All good things must come to an end. To every thing there is a season (turn, turn, turn).
My Glover’s Bend layout has come to its end. This evening I removed all of the structures and began pulling up all of the turnouts. All of the usable ones will be sold to help fund the new Frost River layout.
What’s left of Nolan Yard and Glover’s Bend after tonight’s destruction
Before the deconstruction began, one last train rolled past the station at Glover’s bend: a Pennsylvania Railroad Alco PA-1 pulling a passenger car … another part of the “nScale.net Wandering Fleet” of rolling stock.
One last train passing the station at Glover’s Bend.
One might think I would be sad. No, I am not. I have very much enjoyed designing and building Glover’s Bend, but it is time to move on. The space in the Den is needed for other family things, the new upstairs “train room” is almost ready for benchwork construction on Frost River to begin, and I have made my peace with the transition.
The CH&FR Railroad hosted a “Steam Days” event at the Glover’s Bend station over the weekend. Along with the railroad’s own 2-8-0 “Consolidation” and 2-6-6-2 “Mallet” engines, two more visiting locomotives were on hand: a 4-6-2 “Pacific” and a 2-10-2 “Santa Fe”.
Crowds gathered to enjoy some local Bluegrass music and share the hot dogs and hamburgers while looking over these historic iron horses. The station was filled up with a temporary museum exhibit covering the history of steam on the CH&FR and in the region, and Main Street was full of artists and vendors of all kinds.
The engines were fired up and used for excursion trips, photo run-bys and a whistle blowing contest (the Mallet won). The CH&FR’s newly restored C&O caboose was also on display, in its traditional position at the tail of a coal drag.
Mary Lou Harrison went home with the prize for the chili cook-off, and little Bobby Weismueller won the “fastest kid” race.
Here are a few more photos captured during the event:
GLOVER’S BEND – The CH&FR Railroad is proud to announce a new pilot passenger service with daily commuter service from Glover’s Bend to Huntington WV, Ashland KY and Russell KY.
The twice-a-day service will run as follows, Monday through Friday:
Glover’s Bend, WV
All times shown are departure times, except the last station, which is arrival time.
Weekend schedule will be published separately.
Onboard amenities include free coffee, newspapers and WiFi, and continental breakfast served in the diner/cafe car.
Extended year-round weekend operations to Charleston, WV and Cincinnati, OH will be added shortly. The railroad also expects to provide weekend excursion service through the scenic New River Gorge during the fall foliage season.
The new commuter and excursion service will be provided in the CH&FR’s newly refurbished 1920s-vintage heavyweight passenger cars. These cars provide the latest in modern conveniences including heating and air conditioning, comfortable seats with USB power plugs, and free WiFi service, while providing a first-class vintage railroad experience. At the head end will be the CH&FR’s own Erie-Lackawanna EMD F3 #6611.
Same-day one way or round-trip tickets may be purchased at any station along the line. Weekly and Monthly passes will also be available at a discounted rate through the CH&FR website.
Work continues on the layout, though slowly. The main bridge at Glover’s Bend had been damaged in an accident, and frankly it wasn’t very well put together to start with, so the CH&FR decided to replace it with a new one. The new bridge is almost ready for painting, and then will be permanently installed.
The model is a Central Valley Model Works Pratt Truss bridge, the high-portal version that can allow double-stack trains to pass through. It’s a very nice kit, with lots of molded-in detail and a fairly easy assembly process. The optional add-on walkway and railing kit adds an extra touch, I think.
It’s been a long summer, with plenty of things to stall progress on the railroad, but with fall comes a little bit more time, thankfully.
The Mayor of Glover’s Bend is proud to announce the arrival of a new industry to the town, bringing much-needed jobs. Mountaineer Propane will be opening its doors soon, receiving regular shipments by railcar from the CH&FR and providing deliveries to industries and homes throughout the region by truck.
Because of the fragility of the pipework, I built it all on a plastic base, which just this weekend I was able to cover with gravel. The base will be fitted into the layout, hopefully so that I can remove it for further detail. I’ll have to blend the edges with more gravel, maybe some weeds and shrubs, and a fence.
The black strip in the foreground will be a paved loading space for tank trucks, which may be a challenge to locate relatively modern examples of. And I’ll need a sign for the roof of the office building.
The kit is the Walthers Central Gas and Supply. It was quite easy to assemble, taking just an hour or two, once the paint was dry, and I think it would be fairly easy to customize the piping if you have an unusually shaped space.
A first attempt at focus stacking. There’s still plenty to do on the scenery, but I wanted to get a photo of my H4 Mallet pulling a string of 55-ton hoppers. And I wanted to try using my new camera (not new new, the Lumix G5) on the layout.
One of the major problems of taking photos of small objects like an N-scale train layout is the extremely narrow depth of field most cameras give at suitable distances. This results in one small part of the photo being in sharp focus and the rest being badly out of focus. Though one can cleverly use this phenomenon to good effect, focus stacking gives another option.
With focus stacking, you take a series of photos, each focusing on a progressively farther distant part of the picture. You then use software such as the open-source Enfuse or the commercial Helicon Focus program to “stack” the image… blending the sharply in-focus parts of each image together to create a single final image where the entire shot is in focus.
The above is only a first attempt, and a poor one at that. I didn’t take enough original shots to get the back part of the layout in focus, and so the effect fails, though technically I did succeed in getting most of the train in focus.
While painting the train station, I’ve been filling in the scenery around the fron tof the town. Here’s an aerial shot. You can see some basic grass sprouting up, track ballasted, roads in place, and gravel berms for the road.
The station is planned to go in the space covered in black just to the left of / in front of the green boxcar. It won’t really be all “paved” like that, but I had to do something to cover up the green foam in that space. It is very reflective, and either shows up too bright or causes the rest of the picture to be underexposed.
Here’s a second photo just a bit farther “east”, where you can see some more grass laid down.
Here, you can see some of the differentiation in ballast colors. The two main lines have a bright grey ballast, indicative of freshly manicured track. To the left is the yard, with its darker, dirtier brown track mixed with cinders and diesel oil from heavy use and a bit less care than the main. And above the mainline, you can see the brown ballast on the town branch, indicative of light use but a lot of dirt infiltration from the weather.
In hindsight, I probably overdid the town branch brown just a bit. A more 50/50 mix with the grey would probably have been better. But this still provides a clear delineation between the mainline and the auxiliary tracks, which is what I was going for.
This is an early step in the “dream plan” for dispatching my layout(s). The photo doesn’t really do the scale justice. This is JMRI displaying my layout panels on our 55″ living room TV. It’s big enough I can tell track occupancy from my kitchen thirty feet away.
For now, it’s just a novelty, because the current Glover’s Bend layout is small, but the ultimate goal, the “Chestnut Hill Sub” will be an around the room shelf layout big enough for multiple operators, and a panel this big will be easy for everyone to check when they want to see what’s coming.
Ultimately, all of this will also be web-accessible, enabling truly remote dispatching, for my friends who are too far away to visit in person.
Someday, when I win the lottery.
Technicals: I just installed a Digitrax BDL168 block detector circuit under the layout, and it is monitoring 16 different blocks around the two main lines. It’s feeding information back over LocoNet to my train room computer, which is generating the displays using the JMRI train control software. My train room computer happens to have an HDMI display port, which makes it easy to convert my TV into a monitor. Add a wireless keyboard and trackpad, and I can dispatch trains from my couch! Easy-Peasey!
I’ll write an article or two about installing the BDL168 and setting up the panel once I get everything debugged and working properly.
Here I am laying out some scenery details for the space alongside the yard ladder. The small shed will actually be the local model railroad club’s layout… we’ll also have a stack of pre-fab track segments, a stack of loose rail, a pile of ballast, and some trucks and/or wheels ready to be loaded on a MOW or wreck train. There will be a gravel drive alongside the track. Stay tuned!
A fictional Appalachian Short Line Modeled in N Scale.