Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement

Archive for August, 2013

August 27 & 28, 2013

Having cleaned my workbench quite thoroughly on Monday, figured I should get at one last bit of wiring: the tail track of the wye.

Ordinarily, it’s be a reasonably simple thing, just wire in the track to an auto reverser and be done with it. But, no… I have to complicate things by making the tail track a programming track as well as making use of the Digitrax Zephyr as an auto-reversing booster. So not only do I have to wire in a 14ga wire from the other boosters for a common, I also need to wire in loconet, and then gap the rails all over the place, creating an isolated bit of track to ensure the programming leads aren’t subjected to full DCC power and making sure it all works at the end.

So, with a 4PDT switch, it’s all done. Never mind the fact it took me two full evenings to get it wired in…. Pics to come when I finish tying up the wires.

August 25, 2013

Back at it in the basement yesterday, primarily to address some much needed tasks.

Saturday evening, Cam and I had a good amount of playtime with running a port freight (me) and a Courtenay turn (Cam) and found a 3 hour ops session is quite realistic after the length of time we took doing abbreviated runs like those. I also found I really needed to get power into Arrowsmith siding. Dragging equipment into a track takes away a lot of realism when you use 5-DCC (aka the 0-5-0).

So, Sunday morning I started tackling that by gapping the rails just past the summit and installed feeders into Arrowsmith. Cam and Dan showed up shortly after I finished with the initial set of feeders and while I grabbed some lunch, they emptied the railway of rolling stock, parking it all in Wellcox. Of course they had a lot of fun doing that!

After lunch, we got to work on benchwork for Port Alberni. Cam, Dan and I got a fair bit of it done but not really well secured to the shelf brackets due to impending deadlines. So the three of us finished that, and made plans for the rest of it next weekend… We hope! Sooner we finish with the benchwork, the sooner we can keep playing!

August 7, 2013

Went downstairs to do some work last night for the first time since the ops session. Work on some niggling details and generally cool down.

Started with the turnouts in the staging yard and repair one of them at the far end of the yard, as the pin dropped out of the throwbar. Fixed that, though required a second hole in said throwbar. Others had positions tweaked and one repaired point. All working now and I’ve ground the pins down with a dremel tool so they don’t catch locomotives and stop them dead.

Also wired in a couple bullfrogs to power the switches and while I was at it, hooked up the track bus to a UP5 at the south end of Parksville Yard.

My thought with powering the UP5’s was initially to have just the 12V power supplied through the barrel jack on the side, but after hooking up the track bus, figured that would definitely be the way to go for all Ux panels, and that goes for the UR92 and UR91 too. The 12v supply will still be hooked up as a backup power for when the track is shorted, but the readings off a dt400 throttle without a battery show much better power with the track bus than without. Plus I get track indication as well!

Best photo yet!

I think this photo warrants it’s own post. ┬áCam (left) and I standing beside a few trains (Arrowsmith on top, Parksville – complete with in-progress units 3000 and 3004, and Mud Bay below) and looking quite thrilled at the progress made on the layout.


Photo undeniably by Jason Shron, stolen without permission from Rapido Train’s blog.

Inaugural Ops Session!

A long overdue post, primarily because I’ve been waiting for a specific photo… Figured I’d go without it and post it when I get it.

So Jason Shron of Rapido Trains (a model train manufacturer who makes a lot of passenger equipment, save for the one I need on my model railway…yet) arrived in Calgary on the 30th of July and after his first gig at Chinook & Hobby West (North), we went for dinner with Sylvain Duclos at the Five Rivers. A vegetarian restaurant serving Indian fare. Interesting… About all I can say to that as I’m not one typically for curried anything. But the more important stuff for me was when we got home…

That evening was spent showing off the half-covered layout to both Syl and a really tired Jason. James Powell came by on the late side and had a good look around, but despite his offer to help with the cleaning, figured enough rest for his trip back to Vancouver Island was a better idea. All were really impressed, but I wish I had things a little further along to show them the layout without all the sawdust.

Wednesday was spent showing off the GMD-1’s at Eastridge and CMT. Glad to see a few more friends who have been asking when my layout is going to be on the tours for the CMRS. Likely next year folks… Also did a little bit of cleaning downstairs and finished off the wiring…

Close-up of Cam's work-in-progress on a pair of Atlas GP38AC's Photo by Jason Shron

Close-up of Cam’s work-in-progress on a pair of Atlas GP38AC’s
Photo by Jason Shron

Thursday saw Cam arriving early-ish and we seriously attacked the layout and got it all cleaned up, track polished and all ready to go for Friday. Got most of the Quad-LN’s programmed for basic addresses (the rest will come later) and a few more cars were prepared and the pair of Atlas GP38AC’s were unveiled. Sans paint and handrails but looking really good. 3000 and 3004 will be very special units when they’re complete – thanks Cam!

The first ops session crew - from Left to Right: Murray, Jason, Dave, and Cam

The first ops session crew – from Left to Right: Murray, Jason, Dave, and Cam

And then Friday morning arrived. First ops session and a few great friends made it for the big day. (Thanks Murray, Dave, Cam and Jason!)

Jason expertly pilots CN GMD-1's 1011 and 1021 past the Fletcher's Furniture spur.

Jason expertly pilots CN GMD-1’s 1011 and 1021 past the Fletcher’s Furniture spur.

On account of a lack of working motive power on the island, the superintendent of the E&N made some phone calls to CN and acquired the use of GMD-1’s 1011 and 1012. These locos were dispatched to service the Nanaimo Switch Job. I…err, make that the E&N Superintendent didn’t send them anywhere else on account of the larger trucks.

Joking aside, things went quite well considering the first ops session is supposed to discover all the bad things and after all was said and done (and Jason on his way back to Edmonton), there weren’t that many things discussed which were horribly wrong. Most issues could be chalked up to not having enough time prior to set things up. Yes, there’s still more programming of the Quad-LN’s to do, operations stuff to setup in JMRI (to generate the switch lists), and rolling stock to prepare. This will no doubt lead to a lot of re-numbering and patching of rolling stock, in addition to more wheelsets and couplers to change out. Memo to rolling stock manufacturers: please no glued on coupler box lids, okay?

All in all, Cam and I are really stoked on how well things went.

We’re still nowhere close to being finished though… But that’s enough for now!