Archive for the ‘Derwin’s Drop’ Category

Quick Update

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’ve been finding some time to work on the layout, but not enough time to update this blog, obviously.  I thought I owed it to you to post something, finally.

Station-1The crews finally came back to Derwin’s Drop to take the station off the blocking and put it on a real foundation.  What a bunch of yahoo’s they were!  The crane operator was not watching his boom while he was moving it and gave the roof trim at the peak a bit of a knock!  I guess I should be thankful that he didn’t put a big hole in the roof.

There is still some landscaping to do around the station as well as some new signage, but that will get done soon, I hope.  I also need to get a passenger platform built.

I’ve also been working on the station in Chappellton.  The lower level is getting close to completion and the building above ground is looking a lot better.  Brian posted a photo of the lower level on his blog.

That’s it for now!  I’ll have more updates soon, I hope.


BS&T’s version of “Mega Moves”

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I know I promised you something in a few days and it has been quite a few days, but better late than never.

Have you ever seen the show “Mega Moves” or “Monster Moves” where they move large structures, some huge structures too?  Well, we had our own version of the show on the Island recently.  We wanted to move a replica of the Kensington Train Station (ver. 1) from Canadisle rail to the Bayside and Tidewater.  The crew was very professional and had one of those computerized hydraulic jacking systems (well, a bunch of guys with car jacks and one guy with a bull horn yelling “pump”, or “STOP!”).  Surprisingly, they managed to lift the station from its foundation enough to install huge I-beams underneath (Are you kidding!  Huge I-beams are expensive!  They stole some wooden beams from an old barn down the road!) and attached hydraulically operated wheel systems (Yeah, right.  An old flatbed was more like it. You should have heard the creaking and groaning.  Oh wait, that was me as I walked around and watched.).  This thing was a self-propelled monster!  My GOD it was scary!

2009-06-08-station-1Anyway, the station made the trip to Derwin’s Drop without a hitch.  Well, there was one hitch.  The crew on this end wasn’t ready.  So the Station is just sitting on blocking waiting for a foundation.  Who knows when the crew will be back.  We paid them 50% on delivery and they’re probably still at the Kensington Club drinking it away!

The signs will get changed, eventually.

More on this as the situation develops.


The Mine

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

2009-04-02-mine-2I have been finding some time to work on the layout the past few weeks.  The time to get it ready for the open house during Convention is fast approaching and I’m not sure if I’ll reach my goal of complete basic scenery before then or not.  I’m going to try.

Here’s a photo of the coal mine that I’ve pretty much got done.  There are a few details that could be added, but perhaps not before the Convention.

There should be something hanging from the I-beam being hoisted to the main door of the building on the right and some more vehicles parked around the scene.  Some more hustle and bustle would bring it alive, I’m sure.

2009-04-02-mine-1The photo at the right is a closer view of the scene.  There is coal in the conveyer and the boys have to keep an eye on things to make sure the line doesn’t get plugged up.



The Mine in Derwin’s Drop – pt. 1

Monday, November 17th, 2008

mine-2-20081109I admit, this picture is more than a week old, but I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the layout, or take pictures.  I’m posting this just to demonstrate that I do work on the layout from time to time, mainly to give my brain a break. I don’t want any comments on that!

Anyway, I’ve been working all over the layout from Derwin’s Drop to Chappellton lately.  I’ll concentrate on the mine area in Derwin’s Drop in this post.  As you can see in the photo I have created a bit of a hill with one of the mine structures (I’ll call it the “Head Building”) built into it.  I had a few stone retaining wall castings on hand that I decided to use around the building.

There will be an access road in front of the head building to the tipple. I’ll need to build a platform and add some steps to get to the door in the side of that building. I hope to be able to put a couple company houses in the area to the right of the head building.  I also hope that I can add a realistic conveyor from the head building to the tipple (it’ll be curved so can that be realistic?).  It will require lots of wood supports and should make an interesting addition to the mine complex.

There’s still some plaster work left to do around the smaller structure before I can get on with painting and scenery.  I’ll have an update on this area in a week or so.


Changes in Derwin’s Drop

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Here are some pictures to prove I have been working on the layout.  They aren’t dramatic changes, but change is change.

ddmycoal-20081102One of the last areas of Derwin’s Drop to be finished is the mine.  I’ve started by layering foam to create the base of a mountain.  The rest of the mountain will be painted on the backdrop.  I’m not sure who will paint it, or when.

The next step will be to carve the foam mountain to create rock details and then cover it with plaster and maybe a few rock castings.  The final bits will be coloring, grass, trees (of course) and other various details that would be found around a mine.

I know once I get into working on this area in earnest it won’t take long to finish.  So stay tuned!

ddengineshed-1-20081102This engine shed is a structure I made for our 5th Street Industrial District modules for the UMG.  Rather than put the structure in a box between shows I decided I could put it to good use as the engine shed for the service track in Derwin’s Drop.

I decided I wanted the back of the shed to look unkempt and wild so I added several different types of shrubs and bushes.  I used lichen, foliage clumps, and polyfiber coated with ground foam to make this area look “wild”.  A scattering of junk later will further add to the untidy look.


You get a different perspective of the back of the shed in this photo. The area in the foreground is not intended to look like cut rock.  It is where the lift out is placed to cross the great divide of the doorway.

With Chemical Hazards in front of the shed it is difficult to get a natural angle when photographing it.  There are too many things in the way.  My little photographer will have to climb a tree later to get a bird’s eye view of the scene.

Well, that’s it for this update.  I’ve been working in other areas of the layout as well and I’ll have an update on that soon.  I never really know what I am going to work on when I first enter the layout room.  I intend to do one thing but usually end up working on something else.

’til next time!


Derwin’s Drop Scenery

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

I took advantage of the weather and Kim’s work schedule to do some more work in Derwin’s Drop over the weekend. I was also able to get some photos for future articles at the Scratchbuilder’s Guild. I’m pleased to say that I’m about half done of the basic scenery in Derwin’s Drop now. I’m still not certain what to do with the mine area, but I’m sure something inspiring will happen in the next little while.

Here are some pictures I took last Sunday evening of my weekend’s work…

2008-03-02-derwinsdrop.jpgThis is an overall view of the town looking west. From left to right is the Freight Shed, Standard Electric with the mine behind and a cabin in front, and Chemical Hazards on the far right. There are a couple vacant lots that are calling out for buildings but I have no idea what to put there yet. There will be a train station behind the Freight Shed some day.

2008-03-02-freightshed-1.jpgSo, here are a couple closer shots of the Freight Shed. It looks like it’s getting close to the end of the work day and the guys are taking a break before heading home for the day. They had a long day of loading and unloading “stuff”. Their beds will feel good tonight.

Chet, the night watchman is just coming on duty.

2008-03-02-standardelectric-2.jpgThe mail man is doing his rounds a little late today. Fred and Bill haven’t seen each other in a while and are catching up outside. Standard Electric used to manufacture electrical components for the housing industry, but have fallen on hard times lately. Allan Lectric, the owner, hasn’t made up his mind whether he wants to “go big or stay home”.

2008-03-02-ch-2.jpg Chemical Hazards can be a very dangerous place to work. They don’t seem to care about regulations. We can see how they get away with it. Clayton, the Plant Manager, is greeting the inspector from Environment Canada, Bernie McBribe. I’m sure there’s a big bag of cash and a bottle of Clayton’s “Special Blend” inside somewhere.

2008-03-02-ch-3.jpgYou wouldn’t even have to go inside the gate to know that this place would not pass an Environmental Assessment. There’s nothing left alive inside the fence!

Drums of “God only knows what” are scattered everywhere. It’s a wonder these guys are still alive! I’d really hate to see what their kids look like!


Old Bentnose Willie is taking his life in his hands living so close to Chemical Hazards! There’s only a scraggly fence between him and an uncertain future. It’s a good thing his nose is so bent that no woman would ever have him. Think of what their kids would be like after years of ingesting that ground water!

Well, that’ll be it for scenery updates for this week, I think. I have to get the layout into operational condition for the visit by the Moncton guys. After a few weeks of scenery work that’s going to take a while! Plus I need to work out an operations scheme for the biggest crew I’ve ever had on the BS&T!



Derwin Drop Scenery – The Mad Rush

Thursday, January 31st, 2008


I’ve been working in Derwin’s Drop a lot this week. Why the rush, you ask? We have some guests coming from Moncton on Saturday for a day of layout visits and operating, so I wanted to get rid of the last little bit of all-blue foam on the layout. With the recent changes to the track arrangement there I was ready to start scenery.


Anyway, last evening I painted the road and the base for the freight shed. I am planning to put a layer of plaster over the road to try Harold Minkwitz’s cracked road method, but I won’t get that done before Saturday, and I wanted to tone down the black foam. I dry-brushed a coat of “Linen” and “Grey” acrylic tole paints over the road. It seems to work, for now.


The “Linen” tole paint looks pretty good for concrete as well, so I painted the freight shed lot with it. Then scribed some expansion joints and added a cost of india ink/alcohol mix.


I painted the fence at Chemical Hazards. It’s hard to tell that it’s just a bunch of 2.5″ air nails. They look fairly good as a board fence.


The surrounding “land” got a coat of dark and light brown tole paints to get rid of the blue foam look. Grass, secondary roads, bushes and stuff will come later.

I’m happy with the area for now. It’s far from finished, but it looks a lot better than it did before.

I’ll have a post about our Moncton visitors next week. Until then, stay warm (P.E.I. Hit By Major Ice Storm)! Hopefully Derwin gets his power back before Saturday so we can operate the Canadisle Rail. Oh, and so his family can eat and be warm too!


Grade Crossings and Roads

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

I’ve been using a different method, for me anyway, for roads on the BS&T.

On my old layout I used a lot of plaster to build up streets and roads. It was a lot of work to try to get them smooth enough to resemble a road. Then if something happened to chip the plaster you have an odd coloured pothole.

So, I used a tip I read on Harold Minkwitz’s web site (Inpirations – Dirt Roads, Bushes, and Grass). He uses 1/8″ craft foam for streets. You’ve likely seen examples of these streets in other posts on the BS&T Blog.

One of the best uses of this product is for grade crossings. The foam is the same thickness as code 100 rail (sorry for all you more scale conscious model railroaders using smaller rail <wink>) so it makes perfect grade crossings. All you need to do is hold the foam in place and run a sharp knife along the rail to get a perfect fit. Anywhere you need a gap for wheel flanges just trim the foam a little narrower.


This grade crossing (below) in Derwin’s Drop would have been almost impossible to do with plaster. I wouldn’t have even attempted it. But I did this the other evening in about 20 minutes.


The wheel flange clearance may be a little tight, but the foam gives enough that I don’t think it’ll give me any trouble. I ran an S-4 through this about 10 times, at different speeds from a crawl to normal speed, without a hitch.

I’m going to try Harold’s method of making old cracked pavement in this area. He applies a thin layer of coloured plaster over the foam, paints it to simulate old asphalt, then presses on it causing the plaster to crack. Instant stress cracks. Then pick a few pieces out to make potholes.



More Work in Derwin’s Drop

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Well, last evening I did a little more work in Derwin’s Drop. I mentioned in my last update that I was going to move the ground throws closer to the fascia, and therefore the operator.


I installed longer push rods for the ground throws and routed then between the ties in neighbouring tracks. This required cutting the joiner sections between the ties so the push rod would move freely. Fortunately I was able to get a straight path under the adjoining rails.


Yes, I have a mixture of turnouts on my layout. I know some people will only use one brand or the other, but I’m cheap, err… frugal. I take whatever I can get for the least amount of money. In this case the turnouts were free.

Anyway, now even Derwin can operate at Derwin’s Drop, unless there’s a derailment at the back. But that’ll never happen! Not on the BS&T! No way! HA!


The Earth Moves in Derwin’s Drop

Monday, January 28th, 2008

As I mentioned in my operations report on January 19, after the session we talked about some possible changes to the track arrangement in Derwin’s Drop. Since I only have three weeks before the next operating session I decided I’d better get started. So over the weekend the earth started moving in Derwin’s Drop.

The track arrangement in Derwin’s Drop has two limitations. the west and east sides of the town both have bridges/liftouts so the approach track to those must remain exactly where it is. I removed all the track except the last 6 inches or so of those approaches. Then I started rearranging track trying to find a better track plan.

Reaching most of the turnouts in Derwin’s Drop has proven to be difficult for most operators. There are only three industries, Freight Shed, Chemical Hazards, and MyCoal Mine. The mine was the challenge since the first turnout for the mine was off the rear passing siding and there were two turnouts off of that. Each turnout was progressively farther away from the operator. So my goal was to reduce the reach and make it easier for folks to operate there.

After much finagling of track I ended up with much the same arrangement. However, I now have only two, longer, sidings at the mine so the turnouts are closer to the fascia. To further reduce the reach I installed ground throws a few inches away from the turnouts using a long wire connected to the turnout’s throwbar. If cars are parked on the siding it will be difficult to reach this groundthrow. I may put a longer wire and move the ground throw even closer – to the other side of the tracks at the bottom of the photo.


Another thing that bothered me about the area was that I did not have room to place a train station in he town. I was able to move the Freight Shed a little farther east so I am now able to place a small train station where it used to be.

I’ll put this arrangement to the test at the next operating session (which might be this weekend if the guys from Moncton come over), and see how it goes. There’s always the stand-by milk crate for any vertically challenged operators.


Meanwhile, I have a lot of cleaning to do now. Besides the clutter left behind in Derwin’s Drop due to all the earth moving, the original town of Derwin’s Drop was temporarily relocated to Kenville!