Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Work Session - December 2019

A work session was held on Friday, the 6th of December to help finalize the railroad for the operating session the next day.

We started around 09:00 and went into the middle afternoon. I can not thank the attendees enough for their contributions to getting the layout ready for the first session.

John V
Scott L
Mike G
Thomas N
Ken M
Dick M
Mike P

John V digging through a box looking for electrical supplies.
Ken getting the shoo fly track's wiring in to complete the railroad

A complete loop.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

List of work from Op Session Number 1

During the operating session in December, a list of not functional items was captured.

The next couple of blog posts are going to be about the various rework efforts so I wanted to set the stage for why certain tasks were done.

  • Track curvature to/from staging on North End of railroad too sharp; Amfleet cars rub
  • Track not level to/from staging on North End; apparent hump in homasote
  • Track curvature to/from staging on Doswell branch too sharp
  • Staging ladder on North End power issues
  • Staging ladder on North End track gauge issues
  • Staging ladder on Doswell branch power issues
  • Some cars are missing Kadee couplers
  • Missing feeders between Hamilton and XP control points
  • Martin Marrietta spur; switch needs rework as it won't completely throw
  • N. Doswell cross over has feeder on flange side of rail
  • S. Milford industrial track missing feeders; totally dead rail
  • Frog power needed on staging ladders
  • Frog power needed on mail line cross overs
  • UP5 needed at staging yard throats
  • Tortoises need power/control connections
  • Potential Loconet issues
There were a couple of bad order cars that were removed, but that isn't something outside the norm from an operating session.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sad News - Keith Stillman has passed away

Keith Stillman passed away January 18th.

Keith was the Superintendent of the Easton and Potomac. His railroad was the leader in the Richmond area for prototype, TT&TO operations.

I met Keith now over 10 years ago via the local hobby shop. Keith's name and email address was given to me from the gentlemen at Chesterfield Hobbies as one of the local "train guys" that was very active in the hobby.

I had been living in town about a year or so and had started finishing the
basement in the previous house for the construction of a railroad. (Richmond Terminal version 1). It seemed like a good idea to make contact with other modelers, so I sent him an email.

I didn't know it then, but that was a turning point in my approach to the hobby. Keith was the person that introduced me to true operation of model railroads. Up until that point, I would certainly "play train" but it didn't occur to me that there was a way to approach the play with an amount of rigor that made the challenge have excellent replay value.

Keith attended the first work session on version 1, and pointed out a design mistake during our work. I had a S curve that was spaced poorly and he mentioned checking out the John Armstrong book for options on fixing that sort of track arrangement.

That was the beginning, but certainly not the end of the mentoring. I would see what he had done with the E&P and then sought to figure out how I could do that on my own layout since he had solved a novel problem or I could learn from his experience.

Keith dispatched the RTRRv1 a couple of times as well as filling other slots. He approached operations seriously, but didn't let that take the humor out of the situation. He never let a good opportunity to make fun of us "train nuts" and himself, by extension, go to waste. He set the standard for documenting a railroad, even with his frequent complaint that model railroaders can't read.

We lost a craftsman, an author and a contributor to the progress of the hobby with his passing. I am indebted to Keith more than I can put into a couple of paragraphs and I expect that I'm not alone in reflecting on his impact.

Keith dispatching V1 before I moved the DS office under the stairs.

Status Update

First operating session was held in December on Pearl Harbor Day, 2019.

Broken stuff was found and a long list of fixes was written.

I didn't give up and take up model airplanes as a hobby, so that's positive.

I am sifting through something like 500 plus pictures so I can add some more content to the blog. Please bear with me a bit here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Bridge 3 is the first to get track

The final bridge built ended up being the first bridge to get track installed, cut and go through the test remove process.

Note, something this large on the floor is a bit of a hazard.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Walkway Changes or when planning isn't good enough

The railroad has minimum 36" aisleways except for one area where the helix footprint encroaches the walkway, narrowing it to about 30".

When compared to other areas with 48" of clearance, a study to improve this area was in order.

After some measuring and test fitting of the helix, it was decided that 6" and change would be able to be cut away.

We set the long fence up and ran the circular saw. Results as follows.

Cut everything at once to eliminate any potential overhang
All done:
Opened up the area nicely.
A few more pictures can be found on the gallery at