Merry Christmas everyone!  It is pouring rain today, December 23, 2019, just as it was during the SLHRS winter show that was held the weekend of December 7 and 8.  Here are some photos from the show:

This is the Depot's front porch.  We are holding a train and cookie sale.  Note that the porch's front steps are in the process of being replaced.  This is a $4,000 project.  Thirty year old rotten redwood was taken out and replaced by concrete at the bottom of the steps.


This is a Lion Chief engine pulling a Lionel Christmas car train across Norris Falls.  This engine has been converted to battery power but it still uses the Lion Chief controller and electronics.  We have found that Lion Chief engines are some of the best running engines for shows and for operation in the rain.  The oldest Christmas car in this train dates from 1987.


We normally have elaborate snow scenes for our holiday shows.  We put out ceramic buildings for this show because they will be OK in the rain.


A few hardy visitors attended the show.  The kids are holding Lion Chief controllers and running trains on the children's layout.


This is a closeup of future O gauge engineers.  I think that the blue controller is for Thomas and the green for Percy.  The color codes are wonderful for this application.  


Here is a better view of the battery powered Lion Chief Santa engine.  Converting Lion Chief engines to battery power is fairly easy because you can connect the battery directly to the stock electronics and use the Lion Chief controller to operate the train.  


Here are more visitors during a break between cloud bursts.


These two kids are operating a sound box on the children's display.  It has buttons that blow train horns, cows mooing, dogs barking, etc.


This Lionel Lion Chief Polar Express train on the lower level of the children's display was big hit.


The display walkways were continually flooded throughout the day.  The black bars on the left are the railings for the front porch.  They will be reinstalled after more rotten redwood is replaced.  The thirty year old wood fence is scheduled for replacement in 2020.  The estimated cost to replace the 80 foot long fence is $5,000.  The walkways will eventually be replaced by pavers.  This is another very expensive project.  


This is an older conventional Lionel Christmas Story train running in the rain.  


This is an old Lionel G gauge engine that was purchased at a train show.  Its motors and gearing were replaced and an Air-wire command control system with sound installed.   It is now a good runner.


This is an all Lionel Christmas box car train.  The engine is conventional and is from about 2003.  It has a small horizontal can motor powering each truck.  


All of us at the SLHRS and G&O crew wish all of our OGR Forum friends a Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.

NH Joe


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I thought that I would post some photos of the San Leandro Depot that I took on December 23, 2019.  NH Joe

The Depot was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1898 to serve the farming community of San Leandro.  It is located on Orchard Avenue in Thrasher Park.  The Depot was moved into Thrasher Park by the SLHRS in 1988 and fully restored.  A large John Armstrong designed HO layout was built inside.  Construction on the G&O garden railroad started in 2008.


This is a photo of the Depot's front.  This side was facing the Souther Pacific mainline between Oakland and San Jose.  The original Depot had a freight house next to it.  The freight house was torn down before the SLHRS acquired the building.


Here is a front view.  The SLHRS is replacing the porch front steps. 


Here is a view of the other side.


This is a view taken from across Orchard Avenue.  Note the operational train order signal.


Here is another view taken from the Orchard Avenue side of the building.  The G&O children's display is directly behind the black iron gates.  The 80 foot wood fence on the right side of the photo is scheduled for replacement in 2020.  The large light yellow building with a gray roof at the far end of the G&O is an abandoned Delmonte Foods warehouse.  The gray building at to the right of the fence is a private home.


Here is another view of the back of the Depot showing the G&O display and the Delmonte Foods warehouse.


Here is a closer view of the working train order signal.  The arms can be moved by levers inside the Depot office.  Restoring the signal to working condition and installing it was a long and challenging project.  The Delmonte Foods warehouse can be seen on the far side of the Depot.  Food processing was a big business in San Leandro for many years.  The city holds an annual Cherry Festival to celebrate its agricultural past.  




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The G&O crew has had a tradition for the past ten years of running trains on New Years morning.  The crew meets at about 10 a.m., run trains for a coupe of hours, and then go to lunch.  It is a wonderful start to a New Year.  These photos were taken January 1, 2020.  NH Joe

This is the G&O crew.  From left to right:  Mark Boyd, Gino Cerelli, Lawrence Cappuccio, Nancy Lagomarsino, Glen Gillio, Jacques Verdier, and Paul Salminen.  Missing:  Myself (behind the camera), Bill Alexander, John Bouey, Jeff Zolfarelli, Nancy Norris, Alex Cruz and Tom Blinn.  We are lucky to have a great group!


This is my SP 4449 at Coupler Curve.  It is an older brass Williams model that has been converted to TMCC.  It is pulling a mix of K-Line and MTH cars.  


Another view of the Daylight at Norris Falls.


This is the end of the train. The 21 inch observation car is K-Line.


The Daylight and a G gauge SP freight are approaching Bouey Canyon.  The two SP GP7s are old Lionel G gauge models that have been converted to battery power.  They have a full sound and light package.  


This is the Daylight crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.  The actual Golden Gate Bridge is only for automobiles and trucks.  This is the second GGB on the G&O.  It will be replaced next month (Feb. 2020) with a metal GGB that will be a more accurate model.  The G gauge staging yard is below the bridge.


The rear of the Daylight.


Here is a Lionel UP Western Pacific heritage SD70ACE pulling the Golden State at Coupler Curve.


Here is a Lionel UP freight pulling a load of new automobiles at Coupler Curve.


What better way to start the New Year than to run a train that honors your grandkids?


One boy and three girls!  No, these are not not my grandkids!  Grand Dad is very proud.


The box cars are by Lionel.  Grand dad is going to go broke if his kids keep having babies.  


Super cute!


I will end with a photo of this G gauge train at Bouey Canyon.  Happy New Year and O Gauge Railroading to All!





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Here are a few photos of battery powered engines on the G&O.  The G&O is a little different in that we have both O gauge and G gauge battery powered engines.  

The two Lionel engines below are battery powered and have remote control using the Airwire system.  They have a full light and sound systems.  


The two G gauge engines below were made by Lionel over a decade ago.  They have been converted to battery power and remote control using the Airwire system.  The O gauge Daylight on the bridge is a Williams brass engine that was converted to TMCC.


The train on the trestle has Legacy control.  The O gauge engines on the lower level are are the same ones seen in the first photo.  


Here is another photo of the two G gauge battery powered engines.  These locomotives have a full light and sound system.  



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Joe, Those are really nice engines.  When I was first reading I thought maybe all the club's engines were converted to battery.  So are some tracks setup for TMCC and Legacy, while other tracks have no power to the rails and those are for battery powered engines?

Mark Boyce posted:

Joe, Those are really nice engines.  When I was first reading I thought maybe all the club's engines were converted to battery.  So are some tracks setup for TMCC and Legacy, while other tracks have no power to the rails and those are for battery powered engines?


Only a handful of engines are battery powered.  Members are just getting started installing batteries.  As you might guess, club members own more G gauge battery powered engines than O gauge.  The O gauge battery powered engines belong to a crew members who is heavily into radio control and electronics.  Most of us run our engines using Lionel or MTH engines straight from the box.  I have converted some of my conventional engines to TMCC using ERR (now Golden Gate) products.

I believe that the battery power will begin to be the power choice for most model railroaders in all scales in the future.  The primary problem with battery power right now is cost.  A full battery conversion with sound, lights, etc. is in the $200 to $300 range.  It is hard to rip out a perfectly working Legacy or DCS system and convert to battery.  This is why all the early conversions on the G&O have been to conventional engines.

Another problem with battery power is that there are several companies making battery systems.  The systems are not compatible in the sense that you can't use Brand A's controller to run Brand B's battery powered engines.  This is a big difference from DCC where any brand DCC controller will run any DCC engine.

 You have to pick a brand and stick with it.  These are all small companies that may or may not be around in the future.  I think that the first manufacturer who comes up with a battery powered engine and 2-rail track system will be a big winner.  NH Joe

Joe, Thank you for the very nice explanation.  That all makes sense.  Cost of batteries, conversions, incompatibility between manufacturers all need resolved in time.  I was thinking maybe some tracks had power and some didn't, which may be true on the G scale.

Mark Boyce posted:

Joe, Thank you for the very nice explanation.  That all makes sense.  Cost of batteries, conversions, incompatibility between manufacturers all need resolved in time.  I was thinking maybe some tracks had power and some didn't, which may be true on the G scale.


 All the tracks are powered - both G and O gauge.  This allows us to run battery and Legacy/DCS engines on the same track at the same time.  This is especially nice when we operate over the mountain line with pushers.  The lead engines are Legacy/DCS and the pushers at the rear are battery powered.  It takes two crew members to coordinate running the train.  The O gauge track power is normally 22 volts all the time.

The G gauge tracks are powered with straight DC using a Bridgewerks transformer.  The output of the transformer is usually set at 20 plus volts all the time.    The transformer's power is sent through the Crest Revolution track power regulation system before it goes to the track.  This unit allows us to regulate the track power using a handheld device.  This allows a conventional G gauge engine to be controlled in both directions and blow the horn, etc.  This is not the Crest Revolution battery system that sends a radio signal directly to the engine.  

We also have engines using the Crest Revolution battery system.  This controls engines with a radio signal directly to the engine.  This allows us to run battery powered and conventional DC engines on the same track at the same time with total control of both.  The battery powered engines are insulated from the track.  They keep doing their thing no matter what the track voltage is including crashing into the back of a stopped conventional engine.    NH Joe

2 Feb 2020 - There always seems to be unique challenges with garden railroading.  The fence blew down between the G&O and our neighbors today.  The wind is still blowing very hard.  The fence is 30 years old and was budgeted for replacement later this year.  It will be sooner instead of later.  NH Joe



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