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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Makin' Progress & Fun with the Guys!

In this post I'm going to recap the past week's activities...briefly.

A couple weeks ago the layout "died"...again.  Jumping ahead, no specific reason was found...again!  Hate that!!!  Upon connecting with my friend and DCC guru, Phil Klein in the Portland, OR area, we ended up just resetting opsw#39.  With that the railroad was back in operation...again.

This past Sunday I spend nearly the whole day on the railroad, cleaning up the Traffic Center room and the main layout room.  You may recall that I have been working on numerous electrical projects and tools, wire, parts and more tools,, wire, and parts were scattered everywhere.  Once I got all that done I ran a track cleaning train around to dust things a bit.

I called one of my friends, David Sheehan, he's an "expert" on wheels.  He agreed to bring his most finicky train of various mfgr's wheels and give the railroad a go on Tuesday night.  Oh, comes trouble!  (The train...not David...well, maybe David too!)  But I committed to do it.

David came over last night and we put his train of about 10 cars on the railroad, added about another 15 cars for the first go round.  Everything ran very well, to my surprise.  (The railroad is double deck and a helix, as well as grades in the mountainous area.)  Then he wanted to add more cars for the trip the other direction.  Oh, now I'm asking for trouble.  Not only do we need to get up the mountainous grade but we needed to get up the helix.  The helix is 6 levels and the grade is about 1.75 + the oval shaped curves and the diameter on the outside track is 34", so it's a bit tight.  A heavy train will have a good chance of string-lining.

This is David enjoying his run around Tehachapi Loop.  David was drooling a bit so I got him a roll of paper towels to clean himself up.

Just then our friend Jerry Rogers showed up.  The last time Jerry was here, all hell broke lose on the railroad!  No, seriously, ALL hell broke loose.  Joel was here both days and knows things went well on Saturday but not on I have a witness!  I thought Jerry would never come back after that experience.  And now David wants to test the limits of the railroad...bad timing in my opinion!

Proceeding, we put on about 40 cars out of Fresno and then added a third locomotive at Bakersfield to get up the helix and mountain grade.  As expected, because Jerry was there, there were a few more derailments on the way to Bakersfield.  Then at the helix, the train started to string line so I was in the helix, giving 0-5-0 helper service.  David and I thanked Jerry for showing up.  I think I have found Murphy...he goes by the name Jerry Rogers guys so keep an eye out!  Here's a photo so you know who you are lookin' for.  And look at that evil grin!

Continuing, they split the train and Jerry took the 2nd section up the helix to meet up with David at Ilmon.  There they connected the train back together again for the completion of the run to Mojave and on to Colton without incident.

All in all, we had a great time.  As a result of this test, we decided to use the Fox Valley wide tread wheels (If you have thoughts about that or suggestions...lemme know know please.) based on the testing we did.  Thank you to David and Murphy...I mean Jerry for their help.

Lastly, I've started entering the railroad into JMRI Ops to see how that performs.  I've entered all the Locations with limited trackage and spurs as well as about a dozen locos.  I'll put in about 3 dozen cars and then test the program to see how it performs.  If that works out well, I'll enter more of the railroad details and run and op session.  If that goes well, I'll put the whole railroad into the system.  If you have any advice about JMRI Ops, please let me know

Next step will be this weekend, the 16th, and my friend Joel Morse will come over to do some building mock-ups and...argh...more wheels & resistors.  That's Joel's favorite project!  Not really.

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