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.

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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.

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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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Oh, the carnage! Above is my growing pile of electronics that I have replaced since the lightning strike. Not seen is another bin containing surge protectors, a laptop, two routers, etc., etc., etc. I've received a third insurance reimbursement and the recovery goes on!

To recap, all of the central power components -- power supplies, command station, and boosters -- were replaced. A new, dedicated throttle bus (LocoNet and power) was built. All of the Berrett Hill Touch Toggles used at local control panels were replaced. The middle level (Lewistown Secondary) and top level (Milroy Secondary) are up and running.

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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 PRR Middle Division continues to recovery from the wrath of Mother Nature...

On August 9th, lightning struck a tree just 50' or so from the headquarters of the railroad (Catastrophe!). The surge travelled through the ground and foundation and caused significant damage to the electronics of the railroad. Then, later in the month, Hurricane Ida dumped 7" of rain in the area, resulting in a shallow pool of water in the basement of headquarters. Furthermore, a 70' tree uprooted and fell across the driveway just in front of the headquarters building, causing significant effort to remove it.