East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

November 2009

Old ties, new rail at Piedmont

I am waiting on an order from Boulder Valley Models so I can continue building rolling stock. I thought I would fill the time by laying some more track.

This is the Piedmont Mill site. It is hard to believe that I glued down, sanded and stained the crossties on this part of the layout four years ago. At that time, I was just considering using Fast Tracks fixtures to build turnouts. Consequently, the trackplan had not yet been revised to include only “standard” turnouts. One of the turnouts in Piedmont is a little odd.

In the plan above, the red turnout is slightly curved. The diverging route radius is 24 inches, but the “straight” route is the beginning of a 24 inch radius reverse curve that leads to the Warehouse and Boilerhouse spurs. I bought a Fast Tracks fixture for building #4 wye turnouts, and I could have used one here. But the ties were already down, and I was in the mood to go ahead and build this turnout in place.

I used my Fast Tracks Point & Frog Jig to make a #6 point for this custom turnout. This worked out well, as the two routes out of the turnout follow the crossties nicely.

I gave myself a lot of “lead” between the frog and points, so the point rails came out long and either route through the turnout is smooth.

This is the first turnout a visitor will see when they enter the layout, and I think it came out fine. But I still much prefer using Fast Tracks fixtures to build turnouts.

Rock Cars

The Piedmont & East Blue Ridge is an industrial roadroad serving several quarries, Consequently, it will haul a large volume of stone. I needed a few cars suited for hauling broken waste stone, and Chivers 20 foot ore cars seemed to fill the bill.

These are gable bottom gondolas built on the standard Chivers flat car as a base. Construction of the styrene carbody was straightforward. I sprayed it with black automobile primer, not worrying too much about getting complete coverage.

The gable bottom of the car has gussets underneath lifting the center of the floor just enough for a row of #3 steel buckshot to fit under it. On top of the floor I glued down a new paper floor with seam and rivet detail embossed in it. The floor was spray painted auto primer rust with black overspray.

I have built enough pairs of Chivers trucks now that I am getting reasonably good results. These came out free rolling, and the brake hangers are pretty straight. The wheelsets are painted scale black and the frames are sprayed primer rust.

The cars got a rough, almost sloppy lettering job. Contrary to appearances, I did use stencils.

The cars and trucks were soaked with a heavy coat of fixative, then dumped in a box of soapstone powder and shaken.

After the fixative had time to dry, I used a brush to knock all the loose powder off the cars and trucks. All metal parts received a wash of Rust-All, and the trucks were touched up with black Bar Mills weathering chalk. Then the cars got an overall wash of 91% isopropyl alcohol and india ink.

Trucks and couplers installed, the cars are ready for stone service on the railroad.