2004 - 2006
What Happen in Our First Year- 2004
The bank was receptive to the idea of having a layout on the third floor and after some 4 months hiatus we occupied some 2,700 feet in January of 2004 to began the reconstruction, but first the room needed to be cleaned, floors sealed, walls painted & lights hung as there where only 4 bulbs lighting the room and it was dark. As luck would have it another member managed to secure some 40 plus fluorescent light fixtures at no charged. After some three months the room was inhabitable and construction began on reassembling the layout, The T-girders on which the layout sat were saved in 6 - 10 foot lengths and reassembled. However, we had a small problem the area we left was 93 feet long and the new area was 75 feet long, but the width was such that we were able to move the ends of the layout to the side at each end and keep the main body together along the center.
On a Saturday in early April the first sections of the layout were erected by members, a great milestone we hade been looking forward to. Over the following months, the remainder of the layout was erected until we had three sections standing alone. Splice plates were used to reconnect the pieces together, it was surprising to see how some edges had warped/stress relieved after many months of separation. There were many small pieces of track used to join the tracks together and a lot of infill to be done to make halfway decent in not seeing the join. A major scene that needed a lot of TLC was the Intermodal area, which one member spent endless hours filling and matching the paint of the concrete. With our first open house planned for Thanksgiving, it was decided early on that we would not be able to join all three sections together in time. Therefore, a temporary loop was constructed behind the backdrop of the Horseshoe Curve to make it a continuous loop, being such a small area the grade approached 2 .5%. Part of the main body was made operational for push pull operation.
The Start of our Second Year 2005
Once the Christmas open house was over, construction began at the south end joining the Tehachapi Loop to the Keddie Wye end of the layout with reversing loops as before. There will be three levels with the eastbound (water level route) main line, the westbound Tehachapi on the second level and the coalmine lead on the third. An art of construction to figure this out, but will look spectacular when finish. There is an additional scene on the first level below the Westbound mainline, the Santa Cruz branch, which will depict an area south of San Francisco with start of the Salad Bowl express - produce and other features of the area. This took some two months from start to laying track. The construction crew moved to the north end to join the Horseshoe Curve to the Intermodal area. This was an easier task due to the design and within a month track was being laid.
Throughout the first quarter of 2005 there has been much active taking place under the layout reconnecting wires that were cut on the teardown, running buss wires and drops for the new sections. Repairing scenery was necessary and laying out the buildings has been done. Cleaning Track has proved a major task with much of the track had oxidized having laid idle for some 18 months it. We tried the traditional “Brightboy”, denatured alcohol, light sanding with a fine grit which all helped. The track was vacuumed cleaned so we thought. How wrong can one be!!! A member brought along the Atlas* tracking cleaning car and used the vacuuming cycle and all were totally amazed at the performance of this feature. It took at least 5 turns around before there was little to empty. Even though we had vacuumed vigorously,
small particles continued to be picked up by the car, pieces that where hard to identify, sawdust we thought had gone was still being pick up.
With this experience in mind, two cars were purchased for the Maintenance of Way department, with one car using the sanding disc and the second car vacuuming, the track has come back to running condition. A second set is being budgeted for to speed the cleaning of the entire layout. Also included in the track cleaning consist is the Aztec* Eliminator* with magnet for the spikes that have been left. This is usually pushed behind a snowplough to remove any large objects especially in hidden areas.