Author Topic: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"  (Read 174524 times)

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C855B

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Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« on: May 03, 2012, 12:20:08 AM »
+1
Discussed in a thread three weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity today to look at the large space this afternoon. It's huge, it is literally an old warehouse - 62' x 155'. I can have some or all.   :drool: :drool: :drool:   Yes, it's the second floor, but it has a drive-up ramp, apparently an old-world way of doing things. Public access, once we get to that point, would be through the storefront below. Not conditioned, it would have to be heated... maybe or maybe not cooled, the roof was recently insulated and painted white. It was amazingly cool on this 90° day. OK view of the tracks (CN, NS & BNSF, good for 40-45 trains a day), interrupted by the building across the street. Roof might have a better view, so possibility for a webcam.

Cost and terms haven't been broached since I have to first figure out how much of it I can practically use. Possible gotcha is the owner/friend said he had somebody expressing interest in developing the upstairs space into "loft" condos. I asked "How serious?", and it was "Not very, years away if at all." Unlikely; ours is not a "growth" community by any means, with scads of surplus properties - not a condo market by any stretch. Other gotcha is my friend is 88.

My thinking at the moment is to use a 46'x60' chunk at the front, where the windows are. There is a 16'x50' storage space somebody else subdivided at the front where I could use the common wall and go back a little further. I would have to plan around the huge staircase to the roof, on the right in the pic below, as well as the columns.

This is versus buying a small lot down the street from the house and putting up a metal building. This lot is listed for only $10K and is right next to those busy tracks, but it has four abandoned buildings on it with what I suspect will be asbestos abatement issues - so another $15-20K to clear the lot, which is 3X bigger than what I would want to maintain, anyway. [sigh]

Anyway, a phone photo of the upstairs space:



Oh... I forgot to mention that I won't be able to do anything with or about it for a month or more; health issues. Best estimates place it as an August start.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 12:40:34 AM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

3DTrains

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 12:11:30 PM »
0
Nice - perfect for a near-scale version of Tehachapi Pass! ;)

If you have a crew to help out, I say go for it, but design the layout in phases so that the first phase takes up no more than say 15~20% of the space. That'll keep you and friends busy for a while, and if any of those "gotchas" arise you won't be out as much time, effort and $$. As time goes, add to it in equal amounts. Great space. Good luck!

Cheers!
Marc - Riverside

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 12:17:47 PM »
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Wow.  I have to be honest, I look at that space and the first thing that goes through my mind is "work".   

My guess is that you'd be looking at years of dedicated time to get something installed that was worthy of the vast space.  But first, you'd be looking at several person-months to get the space to the point where you wanted to spend much time there.  Are you sure you have the time, the resources, and the desire?  If you have health issues on top of that, I'd be very wary of this proposition.

I don't mean to dissuade you at all, because the up-sides are huge.  I'm just giving you my gut reaction.

Cheers,
Gary

P.S. I'm very happy with my warm, bright 10x20 space that is a few steps from my back door.  :)

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 01:12:17 PM »
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Still trying to recruit help. I've been asking, but area railfans really don't seem to be into modeling, although a couple of 'em are certainly willing to spend entire days parked by the tracks sitting on their hands between trains. I'm stymied by no LHS to put the word out.

I was surprised by the great condition of the walls and floors. There being a lot of old (1900-1920) buildings in town, I was anticipating major issues, but like I said there's a new roof, new windows across the front, and freshly-sealed masonry. My friend was apparently serious about not letting it moulder like so many of the other buildings in town. I figure my improvements to the defined space will be to drywall up to 10' and put in a grid ceiling with insulation on top. That'll make it easier to heat. I'll have to work the numbers, and obviously that kind of improvement will require a long-term lease. As to executing the space improvements, I'll be hiring that out, which, really, is no different than contracting to add a room to one's house.

I might reduce my space to just up to the stairs. That would make it roughly 46'x50' and reduce complexity. So next visit will have to be with a tape measure.

Thanks for the advice about gradual expansion. My stomach-sinking thought was to do the plan, execute the entire benchwork, then start the arduous task of getting track down and scenery up. Doing it in phases gets a running layout and makes the full plan less daunting. I'm still assessing a modular frame and base design which would facilitate breaking down the layout in a day or two to move elsewhere, "just in case". The "wide aisles" advice in the other thread is being taken to heart as I put my vision to paper.

Health issues are temporary, Gary. It's for an acute condition, just post-surgery downtime restricting physical activity.

For fun, from my railroad's namesake:



« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 04:49:45 AM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 07:22:15 PM »
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Change of plans.

I just bought a post-frame building, 55'x80' (14' high), across the street from the space shown above. It already has HVAC and restrooms. The current retail space will need to be gutted and the 10'x10' roll-up door restored, plus it could stand exterior paint and other fixups. We agreed on a 60-day closing so they could clear stock.

This will be a combination shop, office and layout space. How much will be devoted to the layout will change with the winds, time and energy.

A view of the building from the tracks, it's the red and white metal shed on the left:



Back and front views. Sorry for the super-lousy iPhone pix:





...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 01:36:39 PM »
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An exciting day yesterday. We made several trips to the building while the store was open, to verify a few things and take measurements, and to tender the check for the earnest money. The sellers were already prepping for their exit as they have been ready to retire for a while, and chatted us up with bits of helpful knowledge. I told them we're willing to give them ample latitude to clear their inventory, volunteering "August 1", but they shook their heads, "We want to be out and done long before then. We're tired." I smiled, with "No pressure. Get the best value you can."

My original exterior size estimate was a little off, it's actually 46'x68'. It turns out we can save a lot of work using some of the existing space divisions. For example, it would be easy to convert the separate his/her restrooms to a common unisex, to which we can then add a shower. One office area can be left as an office, the other will become a "crew lounge". The biggest challenge is going to be moving the HVAC. The air handler is on a mezzanine which intrudes badly into the overhead space, space that I would like to be able to extend up for the main room. Same goes for the ductwork, which is below the trusses. I want to be able to suspend a grid from the trusses and route the ductwork through the attic. Building could stand exterior painting, and we already started asking around for referrals.

The area over the office, lounge and restrooms can be easily converted into loft space for my wife's art studio, between the south wall and the first roof truss. I should be able to put the air handler on the west side of that loft, saving a whole bunch of construction.

Total free floor space in the de-partitioned area will be very roughly 45'x 58'. I will need to reserve a 15x15 chunk of that for workshop and access to the roll-up door. There's a fair amount of construction and demolition work ahead, but no more than, say, rehabbing a basement. It's all manageable, a heckuva lot more manageable than the barn at our old house that had major structural issues, with a level floor or plumb wall nowhere to be found.

One planned railroad amenity on the sketchboard is an observation deck in the northwest corner, the one you see from the tracks in the first picture. A mezzanine with an overhead view of the layout space and windows facing the tracks will be a railfan two-fer. I'd like to put a railcam on a tower in that corner; I already have the tower. The lot is 3/4 of an acre which is mostly gravel right now, she is thinking a small park setting, and I'm thinking displaying some of my signal collection.

(To put to rest the "Holy cow! We're talking big bucks here!"... nope. Not at all. Cheaper than adding on to the house, a lot cheaper. We live in a classic Midwest small town hit very, very hard by the manufacturing exodus overseas, and we're too far away from "the big city" for commuters. So property values are in the dumper, especially for commercial-type properties like this. Since I am semi-retired and already working from home, this was pretty darn close to what we were looking for if we built from scratch, and at about half the money. Plus, it's next to the tracks, and eight blocks from the house. I'll take it.)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 01:43:22 PM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Scottl

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 01:47:06 PM »
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Sounds great.  That is a big space- hopefully you can attract a crew to help populate the lounge space on occasion and to help with building the layout.  I think we all dream of a space like that, but it will be a major undertaking, even full time.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 02:50:35 PM »
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Congratulations!  This looks like a much better option than the other space up-thread.  Having studio space for your wife is quite nice too.  What are the prospects for getting a crew of modelers over for construction and (especially) ops?  The latter should have a big impact on the style of pike you design.

-Gary

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2012, 03:13:20 PM »
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Thanks, Scott & Gary. The most promising thing about this versus what I was envisioning before is that this is my space. I don't have to spend the next 10+ years on pins and needles wondering when my benefactor (or his heirs) were going to need me to move. This also means I don't have to go nuts trying to engineer something I can relocate on short notice. Benchwork should go together much, much faster and be significantly less expensive. Anticipating a summer full of tradesmen (and my own sweat) getting the interior rearranged to order, I figure on late fall before starting the actual layout.

This is definitely the layout opportunity of a lifetime. A couple of members of the N club I belong to know it's in the works. Unfortunately they're all 90 miles away, so layout weekends, at least with their help, will likely be few and far between.

Ops? What ops?  :trollface:  Since my objective is essentially snapshots of the 1970 UP main between Omaha and L.A., emphasis on the LA&SL, it's going to be predominately mainline with spotty industries along the way - grain elevators, the Sinclair refinery in Wyoming, maybe a quarry or two. UP was mostly a "pipeline" railroad then, moving as much as possible as fast as possible, don't-bog-me-down-with-switching-work-[phooey]. While a lot of train running will be to set throttles and sit lineside for railfanning, I do anticipate the possibility of some JMRI automation for the mainline action, allowing some activity while I duck out of the way with a local or industrial job. There WILL be liberally-located panic buttons.  :D
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 02:39:56 AM »
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With the building in the works, I spent my evening "imagineering". No sketches yet, but at least a list of feature points to mull. East to west:

Gibbon – junction opportunity, grain elevator, small main street facing tracks
Cozad – big grain elevator, feature depot, main street facing tracks
(skip North Platte, can’t do it justice)
Hershey – junction opportunity, grain elevator, main street perpendicular to tracks
 (possibility of branchline in the “hills” to Gering and connecting back at Cheyenne?)
Gibbon to Hershey is 3-track mainline with wye at Hershey, scenery is flat prairie
Cheyenne – yard and shops, junction for branchline to Gering, junction opportunity, interchange with C&S, modeling station would be a huge undertaking
Sinclair – refinery
Green River – yard
Wasatch – rock-face cliffs, grades, tunnel(s)?
Salt Lake City (paraphrase) – junction opportunities, interchange with SP, Provo Canyon line split, iron ore mines, steel mills
Hershey to SLC is double-track main and transitions from prairie to mesas to rock-face mountains
Provo Canyon – scenery
St. George (junction) – stub branchline, small station, grain elevator
Caliente – scenery, small station, nice truss bridge
(Las Vegas if insanity steps in – yard opportunity, and lots of blinky lights)
Cima – picturesque grade wrapping around hill
Kelso – gorgeous Mission Revival station in the middle of nowhere
Basin – quarry
Afton Canyon – lots of bridges crossing the wash
Yermo – yard, nice station, Marines depot
Daggett – junction opportunity, ATSF interchange
SLC to Daggett is single-track, arid plains to desert
(skip Barstow)
Victorville – (maybe) cement plant, narrow gauge opportunity
Colton – (maybe) SP interchange, some local industries
Riverside Tower – junction opportunity
Daggett to Riverside is double-track, starting desert, ending SoCal metro
Pomona – my favorite S-curves, Chino branch
Los Angeles – nondescript yard good for staging
Riverside to L.A. is single-track, suburbs and industrial

Other Notes
Contrive a connection from L.A. to Gibbon, making it possible to run one unsupervised train the entire length of the combined mainlines.
Try to break down the geo regions into separate operable loops.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 02:44:42 AM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 01:09:30 PM »
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Note to self: Gibbon and Cozad can be the same town, Gibbon being the junction. If you've ever been to both, if it wasn't for the "100th Meridian" sign and the preserved depot, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. All those Nebraska corn belt towns along US30 look alike.  :P
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 10:09:09 AM »
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I was just reading Daniel's "Boston" blog, and noted the contrast in the permit and inspection requirements many (most?) of you face in upgrading or modifying space for your layouts. I have none. Seriously.

Not to boast... more like relief... I had a chat with our city's code enforcement head on Monday specifically to ask about what permits and inspections I'm going to need to modify my building, mostly moving walls around. He said "Nothing! Not a thing." He said as long as I'm not adding to the building or making modifications to accommodate public, commercial access that I am free to do as I please. He was also genuinely interested about my plans for a model train layout.

I find the big-city/small-town contrast interesting. A lot of you guys really have to toe the line with inspectors for a lot of trivial stuff, OTOH, it sure does explain a lot of the ramshackle properties we scowl at in our jaunts about town. Double-edged sword, in both situations.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 01:59:00 PM »
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We (my wife and I) have been discussing upgrading the HVAC in the new building (hereafter referred to as "the studio"). We have concerns that the current system is under-capacity for our plans to expand the conditioned space. On the kitchen counter, the current Costco coupon book was opened to a page highlighting a big discount on Lennox systems:

Me: "Dear, is there a reason the Costco flyer is turned to this Lennox thing?

Her: "I thought you might want to know about this. It's only good through the 3rd, however."

M: "Well, aside from it being too soon, it's not going to work for us."

H: "Why's that?"

M: "There's only one type that we can use in the studio."

H: "Huh? What's that?"

M: "A Trane."

H: "Ewwwww! I stepped right into that!"

 :facepalm:  :trollface:
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 02:02:29 PM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 12:30:22 PM »
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A little bit of progress to report this week. Stumbled into a deal on a boatload of Arizona Rock & Mineral crushed rock, in just the right combination of colors and textures for my region(s). First serious purchase specifically for the layout! w00t!

We priced painting the exterior (ouch!), and talked to the sellers about our coming by today to spray Round-Up on the poison ivy around the base of the building so it would be less of a hazard when we dealt with the small bit of brush around the exterior. The sellers are itching (ha!) to get out and get their money, but their "junque" is so out-of-control that it is a monstrous task. There's 3000 sq.ft. of this crap, piled to the ceiling in some rooms, and it is skip loader material. I have the sense they're realizing they don't have the time or energy to deal with it. We may have to negotiate the price down if it becomes our job to dispose of it all; sadly, they think it has value, so it will be a tough conversation to have.

Biggest pending checklist item is having "the talk" with my boss about my retiring. He's been avoiding it all week. :D  (EDIT - He took it like a trouper. We compromised on a partial retirement so I could support an important client through the end of their contract. Win-win-win.)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 01:53:10 PM by C855B »
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

JSL

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 03:38:55 PM »
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That's great to hear! Partial retirment is better than not at all. Keep the update's coming. This is going to be a good layout engineering thread :)