Another quick tech note…

Today’s upgrade to my blog engine also changes its appearance on smart phones and other mobile devices. I’ve checked it on my own phone and think it’s a good step in the right direction. I hope you agree.

All part of the service! We aim to please!

My Drivel :: Your Inbox

Have a look at the “My Drivel :: Your Inbox” section near the top of the right-hand column on my blog.

I’ve been doing some housekeeping, which included adding this as a new feature. Simply enter your email address, hit the “Yes, Please!” button, and each time I add a post it’ll show up in your inbox.

(Apologies in advance!)

Small layout inspiration: Keith Jordan’s “The Patch”

I love finding inspiring layout themes – or actual layouts – that don’t require a lot of real estate, yet provide interesting modelling and operating possibilities. One such layout is Keith Jordan‘s HO scale layout of a switching district on the ATSF known as “The Patch”.

I offer more information about Keith’s excellent layout – including why I like it so much – on my layout design blog. Click on the photo of Keith’s rendition of The Patch below to read more – and enjoy if you visit.
Keith Jordan - The Patch photo ThePatch-KeithJordan_zpsf0f72eb0.jpg

Achievable layout: CNW’s Geneva Switch Run

The Winter 2012 edition of Classic Trains magazine includes an article about the Geneva Switch Run – a local that worked a 2.6-mile branch between Geneva and St. Charles, Illinois.

It’s a worthy subject for an achievable layout and I’ve written more about it on my layout design blog. Click on the CNW 10-wheeler image below to read more – and enjoy if you visit:

CNW 1385 GPM link photo CNW1385_zpsc62c8774.jpg

Building Stories

I recently stumbled across this really neat site for anybody who is interested in heritage buildings in Canada. (This would include hobbyists, such as myself, who are trying to model specific places – as well as hobbyists who are looking for inspiration for a structure-building project.)

It’s called Building Stories (Note that the url ends in co, not com.)

The website describes itself as, “an online interactive inventory and mobile application that enables Canadians to take a direct role in identifying important community heritage assets”. I describe it as a great resource – one that should get better as more people create profiles and load pictures and stories.

Have a look.

Crop Report

More Busch tobacco plant kits arrived in today’s mail, from the good folks at Scenic Express. I’m still building the last batch – better get at it!

And my order of corn stalks from JTT Scenery Products has been shipped, expedited (thank you!) – it might arrive by the end of this week, but more likely between Christmas and New Years. Still, I’ll have some holiday time to do some planting.

Photos to come, when the planting’s done!

A cornfield at St. Williams

While searching for something else at a local hobby shop, I came across some beautiful HO scale corn stalks from JTT Scenery Products. I bought five packages and planted them near the depot in St. Williams yesterday:
Cornfield at St. Williams photo Corn-JTT-01.jpg

They’re going to add a nice bit of height to the scene and help blend the layout into the backdrop. They’re pretty eye-catching, too:
The field has ears photo Corn-JTT-02.jpg

There’s no direct link to the corn stalks but they’re item number 95511 – the first item in the JTT Gardening Plants section of the website. They come in a package of 36 for $8.95 – or about 25 cents per stalk.

I’ve already emailed JTT to see if I can place a bulk order – as this photo of five packages in place on the layout makes clear…

JTT Corn photo Corn-JTT-03.jpg

…I’m going to need a lot more of them!

More grass in St. Williams

Yesterday’s work with the static grass applicator also involved improving the right-of-way in St. Williams.

I started by adding grass along the edges of the right of way – outside the rails. When this was dry, I went back and carefully added glue between the ties, between the rails, and added grass here, too. I also sprinkled on green ground foam. I then went away, let everything dry, and vacuumed up the excess scenic materials. The result is track that’s part of the landscape, rather than sitting on top of it.

Here, a boxcar sits in the siding at St. Williams, waiting to be picked up by the extra freight east back to Hamilton:
Waiting in the grass photo Grass-StW-01.jpg

As can be seen, the grass really encroaches on the right of way, suggesting that maintenance is being deferred as the railway awaits permission to abandon the line.

The effect is also apparent in this view of the mainline heading south from St. Williams:
Blending track and terrain photo Grass-StW-02.jpg
(I really like the green patch between the rails.)

Compare the photos below. On the left, yesterday’s grass-planting. On the right, an earlier picture of St. Williams with ballast in place but no grass (and unpainted rail):
More grass in St. Williams photo Grass-StW-03.jpg Switching St. Williams photo StW-Terrain-01.jpg

With careful application, the grass poses no problem to locomotives or rolling stock.

Overgrown main in the Lynn Valley

As previously mentioned, I hauled out the static grass applicator yesterday and worked on the track between staging and the water tank in the Lynn Valley.

Here’s a look at the mainline through the Lynn Valley, near the trestle:
Overgrown Mainline photo Grass-Lynn-01.jpg

Here’s another view, featuring the Burro Crane heading through the valley:
Deferred MoW work photo Grass-Lynn-02.jpg

I’m pleased with how this conveys the impression of a branch line at the end of its life, when right-of-way maintenance is being kept at a minimum.