What lies ahead for 2012? The shop complex at Rockhill Furnace and the company town of Robertsdale are at the top of the list. Robertsdale was named for one of the principal investors when the EBT was built around 1875. It was the epitome of a company town. The center of the village was called company square and consisted of a large stone company store, a one story station, and two additional stone block buildings: the EBT offices and the Robertsdale post office. I have nearly completed the scratch built store. Only the roof remains to be finished. Next is the station, which will be built from a kit. The other structures will be scratch built. Around the center of town will be a number of nondescript company houses. At the south end of town the tracks will pass the tipple for Mine Number One. Here are some pictures of where the project stands so far. You can see that a lot of work remains:
On the other side of the mountain lies Rockhill Furnace, Orbisonia Station, and the main shop complex for the East Broad Top. Many of the structures are already built for this part of the railroad, most of them from out-of-production White Ground kits. Still waiting to be built are the locomotive and machine shops, the coal bunker and sand storage shed. A compressed version of the EBT roundhouse will eventually be scratch built. Here are a couple of shots of what is already in place.
The challenge here will be to lay out the yard trackage as close to the prototype as space will allow. What makes this project especially interesting is that most of the Rockhill yard used stub switches and harp switchstands. At the southern end, as shown in the photo below, the yard throat includes a three-way stub switch. The problem with stub switches is that, because of the stiffness of the rails, Caboose Hobbies ground throws don't work very well with them. And, as mentioned in a previous post, it is difficult to mount switch machines on foam. Added to that, the three way stub calls for some method of stopping the switch in the middle position, not possible with a conventional Tortoise or Switchmaster machine. I'll certainly keep you posted as work progresses!
A third area of the layout that will require more work in the coming year is Blacklog. While the town itself is complete, and the yards are largely ballasted (though not yet fully scenicked), the Blacklog Refractories brickyard at one end of town remains to be built. Here is a rough idea of what the installation will look like when finished.
Finally, I hope to do some work on motive power and rolling stock over the coming year. Right now I only have one operating steam engine: EBT mikado #14, which has a Tsunami sound decoder, but the lights are not yet wired. Two additonal mikes -- EBT #16 and #18 -- still need to be painted and weathered, wipers installed on all the wheels, and sound decoders and lights installed. The EBT's unique gas electric car, the M-1, has a Digitrax decoder without sound. I need to add wipers, replace the existing decoder with a Tsunami, and install an operating headlight. And as if all that were not enough to keep an old codger busy, I recently acquired a unique brass model of the EBT's M-3 track car that needs to be painted. Sounds like a busy year!