Thursday, June 22, 2017


Tonight Adam and I loaded up the truck with the brake car, loco 2, and the SBT because it was on the brake car.  Plus Adam put loco 3 in the truck too.  Then we went over to Adam's where we fixed the loose pedestal on loco 2 and replaced the grease fittings with english ones.  Plus we chased the threads on the plugs for loco 3.  But I forgot all the other fittings for loco 3 so we did not make much more progress.

The plan is to Friday night or Saturday morning go to White Creek for a day of fun running and testing the new springs on loco 2.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


 Yesterday I folded laundry, and made a shelf for my deodorant.  Tonight I installed more track.  About 20 feet total.
Some of it was easy as it was the turnout I purchased from White Creek.  I now have 8 feet of mainline installed.

I ran out of rail joiners, Robb bought me some metal to make more so I will pick that up this weekend.  The turnout is 1 inch rail, I have to go back and make better transition joiners as the railhead is narrower and lower on the 13/16th rail.  That causes a gauge change at the transition.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


 Today I extended the track another 4 feet.  The ties are no longer supported by the wood, they are on the ground.
 Yesterday and some today I cleared the right of way through the woods.  Cut the branches and little bushes that were overhanging, then mowed, then raked.  Then using a tool I got at a garage sale cut out some of the high spots.
 It took a while to mow, I had to work with Nancy and her dad to figure out why the mower would not run.  It had fuel, and it had spark, and we could get it to run rough if I blew air into air intake.  But it would stall without the air.  The air filter was clean ish, what was that little tail doing there?  Why is there a fluff of tissue hanging out of the shroud covering the engine... undo more screws.  scare away a mouse, but it really was not interested in leaving.  Found her nest, found one, two three, four...  five little grey mice with their eyes still shut.
 Little grey was not interested in the little things,,, they did not move enough.  The mom ran up into the truck, so I asked Nancy to take it to the store for milk.  Hopefully she ran away.
 The babies met their demise.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

More Track

Today I worked on more track.  Starting by fixing a few issues we caused by working late and in the dark were fixed, such as the gauge being too wide around the frog, and I routed out under the frog to level the track some.

Then I moved on to laying the single track.  This went much quicker.  I was able to do 12 feet in one day, before I was only doing at most six feet on each track.

Because it will take some time for me to make points I am going to install a temporary plate to guide the wheels and keep them from derailing.

 I now have one 60 foot long railroad instead of two 25 foot rail lines.

If at first you don't succeed track track again

I had a nice bit of track laid, both of the storage tracks coming out of the barn straight for six feet then gently curving out to the switch on the mainline.

Issue was the switch would have been a number 8 or longer curved switch about 30 feet from the carbarn.  This is into the woods by all the trillium.  I would have to have a walking path to the switch.
It was just too far to walk and I did not want to destroy the trillium.

So not having the heart to do the work myself, I asked the kids to unscrew about 10 feet of track total.

Then I turned over the ties and brought the rails in to each other much sooner.  while the frog is a number 5 I think the switch is closer in length to a number 4 or 3.  It is quite tight.

During the day Saturday I put in the track up to the frog.  Most of that time was milling the underside of the frog to accept the rail, The frog is for 1" rail and the rail I am using is 7/8".  Then as bonus work from 8pm to 10pm Adam and I installed the tracks from the frog to the pivot point of the points.
I don't have material for points yet, I may develop a temporary method so Jon can roll the cars back and forth.

Also this week I purchased some 5/16" sheet steel, new, no rust, that I plan to use to make bodies for flat trailers to go with the SBT.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


Saturday we visited the Great Lakes Live Steamers in Royal Oak with the tugger, loco 2, coal car, blue flat, brake car and the SBT.  First we ran them all together to get charge the SBT.  Then we cut out the SBT and Nancy ran the rest of the train around 10 times.  I removed dirt from a switch and ran the SBT around light walking behind it.  Then talked for a while, ran the train a few more times, tried to move a steamer with the SBT... no juice.  Then I rode halfway around with the SBT, and walked it the other half when it ran out of juice.

I left the camera in the truck.

When we got home we unloaded the tugger and cars without batteries to the shed and the locos and brake car to the garage.

Sunday I went down to add some track length... and spent the afternoon adding a window to the shed.  Then in the evening I added 5 feet to each track.  Once I was done I looked down the line and realized that if I redo one track I could be at the frog for the turnout.  I am not quite sure if that will be forcing it.  I will let the thought ruminate for a few days before I continue.

Thursday, June 01, 2017


The trim is now completely installed on the bay.  Plastic is more expensive than rough sawn pine, but cheaper than rough sawn ceder.  But replacing all the rest of the pine trim with plastic would be more expensive than having someone come in and trim it all in metal.

The board between the windows in the back room were replaced with metal when the windows were installed.  The eves are all pine, as well as around the garage.  One piece on the garage is rotten, and woodpeckers have made some pretty good holes in a piece on the second story.  And all of it needs to be painted.

Back to the trains:
Loco two has springs that were too soft, Earlier I calculated a better spring from McMaster and ordered them.
The old springs had too low of a K rate, the new springs in theory will work better, but while the old springs were 7/8" long the new ones are 1".  As can be seen in the pictures, the old springs are fully compressed, the new springs have too much preload and are fully extended.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lift and Bay

 I spent the majority of the day continuing installation of the trim on the front bay area.  Only 11 more pieces to put up, Then the caulking and painting.  Nancy started the caulking already, as well as purchasing the paint.
 I also finally removed the trains from the truck, using the new lift.
It works well for boxcabs and short cars, I would not use it for a full size locomotive.  I need to bolt the track to the lift, as well as level it, as it leans towards the mast.  Then I also need to wedge something in to keep the track solid to the forks, as right now it is a 3 inch tall opening for two inch forks.  Then there is the matter of it wanting to shift while rolling a car on or off.  I need to lock the lift to the track.  I also need to develop a way to stop it from rolling, like how shop tools are on roller bases that drop to fix the position.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

replacing house siding

Friday, Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon I have been installing trim on the front bay of our house.  I have is about 1/4 complete.

During a lull in the action I have been working on adding rails to the lift.  Cutting rails to length, cutting spacer bars for gauge, drilling the holes for the spacer bars.  What remains is to bolt the rails to the pan of the lift.

Saturday morning I worked for a few hours, then I visited MCRR and did a switching run, I am impressed with the railroad, but I felt guilty not working on the house so I came home early.

Again... too busy working to take pictures.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

White Creek spring meet

From last Wednesday night to Saturday I was at white creek.  Running with Robb for the most part, I facebook live video for an hour of the switching.  Took a few pictures and bought a #4 turnout from Russ.

It was cold, the SBT does not last long pulling a coal car, loco 2 needs to have the springs improved.

Today I cut two lengths of 2x2x1/8 angle for use as rails on the lift.  They are just over 5 foot long.  That will give an overhang of 1.5 feet each way.  I will bolt them to the existing platform of the lift and make locks so the lift will not roll away from my stands.

The springs on loco 2 are currently 1 inch long and .5 inch in diameter, and uses four per axle.

The loco weights just over 200 lbs
That is 25 lbs per spring
With 1/4" of travel
I need 100lb per inch springs.

looking at mcmaster carr the item that fits is 9573K15

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More trackwork

 I let Jon play with the flat car while I went and got tools and revised the stop block..  He did not know the stop block was gone.
 Then I installed some ties.
 The last of the 4x4 pieces I had.  They were used and had screws and nails so I did not want to rip into smaller pieces.
 I told Jon he could use the tanks also... he knew that he had to get couplers and pins so they would work.
 Then we had a few ties to set on the tie car.

 And park it in the shed.
 And close the door.
 Or ride on the troublesome tanks.

 Shame on them for sitting on the cars
This is as far as I got this weekend.  It will be a week before I can add more.