Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

Sounds like you had a Mayo visit. 

Rochester is great from April through October. Same for the Twin Cities. Elliot’s house in Stillwater is near some awesome scenery. 

Jim R. 

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

But John, that's the middle of winter. You need to visit during our other season... Road construction. At least the weather is nicer.

Jim, you're not even that far away, and don't find winter that shocking. When are you going to make the trip?

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

Engine block heaters? 

  I've never seen that, but I don't picture a ton of electrics recharging there either.

The North country used to be the mid summer destination for a lot of folks to run from the heat before air conditioning was the norm.

Too early and you'll learn about the bloody mess of (painless but pita) 'black sand flies' and too late or wet and you'll see why we ALL claim the mosquito as a "state bird" up north... but we don't learn these things while sweating too often

Just bring a winter jacket in the summer; 'just in case' as a day or three of 'cold' is always possible. (still nice when you know it's 90% humidity at 90° in Detroit, Chicago & south of them.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Recently, the local weather person said July is the only month Minnesota has NEVER had snow. Even June and August aren't completely safe, though I suspect those occurrences took place in the northern part of the state, and not down here in the Cities.

Elliot maybe not true on July snow wish my mom would answer her 1-800 in heaven number as she could tell me the exact year it did snow on the 4th of July when she was a child this would be from about 1922 forward she would have been 5 that year.

but maybe it was just snow flakes and nothing more as in seen it poof all gone. 

ADRIATIC as to comment on cold days in summer I remember cool day with rain but during 50 to 60's as a kid I never needed a coat during summertime.

StPaul

Jim R. posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

Sounds like you had a Mayo visit. 

Rochester is great from April through October. Same for the Twin Cities. Elliot’s house in Stillwater is near some awesome scenery. 

Actually, I was up there when I worked for IBM, but I did visit several nurses from the Mayo Clinic, it was a target-rich environment!

Adriatic posted:

Engine block heaters? 

  I've never seen that, but I don't picture a ton of electrics recharging there either.

Yep, walk down the street and you'll see about half the cars plugged in for the really cold days.

Mike Wyatt posted:

Two seasons: July and Brutal.

Bingo, and I wasn't there in July!

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Jim R. posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Wanting to go to Minnesota is the hard part!   I spent a January and February in Rochester, MN, and that's the last time I was ever there, cured me of wanting to go!

On the positive side, I learned what the outlets on the parking meters were for.

Sounds like you had a Mayo visit. 

Rochester is great from April through October. Same for the Twin Cities. Elliot’s house in Stillwater is near some awesome scenery. 

Actually, I was up there when I worked for IBM, but I did visit several nurses from the Mayo Clinic, it was a target-rich environment!

My dad worked for IBM in Rochester for about 25 years after requesting a transfer from New York. It started with a nine-month special project by IBM to build a new sorting machine at the Rochester MN plant for the post office in Manhattan.

After the project was done, he decided he wanted to live in Rochester, not Brooklyn, so we eventually made the move. He was joined by two other fellow New Yorkers who felt the same way.

Personally, I preferred the Twin Cities area to Rochester. But if we’re talking O gauge trains, I prefer the Milwaukee area to anywhere in Minnesota.

Jim R. 

I spent far more time in the upper part of 'the Mitten' and Hemingway's stomping grounds of the U.P. of Mich. Even more in the Dakotas, than Minn./Wisc for length vs travel., but thought the woodlands more similar except colder; but I guess by winter temp reputation alone.

  I always packed for extremes as rare as they are, they happen. Jacket and long johns, water, matches, heat pads, are in the truck year round anyhow. 

 U.P,; overnight, creek ice, heavy a.m. frost in every and any month is possible. Superior sends some cold wet crap down sometimes.

Mid-Mich, north of Saginaw to Mackinaw; does lowland July am frost on sleeping bags count? A few times, n.e. & n. w. Mich. both.

 Off the Straights of Macknaw can be bitter out of the blue. s.W. to Cheboygan/Mullet Lake area treated me to crunchy hailish ice snows a couple of times.

 Maybe 2 min long lake effect flurries around/over small water, no accumulation, gone in the sunlight if it lands on land.

June 3rd Detroit, 1990's. Nice early a.m. Started moving about 6o'clk. I wore shorts as it had been nice weather recently.

 At 10:30a.m. it began snowing lightly and it lasted for about 40 min, no real accumulation except on cars that had run air conditioning vs heat that a.m..

I don't recall July-Aug snow in lower E. Michigan.

If you don't like Michigan weather

 Wait an hour for the next front 😉 

Ya know that white crap has followed me all the way to Florida once. I couldn't ditch it all week and Detroit was nicer the whole time. "The Feb. heat blast" two to 5 days each year it gets too nice to be "winter"... before it whomps you with a mystery finale 😒 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Thanks Steve, sorry I don't live further east. I'm sure I would get a lot more forum visitors if I did. I was born and raised in Minnesota. I spent seven years in Colorado which I really enjoyed, but eventually returned home. I love it here, and put up with the winters by just staying inside, usually in the train room. I would never consider moving.

April 2019 Update

A lot more got done this month, because Patrick was here every week. We just continued with the skirting project.

The rail is completed under Red Wing.

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Patrick installs a support block under the end of the first peninsula.

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I accidentally left a track riser too long years ago. It turned out to be a handy mistake, as we put it to use as a rail support.

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Patrick hangs the curved rail under the far end of aisle one.

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I went to Menards and bought landscape fabric. The rolls were 4' wide, so I cut them in half on the table saw.

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I made this giant "paper towel" holder to help manage the fabric as I hung it.

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The first section of skirting.

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I'm starting to get the hang of it.

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Patrick hung the rail on the curve at the end of aisle two.

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Then over to the end of aisle three.

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Back in aisle two, the rail is completed under Pig's Eye.

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Over in aisle four, Patrick did the long straight rail.

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At the west end of aisle four, the rail goes around the electrical outlet and the air system inlet.

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At the east end a support block is needed to finish the run.

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Meanwhile back in aisle one, I'm still hanging fabric.

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Patrick built the last section under Red Wing.

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The rail under the small helix

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It wasn't possible to do a full length skirt at the end of the second peninsula two, because the edge of the hidden yard is directly below the edge of the main level. so we'll do an extra short skirt on the bottom, and leave the yard visible in this section.

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A couple weeks ago, I ran across a for sale ad here on the forum. This is just what I was looking for, for Prescott.

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As you can see, there's going to need to be some modifications made in order to allow this MTH husky stack through. 

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Just today, I saw a photo of one of these, in another topic. It looked like the lowest cross bar on each tower had been cut away, just for this purpose. 

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While I was cleaning up little things around the layout, in preparation for this Saturday's layout tour, Patrick went to town hanging the skirts, starting where I left off at the end of peninsula one.

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He finished aisle two.

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And got most of the way done with aisle three.

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My son will be here tomorrow, and will help me with some last minute projects around the layout. Then on Saturday, he and Patrick will help run trains. Hopefully we get some visitors.

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Elliot! You have track running underneath the main track too???? Okay now I've seen it all!!! All I can say is WOW!! Didn't know that. Great job and kudos to your helpers! They did a terrific job!

Engines of any sort, steam, diesel or electric are just fascinating pieces of equipment.

Thanks Conrailfan, it's called "staging".

There isn't just one hidden yard, there are two. There's a big one, which has a 25 train capacity. That's five 120' tracks that hold five trains each. That's the one in the picture where I said I was going to leave it open.

Then there's the small hidden yard which has seven tracks for one train each. You can see that in the pictures of aisle four. 

The layout has two helixes that connect all three levels. I kind of covered over them, so you can't really see them, but this is what they look like before and after.

The big helix is 10' diameter.

trainroom_1194

2

The small helix is 8' diameter.

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There are a number of people here on the forum that have staging yards on their layouts, but none quite like this.

3 hidden yards

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Elliot, You and Patrick sure have been busting your butts! All the work you guys are doing looks great, but what else would one expect from you 2! Look at everything else you had done with your layout. You sure have set the bar high and I can say for me that would be a one in a life time build and to think this is your second huge build! WOW what inspiration! 

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

And one of his skills, clearly discernible in these latest photos, is his ability to organize. I've noticed that all along the way in his photo-record. The available and in-use spaces are , clearly, organized well ahead of time, as well as in the present, and the countless number of objects are organized, epitomized by those rolls of wire hanging from their perches. That wouldn't have even occurred to me, but here it is available for us to see in his success story as he and his helper proceed toward eventual (and daily) victory.

FrankM

A very productive month Elliot. Good to have Patrick there on a regular basis. Everything is looking good. Keep it up!

Question- what are you using the compressed air for? Just tools of something related to the trains?

It's good to see some of the early photos occasionally. really shows how far you've come.

Good luck with the open house this weekend.

Bob

 

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

I just shake my head when I see this creation, talk about a big project!   It looks great, I wonder how many years it'll take to do all the landscaping!

Chugman posted:

Excellent work, Elliot!  Your skirting came out really well.  Black skirting and fascia makes the layout pop.  Puts all the attention on the the "stage" where the action is. A good picture frame compliments, but doesn't steal attention or upstage the picture.     Art

That's so true, Chugman ! One should hardly notice the frame is there, around a painting. You made an excellent analogy.

FrankM

Thank you for all the great comments guys, both the regulars and a few lesser heard from folks. Welcome aboard to the newcomers!  This "train" departs right around 11:59 PM central time on the last day of the month, and usually runs on time.

Those who have been following this topic for a while may have figured this out by now, though I have never stated my practice before, but here's what I do: I try to address everyone who comments, directly in a giant reply, which could take up to 48 hours to do. I'm a big fan of the like button, so when you see one from me on this topic, it means two things. First that I appreciate the fact that you took time to post, and second that I have replied, and you should check back. 

This may go on for a few days, but usually by the end of the first week of the month the conversation had died down. When that happens, I don't usually look in here, unless I see the topic on the front page, but that is hit and miss, and I may miss a late post for a week or two. I often let the topic go to sleep, until the next update, but will simply put a like on the post, so you'll know that I read it. 

I'm always happy to answer questions, so ask away. Even though my replies have a name associated with each person, I encourage everyone to read them all. Lots of interesting tidbits can be found in them. Unfortunately, it is a lot more work to include the individual questions or comments when I do replies, so you may have to refer back to that person's post to get the context. I do reply in posting order.

Whenever possible, I try to address people by their first name. There are even a good handful that I have learned over the years, who don't give any outward indication. I do this forum wide. I think it makes cyberspace a little more friendly. So, if you you have it in your signature, or I can figure it out from your screen name, I'll use it. You guys are welcome to call me Elliot, that's why it's in my signature.

During the middle of the month, you can find my progress posts over on "What did you do on your layout today?" This topic and that one started within a day of each other. This topic is a boiled down version of what I post over there.

All that said, let's get reply round one rolling.

Wayne - Thanks, I've always been a fan of flowing curves. Corners can be painful belly catchers. I still want to do something to deal with the car card boxes, a necessary evil, but a real hazard. I'm thinking about smoothing over them with some Masonite or even plastic sheet. I could cut wood blocks on the band saw, and mass produce them, then just install them on either side of the boxes. I like that idea, simple and effective. Sounds lie a plan!  BTW, doing curved edges on a layout is pretty easy, just use a flexible material, and provide supports to hang it anywhere you want.

NYC 428 - Thanks, the thought process for this creation, seems to be a set of skills that I was born with. I see well in three dimensions, and can be creative. It goes back to my earliest memories when I was creating layouts with push trains and wooden blocks on the floor (age 2 or 3). At 5 I got my first electric train. At around 7, I got off the floor, and onto an old ping pong table. from there it was just more, more, more, track, real estate and accessories. This is what happens after 55 years. I still have the push trains packed away in a box.  My only problem is, I'm starting to run out of energy.

Mike - Thanks, I'm trying not to kill myself or Patrick. Saturday we get the payoff for all this work, with the layout tour, and both He and my son will get to share in the fun. Even if a lot of people don't show up, it's still worth it. Beside, you guys keep showing up here, which is the next best thing.

Frank - Thanks, though I may not be quite as organized IRL as I appear here on the forum. I don't show you things like my workbench, because that would ruin your impression. Those skirts show that I do have things to hide, literally. It's through the miracle of editing that I put on the best face here. Now that I've given that disclaimer, some things are very well organized. One of them is layout progress. I use a spreadsheet to track all the projects, and have the layout divided into 22 sections. I then assign a rough percentage of completion to each as we work. That I can get a rough idea of the work remaining. This month, we got skirts from about 10%, up to over 60%. Next month, we should be at 100% and move on to some old projects that got dropped along the way. BTW, we took the brackets that held the wire rack down last week, in favor of skirts. It had served its purpose, holding the spools left over from enterTRAINment for the last 8 years. Most are nearly empty anyway. Sign of progress!

Bob -  Thanks, ever since I did my knee, I've slowed way down. Patrick has become my catalyst. He shows up and I feel guilty if I'm not working on something. I do need a lot more breaks than I used to. I put the air distribution system in for tools, and have used it mainly for the airbrush, though I have used it for a brad nailer and a finish nailer, on occasion. Way better than dragging the hose and compressor around the layout. I just park the compressor in the other room and close the door. Then I run the hose over to the inlet, a lot quieter. 

John - Thanks, there isn't as much landscaping (scenery) to do as you might think. There's so much track, and the scenes follow it for the most part, that the biggest job is really ballast. I have most of the rail painted, and ready for ballast, but there are a few sections left to paint. Once the ballast is done on an upper scene, I can finish each one off with greenery and structures. then a valance completes the scene. The idea is to work top down, to minimize damage to finished areas.

Art - Thanks. I would have done the ceiling black too, but it would have been more expensive, and I drew the line on that one for cost/benefit. When I used to build architectural models back in the back n the early 80's, unless the customer requested a special color, the edges of models were done in black. It always made them look sharp. After that, anything else looked weird. I did it at enterTRAINment, and I'm doing it now.  

George - Thanks. I was told it was a Lionel 213 when I bought it. No, they won't fit through the way it is, not even close. I saw a photo of Dave Minarik's layout just the other day. You can see it here. He did a really nice job modifying it to allow tall cars through and added nice detail as well. I saved the pic to my computer so I could enlarge and study it.

Don - Thanks. I bought it because the price seemed right. Most of the parts are there, but it would need even more work to make it functional. I don't need it functional, I'm perfectly happy with it being a static model. When I get around to working on it, of course I'll post about it here.

RTR 12 - Thanks, my son and I are going to the Twins game tomorrow, then we'll run trains when we get home. We're going to try out the new camera caboose, and put it up on one of my 55" monitors. Hope it works, there are some known problems with those, regarding fuzzy picture. That should impress the guys if it works. Fingers crossed.

good morning Elliot you and Patrick are giving the layout a finished look even though it is not. am glad to see your son is back in your life and he appears in type anyways to like trains. the lift bridge you have is a slow mover up n down wise am sure if you wanted it to work you'd do a tim the tool man tailor upgrade [pun intended] I hope you have a good turnout Saturday and for those that do not come to see your layout its there loss. I am really patiently waiting to see how the jmri and the rest of the items involved works I haven't a clue how to do it but it fascinates me to see how you make it all work.

 

StPaul

mike g. posted:

Elliot, You and Patrick sure have been busting your butts! All the work you guys are doing looks great, but what else would one expect from you 2! Look at everything else you had done with your layout. You sure have set the bar high and I can say for me that would be a one in a life time build and to think this is your second huge build! WOW what inspiration! 

Often I agree with what Mike says!  This time is no exception!    Yes I'm referring to the highlighted phrase above.  The first thing I thought looking at the collection of photographs for the whole month is that; Wow that is painful even to look at!   You both have done a great job this month!  I don't have much padding so sitting was painful even before I had the knee, lower back, and sciatic nerve issues.  Patrick working on his back with arms overhead!  Oww.  I did too much of those kinds of things like that over the years both at work and home.  The pain and effort has been well worth it!  The layout is looking great!!! 

Ray and Mark, I'm sorry it has taken so long to get back here. Of course, by doing this, I have just violated my own policy of mid month posting here, but I feel I owe you guys a reply. I should have done this a week ago.

By now you both should know that we had a fantastic weekend. My son and I had a great time, and the layout tour was a huge success.

Ray - There was a six year stretch, when my son was in high school, that we didn't have much contact, but ever since he went away to college, things have been much better. None of this was his fault, he was just caught in the middle, as was his sister. She has been a little more difficult to come around, because she has more of an independent streak when it comes to family, and tends to stay a little closer to her mother. Once he moves back down here, she may get a little more involved, but I'm not holding my breath. I've called her a couple times in the last two weeks, and not a peep, and the first time was her birthday.

The lift bridge is just for looks. I'm not even going to try to make it go up and down. As for JMRI, I spent an hour that Thursday night, when my son was here, explaining how it's supposed to work, and it sounds like he's interested in helping me with it. When I told him that the end goal was to have the trains run themselves, he thought that would be cool. So, I guess that makes at least three of us.

Mark - There's always a push on, when guests are expected. The skirts were a big hit this time, so was the camera caboose. Now that the event is done, I haven't been downstairs since. Patrick is off until the 25th. This Saturday is my birthday, and my wife and I are going to the soccer game again. Sunday is the one year anniversary of the toe incident, and I'm happy to say that it is fully healed. I expected it to take up to a year to heal, so I'm not surprised.

 

Elliot I am glad that things are working well for you.  I also appreciate your sharing as much of your family issues, that is never an easy thing to do.  Time seems to be a great healer of many of these things.  It is a shame that we aren't able to realize just how important and in such short supply our time is on this earth until it gets closer to running out.  I'm no better at that than anyone else unfortunately.

Your layout really looks great.  The fascia and skirting raise it to a whole new level.  Many people do not seem to understand the roles that these elements should play in my opinion.  I do not believe that they should compete with the layout for attention, but rather set the stage and direct your eyes to action of the layout itself.  Yours does a fantastic job of that.  Very well done.

Art

Thanks guys. When it comes to my son, I tried to get him interested in trains at a young age. I see him as kind of falling into the classic pattern, where the seed gets planted, then there's a time away, but eventually they drift back into the hobby. He may never have the level of interest that I do, but the other day he bought a new camera (he works at Best Buy). So what does he do with it to try it out? He wanders through Grand Forks, and down by the BNSF yard among other places. After looking at all of them, there were a number of pretty good ones. I told him he should start a topic over in real trains, and call it Grand Forks. So if you see something like that pop up, check it out and give him likes, and help reinforce my "training".

Your creation begs the question I ask my self, what will be come of it when we are no longer here?

Personally I view my RR like some do their daily cross word puzzle.  Just a creative pleasure,  then toss it.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

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