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    • September 10, 2019 8:41 PM EDT
    • Dan Hilyer said:

      Tom, I like the idea of enlarging the track plan and gluing it to the layout surface.  Gives you immediate feedback on how the layout will look when finished and also helps eliminate errors.  Have a fun and safe vacation.  Look forward to your return.

      Thanks Dan. I have never been able come up with my own original track plan in all my years of model railroading. I've always used printed and publicized track plans. Getting the plan to fit my layout was always tricky and I ended up with too tight curves and tight turnouts. 

      So on this project I wanted to get the track planned right, and in particular, with  wide enough curves to handle passenger cars. I had read about people using blown up track plans to 1:1 and thought to give it a try. I will use a point to push through the plan into the blue foam, connect the dots and draw out the track line with a sharpie. I had toyed with the idea of gluing roadbed and track directly to the track plan, but decided against this.
      I will also trace out topography from the plans and get to work with the hotwire to cut the curves and angles of the topography.

       

      Doc Tom

       

    • September 8, 2019 8:36 PM EDT
    • Tom, I like the idea of enlarging the track plan and gluing it to the layout surface.  Gives you immediate feedback on how the layout will look when finished and also helps eliminate errors.  Have a fun and safe vacation.  Look forward to your return.

    • September 8, 2019 7:00 PM EDT
    • Thanks Dan and Jon. Here is some more info on how the blue Styrofoam is used.

      I am going to be traveling for the next couple of weeks on a late summer vacation, so I thought I better wrap up the construction of the base of the shelf layout for the Blue Ridge Stemwinder. Time also to give you guys a break for a while from studying Blue Styrofoam.

      When I was an HO modeler I learned the joys of L girder construction in making a strong support for my model RR empire. I found in my experimentation on the On30 mini layouts that the L girder construction using aluminum L girders could give the foam boards tremendous strength also.



      What I do is attach them along the edges of the blue foam board using Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive for Projects. This is a strong adhesive that is compatible with Styrofoam. I temporarily screw the channels in place but have found that once the glue dries the screws can be removed and a strong bond has been achieved.





      This layout design element ( LDE) that I am calling Linville Depot is 11 feet and a half inch long. Once all the channel is in place the entire LDE can be picked up and turned up on its side easily to allow access to the undersurface for wiring etc. It is then placed back on the wire shelving and snuggles right into place.







      Now I have an expanse flat blue terrain to begin some modeling on.






      One of the things I've always wanted to do was to blow up a neat track plan to full scale and use it to establish track lines and changes in topography. On this project I thought I would give a local printer the chance to blow up the Iain Rice’s track plan for the Linville LDE. The image is quite pixelated but I can readily see where the track lines are supposed to go. I also found that Iain’s track plan is 1 foot and a half inch shorter than the width of my Railroad room. You can see where I split the plan to allow for a longer mainline run.





      So now the passenger cars have a place to show up at Linville Depot.



      I'll be back at it in two or three weeks and hope to show some more progress.

      Thanks for looking. Doc Tom

    • September 8, 2019 12:01 PM EDT
    • Wire racks to support train layout ...... who'd a thunkit???  I like the simplicity of this construction method, Tom, although, I am pretty sure its not a simple as you make it appear.  Look forward to watching the new layout come to life.

    • September 8, 2019 10:37 AM EDT
    • Nice work Tom. Looking forward to continued layout construction. So are you sandwiching the foam over the wire racks?  Neat idea.

    • September 6, 2019 5:46 PM EDT
    • Blue on Blue. More doings on the Blue Ridge Stemwinder in On30.

      One of the nice things about Styrofoam is that construction proceeds rapidly. Here the blue foam pieces of the puzzle are coming together for the Layout Design Element (LDE) that I am calling Linville station. This LDE is 11 feet long and 18 inches deep at the center and 2 feet deep at the ends. The station will set about where the ET and WNC Historical Society fan is located.






      If you look at the track plan to the right it is the section that IAN RICE (layout designer) calls “Halfway".




      Next up, will be attaching the Styrofoam pieces and strengthening them with L Channel aluminum……….lightweight and strong.



      Thanks for looking. Doc Tom

    • September 2, 2019 1:56 PM EDT
    • It's Labor Day and the painters and stencil man want to get the day off. The boss wanted some pictures of the newly labeled Hopper cars, so they hung around for some pictures.



      All three of the hoppers are now fully lettered for cars #1, #12, and# 18. This is the prettiest they will look as they leave the Johnson City shops to haul iron ore and coal and make some money for the railroad.




      The actual shelf layout is still in the imagination phase. If you try real hard you can imagine the Linville Depot at the midsection of this shelf near the Historical Society fan.




      More to come. Thanks for looking. Dr. Tom

    • August 23, 2019 12:30 PM EDT
    • Different approach..this should be interesting..  

    • August 23, 2019 12:07 PM EDT
    • Bench…….errrr…… shelf work for the" Blue Ridge Stemwinder”, an On30 homage to the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad.

      In my last two On30 mini layouts I made exclusive use of lightweight materials such as Styrofoam board and aluminum metal supports. There is no wood in either of them except perhaps the model wooden structures.





      I found this material to be easy to work with, lightweight, and durable.

      With the experience gained on the "minis" I was ready to tackle the around the walls shelf layout of the ET&WNC. Again, I wanted to use easy, lightweight materials to construct the shelf supports.

      The Gladiator track system available at Lowes seemed a good one to build the shelves for the layout.




      The track that supports the shelving is attached to studs behind the drywall in the train shed. The shelving is easily attached and is about 12 inches deep. The plan for the layout calls for 12-18 inch deep sub roadbed. I think the lightweight materials will be easily supported by this shelving system which is easy to use and readily available.








      So far everything seems fairly straight and level.






      It Is enjoyable getting back to layout construction with these newer materials. Thanks for looking. Doc Tom

    • August 17, 2019 10:05 PM EDT
    • Dan Hilyer said:

      Fine looking cars, Tom.  Thanks for sharing and providing the historical background and photos.

      Thanks Dan. More to come.  Tom

    • August 16, 2019 10:22 PM EDT
    • Fine looking cars, Tom.  Thanks for sharing and providing the historical background and photos.

    • August 16, 2019 9:54 PM EDT
    • " Rooster " said:

      As always ....outstanding work Doc Tom

      Thanks Rooster. Good to hear from you again.  Doc T

    • August 16, 2019 9:52 PM EDT
    • David Marconi,FOGCH said:
      Tom Grabenstein said:

      My latest creation for the upcoming On30 ET&WNC layout is one of Tweetsie’s iconic wooden hopper cars. My modeling buddy Bill Nelson scratch built the wooden body. I went to work adding detail parts, grabs, stake pockets , wheels and couplers. Here is the model in primer gray.















      Next steps will be to follow the prototype and paint and letter the car. The original used a mixture of lampblack, linseed oil and japan drier to get the dark gray/black color. This according to the good folks in the ET&WNC Historical Society.







      Thanks for looking.

      Doc Tom

      Nice looking cars Doc. Will these be loads  or empties when on the pike? Looking at that last pic and following along with your attention to detail, I also need to ask if you will be laying in the metal slope sheets whose edge appears to show laying on the wood slope base ? Note pic of car 28 appears to show the metal folded over the edge of the wood slope boards.

       

      Hello David. Thanks for the input on the hopper models. There will be removable loads of iron ore and coal. I am trying to figure out the color of the ore mined at the Cranberry NC mine on the ET&WNC RR.

      The metal sheeting is a tough one though. I am not sure if the early cars had it or not. If installed it would hide all the cool wood and nail details on the slope sheets. I will ask members of the ET&WNC RR Historical Society and get their input on what was done in the early 1920's. I'll bet there was sheet metal as dumping rocks in to a wooden car would tear up the timbering fairly quickly.

      Doc Tom

       

       

    • August 16, 2019 8:38 PM EDT
    • As always ....outstanding work Doc Tom

    • August 16, 2019 6:11 PM EDT
    • Tom Grabenstein said:

      My latest creation for the upcoming On30 ET&WNC layout is one of Tweetsie’s iconic wooden hopper cars. My modeling buddy Bill Nelson scratch built the wooden body. I went to work adding detail parts, grabs, stake pockets , wheels and couplers. Here is the model in primer gray.















      Next steps will be to follow the prototype and paint and letter the car. The original used a mixture of lampblack, linseed oil and japan drier to get the dark gray/black color. This according to the good folks in the ET&WNC Historical Society.







      Thanks for looking.

      Doc Tom

      Nice looking cars Doc. Will these be loads  or empties when on the pike? Looking at that last pic and following along with your attention to detail, I also need to ask if you will be laying in the metal slope sheets whose edge appears to show laying on the wood slope base ? Note pic of car 28 appears to show the metal folded over the edge of the wood slope boards.

       

    • August 16, 2019 11:11 AM EDT
    • Ahhh, the joys of Prototype model railroading.

      I have completed three hopper cars to haul iron ore and coal on my planned On30 homage to the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. I will be modeling the era 1920 – 1924 when the railroad was quite profitable and had beautiful narrow gauge passenger cars.



      So, I was doing research on what I thought the prototype Hopper cars looked like.





      I picked up Johnny Graybeals nicely done decal sets for freight cars in O scale at the model railroad show in Johnson City Tennessee this summer. It was also nice meeting him in person. I proceeded to carefully apply decals to the first side of a hopper car. I thought I had done a nice rendition of Hopper car Number 28.







      I read on further about these fine wooden hopper cars, that were felt to be the largest wooden hopper cars in narrow gauge railroading for their time. In an article in the 2018 HOn3 Annual written by Johnny Graybeal, and including photos from his collection, I hit the jackpot on prototype pictures of Hopper cars for the ET&WNC RR. In one of the pictures he mentioned that the lettering in use by the ET and WNC from the teens until 1936 had small stenciling for the road name instead of the stretch lettering that came into vogue after 1936.



      So, it was back to the paint shop and my first attempt at an early 1920s Hopper car was repainted and relettered using Johnny's very good decal sheet. But at this time with much smaller lettering. The stenciling on the decal was a bit too wide and I had to remove the “&” to get it to fit. But, I felt it was a fairly good representation of Hopper car number 18 in 1920’s livery. I am not a rivet counter, but certainly want my rolling stock to be a good representation of what road the rails in the early 1920’s in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina.







      Now I have two other cars to decal correctly with the correct prototype look for the early 1920's.





      Thanks for looking. Dr. Tom

    • June 12, 2019 9:54 PM EDT
    • Great stuff Tom!

      Really looking forward to see you layout build and your new equipment trundling along on it.  Really like those hoppers .  Very similar to the early EBT hoppers. I'd like to build some of those some day.  Hopefully they'll turn out half as nice as yours. Really enjoying all of the historical photos too.  I'll be watching.

    • June 10, 2019 9:44 PM EDT
    •  Great video, Tom.  Thanks for sharing.

       

      EDIT: I hope I look that good when I'm 102 

    • June 24, 2019 6:50 PM EDT
    • One of the fun parts of modeling in On30 is the "mini scenes" you can do with lots and lots of details.

      Well the steam locomotives need a lot of cut wood to do their work......so a mini scene on the mini logging layout.









      Thanks for looking. Doc Tom