Archive for the ‘BS&T Times’ Category

Milk Train

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

A regular Milk Train will now be part of the operations on the BS&T after receiving a couple milk station kits and 0-8-0 locomotive for Christmas. I’ve been working on the milk stations off and on and have them pretty much complete and in place on the layout.  There is a bit of scenery to be done around them.

The station in Kenville is a Tichy Train Group plastic kit.  It is a simple Milk Shed/Station but really adds to the area around the passenger station. The kit came with dozens of milk cans that I will be able to use as detail bits at all the milk stations.

The kit also came with a handcar shed and accessories that I placed to the left of the milk station.  It’s hard to get a clear photo through the trees and buildings.

The milk station is Derwin’s drop is almost across from the passenger station.  It is a Banta Model Works laser cut wood kit.  This kit was a real pleasure to build.  There was lots of strip wood – I didn’t have to worry about errors in cutting and wastage.  The walls were notched on both the sides and bottom to assure a good strong glue joint and squareness.

Because this structure is out in plain view I will be sure to add some extra scenery around it.

The power for this train is two Proto 2000 0-8-0 locomotives.  One of them has sound (Loksound).  I had hoped that the two of them together would have enough power to pull the 4 milk cars up the grade between Kenville and Derwin’s Drop.  Unfortunately they do not have quite enough weight to provide the required traction.  They start spinning about 1/2 way up the grade.  So the Kenville local switcher will provide helper service over The Ridge.

The milk train is heading through Stevenville on it’s evening return run from the dairy in Wholinthall.  The Transfer from Tidewater is waiting on the siding to get into Bayside.

The two locomotives rumble past G-Mac Transfer.  The crew will have to wait for the Transfer to clear the siding before they can back their train into the station to drop off some empty milk cans.

After dropping empties in Stevenville it’s off to Derwin’s drop.  No backing into milk stations  since it has drive up service!

The train will leave Tidewater at the start of the session and stop at the Freight Station in Chappellton, the milk stations in Kenville and Derwin’s Drop, and the passenger station in Stevenville to pick up full milk cans.  Then it will head to the dairy in Wholinthall.  Toward the end of the session the Milk train will come back and make the same stops dropping off empty milk cans and tie up in Tidewater.


Oh what a night!

Monday, January 18th, 2010

We had another operating session on the BS&T last evening.  Derwin, Barry, Ewen, Chris, Ken, and Greg made up the crew.

Derwin chose to run the new Milk Train which also got him the CN Interchange and Transfer jobs.  He’s bringing the Transfer out of Bayside in this photo.  The previous guy in the yard had made a bit of a mess and Derwin had a lot of tidying up to do so he was a little late leaving.  Ewen says he’ll pay more attention to track diagrams next time.  I’ll point out something in another photo in this post that we will refer to as the “Incident”.

I’ll have more detail on the Milk Train and The Incident in a coming post.

Barry decided to try solo ops and chose to switch Kenville and Derwin’s Drop since it would be an easier task for a newbie. When I was describing the job to him I said “You’ll be really busy if both wayfreights arrive at the same time.  No need to worry because that rarely ever happens”.  HA!  It happened – twice in the same session!  So I gave him a hand in Derwin’s Drop when the wayfreights arrived.

I think he handled the task quite well.  At the end of the evening he said he had a great time!  He also said something about it’s nice to know that there’s something more to model railroading that building a layout and watching trains go around in circles.

Ewen thought he’d also try a less hectic job that local switching and took the West Bound Wayfreight. After break he became the East Bound #2 for the return to Bayside.  He’s just pulling into Kenville with that train.  I had to put the camera down shortly after this because the West Bound #2 arrived in Derwin’s Drop.

Chris, for some reason, jumped at the chance to switch in Stevenville. He’s watching Derwin bring out the Transfer in the first photo of this post.

Greg ran the East Bound Wayfreight  He is also running the second have of his job as East Bound #2.  We finished exchanging cars and he’s just leaving Derwin’s Drop.

Ken did the local switching in Chappellton, as usual.  He got off to a slow start due to a power glitch (more below) so was behind for most of the first half of the session.

I ran the Coal Peddler and helped out (I hope I was helping!) where needed.

I mentioned a power glitch in Chappellton – the whole industrial district lost power early in the session.  It took a while to track it down to one of the turnouts from the main line into the industrial area.  It decided that it was not going to route power to the whole industrial district.  I didn’t have time to install new feeders (I should have done that years ago – anticipating a turnout failure!) last evening so Ken had to keep the turnout set for the siding.  He also had to watch traffic coming into town in case a train ended up on the poorly maintained industrial tracks.  It made for a hectic evening for him.  Sorry Ken!

Ewen is backing up to connect to the rest of East Bound #2 as he prepares to head for Derwin’s Drop.  You can also see the tail end of the CN Interchange as it heads into Wholinthall.  Wait a minute!  This is the 50’s – why is there no caboose?  I’ll have more details about the “Incident” in a future post.  Stay tuned!

Between fixing a power issue and working in the car shops I’ve got some work to do before the next operating session in two weeks.  I’m going to try to reform my procrastinating ways and get things done in advance.  Hmmm… I hope.



Getting Ready to Operate

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Being the owner of an operating model railroad takes a lot of work!  Especially when you’ve let things slide and the problems start piling up.  Being the hardcore procrastinator that I am I’ve put off a lot of things for another day.  That day has come for some of them.

I’ve been intending to add contact strips under my lift out for a long time, perhaps years.  It’s always a nuisance to feed the wire that powers the rails on the lift out through the slot and then plug it in.  The biggest problem I’ve had, besides remembering to the put the lift out in place “before” an operating session, is to remember to plug it in so it has power.  About 5 minutes into an operating session I often hear someone saying “You forget to put the bridge in!”  or about 10 or 15 minutes into the session, “There’s no power on the bridge!”.  So today I added some brass contact strips to the framework under the bridge and some brass pins to the bottom side of the bridge so that as soon as the bridge is in place it has power.  At least one of the recurring bridge problems has been solved.

I received a Proto 2000 0-8-0 switcher from my wife for Christmas.  I installed a decoder in it this afternoon.  I have had one of these little steam locos for about a year.  They run very smoothly but without a lot of traction.  I was hoping the second unit coupled to the first would be enough to get the Milk Train over “The Ridge”.  After messing around for about 1/2 an hour getting them speed matched I coupled up to the Milk Train and headed for Derwin’s Drop.  Unfortunately about 1/2 way up The Ridge they both started spinning.  Gutless wonders!   They will still need the Kenville switcher to help them over The Ridge.

I hope to get a power issue in Stevenville resolved this afternoon and fix a couple grade crossings in Kenville.  Then it’s time to make sure all the freight cars are in the proper places, distribute the orders, and clean up!

If things aren’t too hectic this evening I’ll post some pictures this week sometime.




Monday, January 4th, 2010

Don’t think this will be a trend – two posts in as many days.  I just had to tell you about my new throttle!

A few weeks back I read about new throttle software for use with the JMRI suite called “WiThottle”.  The software runs on an iPod Touch or iPhone.  I’ve been itching to get an iPod Touch for a while and this was just the thing to seal the deal.

The “Wi” part of the name means WiFi.  This software connects to a host computer running DecoderPro and the WiThrottle server using a wireless network router.  If you’ve already got a wireless router in your house it’s amazingly easy to set up.  Oh yes, you also have to have a computer interface to your DCC system.

I thought the “throttle” would be difficult to use since there is nothing tactile about it – no knob to turn or button to press.  It is a little different, but quite easy to get used to.  I have mine set up with the speed slider on the right of the screen which is a more comfortable location for me.  It can be set up so that the slider is on the left of the screen.

Instead of tactile responses like a knob or button there are audible clicks as the slider is moved up or down.  This gives a good indication that you are moving the slider.  No clicks means something is wrong.

The function controls are the white squares to the left of the speed slider.  All 28 functions are easily selectable from the throttle.  Direction “buttons” are located at the top of the screen.

To move a locomotive you just tap the direction button and slide your thumb up the screen over the slider.  It is a little touchy (small movements result in large speed changes) even with the sensitivity at the lowest setting.  Hopefully there will be an update soon that will address this.  It takes a little time to get used to how much movement of the slider is required to move a locomotive.

The throttle also features a yard mode.  The idle position is in the center of the slider.  You slide up for forward and down for reverse.  It does make yard operations a lot easier when you don’t have to continually hunt for the direction buttons.  This throttle configuration does take some getting used to.  You have to lift your thumb off the slider before you can change direction.

Using it at Derwin’s this evening brought up a few issues.  I had to be careful lifting my thumb off the slider after bringing the speed slider to idle (center) or the throttle would click and the loco would start moving slowly.  I also had some trouble getting the loco to change direction on a few occasions.  I’m sure these issues will be fixed in future updates.

The best thing about this throttle is that it can be used with any DCC system as long as it has a computer interface, JMRI software running, and a wireless network.  There are no compatibility issues between NCE, Digitrax, or Lenz



BS&T Times – Oct. 25, 1956

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

After going through a long and exhaustive tendering (no pun intended) process, BS&T management has purchased an old CP 0-8-0 steam locomotive for excursion passenger service. Management has, in addition, purchased 4 coaches for this new train. The engine has recently undergone a boiler inspection and will soon be in service, when demand for the service (operators) exists.

Engineer Billie Tate says, “She sure is a beaut! She looks like she just came out of the builder’s shop!” I’m sure that won’t last long after she goes into service.

(Editor’s note: The loco is a Proto 2000 Heritage Steam o-8-o, and it really is a very nice looking engine. A sound decoder has been requested from Santa)