Author Topic: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout  (Read 2930 times)

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soo

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2019, 08:43:50 PM »
+1
Lucas,
    Nice work!! Sweet and simple.
I am curious to see how big the actual structures are going to be. I love in N scale how we as modelers can make the buildings dwarf the rolling stock.

  Laters, Wyatt

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2019, 07:30:53 PM »
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Thanks Wyatt! I agree, it's important to capture the mass of the surroundings. Even with the layout as it is, mock grey paint pavement and track, the trains look small so it seems I'm on the right path.

Disaster!



While testing the track, my trusty GP40 kept picking the points on this turnout. After investigating, it appeared that a slight vertical bow in the turnout (it was used on one of my previous layouts) was lifting the points just enough to catch the lead truck and send the works down the wrong track. I tried to apply a little pressure on the throw bar, just to see, and it must have been more than a little pressure. :scared: It snapped, sending bits of plastic everywhere. Needless to say I grabbed a cold one and let the layout sit a few days.

Yesterday I prepped another turnout (luckily I had a spare), replaced the old one and rewired. It's operable, knock on wood.



Also added the fascia, needs some work yet but already looks way better:



Thanks for looking,
Lucas

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2019, 09:19:35 PM »
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So I was beating my head against the wall a bit over the cassette, over thinking and over engineering it. Recently over at the proto boards someone was in the same boat as me. One of the first reasonable suggestions was "door hinge."  :facepalm:

So I trimmed a piano hinge down, mounted it to my 1/8" hardboard and aluminum angle (stiffeners and guard rails) cassette, mounted it and it was off to the races:











Power transfers from two railjoiners slipped into place, and a bracket will replace the current jenga tower support soon. Works like a charm- I can finally operate!

Lucas

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2019, 09:05:29 AM »
0
The other day I was biking past Weyerhauser, the construction on the new apartments is expanding and another building is being demolished. Drove back later and snapped some pictures (I'm not one to stop a good ride for something like a picture  :D )



This is a huge windfall, I'll have a few open buildings and these details will help when it comes time to start building structures.

-Lucas

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2019, 07:55:34 PM »
+1
The past week has been big for modelling, mostly due to the rainy weather. Unfortunately most of the progress doesn't photograph well! Fair warning, it's a novel.

I may have mentioned it, but I finally sprung for an NCE Power Pro system after having a good hands-on experience with DCC. It was one of those things that's always been on the list but put off due to initial cost. So in order to get the layout ready, I had to spruce up the electronics. I missed some jumper feeders on two old, pre-DCC, ME turnouts I used (I had already isolated the frogs), so dropped those in. Noticed the throwbars were a very solid, non-isolated brass bar, so removed those and installed a new notched PC board throwbar. After all that work, next time I'll just handlay my turnouts ;)



Of course I had decided when I built this layout that it wasn't going to be the one I'd jump to DCC on, so I had to solder feeders to the frogs on all six already-installed turnouts for the frog juicers (an absolute must for me with DCC), only melted one tie tho, which will be buried in pavement anyway! And the Tam Valley Juicers needed a separate bus line, so I added that with suitcase connectors for the feeders, then used double-sided foam tape to fix the juicers in place. Tidied wiring, resoldered one feeder that broke, and added a SPST switch on one end of the layout for good measure.



Hardly an IBM mainframe but it works. I have no idea how those guys with neat wiring do it. Something to aspire to at least, but I'm no electrician anyway. Ran out of cable ties, but have added those since the picture was taken.

Being that the frogs are massive heat sinks and I don't have a resistance soldering rig yet, a lot of flux and gunk got on the rails. I needed to clean the track, probably my least favorite task in the hobby. So I try to be as economical about it as possible- usually once after initial build for testing, then again after painting and ballasting, then as needed. Next step then while the track is dirty is painting and ballasting. I painted the track Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, a good grimy black color, then picked out a few ties in the ballasted section with some other shades. I already used ME weathered Code 55, but wanted black to paint the turnouts to match, keep any shine down, and to improve looks when the rails are buried in the pavement.

As for ballast, this is what I'm working with:



As you can see, I circled the approach, which will be the only part of the layout not under pavement. The plan is a few foreground trees and underbrush to help the transition to the cassette. Possibly a small rise in elevation, I remember a low slope (and a homeless camp) to the north walking the tracks a few weeks ago, forgot to take pictures naturally.



I ballasted the approach with a 50/50 Scencic Express soil and Arizona Rock ballast, CSX grey if I remember correctly. Given that in reality this was a small industrial branch on a local shortline so I didn't want it manicured. The rails were cast in 1909 so there's that too :D

So with track detailing that out of the way, I cleaned the track with the only method I've had success with, a couple passes with a bright boy, then hand polishing every inch of rail, at least three times, with the shaft of a cut-off q-tip dipped in 90% alcohol. Once the q-tip is black, trim it back, dip and repeat. Then as the locomotives flicker and stall give those areas some more TLC.



Very labor intenstive. I also clean my locomotive wheels before they hit the layout and rolling stock after the wheelsets are painted. And every individual rail has a feeder soldered to it. Can you tell I hate power drops? :facepalm: Really looking forward to adding some stay/keep-alive capacitors to the locomotives now that I can.

I had the DCC system, the layout was electrically ready, just needed a locomotive. Chose the pride of my fleet, a Milwaukee GP-40 painted by Bill Denton. This way before Atlas announced the Milwaukee non-DB GP's too. The long wheel base, solid heft, known quality running with DC operations, and drop-in decoder made it an shoo-in for the first. A new TCS AMD4 and some Kapton tape and she was ready.



Set up the power pro and programming track, got confused with CV's a couple times, and a few factory resets later finally got headlight control, brightness and locomotive momentum where I wanted it. Ran the locomotive with the Power Cab throttle and was amazed at how smooth and quiet the locomotive ran. It's finally the quality of running I've been trying to achieve for years, even with a quality DC throttle, needless I am sold on DCC. Now the fun part, and the real reason for all this, I also set up my new wireless Iowa Scaled Engineering Protothrottle. Granted I can't use the bells and whistles (literally) with my silent decoder. Yeah its a lot to hold, and more than my minimalist sensibilities prefer, but you don't really notice it while operating. It just fun to use, you know?

Once the new Loksound Micros are in stock I'll handle the silence issue. I have a VO-1000, RSD-4/5 and a GP-30 that are candidates for a sound install. Naturally, they are all small, challenging locomotives. Might hire the first one out, we'll see once I get there.

tl;dr, I have DCC now

Thanks for reading!

Lucas

freedj

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2019, 10:53:12 AM »
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That sounds like fantastic progress!  I’ll have to try the qtip method for track cleaning.

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2019, 07:38:32 PM »
+1
Freedj, thanks! A cold one and some music helps with how tedious it is, but it works.

My usual MHAPO/ Google Earth aerials left me hanging on a gap from 1964 to 1991, and of course I chose to model the dead center of that range, and a lot of development happened over the years. Ramsey County pulled through with an excellent GIS/aerial resource available to the public.

Up until at least 1974, a building with a few tracks running into it existed in the same spot where the single trailing track for flats was in more recent years (North is the top of these pictures):



By 1985, the building was gone, more land was developed and a more familiar track arrangement has appeared:



With the current information, to be truly prototypical, the earliest I could model is 1985, the last few years of the Minnesota Transfer. I have an undec shell and a TCS decoder to convert one of my SW1500 to the Transfer. Now to find a good image of the Transfer logo for decal purposes and figure out the tiger stripes. When I'm not feeling like a stick in the mud, it was possible that a short line like the Transfer would occasional lease a locomotive from one of the owner railroads, and the Milwaukee had one last VO-1000 left up until 75 or 76, hidden as unit 908 among the S-12s. Unlikely yes, but I love my Baldwin, and it would scratch that mid/late 1970's itch I've had lately.

wcfn100

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2019, 10:43:51 PM »
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Now to find a good image of the Transfer logo for decal purposes

I've got a pretty good one saved but I can't remember who it's from so I don't want to post it just yet.  Let me see if I can track down where I got it.

So it looks like I got it from the Minnesota Commercial Railway facebook page so I think it would be okay to post here.



There's a couple other good ones in the FB photo album if you're on there.

Jason
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 02:12:37 AM by wcfn100 »

diezmon

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2019, 01:04:58 PM »
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How did I miss this thread? ;)    My band practice space is right near there.  Let me know if you need any recon photos.   :D

Bryn

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2019, 02:02:32 PM »
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Lucas,

I’ve just been catching up this, always great to see some N Scale Milw! I’ve recently finished a mini layout of the engine house at St Paul, it’s an interesting area to model through out the Milwaukee era. Keep up the good work and I look forward to more updates.

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2019, 09:27:33 PM »
+2
Jason- thank you. I haven't had a facebook since college- 2011? Hope I'm not missing too much. I always liked that logo since I first saw it.

Tim, thanks! Good to hear from you. Band space must be in the old Case building down the block? It's a cool area, edge of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, right off of University and the old commercial/industrial districts and then residental homes right across the street.

Bryn, as a true Saint Paul local, you have no idea how proud I am that there are two St. Paul layouts on the first page and zero Minneapolis layouts :D It's fun driving around town and tracing the old Milwaukee, now CP, trackage and infrastructure that still exists. Over thrity years gone and still leaving a mark- I've seen a feather switch stand or two. This quarters' Milwaukee Railroader magazine has some excellent Saint Paul shots in it, don't know if that easy to get in the UK but it's well worth a look.

I wanted to post this yesterday but Flickr was acting up. There's a small amount of unpaved scenery to do on the layout, and I wanted to put of pavement as much as possible.

The yellow circle is the approach into Weyerhauser, and pink is Franklin Avenue.



First things first, I forgot to take photographs on my last, so on a nice day recently I stopped by after work and snagged some shots for reference. Of course, the last time I was out it was before leaf out which would have been nice, but these will be fine since I'm modeling spring for the pleasant weather and figuring a lumberyard will be busy right before construction season kicks off. So lots of vibrant greens, and the two years I'm between modelling both had mild springs according to the MN DNR climate records, so an extra bonus there.











So any good scenery starts with ground cover, Scenic Express dirt topped a few shades of static grass, leaf litter, tiny branches and ground foam. Road is sanded styrene, with Pan Pastels for color and paint for curbs and patches. Pencil for cracks.









More in the next post.

milw12

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2019, 09:42:13 PM »
+2
First a little grass on the boulevards around Franklin:





Need to find some storm drains, man holes, hydrants and other goodies, this will be fun to detail.

As for the approach, I forgot to mention earlier that I wanted a nice view block between the layout and cassette, and luckily the prototype provided a good modeling opportunity. Trees and brush are super trees with super leafs and ground foam.





Set up the good lighting for some better photographs this evening- didn't seem right to have a sceniced area and weathered cars and a shiny locomotive, so Tom Mann's GP30 has the spotlight-







Thanks for looking!

Lucas

MVW

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2019, 04:41:05 PM »
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Nice work, Lucas!

Jim

diezmon

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2019, 05:06:28 PM »
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So any good scenery starts with ground cover, Scenic Express dirt topped a few shades of static grass...

Not dirt from the area?  For Shame!   :D

mplsjct

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Re: Weyerhaeuser, Saint Paul Industrial Layout
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2019, 10:11:23 PM »
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For about 15 years now, I try to get pictures of local industries with rail service, I remembered taking this photo, just couldn’t remember where I put it (it was on the wife’s laptop), anyhow, here is a picture from Franklin Ave in 2008



I hope it helps.
I’m not here to argue