Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progress Report 02.19.11

I can't thank my friend Larry Keller enough.  He has been a great asset in the construction and support of my layout.  A great friend and teacher alike. 

This evening, after requiring some phone support from Larry, I was able to install my first hard-wired TCS decoder in my Chicago & Northwestern GP7.  I also re-gauged the wheels.  The loco runs great.  I was thrilled to accomplish this install especially after frying a decoder on Friday night's attempt on another locomotive.

Speaking of TCS, I can't commend them enough on their great customer service and support.  I had a trouble FP7 decoder.  Not only did the replace the decoder for free, but installed for me too.  They have a program where they will provide a free decoder (and install) to create photo installation guides for other patrons.  This afternoon, I received an email from support offering to do the same for my troubled Life-Like GP38-2 and Life-Like E8A.  Awesome folks at TCS!  I can't say enough about them! 

Today, I had the opportunity to run on a great friend's Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railroad layout.  I worked the main yard with friend Jan Poff for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was a great mental challenge.  While at the CR&E, I observed a new operating idea that has been tossed around by local layout owners where crews are self-service.  At the beginning of the session, crews pick a number at random and choose their assignment of choice by the order received.  After the original assignments are completed, crews simply sign up for the next train on the sequence whenever they are ready to operate.  Instead of the layout owner acting as crew manager, crews are completely self-service taking stress off the owner.  I pondered the idea this evening and believe we will try that on the ROCK this coming session.  Even at only 14 trains on the first session (18 this coming session), it was stressful for me to keep up with it all.  With seasoned crew members, it only seems logically to allow them to perform this duty.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Progress Report 02.15.11

Before work, I finished soldering the feeder wires to the rail. 

This evening, I soldered all the new feeder wire sets to the bus wire.

Performed some motive power tests this evening with the ex-Peconic RS2s.  The performance of these Kato models is remarkable!  They have tremendous pulling power up the ovalix grade.  We're excited about our recent acquisitions continuing our quest to find quality motive power and rolling stock for operating.

We did have a major derailment this evening.  When testing a heavy freight up Chambersburg Hill (the ovalix grade) a coupler five cars back broke loose as the train crested the third revolution.  The remaining 11 cars rocketed down the hill backwards.  The train derailed in a spectacular fashion on the second revolution.  Cars were accordioned in a pretty inaccessible area.  Management is happy to report no damage to any cars due to the cardboard safety strips installed a while back.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Progress Report 02.14.11

Over the weekend, I worked on cleaning up the layout room thoroughly.  Five hours later, I'm almost complete.  At least everything is nice and organized now.

Today before work, I cut and stripped 8 sets of feeder wires.  I had enough time to install two pairs before time to leave.