Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Part III through VI of Operations Video Series Posted

Parts III through VI of the Union Pacific Railroad Geneva Subdivision Operations Video Series have been posted to YouTube over the past week. This will be it for a awhile for the series as part seven will not be posted until the first of the year. I will be posting a review of the new Athearn 30,000 gallon ethanol tanks I received a couple of days ago. That should be posted by this weekend. Here's a link to the Geneva Sub YouTube channel.

 UPRR Geneva Sub Channel


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Operations Video on YouTube Channel

   I've started on a operations video series that will eventually chronicle the operations of all trains on the N Scale Union Pacific Railroad Geneva Subdivision.  Part one is already uploaded with part two coming by this weekend.  Subscribe to the Union Pacific Geneva Subdivision YouTube channel so that you don't miss an episode.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Farm Backdrop

After putting in the cornfield backdrops last week, I decided to complete the area with a farm backdrop to go behind a laser cut barn and resin grain silo.  I scoured the internet for a farm photo that would fir the area, printed it out, laminated it, cut it out and then taped it behind the barn and silo.  To finish the area I also put in some gravel/rock around the structures and added foliage.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cornfield Video

Here's the promised video.

Cornfields on the UPRR Geneva Subdivision

   The only way I know to do plausible cornfields on a model railroad layout is..."Photo backdrop."
   Last summer I frequented a farm road overpass of the Union Pacific mainline just west of Global III.  Its a great place to watch trains as there is pretty much no traffic on the overpass and usually quite a bit of traffic on the UP mainline.  Its also surrounded by cornfields.  I used the over pass to take numerous photos of cornfields from varying angle for later use in photo backdrops.
   Today I finally got around to printing out the photos and mounting them on the backdrop between Franklin Grove and Global three.  I am pretty happy with the way they turned out.  Eventually I will use the same technique all along Global II and into Rochelle.

   In the first area I used Akeem Models brass corn rows that I salvaged from the old layout.  There are about five rows of the brass corn with the photo of actual corn behind it. 

 Here's the before pictures.

Just west of that is a farm.  I plan to use a photo of an actual farmstead behind the barn and silo. 

Here are the rest of the cornfield photo backdrops.

 Video coming soon!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saftey First

Putting some finishing touches at the Proviso Yard.  Using my computer I put together some safety slogans to match those present at the prototype Proviso Yard.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More Progress on the Proviso Crossover Walkway

I was able to finish all three stair sets for the crossover stairs at Proviso.  The stairs that came with the kit did not quite reach the walkway so I had to order some additional stairs that were long enough to reach.  With the structure itself complete, I still need to add the safety slogans to the walkway.  "STOP THINK POST?" and "Is It In The Clear?"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trailer Offices for Proviso Yard

I used a couple of TrainCat 40ft Construction Trailer kits to put some more yard offices  in proviso yard.  Also included is s prototype photo of one of the trailers in Proviso.  The kits went together pretty well.  Took about 5 hours total including painting and installation on the layout.  A fun Saturday afternoon.  Now I'm off to watch some football.  Go Chiefs!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Video

A new video has been added to the UPRR Geneva Sub YouTube channel.  Check it out.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I am adding the Proviso Yard walkway using three sets of crossover stairs from TrainCat.  The TrainCat kits are designed for use with their tank loading/unloading platforms.  Although they are not a perfect fit for the prototype walkway, they capture the look and function of the walkway very well.  There will eventually be three sets of stairs matching the prototype.  I will also be adding the safety slogans.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Utility Poles Installed and Wired

I completed installation of 72 utility poles in the Proviso, Clinton and Fulton area of the layout.  The poles have four wires each using .003 charcoal EZ Line.  I figure that comes to 2800 scale feet of wire or over 5 scale miles.  Definitely make the scenes look more complete, congested and detailed.  I definitely recommend the elastic EZ Line from Berkshire Junction.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Telephone Poles or "Spot the Telephone Wires"

   I added a bunch of telephone poles to the layout in Proviso, Clinton and Fulton.  Wires were also added using EZ Lines from Berkshire Junction.  I used the .003 charcoal line which scales out to 1/2 inch wire.  I figured that was pretty close to most common telephone line.   I've got to say .003 inches is really, really small.  I had no difficulty working with it as it installed in a snap using fast setting CA glue. But once installed, its pretty difficult to see from normal view distances.  Depending on the background, some lines were easier to see than others.  And as you can see from the photos they don't show up much at all. 
   So, I am considering moving up to .006 which would scale out to 1 inch wire. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Proviso Overpass Area Detailing

Added some trees along the backdrop and striping to the road.  Probably could use some weathering and graffiti, too.  For the road striping I used pinstripe tape from line-o-tape,  7911 S. Suburban Road, Cleveland, OH 45458

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Proviso Yard Office

I put in a parking lot and added some roof details to the Proviso Yard office. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wheat Field Update

I was driving to DeKalb the other day when I glanced at a number of wheat fields that had been harvested.  I immediately noticed that the fields still contained some wheat chaff on the ground.  The ground was not just dirt like I modeled on my wheat field.  So, I went back and added some leftover chaff on the areas of the field harvested.  Below are the results.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Now on Twitter!

  Yes, I'm going to give Twitter a try.  I'll be posting train related stuff, N scale modelling as well as prototype stuff.  Follow me @UPRRGenSub or use the button to the left.  I'm very new to this so it could be interesting.  I will be posting pictures from a very famous N scale layout tomorrow.  Watch for it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kudos to Fox Valley Models for ES44 Gevo Improvements

Over three years ago, I purchased a couple of the first run Fox Valley Models ES44 Gevo locomotives. The models are beautifully done with a great paint job, nice added decals and painted safety handrails and steps.  They are a step above the Kato Gevos in looks and run nearly as smoothly.  There is one major problem with the Fox Valley Models Gevos that stopped me from purchasing more then the initial two.  The ditch lights are way too dim.  The first picture below shows them right out of the box while the second shows them with some fiddling with the aim of the LED and replacing the LED.  Fiddling made them acceptable,but they still were not as good as Kato ditch lights.

   Then last week a friend brought over a Fox Valley Models ES44 Gevo Norfolk Southern "Nickle Plate Road" Heritage unit to run on the layout.  The first thing I noticed was the the ditch lights were as bright as the headlight and the number boards were also lit up nicely; enough to be seen, but not too bright.  The second thing I noticed it that it ran as smoothly if not smoother than my Katos.  I was impressed.  Fox Valley Models had obviously made some improvements since the first run.

  So, I purchased a  couple of Union Pacific units from MB Klien that happened to be on clearance for only $79.99 along with a couple of Digitrax DNZ125IN decoders.  These too are a great improvement over the first run units I have.  Thank you Fox Valley Models for making improvements in an already good model.  I am disappointed that your GP60 and SD70Ace are not being offered in Union Pacific.

Now I off to do some weathering!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Slow Summer Time Progress

Well, here it is the middle of summer and not much has really been accomplished on the railroad.  Summer is usually the most productive for me as its the time of year I have the most free time.  We've been travelling a lot this year plus doing some home improvement projects so progress on the layout has been slower than usual.  Work is proceeding on three projects however.  The Proviso overpass, a wheat field and Proviso yard offices.

I've already posted about the overpass.  Here's an updated photo with the overpass painted Floquil concrete lightened up a bit with reefer white.  I still need to add road lines.  Using a mirror means I will not be able to put any vehicles on the overpass.

I also put a wheat field in an empty are between Rochelle and Global III.  Corn fields are much more prevalent here in northern Illinois than wheat fields, but I find corn fields impossible to do convincingly so I plan to regulate corn fields to photo backdrops.  For the wheat field, I first filled in the area with additional plaster and leveled it off.  I added one more thin layer of plaster and used the teeth of a broken keyhole saw blade to simulate furrows in the soil for about a third of the field.  After painting the plaster with dirt brown latex paint, I added Woodland Scenics harvest gold static grass to simulate the unharvested wheat.  

A new project I just started is the Proviso yard office.  Using pictures of the prototype office, I scratch-built the office using .030 styrene laminated with JTT brick sheet.  The structure also uses Grant Line windows and and doors.  I will be working on the parking lot next and then details.

I did something different for the roof.  As you can see from the satellite photo of the building, the roof uses a white plastic roofing material that has seams.

I tried to simulate this by using a black ball point pen to draw the seam lines and then airbrushed the roof a very, very light grey color so that the seam lines still showed through.  Probably should have used a darker grey, but I think it turned out pretty good.  I may add some weathering to darken it up a bit.

I also added the smaller BLMA yard office next to the yard tower. I'll post later about the building in the background later.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Proviso Highway Overpass (or How to Hide a Hole in the Wall)

   I have quite a few cases on the layout where trains travel through walls.  The biggest hole is just west of Proviso where the hole contains the mainline, staging tracks and a yard lead, seven tracks in all. 
   To hide the hole, I modeled the Manheim Road overpass right next to the wall.  Helping the overall effect is a mirror and parking lot.  The mirror is from Lowes.  It is 20"X24" and cost $14.  I had a local hardware store cut it to 20"X16" so that it fit the location better.  In my visits to Proviso, I noticed a number of parking lots surrounding the yard that are used for storage of unused containers and trailers. I decided this would be a great location to add one of these lots. 
  The bridge itself is made from styrene sheet and Plastruct structural I beams.  I laminated four styrene sheets to make the bridge supports.  There are a bit odd looking but prototypical as you can see from the prototype picture. 
   For the parking lot I first used regular plaster to level out the area and then applied a coat of Woodland Scenics Smooth-It for the finished parking lot surface.
   I still need to paint the bridge and weather the parking lot.