Friday, January 31, 2014

"Kung Hei Fat Choi! Congratulations and be prosperous!"

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Congratulations and be prosperous!  Another year has past and today a new lunar year starts!  Unfortunately it starts with me coming down with a double whammy of bronchitis (or as those of us who attend the big Amherst Railway Society Show each January call it the dreaded Springfield Plague) and conjunctivitis (pink eye)  so let's say I'm not off to a stellar start for the new year.  But as the Dr. (who is Chinese) put it today, this will be the first and last time for me being sick this year.  Let's hope she's right. ;)

Anyway, from our family to yours, we wish you Happy Chinese New Year!  Kung Hei Fat Choi! Congratulations and be prosperous!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Happy New Year everyone!

I've been working on fixing a lot of "little" problems on the layout that would add up to be big problems during an op session, with an eye towards having a shakedown op session (or as Marty calls them "Sea Trials") to see what other bugs pop up and need to be fixed.  One thing that was a consistent problem was a lot of the sidings had slight grades on them.  Unless I leveled them out, I would need some kind of "hand brake" system to hold cars in the sidings.  So, I've spent the last week going over each siding, testing with a torpedo level and a free rolling car, and fixing the siding when needed.  Mission accomplished on that job.

It took quite a bit of sanding and or shimming to get each siding level.

Another one finished.

The Knisely Coal siding needed some shimming to level it out.  You can see in this picture just how bad this particular siding had become.

As I found problem sidings, I marked down there location and once done, marked that they were OK.

Success was not only measured by the torpedo level showing level, but also by parking a car or two on the siding to make sure it didn't roll away.

Another problem found during some test running was two turnouts had rail that let loose from their PC ties close to the frogs.  So I used my NMRA gauge and spiked them down to fix the problem.  I was afraid if I tried to heat up the PC tie up to re-solder the rail, the other rail might let loose.

Spiking down the problem rail.

Another thing that needed to get done was to paint the fascia on the helix, install the sign for Yoe, and the throttle plug.

Last thing accomplished this week was to lay the track on the portable active staging modules.  I just need to devise how I'm going to attach them to the layout during op sessions and build some detachable legs too.

One finished, one to go.

Both staging modules with all track installed.  I just need to put in feeders, bus wires with a plug to connect power to the main layout, and detachable leg system.

I'm hoping to schedule a shakedown op session for sometime in February.  I can't wait to see how it goes! :)