#41 March Status Report

March 2, 2010

This month we’ll look at some of the improvements that have been made to the Middle Period engine servicing facility.  This area is of special interest to MVGRS, because it is the area we originally committed to design and build for the EnterTRAINment Junction layout and the one to which we’ve given special attention.


Though the current turntable is temporary, awaiting a more sophisticated animated replacement whose design and construction has been assigned to another of team of Big Train Project volunteers, we’ve been upgrading the existing turntable bridge and pit to look more realistic as the layout waits for the replacement.  Gordon Havens has added walkways and railings to both sides of the turntable bridge (Figure 1).  A very recent addition of two more sidings in from of the coaling tower (now there are three) produced the moves of several features, one of them the speeder house, which has been moved adjacent to the mainline in front of the turntable (Figure 1).


Figure 1.  The Speeder House


The turntable pit has been repainted in a concrete color and then “weathered” to look like it’s had a lot of use with a lot of oil and dirty water running down the pit walls and pit bottom (Figure 2).  Jack Wilson and I add facades to the pit wall to cover gaps and holes at the top of the pit wall as well as corner covers for the pit lip.  Another new addition is the railroad office building next to the road near the mezzanine end of the area.  Also note the addition of weeds (made by Sharon Wilson, Liz Barnhart, and the other detail creators) in the grassy areas to provide a further touch of realism (Figures 2 and 5).


Figure 2.  The Upgraded Truntable Pit and Railroad Office


Spanning one of the new sidings in front of the coaling tower is a new bridge crane, which holds up one end of a caboose undergoing maintenance on one of its trucks (Figure 3).


Figure 3.  Caboose Repair


The ash pit now has a hoist tower for lifting the ashes out of the pit. The tower, hoist bucket, and discharge chute were built by Mike Barnhart (Figure 4).  It is capable of having the hoist bucket animated, should the animation experts choose to add the necessary motors and controls.  It has a fairly sophisticated mechanism that tips and opens the bucket to dump its contents into the discharge chute when the bucket reaches the top of its hoist.


Figure 4.   Ash Hoist



Figure 5 shows an overview of the portion of the engine servicing area nearest the mezzanine.  The ash pit is at the upper left.  The two added tracks with the caboose undergoing maintenance are at top center.  The speeder house is at the top right.  A part of the railroad office is at the right center.  A snow plow has been added to the spur adjacent to the roundhouse.  And we talked Larry Koehl into lending us another steam engine so that we can have one on the turntable bridge and two in the roundhouse.  We also added bumpers to the end of the new sidings.

Figure 5.  Roundhouse Vicinity


The latest and most impressive addition to the area is a pair of well lit and beautifully detailed stores across the road from the YMCA near the mezzanine.  Fortunately, these have been placed very close to the aisle, where the outstanding detail can readily be seen and appreciated by visitors (Figure 6).  There is a dry goods store, a grocery store, and a lawyer’s office in the upper floor of the dry goods store.

Figure 6.  Dry Goods and Grocery Stores


Some of the details to look for at Max Krumbein’s Drygoods store include the traversing ladder with a salesperson climbing to retrieve a shoe box from the wall full of shoe boxes.  Folded pants and shirts are stacked on shelves.  Lunch boxes and thermos bottles stand of sales tables, and partial mannequins display the work clothes and boots, which are the store’s primary inventory.  Lettering on the windows advertize the items for sale.  And, a customer with his purchases in a Krumbein’s shopping bag walks toward the YMCA across the street (Figure 7).


Figure 7.  Max Krumbein’s Drygoods Store


Next door is Bredestege’s Market with its familiar (at least to some of us old fogies) grocery product brands on shelves, the displays of fruit with the hanging scale, the meat counter with its own scale, the grocer with his reach extender, and the additional details on the sidewalk out front (Figure 8).



Figure 8.  Bredestege’s Market



It’s another museum quality model, consistent with the excellence of the modeling throughout the layout.  It’s a work of art within the much larger work of animated art that is the whole layout, and it’s our goal to continue making improvements with that degree of quality.


© 2010 Tom Bartsch

MVGRS Big Train Project Coordinator