Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement


Parksville trackage!


We’re getting quite close to having no code 70 track left to install, now that Parksville and the trackage on the port sub is ready for permanent installation.

July 31, 2011

Dan called this morning, saying he’d like to come over.  I of course agreed and shortly after noon (only slightly delayed), he arrived and we got some wiring work done.  He works for a demolition company and managed to salvage some good lengths of red, black, blue and white 12-14 gauge solid wire and donated them to my cause.  So after ensuring all the wiring chase holes were drilled, we got to work on installing the wiring into the lower deck and the middle deck (despite the fact there’s no trackage installed yet).

Afterwards, the feeders were installed from the track and hooked up to the bus wire.

Cam arrived during this point and continued working on the trackage towards Buckley Bay.  Mud Bay siding was completed as was a good portion of the trackage between what will be Buckley Bay and Mud Bay (around the base of the peninsula)

Afterwards, I fixed up a turnout – forgot to cut isolation gaps and install guard rails on the turnout at North Siding Switch Mud Bay – and then we hooked up the power pack to the bus wire.  And then began the fun!  Dan got the honours of running a really long train from the helix down to Mud Bay and beyond.  Given the fact the train was way over length for the siding, we had some fun working the train back and forth to get the locomotives by all the cars and then back into the helix with the caboose on the tail end.

I now know that I need to get a fair number of couplers replaced as those crappy plastic couplers just don’t hold up to anything in the way of strain.  Not that was any new knowledge in my opinion…I knew I needed to, but the need for work to the fleet of cars I’ve been acquiring over the years will now need to happen sooner than later…


Testing freight on newly laid trackage


Cam and I assembled a good port alberni freight to test the helix. Successful!

July 30, 2011

Cam called this morning, invited me over to his place to review the drawings. A couple revisions and will get them scanned and posted to the website shortly. Then off to Home Depot for more plywood – a selection of 4″ and 6″ wide strips. Back to my place to get some stuff done. Cam worked on getting all the cork sanded and then started in on trackwork.

Doug S. came over shortly after to discuss with me the control panel for the Free-mo’s yard control panel and its design. Once that was all figured out we all went for lunch.

When Cam and I got back, more trackwork. For me, that meant prepping the fast tracks turnouts for install… Gluing on the quicksticks, cutting the isolation gaps for the frogs and electrically testing them for continuity (or more properly, lack therof). Cam installed the trackage on the lower deck, connecting into the helix and working towards Mud Bay.

I’m happy to report we have two turnouts installed! After we spiked down half of the main and siding at Mud Bay, we called the tracklaying to a halt (owing to tired butt syndrome) and grabbed some extra rolling stock, a couple more locos and tested a port freight up the helix. For the most part, a success!

Pictures to come…


July 29, 2011

I suppose this post will also end up including stuff done last week as well as tonight. Apologies in advance for any potential confusion…

While Cam waits ever so patiently for me to finish building the two curved #8 turnouts for the south Parksville industrial spurs, we managed to get the subroadbed built and installed for Mud Bay siding and then all the way around the peninsula, ending just shy of Buckley Bay. Nice thing with this is the fact we incorporated a grade into the hidden portion of the trackage and managed to do it without introducing reverse superelevation like we did with the hidden loop of track in the peninsula helix. We were concerned we’d have to go with ready rod on all three decks because of that, but we found a solution: pre-stress the pieces and voila! We’re level, just how we wanted it!

Over the past few nights on my own, I’ve been laying down cork on the fixed portions of benchwork, polishing off the first of what I’m sure will be many boxes of Midwest cork. Turnout areas are fun… Thank goodness “ballast hides a multitude of sins!”. I’m still really impressed with using contact cement for this task!

Cam has also been puttering away at the trackplans, adjusting things here and there for the changes we’ve introduced. He’ll be showing them to me tomorrow for approval and then we’ll get them scanned in. I’ll post them on the trackplans page once I get the PDF’s.

We also found a few pictures posted on the vancouver island forum of the Vancouver Island Gas spur from 1986. Picture an LPG tank parked at the bumper post on top of a trestle two stories up… We are most thankful for the interesting vantage of this industry and we’ll be trying our best to model this spur accurately. And when it comes to spotting cars there, the crews will definitely not be allowed to kick the car down to the trestle!

As I’m on my own for the next couple weeks, I’m hoping to get a decent amount of work done… I suppose I should head back down and see what I can do…


Look ma! No headknocker!


And the hot water tank is headed for the scrapyard (where I’m told they’re worth maybe a couple dollars) and I now have a clear entrance into the utility room where the staging yard will be. Maybe not as extreme as plans my friend Grant Eastman has for his basement (he is likely redoing the stairs into his basement for additional layout space) but at least it’s a move to improve our home and my crew’s comfort with operating this layout.

Lower deck, Mud Bay


This hopefully illustrates the concept I was talking about with the trackage just south of Bryn ducking behind the backdrop, just underneath Parksville. Under the curved benchwork is the ballast spur off the Victoria sub just south of Mud Bay. The mainline is just to the left.

Main Helix


So far, the main helix is the longest installed trackage. What you’re seeing here is the lower half of it, running from just north of Parksville (front is the Victoria sub, back side is the Port sub) down to just south of Mud Bay. Grade is around 2.4%, and the GP35 at the far back can pull nine plus cars unassisted at only 30% power up the grade. The connection from Parksville to the summit of the Port sub will be occupying the upper portion of the ready rod.

Last day of hot water tank!


That flue you see coming from the top of the hot water tank is a real headbanger. Today is also it’s last full day as I’m having the entire hot water tank removed and replaced with a tankless hot water heater tomorrow.

July 18, 2011

Found the house to be way too hot when I got home this evening. After a meager dinner, decided to head down to the basement as I figured it’d be cooler than upstairs where I would otherwise spend my evening.

I was right. Numerous degrees cooler. (or as Jason Shron would say – absolute zero).

Got to work on putting cork down on the bits of secured benchwork installed yesterday. Have I mentioned how much I like using contact cement for application of cork to the subroadbed?

Also took care of a couple other bits of benchwork as well.

Now to bed where it’s still too warm…