Last Track Glued Today - Case Closed... 1-24-2017
Almost five months after my locomotive display case project was conceived and begun, I am able to declare the project completed. Much work has been done since the last update on 11-25-2016. I figured I would go through a number of steps in this final post rather than have a bunch of incremental updates.
The image above shows the completed display case as of today. The top eight shelves demonstrate that it is easy to get five locomotives on each shelf. At full capacity this display case will be able to hold 80 locomotives!
As of the last update the main structure was completed, all 16 shelves had been installed. This was a major milestone. Several weeks were spent painting the structure white. I first painted it with a gloss white, but I decided that that would reflect too much light during photography. The final cote of paint was Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Eggshell Enamel - Ultra Pure White 2750. I found this finish to be quite satisfactory.
During the painting process I would rotate the shelf every few days and just paint the horizontal surfaces. This minimized any paint running and made for a smooth finish. Of course there was much filling and sanding.
The last of the painting was completed around the New Year and by January 2nd, 2017 it was brought into the Man Cave and mounted to the wall. Using cork roadbed and my stud finder, I made a template of the the stud position and pre-drilled nine holes in the back of the display case to assist with mounting.
Once lifted into position, it was very easy to drill the holes and fasten to the wall using bolts and washers. These shelves are not going anywhere!
A little white paint camouflaged the bolts and washers nicely. I really like the clean lines of this structure.
Next I focused attention on the tracks. I have a supply of Atlas Code 100 Flex Track so I chose to go with this. The tracks come in three-foot lengths, so I would have to do some cutting and make 16 four-foot tracks.
I decided to paint the track using Rust-Oleum aerosol cans of Satin Dark Brown Smooth Protective Enamel. I had some trouble keeping the tracks together during painting. Since these tracks are for display only and will not be hooked up to electricity I just used some Krazy-Glue at the joints and that did the trick nicely!
Each track received two cotes of paint, the second cote being applied a couple of days after the first cote. This paint covered the track quite nicely.
Next I cut and filed 32 crossties to fill the gaps under the rail joiners where the tracks were put together to make the four foot lengths look seamless. Using a strip of double-sided tape, I lined the ties up on a Home Depot paint stirrer stick to facilitate painting. A quick pass of the trusty Rust-Oleum made easy work of this step.
A little Krazy Glue fastened the ties in position on each track. Now it was time to tackle the final step: gluing the tracks to the shelves.
I made the mistake of using a bead of Liquid Nails adhesive from a caulking gun for the first track. Though I thought I had spread the glue rather thin, it did push up between the ties too much. To salvage this track I thought I would mask around the track and paint a solid strip of brown.
Though I kind of liked the appearance of the track in a solid brown strip, I decided that this masking and spraying in the house was a bit more work than I really wanted to do. I experimented on a few more adhesives and finally chose a tube of Loctite Pro Line Marine Adhesive Sealant. This material was conducive to being applied to the bottoms of each tie.
I did not apply this adhesive to about 7 or 8 ties on each four-foot track segment. These ties spread evenly across the track segment got a bead of Loctite superglue gel to help quickly lock each track into place while the Marin Adhesive cured.
Wood spacers made easy work of positioning the tracks on each shelf. After positioned properly, I would clamp a piece of wood on top of each track to press them firmly into place while the adhesive cured.
And so today the last four tracks were installed! I am quite pleased with the way this project came together. This is a great addition to the Man Cave and it is something that I can easily take with me when I move!
T&GN/NT&O CLBU Train Symbol Page Added
I have been cleaning up the train symbol pages on the Meridian Speedway website and have added this page for the Locals and Roadswitchers. Though there are several more pages to be added, this is an important one. The best way to learn how a railroad works is to study its local trains!
New Equipment Delivery Today - First CSX Locomotive
The UPS truck delivered a special package today. I purchased my first CSX locomotive in the form of Atlas B23-7 number 3103. There are a number of applications for CSX power on the Meridian Speedway and I am way behind in constructing appropriate CSX consists. Alas there are just too many amazing models available to purchase all of the locomotives on the wish list!
The CSXT 3103 is in good company on the display case! This locomotive is equipped with a LokSound DCC decoder. Kudos to Atlas for not putting the inferior Tsunami decoders in their locomotives. The model comes equipped with EMD Blomberg trucks as per the prototype. Sunshades are included but not installed. I may wait a bit to put them on.
Three freight cars were also included in today's equipment delivery. Three Atlas 50' Berwick boxcars rounded out the order: KCS 749281, KCS 749316, and RBOX 40434. The KCS cars were released in three numbers however at the time of purchase one number was already sold out. I also had my eyes on three numbers of MSDR (Mississippi Delta) cars in this release, however they were also sold out. Looks like I may have to reach out to a secondary supplier. The KCS cars look sharp and are a welcome addition to the fleet.
I remember seeing the CSX B23-7s quite a bit in New Orleans, especially on the M-720 "Bay Turn" trains. This model brings back many great memories of a great era in railroading. Now to focus on the next CSX acquisition...
Roll of Film Scanned - New Orleans Area Trains
(Note: Images are linked to larger files on rrpicturearchives.net)
Though my current scanning project is to whittle away at a large 1996 album, I came across this roll of film and decided I really wanted it on-line. The major attention-getter for me is the opening sequence of images along the now-abandoned Southern Pacific branch along the Harvey Canal. This is on the "West Bank" of the Mississippi River across from New Orleans, between Avondale and Algiers. The sign identifying the industry at Milepost 3 reads "Bredero Price 2900 Peters Road."
On June 27, 1995 I managed to stumble upon SP "Job 604" easing up to Milepost 3 on the branch. Power was lone SP MP15AC 2728. Here the crew would go to lunch. Following are some notes from retired SP employee Roger Ohlsson regarding the meal periods here:
The fourth image shows SP engineer Roger Burrows on his way to the lunch room. The crew was very friendly, allowing me to take a few photos from the cab ob the 2728 while they were at "beans". Looking at Google Maps, there are very few signs of this railroad in the Post Hurricane Katrina era. The image below is linked to the Google Maps street view if you wish to explore the location as it appears today.
Just about the only recognizable landmark at this location today is the large building just south of Milepost 3 with a pattern of double narrow windows. Today this building belongs to Chet Morrison Contractors. The address is 3434 Peters Road, Harvey LA, 70058. The concrete flood wall today appears to be about where the tracks were in 1995.
Though the UP acquisition of the CNW was a blight on the railroading landscape in America, for a brief period of time it did spice things up for us photographers. This was especially true for those of us who did not live anywhere near the CNW. In 1995 and 1995, UP consists were littered with CNW locomotives across the system. South Louisiana was no exception. My notes (shared at the bottom of this post) indicate that I saw four CNW SD40-2's on June 27, 1995: CNW 6848, CNW 6863, CNW 6922, and CNW 6931. They were in four separate locomotive consists. I was able to shoot three of them. The CNW 6848 was not photographed.
CNW 6922 was the first of three I shot on this day. Here we see it in the locomotive servicing tracks at the UP Avondale Yard paired with UP SD40-2 3330. This locomotive has a long career with the Union Pacific ahead of it. It will eventually be rebuilt into UP SD40N 1919.
The next image on this roll of film is the second CNW SD40-2 of the day: CNW 6931. This was the trailing locomotive of a four-unit consist on a train in Avondale Yard. Leading this unit was UP SD40-2 3839, UP GP38 1989, and UP B30-7A 247.
Interestingly I would photograph this locomotive again over 10 years later close to my new home in Texas. On April 8, 2006 a visit to the Dallas Garland and Northeastern in Denison, Texas found this locomotive in the CIT lease fleet identified as CEFX 6931. The below images are from this visit to Denison:
Westbound Southern Pacific intermodal train 1-CXCIT-27 was the subject of the next four images on this roll of film. The CXCIT trains originated at the CSX Gentilly Yard on the east side of New Orleans. The final destination is City of Industry, California in the Los Angeles basin. Departing Avondale at 1:58 PM these images show just how miserable it is to shoot during the middle of the day in the summer in Louisiana. Knowing that in the future all things SP would be gone, I got the shots anyway.
The power for this train was typical of the EsPee we grew to love and hate during this era. Two particularly ratty and filthy tunnel motors lead a nice looking Cotton Belt GP60. The consist: SP SD40T-2 8241, SP SD45T-2 9257, and SSW GP60 9703. These photographs were taken by the "School Crossing" just west of Avondale Yard:
Heading towards home I cross to the East Bank of the Mississippi River. Of course this route requires one take Central Avenue which crosses many tracks at East Bridge. As luck would have it there would be a most excellent locomotive consist attached to some cars in the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB) East Bridge Yard, including the fourth CNW SD40-2 of the day.
CNW SD40-2 6863 and UP C36-7 9018 were idling away waiting for a crew to show up...and for me to photograph them. The CNW 6863 was looking particularly sharp in what seemed like a recent coat of paint. What stark contrast to the nasty SP tunnel motors I had just photographed across the river. It got a bit cloudy which was fine with me as the clouds diffused the light of the high summer sun:
The final four photographs on this roll of film were taken the next day, Wednesday 28 June 1995. These images were taken at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT) at the very beginning of my first trip to Mexico. I would ride Amtrak train No. 1, the Sunset Limited, to Lake Charles where I would meet Lowell McManus who lived in nearby Leesville, LA. Our journey would have two objectives: 1 - to ride a train through the Copper Canyon and 2 - to photograph the former ATSF/D&H Alco PA's that resided in the shops at Empalme, Sonora. Both objectives were accomplished! I would not return home until Sunday 9 July 1995. It was a most epic adventure!
Back to the final images on this roll of film, my ride to Lake Charles would be Amtrak No. 1. out of New Orleans. This was during the period when the Sunset Limited was a "transcontinental" run, originating on the CSX in Florida. The inbound consist was: P40-8 809, F40PH 321, 1208, 39914, 32073 California, 32039, 38015, 33025, 34057, 39954, and 31033 (9 cars).
For mechanical reasons the first sleeping car on the train, the 32073 California, had to be set out. It was replaced with Superliner sleeper 32105 Oregon which was on-hand in what was likely a City of New Orleans consist in Track 3.
Before boarding the train I walked the tracks at NOUPT and made notes of everything that was there. That data is on the note page below. The current Amtrak Superliner paint scheme was a novelty at the time as most of the pre-existing equipment had not been redecorated yet. New Superliner Lounge car 33041 on Track 3 was of interest to me as it was in the new scheme so I photographed it. The next three images are of the Sunset Limited switching out the California and adding the Oregon. The power was also swapped out. I would ride behind P40-8 828 and F40PH 284 from New Orleans to Lake Charles.
For reference I have scanned and pasted below my note page that includes all of the trains photographed on this roll of film. For four years, 1993-1996, I have very detailed notes in this format. It would seem that in 1997 when I began working for Amtrak my interest in this detail disappeared and I have virtually no notes from then on.
ExactRail Bethlehem Hopper Delivery - 1-9-2017
The display case is progressing nicely and an update blog will be forthcoming soon! This is the first new freight car shipment to be displayed on the new shelves which have now been mounted to a wall in the Man Cave.
The last freight car order placed in 2016 was the first freight car delivery in 2017! Shipment took a few extra days due to winter weather. Last month's ExactRail special was for Bethlehem open hoppers. This is similar to the last order placced in 2015 as Meridian Speedway took delivery of nine of these Bethlehem cars almost exactly a year ago! The budget allowed for another nine with this order
All of the cars received today are new paint scheme variations for the Meridian Speedway.
A single CNW car was included for variety - CNW 63545.
Two Rio Grande hoppers in the "As Delivered" scheme - DRGW 12546 and DRGW 12597.
Two MP 1991 repaints with the UP shield logo - MP 588145 and MP 588400.
Four MP 1984 small eagle repaints - MP 582187 - MP 582436 - MP 589343 - MP 589452.
The CNW and MP cars represent Bethlehem 3737 hoppers while the DRGW cars represent the slightly smaller Bethlehem 3483 hoppers. I cannot say enough good things about these cars! They are spectacular models of cars that I have seen often in Louisiana. This fleet is expected to grow over the years!
To revisit the earlier variations in the fleet, the button below will take you to the blog post published on January 5, 2016: