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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

To do list 2018

Here is a list of things that we should all think about, know about, and discuss the merits of. If you read this blog or attend meetings none of this list will be a surpise to you as they have all been talked about before. Although they are all meant to be improvements it is up to the members to initiate there implementation.

Northdale trackwork,  ongoing.
Springbank team and piggyback tracks, ongoing.
Moving program track to the office.
Rework OLKING Coal,  City Service siding.
Power plant siding.
Ortona turntable.
Adding over center springs to turnouts, ongoing
Elsewhere lighting.
Elsewhere rework.
Rolling stock check.
Lockable shelf repair.
Replace Electrofrog turnout in Wellington yard.

Using train orders.
Setting car cards rules.
Rules for switchers.
Setting rules of branch line trains,  including gravel hoppers.
New Elsewhere operating procedure.

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff, 12, 19,17.

The last session of the year saw everyone in a holiday mood and celebrating with a box of fancy cookies Jim brought in. Several trains were run even as a couple of areas were under construction. The new track work in Northdale is in place but still needs feeders and ballasting.  Meanwhile a stone retaining wall has been erected and once the mortar dries the area will be back filled and graded for a new access road to the team track. Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

There goes the diet.

Northdale trackwork. 

Retaining wall installed. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fridays news

The parking lot at the Herons Landing station is being paved, left strict instructions with Cliff not to put his initials in the wet cement. Over at Springbank a retaining wall is under construction to make room for a road along the new team track. Room constraints will not allow the relocation of Harbor Freight so it will remain next to the Northdale Pier. After detailed measurements it appears the west end of the Elsewhere yard will have to be moved west by 2 feet. This will shorten the approaching tracks by about a foot, but give more room for the new yards.
Paving begins

Rough plan of the West end of Elsewhere 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Northdale trackwork continues

Although this view doesn't show the curve leading to these turnouts, that will be the starting point of the construction. After consulting a couple of engineers the decision was made to rework the entire area, mainly to improve the track arrangement and remove the s curve in the switching lead. Consideration may also be given to moving the Harbor Freight building to the trestle area. This would improve switching interest with the required switchback and give more space to detail both the Pier and Harbor Freight. Regardless of this pending decision, the priority will be to get the branch line operational for our Great Lakes Steel and Miller Sawmill customers.  Although they have expressed their concerns over lost production they are happy to get this slow order area reworked. Derailments are frustrating and costly.

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 12,12,17

A new rack was installed in our office to hold rolling stock needing repair and extra rolling stock. This rack, supplied by the Ontario Western, cleans off a nice working area for car repair and other projects,  thanks Don. Thanks to another Don we now have a different colour for each car type which will give a strong visual clue to keep them separated. A couple of building flats were test fit in the Wellington skyline. Lots of goodies were on hand to keep us fueled against the cold, thanks everyone. The new work surface saw it's first use, laying out the turnout arrangement for Elsewhere.
New buildings in Wellington 

New car cards


Storage racks

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 12,05,2017

Top topics of the night. The members decided to postpone the changes to Elsewhere to the summer months when everything slows down. Dues are due this month please. Mike brought in his G scale coach, over 90 percent scratch built, very impressive. On the work front. The bad turnout in Northdale and the remaining code 70 track was replaced. A Grist mill site on the bank of the McDonald river was prepared. The 6 story Hobbermeister Woolens building was installed in Lincoln. This building was worked on by most of the members of Don's crew and is a welcome addition to the Lincoln skyline.  More turnouts had over center springs added to them.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 11,28,2017.

A Simplex receiver was installed and tested, worked great. During the week a turnout was installed to separate the team track and piggyback ramp in Springbank. Ralph's cement plant background was installed, Don supplied some Lumber,  pipe and crate loads to add to the layout.  The defunct Ontario Western leased 14 new pieces of rolling stock. Glen also added scenery around the piggyback ramp. Shelves were added under Valleyview. Cliff tried out his passenger train.  Next week is work night.

Glen replaced the engine house removed previously.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Reality 101

Thanks to a heads up, I realized in my enthusiasm to create the perfect system I forgot to keep in mind our 2 basic rules of K.I.S.S. and KEEP IT FUN. In doing so a F.T.R.S. system was created. When people don't Follow The Rules we degenerate into policing the layout to correct errors, and the fun goes out the window.

First problem, not switching Elsewhere requires almost perfect switching, to keep the consist intact.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
 Second, switching 1 for 1 car type negates the self correcting system of removing all rolling stock when switching.
 Third, mixing of the cards and switching errors. As an example I found both sawdust cars at the sawmill, no covered hoppers at Zorra Cyclone, and main line box car and stock car cards in with the branch line flat car cards, worst of all none of these are even the same colour of Cards?
 Fourth, members want to keep  the switchers, especially in Lincoln,  which complicates the "no switching Elsewhere strategy " and car forwarding.

The fix (as I see it), return to the lowest common denominator!
First, continue to make up trains in Elsewhere.
Second, Return to the self fixing system of removing all cars in a siding,
No fix for mixed cards, but they will get sorted as trains are made up.

The car forwarding and Elsewhere yard design as agreed to, are not effected, but as always are open to better ideas.

Other ideas about districts, switchers at towns being traffic regulators, and others, have been tossed about and look forward to these ideas being developed.

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 11, 21, 2017

Another night of running trains, with the usual congestion in Lincoln.
Springbank was busy too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff, 11, 14, 2017

With a couple of our members home from holidays the car forwarding and the new cards got a workout in earnest. Even a first time user had no problems with it. The changes to Elsewhere and it's ramifications were also discussed during the operating session. As we now have the required turnouts I think the sooner we can do this the better, from a confusion point of view. I wonder if we could can do it in stages. First cut in the 3 turnouts on track 5. Then cut in turnouts for tracks 4, 3, 2 and the 3 turnouts on track 1, for the ladder to the right hand yard. This would leave 2 stud end tracks in the left hand yard, but all the feeders intact. Then add the last 2 turnouts to connect the 2 stubs. Then extend the length of the left yard and connect the turnouts. Then add the required feeders and ballasting the new track work. Or would it be best to redo it all at once.

Some of the action.


NMRA-WOD Clinic and Layout Tours Nov. 25, 2017.
I believe members of the Woodstock Model Railway Club took out 6 month NMRA
memberships to attend our convention this past May. I would appreciate if you
could forward this invitation to them as well as to your entire membership.
Members of the Woodstock Model Railway who do not have an NMRA membership will
be permitted to participate in this event. If you prefer, I could notify them
for you if you are able to send the membership list to me.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Turnouts arrangement for Elsewhere

The best arrangement I can come up with for the turnouts in the middle section of the new Elsewhere yard.  It includes long and medium Peco turnouts. Tried to use the longs where the most traffic would be. This arrangement is under 2 feet long with the needed space between each turnout.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Meeting night Nov 10, 2017

Dues for this year are $100. PLUS $25. for insurance. The insurance fee is paid by everyone including students. If something expensive comes up we may be asked for money to cover this unexpected cost. You may also pay $10.. a month plus the $25 insurance fee.
New cards were made, mainline cards are white or yellow card stock and branch line are blue.
Changing the Miller coal dock to a gravel dock and having gravel hoppers only run on the branch line and having the branch line switch in Herons Landing and Jutland was adopted. So was limiting the sawdust cars to the branch line.
The coal train idea was also thought to be a good idea.
All the problem turnouts were talked about, however Jim's home made Over-center Springs may make some of them operate properly,  see picture below.
The no switching plan for Elsewhere was approved. Basically the turntable stays where it is and the yard is split into two, double ended yards. Trains in Elsewhere will remain intact with their cards hung on the appropriate hook. Construction will begin when turnouts are available  (after Sunday).
Work nights will be scheduled and not necessarily tied to meeting night. As an example we can unplug the branch line to rework the area around City Service and OLKING Coal. We can also do the same with Elsewhere. Something on the mainline like the turnout to the piggyback ramp in Springbank would require that the system is shut down, maybe done on an off day.
Over-centerspring installed. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Coal train

There are 2 benefits of this idea, first we have a very different train to run and secondly we reduce the types of cars stored in Wellington.

Picking up a caboose in Wellington yard you proceed to the coaling tower and pick up the empty there. Following the high line you stop at Valleyview to pick up another empty at Zorra Cement. Arriving at Springbank you swap out the 2 empties for 6 loaded coal hoppers at the mine. After hooking up your caboose you proceed down through Lincoln and Jutland.  You deliver the 6 loads to the power plant and pick up the 6 empties. Run through Herons Landing taking the lower loop by ADM coming out of the tunnel by Oxford Sand and Gravel and go through town again and back up to Springbank. There you drop off the 6 empties picking up the last 2 loads. The mine now has 8 empties to load. One load is dropped off at the cement plant and the other is delivered to the coaling tower in Wellington., dropping off the caboose completes the run.

Note there are no coal hoppers in the Wellington yard. If we want to use empties and loads, they would need to be swapped on Friday or before the next session.  We would only need 16 hoppers for this run, we have 28. We could set up 3 branch line trains with 2 coal hoppers requiring 6 more. What do you Think?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ontario Western Final Run before sale.






Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ideas about Elsewhere and Elsewhere

Before I forget again we should add a rerailer to the main run around track going to the turntable.

As it would be difficult to add more tracks to the Wellington yard or use the sanding rack tracks as yard tracks can we reduce the types of cars stored there?  We could only use the sawdust cars at the sawmill or eliminate them, 1 less car type.

Next we could designate gravel hoppers to the branch. So, on your run to and from the branch, switch Oxford Sand and Gravel and Shell Industries (remove limestone delivery to Zorra to be replaced by coal for the kiln) in Herons Landing. This would bring down the number of cars types in Wellington yard to the available 8 sidings.

We need 7  racks or hooks labelled for the 7 storage tracks in the new Elsewhere yard to keep track of the order of the Trains.  Delivering a train to empty track 7 you would then take out train 1 and so on. With 2 branch line trains stored there, they will get run twice in seven trains originating from Elsewhere, or at least once a session.

If at the end of a session all 7 Elsewhere tracks are full, and may be an extra left on the inbound track, they should be the first trains to be run at the next session to open up 1 track in Elsewhere.

There will be no need for a caboose track in Elsewhere as they will stay with the Trains.

If the sidings are 6 feet long they would hold 11 cars and a caboose. It is anticipated that under our 8 car rule the Trains will only have 8 cars, so Elsewhere will hold 48 cars most of the time.

Train repetition even though the cards are left with the train, should not be a problem as it is unlikely you would pick up a train you left in Elsewhere in the same operating session.

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 10,24,2017

N.B. we will be closed on October 31.

We bought 4 Peco turnouts and 5 short covered hoppers at the Woodstock Train show. Saw that others also found some good deals including an engine house to replace the one  removed from the layout last week.

Background buildings temporarily installed in Elsewhere, when Elsewhere is reworked a new background will be installed and painted and the background buildings will be installed permanently.

Items for upcoming work nights include, rolling stock repaired and identified with a HP stamp and listed. Turnout for the team track/piggyback ramp in Springbank. Turnout for stock pen near Ortona. Replace problem turnouts in Miller, Northdale and Lincoln. Designing the new yard in Elsewhere. Replacing 70 gauge track in Northdale. Discussion about the forwarding cards.

My thoughts about Elsewhere which are up for any other ideas. I like the idea about not switching cars in Elsewhere to reduce congestion in this area. It would go like this, a train arrives in Elsewhere and is left in an open siding in 1 of the double ended yards. The cards are left in the racks intact as a complete train. This will work perfectly with our card system.  The engine is turned on the turntable and run over to pick up the oldest train and it's cards. The caboose is set aside, the train is picked up and the caboose is reattach. The train is ready to go. Multiply this by 7 tracks, should work fine. As Branchline trains are also staged in Elsewhere it will get them run more often.
Busy night

Background buildings 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Backdrop buildings

As we had received a few free buildings and no one wanted them, I took 4 of them home. After they were disassembled, I put the first 2 back together as flats for Elsewhere. The first picture shows how they may look when they are all done, creating a row of buildings over 6 feet long.  The next picture shows a shed reassemble into the Woodstock  Firestone plant in profile.  The last picture was a brick warehouse made into a factory I labelled as the old Massey Harris plant that was in Woodstock making the Cub tractor. None of these buildings will be served by the railroad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff, 10,17,2017

New car cards added with quantities of 1 to help with forwarding, which seems to be working well. Gathered up items to sell at the train show on Sunday in Woodstock. Viewing the layout I found a new piggyback ramp in Springbank. A new turnout will be installed to separate off the team track section. A stock yard will also be installed near Ortona on the branch line. The question was asked if we could build the new yard for Elsewhere and then swap it out, probably in sections 8 feet long. Thinking about this the turntable is on its own section, and the turnouts could be used on other parts of the layout. Even doing it that way there would still be a few days of interruption to install it, but this idea has merit.
The box cars are sitting on the team track section 

New piggyback ramp in Springbank 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff, 10,10,17

Actually the day started out with a visit to see Rock's garden railroad. During this last run of the season, rick ran a lash up of F units and a 2-6-0. See pictures below.

Later at the Huff and Puff,  when we arrived someone had left a box of oils, glues, and electrical parts for us at the door, my neighbor had given us some rolling stock, and Jim brought in boxes of stuff and bundles of milled wood. After sorting through all of these treasures we got down to operations. 
With a new set of cards sorted into car types we set up some trains using our car forwarding logic. It became apparent very quickly that we needed more cards with smaller quantities, back to the printer I go. This system worked well for the Trains were had set up. To explain the forwarding logic let's look at a train of just 3 box cars leaving Elsewhere.  The first switch is at Johnson Transfer were we drop off a box car and pick up 1, so we still have 3 box cars, at Jutland we again leave 2 box cars at McKay Fuels and retrieve 2. At Lincoln we swap 3 box cars at Hay Co. leaving Lincoln with 3 box cars we head for Springbank. There we spot a box car at Mutual Grain after picking 1 up. Three box cars are dropped at Zorra Cement Warehouse and 3 are removed. At Wellington we remove and leave a box car at Cullen Mill before dropping our train at the yard with, you guessed it, 3 box cars being spotted there. With all that work completed we best top up our water and coal. The beauty of this system is that we made 6 switching moves, with 6 cards and only 3 box cars. The bad thing is that you are always just swapping cars. Also the cards can get mixed up in the racks. How this will work when we have a switcher at Lincoln is yet to be seen.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Meeting night at the Huff and Puff October 3, 2017

The topic of discussion was the forwarding system we have been working on. A division point system was talked about. An example would be the switcher at Lincoln would control traffic in and out. That person would also supply forwarding cards to outbound trains. May have to make new cards for each division. It was agreed that each card will only have 1 type of rolling stock to be delivered so new cards will have to be made to fix that. We will also try only picking up what you deliver that is if you deliver 2 flat cars you only pick up 2 flat cars. Another idea was to sort cards into rolling stock types ignoring the day of the week. This would make looking for forwarding cards much easier. Projects for the new year will be reworking Elsewhere, (moving the turntable and cutting the yard into 2 yards),replacing or repairing troublesome turnouts, and repairing rolling stock. A new shelf under Valleyview will also be installed to hold all our casting material and clean up the office area.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Items for sale

Ralph's items for sale. The  following items are new and in  original packages . I can be contacted nightly at 519 421 9097 should anyone be interested

Circuitron DT-2 Logic Grade Crossing  Detector
Circuitron FL-2 Alternating Flasher
N.J.International Inc. #1161 Highway Crossing Gate HO
Keystone HO- 104 Barnhart Log Loader
GHQ Roadmaster HO - 1940 D8-8R Dozer
GHQ Roadmaster IT18F Log Loader
GRS Electronic Light House Beacon
Atlas GP7 HO  CP (Ontario Great Lakes) Diesel DCC no sound 2 units #8411 & #8414
Tichy HO  Boom Car 2 units
Tichy  HO  120 Ton Steam  Wrecking Crane
Kadee HO Disconnected Log Car
Fin Scale Miniatures # 110  The Depot ( Two Story Wooden Structure ) HO''

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday night at the Huff and Puff 09,19,17

With only a few operators available all the set up done by the Friday crew did not get a proper test.  I tried setting up a train but found it very difficult to get just the right match of cards, especially for the forwarding part. This could possibly be corrected by adding more cards. The 2 biggest objections to this system are the time needed for the initial set up and all the cards sitting on the layout. Solutions suggested included card racks for each siding, all cards for only 1 car (you could still take multiple cards to switch 2 or 3 cars at 1 siding, only have multiple switching at sidings which hold 3 cars like Coastal Oil to the refinery. Other thoughts include, a storage rack for excess cars, located in the office, only switch exactly what you deliver say box car for a box car, leave the flat car, add more cards to make set up easier, ignore the day part of the card, have card racks for forward switched cards which might include tank cars, stock cars, coal and limestone hoppers, refers, and covered hoppers.
You can bet more ideas will surface. The most important thing is that we make the system more interesting without making it too complicated.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Friday Set-up Time @ the Layout

Most Friday afternoons from 1 - 4 pm are nice quiet times to run trains and sharpen switching skills. But it also serves as a time to set up trains around the layout to get Tuesday night running sessions into operation quickly. Recently, club members agreed to indulge in a slightly more complex switching method called car forwarding. Larry has already provided details covering how this should work in a recent blog. A trial on the first Tuesday night revealed several glitches and the through train will be cancelled for the time being. Here Jim is placing individual cards against appropriate rail cars in an outbound train from Lincoln that indicate a forwarding industrial location for that car rather than bringing all those switched cars back to Wellington or Elsewhere as before. The cars switched out at the forwarded locations will be brought back or reforwarded to another location if they have a card indicating such and so on and so on.

In the photo to the right, the cars and caboose represent an outbound train from Lincoln that would normally have been brought back to Else-where or Wellington yard. Now, you add the cards indicating those rail cars to be forwarded and switch them at the appropriate locations on the way back to the yard. There can also be forwarding cards leaning against cars already in industrial locations. This means, once picked up either by switcher or regular loco, those cars carry on to their new lo-cation.
Feel free to join the fun on any Friday afternoon if you have the time.  Call Glen before Friday at 519-539-2403 to ensure that someone with a key will be there or drop in if you see our cars parked in the usual spots.

P.S. Just in case you're wondering, the yellow card lying on the shelf is a Train Order authorizing the use of a switcher at Lincoln Yard. If no switcher is in operation [depending on bodies available on any Tuesday night], you are responsible for switching any Lincoln cars you are dropping off and for adding the switched out cars to your train. As above, you switch any forwarded cars as you carry on.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quilt batting scenery.

While visiting Leo and Ruby's layout a different technique for scenery was discovered. They shape foam into the required land form wanted, cover it with a quilt batting like material and then apply a generous coat of earth tone paint. This is then dusted with ground foam. The openness of the painted fiber creates the illusion of a forest floor with all it's lumps and bumps. When the paint dries the fiber forms a semi solid surface to which more scenery can be added. Photos supplied by Leo.

Shaped foam covered with batting

Progressive stages from the left to right

Finished scene. 

For sale

Items for sale. . If any one is interested they can contact me at during the day Monday to Friday 8 till 4 pm or  by phone at 519 455 1350  or in the evening by phone at 519 421 9097
Church by Campbell with cemetary, funeral procession, hearse, wedding and carriage. 

Steam tug by Torrus 
Motorized Turn table

Experimental expanded operations.

One trial, not the one I was assigned, but it goes something like this. The train was set up as normal, but at each destination new cars and car cards were picked up to be delivered. So you start with say 8 cars, as you go the ones you deliver are replaced, as usual with the ones you pick up, but they now have new destinations, extending the amount of work each train does. On this trial the new destinations may be in a town already visited, how do you turn your engine? To correct this would require careful sorting of the new destination cards, but how do you know what train will pick them up. The trial I ran had multiple destination cards that were sorted sequentially in my westbound direction. This took about 3/4 of an hour to set up but worked like a charm. Photos show the trip.
Box car and flat cars card cards.

Hoppers cards

Train leaving Elsewhere 

Switching the Power Plant in Herons Landing 

Leaving Lincoln after switching Allen Lumber 

Waiting to switch the coal mine in Springbank 

Multiple moves to switch Hillside Lumber in Valleyview 

Final switching moves in Wellington.