Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement


November 13, 2012

Made a lot of sawdust tonight on just five jigsaw cuts. Admittedly most of those cuts were in excess of four feet long each. And this is what I made:

Dominion Tar and Chemical

No, it’s not a wooden saguaro cactus silhouette (like the ones used in the night time scenes of Silver Streak) but rather the trackboard for Dominion Tar & Chemical. The spur on the right is where poles were loaded into three and five car sets for shipment all over the continent to be used for power poles.

It’s not much, but it’s still progress.

November 10, 2012

With my wife out of town on a two week holiday to Hawaii for scrapbooking, I finally took some time to get to work on the layout. Of course, also good that Dan and Cam were willing to help.

Some time ago, I acquired a couple display cabinets from another model railroader who was moving and downsizing. After sitting in the basement since spring, I finally have them installed on one of the unclaimed walls.

Display Cabinets are installed!

And then we got some work done on the trackboard into Dominion Tar & Chemical, drawing out where the main and the spur are going to go. Room for a 3 car spot plus a little more. BC Pole was also factored in and then since I could do some of that stuff on my own at a later time, figured on getting more of the benchwork done which does require a few more hands. And with that, we installed benchwork around the “nose” of the basement (south end) for the lower deck, and we now have the basic shape for Courtenay. We also found better spots for ICG in Courtenay, along with the team track across Cumberland Street from the station.

looking south into Courtenay

looking north towards Courtenay

We ran out of usable 2″ wide plywood, so we’re not quite done with Courtenay’s benchwork, plus I’m needing to install a narrow shelf into the stairway for the escape track out the extreme north end of Courtenay’s diminutive yard. Next weekend, I should be able to acquire more plywood in the correct dimensions and carry on with the task!

Of note, it would appear Layout Tours for the CMRS have been moved up into March… If I’m going to have the Victoria Sub portion of the layout operational by then, I should get a move on!

August 12, 2012

Been a while since I’ve identified a post under “basement development”, but the work Cam and I did this weekend was certainly that work.

Saturday, we made a quick trip to Home Depot, picked up a sheet of 3/4″ MDF and four strips of pre-primed moulding. The sheet of MDF was ripped there to 10 1/2″ and 10 3/4″ wide, per the quick measurements I made earlier in the week.

Sunday morning, I went downstairs and got to work putting a coat of primer on the sides and one of the faces, as well as finishing up the trimming of the drywall to the proper size.

Later that afternoon, Cam came over to assist with getting the shebang installed. After finishing the priming od the bloards, we needed to make a trip to Rona for some ‘tuck tape’ which I needed (but didn’t realize when we picked up the other stuff), we got to work on cutting and installing the casing.

And here’s where I found that the window wasn’t installed very squarely in the opening. A few custom cuts later, we had everything secured, and got the first piece of moulding nailed in. And then pulled it out owing to the fact the brads I was using were too short. Redone with 2″ long brads, all was made secure.

Still to be done is filling of the screw holes, nail holes, siliconing the seams and corners and for this window, applying some small moulding to hide the distance between the casing and the window.


August 7-8, 2012

Since the weather is rather warm in Calgary, decided to head downstairs to the basement and cool off, admire the work done thus far, dream a little bit, and just generally cool down.

While I was sitting there at the location soon to be occupied by the team track of Courtenay and Vancouver Island Gas, I looked at the standards holding up those far-from-level brackets and realized a rather important fact:

The standards are not necessarily plumb.

There are some curves in the standards, either from a rather zealous drive from the drill securing the screws, the taping and mudding on the wall not leaving a rather flat wall, or likely, a combination of both.  So with the curve in the standard, the shelving brackets, especially the long 19″ ones, are pointing up.  Thankfully I discovered this before much work was done and the fix for this is reasonably easy to implement.  We’ll pull the brackets, pull the screws and shim the standards so they are straight and secure.  That should fix the levelness of the brackets.

I also realized that if I’m going to get the windows finished, I should do so fairly soon, lest the work become a hell of a lot more difficult owing to the fact that the layout in front of the window at Port Alberni will be very deep… Cam agreed on this fact and told me to get the drywall prepped (ie: flush to the window frame) and on Saturday afternoon, we’ll acquire the casing and boards and get the windows finished.  So, over that evenings and Wednesday, I’ve been getting reacquainted with the drywall saw, utility knife, rasp and most importantly, vacuum cleaner and getting that task taken care of on both windows.  I’ll probably need to replace the vapour barrier on both of them owing to the fact that it doesn’t take well to long-term exposure to UV and my punctures with the saw.


August 6, 2012

What a day of progress!

Cam came over in the morning and we got to work on getting benchwork built for the lower deck. But before we did that, I wanted to get that chopsaw stand that Murray brought over on the 21st into action. Turns out that shelf I was going to use (the top off the table my brother made eons ago) was the perfect size for the base of the chopsaw, and shortly after, the chopsaw was secured using bits of ready-rod, spare nuts and washers from the now-complete helix construction, and we can finally use it as intended. I even have the ability to do much of the work solo now that I don’t have to have someone hold up a long piece of wood.


Once done, we got to work on the lower deck benchwork, as well as the middle deck too, in some respects given that the deck depths were going to be the same. Stop blocks were installed on the saw and we chopped up a lot of the 2″ wide strips into dozens of fingers.

Holes were drilled through all of them for bus and accessory wires and voila. Half the job done…well, not quite. Lots of other things needed doing, like drilling holes through the shelf brackets for securing the wood to the metal brackets, cutting the pieces to good lengths, splicing them together, and then getting the works secured to the shelf brackets and to the wall at the south end.

That chewed up a very good portion of the day and then we started mocking up how the rest of the decks would play out, and it turns out, quite well…Well, almost. I was hoping we could simply screw from underneath the brackets into the 3/4″ plywood for the upper deck, but initial appearances showed that many of the brackets were pretty far from level, and no idea why. We’ll investigate later as to potential solutions.


August 5, 2012

I knew Cam would be busy with family today, but had a project that I knew wouldn’t be too hard to complete solo, and that was the installation of electrical power for the chop saw into the peninsula wall and also in the inside of the dispatchers booth, primarily for a computer or lights, or even a charger for radios.

Using some 14/3 household wiring, plus the bits I picked up yesterday, went about drilling holes through the 2×4’s and then stringing wire.  A couple boxes secured to the wall, outlets secured to wires, and faceplates attached, I set to the last task and that was terminating my “semi-permanent extension cord” with a male plug which then plugs into the actual electrical circuit near the end of the wall.  With everything plugged in, and I went to test it.  Couldn’t find my circuit tester, but figured my voltmeter would verify power just as well, and found it read 148 volts.

Oh crap.  That’s way high.

Tested a few other spots and found them high too.

Called Cam later that evening and he reassured me that the household wiring was fine, that things would’ve went poof a long time ago if that voltage reading was correct and that he would be happy to test the house with his multimeter.  Sure enough…my multimeter is now usable primarily for continuity and that’s about it.  Guess who’s buying a new one?  I’m not that terribly concerned, it’s given me many many years of life, though now I’m beginning to doubt just how accurate the measurements I’ve made have been as of late…Perhaps my accessory bus isn’t actually around 17V, but more around a normal 12?  We’ll see when I pick up a new one.


August 4, 2012

Murray and Cam came over early in the morning to put some time in on the layout and we managed to accomplish the installation of a fair number of the shelf standards (thanks to Murray for bringing his 6′ long level), and now we have standards on two complete walls with a plan on how to start into the nose of the basement.

We also discussed aspects of copying this system over to Murray’s new layout, and discovered I needed a few things.  One was an additional 4′ long standard to help close the a rather sizable gap (give or take 30-35″), Another was a full sheet of 3/4″ plywood which would become the prime bit of benchwork for portions of Port Alberni, and lastly, I wanted to put 110V AC power into the peninsula wall, and needed some bits for that to happen.  Murray has a pickup truck, Cam and I do not, so we figured it would be worthwhile to take advantage of the transportation opportunity.

After returning to the house, we met up with a friend of mine, Matt Buchanan, came over while he was in Calgary to take a look at progress on the layout.  He’s planning on a little switching layout with a portion of Vancouver’s downtown.  While the four of us were there, we got that 4×8′ sheet cut into two pieces, one representing the eastern end of Port Alberni and the other the area around the ICG spur and the Port Alberni enginehouse.  After that was done and Matt had left, we decided a hobbyshop crawl was in order.  Michaelea and I left for Lee Valley to pick up the stuff there that we didn’t pick up in the morning, Murray and Cam left for an errand Murray had to take care of and we met at Trains and Such and then went around the south end of the city to a few shops and ended up at Kelsey’s for dinner.

The rest of the evening was spent playing down at Murray’s layout.  More would come on Monday!


July 31, 2012

Spent the evening tonight doing a lot of cleaning up in the basement.  Things were getting out of hand, messes were everywhere and for some reason, that one sweepstick (30″ radius) was still missing.

So, I used some of those shelf brackets, put them up fairly high up on the standards and put the 2″ strips of wood up there, additional standards yet to be installed and some of the additional strips of wood.  The larger pieces all got consolidated as well out of the way and the floor thoroughly swept.

One could say I made a clean sweep, as I did locate the sweepstick on the floor.

Oh yeah, the other major change was the moving of the chop saw.  For quite some time, it resided up against the wall that was soon to have benchwork installed on it.  It’s now in front of Bryn, with a sheet of plastic stretched across the three decks behind the chop saw to protect it from flying debris and a whole ton of sawdust.

All this done to facilitate more work this upcoming long weekend!


July 28, 2012

Went out on Saturday to make some additional acquisitions. Another few hundred dollars later, I have some more plywood (3/4″ Birch, G2S, at Windsor Plywood for all of $30 per sheet), additional shelf standards and Brackets (found them much less expensive at Lee Valley, and they’re interchangeable with the existing stuff I bought at Home Depot) and a box of cork.

Cam and I got back to the house and after hauling it all downstairs (actually, it was brought in through the side window in the basement) and proceeded to pull up existing roadbed and track. Yes… You read that correctly. We did some checks, measurements and found we needed a little more length for the Trent River Bridge and I didn’t necessarily like having to go with partially visible 26″ radius curves… So we did what we did up one deck and curved the train behind the backdrop to hide it for a little bit and compress more mileage into hidden track. Needed to pull up one string of flex and also the roadbed underneath to make the corner.

And that’s about where we ended up finishing for the day. More work to come next weekend!

July 22,2012

Cam came over early this afternoon to help on some more progress on the benchwork for the layout. Primarily woodwork surrounding the shelf brackets on the end-wall where ICG in Nanaimo, the Trent river bridge, and the entry into Port Alberni.


And with that work, I’m now pretty much out of my 2″ strips of 3/4″ plywood. Now I really am needing virtually everything!