Author Topic: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91  (Read 3507 times)

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milw12

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Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« on: May 29, 2016, 08:18:05 AM »
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This thread will be my chronicle for my model railroading adventures, focusing on my efforts to model  the Burlington Northern in the nineties.



The first project to get is the Corn Syrup 2.0 module. As a guy who is easily overwhelmed by projects and not willing to give up much space, but still wanting to run some trains, Lance Mindheim's books and specifically his corn syrup article in MRP 2010 were a huge inspiration. This module is a Palmetto spur inspired project to act as a stepping stone to something grander in the future, to provide dense operations while minimizing just about everything else.

The overall scope of this project is based on the Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities Autumn '91. This is the first time I've strictly adhered to the ORER, which is nice for realism and helping my wallet. These projects are to look like the early nineties with as few anachronisms as possible.

Speaking of realism, as I mentioned in a previous weekend thread,
Quote
there are few to no corn syrup transfer facilities that I know of here in Minnesota, since everything is within trucking range from the production plants. I'm willing to concede a bit of prototype fidelity on an 8 1/2" x 26" (plus cassette) module for maximum operations, plus corn syrup tankers are pretty neat :drool:

Emphasis on the last line especially :)

I understand that this thinking is dangerous and leads down a road ending with double-headed Big Boys hauling intermodal hotshots from NY to LA (not that there is anything wrong with that), but as I strive for representing reality to a believable degree, it's a risk I'm willing to take.



Compliance first, fun second!
Never mind that there are no corn syrup transload facilities in MN

Enough background, on to the build:

Benchwork is 9"x 26," made from 1x2's and 1/8" MDF, cork tile on top. Fascia is 1/8" MDF glued and tacked with brads. Very basic with no topography, in order to not overwhelm my self- scenery is a huge hurdle for me. Also, there is a 36" cassette to facilitate operations ,  which I have to power at a later date.



Track will be ME code 55 with soldered feeders, a first.

Thanks for looking, I hope that you guys gain some enjoyment from my (mis)adventures.

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2016, 08:44:16 AM »
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After nearly a month, track work has commenced!

As mentioned in this week's photo thread, yesterday I successfully soldered feeders directly to the rail for the first time.



To give credit where it is due, a slightly modified technique from CSX Dixie Line was used, seen here:
http://csxdixieline.blogspot.com/2009/04/howto-solder-track-feeders.html[/url]

I bought my track before I found his post, otherwise I would have used pre-weathered ME code 55. So to keep a clean solder joint, I scribed a line between the two ties where he filed the weather off the rail, pushed the ties out of the way, and put two dabs of paint on each side to the future joint:



Worked like a charm and kept the solder in line, even with my heavy-handed attempts. and zero melted ties! score. Definitely going this route from now on over terminal joiners, highly recommend for even those, like me, who have low soldering abilities.

Of course, my attempts are not nearly as pretty as they should be, but the joints are strong and connectivity is good, so I'm happy. Plus I lucked out and all the goobers are on the outside of the rail, towards the backdrop  :D

And of course, track laying began right away.



And ran short exactly two rail joiners  :RUEffinKiddingMe:
The last siding will go in later today, then on to electrical.

Now a question, I have feeders indicated by the blue dots below:



Will I have power loss over time to the turnouts, especially the leftmost one? I didn't want to solder any feeders to the turnout for future replacement and lack of ability, but I don't like relying on rail joiners for power either. If I need to add something I'd rather do it now, but I'm not sure what. I know that this is a small project, but I'd like it to be bullet proof, and DCC-proof when I get there.

As always, thanks for looking.

Missaberoad

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2016, 07:08:28 PM »
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Looking good, and great to see some more Upper Midwest love! :) are you planing to have a small extension for operations? Or will this be simply a display module? 

There's a Transload here in Winnipeg served by BNSF, and even in your mock up you've captured the flavor of it. (Mind you its a really simple industry visually)

I took some photos of it that may be some help when it comes time to detail the scene...

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=39205.msg478184#new
Ryan in Alberta

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2016, 08:49:13 PM »
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Thanks for the reply Ryan, Midwest pride!  :ashat: And it's heartening to know that I've managed to capture the essence of it with a roughed in building and a few sticks of track. Hopefully it'll get better from here  :scared:

To answer your question, there will be a 36" removable cassette/scenic'd module to the left of this one to provide a lead for operations. Unfortunately I do not have the room for the whole shebang in one 5'-6' module, so it will have to be set up/torn down between sessions. Each track can hold 3-4 tank cars, so 36" should be more than enough for a locomotive and a few cars "staged" to start, and then for maneuvers.

And thanks for those photos, those will be invaluable when detailing rolls around, plus I didn't even know there was a facility there. There may be one in Duluth too, but it's hard to tell from Google maps. It may even become the BN in Winterpig, '91 :lol: Gotta find some of those tankers in N...

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 09:09:29 PM »
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Ryan's post made me realize two things, that I didn't post a track plan and never really discussed operations in the first post, d'oh.

Here is a very professional track plan, ready for the pages of MR:



I really have no shame

As mentioned, the cassette is 36", and the layout 9" x 26". It's about as small as I could pack this type of dense operations a still maintain a decent amount of cars, 3-4 per siding track.

Operations are based on a few resources, namely the Corn Syrup feature in MRP 2010 and Lance Mindheim's How To Operate A Modern Era Switching Layout, Lance's blog post here summarizes the philosophy behind the layout much more succinctly then I ever could. There a a few other resources scattered in the wind that I'll try to track down and share, in case someone else is interested in a similar project.  It will be operated as realistically as possible, with slow speeds, different grades of corn syrup will have different sure spots to prevent cross contamination, etc.

Modelling wise, today I built and painted a backdrop, then finished the track:



I found three railjoiners left in a pack, but one was half crushed  :? So two remaining. Perfect!

The backdrop is like the benchwork, 1 x 2 frame to prevent warping with 1/8" MDF tacked to it. It's painted Folk Art Titanium white, then Folk Art Sky Blue was worked in from the top while still wet. The Titanium really makes the sky "pop" in person, it almost glows. I think backdrop painting might be my favorite part of model railroading now, it must be all those Bob Ross shows I've watched.

As always, thanks for looking, and I hope the weather has been as great for everyone as it has been here.


Missaberoad

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2016, 11:56:16 PM »
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It may even become the BN in Winterpig, '91 :lol: Gotta find some of those tankers in N...

Oh man if you do some north of the border modeling,  you'll need to model this guy!

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4018479
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/Locopicture.aspx?id=202605

 :D </thread drift>

I remember the cars being less varied even 10 years ago, being mostly Atlas cars with lots of ADM and Minnesota Corn Producers...

 
Ryan in Alberta

nkalanaga

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2016, 12:48:39 AM »
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"double-headed Big Boys hauling intermodal hotshots from NY to LA"

The UP has run their Challenger on freight trains, including intermodals, abd they're rebuilding a Big Boy, so double-headed articulateds on a hotshot wouldn't be out of the question in a few years.
N Kalanaga
Be well

soo

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 09:32:00 AM »
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Midwest modelers rule!!!,,,,, others just drool!!

I really like the sky..looks good. Not too much..not too little.

Keep up the great work!!

See ya,
Y-It

JSL

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    • In the Heart Of BNSF Country
Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 10:22:59 AM »
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I'm digging it... Keep the updates coming.

mopacaustin

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 05:31:30 PM »
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Love how simple this is, quite inspiring...might have to do something with that inspiration lol  :ashat:

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2016, 08:33:05 PM »
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Thanks for the kind words everyone!

A quick progress shot from yesterday:



I'll start using a real camera soon, my iPhone ain't cutting the mustard

Ryan, I like it, gotta love strange Canadian laws. Even if I don't jump north of the border, I may have to take a crack modeling that locomotive, really sweet.

nkalanaga, whoops, goes to show what happens when you try to be a wise- :ashat:  Pretty cool to hear tho, never heard of that before.

Wyatt, I'm really pleased with the backdrop. For about 5 minutes of painting it almost looks like I know what I'm doing  :D

For larger work I'd probably switch to interior latex, but this craft paint combo is perfect for small stretches like these.

JSL, I'm hoping that this thread will help keep me motivated and regularly work on it. I'd like to finish a layout for once, I have a habit of losing interest right round the start of scenery  :facepalm:
 
mopacaustin, glad you like it, if I can inspire someone to start a project this layout will surpass any of my expectations. In my case, I like small manageable projects. Don't get me wrong, guys with the dedication and who can built a large layout have my respect, but no basement empires for me. A HCD and some change, much like Chris333's layout, might be as much as I'll tackle.


As always, thanks for looking!

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2016, 08:49:30 PM »
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This weekend, I gathered up enough stupidity courage to rip out my turnouts and wire them properly. Flex was hard enough, but nothing like holding a hot soldering gun and looking at ruining $42 in turnouts! :scared:



Next time I'll remove the short rails and slide flex in and save some heart ache. Basically the same techniques used for feeders on flex, just applied differently, cut and slide ties off, etc. The yellow wires are to the frogs for future juicers if/when DCC happens.

After re-gluing and realigning the track, I wired up the layout:



Suitcase connectors are way too easy, another thing I'd never go back on. Granted, this is a tiny layout but this was done in no time at all.

Lastly I painted the track and whipped up the base of the pavement around the facility:



Track is Rustoleum Dark Camo Brown and the lot is black styrene sprayed cheapo grey for a base, to be detailed more later.

I'll paint the points before long by hand, I've painted enough shut before to be wary.

Speaking of wary, ballast and actual scenery are coming up! Why do I enjoy this hobby again?  :scared:

Thanks for looking.

squirrelhunter

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2016, 12:10:39 PM »
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So I went back and re read that MRP 2010 article. Your plan looks like it will be a lot of fun to switch. Plus, who doesn't think corn syrup tankcars are neat? Now to see if there is one of these in Texas...

milw12

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2016, 07:07:23 PM »
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Thanks squirrelhunter, glad you like it. From what I gathered, these industries exist outside of the trucking range of the production plants. East coast like in the MRP article, down south, etc. I seem to remember looking at a facility in Oklahoma, so Texas isn't a stretch.

So for a while I've been considering a scenic cassette, if for the only reason that I'd rather see trains operate in nature rather than "offstage" in a traditional cassette, especially since the cassette would be half of the layout.  At first I was planning for a simple module with just the main and scenery on it, but I'm considering a new module with an added industry that can be switched with a cassette.

The cassette would be much shorter and only used to switch the new industry, the corn syrup facility should be able to be switched entirely using the new module as a lead.




Another high quality track plan, ready for the pages of Model Railroader! I should really learn to use GIMP past the basic photo editing tools

Cassette to the left, the maroon industry would be something food processing related, with corn syrup tanks (independent from the transload)/box cars/covered hoppers in.

What do you all think? yea or nay? alternatives?

squirrelhunter

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Re: Burlington Northern in the Twin Cities, '91
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2016, 04:02:12 PM »
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Maybe a beer distributorship perhaps?