I have completed the west end ladder for the freight yard. I also painted the rail. One photo show all the masking required. Previously I was using Floquil rail brown color but this time, since I am more conscious of my family's health, I did not want to spray enamel paint in the house without proper ventilation, obviously difficult in the layout room. So I went to the hobby shop hoping to get the same or similar color in acrylic base paint. The hobby shop owner suggested me the Dirt color from Poly S, it is actually pretty close to rail brown and I am satisfied of the results. This paint can be diluted with distilled water (which I did) instead of a solvent for airbrushing. I only wear a regular dust mask for proximity paint fumes and there was no odor in the house (I didn't get any complaints from the wife or the in-laws that were staying with us over the holidays).
I made a pretty good test of my trackwork last night, doing a pull/push operation with 14 full length passenger cars through curved turnouts and yard ladder. No derailment (after I found a turnout in close position) . My Pacific 5587 (build from Andy 's kit over a USRA Pacific mechanism from Overland) was assigned to this operation.
I had however to upgrade all the passenger car's wheels and coupler mounts. The AM Pullman "scale" wheel that come with them do not respect the NMRA contour. the wheel gauge is good but the flanges are too high. Their profile is wide (0.125" instead of 0.110") but this do not affect the operation. Since I did not want to make an expensive bulk order to NWSL for new wheels, I have machined a pot chuck to accept the AM wheel and reduced/re-shaped the flange to match the NMRA profile without taking them off the axle. I did not change the width however as this was not possible in my set up.
I also removed all the tango mount couplers and re mounted them on the car body with a screw and 1/8 spacer. This is not the most elegant way but good enough for now. All these cars will either get chopped to build CN coaches or detailed and repainted for CN sleepers. Just another project for my old days..
Now I will take a break from the layout construction. Ski season will start soon (hopefully) and I have the bathrooms to re-model before getting back to it. Next step on the layout will be to build the turntable and finish the trackwork at the engine facility. That include in addition to the engine terminal and coal plant access, the caboose and coal hopper yard and reefer icing platform. (on the latest photos, you can see that I started to lay some ties)
Happy New Year all..