Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Monday 25 July 2016

Creating Operations Paperwork - Harrisburg Division 1975 / Switch List...

With another Ops Session scheduled for Wednesday with four of our wider operating group I decided that I needed to create some form of Switch List for the guys to know what & where to spot cars.

I have borrowed some of the format from the JMRI - Switch List generator form.  It has been designed on Excel and when I refine it down again I will add "drop down" data for the cells so the forms are easier to create.

These will be used while we develop the Layouts - Operating Scheme, and will help the guys get used to the layout and also give the sessions some form organisation.

This form should be able to be utilised in the JMRI - Operations Program, this one took about an hour to make and fill in.  Once I have the data compiled and easily referenced from other cells it won't take long to make one up.


Wednesday 20 July 2016

Installing Signal Bridges...

So moving right along and beginning stage two of the signalling of the layout I have begun the task of converting many of my bi-coloured LED's into the newer Tri-Coloured ones from RR CirKits.

I've also decided to make a shift in the direction I was taking with the type of signals we are installing on the layout.  Originally I had planned to install masts & dwarfs only, but I have now decided to also incorporate signal bridges.

One of the reasons was that they really set the scene, and I do like the challenge of getting something like this built and working.  I managed to get some help from a guy in the USA by the name of Marc Samuelson, Marc is a Norfolk Southern engineer and is the signal installer and guru at the Lehigh & Keystone Valley RR (LKVMRR) in Bethlehem, PA.

Marc has installed many of the their signals on signal bridges.  One of these is the IHC Signal Bridge kit.

These kits have long been out of production and sometimes they pop up on eBay, Marc and I were actually bidding on one complete kit a little while ago (I won the bidding too) and this is how I learn't that these were perfect for our layout and the area & era.

Luckily enough (shear luck actually) I have sourced enough kits for the entire layout.  These are a little different a "Watering Tower" kit by IHC but the exact same molds for the steel structure.

So one section of Harrisburg has four tracks (main, two passing sidings & industry track) converging into one single main.  The interlocking past this section has a few crossovers and is all curved.  To incorporate the CR1988 - Signal Aspects of Slow Approach & Slow Clear I needed to install triple head masts.  I purchased two of the Tomar H-861 Triple Head Searchlight masts for this purpose.

So to begin I have made up the first of the IHC Signal Bridge Kits, and placed it in the area that it will be located.


The next stage will be to upgrade the triple head searchlight to the newer Tri-Coloured LED's and install it onto the signal bridge.


Monday 18 July 2016

A Major Milestone Reached...

So today we reached another major milestone for the layout, we finished the wiring for the detection side of the layout.  It has taken just over two years to get to this stage, it has on several occasions nearly broken me with the amount of work required.

Last month it got that bad with a persistent LocoNet problem I almost gave up on signalling the layout, thankfully that problem was solved by changing over one wire.  Yes one wire!

For the record the this is what has been installed in the last two years:

Four (4) Digitrax - BDL168 Block Detectors.
Eight (8) Digitrax - SE8C's.
Sixty Four (64) - Tortoise Slow Motion Switch Machines.
Sixty Four (64) - Push Button Fascia Switches.
Two (2) PSX-AR - Auto Reversers.
Four (4) PSX - Circuit Breakers.
Sixty Four (64) Detected Blocks.
More than 60 Insulated Rail Joiners.
Hundreds of feet/metres of wiring including:  CAT6, Bus Wire, Feeders, Printer Cable.
Countless Terminal Strips.
One Hundred plus - ID Tags for the detection blocks & tortoise motors.
About a thousand cable ties (that's what it felt like...)

I have now finished this portion of the greater detection & signalling system, the blocks are all programmed into our JMRI - Panel Pro Panel and operating as expected.

Here are a few shots of all the completed works to date:

This was the final BDL168 to be installed and the last of the detection wiring...

Just a few of the sixty four (64) Tortoise Motors...


One of the most dense sections of the layout for wiring, tortoise motors & labelling...


Special thanks needs to go out to my wiring team Noel Purdey & Dennis Hare.  And to our resident Dr Digitrax & DCC - Brendan Dennis!  

You guys are the greatest and thanks for helping us get here to this milestone.

Next step is onto the installation of the signal bridges, masts, heads & dwarf signals and all the wiring the associated with that.

More soon...

Monday 11 July 2016

The Final Stretch of Detection Wiring...

So after resolving a LocoNet issue that plagued the layout for well over three (3) weeks I have begun the final push of installing the detection wiring for signalling & operations.

I have now added a fourth BDL168 to the layout to detect the remainder of the mainline turnouts and few other tracks that needed to be detected.

So for the last few days my time has been spent scooting around on an office chair under the layout connecting the blocks to the BDL Zones.

I have three (3) BDL zones wired in and one more to go, and then onto the last BDL and the detection wiring will be finished.

More soon...