Friday, June 1, 2018

What Gives?

So, its been quite a while since my last post.  In that time, a lot has happened in life.  Busy with work and family has limited hobby time significantly.  Frankly, the increase in life commitments really impacted my desire to write often times.  Finally, back in December, I acquired a second hand layout from a friend.  Since then, I have put a lot of my limited modeling time into getting that layout running.  The problem is, that the design and footprint of the layout does not fit well with Somerset Junction theme.

For the new layout, a new theme was developed.  I haven't written about it here as I did not want to take this blog in a completely different direction.  Therefore, I have elected to start a new blog.  I will post here from time to time as I work on rolling stock projects related to the Somerset or if I make progress with my Moosehead modules.  The concept of Somerset Junction is not dead, just is being placed on hiatus for the time being.

If you wish to follow along with my new adventure, please visit

Friday, October 27, 2017

Big Centuries Arrive on the Moosehead

After nearly two years of waiting, my M636s by Bowser have arrived.  Many thanks to Jeff Grove at Railway City Hobbies for hooking me up.  As typical of my purchasing policy, all are DC without sound.  I'll explain why in a later post.  I don't have a lot to say other than these look amazing.

 I purchased four M636s, as seen below.  Two are from the first order CP placed (#4707 and #4712), the other two are from the second order (#4732 and #4738).  First some shots of the whole family.


To illustrate differences between the two orders, I took a series of photos comparing one of each to the other.

Finally a few individual glamour shots.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Filming the Shore Line

Last week, I returned to Connecticut for work.  The weather was nearly perfect for the whole week, so I spent some time shooting Amtrak operations on the Shore Line.  Shifting from my usual photography, I opted to shoot some video.  I've posted the results to my new Youtube channel.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Back on the Bench - A GP9 Project Update

It has been a long while since I've posted on my Somerset GP9s, in fact I last mentioned them back in January.  Since then, they mainly have sat on the back burner, while I focused on my Moosehead modules.  One of my greatest issues with modeling is I have a hard time focusing on a project and seeing it through from start to finish.  In the past few weeks, I've made some further progress towards completing these.

Replaced the MU hoses with a set from Details West.  The MU box on the walkway is a Proto part.

Installing new fans from Cannon.

Fan installation complete.  I later painted the fan grilles, leaving the fan blades shiny.

 Installing grabirons.  These are from Detail Associates.  I used 0.030" styrene as spacers. 

Ready for weathering.  All parts installed, decals sealed.   After weathering is complete, I'll install the window glass and number boards.  Then, I'll put together the electronics package, but that will be for another post.

Close up of 842

And of 843 

Meeting the neighbors.  The Somerset geeps meet a CP westbound extra led by C424 4247.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A View From Above...

Last week, I took the day off from work to travel into Boston for the day with my Dad.  While driving is an option, we are fortunate to have Amtrak's Downeaster service close by.  Starting at the end of August and through much of the month of September, Amtrak added its Ocean View Dome Lounge car to one of the consists.  The dome is one of the former Great Northern dome cars that were purchased in the 1950s for service on the Empire Builder.  A chance to ride in the dome was well worth taking an earlier train into the city.

 During the week, the early run for the dome was on Train 682.  On this day P42DC #109 powered the consist, seen here arriving to pick us up for the trip south.
Passing through the yard at Dover, we met BODO.  BODO and its counterpart DOBO haul sand from the New Hampshire Northcoast to Boston Sand and Gravel, just outside the city.  Here, the train is waiting for the Northcoast crew to board to take the train north to the quarry at Ossipee.
After meeting train 681 at Stateline, we crossed back to the #2 Main at CPF-HA.  From here west the #1 Main is currently out of service to allow repairs on the bridge over the Merrimack River.
Passing through the yard at Lawrence we found crew LA-1 with one of Pan Am's new B40-8s working the yard. 
We were followed into North Station in Boston by a commuter train off the Fitchburg Line.  On the left is Amtrak 406, one of the remaining F40s used as Control Cars.  On the right is one of the MBTA's new HSP46 locomotives.
 Amtrak's Dome Lounge Ocean View, our ride into the city.
Across the platform we found one of the two MP36PHs operated by the MBTA.  A rare find. 
 We spent the afternoon at the USS Constitution museum.  History, in particularly maritime history is a significant interest for both my Dad and I.  This was the first chance we've had to visit the ship, in past trips we'd found the ship was closed.
Looking down the gun deck, with a line of 32 pound cannons at the rail. 
Finally, we took in a game between my beloved Red Wings and my Dad's favorite Bruins.  The result was not favorable in my eyes, but fortunately it was just a preseason game.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Skies Are the Limit...

This update is a bit slow in coming, as the past week has been very hectic at home.  However, last week, I was able to get the backdrop built and installed.  I opted to use sheets of 5.5mm underlayment board for my backdrop.  It offers a smoother finish than 1/4" plywood options at my local Home Depot, and it was cheaper as well.  Since either 5.5mm or 1/4" wood is fairly flexible, I bought a second sheet that I ripped down on my table saw.  The support pieces ended up at about 7 1/4" wide.  This was a convenient dimension as I set the guide bar to 6" on the built in scale, neglecting to add the extra 1 1/4" that the scale is offset by.  Why that is, I honestly don't know.  Either way, the actual width of the support strips is relatively unimportant anyways.  Ultimately I ended up with eight strips for the backing from a full 4x8 sheet.  I set aside the two best looking strips, I'll use those for the fascia later on.  Once the strips were cut, I selected two full length strips for the top of the backdrop board.  I then measured for the vertical pieces.  I did not double up the bottom edge as the backdrop is screwed in several places.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of this part of the process.

After all the pieces are cut, I commandeered an area of the living room to glue the backdrop panels together.  Thankfully my wife was supportive and approved the temporary acquisition.

 Close up view.

After the glue dried, I attached the panels to the back of the modules.  See the results below.

Now that the backdrop is installed, I admit I'm not sure I've completely happy with it.  When I cut the panels, ultimately I was lazy and simply cut the 4x8 sheet in half resulting in a backdrop that measures 24" from module base to top.  I feel that the vertical height (approximately 18.5 inches above the railhead) is too much, particularly since the modules are only a little more than a foot deep.  It will be something for me to think upon.  Fortunately, its as simple as removing the screws and sending the panels through the table saw again to make a change.  But that will be something to consider in the future.  I welcome opinions on this pondering.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Moving West....

Now that the trackwork for Moosehead siding is complete, I shifted my attention slightly to the west.  A conversation with a friend got me motivated to get the foam roughed in for the East Outlet scene.  I had to first modify the benchwork.  As originally built, I determined the foam base layer would not have sufficient clearance beneath the bridge.  I cut out the top portion of the L-girder, gaining an additional 3/4" of clearance. 

I added the cut piece to the backside of the front girder to minimize lost strength.  I opted not to repeat the process on the rear of the module, as I can incorporate the additional height into the scenery, as a short distance behind the bridge is a dam.  The dam is clearly visible in this photo from Harry Gordon.

After the frame was modified, I shaped the foam to fit.  Here are the results.

Tools of the trade:  A utility knife and a saw.  The saw is a handy tool by Milwaukee that uses blades for reciprocating saws.  A fine tooth blade cuts quickly through the foam.

Test fitting the bridge.  Now to commence installation.

Bonus Shot:  Extra 6038 heads west after passing the markers of an eastbound waiting on the siding.