As it’s been two weeks since my last post, I just wanted to say I’m still here and okay and the Baldwin DT6-6-2000 project in HO is on the brink of being released, I’ve had some sad news so I will be posting later this week to release it.
It’s been several weeks since I last posted about the Baldwin DT6-6-2000 HO project but today I had some good news which means we are just about ready for release.
The bulk of the design and 3D printing has been done, as you can see from the photo of the successful test print below, but what was missing was the etched brass parts.
But today I had confirmation that they’ve been shipped from the etchers and I’m expecting them to arrive by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. This means I can do all the test fitting this week, and assuming everything fits okay, I can release the full kit for sale in next Monday’s post.
The Baldwin RT-624 and some of the DT6-6-2000 varients are still being modified, but I should be able to release shells for Baldwin’s demonstrator, number 2000. (A Baldwin Locomotive Works builder’s photo https://www.american-rails.com/20001.html)
Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railway early DT6-6-2000s. (Uncredited image – If you know where this image originates from please drop me a message).
There’ll be more as the variants get done, but if you have a specific DT6-6-2000 which you would like to model, please get in touch via the contacts page and hopefully I can make that shell available too.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the locomotive with all the brass fittings, I’ve just got to decide what color to paint the test print now!
This week’s post is a little different, it’s not even about trains! It’s about something my partner and I do each year to help a very good cause which is relevant to a lot of people in this hobby.
This coming Sunday we’ll be riding our motorcycles in one of the most important events in our yearly calendar – The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.
Those of you who’ve known me for a while know we like to try and combine overseas travel with our yearly fundraising ride, but this year we’ll be riding in the UK again given the travel issues.
Despite the situations created by the pandemic the world over, as motorcyclists around the globe we’ll still come together as a community to raise money and awareness for men’s health. Instead of the usual organized group rides we’ll be riding solo to support the cause.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride raises funds for research and awareness of prostate cancer, as well as providing programs for men suffering from mental health issues, creating resources to break down the barriers for men to talk and deal with their mental health issues, in the hope of reducing the number of suicides. We support the cause by dressing dapper for the ride and, usually in groups, we put on a fantastic show for the public in whatever city we chose to ride in. It really is a day of celebration and joy designed to bring to the forefront men’s health. This year folks will be riding and fundraising, just solo.
If this is a cause you feel is important to you I’m asking you to make a small donation to do something to help stop men dying from prostate cancer, or by losing their lives to mental health issues.
If you are not in a position to make a donation you can still help – drop a message to a male friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, and just ask them how they’re doing. Our hobby is largely a social one, and with so many modelers having to shield through these difficult times it’s easy to get cut off and isolated, so let’s just keep checking on each other. There’s some handy guides on the DGR link here – https://www.gentlemansride.com/about/mens-health, so have a read, and reach out to someone who may need a lifeline right now.
Next week I’ll have a train-related post for you, once I get back from the ride.
I’m going to hold off posting tonight and prepare a proper post for a few day’s time. The news concerning the new restrictions to keep us all safe and well were not unexpected but I am spending the evening relaxing with my family. We will regroup and proceed as normally as we can tomorrow!
This week’s post will be short as I just want to give you a look at what arrived in the mail today from Shapeways.
The large spikes at the top are exactly that; spikes to repair a track system for a wooden toy train. The assembly below contains lots of gears, axels, a drive shaft and a set of drive shaft couplings. These are to repair several locomotives such as the N scale Doodlebug from last week’s post, an N scale Minitrix diesel, an N Gauge Dapol Britannia and a HO scale Samhongsa brass locomotive.
After the parts are tested I’ll share the outcomes with you, but for tonight it’s back to the workbench, as some unexpected jobs have come up. Next week I’ll have a review of a new product I found that was a tremendous help in upgrading some older steam engines to DCC sound.
As promised this week I have some photos of my new Tehachapi Loop modules for our club layout ‘Solent Summit’. As with all model railways, it’s not finished, but it runs and it’s just about ready for the exhibition coming up this weekend.
The main section is the loop itself, built on two 5′ by 2′ modular boards, which takes the line up by 2 and a half inches. You can see the basic boards in an earlier post here.
Starting at the top and right-hand end, the line enters the module, and splits into two lines to form a passing place. The signal is a Showcase Miniatures kit and does work, just not yet. Also, the track joint to the next board is offset because the modules are not currently joined together and I didn’t spot that when taking the photo!
There are also two single signals for trains departing the loop.
The twin lines then run around the module and the descent starts just after they cross the tunnel.
The real loop is a lot larger and has some country roads and tracks leading into the center, but as this is compressed to make it modular, I’ve compromised with a path leading up to the cross on the hill.
The cross, at the real Tehachapi Loop, is a memorial to the men who died working the landscape to build the railroad.
The lines run around the hill through a rock cutting, which also helps disguise the module joints.
The lines continue to descend as they run around the back of the module.
In the view below you can see the lines drop from one side to the other. The gradient is a steady 2.25% on the inner line and 2.1% on the outer.
Just before the lines converge into one, there are two more signals for the exiting trains, but as the lines are now in a cutting and on a bend, these signals are mounted on a gantry so they can be seen by the locomotive engineers from a distance.
The gantry is 3D printed; it’s a model by fellow Shapeways designer Ngineer and can be found here.
The signal heads are angled towards the back of the loop.
The shot below shows how the gantry signals are visible from around the bend.
The line then stops descending and enters the tunnel. From here the line remains flat as it leaves the module.
On the real Tehachapi Loop, the signal for the passing line is on the same side of the tunnel as the gantry, and the locomotive engineers can see it through the tunnel. But as I’ve compressed the loop, and curved the line through the tunnel, I decided to put the signal on the other side. Anybody watching the layout will be able to see it once I have the signals working.
So there we have a version of the Tehachapi Loop on a modular N Scale layout.
I must admit as much as I like the module I’m not as happy with it as I had hoped for two reasons:
Firstly, I feel I’ve rushed it and I think the ballasting, rock work and scenery reflect this. But the great thing about scenery, it can be built upon to refine and improve the level of detail. So once the next show is over I can take a bit of time to work on this.
Secondly is the hill in the middle. The slope of the land formation from the top of the hill to the cutting by the gantry signal was supposed to be more gradual, but I realized I had no more room between modules when they were packed together for transport. One sits upside down on top of the other and the land at the center of the loop almost touches. So the hill is designed to lift off which causes, I think, an unsightly joint. But I think I can conceal this with some more careful scenery work to disguise the joint. Again, the great thing about model railway scenery is it’s never final and can always be changed. I look forward to getting some inspiration and maybe some advice on how to solve this problem at the show next weekend.
But with these two points said, it runs well and I think the trains look fantastic on it. And once the signals are all working I’ll be very happy.
It’s now only four days until these are set up with thirty-five other modules, not including the non-scenic yards, to form the ‘Solent Summit Railroad’ at the Warley National 2019 Exhibition. If you’re coming this weekend I will see you there and if you can’t make it I will get lots of photos and videos of the layout to share with you, including a full walk-around video as I did at the NMRA (BR) Annual Convention in 2015 below, which was only 21 modules.
As it’s such a big layout and we have to pack up and drive back on Sunday night I don’t think I’ll have a post next Monday, but it will give me more time to write a more in-depth post for the week after.
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