The Woodstock Model Railroad Club invites you to come along with as together we build an empire. Stay tuned for progress updates, tips and techniques. All comments are welcome. Email

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friday update

Bill, Glen and I did some running, funny thing we all arrived at Lincoln at the same time. The track to Zorra Cement was reworked and the backdrop was rearranged so that all the backdrop factories are to the east end of the city. A gravel road was put in front of this part of the backdrop. Glen brought in the new station for Wellington, wait till you see it, wow, but that's his story. Moved the lumber yard in Lincoln, behind Hay Co., don't know why it wasn't there already. Would be nice to get a siding into it. Ballasted the track and completed the ground cover in this area.  Glen will bring in a school to put in the area vacated by the lumber yard. Bill and Glen marked a couple of areas of poor electric contact with blue push pins, I'm sure there will be lots more.
white area is where track was lifted, backdrop rearranged

new site of lumber yard and new ground cover applied

now with only 3 trans running how did we all end up here?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff

The first full night of running using the car cards. Bedlam and mayhem, perhaps not, but there is a learning curve which is compounded with track and wiring problems.  Next week we should try just running short way freights to get everyone familiar with how the waybills work. I did find a few card errors, which will be corrected. I think everyone enjoyed the experience and learned at least one thing, IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO SWITCH, even a small train. I think we only ran 3 trains in total. Don and Rick ran 2 trains and Glen and Doug ran 1, hampered by the track cleaner most of the run. A few ideas did surface. We could move the Elsewhere turntable acoss from the Programming track.  We could use the tracks leading to Elsewhere, to run around our trains, freeing up Elsewhere track 2 to store another passenger train or more rolling stock. Everone should carry a track cleaner and clean dirty track they encounter. Another thought, every train should have an empty hopper, not to be switched but to carry a few red cards and push pins, until we correct track, wiring and rolling stock problems.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday update

More scenery was added to the wye, by Glen, it is already looking like part of the layout and there is still more to be done. Bill cleaned track helped set up the card system.  The card system is all set up with every car in the correct location and every car card has a way bill in it.  We still have to decide on how to set up the log train and if we will have more passenger trains running.  Two sidings in Lincoln have been repurposed. One between Hay Co. and Buckley Mill is now a piggy back ramp. The track in front of the Lincoln stock yard is now a team track. The team track will be used to manually unload a variety of car types like box cars and flat cars and gondolas. Because we will be running with the car card system, a lot of cars set at sidings, like tank cars at Coastal oil, we're sent back to Elsewhere, as they no longer have to protect those sidings, that is, keep them from being used as yards.  Problems I see with our first operating session are, first a learning curve on the proper use of the car card system. Second, we will find every problem with the track, I hope we have enough push pins (to identify problem areas). Third, we will find any problem rolling stock, the red cards (used to identify problem rolling stock) will be a hot commodity. Fourth, any bottleneck areas will become apparent.  Fifth, the proper scheduling of trains, will most likely have to be worked out. Sixth, not everyone knows the location of every town, let alone what industries are there.  The fact that the towns are alphabetically  in order should help. One rule about the card system not talked about is, if you are to deliver a piece of rolling stock, to a siding and it is full, that rolling stock, with it's car card and waybill, will just be taken to the destination yard (the last yard for your train) and set out there, to be delivered another time.
right hand siding is the team track

piggy back ramp

scenery on the wye

some of the car cards and waybill holders

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff

Finally got in our meeting for the month, we decided to start running with the card system next week.  So we ran a simple freight with everyone watching. To find and solve rolling stock and track/electrical problems we will red flag car cards and put in push pins for track or electrical problems.  Sure enough on the first trial we found a dead track at Valleyview, and problems with the track to ADM Grain. Everyone grasp the logic of the car card system and are looking forward to running with it. We even came up with some ideas to make it work better. One was to have a yard master work Wellington and set up departing freight trains, Trent jumped at the idea. The waybills for the Iceing platform will be revised to take out the double step in the process to avoid confusion.  The through freights to Tuck and Sunset were talked about and changed so that all the rolling stock at either location, does not have to be changed on each run. As an example only 4 cars at Tuck could be changed instead of  all 8. I'm sure other ideas will surface.  Trent came up with the idea to make some of the freights unit trains, for instance all the pick up and deliver waybills would be tank cars for Coastal Oil, never really thought of that, should be interesting.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Coupler check list

The first thing to check is the coupler height. If both couplers are too low they can be raised by shimming up the trucks, which raises the car body to which the couplers are attached.  If only one is too low then only shim the truck at that end of the car. If one or both are too high put shims between the coupler gear box and the frame of the car, or there may be too many shims on the trucks.
Parts of the coupler.
Draft gear box and lid, or the case that holds the coupler assembly. Some are held together with a metal snap lid, some are glued together and some have a mounting screw which holds it together and holds it in place. Make sure this screw is not too tight.
Bronze centering spring, make sure it is not bent out of shape.
Shaft, knuckle and knuckle spring. Make sure it has no burrs and moves freely. A hint, when replacing the spring first put a loop of thread thought it so when it goes flying, and it will, you can find it.
Trip pin should be checked and adjusted for the proper height.
When assembled, the coupler should move from side to side easily and center itself.  The lubricate the knuckle and inside the assembly with a puff of powered graphite.

Freight car truck check list

To  keep our rolling stock operating correctly here are some things to check.
First make sure the under frame is properly installed on the car body. Then look at the trucks.
    Parts of a truck. 
King pin hole, it should turn freely on the king pin, but not be too loose. The king pin in most cases will be a screw, which should not be too tight or loose. One truck should turn freely, but not rock side to side, the other should be able to rock a little. The king pin screw should be close to the same diameter as the king pin hole. The inside of the king pin hole should be smooth. 
Center plate, or the area around the king pin hole. Should be smooth and mate well with the under body of the car.
Bolster and springs, or the bar connecting the side frames.  Some of these have springs at the ends, make sure they are all there and that the bolster seats properly.
Side frames, should not be twisted or warped.
Journal boxes, hold the axle ends. These should be smooth and can be reamed with a reamer. Remove any lint or foreign material.
Wheel sets, make sure the wheels are in gauge. If the flange is too large so that they hit the tie heads, they should be replaced. Clean the wheel tread with alcohol on a q-tip. The axle end should be clean and free of foreign material.  The axles should spin freely in the journals. If they don't, the side frames may be too tight or twisted.
The center plate, king pin and hole, journals and axle ends should all be lubricated, sparingly, I use a soft lead pencil, rubbing it on all the surfaces.
After doing the above procedures the rolling stock should roll freely, if not you may need to replace the wheels and or wheel sets.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wellington is now a city

The city of Wellington now has a backdrop.
Painting in clouds to hide edges

another section of Ralph's backdrop

backdrop extends almost to the cement plant

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tuesday Night at the Huff and Puff

    Again weather conditions keep a lot of our members at home and as a result we postponed our meeting for 2 weeks.  The wye got a coat of paint, ballast and grass.  We also installed a safety latch to keep the wye in the open position when needed.  A snap switch was added to the turnout at the west end of Valleyview so we don't have to reach over the coal mine.  A whole bunch of feeders on turnouts, we're soldered in.  The manual turntable at Elsewhere was wired back in and is now functional. Six fluorescent lights were replaced, very enlightening.  With the instillation of the train order card box, the card system is ready to go.
    It is understood that rolling stock that is always causing problems, disrupts the operations for everyone, so I suggest we try a triple knockout system.  It goes like this, if an operator suspects a piece of rolling stock is causing problems, a red card is put into the pocket of the car card.  I say suspects because unless it is obvious, like the coupler height, the problem could be anything including the rolling stock coupled to it.  The next time that piece of rolling stock is run and again is problematic it gets another red card.  If however it runs fine, the red card is removed, because it may not have been a problem with that piece of rolling stock at all.  When a piece of rolling stock gets 3 red cards, it will be removed and repaired, before being run again.  One red card will be left in the card card pocket to indicate that it has caused problems in the past.  In this way, all truly unreliable rolling stock will get the attention required.
   Sorry, no pictures this time.