Sunday, October 27, 2019

First trackage tentatively fixed down and away we go....

The Port Costa Engine house kit from Banta arrived on Thursday (10/24/2019).  I immediately opened the box and found the sub floor for the engine house and started really planning the trackage. Three days later this is the result:

This is looking westward towards Oakland from the east end of the layout. If you are at all familiar with the SP at Port Costa you will hopefully recognize the scene with the track to McNear's warehouse to the left, the open tracks, the round house tracks and east turntable approach track. Beyond to the right are the engine service track, two Port Costa yard tracks, the eastbound main, the westbound main and I plan one last siding to the north next to the wall.  I will probably permanently park a string of completed SP boxcar kits against the wall to cover up the unseen waters edge edge of Carquinez straits

This is an SP rough drawing of the track plan for installation of a new water crane to show you what I am aiming towards.

I have added the crossover turnouts to not shown on the plan and the orientation of the east end turnouts to access the fictional beginning of the San Ramon Valley branch line just to the right of Port Costa instead of 10 miles further east at Avon on the Mococo line.  Just got to do what ya got to do when you have no space and want to somehow attach a model of the Type 18 Walnut Creek depot somewhere on the tiny layout. I haven't redrawn my overall plan to you can go back a few posts to see what I intend. 

The crossovers are intended to allow a westbound train off the branch to enter the westbound main. The SP would never have contemplated a double or single slip turnout for a location like this.

I also finally received a set of ordered Tichy windows that will closely match the size of the freight station office building. Previous sets made the distances between windows too close. 

Photo from Bob Morris collection

Ignore the numbers on the side of the building photo, I was trying to calculate the height by the number of pieces of siding.  The windows are shown against a cardboard mockup of the 16 foot tall 85 foot long building.  

The freight door is scratch built as I could not find the correct one in anyone's catalog of plastic moldings. The 8 pane windows were Tichy 8028 27x62 single double hung, 8064 59x64 double double hung. and 8070 59x64 double double hung with some windows open to give it variety.  The small 4 pane window probably for a bathroom needs to be replaced with one about half that size.  I will now have to mock up the rear side of the building which is not well documented. 

Saturday morning I had a delightful 1 hour phone conversation with Ron Pleis who built the July-August 2000 RMC featured version of Port Costa. Learned a lot. I have a lot more research to do.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Behold a Virgin Baseboard

At long last I have the infrastructure for the Port Costa layout nearing completion. The benchwork for sections A-C and stub to begin section D have been completed and the foamboard surface has been fully fitted to the area available. 

A few more pieces of 1 X 2 poplar as joists are needed for section B to support the 1 x 1/2 inch wood trim that borders the foamboard sheets to protect it and make it look a little neater. All joists that support the trim border will need to be trimmed to a uniform length.   There is a piece of the 1 x 1/2 fir trim along the back of the baseboard.  At some point this will be used to support a backscene of the strait and the Benicia shore across the water. It will be a vague and misty scene about 18 inches in height with the aura of the fog creeping through the strait from San Francisco Bay obscuring any detail.  I haven't tried any scenic painting in over 60 years.

Section A at the far left looks huge from the perspective of looking through the door. Its not as it is only 16 X 42 inches. I will have to erect a barrier at the end of the tracks in that section to avoid trains flying off the end

The next phase is to prep the 1/16 thick polycarbonate sheet that covers the foam board.  I found out today that Home Depot does not sell Krylon spray paint or any matt or flat spray can paint. So it means a visit to Lowes, a big box I like even less than Home Depot. I am looking for a matt light shell color that Krylon advertises. Their camo colors are too dark. 

After that I will start the tracklaying phase. The first task is to finalize the location for the turntable and roundhouse. I have the Banta kit for the Port Costa roundhouse on order and once that is on hand will be able to locate the structure and cut the turntable pit. Interestingly Peco has just this week announced a turntable motor and control as a separate item at a reasonable cost. I am tempted to order one and see if I can abandon my planned manual armstrong method of turntable control which while prototype for Port Costa would present constant problems with all the overhead steam lines that criss crossed the engine service area. Once the location of the turntable is finalized and a pit constructed I can finish the turntable.

No fancy lighting or shadow boxes are planned. This is more a diorama than an operational model railroad. Just a place for me to run my kit bashed boxcars, reefers and a few other models back and forth.

Added 10/19/2019
Last photos before track and everything else gets built. I have sprayed the polycarbonate sheet with a matte primer.