Friday, August 5, 2016

The turbine whines and other progress on RGS #20

Bob has been busy over the past few months.  Issues with the cab was worked out so it would fit over the boiler jacket, the compressor and turbine was machined and made operational.

The 20's cab has a hidden steel frame to allow the roof and rear wall to be removed during operation.  The 20 is a replica of the prototype with some modifications since she is a working locomotive.

The cab mounted on the locomotive.

Lettering of the cab per the prototype.

The doors reversed to show the interior color of the cab is the same green as the prototype.

The running boards are mounted.  She is beginning to look like herself.

The single lung air compressor is hung on the side of the locomotive boiler.

This compressor is quite heavy.  Unlike most model locomotives, this compressor really compresses air and is not for pumping water into the boiler.  Air is used mainly to operate the train brakes.  Other applications would be the bell ringer and sanders but due to their relative small size, those will not be made operational.

The turbo-generator.  Bob worked hard on this machining the parts and balancing it.  The generator part is actually a model airplane engine which should generate around 2 volts or so, enough to power the lights all over the locomotive.

Little other progress has been made on the railroad over the past few months.  The engine house wiring has been completed inside and the wires run all the way up along the bridge to the outlet at the turnout switch.  The remaining conduit and wiring will be done after the old wood and tracks at the end of the bridge in front of the barn is removed.  Then I can bury the conduit and run the wires underneath the concrete pad which will replace most of the wood to promote drainage at this location.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Progress on the Twenty

Bob has made great strides on the #20.  He is at the point where he will manufacture some parts not available (mainly the class lights, flanger, cylinder head covers, etc.  She is beginning to really take shape.

Once the leaves are down, my plans are to devote the necessary time to the railroad infrastructure to repair and upgrade parts of the tracks and complete the engine house interior as well as complete the power to the building.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The RGS made the paper.

About 2 weeks ago I met Ray Criscoe from our local Asheboro Hub newspaper.  I was able to show off the railroad and answer some questions for him.  I do like to share the hobby.

Here's a link to his article online;

The newspaper printed a shorter article which was not the interview but really summed up the railroad and my goals.  And they put a huge picture of me on the cover.  Wow.  Talk about scaring away your patrons.

I guess I need to really buckle down and get some more work done.  Speaking of, here's where I stand with the engine house.  I have the electrical runs done, all the outlets in and am ready to install the inside insulation on the walls and wall board.  The ceiling is completed except for a 4' long section in the middle which I left open for a brief while longer until I had all the electrical done.  Then it will be insulated and the ceiling installed.  I coated both sides of these boards in case they get damp on either side (steam engines can be humid too!)   The heater will be a 1500 watt heater which has a thermostat but I will use a second thermostat at the front of the building next to where the #20 will be parked.  That way I can make sure the front stays above freezing too.  The heater will be installed in the back of track 2 since track 1 ends at the man door.  The wall boards I have started to cut and stain (deck stain) and will begin to put these up soon.  The trick is I have to cut them to go around the outlets and switches, etc.  There is one outdoor outlet (yes, using the proper electrical cover) on the south east side near the inspection pit so I can plug in stuff like stack fans, lights, Christmas lights (oh, the engine house BEGS for Christmas lights) and so on.  The interior outlets are mainly to power battery chargers and so on for the diesels.

Once the walls are up, I will finish the concrete floors and the remaining pieces of trim on the building.  Then I will complete the electrical run from the barn which will include an outlet on the Dogwood bridge for whatever (probably Christmas lights but an outlet is handy.)  Also will be the electrical connection to the northern bank of switch controllers which I will mount on the south end of the bridge in an electrical box.  (That means all the switches will be interlocked so the signals will display not just the local turnout switch position but the next turnout.  The control heads at the Upper Switchback tail track will allow me to choose to go downhill or uphill to either Telluride (the barn) or Wood Station (near the water wood stove.)  The later track is the tail track for the uphill section around the coop, to the garage (site), the splitter / rockpile wye and the end of the tracks near the end of the driveway where the loading / unloading ramps will be.  The only controller which can not be installed in the box on the bridge is the upper switchback tail track.  It is too far to run 12 volts to the electric motor.  And there are the sensors, signals and controller buttons up there too.  So a single cat-5 wire will connect the two boxes so they can control each other.  And since these boxes are locally powered by transformers, the power switch will be inside the barn so it's easy to shut them off when the day's running is done.  I was thinking about putting it inside the engine house or on the outside but that meant I would have to run the wires back uphill again.

The next project once the engine house is powered is to redo all the tracks at Telluride (the barn.)  The wooden deck there is shot as is the wood underneath.  So I am going to remove all the wood from the bridge north around the train tracks.  I will leave the "engineers deck" along the water tower but the rest will be replaced with concrete curbs and the train tracks will be uncovered in a bed of ballast.  That way it can dry naturally.  The end of the bridge will probably be redone after I remove the wooden guard rails alongside the edges and replace it with durable plastic wood, similar to the material used on the Inspection Pit cover at Pine Hill.  I am thinking that at the same time I will extend both tracks an additional 10 feet over the road crossing into the barn and concrete the driveway.  This will get me that much closer to the turntable site which will take some extensive grading and concrete work.  The concrete contractor suggested just pouring it as a square pad (although I might be able to convince him to use an octagon) and then building the round walls up on the pad.  I guess decorative cinderblocks will be in the future of the railroad's pit there.   The real issue is that the creek is almost the same level so I need to make sure the pit will not flood if I can avoid it. When the time comes, I'll throw some brainpower at it and come up with a solution.  Extending the pipe might help but there is a lot of water which comes down the hill right in that area from both sides.  Most likely I will move the bearings up higher and use sealed bearings.

Once I get Telluride squared away, it's time to get some switches powered and get those controllers wired up, the existing powered turnout switches and signals connected up.  Then I need to replace Wood Spur switch which is a harp switchstand with the powered switch (luckily my design puts everything on one long headblock tie so I can slip them in easily.  The other head blocks are just to support the box over the motor and keep a channel for the throw rod.  Signals take a little more effort to install as I have run conduit to them and anchor the bottom box.

I know I should start work on the uphill extension of the railroad so I can unload the 20 when Bob, the wizard, gets her completed, but I really need to stabilize some tracks.  The switchback sits on a lot of built up fill held in place with landscape timbers which I am finding is rotting very quickly.  So the entire wall needs to be refaced like the approach to the Dogwood bridge was redone.  It's an expensive proposition to use that much wall block so I might switch to granite rip-rap concreted in place.  It would give me some time to practice my skills.  But I believe the wall blocks might be quicker, drain better and be more cohesive with what is already built.  And I can buy a few each week and just build some of the wall, a little at a time.  Pretty much most of the track will be raised a little as the lower switchback switch will be raised up about 12" to fix the grade issue of the tail track there.

Once the switchback is stabilized and the switches powered up and working, I will work two directions.  The uphill track from Wood Station around the Chicken Loop and the downhill track across the trestle into the start of the big s-curve and those bigger bridges.

Yes, plans do change.  And I reserve the right to change them.  And to make a fool of myself until I change my mind.  It's a hobby.  I do it when I can, depending upon health, wealth and help.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Automatic Air Brakes installation on RGS #11 and 988

The weekend of June 13th I managed to construct and install the new air brake valves and hoses onto the #11 locomotive since she has an air compressor and reservoir on board and was already set up for automatic air brakes.

The new hoses have 2.5" scale glad hands which functions like the prototype.

East Broad Top #988 was delivered with working automatic air brakes.  It only needed the hoses.

The other rolling stock, some of which already has air brakes, will be getting set up to use these style hoses and valves.  The 1.5" scale stuff such as the 0300, 0301 and 302 gondolas, the beam riding car and so on, the valve will be place after the 45 degree elbow so the hose does not stick out quite so far.

Front of the #11.  Had to drill through the steps and anticlimber (1/2" steel frame) to run the pipe under the locomotive.

Rear of the #11's engineer car coupled to the #988 hopper.

Air brake hose loops under the coupler.

A decent view of hose the glad hands couple up.  If the car separates from the adjacent car or locomotive, the hoses separate and the brakes all come on.

Ballasting the engine house House Tracks with RGS #11 and EBT #988

The first week of June, 2015 saw some action on the RGS using the new East Broad Top hopper #988 built by Adam Wright of Michigan.  One thing I learned is I need to meter how much ballast dumps.  The spreader tie which rides ahead of the rear truck needs to be made of a 4 by 6.  Also, I need to dump from the back to the front as the other chutes act as dams too.  And I am also thinking I will place 2 by 4 blocks in the chutes above the doors to keep ballast from dumping on the rails which would give a more even spread when pulled.

RGS #11 awaits assignment over the inspection pit

Number 11 fresh out of the shop pulls the fully loaded 988.

First service of the 988.

Ballast Extra (yes, the white lights are on the class lights.)

Setting up the pull.

Number 11 with new paint and parts.

Train passing engine house


Ready to pull

Dumping, with tie to spread.  Need a larger tie next time.

Ballasted track.

Ballasted past the House track switch

Dressed and ready.  Actually the tracks will continue to need to be aligned and leveled.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Engine House Progress

Through the hot month of July, the work progressed.  The roof is complete and the front doors hung.  Up next, the ash pit needs to be cast.

Completed roof.

Front of the building

Front of the building.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Engine House Progress

Through the spring, I have been busy working on the Engine House among all my other chores and projects.

The building was sheathed and the roof readied to install.  The metal roofing was custom cut for the building.

The sun rise is a symbol I have used for the farm and is fitting with the Rio Grande Southern which last herald used on their equipment was called the Sunrise Herald.  Here is the smaller "man-door" which allows access to the rear of the building.

The main doors at the front of the building show here along with half the metal roofing installed.  The front eaves will match the back as well but I wanted to do the side (back) which showed FIRST.

The clouds around the sun were added.

The final pieces is the drip edge and the "sky cap" with the star corner block and the "moon knob."  This, as you can see in the prior photo, covers the ends of the vents and the details at the end of the building.  The engine house with the steep pitched roof and decorative ends almost has a Swiss Alpine quality to it.  Well, it is up near the house and so I want it to look really nice.  And to protect the equipment from the weather, animals, insects and falling limbs.

D&RGW 4686 parked outside on the mainline for prospective.  The building is 5' wide and 20' long.  It is stained with deck stain to match the deck on the house.  It also causes this building to blend in with the scenery.