LCRR: Drywall Installation Completed

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.

Shop: Finishing Prep
A before photo of the shop, with only minimal taping of the joints.
Shop: Textured
And the finished walls of the shop.
Train Room: Finishing Prep
A before photo of the layout room, with only minimal taping of the joints.
Train Room: Textured
And the finished walls of the layout room.
Train Room: More Finishing Prep
Another before photo of the layout room, with only minimal taping of the joints.
Train Room: Another Textured
And the finished walls of this area of the layout room.

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.

LCRR: Final Sheet of Drywall Hung!

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 Last Sheet of Drywall
The last 8 foot sheet of drywall was split in two. The first panel is at the far end of this alcove, extending from the seam near the left leg, to the corner at right (virtually blocked in this view by the plywood “panel” on the leg-set). Most of the bracing has been temporarily removed from the leg-sets adjacent to the walls.
The Last Sheet of Drywall (close-up)
And here is the rest of the view. The first panel is at left, the second panel extending from the corner, right about ten inches past the photo edge. That electrical box was the last hole to be cut into drywall (whew!).

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.
Cheers!

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.

LCRR: Recent Drywall Progress

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.

Insulated Wall Waiting for Drywall
Ron made this image of the area where we were working before things got started.

Laying Out the Electrical Boxes
Here I am laying out the locations of the boxes for the electrical receptacles. This sheet alone had four boxes in it!
Cutting Out the Electrical Boxes
And now I’m cutting out the box openings. No, there is no toilet in the train room. This one will find it’s way back into the restroom once the walls are finished and painted. 🙂

Attaching the Drywall
A sheet of drywall being screwed to the studs.

The Drywall is Up!
This sheet of drywall is hung and ready for finishing. The rag is covering the electrical equipment and connections for one of the model railroad districts. It’s one of three equipment locations. The L-girder bracing on the wall side has been temporarily removed to allow better access to the wall.

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.

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.

LCRR: Repairs Started in the Train Room

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.

Train-Room-Studs
Here is a what things look like at the start. The wall cavities have been cleaned as well as possible, and all lumber is sufficiently dried (as determined with a moisture detector). This is the view below the layout benchwork, with the wall side L-girder visible at the top of the picture. The wooden diagonal braces next to the wall have been removed, but the legs must remain. Fortunately the legs are a few inches away from the wall. I’m hoping that the aisle side diagonal braces (one shown here) can remain in place. We’ll see.
Train-Room-Insulation
The next step is adding the batt insulation. The diagonal metal strap is part of the sway bracing in the walls, a little extra rigidity for this large room with no interior bracing as normally provided by inside rooms.
Train-Room-Dry-Wall
Now with some drywall board hung. It is so nice to finally see a “real” wall. The first two sheets are up, only twelve more to go!

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. 🙂

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.

LCRR: First Progress Report

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!

LCRR Shop - 1st Piece of Drywall
The very first piece of drywall in the shop has been hung!
LCRR Shop Area
This view is the shop area. There will be cabinets with counters below both of those wall shelves, their footprint to be within those bare concrete areas. The cabinet unit at right will have a small utility sink at the piping rough-in. The primary work area is also at right, with the fluorescent light above providing extra illumination.
LCRR Shop Foyer
Standing in the shop area and looking the opposite direction, we see the building entry door at left, the restroom straight ahead, and the entry to the train room at right. I had a few scraps of drywall left from my home flood restoration so I used them in this area (the reason for the different colors).
LCRR Restroom
Peaking in the doorway to the restroom, the lavatory will be here, the toilet to the right (out of this view).

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.

Rising From the Ashes (Part Deux)

Okay, I’m getting really serious about restoring my model railroad hobby building (aka ‘the Train Room’). Those who have patiently followed this blog for the past six years are likely rolling their eyes, as they’ve seen this before . . . perhaps twice before! But I am really going to make a concerted effort this time!

An explanation is in order to those relatively new to this blog. My town suffered a horrific flood on August 13, 2016. You can read the post detailing the flooding event here, and the aftermath (with photos) is reported here. I’ve posted since perhaps five or six times, giving updates to the re-construction efforts (or mostly, the lack thereof), the most recent being back in August of 2020. Read that posting to get a brief history of what has been done prior to the work recently completed.

I’ve been over to view and operate on the layouts of a few friends this past year, and it has had the effect of rekindling my interest in getting my own layout built and operating. And the persistent prodding of a few friends, along with offers to assist, has motivated me once again to resume this massive room restoration project.

To that end, I have resumed the remaining demolition required before the actual re-construction can occur. Removal of the remaining existing drywall (sheetrock) has been completed, and there remains only a bit of cleanup along the joints. I’m planning to start installation of the wall insulation (already on hand) this week. And when that is done, the new drywall will be installed. I plan to do the shop area and restroom initially as they will be a bit easier to work with. That will also aid in my learning to install drywall (yes, this will be my first effort in that skill).

As regular readers know, I’ve been featuring a series of photographs, mostly of Jack Delano’s railroad photography during the WWII years. While I really admire Delano’s work, this is merely serving as “eye candy” to help keep the blog alive while the re-construction effort is taking place. My plan is to post occasional updates on the construction progress as it occurs. And I will still continue with the Delano posts, along with a couple dozen other photographs featuring a different railroad venue, so keep following along. And please be patient with me, and wish me luck!

-Jack

Seeing Jack Delano on a Cell Phone?

I recently purchased a new cell telephone, one of these new-fangled “smart” phones. While test driving the device, I logged into this blog site just to see how it looked on one of these things. I have to admit, it was terrible!

The problem is that the photos are so small. Even clicking to enlarge them, they are too small. It becomes obvious to me that if any of the readers of this blog are using a telephone to do so, they are really missing the beauty of Mr. Delano’s photographs. They absolutely must be seen in a larger size to be appreciated, and you need a fair sized computer screen to do that. OK, maybe a large tablet would work also. But the point is size . . . bigger is better!

Give it a try.

-Jack

The Face Behind the Photos . . . Meet Jack Delano

For the past couple years we’ve enjoyed the photographs that Jack Delano recorded during the early years of World War II. I thought it appropriate to show the face of the man.

Jack Delano was of Russian descent, and became employed by the U.S. government’s Office of War Information, Farm Security Administration. He traveled the country documenting what he saw during those years. While I’ve focused on his images with a railroad theme, there are thousands of others that he produced. He toured factories, military bases, farms and cities, capturing people doing their jobs and during those brief moments of rest and relaxation. His images are available through the Library of Congress.

This portrait of Mr. Delano was taken by John Collier, Jr. in September of 1942.

Jack Delano, Photographer

LCRR Status Update

A little news concerning the Louisiana Central Railroad: most of you know that my small city suffered a horrific flood back in August of 2016. My home and train building took on about 15″ or so of flood water. My house reconstruction has been long completed, but not so the train building. The carpet, millwork, sheetrock, insulation and cabinets have been removed, and the building has been dried out and sprayed for mildew. But other than roughing in for another 10 or so electrical outlets (might as well take advantage of the opportunity), no restoration work has been done. Truth is, I have really dreaded doing all of the work that will be required, and I’m just “burned out” with construction.

But the urge to resume construction of the Louisiana Central itself is still there, and is perhaps even stronger. As a result, I have taken the first step toward that end.

I had determined long ago that the first order of business was to completely clear the building of everything with the exception of the layout itself. I learned what an enemy drywall installation (and the incredible dust it produces) can be during the house construction. Therefore, everything that isn’t screwed down must be packed away and moved into storage. The building had become a huge warehouse during my home reconstruction. And it took quite awhile to empty it of all the boxes of “stuff” that was stored within. Indeed, there are a handful of household items still out there. And I have been working at removing these things for the past year!

But now it was time to box up all of the railroad stuff. And to that end, I finally got a start several weeks ago. My goal is to get out there several times a week and fill a few boxes, moving them to my garage for storage. I’m making progress, and have packed and stored quite a bit. To be sure there is much left to do, but I can see the progress, and that is encouraging me to persist.

Of course the layout itself can’t be removed. My plan is to try encapsulating it (as well as I can) with the plastic sheets that painters use for that purpose. Fortunately there are no structures or scenery yet (just track and bare benchwork), so I don’t have to worry too much about damage. My biggest concerns are the Tortoise switch machines and the wiring junctions at the various terminal blocks. I’m going to try wrapping the switch motors with plastic wrap, and perhaps also tape this over those wiring junctions. There are also three electrical backboards filled with circuit boards and wiring. I think I can completely encase them in plastic as well.

Once all of this is done, I’ll start the process of re-insulating the lower walls, and then hanging the sheetrock. The latter will be tricky, as I have to work behind the layout legs and bracing. I may be able to temporarily remove the bracing though since all screws are accessible from the outside.

And that’s where things stand at the Louisiana Central.

-Jack

Site Improvement

Several things have been going on in the background in recent weeks. You might recall the problem I was having a while back with “Unwelcome Subscribers” to this blog. Happily the fix I implemented seems to have solved that problem, hopefully for good.

Last week I took another step to help provide a bit more security to the site by adding something called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL for short). This is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. You will likely recognize this by the https prefix on the site web address.

This changes the blog address (as well as the primary Louisiana Central website address) by adding that “s” to the http. If you use your old link to the site, you should be automatically re-directed to the new address. However I’d recommend that you update your link to the new one. I find that the new link will get you there a second or two faster.

In my testing last week I think I got the bugs squashed, but if you happen to encounter something else, please let me know.

In other news, the 7th annual Train Day at the Library event took place yesterday at the Jones Creek Library over in Baton Rouge. I had the privilege of assisting with the organization of the show this year, and we were rewarded with a record attendance. To be sure, nothing that I did caused that . . . I give all that credit to the absolutely gorgeous day we had, plus the reputation that the show has been building on for the six prior years.

Though not aimed at hard-core railfans and model railroaders (the general public is the targeted audience), the show does draw in many of those folks, and that’s good because I think it has helped to entice more actual display participants to the event. The library has also been thrilled with the attendance, and continues to request the show each year. Hopefully, that will continue.

The 6th Anniversary

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the start of construction of the Louisiana Central Railroad.  As many of you know, the railroad suffered a horrific flood in August of 2016.  I posted about it here in Flood! and had a short follow up in The Aftermath for new readers that may be unaware.

Unfortunately little progress has been made with the restoration of the train room (which is actually a separate building from my home).  After the immediate remediation of the building, it became a warehouse of sorts for things from the house, as well as a place to stage materials needed for reconstruction.

My home restoration is essentially complete, with only minor details needing attention.  Indeed, I’ve been back living here since last Thanksgiving.  But moving back into the house didn’t mean it was complete, and it has taken much time to finish the restoration.  Add to that time taken to “catch up” on things that were left undone for over a year!

However, I’ve started making a wee bit of progress.  The first step to the train building restoration is to simply empty it out, leaving only the layout structure itself in the building.  I’ve got virtually all of the household stuff out, and I’ve started the process of packing the train room and shop equipment.  But then the realization hit that I needed more space in my house (mainly the garage) to store the stuff from the train building.  Ugh!  So I’ve added more shelving in the garage, and am trying to get it cleared and organized so as to make the necessary space.

But to be honest, the biggest hold up on getting this all done is simply burn out.  Next month will see the second anniversary of that flood, and I’m just sick and tired of dealing with the aftermath.  I’m not alone in that feeling, as I’ve got many people around me in that same boat.  I would never have dreamed I’d still be dealing with flood related issues two years after the fact!

But it will happen.  The Louisiana Central is not forgotten or abandoned.  I’m hoping the next anniversary will be one of joy and cheer.  Wish me luck!

-Jack

Some Area Fall Happenings

Being pre-occupied with finishing up my home restoration (as a result of the great 2016 flood) coupled with a lack of progress on my model railroad, has resulted in very few posts over this past year. I’ve mentioned before that I have decided not to do any reconstruction in the train building until the house proper is complete. If I started the work out back, I would never finish the work still needed in the house (too much of a diversion). Drying out the place and remediation has been long completed . . . I just haven’t started the process of rebuilding. But I do hope to finally get out there sometime this winter to begin the work.

In the meantime there are several activities, some railroad and one aviation oriented, that I hope to attend. I think it’s time for me to get out of the house more in order to keep my sanity!

First up: The Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders up in Jackson, Louisiana will be holding their Trainfest on Saturday, October 14th. Things get rolling around 10 am. If you haven’t been to one of these open houses, you really should give it a shot. The club is home to quite a few operating layouts. They cover all of the popular scales (Z, N, HO, S and O) with their indoor layouts. And there is an outdoor G scale layout, along with a separate live steam loop that sees trains running in various scales (G and Fn3 mostly). There is also an open pavilion that is used to shelter and restore a variety of full size equipment. I recently posted a couple photos from there including a neat little Plymouth critter, and a grape harvesting machine. There are quite a few other interesting pieces of machinery under and near the shelter.

A week later (Saturday, August 21st) the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the NRHS will be getting together for a day of railfanning over in Hammond, Louisiana. They will be meeting next to the Amtrak depot located downtown on the CN railroad mainline. Folks usually start gathering around 9 am or so, and you’re welcome to stay until you just can’t take it anymore. 🙂 Everyone is invited to join in, you don’t have to be a chapter member.

The following week there will be an aviation event down in New Orleans. The WWII Air, Sea & Land Festival will be held at the Lakefront Airport on October 27-29. This is the fourth time this event has been there (it was given a new name this year), and it is an absolutely fabulous show. The primary forces behind the event are the Commemorative Air Force and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. There will be a significant number of WWII aircraft both on display and flying, along with several ground vehicles ranging from jeeps to tanks. This year will also feature their newly restored PT boat. I don’t have details of exactly where the boat will be displayed, but I assume it will be in the adjacent harbor. Here’s another link if you’d like more information:  The National WWII Museum.

And finally, the Louisiana Chapter of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) will be holding their fall train show on Saturday, November 4th over in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The event will be at the First Baptist Church gym located on E. Pine Street. Hours will be 9 am until 3 pm. This show coincides with the Ponchatoula Trade Days and Craft Fair which, while not railroad related, can be an interesting adjunct to the day.

Whew, the next month will be busy! Hope to see some of you at one (or more) of these events.

-Jack