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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

UP 4-6-6-4 challenger decoder install (cont).

Normally, after installing the TCS 1517 decoder, I use decoderpro to test that all is good so I don't 'blow' a decoder but I've been getting 302 and 306 errors.  I think I've got the wrong com port but will have to do some more checking.  

Fortunately, all the wires were connected correctly and all's working.  I had to use the throttle to load in the address on the mainline, insuring all other engines are 'off line'.  The engine got the usual treatment: 8 pin connector between engine and tender, 4 pin connector between drivers and boiler, 2 pin connector between boiler and driver engine mounted headlight. 

Sound and all 13 LED's working (headlight is sitting on the drivers).  Adjusted the chuff rate to get 4 per revolution: this is always too high.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 47

The original weight was pretty wimpy with about a 3/4" square so a new one was created.  Some 1/16" thick lead 3"X9" rolled into a rod. 

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 48

Inserted from the front.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 49

The existing two holes were used to drill into the lead and use two phillip head screws to secure the lead weight.  Also, had to drill a hole for the front drivers support.  The spring inside was replaced with a stronger spring to support the additional boiler lead weight.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 50

I put the two sets of driver engines on the boiler and tested the running characteristics and it was barely moving: turns out I had to cut some of the boiler to make room for the front engine's universal shaft. 

The universal is white but I put some grease inside and some tape around it to insure it is quiet. 

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 51

The shaft now has enough room to clear the boiler. 

MMM; need to clean the lens, again!

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 52

Final assembly.

Detailed the cab with some white and red paint. 

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 53

All lights working.  

MMM: need to put some numbers on that front plate!

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 54

Still got one up on the nice stuff that MTH and BLI haven't done, yet, with their engines: running board lights. 

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Don't remember if they've adding firebox glow yet!

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 56

Some detailing on the boiler.  Painted the insides of the smoke stacks, hand rails and piping.  Red for knobs and brass for whistle and bell. 

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 57

Pop valves painted.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 62

Red on the grate shaker wheels. 

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Tender with back up head lights on...

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and off.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 60

A big engine but not compared to the C&O M-1 steam turbine!

Next is the road test pulling some freight on the mainline.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 61


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Last edited by samparfitt

UP 4-6-6-4 challenger test run on the mainline.

All worked well.  I don't think I've ever had a Tenshodo engine that didn't run well.  This one was noisy so a new can motor and gear set was installed along with a TCS 1517 decoder and 13 LED's.


leaving Seattle:

Shows how quiet engine is after regearing:

At Waverly:


At Tumwater Canyon trestle.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 63

At Chumstick Canyon trestle.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 64


UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 65

West of Waverly.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Why I always test my engines on the mainline, going east and west.

Testing the new UP 4-6-6-4 on the mainline, the engine and cars ran fine going East but West, the engine was shorting at one spot.  Not sure if cars or engine so separated the two and the engine was run very slowly and it shorted at the turnout.  Looking closely, one can see the air hose touches one of the turnout points.

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 68

Air hose is hanging too low: easy fix. 

UP 4-6-6-4 Tenshodo 69


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Last edited by samparfitt

GN M-2 2-6-8-0

Testing new decoder TCS 1517 install with new lights. Trying to have at least one of each class of GN engines with decoders. With 55" drivers, this engine will 'tie up' the mainline running at only 20-30 SMPH. It took about an hour to go East on the mainline. It was used on branch lines. Actually, this train length is 'over scale' in that they only ran with about 12-20 cars on the branch line.  A rather unusual wheel arrangement.  One of the few engines that I've weathered: I put a lot of time and work into painting my engines and, especially with multi colored engines, I want them to look 'pretty'.  Hiding all those colors defeats my purpose.


This engine was weighted many 'moons' ago with no room to run new LED wires so I had to route them under the running boards until I had access to the inside of the boiler. 

GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 12

Definitely not a high speed engine with 55" drivers.  These engines were converted to O-8 mikes 2-8-2's; they were the largest mikes ever made. 

GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 13

Even got some 'rust' spots on the tender; don't remember adding those but they look 'scale'!

GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 14


GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 15GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 16GN M-2 2-6-8-0 #1981 17

West of Wilmar.

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Noticed front truck wheels weren't 'rolling'; a little oil seems to fix that.

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Last edited by samparfitt

New delivery:

UP 10,000 4 car passenger set imported by AHM.  Not a whole lot of info on this product.  AHM didn't import much brass.  Import date is unknown as well as initial price.  Also, only says 'made in Japan' with no name on it for who built it.  It's in very pristine condition.  Factory painted. Motorized unit up front and in back.  

Full throttle, it runs about 100 SMPH!.  Will, either, install one or two TCS KAM4 (no sound) decoder/s in it.  Either one decoder with a couple wires going to the other motor or one decoder for each motor.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 01UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 02

Back truck and engine's front truck have power. 

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Has a can motor so, guessing, made in the late 70's.

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One car has trucks mounted on each end; the rest have just one truck and they all interconnect on pins. 

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There is a headlight (incandescent). 

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2nd car.

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Green interiors with seats.

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3rd car.

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Last car.

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Not a long train as was the prototype. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 13

The train is not regular height as they are lower than the top of a steam engine. 

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UP 10,000 decoder install.

Using a TCS KAM4 decoder (no sound but 'keep alive').  Will be using two decoders (front and back).  Ordered another KAM4 as I only had one.  

Easy access to motor housing group; all modular. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 15

One old incandescent bulb.

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UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 17

Never seen this before: no removable bottom.  The entire brass frame is one piece.  There are screws front and back that hold the seat assembly that slides in from the back of the engine structure. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 18

Nice: they already had some red plastic for the marker lights so I just glued some 0402 LED's to them.  Another for the headlight.  Some canopy glue used to secure them.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 19

Light test.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 20

This is too easy!  Doing steam, it takes a couple days with all the lights, connectors, etc.  Soldering all the wires for the KAM4 only took about an hour.  No connector made as all the wire were left long.  I'll just slide the decoder and wires into the body and secure the motor housing to the body.  

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 21

New delivery: more decoder hook up wire and more soldering tips for my soldering station. 

wire and soldering tips 01


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  • UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 21
  • wire and soldering tips 01

UP 10,000 decoder install (cont)

I changed my mind on decoders.  Usually, I get the KAM4  (no sound) because I use them for electrics.  I forgot that this is a diesel engine so I ordered the TCS WOW 101 for diesels (my first diesel decoder install- and probably the last!).  The decoder should arrive in a few days; meanwhile I disconnected the KAM4 from the front engine and installed in on the rear engine.

Removal same as for the front engine.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 22

While disassembling the model, I noticed that all the red striping is hand painted.  Excellent work.  Wish I could do that!

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 23

There was a little 'wavering' on the curved red line but about a 100 times better than what I could do. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 24

I took the 'plunge'.  Initially, I was thinking it's way too hard to drill out those rear marker lights as they are all brass and I have no duplicate for that paint if I scratch the surface.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 25

So much for caution! As we use to say in the Corps: no guts, no glory!  At least I taped up the area to prevent scratching the surface.  The 'lights' were rounded brass so I had to file them flat so the drill bit wouldn't 'wander'.

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The drill bit was inserted as far as possible in the chuck to reduce side play on the bit.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 27

It actually worked!  A couple 0402 LED's glued in place.  I want the rear lights to be on all the time (forwards or backwards)  so I connected the LED's to the green wire instead of the yellow wire. 

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Onto the programming track. 

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I switched over to SPROG programming software interface as I was having trouble with my old software packages.  I had to buy the SPROG hardware but only about 125 bucks.  

One new nice thing is I can execute all the functions on the decoder to see if they are working. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 30

My roster list had to be imported to SPROG.  The new UP 10,000 was updated.  I guess, in theory, one can go to 10,279 address but my digitrax throttle say 4 digits only so I inputted 1000.

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Here's the parameters for SPROG.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 32

All's working.  Even hooked up the motor correctly so it didn't run backwards!  Tried running with 3 cars but needs the front engine to move the entire train. 

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  • UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 33
Last edited by samparfitt

UP M-10,000 decoders installed (cont)

The TCS WOW1 for diesels with sound came in and I installed it in the engine.   I used SPROG to upload the address and check all sounds on the programming track and all's good.

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 34

The last car has a TCS KAM4 (no sound) for the rear engine assembly.  Looks like the WOW1 comes with momentum and the KAM4 without momentum as the last car's motor is running while the diesel's motor starts up slowly.  I'll have to do some research to find out how to match the two motors. 

UP M-10,000 4 car set FP AHM 35

This is my first diesel install (and probably the last) but the WOW1 has different 'prime mover' sounds.  The diesels all sound the same to me (nothing personal) but I figure I better try to input the correct (or close to correct) diesel sounds.  More research.  All I know is the engine was made by EMC.

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Images (3)
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Thanks for the kind words, Larry.   


Fixing an annoying circuit breaker problem.   

I've been having a problem with the  Digitrax DCS210 command station with 4 DB210 boosters and DCC specialties PSX-4 circuit breakers (CB's).   I've got the layout broken into 10 districts (D1-D12, 2 CB's not being used).  When running multiple trains and a short occurs in one district, resetting the problem CB causes all the CB's to blink on and off along with the boosters.  Larry the tech guy at DCC specialties had me add a SPST push button toggle and this works for one train running.   I've sent an email off to Larry but he must be busy.   Initially, a consensus was the layout has a common rail (from old DC days) which the manual says is a 'no no' so I cut all the common rail for each of the 10 districts and ran all new 14 gauge wire to each district; lots of fun crawling under the layout when you're 74 but I got it done!

Well, the separate common rails didn't work.  I started trying different scenarios and one was putting a SPST slide switch on the output side of each CB via the ground.   Surprisingly this works but a 3 step process is needed.

1. When a short will occur in a district, the CB's center LED will come on and Digitrax doesn't try to reset it.  The normal procedure was to reset it to see if it was just momentary.  If the short wasn't momentary, Digitrax and the CB's would start blinking constantly.  I tried changing a digitrax switch cv from 't' to 'c' to delay resetting by 0.5 seconds but that didn't work.  I've looked at the PSX-4 manual and it has some CV's that can be modified but I was hoping Larry would guide me to which ones, if any, could be changed to remedy this problem.

NOTE: this seems to only happen on the boosters.  The command station works 'as it should' when a quarter is placed on the tracks. 

2.  The new procedure is, after a short, to put the right slide switch to OFF and then reset the left push button and then go to step 3.

3.  Push the right slide switch back to ON.  If the short still exists, the PSX-4 will still indicate it (center LED) but Digitrax and the DB will not 'fight' each other.  Not sure why but on the first short, no problems but, when resetting the CB, all 'h@ll' breaks loose!

All the CB's are above the old main control panel and, easily, visible when a short occurs. 

DCC PSX circuit breaker 22

Along with the reset button on the left of each CB is, now, an ON/OFF slide switch on the right side.  

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I'm not sure how many hours I spent running wire under the layout and installing all the new wire to the CB's, etc but my last district that needed updating took me about 3 hours to resolve.  There were two ground wires connected to the common side of the 2 tracks leading to the interchange but I couldn't find the other 2 wires that were also connected to the common rails.....

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Finally, I found them; they were a foot away, on the back side of the rails and I completely missed them.  Who puts another set of ground wires only a foot away: I have no idea why I did that 40 years ago!  I started at 7:30 this morning and just finished the remainder of this project at 6 PM.  I kept talking to myself questioning the 'validity of my conception' but shear luck won out.  Now I can get something to eat.

One last note: The layout occupies a 33'X47' basement so wire runs are pretty long.  Most of my previous wiring, usually, had 2 ground wires (same with hot side), going to each block.  I 'cheated' and didn't connect all ground wires coming down from the track.  I've read where 'they' say you should have feeders for every section of track.  When building the layout 40 years ago, I used all jumper wires between each 3' piece of rail (no rail joiners used).  I testing one engine and all worked fine with sound, etc when testing over the entire mainline.  Hopefully, there's no loss of signal when I run multiple trains. If so, more crawling around under the layout!





Thinking about it, when I was building the layout, I had the PFM sound system and lots of 'feeds' were needed or the chuff would be 'lost'.  The extra feeds a foot apart, probably, resolved a 'chuff' problem.  Even today, I feel the PFM sound system had an outstanding sound (the bell was hokey until System II came out with tapes).  I still miss the 'hiss' for brake release coming down grade: not sure why the decoder people don't add that!  It seems like 3 hours resolving the problem but was, probably, closer to 1 or 1.5 hrs (just seemed like it).

DCC PSX circuit breaker 25


Images (4)
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Last edited by samparfitt

Replacing railroad ties.

Another railroader and I went to Sharonville, Ohio to watch ties getting replaced.

There are 39 machines and 53 men needed.  Most machines have duplicates and some do one side while another does the opposite side.  New spikes are used, old tie plates and anchors used along with new anchors. They don't collect the old spikes: just push them into the ballast.  The new spikes are gray coated.  The tie ends have metal 'grates' to keep them from cracking.  I'm sure they miss the good ol' days when this was all done with manual labor!  I think I got the bulk of the videos in the order that each is done!  To 'catch' most of the action, we had to face the sun.  The crew are all NS as is the equipment. It took about an hour for all the machines to pass so, even though it's automated, it's still a slow process.


Spike puller and marks the ties to be replaced with red paint:

Moves old plates off ties

Track tie remover:

Picks up the old ties:


The CLAW adjusts the new ties next to the track:

This machine finishes inserting the ties:

These guys put the tie plates back on the new ties:

One of the few manual things done.

This machine lifts the rail so the old metal tie plate can be inserted.

This machine drives 2 spikes on one rail: another machine does the other rail.

Pushes ballast back towards the rail:

Ballast tamper:

Secures the rail anchors.

This machine installs new anchors.

This machine can reach out about 16' to bring ballast to the track. Makes multiple passes to smooth out the ballast.

Has rubber 'fingers' to smooth the ballast along the ties.

 Most of the new ties are placed ahead of the track crew.  They carry extra ties on a cart, just in case. 

The ties weigh about 150 lbs so they, probably, don't worry about them getting stolen!

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Last edited by samparfitt

Been a rough two days!

Sewer pipe was clogged. 

I rented an auger but it didn't do anything.  Had RotoRooter come out and they have an industrial size auger.  The guy said the rentals are good for 2" pipes, maybe 3" and the soil pipe is 4".  He used 3 different size augers, each larger than the previous, to root out the tree roots.  The cast pipe had a crack in the bottom and the roots found it.  I've got maple trees where the roots travel along the surface. I've got a 13'X33' 'screened in' porch and the roots found the leak next to the foundation!  My reciprocating  saw is coming out to cut them at the edge of the porch.  Had to dig up the dirt to get to the bad part of the line.  I did the back breaking digging while he did the 'augering'.  It's, also, really hard cutting through the cast iron pipe.  Had to use some diamond blades on the reciprocating saw.  Some PVC pipe and rubber couplings fixed everything.  He suggested another access next to the foundation so I put one in besides the one out in the back yard.  One nice result is I'm down to 185 lbs.  Been hanging around low 190's and, finally, got to my desired weight, and it only cost me 800 bucks!


When your tub becomes your overflow when you flush the toilet you know you've 'got problems in river city'!

sewer line 03

Not easy digging between the porch floor joists.  Had to use a post hole digger.

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New pipe with access.

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Removed the basement access for better analysis.  Fortunately, my drain goes out the side of the basement and not at floor level.

sewer line 04

Nice clear water running again, yeah!

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He did his 'augering' from the back yard access.

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The porch carpet got destroyed so that will be replaced.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Absolutely, Sam.  I recall In the mid ‘90s when our drain field junction box caved in.  Fortunately, it didn’t back up in the basement, and since it was downstream of the septic tank we didn’t have to abandon and put in a sand mound.

Also, a couple years earlier we had 40 inches of heavy snow that made the lofted ceiling And roof sag.  Our insurance agent approved the contractor adding a huge laminated beam and it all worked out.

Everyone was safe and healthy so all was okay

GNRW ops session.

The updates to the Digitrax and circuit breakers worked very well as any shorts by one train didn't affect any other trains in other districts.   All went well, trains as well as the pizza!  Most were gone by midnight with a few until 1:30 AM.  After ops, the usual train talk plus an engine that was brought was 'operated on' so it would run plus some re-attachment of parts. 

Joe getting his new SP F-3's ready when Dave runs the GN empire builder with a P-2 4-8-2 mountain.

GNRW OPS Aug 15, 2020 01

GN empire builder.

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C&O Allegheny. 

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Bob running the Allegheny while Joe did some dispatcher's work. 

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Empire builder just West of St. Paul. 

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Paul testing his newly painted and decoder installed PRR switcher.

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Pizza time: it vaporized in about 5 minutes: guess everyone was hungry!

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Dave at Glacier with Empire Builder.

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Bob with Allegheny at Wilmar taking on water.

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Dave's Empire builder taking on water at Tye.

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Joe's SP F-3's at Tumwater Canyon trestle. 

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Joe's took a full 43 car yard track length train out of Seattle. 

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SP's at Whitefish. 

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Rarity: 3 trains, all heading East on 3 levels. 

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John's N&W A 2-6-6-4 freight drag.

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Bob resting while the Allegheny enters the upper staging tracks. 

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N&W A at Marias Pass.

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Paul's PRR switcher getting a 'drink'.

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Mainline plenty active.

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John's N&W A freight drag.

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Bob's Allegheny in the 'hole' waiting for East bound train.

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Joe's SP A-B-B-A F-3's.

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I removed about 100 cars out of St. Paul to make room for any incoming trains. 

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Dave took over Seattle's yard hog duties.

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PRR switcher west of Wilmar.

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N&W A at Wilmar.

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C&O Allegheny just leaving the turntable. 

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PRR switcher at Tye.

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GN C-1 0-8-0 is used for handling incoming trains. 

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Bob's NYC Niagara 4-8-4 passenger train at Skykomish. 

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All done, with running trains, that is!  Not sure where Bob is but I missed him in the picture!

GNRW OPS Aug 15, 2020 34

N&W A dropped off train at incoming track and, now, heading to the roundhouse. 

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Today, I spent a couple hours getting the Swan River logging railroad ready to operate. 

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  • logging railroad 59
Last edited by samparfitt


Found this:

This is the former Big Four Railroad train depot built in 1909 on Charles Street near what is now State Road 122.

"The Big Four" was the name popularly given to the famous and influential businessmenphilanthropists and railroad tycoons who built the Central Pacific Railroad, (C.P.R.R.), which formed the western portion through the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States, built from the mid-continent at the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean during the middle and late 1860s.[1] Composed of Leland Stanford, (1824–1893), Collis Potter Huntington, (1821–1900), Mark Hopkins (1813–1878), and Charles Crocker, (1822–1888), the four themselves, however, personally preferred to be known as "The Associates."[2]




The active track is Norfolk Southern.

Last edited by samparfitt

Expansion of the passenger terminal from 9 tracks to 12 tracks.

Multiple reasons:

1)  Have 3 passenger trains in the Seattle's freight yard which completely fills up the freight yard so no 'shuffling of cars' is possible.

2)  Will now be able to have trains enter the St. Paul yard and vise versa.

3) good time to remove escape turnouts that I thought would be needed but are useless.


Escape turnouts that were removed.  I can used two of the turnouts for the new track leads and I have a spare left hand for the third track lead.


Ripped all the plywood and homosote in the shop.  I figured I needed 6.5" of new table for the 3 new tracks. 


Last year, when I built the 9 track table, I left a 2" overhang on the front in case I needed to narrow the table.  In this case it came in handy as a support for the new extension.  In this case, I made a secondary sub by screwing it to the underside of the old table.  This secondary ply is 8.5" wide (6.5" for 3 tracks plus 2" for the overhang). 


There was no overhang along the curved section so I just screwed supports (1"X 2") along the old table plus an angled piece to support the new extension. 


A second layer of 1/2" ply was laid on the secondary support to align with the original table.  The 1/2" homosote will then be secured to this layer of ply.


A jig saw was used for the curved piece of ply.


Tomorrow, the homosote will be cut.


I used a lot of screws to secure the secondary (bottom sheet) ply to the original ply table.   It's sturdy enough for the trains but, thinking about it, I better put a couple angle braces at each end in case some 'giant' leans on it!


The first turnout was inserted into the original track lead.  The 2nd and 3rd turnout will be done after the extension is completed.  It didn't take long to get this far.  Flew my RC planes today and started on this project around 3 and stopped around 9 PM.


There are 3 long passenger trains tying up the Seattle's freight yard. 


100 cars were removed from the St. Paul freight yard so 'traffic' can resume between the two cities. 

The upper interchange/staging tracks has 3 tracks so 2 trains could, also, be stored there and still allow through freight on one track. 

SOP on both yards: a long drill track so the switcher doesn't 'tie up' the mainline or incoming/departing trains.  Three incoming/outgoing tracks with escape turnouts at the end so mainline engines can 'cut off' the train and head for the roundhouse.  The switcher accesses the cars from the opposite end.



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Last edited by samparfitt

Thanks, Mark.  I've got a PorterCable jig saw.  Works well but the dust flies in your face while observing where the blade is.


Passenger yard expansion (cont).

Table work done.

Carpenter's glue and roofing nails to secure the homosote to the sub ply and dry wall screws to secure that to the secondary ply.   Drew the track guide lines for when the track arrives: Hopefully this week.



Angled support installed.  With the height and width of the table being different, I needed a 54 degree cut at the floor level and a 40 degree cut at the table level.  Some flat head cabinet screws were used to secure the angled braces to the table.  With the floor and wall supporting the bottom of the brace, I didn't even use a screw at that location.  Naturally, the holes were pre-drilled to prevent wood splitting. 



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Passenger yard expansion (cont)

Three turnouts installed along with the manual 'hand throws'.  The 3 new leads will be about 15' long which should be enough length for the 3 passenger trains in the freight yard. 

Not a whole lot done but spent some time this evening on the track.

The 25 pieces of track was shipped out today from NJ so it should arrive in about 3 days.



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Last edited by samparfitt

Engine prep and painting.

Track for the new 3 extra tracks in the passenger yard won't be in until Monday so might as well paint an engine (first of the season).

I thought I'd do the Texas & Pacific 2-10-4 since it's multi-colored and a different shade of green than my GN roster.

The engine was made in 1978 by Samhongsa which is a very good builder. 

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 01

This is what I hope it will look like when I'm done!

T&P 2-10-4 painted 01

The engine has a lot of detail including lanyards to the bell and whistle.  I tested it on DC to insure the engine runs well.

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 18

Since a TCS decoder with sound and keep alive will be installed plus all the LED's, some drilling needed to be done.

Tender got speaker holes.  Started with a small drill bit and enlarged it with a second bit. 

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 19

A rectangular hole was 'dremeled' out for the decoder wires and connector.

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A large Canon motor along with a brass universal was installed by the builder. 

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 21

Holes drilled out for LED's in marker lights, headlight, under running boards, cab and tender lights.

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 22

Since multi-colored, anything that can be removed to save on masking was removed.  In this case the steam and sand dome could be removed.  A screw held each to the boiler from inside the structure. 

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Compressor shield fell off and had to be resistor soldered back onto the front pilot. 

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Everything that can be removed by screws, is!  These parts will be baked after paining.

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All non painted parts kept in order of removal, side rods, springs, etc.

Wheels that will be painted but not baked since they have insulators on one side. 

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Vinegar and dish washing soap and a tooth brush (use the spouses, not yours!) to clean up all parts to remove oil, etc. and then rinsed.

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All parts air blasted to get most of the water off.

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One very old toaster oven to insure all water is removed from all parts.  200 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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All wheels and parts that need to conduct electricity is masked off.  Glass, masking tape and an X-acto knife does the 'trick'. 

Wheel treads masked.

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Tender contact points and truck axle supports. 

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First coat of two applied to all parts.   200 degrees for 2 hours. 

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Tools of the trade.  All done in my detached shop with two 9' doors open for lots of circulation.

Some cardboard on the table saw works well.

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My paint of choice.  Usually diluted around 40-50 percent.  Enamel base. 


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Last edited by samparfitt


Lots of fun.  Spent the whole day working on my two hobbies.  The 'idiot box' has been unplugged for about a month now and I'm getting lots done and don't miss the TV a 'bit'. 

This morning my friend and I did some warbird formation flying.

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After I got home, worked on the T&P 2-10-4 paint project.

Masked off the boiler and piston cylinders for the light green paint.

Lots of small pieces of masking tape.

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Again, glass and metal straight edge to cut the tape.

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Running boards.

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Always fun masking around the cab!

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A few of the larger items to remain black were masked on top of the boiler, bell, generator, etc.

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Paper towels to cover rest of boiler that isn't getting green paint.

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All parts covered as spray paint has a bad habit of finding open areas  that aren't suppose to be painted!

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Including back of cab.

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Piston cylinders masked.

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Paint used. 

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Last night I put a second coat of black on all the parts.  All other colors only get one coat.  Not much is needed so the spray bottle was used to mix in some reducer and, after spraying, anything left in the spray bottle is thrown out so as to not contaminate the original bottle by dumping this used paint into it.

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Only takes a few minutes to complete this job.  I spray at about a 45 degree angle one direction and then the opposite direction (sides and top) and then shoot horizontally to insure full coverage. 

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For me the piping is too small to mask so those parts get hand painted with a brush as brush marks aren't noticeable on narrow surfaces. 

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Lots of piping to get painted black.

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Some touch up with black also needed on piston cylinders.

Still have to mask for the silver smoke box and the red cab roof. 

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While the paint was 'cooking' in the toaster oven for 2 ours, the post office delivered my 25 pieces of Atlas track.


The small scale spike on the right was used when I spiked all my rail to wooden ties.  The large spike on the left was used to secure the Atlas track to the homosote. 


Got all the track spiked down in the 2 hours while the paint was 'cooking.  This goes a lot faster than hand laying track!  Not pretty but functional and good enough for the passenger/staging yard.  



A couple cars used to insure clearances are met.  The straight track is on 2" centers but I added an extra 1/4" on the curves. 


Six pieces of 3' sections of track were 'left over'.  Electrical and plexiglass guard will be  done, next. 



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Last edited by samparfitt

T&P 2-10-4 prep and painting (cont):

Cab and smoke box taped off  to add paint.

T&P 2-10-4 sunset 50

A small amount of smoke box gray added to graphite and oil to tone down the graphite and oil.  Oxide red for cab roof.

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Tools of the trade.  A 50 year old single action Binks is used with pressure gauge and air filters.

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This is what I have in my detached shop but.....

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these small portable ones will do 'just as nice'.

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Both done at once.

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Fine paint brush to paint the piping, etc. Before painting, I dip the brush in enamel reducer (enamel paint) or alcohol (water base paint)  before dipping in paint to help make it easier to clean the brush when done painting.

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Came with this set from Michael's craft store. 

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Not a big demand for T&P decals so I had to buy a general lettering set.

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Since I had to put each letter on the tender I used some masking tape as a guide working from the center out.

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I find I get better alignment of the letters by looking at an angle versus straight on.

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'610' added to cab and sand dome.  I use a brush to paint the fire box.

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Different fluids that can be used to secure the decals (last one for making windows).  I've been using Solvaset for decades and this bottle is decades old.  A very fine, soft brush is used to apply the Solvaset and once applied, don't touch it until it thoroughly dries and then add some more, if needed, to secure any bubbles.

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After all painting, touch ups of piping, etc and decals are completed, a final coat of clear to seal everything and to make it durable. 

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As with the paint, bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees.

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Including wheels.  Again, air dry these parts.

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It took about 3 applications of paint to touch up all the piping, etc.  I used gold for the brass bell, popetts, etc, red for handles plus inside the cab (also white in the cab for the dials).   The fine brush used to paint parts needs to be cleaned often as the paint can start to dry on the end of the brush.  Care must be done when painting the piping.  I, usually, put the brush at a 90 degree angle and rub the side of the brush along the pipes: that way, less chance of touching the boiler's green paint. Also, very little paint used to keep the paint from capillary action if pipe is close to the boiler.  Sometimes I get a small amount of black on the green boiler so I used a wet toothpick (saliva) to clean it off since it's still wet while the green boiler paint is dry.  

One needs to be careful with the graphite and oil as, I think it has metal flakes in it: even if it doesn't, even after baking, it can be sensitive to marring so the smoke box is always done last. 

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Into the oven to bake.  The clear coat also seals the decals so one doesn't see the edges. 

Before purchasing this engine I made sure I could acquire decals for it.  They make lots of decals for the 'popular' roads but a lot are not made for small railroads.  A lot of railroads have 'fancy' emblems on the side of the tenders: I lucked out with the T&P as the name was just spelled out.   Before purchasing an RF&P 4-8-4, I made sure they had decals for it.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Thanks, Mark.


Passenger yard (cont);

Electrical and turnout control completed.

Now have a 12 track passenger yard.  The remaining 5 passenger train sets now stored in the passenger yard.  Two of the train sets are short and fit at the back of two tracks. 



The two short trains sets: UP M-10,000 and the Milwaukee Hudson and 3 cars.


Nothing fancy on controls: simple SPST toggles to power each track...


and manual turnout throws. 



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