Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rail Joiner Install & Christmas run

 After making the joiners I installed them. 
 First I tried in the deep snow, but the hole alignment was slightly off. 

After it melted some I brought a drill out and fixed the alignment and got the eight bolts tight.

Testing proved the solution to be well designed, not a single derailment in that area anymore.  The tugger did hit a brick by the log loading area. 

Later in the month I swept the track and ran the train both on Christmas day, and while hosting my brothers.  I may run one last run on New Years Eve or Day then I will be bringing the loco and tugger up to the garage until spring.

Christmas brought me fun toys, a wav / mp3 player, an arduino mini, a 9DOF location recorder and a display screen.  Plus I found a facebook video advertising a 109db amplifier for use in S scale loco's it should work for the SBT. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I ran out of other projects so i started looking at the water system of the steamer.

The tender holds water but needs to be re coated as the epoxy has cracks and the rubber over that is even worse.  Or I could make a new tank out of acrylic or something.

I think both axle pumps and the hand pump work.  I can get water into the tanks via each one. 

A propane regulator was purchased today, but I don't think the tank I got with the loco has anything in it.  

I will try the regulator with the tank under our grill before trying other things.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rail Joiners

The trains were consistently derailing at the joint between the two rail sizes.  To fix it I made pair of compromise joint bars. 

Then I ran the train. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rebuilding the car

Train projects have been interrupted by the need to fix a leak on my car, I was loosing a gallon of fluid every week from somewhere on the divers side of the engine... most likely one of the gaskets.  So we tore it down to the head gaskets, sent the heads out to be machined and ordered the parts to put the car back together.

While we wait we think about sound for the SBT.

Using the facebook backyard trains discussion group I learned that I need about a 20W amplifier and outoor speakers in proper cases to have the horn and bell be as loud as I desire.  Loud, but not too loud.

The system needs also to be polyphonic so that it can play the horn and the bell at the same time.
It can be mono, but stereo will be louder with two speakers instead of one.
A class D amp runs cooler than a class A/B

Since I have arduino for control anyway I should think about using components that work with what is already present.

Like this amp:

And this sound card is polyphonic:

And this for a speaker:

Well that is my first pass.  The polyphonic card is much more capable than I need and i dont know how to connect everything

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rebuilding Storage Battery Truck

 It is time to rebuild the SBT. 
 Nancy repainted it after replacing the coupler pocket. 

 Jon asked me where wood comes from....

 So I used the bandsaw to show him with a piece of firewood.

 Then we worked on the SBT.

 I got the headlight mounted, the inner insert had come loose at some point but it just screwed in. 

 Plus the onboard controls...
There is a lot of work to do...
I need to make a new control lever
Pull the radio control out of loco 2 and install it
Rewire everything
Get a horn and bell
Get new batteries

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


For Jon's birthday we took the family to Turkeyville where Adam was running his steamer.  Jon had the opportunity to learn about running it.

The most important rule of a steam engine is to keep water in the boiler.
Then to have a good fire.
Then to keep things lubricated.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


It is a rainy day, conducive to working in the shop.  I decided to finish off the workbench.  This included finishing a 41"x 7" area of the top.  Then I added a 3/4" backdrop to allow me to hang tools within easy reach.  I moved the vice from the center of the workbench to nearer one end, it felt in the way when centered.  I do wish I would have installed more outlets near the workbench, there is one in the middle and one on the left side, but none on the right edge.

Last I bolted the together the grizzly dust collection skate to allow me to stack white boxes on a rolling platform. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The end of the line

Today I worked in the morning for four hours.  Then a nap...  Then I installed the last of the ties I planed to install this year.  Then Lilli, Jon, and I loaded up the remaining ties on the flat and moved them into the shed.

I also spent some time cleaning up the shed, found the kids tents... so did the mice.

I also spent some time running the train back and forth, at full speed, with no derailments.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Storing the rail

Nancy and I moved the unused rail into the shed, I made a shelf above the door and we bundled the rail in sets of 4.  There is 4*(4+3+2+2+1+1)=624 feet pieces of new rail left to install.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

New Employee

The Mohawk and Lake Superior Railroad has a new employee.

We had to drive to St Louis to pick her up.

Not exactly certain of her duties yet.  Station agent, conductor, ROW inspector... etc.

Today I added a few ties to the line, but the magnet came out of the driver bit, which makes it very hard to hold ties, hold the screw, and drive the screw.  I chose to interview the employee and ride the train back and forth over the line instead.  She did take her first ride and was just fine with it. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Improving the track

Today I moved dirt onto the roadbed to improve stability of the track.  I have not tamped yet, but it is much improved.  I am able to run at speed step 10 with the pink and blue flat over the south half of the railroad.  The wagon and coal car will not traverse the route without derailing.  I have to fix both the cars and the route.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Out of fishplates

Saturday was a busy day.  First I was out of ties so I cut the haul that Nancy got earlier to length and width.  That took until noon.  Then I drilled six rails on each end and bolted to the end of the line.  Then was moving some dirt onto the ties for about 30 feet.  Finally Lillian helped me attach the ties for 12 feet of rail.  Then Nancy helped me collect some wood for the fire.  I am sure there was more we did today.

I am out of fishplates.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ten feet

Yes another ten feet tonight.   I ran both flats with both tanks from carbarn to the end of the line and back.  They derailed at the carbarn switch.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ten feet

Added ten more feet of track today.  It has a low spot on one side in the middle so I can not ride the flatcar over it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

six feet

Today Nancy bought 222 ties for 0.22 each and I added six feet of length to the mainline.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

On The Track

 Spent Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday at WC switching with Robb.
 Joe Scales and Dave Maddox helped me put better springs under the new car and it ran quite well, not derailing until late in the afternoon when the sun came out and it warmed up.  Same can be said for the tugger and Loco 2.
 Lots of people likes the wagon top gondola.
 Loco 3 was also enjoyed.
 Then Sunday morning the church had service at the location of the future building.  They are halfway to the 3 million goal.
 Sunday afternoon is unloading the truck.  First we rolled onto the lift.
 Then onto a board on a wagon, and strapped it down.
Then we brought the wagon down to the track where I made a ramp out of a couple 2x6 down to the track.  Nancy and I slowly ran the coal car, loco 2, and the tugger down the ramp to the track.

 Next I set the top speed of the loco at speed step 4 and slowly traversed the railroad a few times.

There were some derails, only once of the loco.  It is great to run on the track with a locomotive.