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.
I've added axle detection to about a quarter of the freight car fleet. I'm building out the "static" trains in staging as well as designating a pool of interchange cars to move in and out of Lewistown.
I'm continuing to generate waybills for online customers. This will be an on-going process, even after operations commence.
I've also been creating advanced consists for road locomotives. The main line trains will have two to four locomotives at head. During the decoder programming process, I am also adjusting each unit's master volume to a more appropriate level.
An extensive amount of QC (quality control) has gone into running on the main line. Every route was tested repeatedly for point closure and adjusted, if needed.
I am projecting a shakedown op session in about three months and regular sessions by summer. I also plan to host an open house for the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society's annual meeting in May.
Due to the pandemic, I had to cancel plans to attend the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show in January, but I am still hopeful to attend the RPM Valley Forge in March.