, to install. 
The real magic is that the switch machine can be controlled from the standard controller,
and even more wonderful, the DS52 operates off of track power. 
So I did not have to re-energize the switch machine power bus. 
More "wow" factor, the screen on the controller tells me if the turnout is closed or thrown.  

This mod has increased the fun of east end operations by a very large factor.

The last photo illustrates all that is visible of the Switchmaster.





Another observation...this is an Atlas turnout. 
I have come to prefer the MicroEngineering turnouts for their appearance,
and the Atlas turnouts for their operation.  

Back to work on the engine house.

Reg




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 Posted: Tue Sep 24th, 2019 12:02 am
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Reg H
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I have had to do some traveling lately. 

While looking for my motel in Ritzville, WA,
I ran across this little beauty.





Track side view:





It is the original NP depot turned into a museum.
Unfortunately closed during the week.

I put the above on an SD card I haven't used in awhile. 
I came across this one.  
A chilly fall day in 2014 in Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad...





I couldn't resist.

Reg




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 Posted: Mon Oct 21st, 2019 12:14 am
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Reg H
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Just minutes to do this before I have to go off to a conference.

Major mile stone in operations abilities. 

I finally got a decoder in the second Kato GP-35,
got the performance curves of both GP-35s to match
(though I have some adjustments to make)
and figured out how to MU. 

It is actually pretty easy.





I have some details that need attention.
Like getting all the handrails installed, and some new horns on the one loco. 
I also need to figure out how to get the lights to work the way I want them to.

Reg




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 Posted: Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 02:17 am
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Reg H
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Kind of random stuff.

I am at a professional conference in Wenatchee at the moment. 
My room overlooks the BNSF mainline.  Lots of fun. 
A string of aircraft fuselages just went through. 
I couldn't get my cell phone camera up and running fast enough.

The conference has not started yet and I am sitting in my hotel room bored. 
So thoughts wander.  There are too many projects I want to undertake.  
I have always loved GN GP-30's.  I have two of the Bachmann models. 
Neither one of which runs. 
My nasty little brain got thinking of putting the Bachmann shells on Kato GP-35 chassis.
I am pleased to the point of amazement at how well the Kato units run. 

I wonder if I can get just the chassis.

Looking at my most recent photos, I really want to do some detail work on my Kato GP-35's. 
Both need handrails replaced.  I have the handrails.  So that one is easy. 
One of them somehow got the horns swiped off in the process of getting them home. 
I didn't get the boxes.  But they both really need visors.  
 
Just a little weathering is in order, too. 
I am not fond of extreme weathering,
but a little light grey along the running gear to simulate road grim,
and just a tweak of overall grimy black to tone things down.

The main purpose of the weathering is to bring out the details. 

I want to do some minor modifications to my two 70-ton GE's for the logging operation.
Visors, for sure, probably some three-chime horns, spark arrestors are almost a must. 
Sounds like a visit to Precision Scale.  

I have started tuning up the freight cars. 
All of the ones I got from the estate have plastic wheels, and many have coupler problems. 
So I am going through and replacing the wheel sets and checking the couplers. 
Which reminds me, I need to refresh my Kadee #5 inventory.  

But first I want to get the railroad itself into a more complete state. 
Right now there is no scenery except at the west end. 
Before I can do more I have to get the mill end of the logging operation into rough shape. 
And then start construction on the woods end. 
The track work will be simple, but I will need to do some bench work. 
Something else that was not planned for this layout.  

Curse you, Alan Sewell!!!  
Just kidding. 
I am very excited about the logging operation. 

I have started construction of the Cornerstone engine house. 
Progress is a bit slow while I get my airbrushes up to speed. 
I am painting the window frames white (in accordance with HBTCo standard practice),
and the doors oxide red (well, tuscan red, but close enough).  
I have given the brickwork a wash of ink diluted in alcohol to tone down the plastic,
and bring out the brick detail, which is actually pretty nice.  
One of the skid shack kits I acquired from Alan in a swap deal,
will serve as a railroad operation dispatcher's office.  

Remember when I was waxing poetic about water cleanup with acrylic paint? 
Probably in the Henderson Bay Timber Company thread.

Too soon.  
Even with the acrylics. the airbrushes need to be cleaned with some kind of solvent.
Mine are both thoroughly clogged. 
I have been working on them, but it is going slowly.  
Getting those tiny orifices cleaned up once they are clogged with old paint is not easy. 
I hope I don't have to buy a replacement. 

I would like to give each car some light weathering during the tuneup process. 
But that will have to wait until I get at least one airbrush operational.

It just occurred to me...the nozzles, where the really tiny orifices reside,
are two piece removable assemblies. 
I wonder if I can get replacements for the Badger airbrush. 
No hope on parts for the Harbor Freight brush, but I only paid $10 for that one. 

Off to Google airbrush parts.

Reg



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 Posted: Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 04:09 am
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Reg H
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It is amazing what one can do when away from home, cooped up in a hotel room
(I flew (commercial) over to Wenatchee given the unpredictable weather in the passes, so no car)
with nothing to do but wait for a conference to begin.

Yes!!! 
Replacement parts for the Badger are readily available. 
But, of course, once on the Amazon Prime web site, one can't just buy one item.  

Additional paint jars, a new hose, a pressure regulator with moisture trap, and...
hmm, I think that does it. 
Oh.  Plus a new nozzle assembly. 

All of which should arrive at the Post Office the day before I return. 
I think I will watch TV instead of looking around for more ways to spend money.

I did improve the time by learning how to properly clean an airbrush after using acrylic paints. 
There are some nice, expensive, specialty cleaners. 
Alcohol works well, too.

Reg




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 Posted: Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 05:39 pm
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Reg H
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I should never be allowed to be alone in a hotel room with nothing to do.

I got crazy last night and decided that I needed to experiment. 
The two Bachmann GP's I have are NOT 30's (my faulty memory at work)
they are 35's.

But paging through eBay last night,
I encountered a Kato GP-35 with Digitrax DCC for $70 (used).

Wow! 
I could mount one of the shells from an inoperative Bachmann GP-35 on the Kato chassis,
and have another operational GP-35.

Moving the idea forward,
I could find someone with an inoperative Bachmann GP-30 in GN livery,
that they were willing to sell cheap,
go looking for another Kato chassis,
and, voila! 

That is, if the GP-35 conversion works.  

I gotta find something to do before I deplete the model railroad budget.

Well...another scheme. 
There are a couple of places on the layout where I had to resort to 22" radius curves,
in order to get the track alignment I wanted. 
I have a Life Like SD-9 that I really like, 
but it will not negotiate the 22" radius curves.  

The word on the street is that the Walthers SD-9 will actually handle 18" radius curves.
Soooo, find a Walters SD-9 (they don't seem to run it in GN paint)
and do another shell swap.  

Reg




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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2019 04:42 pm
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Reg H
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I should never be allowed to get bored. 
It is always hard on my bank account.

After ordering up the used Kato GP-35 from eBay,
and remembering that the two Bachmann locomotives I have are GP-35's, not GP-30's,
my appetite for a nicely running GP-30 has not abated.

I went wandering on eBay looking for a good deal on a GN GP-30,
from which I could canabalize (sp?) the shell. 
I found some OK deals.  

But it occurred to me that Bachmann might sell just the shell. 
So I went to their web site and, low and behold,
they do sell, and have in stock, just the shell.

So I ordered up a GN GP-30 shell. 
Under $30 including shipping. 
Now I just hope the used GP-35 is "as advertised". 

Reg




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 Posted: Sun Oct 27th, 2019 09:23 pm
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Alan Sewell
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Hi Reg

Hope the conference went well – or as well as these things go.
I know what you mean about being stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do.
At least your solution was better than some others!! 
And should be productive.

Also hope the shell transfers etc. work out as you hope.
I tried that approach once and it was not entirely successful,
although that might be down to my lack of skill,
and desire to see the unit in operation too quickly.

Your progress on the Henderson branch is pretty impressive,
and I look forward to seeing how the logging branch and mill works out.

Sorry if I have made more work for you,
BUT you could not really have a layout inspired by John Henderson,
without a logging section!!

If I can give any info just ask.
 
I have been going through my cars,
and have come up with a number of connected log cars I want to dispose of.
Will contact you directly to see what you might be interested in.

My progress is as usual glacial but running trains is fun.
I have also acquired a couple of FreeMo modules with track etc,
as the basis of my lumber/pulp mill exhibition set up.
Hopefully doing that will not detract from progress on the home layout.

Don’t know if you have seen the latest “Trains” magazine,
but there is an article on current ops on the PS&P.
Very interesting and quite up-beat.

Best wishes

Alan ( curses ringing in my ears )


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 Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2019 05:47 pm
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Reg H
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Alan:

The conference was one of those that was jam-packed with information,
most of which I really did not want to know.
The regulators have been at work,
and the results are blowing my 2020 budget out of the roof.  


You are right, of course. 
Building a model railroad in memory of John Henderson,
without a logging operation, is really not acceptable. 

Progress has been slowed by my airbrush adventures. 
Which stem from my independent attitude,
which often leads me to believe that I know more than the experts. 
In this case, the use of dedicated cleaners for acrylic paint. 
After all, acrylics are water-based, I can clean up with water.
Not true.
 
I spent a good deal of Saturday attempting to bring my airbrush back to life. 
Despite a complete package of replacement parts, and intensive cleaning,
I could not get the airbrush to operate. 
I gave up in despair and ordered a new airbrush.  
The model railroad budget is definitely stressed. 
There is a remote chance that someday I may learn.

Some good news, the used Kato GP-35 arrived in good condition. 
It runs well, though I couldn't get it to operate on 4-digit addressing. 
Since it has the same decoder as my other two GP-35's,
I just need to fiddle with it a bit more. 
 
Regarding the shell, somebody went to a lot of work. 
It has a snow plow, lift rings, after market MU cables, and other additional details. 
It has been knocked around a bit, but I will be treating it gently for my part. 
Though I have already swiped the horns off it for one of the GN GP-35's. 
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the GP-30 shell from Bachmann.

Once I have an operational airbrush,
concentration will return to getting the logging operation further along.  

Reg




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