Thursday, October 22, 2015

On to Galltizin!

Hurrah hurrah hurrah! Horseshoe Curve is largely done. I finally girded my loins enough to make a trip through the access hatch to finish with the ground cover. Yes, the area still needs some more trees, but I'm pondering the whole situation. So until then, I feel the curve is in enough of a state of completion that I can move on. So yay, I  finally get to scratch the whole "I want to do something else on this layout" itch.

It turns out that "something else" is going to be Gallitzin. Gallitzin is a small town and home to the famous tunnels of the same name. Now, up until this point, the area I've been modeling has been rural with few structures. Well, that's going to change in a big way as I start modeling an actual town. All of those Model Power house kits I've put together over the past year or so will find a home here. 

Adding to the challenge of modeling Gallitzin is the topology. Nothing is level. In fact the whole town kind of resembles San Francisco only without the cable cars and hipsters. Each of the aforementioned houses will be set into the hillside. 

Now, as with previous parts of the layout, I won't be trying to duplicate Gallitzin exactly. Rather I'll merely attempt to capture the flavor of the area. This will also allow me to add some industry to the area and give my local freights something to do.

One of those industrial areas will be served by the eastbound tracks and will include Model Powers Brewery, which I've expanded with American Model Builers Transfer Building kit and Cornerstones "Medusa Cement." The westbound tracks will serve a metal fabricator and a feed, seed and implement dealer.

I'm setting the boundary for this section of the layout at PA Route 53, which is where the center peninsula returns to the walls. When this section is finished, about half of the layout will be sceniced.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sound-Equipped Locomotives

Up until just recently, the idea of sound-equipped locomotives never much appealed to me. Admittedly, my previous experience with them was in O-Gauge and they made such racket that the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Also, when I started converting my fleet to DCC, I decided to splurge and add a sound decoder to my N&W J. I have to say, I way pretty underwhelmed. I mean how much sound could you really get out of a dime-sized speaker?

Then, a couple of weeks ago Bachmann surprised us all when they announced a sound value K4. Needless to say I snapped one up. Unlike my J, the sound on this loco was impressive. It's just loud enough to be heard but not deafeningly so. Just yesterday, I finally took delivery of my Broadway Limited E7s, which also are equipped with sound. These two are impressive with sound at just the right volume. Suffice to say, I'm hooked. I can't wait for my BLI M1 to get here so I can further increase my stable of sound-equipped locos.

Here are the BLI E7s leaving Johnstown:

The K4 Rounding Horseshoe Curve:

In other news, I haven't done much of anything on the layout itself lately. But I really need to get myself motivated to finish Horseshoe Curve and move on.