Monday, December 28, 2015

Late December Update

Earlier this month I had commented how the month was going to fly by leading up to Christmas. Well Christmas is behind us and New Years is on the doorstep. Time on the layout has come in waves between family, work, and friend obligations and events that pick up with this time of year. None the less a lot of great projects are in the works which we will discuss and even take a glance at what Santa Clause delivered to the St. Clair Sub.

(No monetary compensation was provided for this blog post. All comments are my own and reflect no one else's opinions)

The past month I took inventory of power that was out of service on the "dead line" and figured the opportunity was right to get some of the motors back in service. Of the eight motors, four were repaired or upgraded back into service. Four still in the shop are outlined below with work planned for 2016.

2016 Projects

- MCIS 3830 (GP38-2) awaiting parts to arrive for Soundtraxx sound install. 
- MCIS 4005 (GP40-2) awaiting parts for sound install - Summer 2016.
- MCIS 4571 and 4570 (SD40-2M) awaiting sound install Spring 2016.

While returning engines to service, I take the opportunity to add any new detail parts or repair broken / missing pieces from the locomotive. 

    MCIS 4035 (GP40X) above and 4056 (SD40-2) below showing off their new ditch lights
Silver sharpies do a great job coloring the light housing which are the attached with CA glue on the end of a toothpick.

Sound Install (L.H.T. Mini #2.5)
One Christmas present I received this year was a TCS WOW101-KA diesel and MRC speaker.

Admitting my excitement to get started on the install, I simply used a JST to NMRA 8 pin plug from TCS to install decoder in a non-hard wired Kato SD40-2. Long story short the bad pickup of the engine I believe caused the decoders power supply to go out. Luckily TCS offers a great hassle free warranty for its products. I followed their instructions on the web, shipped on a Tuesday and by the following Wednesday it was repaired and on its way back. Instead of worrying where your repair is, TCS sends you an email update when they receive, repair, and ship your warranty work. Manufacturers like Soundtraxx and TCS to name a few have figured out great product support = brand loyalty and return business. 

Back to the install. There are great model railrading resources on the web... Like reading this blog, but truly Duford Model Works is a great online resource for hard wiring an early Kato SD40-2. If you google "Kato SD40-2 hardwire" it should be one of the top results. I must give credit to Kelley Duford as his page offers up a much more detailed step by step than I can provide in this post. None the less here are in progress shots of the project, enjoy!!


Frame with front truck wire guides cut out with Dremel Multimax.

     Reassembled with new hard wiring

Overview of component install. Speaker and keep alive are tucked up in she'll around the plastic light tube. Besides the hard wiring the decoder requires only soldering of the two speaker wires.

Finished model ready for assignment

The audio programming guide that TCS has on these decoders is very easy to use. We will touch on this in another post, but it's as easy as they advertise. There are some great videos on their site additionally which are good to watch giving you a product primer.

(No monetary compensation was provided for this blog post. All comments are my own and reflect no one else's opinions)

In addition to the TCS WOW Sound decoder and speaker, I also received the large summer corn field kit from Bluford Shops and static wild grass from Heki. Anyone who reads Model Railroader will remember this current issue Cody shows how to make a scene with this product. I guess you can say great minds think alike. My corn field back drop kit from Sceniking has been installed for around a year, so it's now time to add foreground corn scenery.

Lastly i will give a sneak peak of another model that arrived with Christmas cheer...    It is from Bachmann Spectrum and has two dozen wheels....

Stay tuned for further posts on this railcar.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a safe enjoyable New Year. I will be back on January 1st to reflect on the accomplishments of 2015 and what's on the books for 2016.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday #42

Photo Courtesy of Rich Duncan

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Early December Update

December is here and with it has come some progress on the layout and in particular the Bay City River Industrial Spur. I am blessed and glad to be making progress on the layout, especially during the hectic holidays. Just around the corner is a early January ops session with a regular operating crew.

   Does it look a little different than before?

Layout Work
During the FWLOD back in October I received a lot of good feedback and one takeaway that needed follow up on was the River Industrial Spur and its track layout. This spur is sandwiched west of Bay Yard before reaching the Saginaw River swing bridge.

As you can see from the photo above showing the previous layout diagram there was no run around for handling facing or trailing point moves. This caused the Y-BA04 to run back to Bay Yard to use Main 2 to run around its cars. Not only did this cause congestion, it was very inefficient and wasteful. Additionally there was room for an additional customer to be added tactfully but the track layout didn't sustain it.

Over the Thanksgiving Holliday and the past week I worked up a track layout that  would better serve the customers on the spur, but also add a effective run around track and room for one additional customer.

                     View east

                      View west
Trackwork was completed for the primary spur track and run around with switches cut in. This week the actual customer tracks with be installed to their respective switches and the switches will receive manual ground throws.

Customers on this spur include:
GEM BAKERIES - Inbound: Flour, Sugar, Corn Syrup
  Now on a single three carspot track.

AMCAN MATERIALS - Inbound: Bitumen, Asphalt binders
  Will have piping, 2 or 3 three relief tanks, unloading racks, and berms when complete.

The spur allows for modeling of some great backdrop / relief type buildings and modeling of a building interior which will be of the Corrugated plant rail / truck dock. Originally the corrugated plant had two tracks but with the changes it has been reduced to a single track with three carspots.

   The open door with no track will be replaced with a truck door panel from the Walthers Kit.

By the end of this week, service will be restored and I know the operators in January will appreciate having the run around to make working the Y-BA04 a little more prototypical.

I hope this quick update brought you some Christmas Cheer in regards to model railroading. The Mid month post will have photos of the finished product and a few more project milestones to showcase before Christmas gets here.

Stay Safe



Wednesday, December 2, 2015