Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Illinois Railway Museum Snowflake Special

As mentioned in my previous post, Sunday, March 25th was the annual Illinois Railway Museum's Snowflake Special. This is a great excursion that travels from one end of the system to the other. This year the charter covered the Green (Lake St. and Jackson Park), Brown (mainline), Red (mainline), Blue (Jefferson Park), Pink (Harrison Junction), Yellow (Dempster) and Purple (Linden) lines.

Its a great opportunity to visit areas not normally traveled (Harlem yard, 61st yard, Linden yard), take endless photos and videos without hassle and learn a lot of history.

 A whole lot more photos can be found on my Flickr page at 1958mga Flickr

Also, I've got about half of the videos I took up on my Youtube page at 1958mga Youtube

One highlight of the charter is the race between the charter train and a road train. The winner of this year's race is somewhat in question as it appears as though the challenger, a southbound Red Line train seems to stumble at the end...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Slightly busy weekend

I had some time to play around with some focus stacking again this Saturday, the below are the results ...

Sunday was a complete washout for modeling ... but not to fear, it was the annual Illinois Railway Museum's Snowflake Special.

I have a gazillon pictures (at least 500) plus about two hours of video to wade through. I will try to put up a select few and toss the rest over to Flickr. But, I certainly was a good time had by all.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The last two feet is the longest

Now with the station structure done, I've got to finish the last two feet. This will lead to an un-sceniced return loop on a removable structure set in my crawl space.

In the first photo, I am test fitting the girders. in the second photo, you can see how the structure "points" to a stud wall. The track will now be built on an embankment (aka the north side mainline embankment on the Howard line) for a few inches, through the wall, and onto the removable return loop. And yes, there is a electrical box/switch in the way. That will be moved of course ... trains before lighting.

The following photo shows the opposite view:
If you look in the lower left hand corner you can see a cement wall. This section of the layout is actually built into the crawl space of my basement. My house has what is known as a partial basement ... one quarter of the basement is actually a crawl space. So, the "benchwork" for this section is built atop a concrete wall...probably the sturdiest benchwork in the world. I greatly lament the day I built this house and didn't get a full basement ... I'd have so much more room. But, you've got to make do with what you have. 

The light switch controls the lights in the crawl space ... which is great for storage but not for running trains. So, I shall move the switch and run the track through the wall. The removable return loop will go where I access the crawl space. It will be removable so I can easily get into the crawl space (Xmas stuff stored in there).

A view down the line ...
This leg of the L shaped layout is about 8 feet long....just enough room for the station and curve in the distance. I could have gone deeper into the crawl space and make the shelf wider, but I was worried about access to the back portion. This is just wide enough for the station and some building flats along the wall. Good enough for an L layout.

One thing I forgot to mention ... the height of my layout is based upon this section of track/bench work that is in the crawl space. So, the height is about 50" off the floor. With that height, the trains are almost at an eye level height. Its about the best thing about having a half crawl space layout ... being higher makes the view much better. I do need to keep some step ladders/stools around to make work a little easier.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slow progress

Not a whole lot of progress lately, but I did get the remaining station structure painted. It came out a little grimier than I intended, but hey, maintenance is always deferred.

The large gaps in the cross bracing on the wider portions of the platform will allow for the stairs.

Eventually I will add the center walkway/catwalk between the tracks, just haven't gotten that far yet.