Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What Have I done under Shelter in Place for April

During the shelter in place, I have worked at times on the Port Costa layout making some progress but still not finalizing the most important issue: the finalization and  siting of the turntable. 

The mock-ups and preliminary siting of all outbuildings behind the roundhouse (I keep wanting to call it the engine shed) have taken some of the time. This is the current as of the end of April 2020 view of the illustration board structures with photocopy windows pasted on.

I don't have positive identification for most of the buildings.  The first building behind the roundhouse with a cupola was definitely the blacksmith shop. The cupola would be over the forge to vent the heat and gases. The row of buildings behind are parts storage and mess facilities including the grounded boxcar and what I believe was a clerestory combine. I am using a MDC Palace combine shell for the grounded car. It is 78' long and from what I would guess from photos should be shorter.  A grounded double sheathed 36 foot box car is also in the collection. One of the photos indicates it had windows cut in it similar to a work car. This is currently represented by an Accurail 36 foot 14 xx series car.

On the far right is the small freight shed with loading platform at the end of the track going in front of what I think was an SP company freight facility. This is an old wood kit I had from the 1980's layout at my house in San Francisco. The lumber stacks are from Owl Mountain and give the siding some purpose.

The two small outbuildings in colonial yellow to the left are sections houses standing in for the barn red buildings for what I think is the lubricant storage shed and further back the control and pump house for the bunker fuel sump represented by a piece of grey cardboard at the moment.  There was a short siding behind it for unloading SP tank cars with bunker oil and later diesel fuel. 

The track in the background curves the wrong way as it should run parallel to the EB/WB Western Division main towards Martinez. Part of my space compromise is that this represents the start of the Mococo line or the San Ramon branch.  It will extend as a staging track over my workbench for now.

This is the freight station with mock-ups for the freight station and freight house. The turntable has been re-sited and trackage reconfigured. The sand house has not had any more work since I replaced the end walls to give the roof a more correct pitch. 

I have purchased  a LifeLike gas storage tank as it had the largest diameter of any readily available tanks to represent the water tank peeking through the trees on the left and visible on the hill if you enlarge in the mirror image behind.  It is being held together by duck tape at the moment. The tank is however only 35 feet in diameter, not the prototype's 41 feet in diameter. It looks ok to me as when I mocked up the full size tank it looked a little out of place. 

That's all for now. I will try to do a little more and finish the immediate in progress projects on my work bench including a Lasercraft rebuild C-30-1 caboose with rectangular cupola, the 3 O-50-13 tank cars, some new Owl Mountain F-50 flats and whatever else meets my fancy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tanks for the Memories - Part 2

There isn't much about my recent tank car craze.  I had prepared two bodies with the heightened domes and started work on the handrails. I have a third Athearn car awaiting surgery.  

I had to wait for an eBay order of PSC stanchions to arrive. When the brass stanchions arrived, I then found them very difficult to drill out for #15 wire. I have the sides of one tank finished but have not been able to get the end stanchions correct to my satisfaction.  I have small hypodermic tube on hand so I am using the method of separate end handrails which is easier. 3 of the 4 end stanchions broke rather than respond to my at best mediocre skills in drilling them with # 79 drill bits. And I broke 3 drill bits in the process.

I have been somewhat discouraged and turned to other projects of which I have about 50 before returning to the tank cars. 

In this time of lock down due to the pandemic all I can say is in this gif sent to me by my friend Eric: