The Louisville Railroad

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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#1
On an earlier thread I posted that my office decided to install a model railroad. The idea is a locomotive decorated for our company would be pulling around freight cars of all our clients. So here is a thread to share the progress of this railroad as it speeds toward its First completion. I say first completion because of the time constraints everything is being done just good enough to be passable by the board of directors meeting on April 19th. The plan is to go back and rework everything to bring it up to my standards later at a much more leisurely and therefore much more fun pace.

Date Line January 30.
For the designated space in the office I decided on a 9'x12' space that is not a rectangle. Minimum radius is 28". Spent about a month working on a track plan (see thread title beginning with "I stepped in it now"). I wasted about a month thinking we could set a goal for the September board meeting. But nope, and so much for February.

Date Line March 5.
Despite all the best laid plans I wanted to be certain this was really OK with the boss. By the boss I mean the president of the company. After all it is going to be sitting right outside his office door and every client that comes in is going to have to walk by it. So here is the first step. I chose a day I knew he was going to be in the office (which is not often), got masking tape, and marked out on the floor where I intended it to be.

Map On Floor.jpg
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#2
Horseman,

Looks good mate and quite a departure from the original idea's. You should have this up and running by the end of this week, shouldn't you? :)
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#3
An abstract shape is definitely more appealling visually, The only modification I would suggest is to make those central sidings longer, by either moveng the first turnout closer to the main past them, or having each as a seperate siding off the main. The latter uses one less turnout and would enable longer trains on each.

Seeing as it's now the middle of this week, Friday of next week will be satisfactory.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#5
Interestingly enough that is not the track plan I went with. While I really liked how it looked down there on the floor in full size. I counted weekends from March 5 to April 19. Counted 6, subtracted 2 for known previous engagements and they all added up equal to "not enough". Out of necessity I went with plan A from the other thread. Simple loop with no hidden tracks.

Having obtained the bosses permission I came up with a parts list for Lowes, MB Kline, and "other". Our office manager offered to order the building supplies, I fought the MB Kline site, and we picked up the other in passing. After losing the building supply list (we think it got sent to Jacksonville with the boss), and having to re-create it we were off again.

Lowes was a huge disappointment. They don't sell extruded foam except in special order bulk. They didn't have much of the dimensional lumber I ordered and almost none of it in #1 grade. As such one 1x4x12 was a total cork screw that was sent back. And despite the store being three blocks from the office it took a week for them to deliver it. Still had to go to Home Depot also. Most annoying. Finally a week and a half later we got the stuff. I assembled a team of volunteers from the office, and we came in on Saturday. The funny thing is that I was not even in the office that week. I was working from the Kansas home, so I drove all Friday night to be there and build this thing.

Dateline March 24
We all assembled and funny thing, I left the blue print sitting on the desk in my Kansas home office. groan, so I had to re-make it up as we went. I sat at the desk drawing up the next piece and would hand it so someone and say "go cut this out". They would cut it out and I would give it to the next person and say how it went together. Fortunately my boss who was helping and one other fellow were at least knowledgeable of constructing wooden things.

The odd shape and angle proved to be troublesome at every turn. Started by using the Pythagorean theorem to get the sizes right and angles right. Another funny thing, couldn't get some of the numbers to make sense until I realized some people were reporting in inches and others in feet. Once we settled on units things got a bit easier, but also soon found a scientific calculator and abandon Pythagoras for the good old arctan(x) function. Eight hours later we had it done except for legs.

I added the legs after work on Monday or Tuesday night. The legs also had bizarre angles and required special engineering, but now it is rock solid. Four caty-wompus legs are stronger than four on a square.

benchwork1.jpg
benchwork2.jpg
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#8
Toot'n,

Hmm, they look to be 2" X 2" legs with 1" X 2" braces. A little light for me BUT the whole assembly is positioned centrally beneath the bench work which looks as though it will be butted up against the wall. If it were me, I'd be inclined to fasten it to that wall for added security, especially in a public place.

That being said, I stand by my original comment - it is very nice bench work :)
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#9
Hate to say it mate, but those legs and their braces look too light to me and too far in from the edges.
The unbraced strength of a construction grade 2x2 (fir / pine) is 318 lbs. Compression perpendicular to grain is 565 lbs. There are 4 of them with braces, so barring some huge flaw in the materials, they -- worst case -- should support about 1000 lbs. best case they would support more than a ton. The whole thing completed will only weigh about 300 lbs. Technically 1 leg would do it. wink - I am an engineer, you don't think I would have put this together without doing the math do you?

If anything the #8 screws used for the supports were the week point. I went back later and replaced them with #10s. I did not compute the lateral stress factor of the #8s, they were probably fine. I just winged it based on how I felt.
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
One leg might make it a bit wobbly though :)

I am so used to using "over kill" ie 2 X 4's for legs that anything less "looks" a little flimsy. Should have known you had everything under control ;)
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#11
You're off to a good but difficult start. In an earlier post you mentioned dimensional lumber and Lowes. You have my deepest sympathy. I learned years ago to stay away from Lowes ot Home Depot for lumber. WOuldn't even make good firewood with all of the moisture in it. I do have a moisture meter I bring with me when I look for lumber and the guy at Lowes looked at me like I had 2 heads when I was checking their lumber.

Looking forward to watch your build progress. The odd angles of the bench work will make this layout stand out from a rectangular one. It look fine so far.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#12
In an earlier post you mentioned dimensional lumber and Lowes. You have my deepest sympathy. I learned years ago to stay away from Lowes ot Home Depot for lumber.
Yes, I really wish we had a Menard's here in Denver, or at least a real lumber yard close by. Closest Menards is up in Wyoming. The big boxes have run all the normal lumber yards out of business. I think our Hugh-M-Woods lumber yards went out of business in the early 1990s because of it.

We are further limited by which stores our company purchase card has been approved to be used at. The days of buy something and get reimbursed for it are long gone. That is adding complexity, time, and cost to the project.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#13
No Menards up here either but we do have a couple of locally owned lumber yards with excellent lumber. Unfortunately, we have a lot of construction going on, and they have quite competitive prices.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
I am in the same boat where I live. We only have two lumber stores within close driving distance, North Main Lumber or Lowes. North Main mainly accommodates contractors so their prices are a little higher BUT their lumber (timber) is much MUCH better quality with delivery costs 1/3 that of Lowes.

I couldn't agree more about the quality of Lowes stuff - it is rubbish and the time spent sifting through it all for a few decent pieces just isn't worth it.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#16
For a long time during the planning I was assembling a list of what model railroad supplies would be needed. Finally realizing time was slipping away I sat down one evening after work and started calling up all the on-line retailers to get prices. I was astounded at how few things were in stock and ready to be shipped. Finally decided on MB-Kline and fought with their site for hours to get the order assembled. This was right after they had issues with their website and it showed. Slow, poor search capability, no pictures, poor descriptions, just generally painful. Finally pressed the button to place the order and, ... and nothing. The web site just shut down leaving me with an empty browser screen. Since it was past midnight I gave up and went to bed. Called them the next day and described the issue.
They said, "just try again".
I thought, Really?
But I tried again. Then I discovered that the Peco code-83 track that was in stock the night before was apparently out of stock. I called back. They checked and for certain they had none. Sold the last case between Midnight and like 10:00 a.m.
"Oh, we can order it".
I thought, Really?
I reworked the order with code 100 track. Placed the order. It was rejected. It was reported a fraud. Apparently our corporate office has not approved on-line purchases of over $1000 of toys from hobby stores past midnight (yes it was past midnight again). So next day called corporate accounting, called bank, got it all approved.

time passes

Date Line March 20th.
Still no train stuff, so I got on-line and found that order status was "in fulfillment". Called to see what that meant. Turns out they were out of stock on some ground foam. Said they had called and tried to leave a message but the answering machine was full. I asked which phone number and they didn't know. sigh. So shifted from brown-fine to dark green-coarse and got the order moving again. Had to match the price exactly because of the corporate approval above... That night I get an e-mail from them. Now two of the code 100 Peco turnouts were out of stock. What should they do. Apparently they hadn't even started pulling the order until today, so in the mean time someone else had purchased them out from under me. sigh. Obvious answer to me is replace with electro-frog type, but by the time I called the next morning.
"Oh, we already refunded and shipped that without the turnouts".
I thought, Really?

Date Line March 22.
Order the missing turnouts straight from Walther's. Got a better deal on them anyway, since the "Best Track Sale of the Year" was still going on. And since I am a Yard Master Club member, I get free shipping. Ordered more stuff too that had been out of stock, or just not stocked by Model Train Stuff.

Date Line April 2.
YEAY! Three weeks after the initial order - train stuff. It joins the other supplies from the "other" list ready for use.

train stuff.jpg
 
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montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#17
Just love it when items are not in stock. Years ago when I had a Walthers dealership, I would estimate that when I put in an order, I was lucky to get half of it.

Looking forward to see the build. Rotsa ruck.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#18
What a nightmare. For future reference, if you (or anyone) wants Peco track/turnouts go to Hattons in the UK. First up they are a darn sight cheaper than ANY where else for Peco and secondly, I placed an order with them and 3 days later the DHL guy was handing it to me on my porch.

Anyway, the good thing is that you got everything that you needed and can now start the fun part :) Hope they are going to name this layout after you or at least a thank you plaque on the fascia :)
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#19
Dateline April 3.

With many co-workers eager to help out. I held a build a tree session at lunch time. I intended to show them how to build four basic types of trees. Simple right? Wrong. First the electronic calendar decided not to invite 1/2 the people. Unfortunately I didn't discover this until two days later. But it did explain the low attendance.

First type of tree made from a cut up artificial Christmas tree went well. Our only issue was people kept spraying the hair spray over the ground foam catch bin and cementing it all together. I found that newbies are really afraid to cut things. I am in there whacking away and the others are going trim, trim, trim.

Second type of tree made from bamboo skewers didn't go so well. I knew something was wrong when I tried to cut the floor scrub pad and it wouldn't cut. I finally got a ring cut out and then I couldn't pull it apart. I mean I am grabbing and pulling with all my might and the stuff just will not separate. I must have purchased the super-duper extra heavy duty pad. Needless to say our primary source for trees took a serious hit.

Third type of tree made from the Woodland Scenics kits were also a failure. Following their directions exactly the "trees" looked more like what they really are. A plastic stick with big glops of foam stuck on them. Maybe they are dead trees with huge fungus clusters on them :). All I can figure is the foam needs to be re-ground. I know it is supposed to be coarse but this was beyond course.

We rapidly ran out of time trying to mix the methods and some up with anything that looked 1/2 decent. We didn't. Just going to have to find and buy a more workable scrubby pad.

Here are some of the bizzaro trees we ended up with.
first trees.jpg
 



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