Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quick update

It's been a crazy month, along with a bad cold that Emily started with and just about all of us have had now. But it has been too long since my last update, so...

I've finished another P2k flat car, and I'm about 80% done with an IMWX and an Intermountain box car. Since I'm currently just trying to populate the layout, the approach is to complete them as packaged. If there are items that I know are incorrect (like running boards) I'm leaving them off. I'm not adding additional details at this time. Instead, I'll work on the finer details when I pull the cars for weathering, just as I will with the RTR cars.

Along with the few freight cars, I've completed my first 'real' sound decoder installation. I had previously installed the MRC 'drop-in' decoder for the Atlas S-2. I say 'drop-in' because it did require milling a part of the frame and soldering wires to the decoder.

Anyway, John G. offered to install one of the Loksound decoders I got for the 44-tonner for me, he installed one in his W&R 44 tonner as well. Fitting the decoder and speaker was actually the easy part apparently. It needed additional wipers for pickup on all wheels, as well as the addition of more weight.

Since John was installing that, I figured I might as well see if I could install the decoder into the Bachmann 44-tonner. In a recent Model Railroader is an article covering installing this decoder in that locomotive. In that case the author milled away part of the weight to allow room for the decoder and speaker. I wanted to avoid that since it needs to be able to pull as many cars as possible up a 2% grade. So I did it a little differently. In addition to the decoder I installed two(!) speakers without milling the chassis, and I added an additional 3 oz of weight. The next step is to paint both locomotives. I also need to make handrails for the Bachmann one, unless I decide to use the ones that came with it.

I think the next locomotive I'll probably tackle is the I-4, since I need to have a passenger locomotive. The I-2 would be a great choice as well, it's just a question of which one I want to make modifications to first. After that I'll do the T-2-b and I'll have enough locomotives to run full sessions.

Speaking of operations, I've also been working on the Waybills for the layout. The system will be heavily based on Tony Thompson's efforts. But they are coming along nicely. I'm trying to determine what I'll write about here since there is already a lot of great information on Tony's blog.

The other news is that Chris is well along on his layout. I spent two days working on laying track and dropping enough feeders to run a train. We managed to get a lot of work done. What has taken me several years to do we've managed to do in about a month on his layout.

So, there will be a lot more information and pictures on the progress in the near future. This will be a very busy week leading up to Springfield, but perhaps shortly after that I'll be able to get back to more routine updates.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1974 - Where it all began...

Well, 2011 appears to have been the year of the photo. At least for us. From all of the grandparents we received a lot of old (and some more recent) pictures. Dad found some of the old 8mm films and put them on a DVD and there's a progression from the wooden push train set to a plastic version. I don't recall if it was push or battery powered. The films are fun, and our childhood was surprisingly well
documented. For some reason, though, 1974 is missing.

My baby books also have a lot of great photos, but none of the trains. No pictures have turned up in Basking Ridge (c1975-1977) where I know I had my first 'layout' in O-27 scale.

But in my brother Brad's book there's this:
That would be Brad on the left, me in the middle, and Dad setting up what was his Dad's Marx set. I still have it, but for some reason it's missing the just the locomotive as I've got the tender. I might just see what I can find in Springfield this year.
So this was the beginning. It's sandwiched between a picture of talking to Santa and Christmas morning, 1974. If I recall, Brad and I got our first HO scale trains in Christmas 1978 after moving to Ridgefield. Brad received an Atlas B&O cab locomotive, and I got an ATSF geep of some sort. He got Athearn passenger cars to match, mine were Tyco freight cars. Dad built an 8'x8' layout in an extra room in the basement, and I don't know if Brad ever went down to use it. I haven't found any pictures of that yet either.
But here's the first. I'm sure we'll come across more over the years.