Finally Hiding the last of the Foam

A milestone of sorts is basically upon me, the last of the layer of pink insulation foam my layout scenery is built out of is almost gone. I have laid the last base coat of ground cover dirt, and the last bits of hard cover paved area that I am making out of styrene are cut and ready to paint. I have been focusing on the large Hinde and Dauch Paper building and box car kits in terms of layout work the past few weeks, but this past few days the mood struck me to finish something else that I have been working towards, hiding the foam.

Working my way through the last large area of soil to be laid. Between the buildings along the wall will be paved, and a building hides the two tracks.

This is one of those things that could have been done months ago, if I’d wanted to just get on with it, but as with so many of my projects, I have a lot of things on the go as my attention wanders.

The last corner of dirt goes down, and preparing the final styrene concrete and sidewalk parts for painting and installation.

Hopefully in the next few days I can get the paved areas painted and installed, and start working on touch-ups to the base scenery and start thinking about the first passes with some detail scenery using static grass and other soils/dirt’s as appropriate to build texture and colour. As with everything, the end of one project brings others in building a layout, and as my own worst critic sometimes, far too often I see the areas where I need to do work or fix things vs. appreciating what I have done, but for now, I’m just going to sit back (well, stand up given the height of my benchwork), and appreciate the fact that wherever I look on the layout, the last vestiges of unsceniced foam have all vanished!

Tuesday Train #306

A brand new Track Evaluation Train at the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Toronto (Agincourt) Yard on April 18th. The three cars behind the locomotive are an accommodations car (CP94), the generator car (CP93), and the Track Evaluation Car (CP92) (TEC) which gives the train its name, the TEC Train. The third car has a big rear window for observing the track, and all kinds of laser measurement and evaluation equipment. The goal, is to find track problems before they become problems so crews can be sent out to fix them. The constant laser measuring of the railway performed by these trains means there are reference points in time to compare the track, looking for shifts that might signal a problem brewing.

Tuesday Train #305

CP Train 113 crossing the Cherrywood Viaduct…with a CN unit in 2nd position. It even had a second CN unit as the mid-train DPU (Distributed Power Unit) as seen below. Freshly taken yesterday on Easter Monday when I had the day off work. Checking out new to me (here) and some rarely visited by me locations in the east end of the GTA.

Trains and Gravity are not friends

By the time this posts I will have given my Clinic on the 3D printed model of the Dominion of Canada and the shipment of her back to the UK for restoration in 2012-13 at the Hindsight 2020 13.0 Virtual RPM today. A couple of weeks ago, I needed to get some detail photos for the presentation, and I had, an incident, where one of the span bolsters decided it was not attached to the rest of the car anymore, and while I thought I had a grip on everything, it took a trip to the floor. The 3D printed material can be brittle, and it shattered. Fortunately, it was a clean break, and the two parts could be re-aligned, and with some brass shims to provide some strength repaired. Whew, a sigh of relief, but not before some unpleasant words that can’t be repeated in polite company!

Before and after of an unplanned test of Newtonian Gravity Theory using a model, not recommended for your blood pressure.

Upgrading my Radio for out chasing trains

I have been getting out a lot in the past year railfanning, more than in the past, and I am finally getting better at monitoring Railway Radio Operations when I am out. In doing so, I have heard some great conversations between crews and dispatch, and some weird moments when things go wrong. I’ve been looking for a bit for a digital recorder. I finally settled on a kind of mid-range one, not the cheapest, and not one of the fancier ones. I chose a Sony PX370 mono recorder. Its small and will easily fit into my camera bag for travelling with me.

My new Sony PC-370 Digital Audio Recorder for recording radio, and a Bluetooth dongle for transmitting to a speaker while I am out.

Once it arrived, I started to play around with it, I decided that I want to be able to listen through a speaker still when I was out and about, I don’t like wearing headphones when I am out taking pictures. To achieve this, I bought a small Bluetooth transmitter that plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack, and I can then connect it to one of my bluetooth speakers. So far so good, I can now listen and record. What I needed was a way to easily carry everything around. To do that, I decided to apply my 3D modelling skills, and make what amounts to a backpack for my radio, mounted into the screw holes for the belt clip to carry the recorder on the back of the radio. I got that print today, and once all the support material was cleared away, the recorder slid in, and after some adjusting of fit on the screws, the carrier was screwed in, and the radio attached. It looks like I am all set now to get out on Easter Monday and chase some trains.

A 3D printed backpack for the Sony Digital Audio Recorder I have bought, mounted to the belt clip mount on my Uniden Bearcat BC125AT

I haven’t recorded much yet, and I don’t think I will regularly be posting audio, but a clip from last week to let you hear the recording quality at least is attached of CPR Dispatch talking to a train on the North Toronto Subdivision heading for the Mactier Subdivision and points west is attached below.

Some chatter on the Canadian Pacific Railway North Toronto/Mactier Subdivision frequency on April 10, 2022 when I was playing with my new recorder.