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 15, 2021

Weekly update

 The tedious job of joining feeders to the bus wire, is ongoing. They have been added down to the gap at the Cement plant, and the North yard in Wellington is done. Almost of all the track from Longworth to Admiral has been glued down, the screws will be removed on Friday. The ore train staging track has been added, but the Springbank interchange track needs to be extended a foot or two, so some adjustments to this staging track are required. The ramp up to the gravel dock received the first coat of gravel.

After cutting down the big stone wall, it was installed along the view block by Oxford Sand and Gravel. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Progress update

 The tedious job of joining feeders to the bus wire, is ongoing. All the bus wire holders have been installed and the lift out has been wired and contacts installed.

More hills are in or started, around Sunset, and plaster cloth has been applied in Lincoln.

More than 100 pieces of rolling stock have been listed on a spreadsheet. If anyone is bringing in rolling stock please notify Larry B. So I can add them, or they will not have a car car made for them. Looks like we are low in black coal hoppers, covered hoppers and tank cars. We only have 1 piggyback. We have lots of flat cars, gondola, refers, and I think box cars. I have about 30 more pieces of rolling stock to list, right now. With the realization that we have lots of ore cars, and the knowledge that some operators like just running a train, it has been suggested we add a siding behind the cement plant to store the ore train.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Operating system part two

 In this second post about the operating system we will look at The Interchange System.  First we will look at the ready yard at Elsewhere, which is the source of all the interchange traffic.

The track designation is shown below (red circled area above). For this presentation I have made the mainline CN, the Springbank interchange is the connection with the CP. and the O,river interchange is the connection with the TH&B.

--------------------CN---Main line---track--------------------------------------------------

 -------------------- CP SPRINGBANK TRANSFER --track track----------------------

-----------------------TH@B OLIVER TRANSFER---holding track---------------------------

------------------------CARS INTRANSET----holding track----------------------------------------

----------------MAINLINE RECEIVING AND BREAK DOWN----track----------------------

----------PASSING TRACK AND ACCESS TO TURNING TRACK--------------------------

Looking at the TH&B Oliver Interchange, located behind Admiral. The arriving rolling stock will be swapped with those on the interchange track. The Car Cards will also be swapped. The new rolling stock and Car Cards, will be taken to Wellington and put either in the storage yard, if empty, or put on the intranset holding track, if it is to be delivered to an industry. There may also be a time when cars are to be put on the CP Springbank transfer track. Cards will be placed into the appropriate card boxes, corresponding to where each car was placed. Both of the transfer tracks will have train length, limit markers, which will correspond to the length of the corresponding interchange track.

The CP Springbank interchange works the same as above, but has 2 tracks so the arriving train can be put on one siding and the other train picked up.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New operating system

 The operating system procedure will be presented in sections because of blog restrictions.

First up, Train Orders.
I am thinking that having a pocket on the back side of freight train orders, to hold car cards might be a good idea. What do you think?

The old, but updated Train Orders for unit trains will still be used. These will include, the logging train, coal drag, oil train, interchange trains, and passenger trains. In with these Order cards, will be Train Orders for freight trains in both directions, probably 2 of each. There would also be a Train Order for a branchline freight, This would make for up to 11 trains, which is more than we would want running at once. Train Orders will be picked in order and once completed, returned to the back of the Train Order box. The only exception is when someone breaking down a train sees that a car they placed on one of the transfer tracks exceeds the train, length limit, they will move the corresponding Train Order to the front of the Train Order box. If we apply the 2 to a crew rule, this would lower the trains running to 5. The fact that the freight trains need to be made up and broken down should also slow down the number of trains running. Special exceptions will be made to accommodate individual requirements or preference.

I will use this short post to include some extra information, most of which was discussed at the meeting. All industries will have a hook or box for Car Cards. All storage yard tracks, interchange tracks, transfer tracks and intranset tracks will have Car Card boxes. Yard and industry sidings will all be illustrated and labelled, on the facia. A track diagram of the next town in either direction, will be located on the top of the backdrop, and colour coded for each direction.

Meeting night

 Treasures report was accepted. Dues will remain the same. The group did very well selling some of the club's inventory at the last show.

Alternative work times was another topic. With available keys, anyone may come in at any time and in fact several members are doing just that, for various reasons, like, if your working on the electronics there can't be people working on the track at the same time. 

The N gauge layout will be placed over the old stove, until the stove is removed. Still waiting on the fair board for that. This extra module is not a priority at this time, nor is the DC layout, but these provide other work opportunities for more people.

 In short, options for our operating system were laid out. This system was developed after discussion and analysis of ours and other systems short falls. Samples of a new card system were looked at, discussed and accepted as developed. This Card system will include designated holding tracks in Elsewhere, 2 interchanges, all of our old unit train, Train Orders, and Card Cards for each piece of rolling stock. These will identify the rolling stock and it's forwarding information. There is also a self correcting component which requires that at each industry where an operator drops rolling stock they pick up any rolling stock and car cards at that industry. The last fail safe is, if there is any confusion about what to do with misplaced  cars or cards,  return them to the storage yard, the error will eventually correct itself. More detailed information will be in future posts, handouts and discussions.

Paint booth options were talked about. The area by the unused water heater was deemed good area as there is a vent hole there.

 Wiring progress. All the mainline from Lincoln to Admiral is up and running. More bus wires will be run, so that the area from Lincoln to Dover can be worked on, feeders are already done. The electronics for this area will be installed soon. It was decided to use a reversing module to control the power to the turning track.

 The bar area will be our rolling stock repair area and the program track will be wired in there. Eventually shelving and part storage areas will be added. There were other ideas for this area, but......😥

Saturday, November 27, 2021

This week at the RHR

 Sometime during the week the foam hill, that is the base of the town of Lincoln, was cut to shape. A road bridge was set in place, to see how it would fit.

The brown base colour now covers the towns of Maple and Pinehurst. Tunnel portals were also added to the Coal mine hill. Trees were planted at the farm area.

More feeders were soldered in place as we progress around the town of Lincoln and also in the ready yard of Wellington. An attempt was made to wire the reversing switch for the reversing loop. The switch motor was replaced and all the wires were added but, one of the terminals snapped off inside the switch. We will have to use a manual DPDT center off switch instead. The feeders for the reversing area  will be brown and yellow.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Friday afternoon at the RHR


Very productive day again, although the progress seems slow. Feeders were added to the Wellington yard and the floor was swept up!

The interchange/staging tracks out of Springbank had 2 turnouts added, now all we need is 2 diamonds to complete the scene.

The feeders were installed and wired around the Admiral loop and Interchange/staging track had wires and on off switch added. Need to do 2 more sections at the end of the loop, but it doesn't require climbing under the layout. Many of the feeders were attached to the bus wires in the Coal mine area.

Mother nature has added a hill near Cartier and painted previously plastered hills. Glad to see the backdrop was protected.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Tuesday night at the RHR.

The blitz was on. Kitchen area was tidied up, after the DC, display HO layout was installed. An  8 x 2 foot N scale railroad will be built next.

 With a group working together, another quad unit was wired up, and feeder wires were added to most of the east wall peninsula, but not attached to the bus wire. We are concentrating our efforts to get the east side of the central peninsula and the east wall peninsula all wired in. This would mean that we have 7 blocks wire up, so we can then test the track out.

Tatham had a new, team track/piggyback ramp, added, and Country Feed and Seed was located on the other track. We talked about adding a dummy turnout and 2 diamonds across the mainline, to enhance the look of the Springbank interchange.  With a new turnout, to replace a damaged one, on hand, the Elsewhere yard trackwork was worked on.

Not to be left out, scenic elements around other parts of the railroad were also worked on. More plaster was applied, on the hills between Springbank and Sunset. Foam boards were selected to elevate the town of Lincoln, creating not only a view block but
 also a scenic focal point.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Quad problem

  Jim sent in this useful information in the hope it may help someone else. He did omit telling us about the hours of testing and checking, reading and consulting, that helped solve this problem. 

We had hooked up the command station a DCS 240 DigiTrax and had also had our first section of bus wire put in. Our first quad unit power manager, PM42 was then hooked up. Then we attached the four blocks to the quad unit and did our track testing of shorting out the track with a quarter trick.

When you do this the PM 42 is supposed to shut down the individual block that is shorted out so that you do not shut down the whole system. But each time I shorted out an individual block the entire PM42 shut down along with the command station We checked all of our wiring and hook ups and settings in the PM42 but could not find the problem.

I went online and asked DigiTrax and also a few of the train sites asking some of the guys for suggestions as to what the problem was. Somebody on one of the sites recommended going into the command station and changing the option switches. Specifically option switch 18 which is the booster short circuit shut down time. By changing this from T (throne) to C (closed) it changed the shut down time to a longer time.That allowed the PM 42 to trip the block before the command station tripped out and in doing this, it solved our problem. We could not find this information in any of digitrax manuals.

The command station and the PM42 for the four blocks on the layout, that we have wired, are now working properly.

Very thankful to the person who recommended this action
Thanks again


Tuesday night at the RHR

 All the track for the sidings in Fidler were laid. After, Jim suggested a location, an Interchange track was added in Dover, it looks a lot like part of the CP yard.

Island from the kitchen converted into part of the stand for a HO scale DC layout.

Big melt down in the river, Cedar Creek, by the Coal mine. Looks like a reaction between the paint and the foam. The affected areas were repaired, after which some of the land forms received their first coat of plaster cloth. All of the mainline  bus wires are in, between Lincoln and the loop around Admiral. This should be where we install feeder wires so the track can be tested.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Tuesday at the RHR

 Town of Cartier takes shape.

Sawmill put back, needs some repair.

Big clean up of unused tables and chairs, plus deciding on where 2 donated layouts will go. One is a HO DC layout about 6 x 8 foot rectangle, which will sit on the kitchen island. The other an N scale layout which may go on the bar. The bar will also be an engine programme station and rolling stock repair area.

The branchline track was laid out and industries located, and the river near the Coal mine was worked on. The bridges were test fitted and the benchwork cutout for the river. The area then had a coat of plaster applied, even working in river rapids. When the river scenery is completed the mainline track's can be reinstalled.

Blue foam hills, scenery, feeder wires, electronic installation, and clean up, are ongoing.

We also received a donation of some engines for the club.
Bridges on the branchline installed.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Creating a digital copy of a track plan

 I drew out a track plan at 1/4 inch to a foot. The front, eastbound track is black, the back, westbound track is red and the branchline is blue. The benches are green.

A photo was taken and loaded onto my old PC. opening it in Paint. The first thing I did was add all the town names in 16 pika and the industries in 10 pika text. Printing a copy shows how dark it prints out.

Next using either the eraser, or the select and delete functions, I deleted all the open space around the benchwork. This turns it into a white space.


Next, using the same functions, I selected areas with only straight track or the bench edges, erasing sections but leaving references at each end. It is then a simple mater of selecting the proper colour and the straight line function, to replace all the erased pen lines with nice straight, printed ones. Curves were done with the curve line function. All the industries were also redone. All this erasing removes all of the graph paper lines so they are carefully added to the outside of all the benches.

The results are a nice clean printout. As it is saved it can be altered at any time, without having to redraw the whole plan. Copies can also be made for other members.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Layout track plan

 The first full plan of our layout. Not all the industries are drawn in and others are not named. Some mistakes on the colour of parts of the 2 sections of the mainline. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tuesday meeting, Oct. 26, 2021

 The financial report swaps accepted as read. Money from sales at the Train Show, was added to the account.

Applying for grants was also discussed. Because of all the red tape, it was tabled for now.
It was agreed that our dues would remain the same and that a limited number of new members would be accepted.
Prices on 14 gauge bus wire will be looked into, and purchased.
No decision on having more sessions per week was made.

Recent changes to the layout, were briefly highlighted.
Some wording, as it applies to car cards, train orders, and the blog, was decided. The 2 double ended yards will be referred to as READY yards, setting out rolling stock will be called SPOT or DROP, picking up rolling stock will be called PICK.
The need for a passing track at the gravel pit was thought to be a good idea, as was another idea for removable loads on flat cars, more on that later.
Ideas for an operating system were floated. Even through the actual choice between Train Orders or Car Cards was not made, we agreed there needs to be more variety in switching rolling stock than just DROP and PICK the same type of car. Some want the piece of rolling stock identified e.g.. AAR and number. To only DROP  or PICK would add
 variety, as would dropping and picking different types of rolling stock at the same
 industry. Spotting rolling stock, say over an unloading grate, putting incoming rolling
 stock at the end of the siding, and multiple industries on one siding are other good ideas.

After the meeting, wiring continued and foam was added to create hills.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Tuesday night at the RHR Oct 19

 Several people were on wiring detail, adding feeders, connecting feeders to the bus wires, as seen in the picture below, even connected one block to a quad unit, and run an engine! For those that don't know, ever piece of track will have a set of feeder wires or a few hundred feeders. At the same time single or double ties are being used to fill in gaps between 2 pieces of track. We have found a couple of cases where the moulded spikes were not removed, causing the track to have a bump. These have been replaced. We found 1 case where the tie ends were not trimed, where 2 tracks join onto a turnout. This causes a bad alignment. Four more rerailers/Road crossings were also installed.

An access hole was cutout beside the passenger tracks in Woodstock. The bench frame was adapted to support the perimeter of this cutout. We tested hiding it with tall buildings.

I hesitate to say this, because I know we will have to remove sections for scenery and other trackwork, but the mainline track is complete!!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Friday fun at the RHR

 Found 4 more rerailers, in a box of track, so 3 are being installed in Hunter. The reversing/loading track was installed with required insulators and a rerailer. It still has to be wired and checked.

 The new storage yard in Wellington was also started.

The gravel pit sidings were located and installed.

Two former members came for a visit, from St. Thomas, nice to see Leo and Ruby. Leo is working on some On30 structures for his own layout.


A few ideas were discussed with some members. First the use of timers at all stations, to have a set time to load and unload passengers. Second was weather to use AAR codes or our short forms for car type entries on our train orders e.g.. XM and LO or BC and CH, for box cars and covered hoppers. Third was to have more than 1 industry per siding. Fourth was the use of the combination of brown water towers and yellow stations, on the back mainline (which will be referred to as the eastern division) and green water towers and red stations on the front mainline (western division) to help separate the 2 mainlines. NB. a light and dark ballast would also help. All of these subjects will be drought up at our meeting. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Tuesday night at the RHR

 New yard for Wellington/Woodstock. Because we are leaning towards breaking down many of the trains that have been run, we need more yard storage. A new 4 track stub ended yard will be installed off the end of the Wellington ready yard. That will make 8 storage tracks in total. The engine reversing switch, between Elsewhere and Wellington, was also worked on. It was also decided that this would include a power control engine loading track, with a rerailer.

Thames River Bridge is being installed, leaving only work on the stream near the Coal mine and some trackwork at the Elsewhere yard, to complete the mainline.


Work continues. Another 2 bus wire runs were installed, as were a host of feeder wires. In the background, members prepair for the Woodstock Train Show on Sunday.

The email about what kind of operating system, can up in discussion many times. Preference was all across the board, from the old individual car cards, because of it realism, to the Train Order system, because of its simplicity. It remains to be seen where the debate will go. The biggest problem with a complicated system is the constant correction of switching errors, and simpler systems lack realism.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Train ops.

 Listed from the easiest to the hardest. If you want some say in our operating sessions please reply.

I like train order type 1 it is self correcting, somewhat realistic and has traffic control

Pre-set trains like the log train, passenger train, and coal drag, remain for all the ops listed.

Opportunistic switching.
Make up any train you want with available cars in the yard, not longer than 6 feet. Travel around the layout, imaginering your loads and pickups as you go, switching at any or all locations you want. At the end of the run, all cars are stored in the main yard.

Pros nobody has to make up trains
           No paperwork
            No checking and correcting rolling stock
            No specific amount of rolling stock types
             No card box's needed
            No pre planning
Cons no control over trailing switching only
           No realism, unless you have a good imagination.

Train Order system type 1, with only set outs listed, where you set out specific cars, but pick up everything there.

Pros somewhat realistic
           No checking and correcting rolling stock
           Trailing switching only
           Only 1 piece of paperwork
Cons some paperwork required
           Some card box's required
           Trains need to be made up per train orders
           Need correct amount of rolling stock available
           Pre planning required

TRAIN ORDER system type 2, with Set out and pickups listed, where you set out and pick up like cars.

Pros  more realistic
          Car forwarding possible
           Trailing switching only
           Only 1 piece of paperwork
Cons some paperwork required
           Some card box's required
           Trains need to be made up per train orders
           Need correct amount of rolling stock available
           checking and correcting rolling stock
            More Pre planning required

Car cards listing all car information type 1, or car type only type 2, with either a pouch for destinations, or double sided for set outs and pickups.

Pros very realistic
Cons lots and lots of paperwork required
           lots of card box's required
           Trains need to be made up per cards
           Need correct amount of rolling stock available
           checking and correcting rolling stock to location
           No trailing switching
           Pre planning require

Funny how the simplest system has the most Pros and the least Cons.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Reversing track

 Reversing, return loop, program, track. Quite a mouthful. The main component of this idea is a peco turnout with an electric throw motor, plus a Twin Micro Switch, also called, 2 single pole, double throw switchs, which was probably used for signals or frog power. We, however will use the 2 SPDT switch to reverse the polarity of the turnout, yellow circled,  and the tail track. Gaps, blue lines, will isolate the turnout and tail track  from the tracks coming from the 2 yards, note, in conversation about this idea, it was suggested to have the gaps at the throat of the turnout, at least 6 inches away. The tail track will also have a gap so the far end of it can be isolated, so it can be turned off and on, to place engines on the layout. A rerailer, black, will be installed to help with that. This loading track could also be used to program engines.

How it will be used. The 2 yard tracks which feed this reversing track, will be the mainline through these yards, in other words, always left open. If a train is brough into Wellington, it would be dropped, the engine would run past the Wellington yard, go around the Woodstock loop and into the Elsewhere yard and into the reversing track, throw the turnout, back into the Wellington yard, facing in the opposite direction. Reversing this procedure for Elsewhere. No turntable needed. The tail track could have a water tower, coaling tower, etc. For decoration and or operations.

Friday fun, Oct. 8th.

 As always there was a lot of scenery being added, rerailers/Road crossings being installed and track adjustments, going on in the background. A siding was found with feeder wires installed, but it had not been located into its final position as yet,  adjustments were made, as required. So a reminder to people installing feeders, most of the sidings have not been put into their final location yet, so only wire the mainline and passing sidings. An effort will be made to have the sidings put where they should be to avoid confusion and extra work.

Looking at our supply of stations, it was found that we have yellow and red sided types. So all the mainline stations on the front mainline are red and all the rear mainline stations are yellow.  This may help distinguish the 2 mainlines as being separate from each other. Of course, the white Woodstock station will be used between the Wellington and Elsewhere yards. In fact that loop area will be known as Woodstock, so as many buildings as possible, with a Woodstock reference, should be located there. As there is no sidings there, factories like La France and Bingham the Mover will be located at other towns on the layout.

Industries in Tatham and their sidings were put into place.