Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
Click image to link to my web site,

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Power for Maine Central YQ-1

As I continue to prepare for the first Op Session, I am getting down to a short list of things to do and finalize that are critical to the session. Would I like more scenery, some more completed buildings, details, etc.? Absolutely, but none of that will ensure a successful operating session. They would make it nicer, but if certain things are not done, like locomotive assignments and staging set up, it will only be an open house, not an op session.

Next on the list was locomotive power for the Maine Central local YQ-1, an out and back (returning as QY-2) from St. Johnsbury to Whitefield. Looking at the available units, I saw a few GP7s and GP38s. This job usually ran with one or two GP7s, but on occasion other power was used. I decided to MU GP38 258 and GP7 562. These are both Atlas units and have similar operating characteristics, They also both have Soundtraxx sound decoders making speed matching a little easier.

Speed matching 258 and 562 in St. Johnsbury
I installed the sound decoders in these units over 10 years ago, and they are pre-Tsunami DSD decoders. As such, they no longer really sound as great, especially with Tsunami and Lok Sound decoders on the layout elsewhere. However for now, they will give the train crew sound, which to me really is necessary in order to enjoy running your train.

After speed matching was the important step of sound levels. First, these have different speakers, but more importantly I am finding the need to reduce volumes significantly overall now that most locomotives have sound. And in an op session environment, it would be ideal if only the general area occupied by the operator had that loco's sound, and could not be heard across the room.

Power for YQ-1 is ready and idling on a siding in St. Johnsbury yard
I also addressed sound levels on a few other locos to get them ready for assignments. After working on the new B&M 200 Bicentennial unit, I used it to move some TOFC cars back to the staging yard. It got me to thinking about the Central Vermont's Rocket train, and perhaps using 200 on this indicating a special service being inaugurated. For now, the TOFC is on the back burner for an Op session, but I do have staging yard capacity, and it might be a cool train to end the session with, running from East Deerfield up to Newport.

Boston & Maine #200, an EMD GP38-2 delivered in 1973 as #212 and still looking good in it's Bicentennial paint scheme 5 years after it was applied, leads a special Trailer-on-Flatcar train consisting of leased Impak 5-unit spine cars. Looking to emulate the success of the Central Vermont's Rocket TOFC service, this new expedited train is being tried as a joint venture between the Canadian Pacific and the Boston & Maine to take trucks off the highway between Montreal and Springfield, MA.

No comments: