N scale California Zephyr Route update from Dick

“Hi Al:

I have been doing as much as possible before the 27th when I have my first of 3 surgeries on my neck and back.

So working hard to do grunt work that I will not be able to do for quite a while.

For power I have the two Plum Cove Studios “Generic Electric” diesels. They were patterned after a GE 25ton boxcab. I had charged up the 4 batteries only to find that the diesels would not run.

I took the batteries to the big city. Interstate Batteries tested them to find out 3 were totally shot.

So I bought 4 Optimum Batteries and brought them home. It is an extreme struggle to lift anything over 20 pounds and these new babies are 60 pounds each. Finally got them in the garage, and found that they are over 3″ wider than the old deep cycle batteries.

So I had to build two new floors for the diesels, which means I will need to alter the bodies to fit, or build new bodies.

Anyway nothing exciting here except we will be able to have our first train party before winter hits.

For anyone interested, these diesels are wonderful little tanks. Mine are just over 16 years old now and they are as new, no wear and have plenty of power.

Pictures show original size of floors, and the new floors mounted on the frames.

Tomorrow I can start re-assembly of electronics and hookups, batteries and test run.

Then get the bodies built.

These pictures just show the size comparison of old floors to new floors I built yesterday and today.







The bodies long sides are fine for size, but the ends will be widened and the roof also widened. If this doesn’t work out well, then I will build new bodies.

If I can’t get them built before Friday, they will have to wait until next Spring before I can do much.

Thank you Al, nothing exciting as I mentioned already but boy they sure are fun to ride.

This is it for M. E. RR pics and info.”

Dick also kindly sent in an update on his N scale too. If you want to get up to speed,his last post is here.

“This past few weeks I have spent tons of hours on this layout, hopefully some will notice the changes. I have until Thursday the 26th to get anymore done, then I will have the first of 3 major surgeries on my neck and back. So progress will be pretty slow for quite a while.

For anyone wanting to see a layout diagram, look back at my old posts to see it.

Since the last update, I widened the long narrow stretch connecting Chicago to Denver by 1.5 inches and removed the white plastic runners from the fascia board that were 1.5 inches wide so my aisle way is still the same width.

Next I did more work on the backdrop building flats, still more to do before I affix them to the backdrop.

Next I planned where I could have the roads for each of the 5 towns and built them along with nearly 50 crossings. Aging and striping is next on the roads. added a few more buildings, a lot more autos and trucks.

Then I began painting the backdrops, first establishing a horizon, then adding features. This was quick and fun. Details can be added when the mood strikes. Paint, I hate to waste paint I have mixed to use, so when I finish with some aspect of all this scenery, I find places to use up the balance of paint either as is or change its color and use up.

My Grandson Hector is pleased to see that Hectorville California has grown so much.

Also I have been doing more work on the mountain that has the road with a school bus parked most of the way up. more color added features etc, it needs more but I am happy with it.

There was mention of this mountain being out of scale, I believe he was referring to it looking that way because it is not yet finished for detailing, carving, etc. As far as scale goes, from floor to peak is only 250 scale feet high. We have lots of examples out here in the West of steep roads, huge walls of rock and very large rock.

Very soon I can begin adding ground cover, ballast, trees, shrubs, telephone and power poles, and people will come last as I am pretty clumsy right now, and have to be careful what I am doing with my arms and hands.

This is a huge project and sometimes it seems as though there is no progress, but when I look through older pictures I can see lots of change.

I am including a picture of a train pushing one of those little SQ12 mini cameras resting on a depressed center flat car, being 25mm cubed this is the largest camera I can use that will fit through the Kato single track truss bridges.





Thaks again so much and stay well and safe.

Every one else’s entrees sure help to keep me going, I truly enjoy them all.

Dick”

A huge thanks to Dick. It’s wonderful to see a layout grow and come to life – whatever size they may be.

And I wish him well and a speedy recovery for his surgery.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your very own layout.

Best

Al

PS Seen the latest ebay cheat sheet yet?

12 Responses to N scale California Zephyr Route update from Dick

  1. Plenty of scope thre on that layout Dick , certainly room for scenics , great looking layout

  2. Michael Hoover says:

    Dick, I want to wish you well on your upcoming surgeries. I know how you must feel as I’ve had two surgeries for two on the job injuries. Anyway, all the best and a speedy recovery!

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Dick get well soon ! Meanwhile ,Woodland scenics sells all types of ground cover
    Ebay also has stores that sell shrubs and trees. That would make your layout come alive ..
    The Critic

  4. Walter from Long Island says:

    Would love to see a video of the trains running….

  5. Rich B. says:

    Indeed, those Optima batteries are something else; especially if you put a brand new defective one in your car (2nd one works just fine). Those batteries which are a gel-cell type can be mounted just about in any position, meaning sideways stacked or any workable array. They will not leak, must be vented of coarse. Nothing like the obsolete lead-acid batteries. If that would help?

    My opinion only but the N layout is astonishing except for country backdrops. They just don’t look real and colors are too dark-not blended. Building backdrops look good, especially with dimensional buildings used.

    Regards, Rich

  6. Kai Willadsen says:

    Quote “SQ12 mini cameras resting on a depressed center flat car”

    Do cheer that center flat car up a little, then it will not be so depressed 😉

  7. Mike Balog says:

    Hello Dick: Great Layout with it’s expanses of Country/Rural/ Mountain Scenery and the towns in between. If you didn’t mention it was N Scale, I would have Thought it was HO Scale. I like that raised main line. Having grown up along the N.H. RR 4 Track raised main line, this brought back memories. Are you going to put a 3 Stall Roundhouse and Motor on the turntable you have?

    One of the latest installments of Dangerous Dave’s Layout, he demonstrated a new Small Camera he bought that is about half the size of your video camera and produces sharp in focus video and still photos.. Just a Thought..

    Have to Ask, If Anyone can comment, If KATO Track is worth buying and using Vs Bachmann Track? I read someplace that KATO Track was fool-proof. But guess it cost more? I have used Atlas and other brand Flex and Snap Track over the years. Thanks.

    Regarding the Large Scale Riding Railroad,,, the batteries can be a pain if one of them is worn to the point it drains newer batteries. You did an excellent job rebuilding the frame for your two diesels, so they support the weight of the batteries and loco bodies. You could Re Use the Original floor of the frame for a short fiddler freight car or a mini caboose. If one is not stable enough, pancake them together. I have a buddy who has a small battery powered diesel locomotive, He had to get new batteries either for This one or another much larger locomotive. Always remember to trickle charge your batteries when not in use . And bring them inside during the Winter so they don’t freeze in the garage. The Winter Cold Kills the Batteries faster then you know..
    ~ Mike in N.H. U.S.A. ~

  8. Erick says:

    Look pretty kool keep up the good work.

  9. Mike Balog
    About Kato Vs Bachmann..
    In my opinion there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems.
    Bachmann is a value priced product and has its drawbacks — The biggest benefit to Bachmann when compared to Kato is the price. I have not torture tested Kato like I have Bachmann — I can tell you I had a young child literally crawl all over my Bachmann layout and the track survived remarkably well.
    Kato does have a broader range and looks better visually in my opinion — That said, My pocket screams to a deafening degree when I look at the price!

  10. Dick, Good luck with your surgery.
    I purchased a Plum Cove custom drive a few months ago. I have had a couple of issues but their service is excellent! I have also purchased a stock “Generic Electric” but it has yet to arrive. Based on what you are doing with the new body, I am now considering ordering yet another one to go with my 2.5 inch scale equipment.
    Hope to see you having fun on the rails sooner than you expect!
    While antiques, I saw an event Saturday that makes me think I will stick with my “antique” lead acid battery technology for a while. Saturday I saw an Acura immolate itself — Fire started at the battery.

  11. TJK says:

    Very cool……
    Best of Luck with your upcoming surgeries!!

  12. Jim Logue says:

    Dick, best of luck with your surgeries. Really love your layout! Good Luck 👍 Jim L from Fla.

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