Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Success!

The first operating session on the Onondaga Cutoff was a success!  We ran trains from about 7 until about 11 p.m., accomplishing all the work I'd come up with for the crews to do, and having a lot of fun in the process.  One of the great things about the session was that I learned a lot about about the layout!

We ran with a crew of 6 - a dispatcher, two-man crews for the M&E and for the road local, and one-man crews for the road freights.  Based on feedback from the operators, we will likely post someone full-time in the yard to assist road freights for setting out next time.  There are also a few infrastructure issues I will work to address.  There was only one collision, a rear-ender that was a simple mistake and that we have now taken steps to prevent - from now on, every move needs an engineer for a full trip on the head end after turnouts are thrown to ensure proper routing.

From left to right, we have Scottie, John, Nick, Jack, me, and Mark.  I appreciate their help and enthusiasm!  One thing I realized very quickly is that this model railroad is a LOT more fun when there's an operating session, so we're already scheduled for the next one! 

Let me know if you might be in NJ anytime, with a few days notice there's a chance you can operate too.  It only gets better from here!


Friday, October 14, 2011


With the fall come many activities that keep me busy and away from the model railroad.  However, I have had time to keep pushing forward on a few more decoder installations as well as some other 'below the layout' items.

The biggest news is that I have three separate cabs now for my DCC operations - the NCE controller (PowerCab) that came with my PowerPro 5-amp system, an NCE Cab 04ER, and the most recent addition, an NCE Cab 06R.  All are full radio controlled and can work simultaneously, which will be a lot of fun as we begin to do some operating sessions on the railroad!

For a backup, I also installed three separate plug-in UTP ports around the layout.  Each radio cab is battery-powered, and all have worked very well so far.  However, should the batteries fade during a session, or should the radio have issues for any reason, I wanted a hard-wired backup so that trains could be controlled either way.

So, operating sessions will begin soon - informally at first, taking some notes and making things up as we go along, and then more formally soon with regular symbol freights working specific tasks during a session.  Exciting!  Photos to come soon!