Trains Large and Small

I took a trip on Amtrak last week between Portland and Seattle. I’ll post on the trip at Fixed Points, but there were some things that fit better here.

Amtrak’s Cascade is the regional service for the Northwest, scheduled between Eugene and Vancouver, BC. Rail service is between Portland and Seattle; everything else is by bus. Compared to driving, the schedule between the Rose and Emerald cities is a good hour faster, and compares favorably with door-to-door air travel times.

BNSF GP-38-2 21 May 2017

BNSF GP-38-2 #2276. Not that I have a great interest in modern power, but wanted to record the weathering. I noticed much of the equipment along the way had a similar dusty white coating. Weathering is one of the weakest parts of my modeling game, so as cars come off the layout I’ll have another go.

Puget Sound aggregate pipe over track

At the southern end of Puget Sound there’s this large pipe over the tracks. It’s an aggregate loader for ships.

Seattle Amtrak shops

Amtrak’s Seattle shops located adjacent to and south of Safeco Field. King Street Station is about 1 km north (behind).

Among the rail equipment nearly everything was home-road. Tank cars and hoppers were leased and not a lot of foreign-road equipment. Boxcars were uncommon. It’s a busy line, and if you were to camp by the tracks you’d see several trains an hour.

Local Trains

PNW Adair Village 22 May 2017

Portland & Western’s GP-39-2 Adair Village running through Hillsboro with a train from the lumber mill.

The (Incomplete) History of the Western Railroads

HIstory of Western Railroads

Saw this book in a bookstore. There is this map:

HIstory of Western Railroads map

There appears to be something missing. Like maybe the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, better known as the Milwaukee Road. A history that omits an entire transcontinental railroad can hardly be called ‘complete’.

Back to the layout

I’ve been working away at the lumber stacks for the Cheney mill. I have enough to where I could start to see how things were going to look:

NPP Cheney lumber stacks 1

That’s a little disappointing. With 35 stacks done and five in the production pipeline, I’m going to need a lot more. I have material for another dozen stacks, but that won’t be enough. I really need more ‘hero’ stacks. The pad in the foreground will be roofed, so I’m using unadorned plinths as stand-ins in the middle, but the loading dock is open.

I’m not really happy with my chosen modeling method: dimensional wooden cores wrapped with printed texture. It’s time-consuming and not totally effective, but it does provide a nice look from normal viewing angles. It’s convincing enough. I’ve discovered that models of stacks of 8′ studs appropriate to the 1940’s aren’t really available. I need to find a way to model this relatively efficiently because I figure with my interest in Northwest railroads this is going to come up again.

Operating on the NPP

As operations grow I’ve discovered that the interchange track is getting more of a workout than envisioned. My thinking was that on a layout this small ‘shipper-receiver’ relationships would stretch credulity. Everything comes from or goes to off-layout. Now that the sawmill side of the layout is taking form, all that product has to go somewhere, and it isn’t the Peninsula. The interchange track was laid with expansion in mind, and I’m considering adding a drop-leaf yard.

Along the waterfront:

NPP switching waterfront 170523

The empties from the mills have been spotted on the pier for the ferry ride to the Peninsula, and the engine is about to run around the two empty cars on the left. After putting the train together and checking brakes, the crew will head for the interchange track. The warehouse is modeled after a prototype in 1948 Tacoma.

Turnout sizes

I downloaded and printed turnout templates from the Fast Tracks site. From top to bottom is a crossover with Nos. 6, 8, 10, and 12 turnouts. I’m planning my next layout with minimum No. 6 turnouts, so the templates are a good way to see how much space track work takes.

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