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Current Construction Progress

11/11/09 Work continued yesterday on the G&G, and much progress was made. Mark Maynard worked on installing switch machines at the 8 Mile prep plant on the stub of the old G&G mainline extending west out of Gassaway. The Prep plant trackage is shown in the first picture, it is basically 3 loop tracks and a small yard for doubling a train into and out of the loops. This will be a loads in loads out operation, as coal will be brought in from various mines to be cleaned and sent on to customers. Last week Jerry and I worked on the railroad while Lin was away, I worked on installing the track at the prep plant and Jerry worked on installing backdrop on the middle deck. I think we could have had more done but we ran out of backdrop. Jerry came up with the idea of pop riveting the backdrop to the steel benchwork which worked out very well. Anyway, last night I finished some adjustments to the prep plant trackage, I had to move a switch to make all of the tracks long enough to hold a full train length, and then I worked on installing some of the industrial sidings in the Spencer area. I also installed the plywood and homosote in the area inside Brandeberry Hill, just to the east of Jackson. I installed most of the track that will be int his area, there are two industries, a brick pant and a limestone quarry, which may include a kiln for producing dolomite. Lin worked on wiring toggle switches for Mark to use with the switch machines, and also installed 9 or 10 plug ins for the hand held throttles, and got most of the wired up. Gary Burdette worked secretively in the other room on the station and hotel for Slatyfork, which are patterned after the famous station and hotel in Grafton. I didn't get any pictures of the buildings, next time I will have to remember to do that. Bob Weinheimer worked on installing ties at all the places that were missing them, ie at the joints in the flex track, around switches, and then started to work on extending the tracks into the steel mill. There was an extra track that Bob had suggested as a scenic device, a track that would have curved off between the mill and the mainline and then just petered out int eh weeds and mud, but in the end it made the buidings and track for the mill not fit correctly. We studied it for a while and agreed to think on it, but after Bob left for the night I got impatient and relaid the track, incorporating many of the ideas we had discussed. We may add another track to the right of the mill to use as a storage track, or to make switching easier. Jerry worked on the Spencer engine terminal and our 80% turntable, installing radial tracks and reworking the yard ladder a bit to provide a runaround track off the turntable. Then, after Bev came down and ripped Lin's ass for the basement being a mess we cleaned up for about 45 minutes, still alot to go, but I think we made a pretty good showing. Next week our goal is to install the upper deck backdrop and paint the fascia and install more switch machines. Then we will start troubleshooting and running the railroad to get ready for resumption of normal operations. We still have a ton of work to do, but the railroad is really taking shape. I am really looking forward to seeing how operations evolve on the new G&G. ... Jim

10/23/09 Last Wednesday we made some more headway on the branch. Lin and Bob worked on tweaking and soldering the MGS staging and installing the reversing loop. I started to assemble the top deck of the helix, which is actually the prep plant at the end of the G&G stub out of Gassaway. Instead of trying to cobble the top deck out of scraps we decided to get one more piece of 3/4 plywood to make it sturdy and so forth. Jerry brought the station for Spencer and the fright house he designed for Gassaway. I didn't get a picture of the freight house, but it is an interesting structure built from DPM parts, it basically looks like a capitol T, with two freight tracks on either side of the two story trunk, with the three story top of the 'T' serving as office space and elevator. The building will likely be used as a division headquarters and MOW stuff or paper storage. We did some more work on the Spencer area, including installation of most of a turntable. We didn't have enough room for the entire pit, so we cut off around 30%, as can be seen in the pictures. There are a few background buildings evident, and across the track from the steel mill is the walthers magic pan bakery kit, a possibility for this spot. Spencer is going to be a neat place to work when we get the railroad up and running. ... Jim

9/9/09 Here are some pictures of progress on the G&G middle deck. This area represents the town of Spencer, although our version is bigger and more industrialized than the real Spencer. Our Spencer includes an electric furnace steel mill and rolling mills, Weinheimer Chemical, which will feature real chemical odors by Lin and Jerry, a grocer warehouse/transload terminal, a glass plant, and probably one or tow other business, yet to be determined. In addition there will be a passanger station and freight house, and the truncated remains of an old yard and engine facility. We have started to get an idea of what operations will consist of in Spencer, which is tied closely to Jackson WV, across the isle. The CV has a small yard in Jackson, and this is where their main line heads to staging in Ripley. There is a connection track that leads from Jackson to the G&G main at Spencer, and there will probably be a CV job that brings cars over, and works the industries on the asile side of the main, which would have historically been CV customers. This job will also bring cars for the G&G customers in Spencer. The G&G will also get cars from G&G trains that come through, or from a local out of Slatyfork, kind of like the TVL we run now. We have not finalized the location of all of the industries yet, but the steel mill and Weinheimer Chemical are pretty well situated. The large blue mock up is the steel mill, and Weinheimer occupies the space beetween the intercom and the white 4" PVC pipe. The remains of the old yard at Spencer are at the opposite end from the steel mill, on the aisle side of the main, and the engine terminal will probably occupy some of the space between the yard and the station. ... Jim

8/6/09 Construction is still proceeding on the G&G/CV extension, albeit not at the breakneck pace maintained before the July 11 open house. Bob Weinheimer continued to work on the Ripley staging yard 'dial a prayer' ladder control. There had been some issues with a faulty rotary switch, and some other issues involving switch machine placement, but victory was declared last night, complete with a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner. Bob is currently eagerly anticipating building the next staging yard ladder controller. James Moore worked on soldering track in the engine terminal, and not shooting himself in the privates. I worked on bridging the sink and bringing track over onto the middle deck along the wall, which will include the old G&G main as well as an electric furnace and rolling mills. I also installed the tracks going into the scrap yard, located off of the CV main in 'Jackson'. The biggest headway we have made over the last two weeks comes, in my opinion, from Mark Maynard and his work on installing switch machines. By using brass rod and some model aircraft parts he installs a neat linkage to operate a crossover, two switches, with one tortise machine. Jerry Doyle worked as his understudy last night, and Lin Young, when he wasn't farting or drinking, worked on soldering up the control switches. Mark's turnout method is pretty slick, and he has powered most of the crossovers on the new part of the layout, and only completly shorted the enitre railroad out rendering it inoperable once. Hope you all enjoy the pics. ... Jim

07/24/09 Faced with the option of buying bill boxes from Micro Mark or building them I volunteered to go ahead and build them. One sheet of 1/4" underlayment will provide more than enough to build all the boxes we need, and they can all be made to fit exactly what we need. So far we don't have an accurate count on how many slots we need for every area, but I have built five of the boxes that we did have a count on. The boxes are now built for Gassaway, Ripley staging, the power plant and coal mine ends of the loads in/empties out operation that bisects the helix, and a box that handles the CV main tracks at Mingo, the MGS staging tracks, and Miller Mining on the G&G line out to the prep plant. I actually included an extra slot in the box for the mine at Brandeberry and in the box for Mingo/MGS/Miller. Just need to sand them a bit and paint them now. If anyone needs boxes like this let me know, building them like this will probably save Lin around $150.00 or so, and they are quick and easy to build... Jim

07/03/09 We got a lot more done today on the G&G. Bob and Lin were already working when I got there, Bob was finishing up work on the yard ladder control for Ripley and on getting the layout powered, and Lin was cleaning and working on feeder wires and cutting isolation gaps. Jerry brought some supplies from the hobby shop, including the diamond we needed for the MGS track going to staging. Jerry worked on the siding and yard tracks on the CV middle deck. In the picture of the coal train you can see the yard on the level below. I worked on finishing a bit of main line in Gassaway, and on starting the G&G track out of Gassaway that goes out to the prep plant. We are laying this track on N scale roadbed, so that it looks less well maintained, but still has some ballast, we are out, so I could only lay the first 12 feet or so past the CV main. The shots of the coal train show it on the G&G. There is a steep but short grade out of Gassaway, but it was no problem for the live loaded train. We have some more wiring to do and a lot of cleaning before the 12th, but we are getting there... Jim

07/01/09 We had a productive day today on the G&G. Lin and Tony worked on finishing the fascia, I think most of it is done now, although a couple of pieces can't be installed until Bob is finished with the Ripley staging yard ladder control. That is what Bob worked on today, installing tortise machines and troubleshooting things, turns out the rotary switch was bad, so that will have to be changed out. Gary continued to work on the hotel and station for Slatyfork. I finished cutting and installing the homosote for the Ravenswood staging yard under the peninsula, then I built the sector plate for the end of Ripley. I found a small base for a lazy susan at Lowes, it makes a good pivot, smooth and no slop. I powered it up trough the middle of the bearing, that is the point where the wires would move the least amount, and just jumpered it to the thoroughfare track. After working on the sector plate I worked on the siding and mine tracks at on the middle deck of the CV. There is a little trouble with one of the switches, but other than that things are looking pretty good. I brought a coal train in from North Yard to make sure the run around tracks were long enough, and we ran it all the way to Ripley. The power of this train was the first to use the sector plate, it is pretty slick. Live load coal trains moving east from Ripley will need helpers, however there probably won't be loaded trains going that way. It is neat seeing things come together. The following pictures show the coal train, it took two more engines to get it up the hill, the sector plate, and the new tracks at Brandeberry... Jim

06/20/09 Here are some shots of work I did on the G&G today. Mostly I worked on cutting and assembling the benchwork for the MGS staging loop, and cutting the homosote for the coal mine/power plant on the middle deck. The turnout for the MGS will be a curved peco immediately after the curved shinohara entering Gassaway yard, then it will cross the G&G main on a diamond, near the diamonds where the G&G crosses the CV main. As soon as it crosses the G&G it will branch out into what will look like a yard throat with four tracks, but will actually be two staging tracks that loop back and come back so that trains automatically stage themselves. It may work better with a three way turnout, only the outbound side needs to be powered with switch motors, the inbound side can be spring switches. To complete this track work we are going to need another diamond, the Bachman easy track ones actually look pretty good for the price, once you remove the plastic ballast they come mounted on. This work needs to be done in order to get the G&G main installed going to the prep plant... Jim

06/17/09 Here are some pictures from Wednesday on the G&G. Bob and Lin worked on running the power bus for the track and switch machines, Gary continued work on the Grafton hotel, and I worked on placing homosote on the top G&G level, as well as the loads in/empties out benchwork inside the helix. Lin has also made tremendous progress on the fascia, the railroad looks 100% better with it, and is far less pointy and sharp. Towards the end of the night we ran a full train out of Gassaway to Ripley and back. It is going to be sweet to see how things run during an actual operating session.

06/13/09 Jim Trivett, Lin Young and myself pulled another all-day work session Sunday which lasted until after 10 p.m. The big accomplishment is the linking of the CV mainline all the way to Ripley staging. Lin installed much of the fascia. The first shot is of Jim installing the last section of mainline rail at the yet-to-be-named yard connecting the Spencer industrial area with the CV main. The second shot is looking into the main isle (the Smith Summit helix is to my left). This time we are using 1x4 lumber in many places for the fascia. It is much sturdier and adds some rigidity to the layout. The third shot is looking the other way at the same location. It's a little easier to visualize the track layout once we installed some track!

06/12/09 We pulled an all-day work session today working towards getting the CV mainline completed. Jim finished the welding with some additional support bracing in several areas. We also attached fascia to Gassaway Yard. The track laying is now out of Gassaway yard limits and on the single track heading to Ripley.

06/03/09 We finished the roadbed for the CV mainline all the way to Ripley. If all goes well we should have the mainline in service by the end of the month.

5/17/09 Mostly worked on the crossing between the CV coming out of Gassaway and the CV coming off the top turn of the helix. The benchwork for the double track out of Gassaway still needs tweaked a little, it is kind of a two person job, somebody needs to stand back and sight things in while the supports are adjusted. Also installed the crossover at the east end of Gassaway, as well as the switch to the MGS staging tracks. The top level of the peninsula is visible in these shots and the top level of the helix is now in place. Bob worked on the "Dial-A-Prayer" matrix for the ladder in Ripley staging. We are still shooting on having the new line in service for the upcoming Division 9 meeting in July.

4/29/09 We spent this week working on bench work. The main focus is getting track laid on the peninsula to connect the two staging yards (Ripley A & B) with the rest of the layout

4/22/09 I did some more welding and some benchwork construction on the G&G today, even though I had to break into do it. I finished welding the basic supports for the staging and middle decks of the peninsula, and cut some of the plywood for the staging level. The plywood still needs trimmed up some adjacent to the furnace, I put some flex track on just to show what will be there, basically six staging tracks and a thoroughfare track. I think all in all we are going to have enough space, the aisle next to gassaway is 36" and once the plywood is trimmed back next to the furnace it will be close to that. Next time we should be able to get the sub road bed in place on the middle deck and the rest of the plywood and homosote on the staging level. Also we can start tying the helix in.-Jim

4/15/09 Jim Trivett began welding the basic benchwork frame for the peninsula using steel. It is anchored in the floor and ceiling and seems very solid. The big advantage of steel is it's strength/volume ratio. We are able to make solid benchwork in a fairly compact space which is important given the narrow shape of the peninsula. The Ripley staging yard is progressing. Bob Weinheimer is designing a "dial-a-prayer" matrix to automatically line switches for a particular track. We are shooting for the new section to be operational by the end of June. -Jerry

4/10/09 Here are some shots from this week. The Ripley staging yard is the next trackwork project. We discovered a way to squeeze in two extra tracks by making a small change.

3/30/09 11/12/08 to 3/27/09 We took time off construction of the Jackson Subdivision for the holidays. We hosted the annual Company Christmas party December 15, 2008 in conjunction with the WVC&P and Johnstown & Lake Erie. The party was another success with over 25 attending. Construction started again after January 1 with some breaks while Bev and I were in Florida 2 weeks in January and 3 weeks in February. Jim Trivett and Bob Weinheimer have concentrated on the helix construction. Jim designed it to accommodate the three + decks. The lowest deck the B&O/G&G from a small center peninsula staging yard representing the Spencer, Ravenswood and Ripley Subdivision that still exists in 1984 gets on. The Crescent Valley from Ripley joins the B&O on the first turn. The B&O/G&G gets off on the middle level to serve the Steel Mill at Spencer. The Crescent Valley also gets off on the next turn to go out the peninsula gets off again on the top level and proceeds to the new yard at Gassaway. The G&G has trackage over the CV to the middle deck and serves a mine on the top deck of the peninsula. Jerry Doyle, James Moore, Russ Miller and others have placed the tracks in the Gassaway yard and Engine Terminal. Gary Burdette built a Furniture Warehouse backdrop structure for Dick Flock's Johnstown and Lake Erie in exchange for a bridge that was part of John Roberts former HO Clifton Forge, VA yard. We will use the bridge to take the G&G over the Crescent Valley at Gassaway. The bridge will cover the hole in the wall. Over 100 hrs. 3/26-27/09 Jim Trivett worked on the connector from the helix to the Ripley Staging yard. He installed a nice curve from the helix to behind the laundry sink. He installed the plywood base and Homosote on the Ripley Staging yard. He hooked up the laundry sink after it was out of service for several months. I installed the ceiling tile and a new florescent light in the corner above the laundry sink and paint booth.- Lin

I had to pick up my skidsteer from Lin's so I decided to try to get some work done on the layout as well. Went back down this afternoon to finish some stuff up. Basically we got the CV track and roadbed built from the helix to behind the sink. The plywood base for the Ripley staging yard is all in place and screwed down, and the homosote is all cut and in place, but it is not screwed down yet, unless Lin did it after I left. The sink is back in operation as well, so the G&G has running water again. We ran a short test train up the helix on the CV side to where it comes off for the middle deck. We are basically ready for construction of the peninsula. Also Lin installed a new florescent light above G&G junction at the east end of Gassaway and was fitting drop ceiling tile around the old exhaust hood, even though it will be abandoned and replaced with a system that works.- Jim

12/15/08 The annual G&G Christmas Party was held Monday December 15 with 27 people in attendance. After the excellent meal and traditional Chinese gift exchange, operating crews retired to the basement for an operating session. This was the first session dispatched from the new Dispatcher's office. The annual Santa Special ran with UP 4-6-6-4 Challenger 3985 for power. This was the first official train to operate from the yard at Gassaway. Later in the session the first revenue movement onto the new section was Ripley 97 arriving in Gassaway at 10:42. Work will continue on the branch in the new year. To all the G&G far and near, here's to many more fun years on the G&G!

12/10/08 Here are a few photos from December 10. The yard at Gassaway is 2/3 complete. We are waiting on some track to complete the ladder on the west end. The lead off the east end of the yard is to the engine terminal.

12/06/08 Lin, Gary, Jim Trivett and myself worked today on getting more done at Gassaway. The first train into the yard was pulled by G&G 5001 and CV 4301, the longest serving units on the layout. Both have been in continuous service since Day 1.

10/23/08 Work continues on the G&G expansion. Much of the basic benchwork is now attached to the wall. In the process of construction considerable cleanup has also occurred which explains much of the clutter on the new layout section. The dispatcher's office is now back in operation in its new location.

8/27/08 Jim Trivett, JD Moore, Jerry Doyle, Russel Miller, Bob Weinheimer, Gary Burdette, Kirk Depeel, Jason Depeel and I. After nearly 6 year delay, construction on the Jackson Subdivision finally began. Remember we opened the wall between Pipe Falls and the proposed Gassaway yard over 5 years ago and many of you have been asking when construction will begin. WELL, IT STARTED TONIGHT BIG TIME!!!! Jim and I installed the new plumbing for the laundry sink in preparation to move it to the left where the work bench presently is located. The whole crew has been wearing me out about moving the work bench to the Dispatcher Desk location near the furnace. I finally gave in when Bob Weinheimer MMR 402 sided with them. Within 15 minutes the crew moved the Dispatcher Desk to the adjacent spare bedroom and within 30 minutes had the dispatcher controlled signal wiring moved but not hooked up. The work bench will be placed where the dispatcher desk was formerly located. The laundry tub will be located in the approximate area of the work bench.

The track plan for the Jackson Subdivision will be triple decked in places with a helix a corner and a turn back near mid room. The plan calls for the branch to begin at Pipe Falls off the G&G main go through the wall to Crescent Valley’s Gassaway yard. The G&G has trackage rights on Crescent Valley from Pipe Falls to G&G Jct at Gassaway where it joins it’s Old Main Branch. Remember, the G&G abandoned its old main in favor of a new line from Smith Summit to Beverly. The relocation effectively left the line west/north of Gassaway a branch. The G&G will occupy the middle deck to serve a large prep plant, pulp wood load out, small coal dock, and Davies Steel Jackson County Works. The Crescent Valley will go west/north from Gassaway to Ripley via the helix and turn back. The Ripley yard will be a 12+ staging yard if possible.