Author Topic: Grand Trunk Southern  (Read 18536 times)

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shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #105 on: March 17, 2024, 03:52:24 PM »
+3
In these final four pictures I have just some random examples of cars that were lightly weathered.  As a general rule of thumb I plan to weather cars lightly unless I have something very specific in mind.  I use prototype photos from one of a number of online freight car sites and try to replicate them.  So far I am impressed with the ease of using Panpastels and the ability to clean the car off and do it over if I’m unhappy.  Like everything else in this hobby, it’s a learning process.

A blue GT gondola



The 3 CN cars are in pulp service, the CP car at the rear is in general service.  The are good examples of what I mean by light weathering.



Another lightly weathered CP car.



This photo shows a N&W car with slightly heavier weathering and it can be compared to the unweathered car next to it. 



Only 400 more cars to go. 

Bendtracker1

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #106 on: March 17, 2024, 04:22:07 PM »
0
Very nice subtle weathering you achieved shark!
Keep it up. 

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #107 on: April 04, 2024, 04:19:57 PM »
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Today's post is not about the Grand Trunk Southern.  It is in a brief hiatus as my wife has encountered some health issues and they are my #1 priority for the immediate future.  She got great care and the problems hopefully are not long term.  Today's post is about the Atlantic Superior Transportation Co.  or as it is know in these parts, the ASTX.  The ASTX was a profitable and efficient railroad company back in 2006 when its principal owner encountered some major life changes and it went into what became slightly more than a 15 year hiatus.  Like the phoenix however the ASTX is once again rising from the ashes.  In this short series of posts I will share with you what is currently happening and share some photos of its current state.  Justin's modeling time is limited as he is a Landscape Architect and the middle of winter, roughly 2 months is the only time he really has time for the layout.  So this winter we went like mad to get a lot down and the entire layout is up and operational.  Trains are running again on the ASTX.

The owner of the ASTX is the person I have referred to in some of my previous posts as my "track guru", Justin Parry.  Justin is modeling the area north of superior and in particular the area around Thunder Bay.  The ASTX is a competitor here in Canada to the Canadian Pacific and the CN.  It has partnerships with Burlington Northern and Union Pacific through a number of gateways.  The layout is 3 levels with the lower level having an out and back running feature which effectively makes it 4 levels.  The pre 2006 layout staged 120 unique trains, Justin has downsized this layout and it will stage around 70 unique trains.  Later, in the posts I will share a photo of the string diagram I created for that 2006 layout.   The layout uses Atlas Code 55 track on the visible layout and Peco Code 80 track in the staging yards.  Turnouts are controlled by tortoise machines and stationary decoders on the mainline which will be computer controlled by the dispatcher.  Locomotive control is Digitrax DCC.

Photo 1:  The layout is located in the basement of Justin's home and to enter it you go down a flight of stairs.  He wanted to created an eye catching signature scene at the bottom of the stairs and in this photo you can see imagine what it will look like as you see the early construction stages.  The track across the bridge goes through a tunnel and into the mid level staging yard in an adjacent room.  The track which you cannot see at the top goes into the top level staging yard.  We have had numerous discussions how to hide a small fascia on that level so it blends into the signature scene.  The bottom level can be seen coming around a curve and transiting under the signature scene into the lower level tunnel.  Once the scenery is finished and the river poured this scene should be quite stunning.



Photo 2:  To our immediate left as we were facing the signature scene, we see the only helix which is in the main layout room.  It connects levels 2 and 3.  The opening at the left of the backdrop is deliberate so that a train going up or down the helix can be viewed.  In the 2006 iteration of the layout there were 3 helices in the main room, but Justin redesigned and rebuilt the layout to eliminate 2 of them. 



Photo 3:  In the adjacent room to the right of the signature scene are the staging yards and a dock area and the major helix on the layout.  This photo shows all 3 staging yards.  The staging yards comprise large return loops.  If you look a the right side of the photo the yard tracks are looping around a large helix and returning to the same yard.  This means that 2 trains are staged on each track.  The yard is controlled by stationary decoders and routes have been setup for each yard track which will eventually be controlled by the dispatcher on a computer.  For now you dial in the route on your digitrax throttle.  We will be able to stage 70 unique trains from these yards. 



Photo 4:  There is a lot to see in this photo.  I will try to unpackage it.  I helped Justin with the routing of these yards and I still get confused at times.  The helix joins Level 1 to Level 2, Level 2 to Level 3, and there is an option to go from Level 1 to Level 3.  There is also the potential for 3 tracks worth of staging within this monster of a helix.  The foreground tracks are the entry staging tracks for the middle level.  The tracks at the rear are the same tracks as the foreground as they have circled around behind the helix and they represent the outbound tracks for the middle level.  The tracks in the centre are going into the helix down to Level 1.  The tracks on which you see the potash train and the bulkhead flats are the tracks which go up to Level 3. 



Photo Miscellaneous:  I call this miscellaneous photo since I added it late and don't want to mess up my numbering system.   This photo shows the string diagram I created in 2006 for the last iteration of the ASTX which ran 120 unique trains from these staging yards.  The string diagram is taped up on the fascia of my Grand Trunk Southern.  It just underscores the complexity of a layout of this size.



Photo 5:  This is the final photo of this post and the last taken in the adjacent room before we return to the main room.  This area will represent Thunder Bay docks and there will be a large grain elevator complex and unit grain, ore and coal trains will terminate here.





shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #108 on: April 04, 2024, 04:36:31 PM »
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We continue our tour of the under construction ASTX of Justin Parry. 

Photo 6:  This was one of the major projects this winter.  We are back in the main room and we are just to the left of the entry stairs.  On my immediate left just out of view is the helix between levels 2 and 3 we saw in the last post.  Justin called me in early December and he had started running trains out of the helix and he was experiencing string lining as the trains left the helix and entered on to level 3.  The design was such that we had inadvertently created an "S" curve even though it had a good 15 to 20 inches of tangent and an 18 inch radius curve, trains on the grade under load didn't like it.  Between us we redesigned this helix exit creating a 4 ft straight away before entering this gently curve.  In a matter of several days Justin had torn out 10 to 12 feet of layout, rebuilt it, relaid and rewired the track, moved the backdrop on the bottom forward some 6 to 8 inches and the layout was back in business.  Not only do the trains not stringline but scenically this is going to be quite the nice area. 



Photo 7:  In this photo we can see the west wall of the main room.  The photo shows the Thunder Bay intermodal yard on level 2, you can see the upper level and you get a brief  view of the lower level.



Photo 8:  This photo shows the north wall of the layout room.  On the left of level 2 is the Thunder Bay local yard, you can see the mainline on the upper level and the mainline on the lower level.



Photo 9:  This photo shows the east wall of the layout room on which a large paper mill is located on Level 2 as well as the mainlines on the upper and lower levels.




shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #109 on: April 04, 2024, 04:43:09 PM »
+1
Photo 10:  Here we see Justin watching an intemodal running on Level 3 after having successfully transited the new trackage coming from the helix.



Photo 11:  In this photo we see a Potash unit train on the bottom level.  you can see the two levels on the bottom which are joined by a return loop to the left of the photo under the helix joining Levels 2 and 3.



Photo 12:  Here we see a number of units delivered from the manufacturer in primer gray wating for the ASTX to shop them and paint them in ASTX colours, leading an intermodal through the newly relaid trackage and into the helix.

 

The layout also has an island area with a number of large industries which I did not photograph.  Not sure why.  In any event, Wednesday night next week is at Justins so I will see what I can capture.