08/21/2003 Progress Report
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Since the 07/06/2003 Progress Report, a couple of major mileposts have been achieved on the railroad!

On August 7, 2003, the signal maintainers finally decided they had studied the power management and block detection system enough to commence work and hope that no smoke would escape from the components. ;-) As a result, the first portions of the Digitrax power management and detection systems were installed when I started working with the first PM42 and the first BDL162 on the railroad that evening.

After soldering wires to the connectors on both these components and connecting them to terminal strips, I had a finished control panel board. On Saturday, August 16, 2003, that control panel was installed under Catawba. It will eventually power the railroad from MC Cabin to the north end o of Ridgemont. I installed the first 2 wires on the new layout on this date to supply DC power to the PM42. The control panel is hinged for easy access to the components and wiring. Its normal position will be parallel to the layout benchwork, but it folds down perpendicular to the benchwork for installation and maintenance of the components.

Even though wiring is not my favorite task, the enthusiasm generated by being close to be able to run a train meant that I worked on the wiring for about five straight hours on Sunday, August 17, 2003. I finished the wiring to the control panel from the Chief, and I pulled the first two bus wires. Feeders in the Hanging Rock (MC Cabin to south end Catawba) section have been soldered to the bus wires. Some testing was done to ensure that everything was connected to the system properly, and the signal maintainers verified that all the smoke remains in the circuit boards. ;-)

With confidence in the signal maintainers and their testing, the Shenandoah Division Superintendent ran the first train under DCC power (albeit with an analog locomotive) on the new railroad from SN Cabin to the south end of Catawba at 5:50 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, 2003!!! A major milepost has been achieved now that trains can be run again--even if for only 30 feet or so!

Management plans to direct the signal maintainers to continue with progress northward through Catawba so that more of the Shenandoah Division can be placed into service.

Progress as of August 16, 2003

Overall view of the first Digitrax component boards mounted under Catawba. On the left is the PM42 power management board. The BDL162 block detection board is on the right, with space reserved for possible future transponding components.


A closer view of the overall panel.


Close-up view of the PM42 (left) and BDL162 (right) before any of the wires have been pulled out to the railroad.


This PM42 will provide power from MC Cabin to the north end of Ridgemont, including the NS Charleston, W. Va. staging yard.


This BDL162 will provide power and detection from MC Cabin to the north end of Laurel, Va.


Progress as of August 17, 2003

Overall view of the control panel after wires have been run to the railroad for the first detection section from MC Cabin to the south end of Catawba. The LocoNet cables connection the boards are installed temporarily to test the system.


Another view of the panel showing the wires leaving the terminal strips. There are four wires of DC power for the boards, 3 wires from the Chief, and 2 wires out to the railroad at this point. More wires will be pulled for additional detection sections.


To make the wiring easier and more pleasant, the control panel is hinged. This photo shows its normal position latched into place under the layout (again, the LocoNet cables are temporary). As shown in the photos above, the board folds down for easy access to all the components.


Here's the power supply and Chief Command Station/Booster, along with the DC power supplies for the PM42 and BDL162.


Another shot of the power supply and Chief. This view also shows the terminal strips connecting the power components to the PM42 and BDL162, which are about 8 feet to the left of this shot.


First Train Under DCC Power on August 17, 2003!

The first run of a train on the Shenandoah Division under DCC power (albeit with an analog locomotive) occurred at 5:50 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, 2003! Here's the train coming through the eventual site of Hanging Rock Tunnel.


The first train crossing the future Catawba Creek Viaduct.


Another view of the first train crossing the Catawba Creek Viaduct.


TrainWorx Hoppers

At a recent GATS show, I discovered the new TrainWorx 100 ton Bethlehem 12 panel quad hoppers in the L&N Family Lines scheme. These hoppers are really nice. They come in 3 packs and are pre-equipped with Micro-Trains trucks (low profile wheels) and couplers at a very reasonable price.

The TrainWorx car is on the right next to an Atlas 90 ton 3-bay hopper on the left for comparison.


Close-up of the Atlas hopper.


Close-up of the TrainWorx hopper.


This page was last updated on 01/01/11.


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