03/17/2006 Progress Report
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"Invisible" Progress

Since the 01/16/2006 Progress Report, I've continued to work on refining various aspects of the Shenandoah Division. However, all of my efforts have been directed towards "invisible" progress, so there's no pictures in this report.

There's a lot of work that goes into making a large model railroad run reliably, and I think a lot of model railroaders don't really realize this fact until or unless they've participated in the building of a large layout. I've done a lot of things related to the railroad since the last operating session, but none of them are readily photographable.

I've installed decoders in additional locomotives in order to increase the number of engines available during a session. Included among these installations were 3 Kato F40PHs so that our main Amtrak power would no longer be run in analog mode. I wanted to make this conversion to try to reduce false occupancy detection by the BDL168s.

I've also spent a lot of time on coupler installations. I've worked steadily to remove Accumate couplers from the railroad as I don't find them to be nearly as reliable as the Micro-Trains couplers. I replaced Accumates on several locomotives. In order to assist with more reliable running up and down Rich Patch mountain, I've also been converting as many cars as possible to body mounted Micro-Trains couplers, including the majority of my Trainworx hoppers. 

As I converted cars to Micro-Trains couplers, I've also been replacing plastic wheelsets with metal wheelsets. I prefer the metal wheelsets from Intermountain, but I've used Atlas wheelsets as well. One of the reasons I've been converting to metal wheelsets is they seem to collect less dirt than plastic wheels, and I want to reduce the amount of effort required to keep the track clean.

My standard for all future installations will be the Intermountain wheelsets as I prefer their appearance and construction. These wheelsets are only insulated on one wheel, which makes installing resistors for detection purposes easier. And, in fact, one of the other items I've been working on recently is the creation of more resistor-equipped wheelsets. I was able to convert two additional empty hopper trains to have a resistor wheelset on each car, and each caboose on the railroad is likewise equipped. Several other cars at the ends of various trains have been converted as well to provide better detection for use with the CATS dispatching software. My goal is to try to get one resistor wheelset on each car currently on the railroad before starting car-card operations and mixing up all the cars. :-)

I did work on one area of visible progress: starting to create some "patch job" locomotives to show more predecessor schemes running in the early CSX merger era I'm modeling, but I haven't finished these sufficiently to show pictures yet.

None of these items are necessarily that difficult or time consuming, but when you have a large number of items to do, the time begins to add up, which is hard to comprehend until you build a large layout. :-)

I'm hoping to proceed with the installation of additional switch motors and signals to extend TCS northward soon.

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


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