My new keyboard

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 2 June 2020 with 3 Comments

Are you in trouble and need good arguments for your honey, why garden railroad trains are useful and handy? Well, here’s a genius life-hack for you:

I proudly present “Logging railroader’s keyboard”.

Well, it’s finally a joke to fill a gap here in my blog. I’m working on some bigger projects recently and didn’t find the time to write new postings for the blog yet. But I’ll please you with some 20+ minutes of video coming soon. Promised ;-)

Cheers, Gerd

[LVLC] Into the woods with Shay #1

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 with 3 Comments

Hello followers,

today, I’ll show you one kind of operation concept that I use for my US style logging railroad on my garden railroad layout.

First some fictional facts for today:
– The mainline between Ronja Springs and the wye is called to be a steep grade, which allows only 4 logcars per train.
– The upper section in the lawn is more or less “flat” and the Shay can lead trains with 8 logcars.

So let’s get started at “Ronja Springs” in the very early morning with the first train heading up the hill to the wye and camp at “Tinker Meadows”.

At the wye, out train takes the right-hand track and reaches “Deadwood” siding, where a loaded string of 4 cars is resting from yesterday evening. Shay #1 pushes the loaded cars out of the siding and heads back to pick up the caboose from the string of empties. Once the loaded train is ready, the loco heads back to Ronja Springs with the first load.

Back at “Ronja Springs”, a box car gets prepared for the next train of empty cars, to bring goods to the camp at “Tinker Meadows”. While the box car is loaded at the freight depot, Shay swaps the log cars at the log dump.

Finally, our train heads uphill for the second time this morning. This time, the train takes the left leg at the wye, but drops the logcar at the wye for now. Our loco pushes the box car over to the other mainline to “Deadwood” first.

Here the loco picks up the empty cars from the first run and couples the box car to the end of the consist. Back at the wye of “Tinker Meadows”, the box car is placed at the camp for unloading. Next, Shay #1 proceeds to today’s destination with a double string of 8 logcars in total.

Today, we’re heading for the log landing near “Camp 24”. As the logging spur is rather short, the long train of empties is brought to another siding named “Lilly Fork” where the train gets split in half again.

Each single string of empties is now pushed into the loading spur. The siding at “Lilly Fork” is used to handle the strings of log cars. Before the train will depart for the return trip, the Shay is turned on a wye just behind “Lilly Fork”.

When the train reaches “Tinker Meadows”, 4 loaded cars get dropped at the siding of “Deadwood” for a later trip to the mill. The boxcar is empty by now and will return to “Ronja Springs”. Please not also, that the loco will get turned again at the wye, to run backwards down the steep grade ahead.

Back in “Ronja Springs”, the empty boxcar get pushed to a side spur, before the log car are brought to the mill pond. The first load of logs is already dumped and the string of empties is waiting for the next run into the woods.

Meanwhile, it’s high noon and the loco crew is taking lunch at the freight depot. Afterwards, the loco will proceed the same procedure a second time during the afternoon.

The operation concept shown here is inspired by the operation of the West Side Lumber Company, where 6 Shays were busy the whole day to deliver 76 loaded logcars to the mill in 4 trains of 19 cars each.

I’ve to admit, that I don’t use this concept for every day’s operation. More often I use a regular way. But it shows how much operation can be handled even on such a simple and small layout. Finally, it’s just fun to dump a crate of logs somewhere along the mainline and to haul them down to “the mill” by train.

Having said that, it’s Monday eve 7pm by now… I think I’ll go out make good use of the last hour of daylight for today ;-)

[CFF] The final touch on my Krauss loco

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 with 3 Comments

Hello folks,

when I checked the photos for last weeks episode, I got bothered by the first photo below, showing a bright shining Krauss loco beside my other “well-used” rolling stock. Even if my freelanced Krauss loco is well done, something very important was still missing all the time.

The solution sounds simple, but takes several hours of work too. I took out the airbrush and spend a stiff weathering together with some detail parts for decoration. This turned the new loco in a real work-horse of backwoods railroading.

I for myself like her much more this way. I’m also very happy with the result, as I had to fight some problems during the process. Also new are some parts on the loco as the oil-pump above the eginieers side cylinder and the drain cocks.

So let’s go out in the garden and watch her in action.

[CFF] First operation session with the new siding

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 12 May 2020 with 6 Comments

Today, we’re back in Romania again, operating the first trains after installing the new siding in the upper section of the garden.

At the beginning, the locos are made ready for todays service. Resita 764-467 will run the main line today, while Krauss 763-237 is back-up loco. The first train of empty log cars is headed by the Resita and takes the left line at the wye.

After most of the upper loop passed, the train arrives at the new siding, where fresh cut logs are waiting for the trip down to the mill. The log cars are placed at the loading side, while the loco shunts the caboose car to the end of the train. The first string of loaded cars is heading down the it came up. Somewhile later, the Resita loco returns with the second string of empty cars for the same procedure.

Down at the main station, the loaded cars are pushed into the stagging tracks at the sawmill. Todays third trip is made from two flatcars and takes the right line at the wye, leading directly to the new siding. The train runs through the first time without anystop and heads to the upper loading spure at summit point. The empty cars are pushed up the grade to get loaded with pulpwood and logs. As there is no run-around loop here, the train continues along the line, by-passes the wye to get a second time to the new siding. Here the loco can switch to the other end and lead the train back around the loop and down to the main station.

After one our of operation, the gas tank of the live steam loco was still filled, so train #4 was made up to bring a herd of sheep to new meadows up in the woods. Once returned, Resita 764-467 is resting at the engine spur, awaiting new train orders the next day.

Much more exciting can be the operation when running my US style logging trains. They will take much more use of the wye for turning locos and will feature wery long trains and more complex procedure to provide a continious flow of fres cut logs to the mill. But more on this will be shown in another post.

[Garden Railroad] A new siding and log landing

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 5 May 2020 with 4 Comments

Hello my friends,

today I like to solve the open question from last week, regarding the dead-end photo.

Since last year, I was looking for an additional log landing side as well as run-around siding. Basically it’s possible to turn trains on the wye, but especially on my Romanian rolling stock, I take care to keep the important stock in the correct direction, like the aux-tenders, which will work only in one direction.

The new siding is placed along the white wall at the right side of the upper garden. There were several reasons to choose this area, as the track is mostly level at this section and it’s located near “the end” of the loop, when running straight up the hill at the wye. The “tail track” will lead back to the wye 2-3 metres ahead. This creates a lot of operational concepts for both logging railroads. More on this will be shown in next weeks post.

The Playmobil house will be replaced by some kind of section house later, maybe to different structures for US and Romanian scenery.

Bye, Gerd

[Garden Railroad] Trees in the garden

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 28 April 2020 with 7 Comments

Hello folks,

I got some remarks, that my “forestry railroad” is missing trees. As my wife has reorganized the flower boxes along the house, I was able to get two small conifers, which got planted at the wye. One of them was very dry, let’s wait if it will come back to live.

When we moved two our new home, we also moved some concrete planters from the old yard. One of them was already home of another conifer, which might fear any gardener. But this tree was a perfect match for the wye in my eyes. So I removed the tree from the planter with heavy equipment and placed right into the center of the wye. This gives the whole scene a totally new look and the wye turned into a beloved photo spot.

Since trees are growing at the wye, the other side looks more like a dead-end. What’s going on here?

Cheers, Gerd

[CFF] spring operation sessions

Posted by Gerd on Thursday, 23 April 2020 with 3 Comments

Hello folks,

here are some photos of this springs Romanian railroad action on my garden railroad.

Some of the pictures are actually “historic” since I started some rebuild this week on the upper section of the railroad. Details may follow here on the blog next week.

Bye, Gerd

[Garden Railroad] Aerial view of my garden railroad

Posted by Gerd on Thursday, 16 April 2020 with 6 Comments


since I started with my garden railroad, I had the idea to make an aerial view video from the roof above the terrace. As our tree in the garden got trimmed last week, this was the best time to make the movie.

Cheers, Gerd

[MLC] Brake rigging and final assembly

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 with 3 Comments

Hi logging railroaders,

today, I like to share the last part of the brake installment on my 5″-gauge rolling stock. The last report featured the brake beams and shoes, now it’s time to get them connected to the brake gear. To determine the length of the brake rigging, I used threaded rods first. The final pieces are made from 4mm-rods with fork heads attached.

The force of the brake gear is transferred by a short length of chain to the draw-rod which is leading to the rear (inner) brake beam. The link attached to the brake beam reverses the force also to pull the front brake beam against the axle the same time via the lower connecting rod. The second link is anchored against the frame at its top. I added a small pull-spring near the interchange between the chain to the draw-rod to ensure proper brake release. The last photo above shows the final brake gear parts in progress.

The next set of photos shows first test’s during the initial construction phase. Even one single braked truck can hold the car on step grades, even with heavy load, which will be shown later. It’s also possible to apply the brakes on a grade under heavy load.

The final version of the brake gear features a square head to take so-called “Hickeys”. These were huge square keys, used by the brakeman to set the brakes individual on each disconnect. As the Moody Lumber uses the former disconnects as trucks below flatcars, I also made brake wheels with rods, which can be attached by a short threaded pin. This way it’s easy to remove the brake wheels for storage and transport of the cars, or when using the trucks as disconnects again.

As shown in the past blog posts, I used serial-construction for nearly any parts, to produce 13 set’s of full brake gear the same time. Beside the twelve disconnects, I also equipped my caboose with this new brake design. The caboose already featured working brakes, but those were very crude and not as detailed as the new one.

Now to the final question: How good is the new brake system? I made a short video showing the brake in action. The grade is set to 4% in this clip.

At least, I finished all the rolling stock rebuild for my Moody Lumber Company so far. All cars are now re-scaled to 1:7.2-scale, are equipped with working brakes and additional details. Once my Shay is repaired and back in service, all my 5″-gauge rolling stock is finally ready for the new season.

See you next time, Gerd

Thumb up-date

Posted by Gerd on Saturday, 11 April 2020 with 5 Comments

Hi folks,

just a short update to you, that my thumb is recovering well. There has been no dramatic injury to the inner parts, but I lost most of the thumb-nail so far. But it looks good, that the nail will recover in full size as well during the next 6-12 month.

So next post will hopefully finish the brake-gear-documentation on my 5″-gauge rolling stock. I already used the good weather in the past days to run some trains on the 45mm-gauge garden track and there are also changes upcoming to my Hon30 layout.

So stay tuned for further updates here on my blog, hopefully starting next week.
Until than, I wish you all Happy Easter, stay home, stay save, keep your fingers out of power tools and enjoy your model trains ;-)