Jack Shall

About Jack Shall

I've been a model railroader and railfan for well over 50 years now. My interests lie in the steam era and the early diesel era. My modeling has been in HO, but I do have a closet interest in Fn3 :-) It's been a number of years since I've done any layout construction, and the new Louisiana Central pike under construction is by far my most ambitious effort. Follow along with me on this new adventure of the Louisiana Central.

Donald M. Menard

I learned yesterday of the passing of an old friend, Don Menard.  Don was 92 years of age.

I met Don many years ago when he joined the Baton Rouge Model Railroad Club.  We quickly became friends as he became involved in the wiring aspects of the club layout (which I was heavily into).  Don founded and owned an electronics parts and equipment business, Menard Electronics, which catered mostly to the Petro-Chem industry in this area, so he graciously provided our electrical/electronic supply needs from his business.

Eventually both of us moved on from the BRMRC, but later joined in with the group of operators at the late Lou Schultz’s layout over in Covington.  Don always rode over there with a few other friends and me.  He was a prolific operator, and he loved running manifest freights, and especially fast passenger trains.  He probably moved more trains over the line during a given session than any other operator, despite his being the oldest operator in the crowd!

Don was a WWII veteran.  He was the radio operator with a B-17 crew flying out of England.  On one fateful mission his plane was shot down and he parachuted to earth.  Unfortunately he was taken prisoner by the Germans and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.  He shared many stories with me about his time in the U.S. Army Air Forces.  My dad was also a former airman during WWII, having been a gunner on a B-24, so between his stories and Don’s, I always had a great first-hand recounting of the 8th Air Force air war in Europe.  Don was active in a POW group, as well as a group of folks from his old bomb group.

He also loved flying and he held a private pilots license.  I was fortunate to fly with him a number of times.  I would get a call early on a Saturday morning and it would be Don.  “Want to go to Cook’s today?”, he’d ask.  Cook’s was a hobby shop up in Shreveport (a couple hundred miles from Baton Rouge).  “Sure”, I would reply.  He would direct me to meet him over at the airport, and off we’d go!  Upon arrival at the airport in Shreveport, we’d take a taxi to Cook’s, spend an hour or so browsing and purchasing, then head back to the airport and home.  One thing I learned about pilots and flying: any excuse to go somewhere in the plane is good enough.

Both Don and his wife’s health had been declining in recent years, so his children moved them to Houston so they could spend their remaining years near them in a senior’s home.

Don was one of the good guys down in this area, and I don’t know anybody that didn’t like Don.  I know he will be missed by all that knew him.  I have missed him greatly ever since he moved away to Houston.

Rest in peace, my good friend.

-Jack

More on Roundhouse Flooring

Before I get into the subject, I’d like to comment on a couple other blog related things.  Back in March this blog was hacked (apparently an attempt to use the blog to distribute spam).  Fortunately my web host detected that a bunch of files had been changed, so they “froze” the site.  I ended up having to re-install the blog software to get things back to normal.  It really wasn’t hard to do, but it did take some time.  At the same time I took steps to harden the site so hopefully it won’t happen again.

The second item concerns the New Post Notifications that are sent out to subscribers when I pen a new morsel for your consumption.  The plug-in that handles that is several years outdated, and the author apparently isn’t interested in keeping it current.  Therefore I elected to try another plug-in (Mail Poet) and hopefully I have it set up correctly.  If you experience a problem, please drop me a line and I’ll try to get it straight.  Or if you just happened to check the blog and saw this post (but didn’t receive an email notification that it was here), please let me know about that too.

OK, on to the topic at hand: roundhouse floors.  Several years ago I had a post in which I was pondering the different floors used in roundhouses.  That led to a nice discussion, but not on the blog.  Instead it was just a bunch of emails back and forth between me and a few friends.  One of the floor types that I mentioned at the time (and one which I had not heard of prior to then) was a series of wooden blocks set on end to create the floor.  Several of you sent me some photo examples of this.  From what I gather, this type of floor was rather common, not only in railroad facilities, but also in other industrial applications, particularly where heavy and/or bulky material and equipment was being handled.  My impression is that the floor is easy on things laid or dropped upon it, and is easy to repair if necessary.

The photo below was taken by Jack Delano back in the ’40s, and it clearly shows this wood block flooring inside a Chicago and Northwestern roundhouse.  You can click on the photo to get an enlarged view.

CNW_Roundhouse-large

Mr. Delano took many photos of railroad subjects back then, and there is currently a book available with a nice selection of his work.

As usual, comments are appreciated.

As another aside, the recovery of my home from the flood last August is finally hitting full stride.  The drywall is up and finished, cabinet work has begun, and I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel!

-Jack

So, What’s Going On Now, Jack?

It seems like forever since the flooding of my home and train room last August.  While both buildings have been dried out, cleaned and treated for mold, and prepped for construction, not much has happened in the reconstruction department.  The problem has primarily been procuring the services of a reliable, local contractor.  But the search has ended, and I should be starting that reconstruction process within a few weeks.  I’ve started the ball rolling by insulating the house.  I’ve nearly through with the living area, and will do the garage and storage room early next week.  Then the new drywall can be hung, and that will be the first major step of many.

Unfortunately, the train room recovery is on a back burner.  It is in the same state as the house as far as remediation and preparation are concerned.  However I’m using the train room as a warehouse for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit in the mini-warehouse (and that’s a lot of stuff).  The plan is to move everything from the building into the house once the house is complete.  Then I can start the rebuild process in the train room.  I wish I could do things more quickly, but this is the best I’ll be able to do.

But I have enjoyed some quality hobby time over the past few months by attending several events in the area, and by spending time with some of my railroading buddies.  Back in late January I participated in the annual Train Day at the Library which is hosted by the Jones Creek Road branch of the public library of Baton Rouge.  The displays at the show were a bit lighter this year due to the fact that several of the participating hosts of the event had themselves flooded and lost much or all of their valued equipment and/or collections.  Particularly hard hit was Forrest Becht, the driving force behind the show.  Forrest lost virtually all of his photo collection (and that’s quite a bit).  But the show was still a hit, and we’ve already been invited back to do the show again next year.

The following week I was off to visit friends at the annual banquet of the Mississippi Great Southern Chapter of the NRHS in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  As usual, the food was excellent, the presentation superb and the camaraderie was marvelous.  This particular event has become my favorite each year and I’m already looking forward to next year’s get-together.

Fast forward two more weeks and I attended the annual banquet of the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the NRHS in Hammond, Louisiana.  I have the same comment here as I had above.  I have friends in this group some of which go back to the late 70s, and it’s always a pleasure visiting with them.

And a recent surprise: Matt Hardy, one of the former operators of the late Lou Schultz’s layout, organized an event held this past Wednesday over in Covington, Louisiana.  Several of us from the Baton Rouge area met with the Covington crowd at Lola’s Restaurant located in the former train depot in downtown Covington.  While there, we toured an old Brill car that is just starting to undergo a cosmetic restoration.  Afterward we retired to Matt’s home for an excellent presentation by David Price of Mississippi.  David is a local historian of the shortline railroads and logging operations in Mississippi, and also many of those in Louisiana.  I’ve enjoyed David’s presentations in the past and this was no exception.  We then took a short tour of Matt’s layout (always interesting to see the progression of layouts over the years), and then we went over to Mike Walsdorf’s to see what was up at his L&N pike.  Another great day!

And it isn’t over yet.  This weekend there will be a train show over in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, and near the end of this month the club up in Jackson, Louisiana will be hosting an open house at their huge facility.  Those folks have at least four large indoor layouts (and I think a few small ones), and two G scale outdoor layouts, one of which is live steam.  I always enjoy the show and camaraderie there as well.

The one thing that has really come to light over the past months is how important my relationships with fellow railfans and modelers have become.  The older I get, the more I cherish the time I spend with other like-minded folks.  Just last month Don Hanley, the associate editor of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine, did an editorial entitled Build Relationships as Well as Models.  It was a timely piece and I agree with most all he espouses in the article.  You can read it yourself (for free) in the February 2017 issue.

Well, I hadn’t intended to pen such a lengthy rambling, but then I haven’t penned much of anything for months, so I had to catch up!

Here’s to all my great railroading friends!

Cheers!
-Jack

The Aftermath

It’s been over three months since my home and layout building flooded.  Both have since been dried out and are waiting for reconstruction.  The building inspector must certify the structures before the walls can be closed in.  However the inspection department is grossly overloaded, and the inspector is nowhere in sight!  It’s been several weeks since I received my building permit, but I’m dead in the water until the official shows up.

I thought I’d post a few photos showing the “cleaned up” train room and shop.  Fortunately, the layout itself has received no significant damage, as only the legs and bracing got wet.  It has all been sprayed with a mold killing chemical to insure there won’t be a future problem there.

Here’s the first view of the layout room.  As you can see, the carpet, and the bottom 30″ of gypsum board and wall insulation have been removed and disposed of.  Things are dried out pretty well now.  I still have to pack away all of the stuff on top of the layout.  In the minutes before the flood (yes, that’s all the time I had) I piled everything I could on top in an effort to (hopefully) minimize damage.Layout Flood - 1

This is a view from the diagonal corner of the room.  Note the flood water silt still covering the black chair base.  Many things from the house have since migrated to this resting place in order to clear the house for remediation, and will have to be packed up and put into storage before reconstruction commences in this building.Layout Flood - 2

The upper half of the shop is relatively unscathed.  However, all of the base cabinets (and much of the contents) were ruined and have been thrown out.  For the time being, I no longer have a workbench (though I wouldn’t be using it now anyhow).
Layout Flood - 3

I don’t plan to spend much effort out here until the house itself is complete and I’ve moved back in.  But eventually this building will recover, and I’ll be back at layout construction once again.

-Jack

Flood!

The Louisiana Central Railroad has flooded!

On Saturday, August 13th the region I live in suffered a horrific flood.  My home (and railroad building) were not in a flood zone (well, at least not before that fateful day).  However a flood of epic proportions swept thru the area and the house and railroad room found themselves with 15″ of water inside.  The river carrying the water has a flood stage somewhere near an elevation of 29 feet.  The maximum recorded water level for the area was 44 feet, and this was considered a 100 year event.  My house and railroad building are on land with an elevation of 52 feet.  Considering the height of the building slab, and the water depth within the buildings, I’m estimating that the water reached an elevation of near 54 feet.  Preliminary estimates I’ve heard on the radio say this may be close to a 1000 year event.  If only I had been born a century earlier or later!

My first realization that something was awry was about 7:30 that morning.  I was about to head out to meet some railroad buddies for our weekly Saturday breakfast, when I noticed that the backyard was almost covered in water.  Looking out the front window, I saw the street was under water.  I had never seen this in my 21 years in this house, so I immediately starting raising what I could.  About 45 minutes later I saw water seeping in the back door, at which time I thought “I better get out of here!”.  I pulled the truck out of the garage, but it was too late.  I saw a car stalled in the street and the water was already over the door sills.  I knew that the rural highway at the end of the street was several feet lower than my street, so knew I had waited too long.  I put the truck back in the garage (the highest point on the lot), and waded out to the street.  All my neighbors were doing the same thing; we were all caught off guard.  Someone said that they heard on the radio that the sheriff’s office had air boats coming out to rescue people.  After wading around the center of the road for a while, a couple small boats appeared.  They were crewed by young folks and they were trying to rescue people.  I scored a ride in an old bass boat and off we went.  The water was at about 30″ in the street at this time.  When the boat turned at the highway, we were shocked.  The houses along the highway already had water from mid window to just under the eaves.  I noticed something sticking out of the water and realized that it was the light bar on the top of the police car that my neighbor drives home at night.  The car itself was completely submerged.  All this water in under two hours!

I returned to the homestead on Tuesday, the 16th.  I have been working continuously each day trying to dry out everything.  Those that have experienced flooding know what I’m talking about . . . cutting out the sheetrock, removing insulation, removing cabinets, etc., etc.  The big enemy here is mold, and it sets in very rapidly.

The railroad room is a mixed bag.  The actual layout suffered no damage, just wet benchwork legs.  I had managed to pick up tools and really important stuff and stacked things on top of the benchwork.  I lost all the materials and less important things.  Actually, I was quite lucky to get some important things up in both the house and the train building.

But about the railroad:  After I got back to my home, I had been extremely worried about mitigating damage in the train building, as the house had first priority.  Late last week four of the fellows from the old C&O operating group in Covington stopped by to see if they could offer some help, Walter Rieger, Sam Urrate, Mike Walsdorf and Johnny Miranda.  They cut out and removed all the carpeting in the train room . . . a major piece of work.  Thanks guys!  Then a few days later my cousins from Hammond came over.  Debbie spent time packing my dishes and cookware so I could put them in storage, and Jim went out to the train building.  When I checked on him hours later, he had cut out the sheetrock below the layout level and removed all the wet insulation.  Another great piece of work complete!  Thanks to my cousins.  Finally, earlier this week Wayne Robichaux and I went out there and removed the cabinets in the shop and restroom, cut out the sheetrock in that area, and removed the insulation.  The immediate remediation in the train room is done, and it’s now drying out.  Wayne has been extremely helpful in my recovery.  Hopefully in a few days I can spray down the house and train building with the mold killing stuff, then start with the reconstruction.

I don’t have a feel for how long the process will take, as there will be a shortage of contractors due to the HUGE number of people that lost their homes.   I feel that I’ll be lucky to get back into my home within 4-6 months.

But the most important thing is that I’m still alive and well.  The Lord was with me on that fateful day.

-Jack

Track Pushes West Out of Oneida

Last week I added about another quarter mile (a bit over 15 feet) of roadbed and track to the Louisiana Central mainline.  Track is pushing westward out of Oneida now, and is well on it’s way to Monterey (the end of the line).  Here’s a snapshot of the progress:

West_of_Oneida

The track will continue toward the doorway down at the far end, and then curve left, passing in front of the opening.  There will be a lift span across that doorway.  The edge of Monterey is off to the left (out of the picture).

This roadbed and track is complete, and it’s wired up.  I’ve declared it ready for operation.

-Jack

The 4th Anniversary

It’s hard for me to believe that today marks the fourth anniversary of the Louisiana Central layout construction.  No, it doesn’t seem as if I just started last year.  But neither does it seem like four years!

I’m pleased to report that significant progress was made over the past year.  To be sure, I went into full retirement last winter, so now have more time to spend on the construction.  But I’ve also been in better spirits, and as a result, have been a bit more productive with the work.

If you’d like to follow along as I discuss the construction, you can click here to open a track plan in a new tab.

All three of the intermediate towns along the line (Oneida, Whitcomb and Maynard) are complete (with reference to roadbed, track and wiring).  The only thing preventing them from full operation is the pending installation of the control panels so that the Tortoise switch motors can be controlled.  The entire Spencer Lumber Company railroad operation has been completed.  This includes the mill complex at Oneida, and all the way out to the re-load point up in the woods at Camp 6.  Again, only the control panels need completion for operations to begin.

Indeed, the only Louisiana Central mainline trackage left to be laid is in the turn-back curve at the alcove, and about 30 feet of mainline west of Oneida, and in to Monterey.  And that won’t be undone for long.  I’m almost finished with the first 15 feet of roadbed out of Oneida and track should be going down on that next week.  The hold up in the alcove is the small overpass bridge west of Whitcomb.  The bridge itself is built, and I’ve started building the forms for the abutments and wing walls that I plan to cast in plaster.  Once the bridge is installed, the mainline can proceed across, and around the curve in the alcove.

As a side note, the only downside to filling up all these areas with track has been the diminishing areas of storage for all of my clutter!  But that’s a good price to pay.

The remaining un-laid trackwork is at each end of the layout.  The yards at Willis and Monterey have to be constructed, and there is an industrial complex between those areas that must be done.  And finally, there is the locomotive service area at Willis that must be installed.  That will likely be the last trackwork to go in.  Fortunately, the sub-roadbed for all of this trackwork is complete, and the track centers have been laid out.  So it’s just a matter of putting down the track and installing the Tortoise switch motors.  All of this trackage will be code 70, and I still have to modify about 25 more Shinohara switches for DCC compatibility.

And there is one more major thing that must be built: the bridge across the doorway into the room!  This bridge is a few feet east of Monterey, and until it’s built, Monterey is isolated from the world.  It’s not going to be just a narrow bridge with a strip of track.  It will be a long timber trestle crossing a small spillway.  Plans call for a bridge section nearly four feet long by one foot in width.  The trestle will span most of that length.  I feel that at least a 12″ width is needed to suggest the land and water that the trestle must span.  I haven’t decided yet whether this bridge is going to swing down or lift up, but am favoring the lift up.  This will be done similar to the pop-up that I built over in Monterey, but on a larger scale.  I can’t swing the bridge up vertically, as it would hit the valance.  Hence, the entire span must lift about two feet so that one can walk under it.  I think that I’ll probably tackle this project this year so that I can complete the mainline.  Wish me luck!

Any questions or comments about what I’ve done, or where I’m going?  Shoot me your words . . . I’d love to hear ’em.

-Jack

A Set-up for My LokProgrammer

I mentioned recently that I had acquired a new LokProgrammer during their summer sale.  The device is only about 4″ square and when connected, has three cables attached to it.  However, I found it a bit awkward to handle all of this while using it.  So I took a short break from layout construction and cobbled together this little programming board for my programmer.  It makes it easy and portable to set up for programming a loco.  Here it is plugged into my train room computer:

LokProgrammer_Board

I attached a piece of track to the board with track nails and small screws.  The screws also serve as wheel stops in case the loco inches too far towards an end.  The LokProgrammer, at right, is also fastened with a screw through the hole in it’s center.  I didn’t want to torque down on the screw for fear of damaging the plastic case, so I glued a couple strips of thin rubber to the case bottom.  Now the programmer won’t have a tendency to rotate around the attaching screw.  The track connections make it easy to connect/disconnect if needed.  And the board sits on some little rubber feet so it doesn’t slide around.  The power supply and USB cable are stored in a small plastic case (not shown) when not in use.

I’m pleased with the result, and it made for an enjoyable change of pace this week.

-Jack

About Those Distractions

In the last post Spencer Sawmill Trackage Complete I mentioned how I kept getting distracted from my trackwork mission in Oneida.  It started when the folks at ESU announced a summer sale for their LokProgrammer.  For the benefit of those not familiar with this device, it is a LokSound decoder programmer that uses a computer interface.  While DecoderPro will program LokSound decoders nicely, this programmer has one interesting benefit that DecoderPro can’t match.  You can download new sound projects from ESU, then load them into your LokSound decoder.  I’m new to LokSound, but I’m quite impressed with their offerings at this time.  Several months ago I purchased my first LokSound decoder and it came loaded with the sounds for an ALCO 244 prime mover.  Then a few weeks ago, ESU upgraded the decoder file for this prime mover to include their new Drive Hold, and several other operating features.  No problem . . . just download the new file, and write it to the decoder.  It is now the latest and greatest.  Lured by this prospect, I decided to take advantage of the sale.  My first task was to upgrade my (still new) decoder.  It went well, and I’m tickled with the result.  Then I found out that I could actually modify the sounds in the LokSound decoder that came in my Rivarossi Heisler (it’s the top-of-line version 4 decoder).  Wow!  I spent several days playing with that and I’m thrilled with what I was able to do.

I also became distracted with my waybill generation program.  Back in the early 90s I cobbled up a DOS based waybill generation program using QuickBasic.  It worked quite well on my small bedroom sized layout of the time.  Then later I decided to write an enhanced Windows version using Visual Basic 6.  I’ve played with that program off and on (mostly off) for years now, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with it.  The program is about 85% complete, but lately I’ve been thinking that it’s high time to get busy and finish the thing up so that it’s ready for use when the layout becomes operational.  Trouble is, I haven’t done much with it for at least 5 or 6 years, and find that I’m spending a good deal of time trying to figure out everything I’ve already done!  To complicate matters, I recently started reading the detailed writings of Tony Thompson on the style of waybills that he and friends were developing and using (I originally saw an article he did in Model Railroad Hobbyist, then later visited his blog where his entire ongoing treatise of the subject is available).  They’ve come up with some interesting “model railroading” waybills that bear a nice resemblance to actual waybills.  They’re greatly simplified to be sure, but they capture the essence of the real thing, and I love them!  Indeed, they have prompted me to completely redesign the appearance of my waybills, and to expand on the concept.  Creating the forms was easy, but then I realized that I needed to add quite a few fields to my database to fill in all the new blanks on these new forms.  And then the code to make it all happen.  I’m not finished with this conversion by a long shot, but I’ve made good progress with it, and think the finished product will be well worth the effort.  The downside to all this was, of course, adding another delay to the program completion.

And that led to yet another distraction.  The new waybills will be printed on 3″ x 5″ slips of paper (I’ve found a source for this paper size and my HP printer can handle it).  Problem is, the larger than “normal” waybill size requires a larger than normal box on the layout fascia to hold them.  I could of course make them myself, but I’ve taken a fancy to the nice boxes that are offered by Bill Brillinger up in Canada.  I contacted Bill and he says he can make up any size that I need.  Excellent.  But after some email exchanges, I realized that I needed to do more homework as to exactly what I’ll be needing (sizes, number of slots, etc.) so that Bill can work up a quote for me.  It was then that I realized that I was doing everything that I wasn’t supposed to be doing (at this time) and I pulled in on the reins.

I got back on the trackwork at Oneida, and I stayed there until the job was completed.  The only trackwork left to do (on the peninsula) is a bit of mainline on the backside of the peninsula that brings the trains from Oneida into Monterey.  I’ll be starting on that soon.

Now, where did I put that programmer?  And I really need to get back to Bill on those boxes…

-Jack

Spencer Sawmill Trackage Complete

Back in May I reported on the completion of the Louisiana Central trackage in Oneida.  In that report I mentioned that I’d probably get started next on the Spencer Lumber Company’s sawmill complex in Oneida.  And I did so within just a few days, figuring I would probably whip that out in just a couple of weeks.  So much for my optimism.  The trouble with the model railroad hobby is that it’s so easy to get distracted by other interesting things that pop up.  I could go on for the next five or six paragraphs rambling about these distractions but I really need to stay on topic, so I’ve put my distractions into a separate post.

Well, the Spencer trackage in Oneida is complete, along with the switch motor installations and all of the wiring.  In fact, ALL of the Spencer operation is complete.  Trains of empty skeleton log cars can leave the mill and head up into the woods, and then return fully laden with prime timber.  Spencer’s railroading days are winding down here in 1964.  The only trackage left in the woods terminates at Camp 6 located a few miles to the east of Whitcomb.  Camp 6 is now used as a re-load point for the logs.  Trucks have taken over hauling the timber from the various cuttings, but the trains still get them from this re-load point back to the mill.

Here are a couple photos of the recently completed trackwork.  In a couple days I’ll get a few additional photos posted on the main website for your perusal.

Spencer-Sawmill-Complex
Here is an overview of the mill complex.  In the center of the photo, the mill pond will be in that depressed area, and the sawmill itself will be in the open area at the upper edge of the pond.  The switch at the lower left is on the mainline coming from the woods.  The diverging route (to the left) is to the loading track for the finished product (the spur track to the left of the pond).  The track branching to the left from the upper switch is the connection to the Louisiana Central.  This connection will allow the mill switcher to retrieve the occasional load of supplies and fuel oil left on the loading track by the LCRR.  Heading straight up from the mainline switch, we enter the yard.  The track nearest the pond will have a log dump.  The crossover is to allow the locomotive to run around the cars.  The run-around extends past the crossover to the locomotive service track.  The spur at the far right is the RIP track for the logging cars, and will also double as the caboose service track.

This view above is taken from atop a stool to enable a better view of the track arrangement.  Actual track elevation in Oneida is 54″ above floor.

Spencer-Sawmill-Complex-2
And here’s the view from the sawmill area.  Again, the track closest to the mill pond is the unloading track, the center track is the run-around and engine service, and on the left is the RIP track.  There will be a bit more rolling terrain beyond that last track, and the Louisiana Central mainline will be wrapping around in the distance and then heading down the far left side of the peninsula on it’s journey to Monterey (off to the left of that doorway).

Other than the LCRR mainline trackage mentioned here, and a bit more down in that alcove, the remaining layout trackage is for the yards at Willis and Monterey, and the industrial trackage at each.  While that’s still a lot of track to lay, I can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel (and I think it’s a train).

-Jack

LCRR Trackage in Oneida Complete

The largest town on the line between Monterey and Willis is Oneida.  Oneida is pronounced wah-nee-duh, an unusual pronunciation for sure, but typical of naming habits in Louisiana and Mississippi.  J.D. Spencer (founder of the Spencer Lumber Company) named the town after his oldest daughter when he built his sawmill complex on this ground back in the early 20s.

The Louisiana Central trackage here was recently completed.  The switch motors have been installed and the electrical feeders for all trackage are terminated at their respective terminal blocks.  The only work remaining is to connect feeds from the power bus to those connection points.  Here are a couple photos:

Track-in-Oneida-East

Above is the view from the east end of town.  The (future) bridge across the Little River will be at the lower right above the plywood river bottom.  The first switch is the Spencer Lumber Company mainline heading to the mill complex.  If you recall from an earlier post, the Spencer has obtained trackage rights across the LCRR bridge.  Once over the bridge, the lumber road splits away to their own mainline.  The next switch is the passing siding, and the track coming off the pass and heading back toward the camera is the spur for the sand and gravel pit.  Off in the distance, we see the spur for the Wildcat Petroleum Company, and way down at the far end, the spur for the Spencer loading track can (barely) be seen.

 

Track-in-Oneida-West

Here we see the view from the west end of town.  The mainline (on the cork roadbed) presently ends here at the switch; extension westward to Monterey will be in the near future.  The passing siding branches off to the left.  The first switch is the Spencer loading track, and the next two switches lead to the Wildcat Petroleum Company and the sand and gravel pit, respectively.

I’ll probably get started on the Spencer trackage for the sawmill complex next.  You can see the Spencer mainline heading this way toward the mill (the distant track at center that currently ends at a switch).  The Spencer track will curve to the far side of the mill pond (that depressed area at left), where there will be a log dump, and a couple servicing tracks for the steam locos and rolling stock.

I still need to get started though on those bridge abutments over near Whitcomb.  It would be hard to get over the line without that bridge!

-Jack

Whitcomb Open for Business

The town of Whitcomb is now a revenue source for the railroad as the trackage there was essentially completed this week.  The mainline through town has been laid for some time now, however the passing siding and industrial spur have languished.  But no longer . . . track is in, switch motors are installed and everything is wired up.

Track-in-Whitcomb

Pictured above is the first train to enter Whitcomb.  Well, it actually backed into town as the bridge at the west end of town hasn’t been installed yet.  It’s waiting for the abutments and wing walls to be poured.

There will be one additional industry in Whitcomb, a builder’s supply store.  The mainline switch is already installed (it’s around the curve, behind the train), but track cannot be laid until the structure is complete as the track will enter the property on a concrete trestle (a former coal dump).

I’ll be turning my attention to the aforementioned bridge, and also will be commencing trackwork in Oneida starting tomorrow.  Oneida as you may recall, is where the mill complex for the Spencer Lumber Company is located.  In addition to the Louisiana Central trackage in town, there will be a good bit of track laid for the Spencer mill pond and yard area.

-Jack