What was nice about it was that twelve of my long time, good model RR pals (and my dad, too) came over after bad weeks at work, long rides and siting in traffic to come not only celebrate that the RR was finally running fully, but to celebrate my 42nd birthday. We had a lot of good natured ribbing, and a lot of very good critiques that will help me fine tune the layout for an even better Shakedown #4 in early 2012.
Not too many really "horrible" issues need to be addressed to allow the RR to run smoothly and as planned, and they can be fixed relatively quickly and cheaply, or so I think! Basically, track guage problems (we fixed the issues of verticle curves last time), some minor electrical issues, and a big one, shop the car fleet so all cars are equipped with Kadee #5's, metal wheels and are properly weighted. That however, is a project that is lengthy and will cost quite a few dollars, so that will most likely take place over much of 2012.
I don't have any pictures that I took last night (though friend Dave Ramos did, and as soon as he e-mails them to me, I'll add them to this post), so instead I went downstairs after I got home tonight after a day of model RR'ing in Connecticut, to show you a bit more of the layout, 'cause everybody like pictures, right? RIGHT?
Ok, so first off are the four carfloats that drive the east end of the layout. The two in back are permanently mounted to their float bridges (Walthers car float and custom kitbashed float bridges) and handle the interchange traffic between the trunk line RR's, and the two moveable (on a cart, and more on this in a future post) carfloats with no float bridge model installed yet, that primarily handles the station floats going to the pier stations. These float bridges represent four of the six that were actually at Jersey City.
Next, here are two long shots, the first looking west along the length of the yard..........
.....And then east towards the "river". This yard is two feet wide and about 14 feet long long. I have been lucky enough to have a RR valuation map of this yard, AND the ability (ie: room) to model it (almost) track for track, turnout for turnout, though it is compressed in length. This yard was one of the places the guys suggested changes in the way the turnouts are located to make switch moves easier. I am willing to make these changes even if they are not "prototypically correct", if they will make the operation easier and thus enjoyable.
Here's what I have effectionately named "The Crossing of Doom". This the eight diamond crossing of the LVRR main, the LVRR wye, and the CNJ's Henderson Street branch (upper left to lower right). Did I mention I am modeling the CNJ, too? Yeah, just a short branch with about nine industries that was also in this part of town. And this crossing was just too cool to pass up! The reason the base of this looks different is because last year we tore it up and rebuilt it on a piece of Gatorfoam board, because as built on the foam, not only was electric continuity poor, but there were also a TON of verticle curves due to the less than stellar foam base (one instance where it was NOT OK to build your layout upon foam!). It still needs tweaking (the Atlas crossings need to be checked for guage and smooth tracking), and some electical "issues". Problem is, it needs to come out in order to be easily worked on, and it was kinda a pain in the @$$ to put it in to begin with!
Did I mention the CNJ? well here we are at the EOT of the Henderson Street Branch at the US Gypsum plant. I just taped a few of my Walthers kits together in order to give the guys some semblance of what is what, and most importantly, gave it a "name" tag. Also, you can see we like to ignore rule G on this layout (even when it's not somebody's birthday) and also the use of wooden skewers to not only to uncouple cars, but also act as train brakes!
I've got a few more to share, but I'll follow up with some more before Thanksgiving, 'cause it's dinner time right now here in New Jersey, and I'm hungry! If you have any questions about the above, feel free to ask!
Thanks for checking in,