Monday, January 16, 2017

Finished wiring the industrial sidings

The first locomotive to enter the feed mill siding under its own power.

And spotting a car on the Vulcan spur.

Headed back to the main line.

Yesterday I tackled another project I've been dragging my feet on, wiring up the sidings for Vulcan Manufacturing and the feed mill in Gallitzin.  Long-time readers of this blog know how much I love wiring, but withmy goal of hosting an honest to gosh operating session soon, I had to get it done. Anyway, on to the blow by blow.

The first thing I tackeled was soldering a feeder wire to the inner rail of the feed mill siding, which for some reason, I'd neglected to do earlier. This turned out to be rather painless and encouraged by my early success, I went ahead and connected all the feeders to the bus wires.

And here's where things started getting squirrely. I grabbed my Bachman RS3, which normally paired with an Atlas Geep, provides motive power for the local trains. I slowly backed the Alco off the main line onto the siding. As soon as we hit the first turnout, we stopped dead. "Okay, maybe to rails are dirty," I thought and gave the engine nudge. The engine started moving once more until it encountered the second turnout and ground to a halt once more. Still convinced the problem was dirty track, I gave the loco another nudge and she ran in a rather herky-jerky fashion down the feed mill siding.

I followed my gut, grabbed my bright boy and gave the siding and both turnouts a good cleaning. On the siding, the loco ran nice an smoothly, but instantly came to a stop on the turnout again. Long story short, after spending several hours farting around with cleaning the turnouts and even adding another feeder between them, the locomotive simply would not run through them.

Now the turnouts in question are Peco electrofrogs. Unlike the old Atlas Code 80 switched, which used a plastic frog, the switches have powered frogs and the polarity changes based on which way the turnout is thrown. To accomplish this, the movable point rails conducted power from the tow outside rails. This is dependant on them making good contact and in fact neither of these turnouts were. At any rate, the lightbulb finally went on and what I ended up doing was slightly bending the end of the point rails outward ever so slightly. This forced them into contact with the outer rails and solved the problem.

With this project out of the way, I've conquered one major barrier to operating. Now it's time to seriously think about the operating scheme.

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