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.