Friday, October 12, 2018

Detecting Trains for Signaling

Something that I didn't have on version 1 was detection of any rolling stock; only the engines were detected.

As you can imagine, this caused turnouts to get thrown under moving trains somewhat frequently.

The fix for this is resistor wheelsets. I bought resistors and conductive paint years ago to get it going and never actually sat down and got it done.

I sat in a clinic by Stephen Priest at KC2018 and he mentioned where he had done his entire fleet of cars (700+ ish) in 2 half Saturdays of work. He did an axle per car and that's what I am going to aim for as well.

That inspired me to give it a try.

The conductive paint pen didn't really work, as it has a finite lifespan and it was well over it so I had to take the pen apart and use a microbrush to get the paint onto the wheelsets.

I decided to standardize on Intermountain wheelsets, and in a spot of great luck, my Dad had a bunch of them from a buy his club did a while back.

Process - use a pair of tweezer to glue the resistor onto the side of the axle joint that is insulated with gel CA and wait. Then dab your conductive paint and wait to dry. Test with your multimeter. Easy!

I'm going to buy another silver pen shortly when I'm ready to do more of them.

Done so far
10K 1/8W 0805 size, if you are curious

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Kansas City - NMRA 2018 Contest Photos

Didn't really take much in the way of photos during the op sessions at KC, but did hit up the contest room.


I'm such a sucker for modern steam...

Somebody totally scratch built a N scale steam loco. When I say totally scratch built, I mean he soldered the driver spokes to the driver hub!

Check out the gallery on

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Doswell Begins

Step 1 of a model railroad is thinking and planning.

I printed out my track plan for Doswell 1:1 and am testing it against the benchwork that was built.

This will allow me to verify what I'm trying to do and also let me modify the plan if I need to tweak it before I glue down the first bit of cork and take a file to a piece of rail.

Looks like we should be good.

I think those broad curves are going to be a signature feature of the railroad.

The track layout is pretty darn close to the prototype; a fair amount of compression is required, but that's every layout ever made.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Effective Resource Management

Model railroaders can be amazingly cheap about some things.

In a hobby where an model engine can easily cost $300, we will try and get every use possible out of $3 piece of lumber or a .10 cent foot of wire.

I'm not immune to these sorts of thoughts.

Yes, that is wired reclaimed from the old layout.

Yes, it has been cleaned up (suitcase connectors removed) and measured for length.

A great job for somebody who's 12.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Staging Status - First Switch Ladder In

As most know, I build my own turnouts and related trackwork.

This is the biggest piece I've built so far from a sheer size perspective - 9 turnouts total.

All number 6s. I used 3 sheets of cardstock under each turnout since putting ties under this many turnouts in a staging yard is a waste of resources, not the least of which is time.

The eagle eyed among my readers will note the turnout next to the inside aisle that will open up access to a small storage yard; probably will be 3 tracks.

Not a very difficult project, but an involved one.

Testing with some Amfleets
Didn't have enough light to get a big depth of field...

9 tracks, plus access to a small storage yard.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Roadbed to Hamilton Control Point

Cork has made it to the Hamilton CP. Try to ignore the weights. 😁

Friday, September 28, 2018

Painted Roadbed

When we last spoke, homasote was down in the spot that will become the Buckingham Branch (ex C&O) line that will run back to staging, but it wasn't ready for roadbed.

I can now report that the homasote in that area is done and it's painted with 1 exception. Paint color is a bit different as the latest gallon of brown came off Home Depot's shelf of "wrong color" paint for $10 versus having something colored to match was I was using.

I think I might break down and buy a couple of gallons to match what I had been using for the main level, when I get there, but we shall see.

Not a great angle, but still shows the consistency.

One piece to do and then done!