M&K Junction Railroad

M&K Junction Railroad
Another train of eastbound coal crosses the Cheat River

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Train Runs in Hidden Staging

This Friday (7/22) I was able to run the first train in hidden staging. It's taken a lot of work to get to this point (although the months of May, June and July have not been the best months for model railroading).

Here are some pictures of what hidden staging looks like:

Tracks 1, 2 and 3

Tracks 4 and 5

Yes, the track is not the straightest in the world. That's because the black-tie track is old (1970's) AHM sectional track. When I noticed that this stuff was not laying down straight; I ordered some Fast Tracks 'Sweep Sticks' to help me get it right. The track nearer the camera is better because of this.

The staging tracks were constructed in the aisle on the plywood sub roadbed and then slid under the mainline. When I did so, one of the pre-installed servo switch machines (see 'A Few Simple Solutions' post 6/15/11) had a benchwork joist right under it and there was no clearance for the machine. So it had to be re-mounted above the plywood. That's shown in the following photo:

The servo needed to be mounted far enough to the side to clear rolling stock which, in turn, required that the throw bar be extended. This was accomplished by soldering another length of PC tie below the original. The wooden tie that you see is there to support the longer throw bar so that it doesn't sag.

Here's a video of the first runs. The sounds that you hear in some clips are from a sound decoder equipped steam loco elsewhere on the layout; the air pumps were coming on at random. The beeps that you hear are the Lenz radio throttle that uses a cordless phone as the wireless link. I test all new track with the plastic diesel that you see in the video; having a plastic diesel derail and fall to the floor is less traumatic than doing the same thing with a brass steamer. This diesel has a very old MRC DCC decoder that is not a silent running type, ergo lots of motor noise.

Runs on Tracks 4 & 5 are followed by a run on the lead for tracks 4 & 5. Tracks 1, 2 and 3 were not wired up and ready to go on Friday night. I had hoped to finish them this weekend, but there's still more work to be done.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Small Videos

I have been reviewing the page view and video play statistics of this blog and it appears that a lot of people read the pages but do not play the videos. I'm guessing that some of you do not have the Internet bandwidth or the computer horsepower to play the videos even in standard definition mode.

So as an experiment, I'm going back and redoing some of the original videos in 320x240 size. Some of the files are still large, but the bit rate is very low and even a dial-up connection should be able to play them. Quality is not what the HD videos are, but it may be better to watch these than nothing at all.

If these smaller videos are what you need, let me know - leave a comment. Otherwise I will not take the time to convert more videos.

Installing a DCC Decoder in a Brass Steamer - Part 1 (320x240)

Installing a DCC Decoder in a Brass Steamer - Part 2 (320x240)

DCC Decoder Install into an O Scale Diesel

Some Short Videos of my Layout