PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

Jerry Britton's PRR Middle Division in HO Scale

IMG 1083

Look! A headlight!

It's now been two months since the Middle Division was devastated by a lightning strike. Progress on rebuilding has been excrutiatingly slow, but is continuing. A third claim to the insurance company was submitted yesterday. The previous two were fully reimbursed. Here's an update:


  • The throttle network now has a dedicated power and LocoNet bus. All new wiring.
  • Four of six throttles that had been plugged in were fried. Ken McCorry suggested that I replace them with TCS wireless controllers as long as I have one DT400. I will and I do!
  • Four of 18 locomotives that were on the rails were damaged: A H10s, an M1b, a GP7, and a PA1/PB1 lashup. Not bad, considering.
  • IMG 1082I have replaced all of the Berrett Hill Touch Toggle controllers and I am pleased to say all of the local turnouts work fine now and that none of their Tortoise machines were damaged.
  • The LocoNet bus works perfectly -- except when plugged into the back of the Digitrax LRPN (LocoNet Repeater). Go figure! When connected in this manner, the lights indicate a short on LocoNet. Throttles don't work. Gonna have to spend some time on the Digitrax list for that one.
  • I previously reported that JMRI and CATS were restored to operating condition. I discovered yesterday that my Sensor and Turnout tables were empty. They'll be easy enough to repopulate. JMRI is able to control the layout properly.
  • While inspecting the cause of the main line and Lewistown Secondary levels shorting, I found a PS14 power supply on a BDL168 detection board that had totally exploded. When I removed it from the system, the short cleared and I now have power on all three levels. Power on the main line is limited to only two sidings that do not flow through the BDL168 detection boards.
  • I spent a few hours playing with one PS14/BDL168 detection zone and came to the conclusion that the whole lot of them (10) were damaged. This went on yesterday's claim.
  • On to the decoder-controlled turnouts: Using JMRI, the turnouts at LEWIS interlocking all worked fine -- decoders and switch machines. Oddly all of the turnouts at staging did not. Sounds like a break in the power bus somewhere; a task for another day.

I had a holiday yesterday (Columbus Day) and had planned to build new cabinets for all of the local switching panels. I planned to have Lowe's rip the plywood and masonite which I would then cut to length at home. Lowe's saw was down so I went to Home Depot. They don't do rip cuts. So 90 minutes was wasted driving around. I re-grouped and worked on the electrical issues previously described.