Blog

This blog is limited to articles; random photos or quick updates are posted to the FaceBook page.

Blog entries from August 2017 and earlier have been migrated from a former site and many of the images are incorrectly linked. These may be repaired over time.

In a few weeks, the Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet (MARPM) will be upon us (October 13-16). Though this will be my first outing at MARPM, I've been to the Valley Forge RPM several times and to RPM East once.

This year the MARPM is in a new location -- Timonium, MD -- and is being held concurrent with the Great Scale Model Train Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds just down the road. This should prove to be a win-win for both events.

I will be presenting two clinics on Friday:

THE PRR MIDDLE DIVISION IN HO SCALE

A presentation on the planning and design, operating philosophy, and progress of the PRR Middle Division in HO Scale.

POTUS ON PENNSY

An exploration of the glory days of transporting the POTUS (President of the United States) by rail. Discussion includes the Ferdinand Magellan, an armored rail car modified just for the task. A deep dive will focus on one specific trip over the Pennsylvania and the Bellefonte Central railroads.

RPM's are a lot of fun and very inexpensive to attend. If you are in the area, please consider attending!

The PRR MIddle Division will present two open houses to the public this fall. The HO scale model railroad depicts the greater Lewistown, Pa., area during the early 1950s when the Pennsy was The Standard Railroad of the World!

The first open house will be on Saturday, September 17th, as part of the Mainline Hobby Fall Layout Tour. The railroad will be open from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Address information will be available at Mainline Hobby on that date.

The second open house will be on Saturday, November 12th, as part of the DE - MD - NJ - PA Model Railroad Open House. The railroad will be open from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Address information will be posted to that web site on October 15th.

The site is not ADA accessible. Please be respectful of posted start and end times. For more information, please visit prrmiddledivision.com.

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In preparation for operations, I continue to test, test, test the mainlines and the trains thereon. I'm also converting all of my advanced consist addresses to best match the train symbol itself. Seems more logical than picking a random two digit number. For passenger trains, it is simply the train number. For freights, drop the prefix (e.g. "VL-9" becomes "9"). Believe it or not, there was only one conflict!

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The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society (PRRT&HS) held its annual meeting May 11-15. As a part of that event, the PRR Middle Division held its first open house in three years and, more importantly, its first since the lightning strike!

IMG 1362Eastbound train #28, the Broadway Limited, powered by a pair of EMD E8's (class EP22), meets the westbound train M-9, powered by a brace of EMD GP-9's (class EFS17M), an intradivisional with a block for Lewistown, along Roundhouse Road on the west side of Lewistown.

It's been a very productive quarter on the Middle Division...

The greatest task at hand, which was largely underestimated, has been the installation of resistors on wheel sets to allow for detection. It's a multi-step process -- 1) removing two axles per car; 2) attaching the resistor with CA and allowing to dry; 3) painting both sides of the resistor with "wire paint" and allowing to dry overnight; 4) overcoating the wire paint with clear nail polish to harden and protect the connection; 5) reinstalling the wheelsets; and 6) testing each car.

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As 2021 comes to a close, there certainly was a lot of turmoil on the PRR Middle Division... a lightning strike, a hurricane's flood, a water heater replacement, and coronovirus (last week).

Despite the setbacks, the Middle Division is going to be better for it moving forward. Following the lightning strike, most electronics were refreshed to more current versions and wiring busses were cleaned up a bit. The only remaining task from that event are reconstruction of the local control panels, which was going to be done anyway. I am changing from glass panels to more traditional panels with Barrett Hill's cup toggles. I was having connectivity issues with the contacts behind the glass.

IMG 1200

When life serves you lemons, you have choices. I opted to make Lemonade... This past Tuesday morning I woke up to a broken water heater. The control board was definitely shot and the unit was 8-10 years old, so a replacement was in order.

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I can report "continued progress" on the PRR Middle Division since our lightning strike in August. This week I received and implemented replacements for three DCC Specialties RRampmeter II's and three PSX circuit breakers. I also neatened up the wiring a bit.

i changed the flux capacitor now i have 121 jigawatts

As of yesterday I have changed out the last Digitrax BDL168 detection board (which supplies power to the track). The main line is now 100% restored to service, including detection!

For the most part, I am now functioning where I was three months ago, with the caveat of two remaining projects...

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