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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Hey there...As usual, not much posting of activities.  I've been doing some work on the railroad, however, not as much as one would think with a pandemic and staying home.  I'm Frank and I'm a workaholic!  LOL  If you have real estate needs, lemme know because I'll definitely get that done!, not so much.  BUT!...

The good news is I just hired someone to build the Dispatcher Panel and he started yesterday!  Yeah, that's a project that keeps being revisited and ya know the hangup is that every time I revisit it, I have to RE-LEARN everything all over again, which takes time, more time that I have to learn and build a panel!  Talk about groundhog day!

Well, as of this morning here is the less-than-24 hour update in a photo!  Looks pretty good huh!

Aside from this, I've been selling off trains from the previous era (over $10,000 already!) And of course "investing" in trains for the current era, 1979-1980!  It's great!

I've also lost my "work bench" AKA place where crap accumulates and am finally planning and laying the track for the Fresno city area.  My original plan in my head was to have tracks winding through tall 2-4 story buildings in an industrial area.  Fortunately common sense kicked in and I've spread things out because whats the point in having trains wind through buildings if you can't see them to get car numbers while operating!  My crew will thank me!  The fun part was using Google Earth to follow the tracks and "find" industries to model!  The main one I came up with is a corn syrup facility that will service 12 cars at a time!  Another is a transload facility that will service 9 cars and then several other industries that will service from 1-4 cars each.  This job alone will be service by on operator on the SJVR.  It should take a while to complete the work, so that's great!

Also, with the industry and turns in Mojave, that will be another operator position, servicing trains to/from Trona, Mojave itself, and Monolith.  Perfect for keeping one busy!

Oh, and Joel and I were finally able to get the phones installed and working!  Wayne Lawson came over and helped with the Bakersfield and Traffic Center buzzer/light notifications.  All operating now!

I don't anticipate any op sessions until at least mid 2021 due the the pandemic.  Best to be safe than sorry.

OK that's it for right now.


Frank Kenny, CPRX

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

2020 Post during Covid-19 & Railroad Update


I hope you and your family have been and are safe!

As probably with you, this has been a very trying time for me.  We've been on lockdown since about mid-March and while you'd think there is so much time to work on the railroad, that certainly hasn't been the case.  I'm a workaholic and I feel the need to always be working and yet, all the work I've been doing to stay in business is without pay.  Long story short, it took me about 3 weeks to get my bearings and create a new schedule (I'm a big planner and time blocker) and then work to have the rest of the world fit into that schedule.  It's still difficult but I've made daily progress.  Financially, we'll see what happens in the future.  I've sold lots of trains, furniture, and miscellaneous at the house, taken on a roommate, moved my office to my house and sold much of the office furniture, and have cut business expenses dramatically.  I think we're ready to get back to work in a much leaner, meaner version!

And for the railroad...Since I have not been able to mentally put my mind around doing much work on it, despite much prodding from friends, I finally was able to make a major accomplishment this past weekend by installing the 5 phones needed for operations.  I had to pull all the shit out from the railroad (sold and trashed some but not enough) and string telephone cable all around both railroad rooms.  All that is left to do is to install the dispatcher phone at the dispatcher desk in another part of the house.  Now there is a phone in each isle, one at the door between the layout rooms, and one in the Traffic Center...and YES, they work!  It will be really nice to operate without the headsets and FRS radios so many of the crew don't like to use.  Here are a few pix and please ignore the mess!  Thank you tremendously to Joel Morse for taking countless hours working with the manufacturer of the phone system on getting it to work and for creating the bases the phones are attached to.

Phone added at the door between the two train rooms.
Phone located in the Traffic Center.

Fresno phone that will also serve Mojave, Monolith and Kingsburg.

One of two control panels.  This one connects all the
phones together and allows them to talk to each other.
The other panel will be at the DM desk.

Bakersfield YM phone located behind the operators to keep it out of their way.  This is one of two with a light and beeper so the DS can call the YM.

Moving forward from there, today I was able to secure some time off of work (the calls and follow-up needed to keep us in business moving forward), for Thursday-Sunday from my employee as he will cover me so I can take a much needed vacation.  I think it's been a year or so since I had a vacation!  During my vacation, now a stacation, I am going to tackle the LocoNet.  At first I was going to add a second LocoNet to the railroad.  As of yesterday, I've decided to remove all the LocoNet and start over with two new LocoNet busses, moving the original LocoNet away from the DCC buss that it sits near in various locations.  The railroad runs pretty good, but every now and then Murphy shows up so hopefully all this LocoNet work will kick Murphy out on his ass!  Fingers crossed that 4 days of working on that will have it completed!  Once done, I will then go back and connect the phone system and LocoNet to the dispatcher desk, which I wired under the house late last year.  And if there is extra time, I'll get the CPRX Facebook page started!

Well, that's it from my end of the world.  I'm looking to getting back to operating, as I am sure most of you are as well.  The earliest that MIGHT be would be July 4th.  We had originally planned a 4th of July operating party/BBQ/fireworks with wives as my friend Duncan was coming from Australia, however, those travel plans went out the door with the lockdown.  Maybe he'll make a surprise appearance!  ;-)

Let me know if you are interested in operating with us or helping as work crew on the railroad.

Take care and be safe,
Frank Kenny
CPRX Railroad
Torrance, CA

Monday, December 30, 2019

2020 CPRX Project List

Hey All,

Well, just two more days to 2019 and then it will be 20 years since the year 2000 meltdown of all the computers on the planet.  Ok that never happened, but can you believe it's been 20 years since that!  Seems just a few years ago.

In 2020 I have a few important dates/deadlines to meet, of course to serve y'all.  One is my re-start of ops on February 29th and another is So Cal Ops in June.  My friend, Mark Bridgwater, is preparing for Dixie Ops in October and thus we both have some scary goals!  As a result, we have been talking about what we are going to get done on our railroads in 2020 and we've created lists.  Here is mine and I think I have to be retired to get it done but that won't happen this year anyway.

The first order of business is starting ops again on February 29th and then operating every other month of the year.  Operating has always been my goal for the railroad when I started it 20 years ago.

- Dispatcher Panel complete and operating by the end of January

- Operator Phones installed and working by mid-February

- Start doing video on Youtube

- Add layout to Facebook

- Torrance Train Sale March 14th (Selling what I can't use anymore due to backdating the railroad)

- Signaling complete and operating by end of May

- Add a second LocoNet buss by the end of May (Might be moved into 1st quarter)

- Add 250 more cars to railroad with resistor'd wheels by end of May

- Preliminary ground cover around railroad by end of May

- Re-build loop scenery in second half of year (Damaged by contractors)

- Fix scenery in canyon and at Ilmon in second half of year

- Paint mountains on backdrop in second half of year

- Install trees/brush/grass on upper level after backdrop painting in second half of year

- Install last area of new track work in Fresno and have operating in second half of year

- Pour water into river at Kingsburg in second half of year

Shit if I get all this done I'll be stylin!  What tends to slow me down, other than my work schedule, is planning and researching which I love, but this takes so much time out of actual labor.  It's all fun though.

Clearly I won't be able to accomplish all this on my own.  Wanna help with projects please touch base especially if there is anything you are good at or love to do.  I can always use help and will pay you with food!  LOL

Oh and by the way, if you are going to be visiting the Los Angeles area, please touch base prior to your trip and perhaps we can plan at least a visit or an op session.

Happy Railroading,
Frank Kenny
Torrance, CA

Friday, December 27, 2019

Railroad Update 12-27-2019

Yep!  It's been two years and man have they flown by!  Get ready...this is the longest post in history with lots of photos!  But only cuz I'm updating you on the past two years.

Over the past two years, I've made what I would call lots of progress.  At first not intending to, I suspended operations in favor of making progress.  What I thought would be missing a few op sessions turnout to be two and a half years of no-ops.  The last op session was September 17, 2019!  I don't regret it though.  What I do regret is not getting MORE done on the railroad than I did.  But isn't that always the story!

In no particular order here are some of the projects accomplished:
  • Orange trees “planted” 12-2017 (Over 600 of them!)
  • Updated electrical - 2018
  • Ballasting of some track - 2018 & 2019
  • Installation of concrete pads in Bakersfield Loco & RIP facilities - 2018 & 2019
  • Ballasting of Bakersfield Yard - 2019
  • Replacing all skirting with professionally sewn skirting - 2019
  • Replacement of a 32’ section of the railroad between Mojave and Tehachapi - 2019
  • Replacement of drop ceiling and lighting with insulation, drywall and LED lighting - 2019
  • Backdating the railroad to 1980's - (Replacing all railroad equipment!) - 2019 & 2020
  • Update all railroad equipment inside of JMRI to the 80's - 2019 & 2020
  • Changed railroads to ATSF, SP and SJVR with a little UP
  • Creation of new Dispatcher Desk - Late 2019
  • Updated all Railroad Control Documentation - PM42's, BDL's, DS64's, SE8c's, Turnout routing, etc. - Late 2019

Projects to be done in 2020:
  • Signaling installed - 2020
  • Phone system installed - 2020
  • Creation of new Dispatcher Panel - Late 2019/early 2020
  • Replace all fascia signage to reflect the backdating - 2020
  • Begin Operating Sessions February 29, 2020 and then every other month

Of course every railroad has helpers and I thank the following for their tireless efforts!

  • Mike Stoner
  • Joel Morse
  • Jon Mullis
  • Arnold Aarons
  • Mark Lestico
  • Cyrus Nelson

Below are some photos over the past couple years reflecting the work completed. And moving forward, while I would love to update at least monthly, you know how that goes. I have a new years resolution to do so though...and you know how those go. LOL OK, enjoy the photos and if you would like to volunteer your time on the railroad or operate with us, please reach out to me.

Happy Railroading & Happy New Year!

Frank Kenny

A few photos of part of the replaced section between Mojave and Tehachapi...a total of 32 feet!  Mike did most of the demo.  After he left, I rebuilt the track and electrical.

The intermission between demo and rebuilding.  Mike pondering his progress of 32' of railroad removed, and yet have sub roadbed put down...all in like two days on a whim!  This was not a planned activity!!

This will be a rock loading facility when done.  Don't freak out about the type of cars there, they were only there to do some measuring in order to lay the track.

Not your typical tank train.  This is how I hold down track while it is being glued!

The new Y in Mojave and new turnouts.

Tearing out this section gave me the opportunity to reorganize the wiring!  LOL

400 orange trees installed at Thanksgiving 2017!  Won't do that again!  LOL

Over 400 trees installed after the first batch...I liked them so much I just had to do more!  In the lower photo, just beyond the trees you see a white piece of paper...this will be a vineyard when done.

A little train action for ya...

Another distraction from the railroad was going to Ogden to see 4014.  As you can see, I was invited by Mr. Lincoln himself!  4014 was the star of the show though.  Thanks Abe!

 And of course, there was the trip to Hill 582 in Cajon...just before the fire fortunately!

And one of several trips to my friend Mike Stoner's house in Sedona, AZ...where somehow I was again the layout bitch!  We got a lot done though and just this year Mike started his first op sessions in September 2019.

For YEARS, my layout progress has been delayed by a couple of major projects.  One, above, was the replacement of that 32' section between Mojave and Tehachapi.  The other was the heat issue in the train room.  I finally made the difficult decision to remove the old drop ceiling and lighting, install insulation and drywall at the roof and new LED lighting.  WOW what a difference that made!  AC was out of the question because it is never really hot enough in my area for AC and it didn't make sense to just AC the train room.  This project was a nightmare primarily because contractors have no clue about other people's belongings or time.  Finally it is done!

Just after I removed the drop ceiling, exposing the old fluorescent lighting.
Insulation being added.

Compare the old drip ceiling and lighting.
Compare this shot with old ceiling with below new ceiling shot.
The new lighting and ceiling is so much cleaner and brighter.

And a little distraction in December 2018 was me trying to smile after spinal neck surgery.  Now I can set off the TCS alarms with a plate in my neck.

Oh yeah, and 2019 was the 20th Anniversary of the railroad!  Before the anniversary on 10/19/19, I had a few friends over to help prepare things.  We made a lot of progress...even if it had to be corrected later.  LOL

Joel and Jon doing wheels and database entry.

Dan doing computer entry.
Jed and Arnold installing new professionally sewn skirts.

Mark working on the new dispatch panel.
One of Jon's many tasks was cleaning track after being uncleaned for over two years!
I'm sure Joel thinks I'm torturing him with installing wheels every time!  He's right!!
Mike's looking very guilty!
Thank God for Cyrus and his speed matching...too bad he just moved to Florida!

 Some new locos...I've backdated the railroad to the 80's so had to get rid of all the new and bring in the old...or the other way around depending on how you look at it.  These F40PH's look really cool pulling a long train though!
Amtrak locos in Bakersfield.

Another layout distraction was a trip to the NMRA Kansas City convention in July 2018.
Me, Joel, Mark & Otto.
Mural in the Kansas City Station.

Mark, me & Joel.

KC station

Another very distracting side trip was to Arizona and New Mexico with my buddy Mike Stoner on the train, in September 2018 because Amtrak was threatening to eliminate the Southwest Chief on that route and of course to see the last semaphore signals operate!  Great trip!


On a quest to get the new 80's equipment standardized with metal wheels, trucks/couplers, into the new database and then into JMRI before hitting the rails!  Weathering will have to wait!

Also in the way of progress, was a trip to Atlanta for more trains!
Kent, me and Joe.

In addition to ballasting Bakersfield, I poured the concrete pads for the ATSF, SPRR & SJVR locos and the RIP track.
This doesn't go here...was just testing.
More "new" equipment.  Not on the track due to testing.

We operate our layouts monthly.  And on the first weekend of December we hang out at the Fullerton train station.  This is 2019.
And a quick impromptu op session at Chris Jean's (first session!)  Chris is behind me, Joel to his right and Mark in the back.

 Another distraction was a business trip with Vin to Toronto at the tail end of the Kansas City trip in 2018.

A couple of trips to the modeled area...
Another distraction...A trip to Tehachapi!

I also cut re-railers into the staging area bridge on both levels to avoid derailments.  That wasn't an issue, but this was "ensurance".  It also keeps the rail alignment better.

Another trip with Vin to New Orleans...on the train of course!

Well, that about wraps up the last couple years.  I'm sure I missed a number of things that were updated.  Currently, I'm preparing for my next op session, February 29th, 2020.  I've got lots of cars that need wheels and then computer entry.  I'm also building the new Dispatcher panel as well as the yard panels and working to connect them on the new Dispatcher desk in the dining room.  Yep, I have my work cut out for me.  If you wanna help out or operation, touch base!  My info is above.
Happy Railroading,
Frank Kenny