I thought I’d post a brief progress report of the recovery efforts of my railroad building and layout. The building restoration from the flood is essentially complete, with only a few very minor details needing attention. I’ve been moving all of the boxes of stored railroading content back into the building (my garage and store room are thanking me). As I’ve been unpacking and putting away these things, I’m amazed at how much was in this building in the first place!
But I’ve also been doing a bit to get the layout itself operational. I’ve reinstalled all of the DCC electronics and have tested to make sure all is well. Yesterday I completed the third of the three booster districts, cleaned about 10 feet of track (amazing how filthy track can get after seven years of just sitting), fired up a trusty old Alco RS3, and watched it glide effortless up and down that short segment. It sure was good to see and hear the old girl come back to life!
The focus of this blog will start slowly changing back to its original intent, to document the construction and operation of the Louisiana Central Railroad. The photographs that I’ve posted over these past years were really just “place holders”, intended to simply keep the blog alive until I had model railroading activities going on again. However I’ll still post photos on occasion as I find them.
The shop area for the railroad is complete . . . well, almost. The Wilsonart laminate is installed, all the baseboards and quarter-round trim are in place, and the plastic coverings have been removed from the shelving above the cabinets. There is still a bit of paint touch-up left. I say “almost complete” as I see the ugly reality that the white paint on the shelving isn’t the same color as the white paint on the cabinets. One would think that white is white but that ain’t so (as the photos show). If it nags me, I’ll have to slap a coat of “new” white over those shelves. Judge for yourself below.
I’ve been working on a “final” list of things left to do and making some pretty good progress. The trim installation is complete in the main train room . . . all that awaits is some caulking, filling of nail holes, and some touch-up paint. After that, all of the remaining layout leg bracing can be reinstalled and the plastic covering removed from the layout.
I’m confident that trains will be rolling this winter!
A major milestone has been reached in the restoration of the Louisiana Central Railroad layout room with the installation of new flooring. Initially I’d planned to simply show a few snap-shots of the finished installation. But I then decided that maybe some would be interested in how the project was accomplished. So I’ve put together several photos that I took along the way.
I had to install flooring in the room to replace the tight-pile carpet that was formerly in there. That carpet was pulled out after the Great Flood of 2016. But the hardened glue remained on the concrete slab, and I decided that it was impractical to remove after speaking with people with experience doing just that. Also compounding my flooring problem were the 55 legs supporting the layout benchwork.
I ultimately decided to use a “floating” floor of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) as I reasoned that it could be laid over the glue. I also decided to use a foam underlayment with a vapor barrier on it’s bottom. I used a floor scraper to remove chunks of drywall mud, and to smooth the floor surface as best I could. The LVT “planks” I used are 9″ wide x 60″ in length. However I would have to provide temporary layout support to allow the 43″ width of the underlayment to be rolled out. I thought about how to do that for some time, and finally came up with a solution.
As you have probably imagined, yes, this was a massive undertaking. Over six weeks have been consumed doing this work (working 4-5 days each week). By far, most of the work was building up the temporary supports, removing the permanent supports, then reversing that after the flooring was down. I estimate that only about 20% of the time spent was actually installing the floor.
But I’m pretty pleased with the result, and hope I get many years of good service from this floor.
Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the start of construction on the Louisiana Central Railroad in 2012. Unfortunately 49 months later, construction came to a rapid and grinding halt with the Great Flood of 2016 that consumed the vast majority of my community and surrounding areas. In the aftermath, while my home was fully restored 15 months later, the building housing the railroad lie almost dormant, with only necessary work occurring to stabilize things. Add to that several “false starts”, where I did bits of work from time to time, primarily electrical, but mainly “cleaning up” the demolition to aid with the eventual reconstruction.
However about a year ago I finally started the reconstruction of the building in earnest, and it has come a long way since. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update, that being right after the new shop cabinets were installed. But with so many other tasks to complete, I didn’t start painting the cabinets until perhaps a month ago. Painting cabinets is a tedious and time consuming affair, with the initial sanding, then primer and finish coats of paint (inside and out). I’m happy to announce that the painting is complete, and offer the photos below as proof.
As I mentioned above, I plan to have plastic laminate installed over the counter-tops. I used that on the earlier cabinets, and it worked out very well, hence I’ll use it again. The only other things remaining in the shop are the baseboards and shoe mold. After that, I’ll start laying the flooring down in the train room itself. I’m going to use LVT “planks” of 9″ x 60″ in size. It will be a challenge with 55 legs supporting a layout in the way. But I have a plan, and I’ll report on that later (if the plan works 🙂 ) along with pics.
There have been many items and issues in the restoration that I haven’t documented. But for those interested, here’s a list of postings detailing the progress of the larger aspects of this restoration project completed thus far:
I haven’t posted a progress report since late December of last year as there really wasn’t much to report on. Lots of small things were taking place, but nothing to post of “milestone” significance. However in this first progress report of 2023, I’m happy to announce that the new shop cabinets have finally been built and installed.
I was able to salvage all of the hardware from the original cabinets, and most of the drawers (those with the white finish). The base board trim and shoe mold need to be applied next. I’ll be painting the new cabinets white as before. The countertops will receive plastic laminate, which worked very well for me in the past. I use a large cutting mat at my work position where the “rough” work occurs.
I’ve also purchased the flooring for the main train room itself. I chose to use LVT planks (each 9″ x 60″ in size) installed over a thin foam moisture barrier mat. These interlocking planks will give me a “floating” floor system. The layout has 52 support legs, so this type of flooring will (hopefully) make the job easier. I can remove a single leg or two at a time to enable sliding in a tile, and will have to plan the work carefully to get the flooring installed. I’ll start putting the flooring down right after getting these cabinets painted.
The light is showing down at the far end of the tunnel! 😁
Just a brief update on the restoration progress of the train room and shop, the last report of 2022. The doors and cased opening have been installed, as well as baseboards and window trim. Only a bit of shoe mold needs installation once the flooring is down. I pre-painted all of this trim, so only have to fill and touch-up the nail holes.
I’ve contacted several cabinet shops about building the new cabinets for the shop area. Hopefully I’ll have some prices coming in soon. One of the shops told me upfront that they were booked through April of 2023 . . . hope not everyone is that busy!
I made a brief visit to a flooring store to look into my flooring options. I have the unique problem of having to install flooring under the 44 legs supporting the layout. I can remove a leg at a time to facilitate that, but it does limit the type of flooring I’ll be able to use. Since the concrete slab is still covered with the adhesive from the previous commercial carpet installation (something not easily removed), it appears that I’ll be limited to something like floating LVT flooring “planks”. That’s not really a bad option, with the biggest difficulty being how to roll out the under-mat that I’d want to use with it. But I’ll continue this research after the holidays.
In the meantime, I’ve done quite a number of small tasks. While small, all were necessary. The biggest was to complete the electrical installation, with all receptacles, switches and cover plates now installed. I’ve temporarily installed the lavatory on the new cabinet in the restroom so that I could run water through the piping. This turned out as a wise decision, as last Thursday we had a huge cold front come upon us, with temps getting down into the low 20s. The cold is expected to remain for at least four days . . . something we’re not used to in the deep south!
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll post more updates next year as the last of the restoration takes place. Then I’ll turn focus back to building the train layout itself! 🙂
I hope all of you have a Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Yet another milestone has been reached in the flood recovery efforts: all of the building walls have been primed and painted. The shop (hopefully) will soon be receiving new cabinets. The floor tiles reveal the footprint of the original cabinets.
In addition to the cabinets, the next step is the installation of the doors, and the trim-out. Flooring will follow that.
A major milestone has been reached, with the drywall installation and finishing completed! In my last couple updates I showed hanging the drywall with the help of my (now) skilled helpers, Wayne Robichaux and Ron Findley. For the finishing, which included taping, floating and texturing (to match the upper half of the walls), I surrendered to a professional. I had spoken with a few pros several years ago, and none were interested in the job because of the extra difficulty of working below the train layout benchwork, and all the “special requirements” that I had. Fortunately I was able to find a fellow who was willing to undergo this project, and here are a sampling of photos to show the finished result.
In a few more days (after I’m sure the texture is thoroughly dry and hardened), I’ll start the painting process with primer followed by a couple coats of color. At that point, only some trim will be needed to complete the walls.
A milestone was reached on the Louisiana Central Railroad this week . . . the last sheet of drywall has been screwed to the walls! It was quite an adventure for this rookie and his able-bodied assistants (who were also rookies). But we got ‘er done! It’s not pretty, and there are a lot of gaps here and there, but it’s up, and it’ll stay that way.
The next major step is the taping, floating and texturing of the drywall to match the upper part of the room. But first, there is plenty of preparation work to do. I have to tidy up and tape down all the plastic protecting the top of the layout. I also want to wrap all important things below the layout surface such as Tortoise switch motors, wiring junction points, throttle plug-ins, etc. I hope to avoid drywall dust getting onto and into these things. I am also considering wrapping all the leg sets to avoid spraying drywall texture on those as well. And finally, I want to eliminate as much “clutter” under the layout and aisles as possible to make access better, and to avoid the possibility of having everything covered in drywall dust.
I also have the restroom lavatory’s vanity “under construction” (it’s a kit, and I’m modifying and strengthening it). I hope to have it ready to slip into place as soon as the finishing is complete in the restroom.
There’s plenty left to do, but the first major milestone is complete! My thanks again to Wayne and Ron for their assistance in getting to this point.
Work is progressing nicely in the train room. I’ve had assistance this week from a couple friends, Wayne Robichaux and Ron Findley. Their help was vital in order to hang the 8′ widths of drywall. Saturday, unbeknownst to me, Ron recorded a few pictures of the work in progress.
We’re on the downhill part of the drywall installation now, with a 28′ long wall, and half dozen “short” walls left to complete. My sincere thanks go out to Wayne and Ron for volunteering to help me with this work.
Now that the drywall has been hung in the shop and restroom, I’ve turned my attention to the train room itself. This is where the challenge starts! All of the work must occur under the layout benchwork structure. Here are a few photos to portray what is happening.
I’ve been preparing the other walls in the room as well, with all “cleaned” and ready for insulation and drywall. It’s slow going, but at least it’s going. 🙂
The restoration of the Louisiana Central Railroad model railroad hobby building (aka ‘the Train Room’) is progressing, albeit a bit slowly. But it is progressing. I’ve hung the drywall in the shop, entry and restroom, and here are the photos to prove it!
There is still much work to do in these rooms to finish the drywall: the floating and taping work, and then texturing. But I plan to complete the insulation and drywall installation in the train room first. And I’ve started the prep work in there already (with a bit more to do), so should be hanging the rock by early next week.
For those new to the blog, you can see the post Rising From the Ashes (Part Deux) for a starting point to read the story behind this work. I’ll feature more photos of the restoration from time to time as the work progresses.