Things going on with the railroad:
Working on the harbor area. I’ve sealed the perimeter with silicone caulk, and painted the harbor bed. I’ve also mocked-up the girder bridge with cardstock; mostly to get an idea of how it will look, but also to have a look at fabrication issues. The final product will be fabbed from styrene. There’s some motivation to get this bridge done, as I can’t operate the railroad during construction. I’ve ordered bridge shoes from Micro-Engineering, although they all appear to be fixed shoes. Standard practice dictates movable shoes for one end of each girder. I don’t know whether the Northern Pacific used roller or sliding shoes, but in N-scale, sliding shoes will be easier to model.
Ever since I lived in Seattle, I’ve been fascinated by the Milwaukee Road’s Snoqualmie Pass. I’ve had ample opportunity to view the roadbed from I-90. I’ve ridden the bike trail as far as the western portal of the tunnel, although I didn’t trek the 2 miles to the eastern end. The fact that this was part of the electrified portion of the railroad is interesting to me.
I’d like to model this pass and operations for my next layout, but the prospect of building most everything from scratch appeared daunting. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks researching the subject, and it seems that the modeling may not be as difficult as expected. Although I’ve never scratch-built rolling stock, certainly not locomotives, I do have some experience in fabrication and project management. Looking at drawings of the various road motors, it seems the most challenging aspects would be the running gear and the pantographs.
While the running gear for Milwaukee Road traction is still problematical, there are ready-made pantographs available. I ordered 10 sets of two off Amazon, and that should be enough to get me started. The pantographs are made by Kato, although you’d never know it from their website.
The main concern was that in N-scale, everything is small (I may have mentioned this). However, an EF-2 Bipolar is nearly 6 actual inches long, so that’s enough to work with.
What is the deal with N-scale vehicles? The choice appears to be cheap-ass plastic embarrassments, expensive pewter models, or resin kits that look like they require more work to build than they took to make. I don’t need a lot of vehicles, but I can’t afford to spend upwards of $20 on each one. I’m starting to think there’s a market niche here.