01/31/2004 Progress Report
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Signal Maintainers Activate Covington Subdivision Mainline!

CSXT Shenandoah Division crews have been busy since the 01/01/2004 Progress Report. As usual, a variety of projects are either underway or completed, but the biggest news in this update is that the signal maintainers have finished their power wiring from the south end (SE) of Ridgemont to the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard. As a result, the entire Covington Subdivision mainline and passing sidings from MC Cabin (north of North Salem) to the end of the visible mainline north of Covington now has power!

To accomplish this feat, the signal maintainers installed a Digitrax DB150 booster at the old location of the DCS100 (Chief) command station, and moved the DCS100 to a new location underneath SN Cabin at North Salem. A new control panel board with the railroad's second PM42 and third BDL162 was installed as well. During a recent work session, Larry helped me wire the railroad from SE Ridgemont to just south of SE Covington. To celebrate, we ran a train from SE Covington to MC Cabin, taking 21 real minutes to cover this distance.

Inspired by the progress we had made, I finished the wiring from SE Covington to the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard. Running a train from MC Cabin to the end of the visible mainline took 28 real minutes!

The signal maintainers will turn their attention next to wiring the Salem Terminal south from MC Cabin to the Wadesboro staging yard.

Connellsville/Winchester Staging

Thanks to Chuck, Jan, and Rich, another recent work session resulted in the installation of more risers and plywood subroadbed to extend the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard. After the plywood subroadbed was installed, I glued templates to the subroadbed and proceeded to lay as much Vinylbed as I could before we add the next section of subroadbed.

Track Crews Continue Progress

After getting the Vinylbed roadbed installed, track crews proceeded with working on the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard. Five turnouts have been installed in the yard throat, and crews have started laying body tracks as well.

Also, track crews have been busy installing manual slide-switch controls for the Atlas code 55 turnouts. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Marcus at a recent work session, wires to provide power to the turnout frogs were pre-soldered to about 50 of these switch controls.

I've then been installing these switch controls in between other projects on the railroad. So far, I've installed 34 of these controls at various locations on the railroad. Eventually, the railroad will have around 110-120 of these controls. At some future point, the dispatcher-controlled passing siding (control point/OS section) turnouts will receive Tortoise switch machines. In the meantime, we're able to provide positive point control and frog power for about 80 cents each.


Progress as of January 31, 2003

Overall view (looking northward) of the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard at the extreme north end of the modeled portion of the CSXT Shenandoah Division mainline.


Another view of the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard showing currently installed track and turnouts.


Overall view of Connellsville/Winchester looking southward.

Overall view of the Digitrax components below SN Cabin at North Salem. The power supply on the left provides power to the DCS100 (Chief) command station. Located to the right of the Chief is a control panel board with a PM42 and BDL162.


Close-up view of the control panel board installed below SN Cabin at North Salem. The second PM42 on the railroad is on the left with the third BDL162 on the right.

This PM42 powers the mainline from SE Ridgemont to Connellsville/Winchester. It also provides power and auto-reversing for the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard, and it will power the Potts Valley Railway as well. The BDL162 shown here provides detection on the mainline and passing sidings from SE Ridgemont to the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard.


Simple, temporary manual switch control mechanism at the north end of the Catawba Yard. I got the primary inspiration for building these controls from a thread on the Atlas N scale forum: Slide switches for Code 55 Turnouts (photos). These controls will keep the points in place and allow power to be routed to the turnout frog. Eventually, these controls may be replaced with Tortoise switch machines.


Caboose Industries ground throw on the left for a size comparison to the slide switch control.


Overview of the north end of Catawba showing 4 of the slide switch controls.


Here's a slightly different angle of the slide switch control. The screw holding the switch as well as the throw rod have been painted brown. I've mounted several of these controls on the edge of the subroadbed with a screw.


Here's an example of a slide switch turnout control which had to be placed in a hole in the plywood subroadbed. This control is located near the south end of the Catawba Yard. Neither the brass screw nor the brass switch rod has been painted.


Another size comparison to the Caboose Industries ground throw.


This page was last updated on 01/01/11.


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