Time for Inventory

Once a year, Silicon Valley Lines does an inventory of all rolling stock to ensure that we know which cars are present on the layout and the actual location of each car is consistent with where the computer thinks it is. With 1300 cars on the layout this is a lot of work for our train master, so a few folks helped out.

How can it be that cars are not where they are supposed to be, you ask? Simple. We’re all humans. We make mistakes. We take an extra car on a train we’re not supposed to. We forget to take all cars we’re supposed to. Sometimes a planned train doesn’t run as scheduled for a variety of reasons. For operating layouts using computer-based paperwork, this drift between reality and what the computer thinks is quite common. Here are all the cars I found in Nowheres and Jasper Jct that didn’t belong.  This is quite a bit more than expected. We determined that one of the freights from Nowheres to Bakersfield must not have run in a recent session.

By the way, layouts using car cards & waybills have similar problems where due to human error the pairing between car card and car is lost, resulting in cars without a card, or cards without a car. On small layouts this is usually resolved easily and quickly, but ends up being just as much of a challenge on large layouts, and owners usually have a system to keep things in sync.

Fall Open House

We had out Fall Open House last weekend. Plenty of people came down to enjoy running trains, and those trains got a lot of mileage on the lower level loop!

Couldn’t make it out? Not a problem! Feel free to come by an Ops session to check us out, or you can look ahead our Open House in June 2020!

Filling in a Blank Space on the Backdrop (Part 1)

Since I took over North Hallelujah and changed its theme to the 1950s Southern California town (and renamed it Hemet in the process), I’ve always had a big sky blue backdrop behind the town.

I started with a bit of research, going to Jim Lancaster’s site, coastdaylight.com to go through the various pictures he and others have compiled of some of the remaining packing houses in the southland. From this, I found a few packing houses with which to work off of – aspects of packing houses in Piru, Redlands, Olive Park, and Corona could be cobbled together to make a large, 4 door packing house, with some added visual detail.

Most of these were Sunkist packing houses, so we’ll need to add in that signage detail too.

Using the ideas from above, I wanted space for 4 doors. As this will be a transitional structure, I knew that one blank space and one door would give me about 40 scale feet. To make way for the height of the addition (which would have been storage or refrigeration on the prototype), I used both a double wall and an additional single wall to give a bit of height perspective.

For added strength, I then cut foam board to glue to the back. The structure still won’t stand upright due to a slight warp (and the backdrop isn’t straight), so I need to reinforce the base a little more. Before that though, I brought it down to the club for a test fitting.

I’ve got some gaps to fill and paint, but so far so good. Proper doors, signage and details (downspouts, a little weathering, some paint patches, and maybe some ivy growing in a spot or two) will help really give this some character. More to come!

Modern Operations – Sept 2019

Everyone was kept pretty busy during our September Ops, making sure that freight was moving across the layout and getting to its final destination. Everyone had a great time – so much fun in fact, that we didn’t take as many pictures as we had hoped!

Manifest trains meet in Fryton
A manifest passes through Greeley, with the branchline below quiet.