Thursday, May 23, 2019

Train watching at Weso in 1984

With the new DCC components and upgrades installed I have been actually enjoying running the layout quite a bit over the past week or two.  Operationally one of the focal points on this layout is Weso at the western end of the paired track where the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific lines diverge.  When you think about it this is actually like a junction and a great place to watch trains.

I operate this layout in 3 different eras and will switch equipment around to try to match each era.  So here we are one day in my 1983-1988 era checking out the action.  Always on the lookout for any interesting or unusual locomotives, rolling stock, loads, or paint jobs.

The first train we spot is an eastbound freight coming off the SP line from Sparks and crossing over to the eastbound paired track.  The power on this train included an SP GP40-2 and a SSW B30-7.

Spotted this Great Northern box car in this train that was still not re-painted or even re-numbered 14 years after the creation of the Burlington Northern.  The only evidence that the car belonged to the BN was a door that was replaced or re-painted in the BN green.

This train also had one of those 89 foot auto parts box cars.  These are one of my favorites and I don't see them very often.

Not long after the SP train had passed this eastbound UP train approached from the old WP line.  Soon after the UP acquired the WP a few years ago they pulled almost all of the WP power off the line as it was in such bad condition.  Power on this train was a SD45 and a SD50 painted in UP colors but lettered for Missouri Pacific which is another railroad UP recently acquired.
Nothing much else noteworthy on this train until it got to the end and a caboose.  This one was a bay window type painted and lettered for UP but with a road number for the WP.  Looks like they are having some fun at the UP paint shop with all this equipment they are acquiring.

After about 30 minutes another SP train approached from the east and passed through on the straight alignment to enter the SP line.  This was a solid train of covered hoppers and was being pulled by a B23-7 and an SD40.
At the end of this train was one of the new end of train devices or FRED.  Seeing more of these and fewer cabooses all the time.  Guess we better appreciate the caboose while it is still around.
After waiting awhile this Burlington Northern freight approached from the east.  Occasionally a BN train is routed over the UP line between Denver and the connection to the inside passage at Bieber, CA.  Power on this one was a C30-7 and an SD45.
This train took the cross over from westbound paired track to the old WP line.  The train was mostly lumber empties but again found the caboose interesting.  It was a wide vision type with a road number for the Denver and Fort Worth which had been a subsidiary of the Burlington.

Well, this was fun but it's time to call it a day.  We'll do this again sometime, perhaps in a different era.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

More updates to the layout's DCC system

My Digitrax throttles of various types have taken quite a beating over the years getting dropped after being set on the edge of layouts and just being used a lot.   I hope to take better care in the future with the throttle holders I built late last year and explained in this post.

I recently got around to purchasing a new throttle and ended up getting the DT500D which is the only one now offered by Digitrax.

This throttle has some new features I like such as being able to actually turn it off without removing the battery which was the cause of some of the excessive wear and tear on my old throttles.

To go along with the new throttle I also got a new UR90 Infrared ( IR ) receiver.  For this layout IR works just fine and the UR90 is less than 1/3 the cost of the UR92.  I also found out that my old UR91 that I was not sure was working at all does still work as an IR receiver so with it at the other end of the layout the coverage is very good.

After creating a place for the DCC system in a drawer, I found myself opening the drawer to check the track status light on the command station.  Then it occurred to me that I should connect the track status LED on the panel, Duh !

This was really easy to do as it just required running a pair of wires between the command station output and the two screws on the back of the panel pointed out in this photo with blue arrows.   Eventually I would like to do this for all the panels on the layout.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Guardrails for the Interstate highway

It's been awhile since I have posted anything.  My wife and I have been traveling but are back home now and I have started again to work on this layout.

Continuing to finish up the area around Winnemucca I realized a need for some highway guardrails along Interstate 80.  For the bridges that pass over the SP line I used 2 sets of modern concrete railings from Rix Products.  Each set has four 50 foot long railings and my bridges are about 80 feet long.  I cut 2 railings in half and used those in combination of a full length section to get a 75 foot long railing.  These are designed to fit along the edge of a bridge.

For the areas along the sides of the highway where there was a steep hillside and for in the center areas I picked up Kato  set # 23-213 from their DioTown series.

This set includes highway guardrails as well as some fencing of a type commonly found along the streets in Japan.  The package contains 3 each of what is shown in this photo.   The lower one is what I used for this project and the upper on I will use on some of my Japanese modules.
I painted the railings with old silver and left the posts white.   These railings are designed to fit into holes in the DioTown street plates so I needed to drill some holes into my highway.  To make it easier I removed the highway and brought it to the work bench to do the back and center divider rows.
Along the front edge when viewing the highway I drilled the holes into the scenery along the edge of the highway as it was an easier reach.

So here is how the area now looks with the guardrails installed and the scenery touched up.