Running Bear's July 2020 Coffee Shop is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.

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Active Member
Thank you Patrick! I'm happy to be here.

I'm back to work today. Still working on replacing computers at the school before the kids return. Can't believe they still think they can hold classes in a few weeks...

Hoping the new SpaceX Starship prototype has it's static fire today. If they do, they may fly it on Thursday. Been keeping watch on their progress for over a year now.

May take the body off my Atlas GP9 today. She needs a new coat of paint, and I want to continue building up my Milwaukee Road roster.

Full day ahead! Let's see how much I actually get done :/


Same Ol' Buzzard
Good Morning All. 77° and overcast with a few sprinkles so far this morning. Just returned from my walk and there was some that hit me. From the looks of the radar, they might get more steady in about an hour or two. Then again this time of year, they may go away completely. These are coming from the North and have nothing to do with Hurricane Hanna which seems to have settled in Northeastern Mexico.
I did manage to mow the East side of the yard yesterday, the biggest and easiest hunk, before doing other stuff in the house.
I too am looking at new computer gear to replace my eleven year old desktop. I have been getting the "Imminent Disc Failure" message for about nine months now, every time that I reboot. Solution is don't turn it off. Every so often the whole thing freezes up and I can either reboot or wait 15-20 minutes while it reorganizes it's brain. This happens about once every three or four weeks. I already have all data and files backed up and my Win7 is no longer supported. I do not want a laptop; I like my 19" screen, easy to see! While I really like my current HP Pavilion, I also realize that eleven years old is pushing it a bit. They should have all of the bugs worked out of Win10 by now.

Sausage. egg and cheese biscuits for me this morning Flo. Maybe a few strips of bacon on the side.

Thanks for the likes and comments regarding the motive power pictures yesterday; Guy, Mopac, Sherrel, Tom O, Patrick, Phil, Justin, Jerome, Tom, Curt, James.

Out in the train shed yesterday, I continued the "sweeper" train that I started Sunday evening. First stop was to pick up three covered hoppers from the Tupperware factory, and a boxcar from an adjoining industry, in Rycon Township.
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Moved on to Charlottesville where they picked up an empty Railbox car from Federal Cold Storage, after leaving the caboose parked on the main.
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Finally an empty boxcar at the beer distributor two industries over.
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They then reconnected with the caboose, and pulled it on to the siding with everything else.
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Engine did a runaround and pulled the caboose back on to the main.
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The crew then reconnected with the rest of the train, pulled out on to the main to retrieve the caboose and headed back to the yard.
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I am still in a modeling funk right now. So I spent some time yesterday testing some of the locomotives on the layout (70 right now), to determine which ones to retire to the "standby" shelf to make room for the new SD45's that I got. I kinda needed to do that a year ago when I got the new Dash9's but never got around to it. It appears that some of my 30 year old "Blue Boxes" will be the first to go. They are fair runners, but lack some of the detailing that my newer power has. While things are still fluid on the layout, it's getting crowded until I develop some blank areas that I have future plans for. Some of those 70 are already on the standby shelf and I rotate them off and on every so often.

Tom O - As I posted recently, I am not at all familiar with paper mills and am unfamiliar with their operation. In your picture in post #755, how are the logs unloaded and stacked, in real life?
Justin - Thoughts and prayers go out for your father.
Curt - Sorry to hear about your grandsons. Hopefully this is the event that might straighten them out, since switches are frowned upon now. Maybe the owners should have pressed charges and dropped them later; would have had a more powerful impact.
Nice progress on the benchwork.
Bunker - Welcome to the Coffee Shop. Flo and Francine need the extra tips.

According to the radar, showers are now less than a mile north of me. Yard and garden are awaiting.

Everybody have a great day.


Well-Known Member
Good morning from the deck in Wisconsin where the clouds have appeared, the sun is in hiding and the 25% chance of rain in my mind is looking like 100% pretty soon. Terry said she would like to walk around 8:15 but came out and said we can wait until the rain disappears. What a quick change the skies just did.

Willie, pulp sticks are unloaded depending on the mill with huge grappling cranes that tower over the tracks on rubber wheels or like in my case, drops are falling, sorry on the front porch Now.

4 wheel drive log pickers are run to the pulp car and taken off like a fork lift and moved to the piles. I have pictures of units I will post after some digging on the back up drive later tonight. I am closet painting today, 2 and I am thrilled, there are a total of 9 to do.
Just took these 2 pictures:



Had these 2 already





Well-Known Member
GARRY - I did not plan to skip over you! I'll send you a "widdle" prayer too! I wish you well on your eye surgery tomorrow.

On another note my Spouse has her long-awaited surgery tomorrow. It has been postponed already two times and they will postpone it again with another rise in the Corona cases. I hope they will go ahead with it - she is "primed" and I am hoping that she will come thru it OK.
I have a CT Scan on Tuesday for the heart/aneurysm work which I trust will finish up that end for me?
I have certainly become very tired of anything medical!
[B ]Sherrel:[/B] Best wishes for your wife.


Well-Known Member
Good morning everyone. Yeah, I'm back. Missed you guys. Coronavirus, working from home, back in the office, then back at home, getting ready to put the house on the market, looking for a place to retire (yeah, still looking - nothing definite yet) - what a year this is. And after a rainy spring and then almost a month of drought, we're finally getting much-needed rain for a few days!

Willie - Nice photos of your layout, as always. Your photos always inspire me.
Tom - I like those close-ups of your logging area.
James - Nice catch!
Sherrel - prayers for your wife.

Curt - What footprint is your new layout? I like how it looks pretty compact. As I think about a new build after we retire and move, I'm looking for ideas.

Well, these are sad days in the fictional town of Pine Valley. Here are a couple of demolition photos:

After about one fourth of the layout infrastructure was taken down. This was the farm and lake area:

Packing things up.

Took me the longest time to start the demo. Every time I went down to the basement to start taking things apart, I would run trains for a while and then go back upstairs. MOH knew how hard it was for me to get going on this. Finally I just said, let's do it. So we now have a den/family room again - no layout. (I'll post that photo later.) I salvaged as much track as I could; even track nails and rail joiners too. All buildings were boxed up, cars, people, anything that was salvageable is now in boxes waiting for the move. Thought about saving the wood from the substructure, but ended up only saving the legs - threw everything else out. Our trashman will get a Christmas bonus!

Have a good day everyone.


GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Bunker: Are you an IT person? You'd mentioned getting computers ready for kids at school. I'm a Network Administrator for a small city near Wichita, KS (Doo-Dah).

Willie: Most of the terribleness is already out of Windows 10. My biggest pet peave is how it reacts when there are updates IT thinks it needs NOW! Most of the issues I have involve me asking people to run updates when they're having problems which the involves a reboot of the computer and problem is gone until there's another update.

Raincoat: Welcome back and don't be a stranger. I understand the pack it up mentality. When I moved from Wichita to Springfield and back, my stuff stayed boxed up for 4 years (again) until I finally restarted. I've actually got track laid and the controls to the blocks and switches (when I remember which one is the one I want). I've got to get them labeled yet.


Active Member
Raincoat: I know that feeling all too well. Having to tear down, pack up, and move on. It can be extremely painful. I wish you luck with your move. Hope you find a nice place soon, and get the trains back up and running again.

Patrick: Yes, I'm a Hardware Technician for the local suburban high school. Nice to be in good company with another IT person! 😁


Same Ol' Buzzard
Well, it's rained for about two hours and there's 1.5" in the gauge. Just returned from draining some of it from the pool, it looks like the worst is yet to come. I am not complaining, anytime that we can get this much rain in July is a happy time for all of the vegetation. It is going to do wonders for my hayfield which just got cut last week. Temperature has also dropped to 73°, so off went the A/C and up came the windows.
Good to see you again Johnny, even though you posted sad pictures. But we all knew that this was coming. I still remember tearing down the old layout ten years ago when I was building the train shed. It took almost three years before I was able to run anything more than 20', mostly because I still had a real job back at the time, and time for finishing out the interior and starting the benchwork was limited. Some of the yard suffered and I am still paying for that today with labor. :(
Bunker -
Willie Thanks! That's a beautiful layout you have. Looks like some fun switching activities, too. I'm sorry you're still in a modeling funk. It happens sometimes. Hope it doesn't last too much longer.
Thanks to you as well. Switching? Switching is my favorite activity and I actually have 70+ industries to switch. Many of them are just structures on blank plywood with tracks in place. It will take time to finish the scenery and I still have several vast expanses to add more industries.
I'll get out of the modeling funk pretty soon as other visitors can attest to. Matter of fact, before I left the train shed yesterday, I took an Accurail freight car kit off the shelf and cut some parts off their sprues. I am headed out that way in a few minutes since the rain is severely limiting any outdoor activities today, which I usually do in the mornings on the estate.
Tom O - Thanks for the explanation. It makes sense and I learned something new today.

OK, headed out to the train shed now that there is a short break in the rain activity. See you later.


Sprue-n-Glue Victim
Good Morning, Everyone! (still 11:00am here)
What a wonderful day! I believe I will make this a long post, as I may well succumb to the horrific heat wave we are experiencing, and just be a fried patch of skin laying on a lawn chair come the morning. I'm a cool weather person, for sure. Looking forward to the autumn, when I'll be able to move around freely once again.

I left the house early this morning, to go on a photo-taking adventure around town.
By the way, I'll have a cold vanilla milkshake while I relate this story.

First stop was downtown. Not much happening down there at 9:00am, although a new hole is being dug on an empty lot. A new business must be going in, which is very good news to me:
WtCrt_28-07-2020 (1).jpg

I'm showing all these photos, as they may be useful to some for modelling purposes.

Next, I went to Rotary Park, here in town. I found it really weird that there were no children there. Might be too early for them, or it might be the virus. There are usually packs of children here, playing in the waterpark:
WtCrt_28-07-2020 (2).jpg

WtCrt_28-07-2020 (3).jpg

But, here is the main objective of my adventure. The 'National Silica' installation here in Whitecourt. I hope to add something similar to my future layout. My intensions were to get there early, as there was less chance of interference by the workers. I know it's slow for them, and they are likely in the building having coffee at this time:
WtCrt_28-07-2020 (4).jpg

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I consider these photos the real prize of my foray. The rail mule that the silica plant uses to jostle rail cars:
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WtCrt_28-07-2020 (7).jpg

I hope you enjoy tagging along with me on these little photo ops. A whole lot of photos were taken along the way, with only a few shown here. I'm saving most for inclusion in a more permanent location; hopefully in my future layout thread.

There has been some really, really nice photos produced and shown in the coffee shop. Thank you.

And this is for Willie! Because you asked earlier about paper mill processes. Here is a photo of our paper and saw mill here in town:

In a nutshell: Logs are trucked in, where the gantry cranes on the right unload them. The yellow crane feeds the pulp mill, and the blue/white feeds the saw mill. The saw mill (middle right) saws the logs into lumber and feeds usable chip material over to the pulp side. The pulp mill also chips it's own Poplar logs, and chips are brought in by truck, as well. Refiners process the chip material in the pulp mill, and eventually, paper is made. All waste is sent out to the power plant seen in the left-hand distance. Here it is burned as fuel to run the turbines to generate power.
The CN rail tracks curve around to the pulp-mill to the left. CN transports finished product out; it does not deliver chips or raw materials here. Everything is brought in by truck.

Hope you liked that extremely limited story.

Have a great day everyone! I'm going to go seek shade. I quit drinking 2 years ago, so cold beer is out of the picture.


Section Hand
Good Morning Everyone....overcast and some rain showers in the area.

Heading down to the layout soon and work on some projects. A recap of yesterday is first.

Run that SD-40 yesterday clockwise on the layout (NDT is counterclockwise) and the six axle locomotive behaved through the repaired area of trackage. Every tihing was fine after 3 hours of running until I ran it through the reverse loop and and again around the layout and I forgot to set the turnouts in the reverse loop to normal and the train derailed after running the turnouts. Great, but at least the train ran without problems. Today I'll run the GP-38 that I recently weathered.

Install the flasher unit and the 1.5 volt lamp in the peak of the water tower along with the mini-toggle switch on the fascia that will control the warning beacon. The flashing light will add some interest to the area which is mostly scenery.

I install the water tower in its permanent location and wire it under the layout later today.

TomO: Nice photographs of the log handling operation. Logging and the paper industry is huge in Wisconsin.

I think you got your money's worth out of that old PC. Before I retired, we had PC's that ran 24 hours a day for years without problems. Most of them controlled door access, HVAC, security and camera recording. When they decided to fail, they did just that without much of a warning.

That's about all for now.



C&NW at Omro Junk Yard.JPG
The junk yard at Omro and a CNW gondula with a load of crushed aluminum.-Greg


Well-Known Member
Afternoon fellers. I hope everyone is doing well. Rough and I mean rough start to my morning today. Found out my dad went to the hospital with an illness. Not covid but a bacterial infection. He is getting released later today but this morning it was still very much unknown. Then ofcourse my work truck decided today was the day to let the starter go out. It's a company truck so I'm not out of any money. Plus side is I got to work from home for the first part of my shift. So replaced the starter in the heat which wasnt as bad as I had thought it would be. In the world of trains. I got two of my GP30s done up with new athearn gears. Good lubrication job done and a good wheel cleaning. Every one of those locomotives has broken axle gears. Installed the shells with upgraded kadee couplers. Gave the two a good run. Not as noisy as I had figured they would be. However my C&O unit has something rubbing on the shell. It kinda jerks going around the layout and the audible rub noise is heard while it is going through the curves. So I'll have to remove the shell to investigate. Recieved a new chessie caboose today as well. An atlas model. Looks pretty good I must say. Better than my blue box models. Well that's all I have for now. I'll try to check in later.
[B ]Justin:[/B] Very sorry to hear about your father, hope they are able to kill the infection.

PRR Modeler

Well-Known Member
Afternoon All,

I brought some home made zucchini bread to the coffee shop for everyone :). Have a thunderstorm going on now (on computer battery). Today I got the 2- 4x4 pieces attached then went to Lowes for the last piece of sanded plywod and of course they were out. I got a regular sheet of 15/32 plywood and after it's screwed down I'll sand it myself. It's cut to size and in place but for some reason the side that matches up to the 4x4 sheet is sitting higher so I'll also have to do some powered sanding on the top of the framework in that section.

Thank you for the likes yesterday.

Bunker- Welcome to the forum.

Joe- Interesting photos. Hope your knee is doing OK.

CA Dave- Thank you.

Willie- Nice layout scenes. I was thinking a night in juvenile detention would of worked miracles.

Johnny- Believe me when I say I know and feel your pain about the layout teardown. This is the track plan (obviously hand drawn, and the second one a friend used his CAD machine for the framework for me and is what I used as the blueprint for the bench work, Each block is 1 foot. I have 4 ft. from the end of the benchwork to the wall where my workbench is.

rev 3.jpg


Guy- Interesting photos.

Greg- Very nice layout picture.

I hope everyone has a good night.


Whiskey Merchant
Good afternoon. Didn't check in yesterday. Spent the good part of the day working on electrical on my friends camper. A lot of fun when there's no wiring diagram.

Joe - Nice looking B&O loco. Hopefully it will quiet down after a decent break in period. Sure like those RDC's and the coyote. Thumb up.gif

Willie - Like those photos. Any ideas yet on how you're going to connect the top with the bottom? There are no plans for another layout in the shop. Unfortunately my eyesight is giving me a problem and at 74 years old, don't want to start another. We are still toying with the idea of selling out and moving to another area of the state. My daughter and the grand kids are the only thing keeping us here. May have a train yard sale.

TomO - Like that paper mill scene. Excellent scenery. Liked the weathering you did on earlier photos. Here are a few ore cars that I did over 30 years ago for a friend who unfortunately passed away. I had them stashed in a box and came totally forgot about them until running across them last year. I had no use for them on my layout as there is no mining activity on my layout so they are now part of Greg's ore car fleet.


Sherrel - Hope everything goes well for your wife. I had a cousin who had diabetes and not only lost the sight in one eye, but also ended up posing both legs. He was morbidly overweight. Don't melt down there. We're still in the upper 70's today and will be in the 80's tomorrow.

Greg - Don't know why you wouldn't see an SP unit in Wisconsin. We see a bit of everything passing through Livingston, even CSX and NS.

moermusic - Ouch $1,900. That's a major hit.

Justin - Glad the locomotives are running. Good luck finding the4 rubbing noise. Hope your dad gets well.

Curt - Guess you're back to the stone ages without power for a while. Hope that the visit with the law scared the crap out of your grandsons. I had a few instances catching youngsters getting into trouble and found that having their parents come to the sight of the offense was worse that taking them to jail. Sure like the back up generator. The benchwork is looking good. Any elevation changes in the future?

Bunker - Welcome to the group.

Johnny - Sorry to see you dismantling the layout. With the work you put into it, I am sure it hurts.

McLeod - Great photos. That grain facility looks just like the one in Belgrade, MT.

Greg - Like the photo. Don't feel bad about the derailment. Last Saturday at the club someone forgot to reset a turnout and we had a 60 car train all over the place. I was on a different main line so I wasn't effected.

For photos I will have to go into the archives.




Herd of Alcos.jpg

Time to go move the rainbirds. Tomorrow I am not looking forward to, mowing the lawn. Showers scattered today so I couldn't get it done.



Well-Known Member
Everyone - thanks for the likes (or dislikes, as the case may be) of my demolition photos. I put about 3 1/2 years into building that layout, and taking it down in a few weeks was hard. I mean both emotionally and physically. My wrists are still hurting!! An average of 75 screws in each 2 1/2 X 8 foot section of the layout!! Unscrewing all those, and then getting the scenery unglued, sometimes with a chisel. And my wife asks me why I built it so strong?!?!

Curt - thanks for posting those track plans. That's a help.

For my next build - - wood vs insulation board? I'll bet that's been debated a million times, but as hard as this layout substructure was to take apart, I'll consider the insulation board route. No rush, though, unfortunately.

See ya later.


Active Member
Thank you for the kind greetings, everyone!

I'm doing some research into my next custom repaint, and have a question about what something is.
I'm looking to model a Milwaukee Road GP9. I have an old, shabby Atlas GP9 just dying to be refurbished and plenty of left over paint from my previous project. I am looking to do one of their few models with dynamic brake louvers on the side, but each one has this weird box over the fan closest to the rear of the locomotive. Does anyone know what the heck this thing is? I mainly want to know so I can get a better reference photo.

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