Monday, 16 November 2020

Adding a lift-out, and more scenery.

In my last post I mentioned that my next job was to add scenery to the section of track between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood. 

Before starting on the scenery, I cut a hole in the plywood so that I could build a lift-out hatch to provide access to the north staging yard turnout ladder that is located under this section of the layout. The turnouts were originally installed back in late 2003, and although they've never given me any serious trouble, that might not always be the case (touch wood!).

The base for the scenery was a sheet of extruded styrene foam that was cut and formed to provide the required "landscape", with a removable (lift-out) panel to cover the access hatch in the plywood. I covered the foam with a layer of plaster bandage, and then built up scenery on top of that.

This photo shows the view from just inside the train-room door. Pauls Valley is on the left, and Wynnewood is on the right. The area that I've been working on is along the wall at the far end of the aisle.

This is a closer view of the scenery in the area between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood. I wanted to add a few more trees to better mask trains running between the two towns, but I've run out (again). So that will have to wait until I've made another batch.

These next photos show the layout with the access hatch removed, to reveal the ladder turnouts on the level below.

As usual, I will post better versions of these photos on my GC&SF FB page.

Thanks for following along, and please stay safe.


Saturday, 26 September 2020

It has been a while ...

It has been a while since I posted an update here, but I have been posting updates on my Gulflines FB page at

I don't think that you need a FB account to view that page so feel free to take a look. Many of the posts are the same as on this blog, but with better photos.

Here's a photo to show how Pauls Valley looks at present.

My next project is to scenic the benchwork along the wall, between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood.

Thanks for looking, and stay COVID safe.


Friday, 31 July 2020

Trees ...

I've spent the past few days making more trees for the GC&SF.  I made one batch using the last of my Scenic Express SuperTrees, and a second batch using plastic tree armatures that I bought on ebay.

It is barely visible in this photo, but I am holding a SuperTrees "tree" in my left hand, and about to spray it with adhesive.

In this photo I have dunked the tree into Woodlands Scenics Dark Green Coarse Turf.

The next pics show the completed trees.  The trees on the left (with the thicker trunks) were made from the plastic armatures that I got from ebay, with WS Underbrush applied for foliage using WS Hob-e-Tac Shredded Clumped Foliage also works well, but Clumped Foliage straight out of the package is too big.

Next job will be to plant the trees at Pauls Valley.

Thanks for looking,

Saturday, 11 July 2020

New highway crossing at Pauls Valley

I didn't initially plan to have a grade crossing at this location but I eventually came to realise that I should have at least one surfaced road crossing at Pauls Valley. So here is how it looks from the yard operator's perspective ...

Many of the buildings in the background are either incomplete kits or cardboard mock-ups of buildings that I will scratch build. The shiny black structure is an unfinished scale 60' x 24' ATSF water tank. I'm still thinking about whether to include it because after I got this far with the model I learnt that in 1960 the railroad received its water from the town water supplier. So no RR water tank at all.

This photo also provides a look at the ballast in the yard. And of course, I still need to add a lot of trees, etc. particularly in the background.


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Pauls Valley update

One month ago today I posted a "work in progress" photo to show that I had started on the scenery at Pauls Valley. The work has been proceeding slower than I would have liked, due in part to the time it takes to ballast track, and in part to the number of times I've stripped off scenery attempts that I didn't like. The very front corner in my previous photo is a great example of what I mean by that - the latest incarnation of that corner is my 4th attempt (and I'm pretty happy with it now.)

So, for the purpose of comparison, today I packed up my tools and materials, and took some photos to show how the work is proceeding.

This is from early this year, before I started  on the scenery. Rod had just painted the tree line and gently rolling hills on the back wall.

This is one month ago, after I started:

This is today. The corner at the bottom centre has been done four times, and now has a gentle hill on it, which will have a small group of trees.

This is also today, but I set my buildings in place and added a few cars:

This is just the base scenery level. I still have to add a lot of trees, bushes and underbrush particularly in the dark green areas which will be forested.

Here are a couple of photos showing how the industry structures are looking. First up is Jacobson Concrete, which I've modelled as closely as I can from photos. I still have to add an elevator for the drilling mud storage tank, and add a pre-mix concrete facility on the vacant area to the left. Yes, the buildings really are set up on concrete platforms.

The Pauls Valley grain elevator. I intended to re-use some structures from a model that I made for my N-trak module, but I've rebuilt most of it since then. I still a lot of work to do on this.

And to finish, here's how the downtown area with the depot is looking. There is still more work to be done here too, including ballasting the yard itself.

I still want to get a lot more done before I try for another operating session.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, 30 April 2020

Terra forming Pauls Valley

After our last operating session in March I prepared the layout for another session in April. But COVID-19 put an end to that idea.

Instead, I made a start on the scenery at Pauls Valley. Things are a bit messy there right now, but between the restrictions and the wet weather it looks like I will have plenty of time to get a lot more work done and then tidy up before the next operating session.

Stay safe folks.


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

First operating session for 2020

The crew came together today for the first operating session on the GC&SF for almost a year. The yards were operated by the graduates from the recent training session, while the two Johns (who've operated the yards in the past) got to run other trains.

Here are some photos taken before and during the session:
An end-on view of the peninsula that holds Wynnewood (left) and Davis (right).

End-on view of the peninsula that holds Dougherty (left) and Big Canyon (right).

(L-R) Peter, Derek and Chris at Ardmore yard.

Bill, John C (background) and Graham at Pauls Valley.

John C, with the morning Pauls Valley - Davis local, at Wynnewood.

Peter running the Ardmore - Dougherty local through Big Canyon.

John F. running a southbound Fast Freight through the house track at Davis. (???)

Bill returning to Pauls Valley yard with a cut of cars, after switching the town's industries.

John C. making some set-outs and pick-ups at Davis.

John F. (L) and John C. (R) preparing to switch some industries at Wynnewood.


John F. with the afternoon Pauls Valley - Davis local freight, at Wynnewood.

Derek running the yard at Pauls Valley.

Graham switching the Dolese Bros. quarry at Big Canyon.

John F., still hard at work at Wynnewood.

(L-R) John C, Chris (Ardmore yard operator) and Peter, at Ardmore.

The local switcher, working industries at Wynnewood.

John F. has kindly donated several buildings that were used on his fallen flag "Boise Sub" layout that are not needed for his new layout. They are a very nice addition to the street scene I am creating for Pauls Valley. Thank-you very much, John.
The four completed structures were donated by John F.

The streetscape behind the Pauls Valley depot is coming together very nicely.

I want to thank all the guys for coming over today to make this a very enjoyable session, with a special thanks to Graham, Derek and Chris for operating the yards.

And thanks once again to John F. for the buildings.

Regards to all,

Friday, 14 February 2020

Train - ing operators (🤦‍♂️)

I had a few guys over last Tuesday so I could give them some tuition and practice in running the yards on my layout.  They took turns running through-freights around the layout, and switching cars in and out at Pauls Valley and Ardmore, just as they would during a normal operating session.

John has actually run a yard several times before, but the only training he had received was "on the fly", during sessions. For him, this was an opportunity for me to fill in a lot of gaps.

I am pleased to report that the guys all did very well.

Here are a few photos that I took to remember the day by.
John and Derek at Pauls Valley

Graham and Chris at Ardmore

Chris and Graham at Pauls Valley

John, Derek and Graham

I'm very grateful to John, Chris, Derek and Graham for volunteering to learn this role as it is critical to the success of my operating sessions.  Now I've just got to sort out the mess we left the yards in, and then I can organise a session where the guys can do the job for real.


Saturday, 1 February 2020

Downtown Pauls Valley

I've been experimenting with different ways to site structures to represent the Pauls Valley downtown area behind the depot. My first thought was to place a row of DPM and Merchant's Row retail structures along the street, backing on to the wall. But the real buildings along Santa Fe Street are more industrial in nature than retail.

This is how the mock-up looks at present, but I still need to do some scratch-building and kit-bashing:


Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Pauls Valley is getting a make-over

Over the past few months I've been working on structures for Pauls Valley, and working out how to position them. Once I got that sorted I decided to paint the track so that I can get started on the scenery.

In the past I've used a paint brush to paint the sides of the rails, but as Pauls Valley has such a lot of track I decided to use my airbrush instead. I had no prior experience with airbrushing track, and wasn't sure whether over-spray might get onto the walls and other places where I didn't want it. But I had a lot of newspaper on hand, and I took the approach that "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." It turned out that I was over cautious.

Here's how Pauls Valley looked after I had finished spraying the track:

Next step was to invite Rod over to paint the backdrop for me. Painting backdrops is one of Rod's Superpowers. Here he is with paintbrush in hand.

This is how Pauls Valley looks with my buildings back in place:

Here's a closer photo of Jacobson Concrete (left) and the incomplete elevator complex (right) showing how the backdrop looks behind. I will be "planting" trees and shrubs between the buildings and the painted backdrop.

A big thank-you to Rod for his help with this.


Thursday, 16 January 2020

This day in history ...

I was looking at some old photos and realised that today is a noteworthy anniversary in the history of my GC&SF Railway.  Fifteen years ago today I laid a temporary main track around the layout peninsula that now contains my townships of Dougherty and Big Canyon, and the first trains around that peninsula met at a point just south of the present day location of Dougherty.

Here is a photo of that happy event, together with a photo of my very good friends Vic, John and Rod who came over about a month or so earlier to help me install the pre-assembled skyboard for the peninsula. Actually, Vic, John and Rod did all the installation. I just stood back with my fingers crossed hoping that I had built the skyboard correctly.

First trains around the Dougherty - Big Canyon peninsula.

(L-R) Vic, John and Rod installing the skyboard between Dougherty and Big Canyon.

I really should get stuck into building the scenery on this peninsula, but recently I've been focussing on Pauls Valley.

EDIT ...

For clarity, I have actually started the scenery on this peninsula. I just have a lot more to do.