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, December 31, 2016

What's Wrong?

What's wrong with this Picture?

Not a big deal but it does show a couple examples of procedural lapses. First there are 2 piggyback cars at the ramp, even though the cards only ship 1, so the car that was there was not picked up when the second one was delivered. These cars sat there for a few sessions suggesting that the card to deliver a piggyback car to the ramp was not used because there was no car in the yard. That card has to be used even though there is no car available, because it will initiate the pick up of both of the cars at the ramp. Remember the cards are for both delivery and pick up and should be used even if there are not enough cars to fill the the delivery order. 
I had to stage this Picture as 1 of the cars had been removed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 4

After a scary, mostly backwards ride over the trestle and down through the tunnel and switchbacks, Engine 7358 retraced the rails through Northdale and into Miller for coal and water. After being well fed at the logging camp, the conductor refused to let any passengers off at Miller this time. Backing out of Miller on the arm of the wye leading to Northdale, the train stopped to let the con-ductor throw the switch that allowed it to run down the only direc-tion left that might lead to the Sub. But will it? Nobody knew!

Well, hello!  What do we have here?  It's a Mack railbus and Engine 7358 certainly knew that no railbus travelled on the Sub. With a snort of its diesel, the railbus answered the conductor's question of where they were with a "find out yourself!" So the discouraged little train continued its quest to find that certain switch that would lead it back home to the Sub.

As it travelled along unfamiliar tracks, Engine 7358 spotted some scantily clad figures sunning themslves on top of a water tower up ahead. Pulling on the Johnson bar, the train speeded up, hoping that the passengers wouldn't notice as they raced by this sight. Since he didn't blow his whistle, Engine 7358 knew that the whistles he was hearing must be from the passengers. What kind of a railroad are we on anyhow?  Nobody knew!

Oh my!  This railroad is worse than the last one for tunnels and high bridges. How Engine 7358 longed for the flat landscape and open sky of the Sub as it chugged up the grades. The little train continued to pass by stations with names that the conductor and passengers didn't recognize, worried that they would perhaps meet another train on one of the mountain curves.

Finally, the little train came to a yard with two big red Ontario Western diesels idling nearby. The conductor hailed one of the engineers and asked, "Which way to the Sub?"  The diesels answered by revving up a couple of notches and blasting the little train out of the yard with their Nathan airhorns. Engine 7358 didn't notice the steam locomotive behind the diesels as it quickly left. It might have been a bit friendlier but nobody knew.
Stay tuned for Part 5 . . . .



Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff Dec 27, 2016

Well Jim was Lord of the Trains Tuesday night, telling people where to go and what to do. Actually we tried out his ideas on dispatching. The switchers would take a " starter" train to the town they were assigned to switch. The theory being that by the time they were done  switching it another train would arrive. Unfortunately not enough operators were on hand to give it a proper test, although it did work well.  We will test it out again in 2 weeks. Next week  is work night.
Jim installed his hydro towers.

As I waited for the next train to arrive I watched a guy fly fishing. 

Jims train leaving Herons Landing.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 3

Don't miss reading Part 1 & 2 first.
Leaving Miller, Engine 7358 continued to back up, taking the left switch at the wye as the station master suggested to the conductor. Everybody wondered where the right switch would have taken them but nobody knew. They passed by Pinehurst and Harbour Freight as the little local backed under a trestle and into another dark tunnel. The passengers fussed nervously in the dark wondering what was to come next. But nobody knew.

Finally, back in the open air, Engine 7358 followed the conductor's arm waves until he signalled stop. They were at the freight shed at Ortona. This was strictly an industrial yard with a mine and ore cars
along with a couple of box card. The shed workers suggested to the conductor that the switch to the Sub might be "up the hill" but nobody there really knew.

Struggling with every last pound of steam, Engine 7358 struggled up the switchback, gaining height with every switch up the steep grades. With a last side rod clank, the engine emerged triumphant out of another tunnel on top of a very high trestle and all the passengers saw was a long drop down on one side and logging cars being loaded on the other.  Would this really be the way back to the Sub??  Everyone was hopeful but nobody knew.

Alas, it was not to be! Engine 7358 squealed to a stop just as the track ended at the logging camp. Obviously, this was not the way back to the Sub. So now what??  The conductor started asking the loggers at the camp but nobody knew until he found the camp cook. Wiping his hands on his apron, the cook led the conductor to the edge of the bluff overlooking Northdale station. Waving his hand over the lake in the valley, he wondered aloud if the Miller folk had told them to take the wrong arm of the wye just visible in the distance.

Will this finally be the route back to the Sub? Part 4 coming up. . .


Zorra Cement sidings

Zorra Cement has 5 different places to spot rolling stock. The one behind the mainline and close to the backdrop is for limestone deliveries only. The only rolling stock going there will be brown limestone hoppers. There is a siding for the Silos which will receive covered hoppers. At the tail end of this siding is a spot for 1 coal hopper. The next siding dividends into 2 tracks, the back one is for the Warehouse and will recieve box cars. The front one gets covered hoppers for the Cyclone Loader. It is important that the information on the car cards be understood and thus insure rolling stock is delivered and removed from the proper siding.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sidings at the Power Plant

At the Power Plant, the back siding is for freight loads and the front siding is for coal loads.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff 12/20/16

With a light crew I don't know if we needed to assign switching crews, but just as Roland's shift ended, 2 long freights descended into Heron's Landing, so he left wishing us good night with 1 last piece of peanut butter fudge in hand, thanks Glen! Donald also encountered a sudden influx of traffic after just watching trains go by most of the night. We need to think out this problem. Do we need to increase the length of the freights so they stop at more towns? Do we need to decrease the number of cars going to each industry? With a full crew, will the train orders space out the trains better? Would having more runarounds in Springbank, Heron's Landing and Valleyview help? Would helping out the little lost engine help (smiley face)? Yes, Glen was busy taking pictures for his continuing saga of  the lost engine. Jim verified the new block wiring map so I painted the gaps yellow. I my go back and paint the gaps for switchable blocks red. Jim's idea for using tracks 2 and 4 as the inbound and outbound tracks is working well. With Jim switching the branch he noted problems with a longer wheel based engine and over 40 foot cars. He also questioned if the better rolling characteristics of steel wheels was worth the increased risk of shorts caused by derailing. I also noted that pro-typical wheel sets, with small flanges, need bullet proof track work. I do know that we need to make the new Wellington yard a large as possible to reduce the congestion in Elsewhere!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sawmill sidings

There are 3 sidings at the Sawmill. The front one is obviously for the string of log cars. The next 2 are for lumber loads where box cars or flat cars would be spotted. Please note the flat car on the second track is a flat car with a load of poles and not a log car. The log cars are in a set string of 6 cars and are only moved with the Log Train, Train Order. Note that the switch back at Oxford will only hold 6 log cars and an engine. There is no way is no way to get more cars around this bottleneck.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 2

If you haven't already read Part 1, do it now.  Leaving Springbank Station, CNR 0-6-0 #3758, pulling a local passenger train on unfamiliar trackage, rounded a left hand curve and, to its horror,
headed downhill into the blackness of Tom Smith Tunnel. Relief followed as daylight quickly reappeared and the side rods clanked as the throttle was eased back around right and left curves into Lincoln Station. This looked like a big town so surely help to return to the Sub would be found here. But still nobody knew.
Running low on steam pressure, a water tank was spotted just ahead beside the main street of Lincoln. The Bell Telephone service truck had to wait somewhat impatiently for the tender of Engine 3758 to be refilled. The conductor had dropped off the last car to get KFC take out for the crew and the passengers were not happy to see him run up with bags in each hand when they were left hungry. A track worker at the water tank suggested the train back up beyond the station into the branch line for a coal refill at Old King Coal's and said they might find the missing Sub somewhere up there as well but he didn't really know.

With a fresh coal supply, the train backed gingerly through the myriad of branch line switch leads and, following the conductor's arm swings as he stood on the rear car's platform, the little train passed the saw mill and another water tower. Reaching Miller Station, the passengers demanded to get off for food and to take in the scenery at this pleasant spot. The conductor was told to back further up the branch line for a possible Sub entry point but nobody there really knew.

So, after a longer wait than anticipated because some passengers took a boat cruise around the harbour and coal dock, Engine #3758 continued to push its cars further up the branch line. Will this be a dead end or the desired switch on to the Sub??  Stay tuned for Part 3 coming up.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Refinery sidings

The 2 sidings at the refinery are now separate. The back siding is for the Shell Oil & Lubricants building and will receive box cars only. The front siding is for tank cars going to  Be loaded at the Shell Refinery.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 1

This is the story of little CNR 0-6-0 # 7358 that was switched on to the Woodstock Model Rail layout by mistake. Normally, it was a local pulling a mixture of lightweight baggage and passenger coaches on an almost forgotten CNR Sub. Before #7358 realized
the error, it had travelled some distance and didn't know how to return to the Sub. It pulled up in front of an impressive station called Wellington and the conductor asked if anyone there knew how to return but nobody did.

So the little local chuffed on and shivered nervously as it slowly traversed the trestle by Oxford Sand & Gravel and shivered even more as it crossed the long viaduct. Nothing on the Sub equalled those structures. Then the Warwick station came into view and brakes were applied. The conductor asked at the station and even some road construction workers nearby how little 7358 could get back to the Sub. But nobody knew.

So it was onward by the power station and through a short tunnel into a heavy industrial area of numerous switches. So unnerved by all this, 7358 missed the next station altogether, didn't even note its name but the village looked neat and tidy next to a junk yard. Oh my! Another trestle and even worse, a complex of switches appeared and more industries. Little 7358 slowed down to avoid derailing and spotted Springbank Station. Nobody there knew how to get back to the Sub either,

So the little local mustered a brave smile and chugged onward into Part 2. Will 7385 ever get back to the Sub?  Stay tuned for the next episode.

Multiple sidings in Lincoln

This area at Hillcrest Packers explained.
The track next to Hillcrest Packers, and under the roof is for deliveries to Hillcrest Packers ONLY. It will receive box cars and refers only. The next track to the right, which extends down in front of the stock pens is for the Stock Yard ONLY! It only receives stock cars. The next track to the right, with the overhead crane, is the Team Track ONLY! It could receive flat cars, box cars, or gondolas.
So this set of sidings is actually 3 different industries. Care should be taken to spot and remove rolling stock from the proper siding only.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Idea for the Coaling Tower

This is 1 of the suggestion made on Tuesday night. The right hand lead to the turntable will be un-hooked and used as the track to spot coal hoppers. The next track to the left will be left as is and a new lead, where the turntable is, will run under the tower to the east end of the holding tracks. It was also suggested by Don that we start at this end of Wellington to layout the new location and length of the holding tracks and then we will see how big the yard can be made etc.
Forgot to mention that everyone was in agreement to be open on Sunday May 7 for the Kitchner convention.
Please vote on this idea in the comment section!

Tuesday night at the Huff & Puff Dec. 13/16

Arrived at the layout to see all the trains Jim had set out but not enough operators to run them all. I think running with train orders would be benifitial not only to spread out operators, but also get people familiar with all of the layout. The log train will be easier to run once the log camp run around is installed, as will the ore train, if we decide to rework that siding. Trent also suggested we put a small industry at the curve into Ortona, maybe a coal dealer. The log camp has been lowered into the correct level, thanks Glen for cleaning up the "rock slide" in Northdale.
Logging camp in position.

Jim also set up Elsewhere yard into an every other track arrangement, looks like it will work better. Jim and I made a updated map of the block wiring so I can make a better printed version of it. There was a lot of conversation about the newest map of the new Wellington. Some changes were already suggested.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another Layout

Picture of the Grand Strand club layout in Myrtle Beach sent by Jim Long

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Tuesday Night at the Huff & Puff 12/06/2016

Because the second Port Dover trip was postponed we held our meeting work night. After the financial report we went on to talk about the projects outlined in previous posts. We started a list of druthers for the Wellington project, stressing the need to consider all ideas. It was also suggested that a plan be drawn up incorporating the ideas so far. A great idea put forward was to paint ties yellow to indicate the ends of isolated "engine loading" blocks. Some agreement was indicated in running with train orders and trying the Wellington turn idea, posted previously. The surface of the log pond will be redone with a painted styrene surface. So work was done on the logging camp and the Zorra Cyclone camp. Changing the brown hoppers into limestone/gravel carriers was thought to be a good idea. It was nice to see the Friday group had set up trains using the Train Orders, and want to try to see how they work in spreading the use of the whole layout. A well received idea for Elsewhere was to use tracks 2 and 4 as the turntable leads thus leaving a gap between the storage tracks for fat fingers. A gentleman showed up with a Christmas gift of scenic materials for the club, thanks.
After the meeting I was showing a couple of the newer members what certain sidings were for like the log pond, which had 2 flat cars spotted there instead of the unit log cars, which were left in Oxford? Then we looked at the 3 sidings at Hillcrest Packers. The front one is the team track, the next one is for stock cars only and the last is for Hillcrest Packers. With the "Oh" response I heard, I guess we need some imformation sessions. I hope everyone knows that all these ideas for improvement to our layout I bring forward are just that, ideas. Please jump in with your own, or why the ones I purpose are not so good, heck I got kicked off my iPad twice just writing this post. I did sweeten up the crowd with my favorite lemons squares, knowing I would use up most of the night talking.
Thanks for the lemon squares, Connie Brinker.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

More Layout Fun with Interclub Visitations

At our Oct club meeting, Prez Don asked if we were interested in an interclub visitation with the Port Dover Model Railroad club. Enough members were so Don said he would relay that info to Gord King and set up
possible dates. At our meeting, it was agreed that half of those interested would go to Dover to run on their layout on Tues, Nov.22, the Dover members would  come and run on our layout on Nov.29 and the rest of our members would go to Dover on Dec.6. Flu derailed the last visit which is rescheduled for Dec.13.
In this Nov.29 photo at the Woodstock layout, Larry is watching Dover head honcho Gord King carefully as he plugs his controller in while Done Pearce is ad-vising his Dover buddy behind.

This photo shows Woodstock`s Tom Smith and his Dover pal planning a super exciting switching move at the Lincoln yard.

On the previous week`s visit to the Port Dover club, our members got a taste of prototype railroading complete with a full briefing prior to operation by head dispatcher Gord King. It included a sheaf of operational rules, regulations, train operations and switching moves that make our club operations seem rather primitive by comparison.
In Dover, trains are made up of specific car types and numbers to go to layout industries between Brantford and London. Us Woodstock oldsters need to have magnifying glasses to see the numbers so it was a bit chaotic to find the right cars. I felt better when my Dover buddy made the same comment. Our club uses only car types and not numbers, thankfully, although we did flirt with car numbers for a short period when we started serious operations. Maybe our sim-
plistic operations were boring Tom`s buddy.  

At right, Paul from Port Dover is heading Glen`s freight by McKay Fuels toward Lincoln yard eventually, hoping that Tom and his Dover buddy have completed their exciting switching move when he gets there. 

On the whole, interclub visitations are learning ex-periences mixed with a lot of good fellowship that add much to this great hobby. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Projects, part 2.

Well here is the later. This is an operational change as well and a revision of other ideas talked about. Please think about this and comment. By adding a run around from the lower tunnel mouth east toward Herons Landing station, we would have a spot to hold through freights (no cards) from Elsewhere. A Train order would run this train to Wellington where another through freight, previously set out, will be returned to this spot. Elsewhere would only hold these through freights of say 10 cars, no switching, just swapping trains. To further remove Elsewhere from the mix, Wellington freights would go to Herons Landing, turn on the return loop, and return to Wellington. If only trailing switches were switched both ways, it would speed up switching allowing for more or longer freights to be run, especially if switching crews are stationed at Herons Landing and Lincoln. Coupled with the extra loading sites, mentioned in the first part, this would reduce the congestion in Wellington. The yard master at Wellington will make up through and switching freights and receive them and run through freights to and from Elsewhere to the spotting track at Herons Landing. It would be nice if the running of the through freight and swapping them at Elsewhere can be linked. The yard at Elsewhere can hold over 20 cars on each siding, so it could be cut in half and a new switch ladder added to the first 3 tracks. It would then hold six 10 car trains.

Projects to ponder, part one!

With the new year approaching its time to look at some work projects and some new ideas to ponder. First a couple of things in the works, installing the logging module and the run around at Pinehurst and, the power line towers Jim brought in. Another easy one is to add guards around the turnout switches, I will bring in some chair rail to see if that will work. If Herons Landing is going to have a switching crew, we may need to install some card pockets, there may be an extra 1 in the office. Jim suggested we add a coal bucket loader to the lumber camp, good idea. We should change some hoppers to limestone from coal, maybe the brown ones?  That's the easy ones.  We should add more engine loading sites, eg. Ortona, with a turnout behind the card rack or insulate the freight station siding and isulate the crane siding at Herons Landing, more on that one later (I wish I could insert a smiley face here). We could either move a siding from Oxford Sand and Gravel or add 1 in the pit area and move Shell Ind. there and use that siding as a team track, need to measure that one out. We have already talked about making another run around in Herons Landing by using 1 of the Coastal Oil tracks. More work to do this but it will improve operations by removing the steep grade from Sunset. That track would be lowered to join the tracks at Jutland. The remains of the siding in Springbank would be reworked into a team track.
 Then the big one, Wellington. I will bring in a plan, but the things I see we want are, a bigger yard, a run around for that yard, industries moved to the east end and the mainline tracks move to the front.  Switching the industries should be away from yard switching.

Tuesday Night at the Huff & Puff 11/29

We had a great group from Port Dover come up to run our railroad. After a short introduction and explanation of our card system of operation, our guests were anxious to get running. Our members paired up with them as conductors. It was very interesting to listen to their comments and observations. It was also nice that the system ran well! After the session we all enjoyed coffee and Barb's cookies, and conversation. All in all, it was a great night. Looking forward, I remind our members that work night is not next Tuesday, but a week later, to allow some of our members to make a trip to Port Dover to see Gord's layout. Projects for work night could include installing a new power supply, adding a new run around in Heron's Landing, adding a run around at Pinehurst, and installing the logging camp there. We also need to start planning the changes to Wellington and Elsewhere. We also should take a closer look at using and rewriting our Train order cards.
Below are a couple of shots of our guests hard at work.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pinehurst logging camp part 4.

Pictures of some of the completed buildings making up the camp.
storage shed

looking past the water tank and the Bath House & Latrine

the office

blacksmith at work

kitchen with a couple of bunk houses behind

Pinehurst logging camp part 3

The camp needed a small office and 1 of Bar Mills utility sheds will fit the bill. The only change to it was to add a small shed to the back of it.

Woodland Scenics Tucker Brothers machine shop was the hardest part of this build with all the small details to paint.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pinehurst logging camp, part 2

Don's 2 Campbell kits, bunkhouse A and B are similar to the Simpson kits, however I decided to make 1 a cook house and the other a Bath/Latrine House (idea from Serra West lumber camp). For the cook house to look unique one window was cut large enough to accommodate a 12 pane window. The door was also left ajar and the roof will be metal. Both buildings were weathered less than the bunk houses to make them stand out as recent additions to the camp.
Kitchen nearing completion

base for logging camp roughed in

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pinehurst logging camp part 1.

I have always wanted to build a logging camp at Pinehurst. The opportunity came when Don brought in some old Campbell and Simpson kits he had. The first kit Don gave the club was a "man-houses" as some loggers called them. It is based on house 19 which now resides at Tuolunme. The measurements were taken of this West Side Lumber Co. type, by Russ Simpson in 1971.
 I didn't use the scribed siding for the floor, as the doors will not be open, so instead of 3 we now have 5 houses. Using some planks sawn from a 2 x 4, I made new floors and roof boards, instead of the card stock templates provided. Clear acetate was then applied to the inside of each window and a roof support was added to each house. Various techniques like breaking out individual boards, making knot holes, and brushing with a wire brush were used to distress each house to varying degrees. A starting coat of stain and grey paint aged each house. A rough plan of the camp was drawn up to arrange all the buildings in some logical location. In the end I made 4 bunk houses and 1 storage shed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tues. 11/15 Night at the Huff & Puff

Signs were added to the 2 new industries and Industry Cards were added to start sending rolling stock to them. Jim worked on adding new plug ins to our DCC system. Three guests came to view the layout and talk to members, nice to hear their positive comments. A short meeting was held to update members about planned visits over the next few weeks.
Looks like she's not happy about him going to the new craft beer place.

Glen reworked this building as the Shell Oil & Lubricants Shipping & Receiving building

New location for Limestone Receiving at Zorra Cement

Cyclone Loader's new location

Area of the new Pinehurst run around

The joys of DCC