April 23, 2016

Double Dip Op Sessions

Mike Spoor and John Drye stopped by today, but at different times to operate the PoLA layout. Mike went first and had a full switch list of 31 cars to handle. Some of the cars are brand new and had never been used before. Most worked OK, but the bulkhead flat cars tended to derail. Mike tells me those are known for problems and  need more weight to operate better. A load of simulated wood would be an easy way to add weight. So I set them aside. They are very good looking cars.

JD operating the PoLA layout. He's just about to
 head his train back to staging.
After dinner (mom made fried calamari, Alicia made lobster mac & cheese, and I made the salad) John took at crack at the PoLA layout. I removed the bulkhead flats, leaving him with 29 cars to switch. He had a good time.  John said he felt that the PoLA layout was challenging to switch without being a switch puzzle. I was very gratified to hear that. He said this experience has helped convince him to build a similar scope 1950s era Pennsy theme switching layout in HO scale. His current home layout is an extensive N scale depiction of the PRR Horseshoe Curve. But it doesn't have a lot of switching. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

Sanding the fiberglass bulwarks while wearing a
respirator and working outside. It was
a very dusty and stinky job.
Using my dremel moto-tol and a cut-off wheel to cut
the freeing ports in the bulwarks.
While they were operating the layout, I was working on the hull of the general cargo ship. It is made of fiberglass. It was surprising soft and easy to sand. One tricky operation was cutting the freeing ports along the bulwarks. Freeing ports or scuppers are openings in ship sides or bulwarks, allowing for the draining of accumulated water from the decks. Green water can present a risk to stability if not drained in a timely matter, as it can be of considerable weight and induce a free surface effect.  I used my dremel tool on the pre-marked locations. But it was very difficult to get each one perfect. I thought about replacing the complete bulwark with a using a laser cut piece. We'll see how it looks once I add the deck. They look pretty good right now and John, who was watching, reminded me that perfect is the enemy of good.

I also repainted the wind dodger with a florescent orange. It seems like that is more common in the prototype photos I've been looking at. I had originally used florescent red.

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