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    • September 16, 2017 9:05 AM EDT
    • John Caughey said:

      Nice decorative access hatches ... have you actually stuck your arm down and off to one side? Tried to grab a long car and extract it?


      Yep. -Kevin.

    • September 14, 2017 11:13 AM EDT
    • Nice decorative access hatches ... have you actually stuck your arm down and off to one side? Tried to grab a long car and extract it?


      You don't have to ask, my arm didn't bend ... the opening grew, but I was only sawing out 2 1/2" thick planks. Oh I tried to rerail, but too much ham fist and too little room ...


      Don't let the little ones know about them, my little bast...  er nephews, dropped rocks on the tracks hoping for more derailments ... just fair warning! They knocked the wheels off of a loco! I blew my safety!



    • September 14, 2017 10:42 AM EDT
    • Pete Lassen said:

      Charge on Diesel Dude, waiting for more.

      The wait is over, Pete.  The charges are pending.


      Made a bit of progress this week on both mountains.  That's right- it's one of those twofer deals.  Or is it buy one get one.  In any event, it is still definitely BYOB.


      Okay, so on volcanic Mount Cheektovegas, I finished tunnel construction and tunnel backfilling.  The tunnel is now nine feet long.  My arms are not.  I looked in to some access hatches (for gremlins, of course), but could not find anything in my price range (really cheap or free).  I've seen many people use plastic boxes meant for automatic lawn sprinklers and such, but those cost money.  Instead, I wandered into my neighbors yard, where she has an abundant supply of small (8" x 16") paver blocks that she needs to dispose of.  A couple of cuts with a masonry blade, a few Tapcon screws and.... POOF!  Instant access.......



      The long view.....



      They don't look real pretty right now, but I will eventually "decorate" the top opening with some scenery (plants, rocks, pink flamingoes, etc.).  Mt. Cheektovegas is behind and between the two access ports.  The tunnel portals are outside the view of the picture (far left and right).



      Work has also continued on Mount Keverest.  Since I wasn't sure how I was going to join the garage sale foam turtle pond rock formation to the cement/lath rocks, I figured, why not start there?  After a bit of trial and error (more like kicking and screaming), I came up with this.....



      It's a slow start, but a start none the less.  


      I did my best to blend the new rock formation with the existing rock formation.  If you look closely you can kinda see the corrugated tunnel opening.


      It's hard to tell from the photo, but the garage sale foam turtle pond rock formation (to the right) is definitely more of a blue grey/grey mixture of colors.  The new cement/lath rocks are white-ish grey.  I really wanted to add some tint to the cement mixture to get a better base color, but there are a few issues preventing me.  First off, the foam rock formation will need to be painted in order to blend it into the cement rocks.  Cement tint will not work on foam.  Also, the cement rocks will take several session to complete.  One full 50 pound bag of cement takes a couple of hours to apply and shape.  I doubt that I could get the same color every time over the course of this project.  So, when all the sculpting is done, I'll have to wait it out for the cement to cure before coloring.  Hopefully, I won't run out of good weather.




    • September 8, 2017 8:56 PM EDT
    • I remember reading about a hot rod guy that didnt carry a tool box or any tools under the assumption that if you do not have it with you it will not be needed, AND if it is built properly it shouldn't be a worry. We all know that trackwork is the most stable, most reliable part of a garden RR so why tempt fate and the gremlins by having a door for the gremlins to sneak in and cause problems. Besides the worst that could happen would be some grinding and delicate parts removal, maybe a unexplained fissure opening up on the back side of the mountains. Charge on Diesel Dude, waiting for more.

    • September 7, 2017 1:51 PM EDT
    • Sean McGillicuddy said:

      Don't forget an access hatch to get to the tunnel !

      You could put one of these    there ..... with doors to simulate an abandoned tunnel ,

      Oh come on. What could possibly happen at the dead center of a seven foot tunnel? -Kevin.

    • September 7, 2017 12:55 PM EDT
    • Don't forget an access hatch to get to the tunnel !

      You could put one of these    there ..... with doors to simulate an abandoned tunnel ,

    • September 7, 2017 12:15 PM EDT
    • BEHOLD:  The Majestic Steel Mountains of the Iron Island Railroad




      The Mighty Mount Keverest has begun to take shape.  The dirt has finally compacted enough on my mega mountain of mud and the time has come to finish one last large project for the season.


      It was paramount that we got this into shape before the weather gets ugly.  So, once again, I used my trusty mountain building method and got to work.  



      The metal lath was shaped using a couple of different methods.  The larger shapes were simply cut out of lath and stitched together with some heavy wire.  Afterwords, they were further shaped with a hammer and/or by hand bending (lots of sharp edges and blood. My kinda fun).  The top of the mountain was done this way.


      Some of the other areas, like the sides of the waterfall and the backside tunnel, were shaped by hammering the lath around a rock.  Like this...




      Here are some of the shapes I used....



      Pretty rockin' isn't it?



      This next shot is the backside tunnel.  It's pretty tough to tell from the picture, but rock shapes were hammered into the metal lath using this method.  Once I coat the lath with concrete it will make all kinda sense.  'Til then, it's just one more large scale metal eyesore in the landscape.



      This concrete and lath rock formation will somehow have to tie in to the garage sale foam turtle pond rock cliff that I buried into the back of the mountain earlier in this thread.  Remember this?.....



      Yeah.  Somehow it all comes together.  Somehow.


      Rock on.






    • September 13, 2017 12:03 AM EDT
    • While waiting for the grass to grow (literally) I have started for formalize my track plan.   First up was to measure out the area for my empire.  I decided I wanted a minimum of 6 foot from the property lines, 8 foot from the house and 10 foot from the shed.  I plan to build a work bench on the layout side of the shed, so I allowed extra clearance in that area.   Drew the whole thing up in Sketchup.



      Next, using AnyRail I laid out the area and then put in the track that would represent the extents of the layout.  This is by far my plan, it just allows me to visualize the area I have to work in.  Minimum radius is 60", most curves are shown at 72" and the one around the tree is 96"


      Next up is to start making adjustments to the plan and adding in the details to come up with something I like.





    • August 31, 2017 6:36 AM EDT
    • Rooster, it takes a special sort to be an Amtrak fan. I understand, because it also takes a special sort to be a Penn Central fan like me.

    • August 30, 2017 8:40 PM EDT
    • Chris Kieffer said:

      Most definitely NOT an Amtrak fan!   Will only be a fan of the fire breathing steamers!



      Let the child chose his own way !

    • September 2, 2017 9:19 PM EDT
    • Yes Devon, and now that it (the truck) is out .... and I am out of income incoming, It will all be on hold for a month or so, unless I find some lottery money.

    • August 30, 2017 1:31 PM EDT
    • Is this what happens when the truck is in the shop? Nice start. The block work is gonna look great.

    • August 30, 2017 11:26 AM EDT
    • scuppers are used in house construction to, mainly for flat roof and patio drainage. Here is AZ we have a lot of flat roofs (rooves?) and to hide the mechanicals the roof has a low wall and scuppers to let the water out. And the picture shows why I do not use culverts, never seen a scupper look like that one. Of course the rain we have here is short lived and will probably drain on its own rather quickly. I get puddles where the rain comes off the patio, and it is mostly gone in a couple of hours

    • August 30, 2017 6:19 AM EDT
    • I waited for it to rain ,and were the water collected , is where I put the water letter outers !

    • August 29, 2017 9:31 PM EDT
    • Scuppers are found aboard ships.  The term we are all reaching for is...









      Drum roll, please.













    • August 29, 2017 7:41 PM EDT
    • Scuppers, John is what I know them as, and yeah that is something I had not consideered... yet. Thanks

      David I think you have it lined out just right


    • August 29, 2017 12:36 PM EDT
    • Sean McGillicuddy said:

      Ohhhh  water letter outers !  

      Thanks Sean, I had a senior moment and couldn't remember the technickle name.

    • August 29, 2017 10:37 AM EDT
    • Ohhhh  water letter outers !  

    • August 29, 2017 10:07 AM EDT
    • Better lay some pipe now or you'll have a monsoon pool in the inner walkway! A couple three, 3" pipes should keep it drained.

      I'm thinking you'll want it to drain outside your layout ... before you get the wall too high...



    • August 29, 2017 8:27 AM EDT
    • Nice work Pete. So from the town of Tortoise Haven you bypass Mt. Dogsmoore to get to the yard area in Relax which appears to be a dead end. Am I with you so far ?