Vet and I have really accomplished a lot of work on the Idaho Falls yard on the layout. When I first joined the club in January, Vet was working on re-wiring the I.F. yard for DCC. I jumped in and helped, and we had it done in a couple of evenings.
While we were working on it, we decided that we’d like to continue working on the yard, and do some scenery and finish work. The yard includes a roundhouse and turntable, and we’d really like to make this a showpiece on the layout. While investigating, we found that the rails on the roundhouse tracks had lifted off the ties, and the turntable was binding when it rotated. We realized this would have to be resolved.
We removed the turntable, and Dave took it home to rebuild it. We replaced the bad track on the roundhouse, and we’re currently waiting for the turntable rebuild so we can continue work on the roundhouse area. Dave is also still purchasing some turnouts to replace a few more in the more southern end of the yard, so we’re holding off on doing anything on that area until the turnouts are replaced.
In the meantime, we started working on scenery in the rest of the yard. We started by masking off all of the track to prevent paint, plaster, ground cover, etc from getting on the track.
We then painted between all of the tracks black in preparation for cinder ballast.
There was a crack in the joints of the baseboard between the yard and the mainline. We used some Sculpt-a-mold (a mixture of shredded paper and plaster) to fill this in a bit and make it look like a drainage ditch.
You can see the Idaho Falls stockyards at the back of the layout, sitting on blue foam. I moved the stockyards back to make a little more room, and realized they’ve been there for a LONG time (note the dust in the photo). We decided to work on this and hide that blue foam. Using Sculpt-a-mold, we formed some hills around the edges of the foam in order to make it look more natural.
Once the Sculpt-a-mold was dry, we painted the entire area with a earth-colored acrylic paint. We left it to dry until the following Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Alan has been working on the Island Park area of the layout. He’s done some great work, including a tunnel area that is hinged so that it can be lifted up for access in case a train derails, for track maintenance, etc. (I’ll have to get some photos of that). You can also see the Island Park stockyard.
Tim has been trying his hand at home-made trees, bushes, sagebrush, and scratch-built structures. He’s really turning out some great stuff!
Getting back to the Idaho Falls yard and stockyards, Vet and I applied some ground cover by brushing on diluted white glue and using a sieve to sprinkle earth-colored tile grout on the area. We left that to dry.
Our plans for April include adding some weeds (including some of Tim’s sagebrush), a gravel area for trucks at the stockyard, and cinder ballast on the yard tracks. Who knows, we just might have a turntable as well!
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