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August 2002 - Page 39


The Creech boys haul their timber out of the woods by using one of two steam donkey engines or by the massive scratchbuilt Clyde Iron Works skidder. Most of the loading is now handled by an almost worn-out McGiffert log loader, but stiff leg derricks and booms do fill in where they are needed. Passenger service on the layout is minimal, so the small depot in Woodland (Photo 10) is just right for the daily run to Seattle. Its a small town on a small layout where the good people of this thriving community spend their days turning sticks into stumps.

A Simple Car Brake

I

Ref lection

This first layout has served its purpose well. Ive learned a lot of valuable information about this hobby of ours from hands-on trial and error modeling. Ive been able to develop new skills I would not have been able to learn without it. I have seen a total return in my investment through the joy, entertainment and schooling it has offered me personally, and through the many compliments I have received from my visitors. My layout would not have been possible without the valuable guidance and direction from a lot of other modelers. They offered their time and efforts to teach me their own hard-earned skills. I have found this hobby to be a collection of the most outstanding individuals on the face of the earth. Without access to such fine model railroaders as Marty Vaughn, Miles Hale, Jerry Ashley and Creston Parker, I do not believe I would be sharing my work in a magazine. Model railroading has changed how I look at the world around me. I notice the details and beauty in the scenery as I drive my daily routes. I even take the time to look at all the tiny scraps of plants, twigs, dirt, pebbles and trash and wonder...hmmm, thats got to be good for modeling something on the layout. Its all in how you look at life. Im getting used to seeing mine through HO eyes.

f you have any inclined spurs, sidings or other switching locations on your layout, you are sure to have had problems with keeping your cars spotted where you left them. Even a slight incline will cause your cars to wander away at ever increasing speeds. I have such a spot on my own layout. I can uncouple a few cars and pull away without any problem, but as soon as I do, they slowly start to creep away. Before you know it, theyre plowing into all sorts of trouble down the line. We all have the same problem with not enough real estate for the amount of vertical track levels wed like. By the time we get as much rise out of a length of rail wed like to have, weve cut down on the available level rail left for spotting cars. If you enjoy switching on a layout that doesnt depict Florida, you can appreciate the need for a way to keep the cars from trying to roll there every time you turn your back on them. I was sure there was a cure for this that didnt involve gluing the cars in place, or propping them up with shot bags. What I needed was a device that would be barely noticeable and easy to build. I also didnt want to have to repair my rolling stock every time I stupidly ran into the device, or left it activated when it should have been retracted. What I needed something that was idiot proof. After engineering my heart out with choke cables, switch motors, ramps and bell cranks, I found the simplest things are

often the best. I drilled a small hole through the center of one of the rail ties at my flour mills loading dock and glued a short length of fishing line into it. Mounting the line in a tie gives it better stability than by just poking it into the ballasted roadbed. It would be reasonable to assume the ballast would eventually work itself loose if you mounted it in that manner. The line sticks up high enough to block and hold a truck axle in check. The beauty of the device is its simplicity. The line is almost invisible to the eye. It lays over nicely when cars are run over it without derailing them but springs back upright on its own. On a slight incline, like my mill spur, it will hold several cars in check. You may have to fiddle with the line thickness, depending on the grade of the incline and number of cars youll be parking there, but its worth the ten minutes of trial and error. More can be added to hold the heaviest cars on really steep grades, and if you experience any difficulty with the line interfering with your coupler release pins, simply relocate the brake slightly to one side or the other of the tracks centerline. Its quick, costs pennies for a million of them, and nobody has to pull cables, mash buttons or flip switches to make it work. In fact, I could build ten of them in the time it took to write this sidebar. Taa-daa...(drum roll please). They are truly automatic and idiot proof.

YARD OFFICE YARD TOWER

SERVICE TRACK ROUNDHOUSE INSPECTION PIT

CREECH
BROTHERS
LOGGING COMPANY
Trackplan by Michael "Bama" Harman
PARKER'S MILL SWITCHING PANEL

DAWSON'S DIRT QUARRY REMOTE DCC PANEL BONDO BRIDGE MAIN PANEL

9

M. HALE CO. LTD.

OK STORAGE

5 10 7 8 11

1 SQUARE = 1' 0'' SCALE
TURNTABLE WATER TOWER

LAKESIDE LUMBER

WOODLAND
ASHLEY COAL

CREECH LOGGING
REMOTE DCC PANEL

4

1

2

6

HINGED LIFT-UP ACCESS

ANGEL COAL CO.

Cover

AUGUST 2002

MODEL RAILROADING 39

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