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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lighting on the cheap.

On my home layout I decided to light the buildings. Why not use a string of lights from a dollar store. The ones I  had on hand take 3 AA batteries and have an off on switch. On my first try I soon found out they can only be hooked up a specific way, after you cut each lights wires to add longer feeders. The lights I used have 20 lights, wired in parallel.
To add longer feeders I needed to find a way to known the correct way to reconnect them. Looking at each light I noticed that anode + was narrow and the cathode - was wider.
The one on the right is the cathode, so all the dark wire feeders were soldered to this side and the light feeder was added to anode side.
The first area I lighted was the port town. Larger buildings had 2 or 3 lights and small ones had only 1light added.

Soon found out light escapes everywhere. I will have to go back and fix that. Will also have to figure out how to add a night light for overall lighting.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Works in Progress by Jim F.

Jim finished up some railroad buildings recently.

Don P. Work in Progress

Don P. Sent a couple of pictures of his progress on the city area of his layout.

Jim Long's Works in Progress

Just keeping you up to date. These are my projects in the works under way at this time. The building is from ITLA in Dorchester, the tanks are from our very own 3D imaging pro, Dave Houseworth, and the rest is the start of a mill for the new section of my layout. One tank will end up on a flat car and the other will be on a truck float for my truck collection. Nothing has been weathered yet.

This item is something the Grand Strand Railroad in Myrtle Beach is doing so members who attend regularly can keep in touch. I found the ITLA kit to be very precise and solid when assembled. The medium density MDF board is easy to work with but will fray easily. It is amazing how precise the cuts are with the laser. One advantage over plastic kits are the edges. Plastic edges from a mold have to be tapered slightly for easy release and require modifying to fit tight while laser cut edges are dead square and friction fit.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Woodstock Train Show

Dave is reporting that the April Woodstock Train Show is cancelled.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tuesday Night NOT at the layout

Did it seem odd not to be running Tuesday night [assuming no one did]? Just a quick note to bring all up to date. Larry B is back to good health. Larry M is coming along OK. Jeff asks you to insert 985 before @ in his email on the club roster if you want to reach him. Jim Long is self isolating at home and building kits brought from the south. Glen has finished a Sylvan Aerocoach bus similar to one he drove in his youth and starting a Sylvan Reo Speedwagon
refrigerated van. Paris Junction Hobbies was closed yesterday. Otter Valley was open last week. What are you doing in your COVID 19 social distancing? Keep us informed and stay safe.   

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Blog Correction for Digitrax Equipment

The correct phone number for the Digitrax equipment advertised for sale in the previous blog is  519-602-7792. Apologies for any and all inconvenience.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Layout in Limbo

Due to a lack of both passenger and freight business throughout the railroad, it has become necessary to close up shop for the foreseeable future. The last two trains ran yesterday from either end of the system and the doors closed after checking that all car types were in their correct locations, ready for reactivation when conditions improve. All systems are shut down and the firebox of the 4-6-2 parked outside the roundhouse has been dumped. Our employee seconded to the Grand Strand Railway in Myrtle Beach has been recalled and is now back over the border. Stay tuned to this blog for future information and instructions.

A reminder that Gary Pembleton has a Digitrax Zephyr system [$200], a Digitrax non radio throttle [$75] or both [$250] for sale. Interested parties can call Gary @ 519-601-7792.

Till we meet again and stay safe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Tuesday Night at the Layout

A few of us did run while keeping ourselves well apart from each other. Jeff, Peter and I were there for the better part of two hours while John Pruim and his grand daughter appeared a bit later to run his Dayliner a couple of times around the layout before heading home. 

I will be there Friday at 1 pm for anyone to join me under the same space requirements and not showing any symptoms. Should the virus show up in Woodstock/Oxford County, it would seem prudent to shut the layout down.

On another note, Don Pearce just called to say that Gary Pembleton had a Digitrax Zephyr DCC operating system for sale. A flyer with details will be put up on the layout bulletin board shortly.  

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Friday Fun on the 13th

Do you realize that we don't have a single motorcycle
on our layout on this date even though our port could be Dover?? Food for future thought! 

Friday afternoon's fun was pleasantly interrupted when Ruby and Leo came through the door com-
plete with new kidney as of a month ago. Leo is on high dosages of anti rejection drugs but no longer needs daily dialysis. They sold their St. Thomas home, put everything in storage and are living in a London apt. close to LDSH until Doug Tarry gets their new St. Thomas home completed. Needless to say, model railroading is on hold for them. 
We also had an Ingersoll couple and their grand daughter visit the layout later in the afternoon. He worked as a station agent for Ontario Northland and is suffering from dimentia but you should have seen the smile on his face running my Budd railcar with thumb firmly on the horn. Grand daughter also enjoyed running Tom Smith's FA/FB units. Thanks Tom!

Where is Health and Safety when you need them?? I think someone didn't check switch positions when entering Wellington yard. 

It's Murphy's Law that, although fewer people come to run the layout on a Friday afternoon, you'll find them all switching on the same portion of track. 

I had the pleasure of presenting our layout to a group of seniors via CD's last Thursday morning using a similar format to the Learning Unlimited one I did last year. Only one lady had seen it but appreciated seeing it again. For part of it, I showed the engineer's view of the layout taken by GoPro camera which was very much enjoyed. At the end of it, one lady remarked, "I saw numerous other guys in the video but not you?? I said." Well, somebody had to be the engineer and drive the train" whereupon she said," Oh yes, of course."  Silence prevailed for a few seconds before the laughter started. It does speak well of the realism of the video and our layout for sure.
Next Tuesday, the 19th, a men's group is coming up at 10 am to view the layout. If anyone would like to join me and run a train at that time, you're welcome to do so. 
The London train group is still scheduled to visit us on March 24. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Tuesday Night at the Layout

Larry is still at home battling a heavy chest cold and nonstop cough with antibiotics. Don Stoddart appeared even though he brought the Digitrax power accessories ordered through SLN in Dover that he picked up last Saturday to my place because he wasn't coming tonight. Jim Fox had a look at the accessories and plans to consult with Josef who didn't come. Cliff, Rob, Jeff, Rick, Mike and myself all ran trains with no power problems. Don Pearce who was in recent communication with Bill Stimmers [remember him??] and Dave Houseworth were also present and a good time was had by all. Rumour has it that one train did return to Wellington yard with railcars in the engineer's pockets and a couple of controllers got left behind. As I said, a good time was had by all. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Late Week Layout News

Friday was a lovely day and excellent layout running to boot in the afternoon. Rob, Tom, Pete, Rick and Glen made good use of the layout with no problems other than the odd derailment usually because the brakeman didn't get a switch thrown soon enough. No power concerns were noted. Some ran more than one train before operations ceased for 
the day. 

Glen got a call from the chief, Don Stoddart Saturday afternoon that he had picked up the Digitrax power accessories ordered for the power upgrade from SLN Hobbies in Dover. Because of eye treatment, Don will not be present Tuesday night so he brought over the items for me to bring to the layout. I traded him an O scale herd of Holsteins surplus to my needs. 

I'm told Larry Brinker has lost his voice as he struggles through a bad cold so he may be missing Tuesday night also. Donald Woolcott is staying close to home as his mother is doing very poorly in palliative care. And Larry Mayberry is up on crutches as long as he walks only in a straight line. Our thoughts go out to all undergoing these stressful situations. 

One last item to close this off; a robin was seen Thursday so the groundhog may be right after al!! 

Friday, March 6, 2020

All our problems.

It seems our problems, of conjestion and loss of control, occur when too many trains are running at the same time. That's just common sense. How to correct it is the problem.

Let's look at a normal Tuesday night. Rick runs the oil train, Cliff runs the passenger train. Someone may run the branch line freight and maybe the ore train. At the same time 5 to 6 mainline freights are on the move. Again it is easy too see that the 5 to 6 freights are the problem, but what is the cure?

Two person crews would cut the numbers in half. Limiting mainline freights to 1 east and 1 west bound, at a time. Run the other trains, the log train, the ore train, the passenger train, the coal train, and the oil train more (as they only switch select areas. Mainline freights could also be run as through trains, which do no switching. That is 12 or more operators but only 6 trains in total. A dispatcher would see that these trains are all run and take 1 operator out of the equation. We could also set up another running night, if enough people are interested.

The "cures" would have to be acceptable to everyone, with a clear mandate for the dispatcher.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

This just in.

From our reporter at large, Glen, the management of the Huff and Puff have decided to purchase another booster and quad unit. It will likely be installed in the Valleyview area, to reduce the bus line runs in this area. The electronic advisors say this will address our loss of control in this area. In the meantime we should try to limit excess draws on the system.
In other news, Holdsworth Contstruction have completed the new lighthouse in the port of Lakeview.
This amazing  installation will be another tourist attraction in the port area.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Friday Afternoon at the Layout

It was a busier afternoon session than usual and regrettably, I took no pictures because I forgot my camera, especially when Tom arrived with his very cute grand daughter, Emily, who wasted no time in taking over Tom's consist. Things ran very smoothly which speaks well of the teamwork between grand daughter and grampa. They ran the ore train after completing a manifest freight run. 
Rob and Peter arrived shortly and the latter seemed happy with his reconfigured GP [less momentum, more braking] that I brought to him. A little later Rick and Don arrived and added the oil train and a passenger train pulled by Don's PC steamer. 
After installing more fencing on the branch line, I joined in with another manifest freight. No major problems with layout infrastructure all afternoon although the 4-6-2 could use a Keep Alive to overcome some switch hiccups. All in all, the usual fun time.

Other Items:

1. This Tues.night [tomorrow as I write this] is meeting/work night. Come prepared to contribute any suggestions/concerns. 

2. A big encouraging shout out to Larry Mayberry rehabbing from a broken hip at home? We suggest running trains with your grand kids like Tom is a whole lot safer than skating, Larry!
You can always watch our layout u-tube Woodstock Model Railroad video 1 or 2 if you miss us that much. Or see a suggestion next.

3. I have discovered Bob Fallowfield's podcast recently where he discusses real and model railroading with special guests from a railside platform on the CN/VIA mainline east of Toronto. A former Huron Park S.S. student [when I was principal], Bob lives in St.Catharines and models the Woodstock area with his extensive layout. He is now up to Podcast 5 and all are quite interesting. There are 50+ trains along that stretch of track daily [when operating without Mohawk help] so interviews are frequently interrupted to watch both freight and passenger consists power by. The podcast is called PLATFORUM.  

See you tomorrow night.