This is getting more like the weather channel than a model railroad site, but I suspect many of you are wondering how we fared in the wake of Hurricane Ida 2021. Turns out we very were lucky as the main rain bands passed about 2 miles north of us. This high resolution map showing total accumulated rain in the past 24 hours shows how the heavy rain just missed us in Alexandria. We received less than 2 inches total rain spaced out over several hours.
September 1, 2021
August 15, 2021
|The Smoke Bush (tree?) in our backyard did not survive the storm last night|
Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the City of Alexandria's continuing struggle with flooding. Alexandria has had some extremely heavy rain on several occasions this year. Last night was another sustained and heavy rain that dropped about 4 inches of water over two hours. Several zones in the city experienced flooding. I am happy to report that the flood control measures we adopted have been successful and our basement stayed dry, as did most of my neighbors. However, just a couple blocks
|City Sheriff Lawhorne stands in the flooded |
alley behind his house a few blocks from ours.
Over the past two weeks I have conducted two zoom seminars on railroads of the civil war. The first was for the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, University of Missouri - St. Louis. Next John Ott discussed early locomotive builders, and then Nick Fry covered the history of early railroads in Missouri. You can watch all three presentations at the following link,
July 27, 2021
|Here I am clipping an apex with my son in the white GTI hot on my heels.|
The Barber Motorsports Park is the nicest, most elegant race track I have ever visited. You get the feeling you are entering a luxury resort as you drive up to the museum and track. The museum is probably as big as the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
|The "good stuff" was in the basement|
|Carnton Plantation on the battlefield. I did not have |
time to go inside.
I stopped at the Battle of Franklin, TN on my way from Bham to Lexington. The charming town has grown and absorbed much of the battlefield, but there was a nice planation home and a portion of the east flank of the battlefield preserved for viewing. The Battles of Franklin and nearby Nashville were some of the bloodiest of the war and resulted in utter destruction of the rebel armies under General Hood.
July 6, 2021
In my effort to upgrade the lighting in my layout, I decided to replace the set of florescent 18-inch under cabinet lights that were above the curved track at Brooke with LEDs. My initial intent was to replace the florescent fixtures with equivalent LEDs. But while shopping at the local Lowes store I noticed a string of 16 feet of LED lights with adhesive backing. The box said they put out 4000 lumens. The price seemed good, so I thought I would try them. Alas, when I checked out, the price mysteriously doubled with some kind of cryptic note printed on the receipt about "full retail price was charged for this item." I went to return them, but the line was too long. So I took them home and decided to give them a try.
My wife helped me install the LED strip. They were fairly easy to install. I just hope that the double sided adhesive tape they provide will stand the test of time.
When we plugged them in, we both were impressed by the bright, even light. Alicia said, "you need to put these on the other curved section of the fascia too." Maybe I will, but not right away. I want to see how these hold up.
On June 29th Bill Sornsin and his family stopped by to see the layout while on a a vacation to the east coast. Bill has a huge GN layout back at his house in Seattle. Bill's family was not as enthusiastic about trains as he, but it was a hot day and they appreciated the air-conditioned basement after a morning of walking around the sweltering city. The city is built on a swamp, after all. Bill's younger son, Nick, did learn how to run an engine, couple and uncouple cars. So he is now qualified to run on the USMRR.
June 17, 2021
|New LED lights provide nice even lighting|
Last month I reported on several of the florescent lights in the layout room over Potomac Creek that burned out. The lights were on separate circuits and different makes. Yet four fixtures stopped working at the same time. I removed the burned out lights and fixtures and ordered replacement LEDs, but did not have time to install them.
Then a few weeks ago, I noticed that another 48 inch florescent fixture had become detached from the ceiling, fell through the egg crate diffuser, and landed on the layout. Luckily, the wire trees by Weilepp's Cut absorbed the brunt of the fall. They did not suffer any damage. The opposite end of the fixture landed on a parked train and derailed several cars, but again no damage. The light fixture did hit and pulled off two insulators from the telegraph line (the scenery ones, not operational). Luckily, these are lycra line and did not break. So, all in all there was not real damage as it was a simple matter to clear the fixture and re-glue the lines back on the pole.
Today, I installed the new LED lights. These can be ganged together creating a continuous line of even lighting. They are mounted closer to the valance thanks to their low profile. Thus the light on the layout is now more front lit than back lit, of a constant color temperature, and the lights draw less current. So all in all an improvement.
I still have a few florescent lights on the curved sections of the valance. I will order smaller fixtures and replace them too.
|You can see the new LED fixtures ganged together to create a continuous line of light. There are now|
no lights above the egg crate diffusers. Note the frontal light on the Potomac Creek bridge.
I will be working on my layout expansion in the coming weeks as well as building a model for a new museum.