Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Summer updates

As you can tell by the inactivity here on the blog, there is not too much to report on the model railroading front during the summer months. At the end of May, I finished up the fascia work, including staining and applying the clear finish, to all remaining areas of the layout. This certainly now gives the layout and the room a real finished look throughout.

View down main aisle, new stained fascia in Whitefield on left, and Groveton, N. Startford (upper) and Gilman in back.

Groveton on left, N. Stratford (upper), Gilman (back right) and Lyndonville (right).
Now on to getting some track down in Groveton and North Stratford!

I also completed a couple of LVRC RS3s for some customers, including one that was chop nosed. Just recently, Atlas announced a new run of RS3s and they will be doing 2 road numbers of the Lamoille Valley. I knew this would happen eventually as just about every small railroad has been getting included in new releases by manufacturers. So there may not be any further demand for custom painted LVRC RS3s, but having done about 2 dozen of them, I am OK with that! As these locos are difficult to get sound into, I might be looking at replacing one of mine with a sound equipped Atlas offering.

LVRC 7803 with chopped nose ready to ship to a customer

In June it was reported here locally that a large model railroad would be coming down as the owner was going to move. I used my iCar to do a a bit of video work covering many areas of the layout before it was gone. These have been edited down and posted to YouTube. Here are some links:

Video 1 - Bayview to Clairmont
Video 2 - Clairmont to Sayre
Video 3 - Tamaqua to Easton

I still have a couple more to post, but the good news is that the layout will remain as the owner changed his plans for moving. So we still have more Op Sessions to look forward to on this large layout in the future.

In early July I did get a little time to finish up feeder wiring for the yard in Morrisville. All track tested and functional, although I do need to install ground throws for the turnouts.
Not much to look at, but the wiring needs to be there for reliable operations!

I also finally fixed a pesky issue with a Maine Central U18B (Intermountain with QSI sound). Loco was totally unresponsive and made no sounds at all, and could not be accessed from a boosted programming track. I could tell power was making it to the board with a tester, so I figured maybe the chip was fried or something. I called QSI for suggestions but they could not help as the decoder was factory installed. I decided to pull out the chip out of the decoder board socket and swap it with a working one from another unit to see if it resolved the issue. Then I worried that I might end up with 2 bad locomotives. So I put the same chip back in and tried one more time. Finally the loco responded! I have no idea why pulling the chip and putting it back in would have any effect, but it did. So something to remember for the future should this happen again. In general, I have not been a big fan of the QSI decoders because of weird things like this (and function key magic that sometimes allows the sound to work but the engine to not move). They do sound good in the U18Bs though.

In August, about all I accomplished was measuring and cutting wood for a drop in section that will connect Groveton to the rest of the layout in front of the bi-fold doors. I did not get to assembling this bridge section yet, but all pieces are cut and waiting for me.

Summer is now coming to a close and I look forward to getting some more time to spend on the layout as well as the modules (as there are some events coming up for Free-mo).