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Status Reports

The Back-up Light !

2007 Scenic Line Employee Reports








Nov 8, 2007    Crew: Gary, Hal
Nov 10, 2007    Crew: Hal, Barry, and Kent

Salida
Work continued on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. D&RGW 2-8-0 #1172 with flat #22023 ran thru switches #2, #2A, & #2B before stalling due to loss of power on the Arkansas River Bridge. Crew Chief Moe Howard said his crew needs to make adjustments to the bridge rails before connecting power. Switch #2B, besides requiring a guard rail, is now operating for SG. The NG rails will be permanently attached next. Switch #2B connects the 3rd Division DG main with the NG yard lead. Switches #2 & #2A tested well for SG & NG locos, and await automated switch machine hook-ups, so are currently spiked (& powered) into through positions.

Thursday night engineer "Cannonball" Hal with K-37 #492 detected a dead rail in the handlaid rails in the Switch #3 crossover. The problem was traced to the micro-switch wires being wired incorrectly to the switch on the 2nd Main. Other repairs made to the crossover switch between the mains appear to be complete. Additional work was done on Saturday and traffic now seems to flow smoothly through the switch in all directions.

Parlin
The plywood was cut to make the creek come straight out from the backdrop, under the trestle, and straight to the aisle. The plan is to completely cover the Parlin area with flat plywood at track level.

General

  1. Elections are coming up. The proposed slate of officers is: Kent for President, Barry for Vice President, Grant for Secretary, and Gary for Treasurer. All comments or additional candidates are welcome.
  2. Christmas Dinner Options:
    • Great Northern (brewery & restaurant, misc. fare - Gary's Favorite) - south east side of town
    • North Woods (Steaks) - south of C-470 & Sante Fe
    • Little Ricci's (Best Calzones West of the Mississippi) - C-470 & Ken-Caryl
    • Big Papa's (BBQ) - C-470 & Ken-Cary ...Big Papa's also sells by the pound so we could get fixin's and have the dinner at someone's place...
    • Rib City (BBQ) - just south of Kipling & Chatfield
    • Morrison Inn (Mexican & 32 oz. Margaritas) - Morrison
    • Bud's Bar (burgers, chips, and Bud) - Sedalia
    • Someone's place for potluck
Get you vote, or make a suggestion for another place, to Grant. Typically we need to get group Christmas Dinner reservations in prior to Thanksgiving to have a shot at having it on the date we want.




Nov 1, 2007    Crew: Gary
Nov 2, 2007    Crew: Gary
Nov 3, 2007    Crew: Gary, Grant, Hal, Kent, and Barry

Salida
Work continued on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. The main rails are in. Some additional work is needed on the guard rails and final tweaking to fix some minor problems. Troubleshooting may continue for some time.

More work on the main line cross-over (#3 on the switch panel). The switch was bowed up in the middle which led to all kinds of problems. A couple of extra spikes pulled it down flat. One of the hinged end of the points was loose. The points are connected to the non-moving rails by small rail joiners and one of them was not keeping things mechanically lined up and was also not making electrical contact. Barry soldered this and it now works well.

Marshall Pass
Track work testing on Marshall Pass using Hal's K-37 #492. The engine had trouble in several places on the inner radius track. This track has a radius of 22 to 22.5 inch and Hal's engine is claimed to operate on 18 inch radius. A couple of places where the rails were joined and soldered, a little bit of filing was necessary to adjust the gauge and the smooth the curve. However there were a couple of places where the trailing truck derailed. This only happened when backing up, thus the truck was being pushed instead of being pulled. This may be a situation of not enough side motion in the truck and it hits the engine frame. This may be the cause as the engine sometimes shorted the rails. Nothing was done to the track in these cases and additional investigation into both the engine and the track is needed.

General

  1. The fuse on the heater blew. Barry made a quick trip and purchased a replacement. We are now back in operation. No explanation why the fuse blew.
  2. Elections are coming up. The proposed slate of officers is: Kent for President, Barry for Vice President, and Grant for Secretary. All comments are additional candidates are welcome.





Oct 25, 2007    Crew: Gary and Hal
Oct 27, 2007    Crew: Gary, Hal, and Kent

Salida
Gary continued to work on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge and connected some more feeders. Both switches are reasonably complete. Hal's K-37 still shorts on the guide rail in front of the frog so additional small adjustments are still needed to make them operational Good progress but it takes time.

A problem was discovered on the narrow gauge crossover from Main #1 to Main #2 (identified as switch #3 on the control panel). The problem was finally traced to tight a gauge in the commercial Shinohara dual gauge switch. The rails there were so tight one could barely insert the NMRA gauge. Both the SG and NG rails were on the tight side, but the narrow gauge was far worse. The narrow gauge locos were severely pinched to the point of stopping the wheels and this would also stop the decoded sounds. The solution was to break the rail free and move it slightly. There is still some finish work to be done but things are running much better.

Parlin
Added first coat of plaster to the backdrop at the bridge. We need to determine the scenery plan before I can go any further. We need to determine where everything goes, especially the creek, the road, and all the buildings. The area between Parlin and Gunnison needs to be part of this discussion.

General

  1. The programming track is now back in operation. Gary discovered, and fixed, a broken wire in the electronics cabinet.
  2. While examining the wiring in the cabinet, he discovered that the wires to the upper barrier strip did not match up with the labels. It seems that they were all shifted one screw terminal. Nothing actually wrong, just the everything shifted one slot. We could remake the label or we could shift the wires. Gary moved the wires so now everything matches. No explanation how this happened.
  3. The Webmaster (Gary) reports that he updated the roster with some Tunnel Motors and updated some other files, like the Gazette. However, he may have run out of disk allocation and he has requested more space. Some links got a little messed up and I am unable to continue uploading more webpages until we get more space.





Oct 20, 2007    Crew: Gary, Grant, Steve, Joe, Kent, and Barry

Salida
Work continued on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. The overworked road crew report stated that they were "finally able to penetrate the layers of sedimentary foam beneath the shores of the mighty Arkansas through to the hollow earth's core to connect track feeders from the Salida house track and switches to the track bus. With power now available to the rails, testing went as follows: Switch 2 (thrown to 3rd Division (NG) Mainline) and adjustments were made to the point rails tightening up track width Switch 2A (spiked straight to house track)." Great job but it looks like there are still some minor problems and troubleshooting may continue for some time.

Parlin
The trestle was replaced with the final curved bridge. It will not be permanently installed until the background is painted and the scenery, especially the creek, is completed.

Mears Junction
More work on the plywood base for the creek and scenery. The two trestles that cross the creek are now complete. The cork was removed at each end and replaced with wood ties. This allows the rail that is on the trestle to extend onto the plywood road bed. The trestles and rails will not be installed permanently until the scenery and creek bottoms are complete.

Marshall Pass
Steve worked from 11:00 to after 3:00 on the narrow gauge cork and track. He got all the track laid up to the west mainline trestle at Mears Junction including all the power feeders reconnected. He moved a bunch of the feeders on the frogs to be closer to the frogs and cut the gaps closer to the frogs. About half of them were 2" down the rails. There's no reason for that. He took #489 and ran it over the new track all the way to Parlin, backing into all the sidings, etc. Steve and Joe put a train behind #489 and ran it all the way through Parlin. Then the "Giant Hand from the Sky" turned the loco and they ran the train back. The process was repeated with #497 over all the tracks. There was one 5" long section between Parlin and Grays that needs to be pulled up and glue back down. Other than that, everything ran very smoothly.

General

  1. Salida Residents were rudely awakened on Saturday morning to find 12 DRGW diesels - "growling" in the Salida yard. One resident said "I was shocked to see so much orange paint in one place - they almost blotted out the sun". Another woman said "They look so cute - just in time for Halloween". The mayor and members of the city council were not so amused - the mayor declaring "How are we going to feed all the crews and all the "railroad crazies" that are bound to descend on our peaceful town! We should tell them to pack up and move to Minturn or even Helper, UT. We don't want them here", he was quoted as saying. Others said "Well, at least the crews are more civilized than that bunch of Hells Angels creatures that appeared here last week - we are still looking for the mayor's daughter". DRGW officials refused to return phone calls. More information will be provided as the situation become clearer.
  2. Lots of track testing this week and using the following locomotives: #455 K-27 (Blackstone), performed well Saturday but again had oil on the commutator, which has been a continuing and worsening problem. I think the oil applied by the Blackstone Chinese is organic and continues to grow back after each shop maintenance burning off procedure. #460 K-27 (Brass), ran extremely well. #492 K-37 (Brass), shorted at places that were OK to the other engines. Running at a slightly higher speed it gets OK but the rear truck of the tender tends to 'pop' up and sometimes derails.
  3. There were electrical problems with the DCC system. Hal and Gary were unable to reprogram the decoder in his Tunnel Motor. Using the Programming Track, they could not program the decoder nor successfully 'read' the decoder using Joe's DecoderPro S/W on the computer. They were able to successfully program the decoder in Ops mode on the main track.





Oct 11, 2007    Crew: Gary and Barry
Oct 13, 2007    Crew: Gary, Steve, Kent, and Barry

Salida
Gary continued to work on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. All the rails are in and final adjustments are being made. Various locos are being run through the switches to test them.

Parlin
The curved trestle was test fit. It really looks nice and much better that the straight bridge. Some final adjustments are still needed but it is almost ready.

Mears Junction
Barry work on the plywood base for the creek and scenery.

Marshall Pass
Steve glued down the narrow gauge cork and track in the Marshall Pass area.

General

  1. The tunnel motors are in. I lost count of who purchased what, whose Mars light works best, who has the 88 inch long nose, who has the speed lettering, and what engine number they are going to put in it. Bottom line is that collectively "we" now have a lot more engines.





Oct 4, 2007    Crew: Barry
Oct 6, 2007    Crew: Grant, Steve, Gary, Barry, Andrew, Joe and Phil

Salida
Gary continued to work on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. The Howard MOW crew were able to make considerable progress on the curved DG/NG switch for the Salida NG yard lead. Almost all rails are in place and parts have been tested with locomotives.

Parlin
The straight trestle is being worked on and soon will be a curved bridge.

Mears Junction
More work on the plywood base for the creek and scenery.

Marshall Pass
Steve glued down the narrow gauge cork and track in the Marshall Pass area.




Sept 29, 2007    Crew: Gary, Steve, Joe, Hal, Barry

Salida Gary continues to work on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge. He now has all the roadbed and ties laid. He claims to be "into the difficult part of the switch". Wow. It all looks difficult to me.

Mears Junction
Hal and Kent glued down the cork at Grays. Barry continued work on the plywood for the creek that runs through Mears Junction. Hal continued work on the trestles.

Poncha Junction
Discussion of stub switch design. Barry has some switch motor concepts. The old stub switch that Tom built years ago is very similar to what we need.

Marshall Pass
The effort to relay all the narrow gauge track is continuing. This week the section from Parlins through Marshall Pass was worked on. The cord and flex track were removed, the area sanded smooth, the cork glued down, cork sanded, and the flex track glued down. It should be noted that the inner track radius at Marshall Pass was found to be in the range of 22 to 22.5 inch radius. Some narrow gauge curves are 24 inch radius, but that is not the minimum found on the layout. MicroEngineering flex has significantly tighter rail spacing than the Shinohara. Thus new Shinohara has been purchased and is being used on curves.

Parlin
Lots of discussion about the clearance of the curve between Parlin and Gunnison. Particular concern about the clearance across the bridge. Engines with snow plows are perhaps the tightest fit. Steve's Westside K-36 with a PSC brass snowplow was tested and goes around the Gunnison/Parlin curve with 1/8" clearance at the tightest point.

The current bridge is straight, as was the prototype. However, with the new track layout the trestle is now on a curve. It fits "as is" but the general opinion is that it should be rebuilt as a curve. It would look better and might give a little more clearance.

General

  1. The PM42 that reverses the Gunnison wye needs to be reprogrammed to the high speed, and I need to figure out where to cut the rails to electrically isolate Parlin from Gunnison. Barry said he needs to tune the microswitches on some turnouts.
  2. General discussions about the trackwork at Gunnison and Salida. Basic topic is we wish we had more yard space and more run around tracks, but there just is not enough room. We had to compromise. We may be able to make some improvements in Salida. However Gunnison is basically firm and cannot be changed but adding staging tracks along the back wall at Gunnison is an option.
  3. Gary replaced the filter in the electronics cabinet. Note that the filter is a furnace filter cut into 4 pieces. He also cleaned and vacuumed the inside of the cabinet.
  4. A new coffee maker is being procured. The old one having given it best.





Sept 22, 2007    Crew: Gary, Steve, Joe, Hal, and Barry

Salida
Gary continues to work on the switches at the Arkansas River bridge.

Narrow Gauge
The effort to relay all the narrow gauge track is continuing. This week additional track and cork was pulled up and just placed on the layout where it came from. The cork should fit exactly back where it was, but next time glued instead of nailed. Even though the flex track may not fit exactly back in the same place, please do not move the pieces. We would like to keep the pieces organized for possible re-use. The gage is being checked and new flex is being used in some places, but we would still like to keep the removed pieces in their proper place.

Mears Junction
Barry worked on the plywood for the creek that runs through Mears Junction. Hal is working on the trestles.

Parlin
Steve replaced the damaged turnout in Parlin.




Sept 13, 2007    Crew: Gary, Barry, Hal
Sept 15, 2007    Crew: Grant, Gary, Hal, Barry, and Steve

Salida
Gary continues to work on the depot switches.

Gunnison
There was a suggestion about adding a turnout on a yard track to connect the one stub ended yard track to an adjacent yard track to make it double ended. This was not the first time that this has been considered. That idea was examined and discarded because the benefit of adding that turnout is not worth the cost. In a nutshell, you can add a *fourth* runaround siding, but it will cost you 4 cars in yard storage capacity. Since thereís three other ways to run around a car, it was decided that it was more important to have the ability to store 4 more cars in the yard. -StevO

Parlin
Steve tested the clearance between the track and the backdrop along the curved trestle. All three of his locos passed with adequate clearance. None have a plow on them right now but future runs may include his K-36 with the plow. The track now has a 24Ē radius curve and the tight clearance was a trade off.

Monarch
Hal worked on the roadbed and switches.

Narrow Gauge
Steve pulled up the track and cork from Parlin through Grays (Tank 7, Shavano, and Marshall Pass to the east switch), including the sidings. After pulling out 732 nails (careful, Steve sometimes exaggerates), he glued the cork down. Next Saturday, after the caulk sets up, he will sand the cork. The plan is to take on a section of track at a time, pull the track and the cork up, glue it back down, and get each section back to operational status before advancing to on the next section. He probably did about 12 linear feet on Saturday. This will keep us from having the entire NG down for months.

General

  1. The 2 throttles are back. Digitrax converted them to radio operation. We now have 4 radio throttles.
  2. Swap meet was this Saturday. Barry worked on installing a decoder in a Rivarossi GG-1 model that he picked up at the swap meet and finally got it running.
  3. Additional discussion on how the yard in Salida should be operated. Discussions on arrival tracks, departure tracks, run around tracks, and double ending of the yards. Looks like we may be making even more changes in the narrow gauge part of Salida.





Sept 6, 2007    Crew: Barry, Gary
Sept 8, 2007    Crew: Steve, Gary, Barry, Joe.

Salida
Gary continues work on the switches. He built the second frog on the curved DG/NG switch we are adding for the NG yard lead/depot track. He also cut and installed the roadbed for the NG track which will eventually include a crossover to the 2nd Main.

Gunnison
Steve worked on the last bits and pieces of track work in Gunnison. He fixed the issue with the track into the ash pit. Barry and Steve ran his K-36 with five cars through the entire yard in Gunnison, around the curve to Parlin, through all the tracks in Parlin, through the wye in Gunnison several times, across the turntable, and part way up the Crested Butte branch. Also ran his Blackstone K-27 over some of the track and had no problems. His K-37 was also run through the mainline. It struggled in some places due to its design. Barry said he may still need to tune the micro switches on some turnouts. Iím ready to declare victory on the track work in Gunnison and Parlin.

Parlin
Steve replaced the damaged turnout in Parlin with a new turnout.

General

  1. Gunnison and Parlin is now ready for scenery. However, PLEASE completely cover all track and roadbed with masking tape. Masking tape is dirt cheap, and white plaster and paint on the track looks like crap and ruins the track. Donít even think about working on scenery without covering the track and roadbed. -StevO
  2. Speaking of scenery, I would like to spend some time photographing layout scenery down around Salida, Monarch and Gunnison this month. One thing I am sorely lacking are fall photographs and it is impossible to paint backdrops and make realistic scenery without a good color guide. It is also a lot easier to paint a backdrop from an actual photo than from something imagined in your head. Plus, I can't mimic fall colors well enough into realistic scenery. Therefore, anyone interested in a road trip with breakfast at the Como Depot on the way, is welcome to join me on a photo safari. It will be fun to see the color changes. I would like to make a couple of trips, the first opportunity I have is this Sunday, Sept 16. - Gary
  3. Kent and Steve need to reprogram the PM42 that reverses the Gunnison wye to speed it up.
  4. Staging Deck: Gary has added some brass hooks attached to the framing above the staging deck. These have been installed from the west end almost to the corner, with the intent to continue down to the east end of staging. (East & west refer to track, not building compass directions). Wire will be attached to the hooks, which will line up over each staging track. The wires will have train number signs hanging above each train for operating sessions to decrease neck pains for operators, making it easier to locate trains (like at Kampsnider's).
  5. Lots of discussion about operating sessions. We may add more points around the layout for timing purposes, including points internal to the helix. One suggestion was to add "Purgatory" somewhere in the middle of the helix and Hel Junction just before Tennessee Pass. Double tracking the helix was again mentioned (that concept seems to never go away).





August 30, 2007    Crew: Barry, Gary
Sept 1, 2007    Crew: Gary, Tom, Grant, Joe.

Digitrax
Gary had trouble with the RF throttles. He ran trains from 2-5pm but the RF/IR wouldn't work about 90% of the time. Started when had a runaway. He used the plug-ins mostly from then on without a problem, and the RF would work occasionally. Turned off track power but otherwise did not re-boot the command station. Grant reported that he has not had any problems. We need to keep track of this and see if there are "dead" zones or other problems.

Operations
Right now an operating session takes approx 3 hours real time for a 24 hr day, before incorporating a prototypical schedule. An 8:1 clock works perfectly, but as prototypical operations are added, trains will take longer to operate, so I am thinking a 6:1 may end up working better, and 4 hours to operate a 24 hr day. I tried putting in a lot of slack on the previous 1:1 time-table, but more time will need to be included. -Gary

General

  1. Two more throttles were sent back to Digitrax for conversion to radio. They were sent on Friday 8/24/07.
  2. Plans are being made for an Operating session next week. If you are interested please let Joe or Gary know. Gary has sent out a sample Train Order or time table.
  3. Steve volunteered to give a presentation of the operational concept of yards. This would help everyone understand the basics of what to do during a session and would help explain the problems/advantages of the Gunnison and Salida layout.
  4. During the discussion of the Ops session, it was suggested that staging areas for the narrow gauge would be most helpful. Tom suggested have we could have staging come off Gunnison with a hinged bridge across the back aisle and along the back wall. The bridge would be lowered only when a train was actually entering or leaving the layout. Interesting concept.





August 23, 2007    Crew: Barry, Joe, Hal, Grant, Gary, Andrew, and visitors from Caboose Hobbies
August 25, 2007    Crew: Andrew, Kent, Gary, Hal, Barry and Michael.

Gunnison
All the switch machines have now been install and are operational. A big Thank You to Barry. The new track and switches seem to operate very well with the exception of the ash pit track. That track has a problem right at the switch where it begins its decent into the ash pit.

Monarch
Hal and Andrew continued work on Monarch and the switchbacks. This week they glued down the two tracks right at the mine and also the track leading down to the switch backs.

Salida
Gary started installing a right hand curved switch right at the Arkansas River bridge. He removed the old ties and put down longer switch ties. The location of the points, and frogs have been determined. The PC ties locations have been determined and PC ties have been placed. This will be a narrow gauge turn off that that will connect to the first yard track. This will allow a train to come from the mountains, across the Arkansas River, and go directly to the narrow gauge yards without getting on the standard gauge main line. This track is shown on the old drawing of Salida.

General

  1. Two more throttles were sent back to Digitrax for conversion to radio. They were sent on Friday 8/24/07.
  2. The new radio throttles seem to eat batteries. An email to Digitrax was answered with the suggestion to turn off the display back light (Option #3) to save batteries. It looks like we will have to remove the batteries when the throttle is not in use.
  3. Special visitors: On Thursday (8/23) about 10 visitors from Jim White's railroad group from Caboose Hobbies came by. Most came between 7:30 and 8:00 and left about 9:30. Grant and Andrew ran standard gauge trains around the Royal Gorge to Salida loop. Most visitors just milled around asking questions. The large aisle between Salida and Monarch, and the aisle by the snow sheds seemed to gather the most people.
  4. Special event: The Union Pacific #844 steam engine ran Saturday morning from Denver to Pueblo for the opening of the state fair. Club members gathered at Joe's house in Castle Rock. An early morning breakfast, a great photo opportunity, and good weather. Several big emails this week with nice pictures.



August 16, 2007    Crew: Barry, Joe, Hal, Grant, Gary, Andrew, and Tom
August 18, 2007    Crew: Joe, Hal, Grant, Gary, Steve, Barry, Michael and Kent.

Gunnison
Barry worked on re-stalling more switch machines. Many have been finished and are now functional but more to complete. Steady progress.

More discussion on the control panels. General agreement was reached to use a single panel with the controls placed on the track diagram.

Royal Gorge
Joe made some rock castings for the Gorge. It has been a long time since we have seen activity in the Gorge. Way to go Joe!

Poncha Junction
The prototype had 3-way stub switches at Poncha Junction. When we put in the narrow gauge track we put Luan road bed in place for stub switches but temporarily laid a single flex track through area. We are now in the process if gluing down all the narrow gauge track and making it permanent, thus we need a decision on the switches at Poncha. There are no commercially available 3-way stub switches or even 3-way (2 separate sets of switch points and throws) switches in narrow gauge. Thus we either hand build something or use back to back #6 switches. There are 3 possible options: (1) using #6 switches and position them such that one siding is the maximum possible length and thus the other siding will be considerably shorter. (2) using #6 switches and position them such that both sidings are the same length. We did this in Parlin. (3) Ignore the problem for now and keep the temporary single track. We need to review the length of all the narrow gauge sidings and see how this fits into our operations plan (we have done this before) and make a decision.

Monarch
Hal continued work on relaying the track on the switchbacks. This week he worked on the cork from the lower switchback switch down and around the loop at Mears. He put cork down across the plywood where the trestle will go so we can get everything smooth. He also did the stub siding that is inside the loop. The track and the cork roadbed were removed, the plywood sanded smooth, and the cord was put back in position but glue this time (it was nailed before). The flex track needs to be re-installed on the entire section. The cork has be done down to the switch at Mears. This was to be a 3-way stub and the Poncha discussion above applies here as well. We need to make a decision if we are going to replace it with two #6 witches.

Salida
Lots of discussion on control panels. This led to a discussion about how we plan to operate and who will be where doing what. The conclusion was a review of the Salida track plan and lots of suggestions on how to make it better for operation. Steve took notes and a marked up plan will be distributed for everyone's comments. The general concept is to have a single main line through Salida that we can keep totally clear with the two yards operating independently. A couple of tracks will be added to the right hand yard to allow it be to be accessed directly from the mountains, and to allow for yard activities with out using the main line. The left had yard will be totally standard gauge and will utilize what we previously called the second main. The second main track will also service both turn tables and engine facilities. We will drop the term "second main" since it is now part of the yard operations.

General

  1. The two throttles are back from Digitrax. It took about 2 1/2 weeks including shipping both ways. Fast service by Digitrax. The new units are radio linked and they work very well. Much improved over the IR operation. It appears that the used batteries that we previously used are not sufficient for these units. Even with new batteries, one of the units lasted only few hours today.
  2. Special note: Thursday Aug 23rd 7:00pm is scheduled a visit from Jim White's railroad group from Caboose Hobbies. Could be as many as 10 people.
Mr. Secretary H, recording



August 09, 2007    Crew: Barry, Hal, Grant, and GaryM
August 11, 2007    Crew: Barry, Hal, Grant, GaryM and Kent.

Gunnison Report
Barry worked on re-stalling the switch machines. Many have been finished and are now functional but more to complete. Steady progress.

Monarch
Hal continued work on re-laying the track on the switchbacks. The track leading out of Monarch down to the upper switchback switch has been done. The switchback track has been done. The lower switch and its stub track has been done. The track leading to the lower switch has been done from the Mears junction loop. The track and the cork roadbed were removed, the plywood sanded smooth, and the cord was put back in position but glue this time (it was nailed before). The flex track needs to be re-installed on the entire section.

Control Panels
The need to re-do the switch panel at Gunnison (the track layout changed in the last rework) has sparked a lot of discussion this week about control panels. Gary and Kent have come up with possible new panels for Salida. No decisions have been made on the design of even if they should be replaced. From various peoples comments, things we need to consider are:

  1. Better card holders for each track: wider, taller, with better labels (do we label tracks with letters or numbers?)
  2. Some place to put cards in work (a flat table like area, or slots for standing cards up, or what?)
  3. Some place to put pencils and uncoupling sticks
  4. Some place for blank car cards, note paper, etc.
  5. Some place for drinks (coffee cups, pop cans, etc)
  6. Review throttle holders (is the current quantity and location right?)
  7. Review Loconet outlets (is the current quantity and location right?)
  8. Review number of location of switch panels (more panels, closer to physical switches, operational concerns?)
  9. Allowance for turntable controls (Walthers turntables have controls that need to be mounted)

General

Mr. Secretary H, recording

August 02, 2007    Crew: Barry
August 04, 2007    Crew: Joe, Barry, Hal, and Kent

Gunnison
On Saturday Kent brought in a masonite panel cut to the 3 x 20 inch size with a full size printed panel layout. The old switch-by-numbers panels are really crowded with almost no room to spare. The new panel gives the impression of being empty. It was suggested that the track by each switch be color coded (red or green) to match the indicator light. We plan to use the standard convention used of the rest of the layout (green = straight, red = turn) but adding the colors makes it more intuitive. The new layout really looks nice. There is room for the turn table controls but it may be better to put them on a separate panel. No decision yet.

Gary would also like to make changes to the car card labels. This is especially true in Salida but we should get a consistent design and make them all the same. The original goal, and still the goal, is to minimize the protrusions into the aisle. If possible, the new design would hold the card labels face up at an angle or maybe even horizontal, rather than straight vertical that we currently have.

The original plan to encroach 1/2 inch into the scenery area for the panel has expanded to possibly moving the layout edge back to enlarge the aisle. Directly behind the existing panel there is a 1x4 supporting the plywood edge. All the existing wires go through holes in this and the PM4 mounting straddles it. This 1x4 would be moved back about 6 inches and the fascia moved with it. This would not only give room for the panel, but would reduce the reach to the back tracks in Gunnison and also give us much need aisle room.

Monarch
Hal re-laid the upper part of the switchbacks. He worked on the first part of the track leading out of Monarch down toward the rest of the layout. The track and the cork roadbed were removed and the plywood sanded smooth. The cork was put back in position but glues this time (it was nailed before). All the track on the switchbacks will be redone.

Red Hill / Cleora
The solder holding the points at the switch on the main between Red Hill and Cleora has become unsoldered. Last week the points were temporarily spiked to a fixed position to keep the main open. This week Barry repaired the switch.

Digitrax - RF Receiver
The radio receiver is now in place and active. Joe purchased a new Digitrax module and he and Kent installed it. There are 3 IR receivers installed in the lights: one in the center and one at each end of the room. The center unit was removed, the IR unit removed from the plastic box we mounted it in, and the radio unit put into the box. The two Digitrax units (IR and radio) are very similar. They are exactly the same size front panel, same circuit board width, same power supply (12 volt), and same interface (LocoNet). The new circuit board is about 1/2 inch longer so it sticks out the back of the plastic box. This actually is good as the antenna wires (there are 2 of them) are on the back of the board and thus are outside the box and can be bent to point in any direction. Typical of Digitrax, there were no instructions as to preferred orientation so we just guessed.

Before we remounted the unit on the ceiling, we ran it on the bench to make sure it was working. Plugging a throttle directly into it provide normal train control. Communicating to it with IR was unreliable and lots of delay. With the throttle only a couple of feet away and pointed directly at it, probably less that 1/2 the commands were successful and those that were successful had a 1, 2, or even 3 second delay. At times it was hard to tell if the unit was working at all. Totally unacceptable performance.

The other 2 IR units were not affected and are still connected to the LocoNet.

General

  1. Hal has a new email address
  2. Special note: Thursday Aug 23rd 7:00pm is scheduled a visit from Jim White's railroad group from Caboose Hobbies. Could be as many as 10 people.
Mr. Secretary H, recording

July 23, 2007    Crew: Joe and Grant
July 26, 2007    Crew: Joe and Grant
July 28, 2007    Crew: Joe, Grant, Barry, Hal, Steve, Mark, Max, and Kent
Gunnison
More discussion about the switch panel. Suggestions were made to Kent's preliminary design. It was decided to keep it the same length as the existing panel (20 inches) but to try to print it on a single sheet of paper and make it all one panel. The height will be increased from the existing 2 inch to 3 inch to allow the station tracks and the wye to be included on the diagram. The panel will encroach into the Gunnison scenery area but this is consistent with other switch panels on the layout.

Salida
The solder holding the points on two of the yard switches have become unsoldered. The points were temporarily spiked to a fixed position to keep the main open and on Saturday before the Ops session began, Barry began repaired the 3 broken solder joints (Switch points) and one micro switch misalignment. He repaired the two Salida yard switches that affected the Salida mainline yard including the west cross over. He also adjusted the east Salida crossover microswitch.

Red Hill / Cleora
The solder holding the points at the switch on the main between Red Hill and Cleora has become unsoldered. The points were temporarily spiked to a fixed position to keep the main open. Barry was unable to repair the switch before the operating session as it will require replacement of the throw bar. Thus the Red Hill / Cleora switch was left "spiked" to the mainline.

PM4 Problem
Just before we began the Ops session a loco "ran" the West Salida Main switch approaching Tennessee Pass which tripped the Lower Helix/Staging deck PM4 and could not be reset. The PM4 would not reset until about 6 of the 12 locos + 10 of the lighted passenger cars were removed from the staging deck - no abnormal current draw was indicated on the amp meter. This same problem had occurred twice before during the set-up on Thursday and Friday preceding the Saturday Ops session - in both cases removing several locos eventually allowed the PM4 to be reset. However on Saturday Grant and Joe decide to troubleshoot the PM4 issue before initiating the Ops session. This was a confusing and long process, but here is the steps we took to resolve the problem:

  1. After removing 6 of the 12 locos plus 7 BLI and 3 Bachman lighted passenger cars - the PM4 allowed a manual reset and reset automatically after an induced short.
  2. Adding locos one at a time again caused the PM4 to become un-resettable after a short.
  3. Decision was made to increase the trip current on the Lower Helix/Staging Deck PM4. Kent and Joe increased the trip current to 9 amps - no effect. Kent/Joe adjusted the trip delay to "slow" - no effect. Kent/Joe swapped the Royal Gorge and Lower Helix/Staging Deck PM4 connections - no effect.
  4. At that point the decision was made to turn off the staging deck and sequentially turn on each staging track and manually short the track (a quarter laid on the track works nicely) to determine at what point the PM4 would reset or not reset automatically. Using this method it appeared that the PM4 operated correctly (auto reset after a short) with a load on staging tracks 2 and 3 but not with 4 or 5 "ON". At that point Kent discovered a NOTE in the PM4 manual concerning a "jumper" setting. Kent changed the jumper setting and the PM4 seemed to reset correctly after additional "shorting" tests of the "fully loaded" staging deck.
  5. The PM4 connections for Royal Gorge and Lower Helix/Staging Deck were returned to original configuration.
  6. Since the PM4 seemed to be operating correctly (reseting after a short), StevO suggested the trip current be reduced to 4.5 amps and the trip delay set to '"Slow".
  7. PM4 seemed to be operating correctly and automatically recovered from any short circuit.

OPS Session
The ops session began Saturday around 11:00. For the first segment, Joe led out with a Santa Fe F3 ABB Warbonnet (2 Genesis powered units + Soundtrax sound B unit) with 6 Bachman heavyweight lighter passenger cars followed by Barry's BLI QSI equipped Santa Fe 2-10-2 fast freight with 15 reefers plus Caboose. Grant ran a stock car local between Salida with pickups and set outs at Cleora and Parkdale. When Joe's train reached Salida the DT400 speed control was lost and the train became a runaway ( the engine was removed from the tracks). Barry transited Salida and proceed to the staging deck with no problems. Joe installed a "spare'" loco on the stalled SF passenger cars and proceeded to the staging deck. Grant completed his local stock freight ops.

Second Segment. Before the second segment began Steve's lead-out UP Veranda turbine would not respond to throttle commands - he set CV 19=0 and the turbine responded correctly. The Turbine powered PFE freight of 16 cars proceeded according to schedule with no further problems. Grant's B&LE F7 way freight loco (box cars and tanks) proceeded out from the staging deck but had a boo-boo in the helix as 3 cars "hit the floor". The remainder of his train run was successful and he dropped off some cars in the Salida yard. The third engine, a PRR T-1 duplex pulling the Broadway Limited Streamliner, refused to respond to throttle commands (2 different throttles were attempted to issue commands with no results) and as a result the train did not leave the staging deck.

General

  1. Grant purchased a tracking cleaning car for the club and cleaned the standard gauge track for well over 4 hrs.
  2. Thursday night Grant and Joe ran locos and set up train on the staging deck in anticipation of the Sat Ops session. Grant's east coast stuff is a refreshing change from the usual SLMI stuff. Joe's stuff is all SF, UP or WP. Many hours were accumulated running unusual consists and the helix and staging deck operated well. Train speeds through Salida need to be modest but the track appears OK for now. Grant's long 85' passenger cars ran up and down the helix with no problem, but these cars are not close-coupled with diaphragms. Joe's 2-10-2 and Veranda turbine had no problems. Each staging deck track will comfortably hold 3 trains composed of 16 cars plus loco and caboose. There is a little room left over for a small train.
  3. Track problem: The "sills" on the bridge at Red hill are too high - the NBWs hit the brake hangers on Joe's GP60 causing a derailment every time. Also the snow plows on Joe's SD45-2 and GP40X pic some of the NBWs on bridges (I'll check the plow alignments or shave a little off the bottom of the plows).
  4. Track Problem: This week several hand laid switches required repair. This may just be a bad week or an indication of maintenance problems. We need to pay more attention to putting things on the track and reporting any unusual behavior. Be safe, be careful.
  5. Based on what we learned with the staging track, we plan to check all the PM4 settings and probably set them to the same setting as the staging track. The reverse loops may have slightly different setting as there will never be may engines on them. It should be noted that our problem is not unique. The situation of circuit breakers (PM4 and other brands) not resetting after there has been a short circuit is discussed on several web sites. One solution (www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn/cb_sound_reset) is to add small automobile light bulbs. I think we may have our problem resolved.
  6. After the OPs session Joe, Grant, and Steve began trouble shooting the loco anomalies that were observed earlier. Steve's conclusion was that the decoders had become corrupted due to the extensive power ON/OFF cycling and circuit shorting during the 2 hour PM4 trouble shooting time span.
  7. Steve provided Joe and Grant with a short tutorial/discussion on the three consisting methods (Basic, Universal and Advanced) with rationale why using the Advanced method is the best.
  8. At the end of Saturday (about 3:30pm) Grant packaged up two of the DT400 throttles for mailing to Digitrax for upgrade to Radio control.
  9. Special note: Thursday Aug 23rd 7:00pm is scheduled a visit from Jim White's railroad group from Caboose Hobbies. Could be as many as 10 people.
Mr. Secretary H, recording


July 19, 2007    Crew: Joe and Grant
July 21, 2007    Crew: Barry, Kent, Andrew, Joe, Steve, Mark & Max

Gunnison
Barry worked on switch machines and installing track and frog feeders. Two more switch motors are now functional. Since the yard layout has changed and the switches are being redone, Steve is looking into the possibility of making the new switch panel with the switches overlaid onto the diagram instead of reference numbers as they were in the past.

General

  1. Operations: The operating session of last weekend generated lots of interest. Grant and Joe spent Thursday night measuring things and discussing operating options.
  2. Attached is the handout that Grant put together for operating sessions. It is a spread sheet of possible train combinations and a layout of the operating schedule. The schedule is modeled after the schedule that Gary has on the white board. Please look at the first page of the worksheet for instructions. Grant and Joe are planning an ops session for next Saturday. Please let them know if you are interested.
  3. During the operating session last week and again this Saturday, dirty track seemed to be an issue. Now that we may be doing more operations there was a discussion about getting a track cleaner of some sort. Grant may look into this the next time he is at Caboose Hobbies.
  4. Special note: Thursday Aug 23rd 7:00pm is scheduled a visit from Jim White's railroad group from Caboose Hobbies. Could be as many as 10 people.
Mr. Secretary H, recording

July 10, 2007    Crew: Andrew, Gary and Alex
July 12, 2007    Crew: Gary, Grant, Andrew and Alex
July 14, 2007    Crew: Gary, Grant, Alex, Hal, Barry, Steve, Kent, Joe, Andrew and his brother Mathew

Red Hill Tunnel
The rocks on the Salida were completed and painted. Good match to the previous work and there is now a place to put the telephone poles to extend the line over the hill and down this side.

Gunnison
Steve and Barry worked on switch machines and installing track and frog feeders.

Operations
This week was dedicated to operations on the standard gauge. This week the clock was displayed on the hand controllers. Switching between engine functions and the clock display took some effort but was generally considered a good idea. Lots of discussion afterward about how to improve operations. This week we used a 1:1 clock (normal time) with instructions on the white board. Future sessions may include written instructions and a fast clock (4:1 and 8:1 were discussed. We may start standard one Saturday a month operating sessions, probably the 2nd or the 4th Saturday. This keep the 3rd Saturday free for Breakfast and Christ on the Mountain Church Swap Meets.

General

Mr. Secretary H, recording

July 7, 2007    Crew: Gary, Alex, Andrew, Hal, Steve, Kent, Barry, Mark and Max Chambers

Salida
Gary continues to work on hand laying switches. Good progress. It just takes time.

Helix
Joe and Barry worked on the helix. Progress was made in evening out the radius and eliminating tight places.

Parkdale
The right hand switch forces an "S" curve that is difficult to negotiate. After some discussion it was decided to replace it with a left hand switch. The means the main line will now take the left curve instead of the "main line is always straight" rule, but it will eliminate a track problem. This is way down the "to do" list so don't expect a work crew to show up tomorrow.

Gunnison
Steve has declared the track is now complete. Barry is now repositioning switch motors. Some of the switches are now in impossible positions but Barry has excelled by inventing new linkage concepts to reach them.

Parlin
The bridge between Parlin and Gunnison has been installed. It is pressed against the backdrop but it seems to fit. Sometime during the rework process the switch at Parlin got damaged. It appears that something was dropped on one of the rails putting a large vertical kink in it but the gauge seems OK. The necessity of replacing it was made quite apparent when Steve's loco derailed and took a dive over the side. The exact placement of buildings, the river, and the road bridge in Parlin will be determined soon and the scenery replaced.

General

  1. The new air-conditioners are doing their job. The club house was a comfortable temperature even though it was hot and sunny outside.
  2. Hal replaced the gear box on his K37 (#492) and reprogrammed the speed table. It now seems to run OK.
  3. Lots of narrow gauge activity. At one point there were three narrow gauge trains running (#455, #492, and #492). Running trains is the best way to find track problems (unless your engine takes a swan dive to the concrete). The curve from Grays heading to Marshall Pass has several tight places. It looks like it can be re-laid on the same plywood but with a bigger, smoother curve.
Mr. Secretary H, recording

July 5, 2007    Crew: Big Joe, StevO, & Bear
Joe arrived at 2:30 - the internal temperature was 92.5. After opening the doors and letting the hot air out, he started the air conditioners. The temperature dropped 10 degrees in 40 minutes and eventually decreased to 72.5 degrees.

Operations Report: While waiting for others to show, Joe cleaned the SG track which appeared to be very oxidized (dull finish) and exhibited poor electrical conductivity. After cleaning the trackage, Steve and Joe ran trains around the Salida-TP-Royal Gorge- Parkdale loop. Steve ran his 3-cylinder brass 4-8-2 painted and decaled in the Moffat tri-color herald with green boiler. Steve installed a Tsunami sound decoder with wipers to create the chuff of the 3-cylinders (very distinctive). Joe ran a DRGW F3ABB lashup with the SMLi rolling stock. Steve installed the bridge at Parlins and ran his K36 to test the trackage. The Parlins area is ready for scenery. Kent - we need the big map and book of the Parlins' area to locate the buildings.

While Steve was working on the bridge at Parlins, Barry and Joe tested the track within the helix with Steve's 85' heavyweight passenger cars, Several problem areas were identified and marked. The track was adjusted in two locations and the problems were remediated. More work will be accomplished on Saturday.

McMurtrie recording for Mr. Secretary H

June 28, 2007    Crew: GaryM, Alex, Andrew and his friend Matt
June 30, 2007    Crew: Gary, Alex, Hal, Steve, Mark and Max Chambers

Layout in General
People seemed to be active all over the layout doing odd jobs. Most of the activity was in Gunnison and Salida.

Helix
Kent ran Steve's heavyweight cars through the Helix. Two cars coupled together were carefully hand run. The first observation was that the grade is not perfectly constant. In some places the cars coasted down hill picking up significant speed yet in some places they need a slight push. But the grade is not the problem. For most of the helix (probably 80%) there were no problems and the cars ran smooth. There were a few places where the cars consistently came off the track. As the cars were slowly pushed they would hit a tight spot and it would take significantly more force to keep them going. Then one of the cars would slowly begin to rotate, with the wheels on one side raising off the rails. The wheels that remained on the rails taking all the side forces until they also came off. The problem may be related to the interaction of the two cars, and might not show up with an isolated car. (I never ran an isolated car) The cars are close coupled and diaphragms between cars are pushed up tight even on straight track. On curves, the diaphragms are pushed up tight and give no .

General

  1. Even with a new Lenz decoder in #492 ( a K37) it still did not function correctly.
  2. Programmed Proto 2000 number 6013 and 6013B.

Mr. Secretary H, recording

June 21, 2007    Crew: GaryM, Alex, Andrew and his friend Matt
June 23, 2007    Crew: Gary, Alex, Hal, Steve, Mark and Max Chambers

Salida
Gary continues to work on the Salida switches.

Gunnison
Sanded the cork leading to the coaling station. A double layer of cork was used to raise the track to match the coal station elevation. The cork was glues in last week, sanded and track laid this week.

Royal Gorge
Additional work on the tell tale for the approach to the hanging bridge.

Red Hill Tunnel
Rocks were added along the backdrop to the Salida end of the tunnel. This will allow the row of telephone poles to be continued down this side of the tunnel and allow the rocks to blend better in to the backdrop.

General

  1. Even with a new Lenz decoder in #492 ( a K37) it still did not function correctly.
  2. Programmed Proto 2000 number 6013 and 6013B.
  3. Mark & Max were back. We love visitors, especially future model railroaders. Great to have someone running trains and finding all the track trouble spots.
Mr. Secretary H, recording



June 16, 2007    Crew: The Professor, Big Joe, StevO, Bear, Skywalker & Kent
June 14, 2007    Crew: StevO, Bear, & Skywalker
June 12, 2007    Crew: The Professor, Big Joe, StevO, Skywalker & Caboose Hobbies crowd

Salida Report: Contrary to earlier reports, work crews were totally absent the whole time, suspected of spending most of their time in Rocky's Corner Tavern on the west side of town.

Gunnison Report: Lots of progress. The yard tracks are all glued down and holes have been cut for the ash pit and the coaling station. The plywood has been cut and depressed for the ash pit service track and a layer of cork roadbed added to raise the coal track up to match the coaling station. Barry reinstalled a couple of the switch machines.

Royal Gorge Report: Hal made a tell tale for the approach to the hanging bridge. He also made a warming shack that goes in the gorge.

Visitor Log: On Tuesday night we entertained visitors from the Caboose Hobbies Round-Robin group (Don Meeker, Art Wallace, Jack Getz, Chuck Shell, Don Frances, Steve Mann, etc.) Lots of knowledgeable people and lots of nice comments.

Clubhouse News: Barry ran electric power for the south air conditioner. He ran conduit out the top of the electric box by the front door, up to the ceiling, above the garage door, around the corner and over to the window. He put a quad outlet box just below the window. The plan is to move the present air conditioner unit from the north window to the south window, and buy a new 220 volt unit for the north window.

We finally have a new door. The old door was literally coming off its hinges. Facilities painted the new door white. We plan to cut the logo of the old door and attach it to the new door so we don't have to repaint it. Barry thinks he can arrange a track for the panel to sit in so it can be mounted on either the inside or outside of the door. This would help visitors find the place instead of having to guess that the plain white door is actually the club.

Operations Report: Hal spent most of Saturday working with his brass K-37. He and Joe seemed to get it programmed correctly but could never get it to run correctly. At times it would run a short distance but it kept shorting and the headlight would go into flashing mode.

McMurtrie recording for Mr. Secretary H



June 2, 2007
Crew: GaryM, StevO, Bear, & President Grant

Gunnison Report: StevO & the Bear had their crews working the yard til dark. Motor to No. 1 Switch installed.

Salida Report: Crew got drunk early but managed to get most of the stock rails and points for the House track switch. A lot of inner rails in the DG switch to complete. -McMurtrie.

Operations Report: True to form, the President was present on Saturday but was still slacking. Operating foreign power no less! Train spotters were treated to a 21 car coal drag of a combination of B&LE 100T hoppers plus some shorties from Westmoreland Coal (obviously very far afield from their Irwin, PA home). These were pulled by a clean set of Stewart ABBA F7's.
[Ed. note; should these F7's be considered Scottish?]

Later, a 24 car mixed consist of boxes & tanks showed up pulled by the same F7's. After that, an ABA lash-up of Pennsy Erie-Builts were seen pulling a 14 car coal train sporting a porthole caboose, and true to form, a T-1 pulling Pennsy Varnish, was sidelined for mechanical faults before exiting the scene. Although the SLMI President had a good time, the Gunnision residents were apalled at his seeming apathy toward their plight! More to come.....
-President Grant

DR&G Hospital Report: The Professor is doing fine after getting his heart all excited during his physical, only to bring on more testing and check-ups. Enough with the treadmills, work spent cutting the lumber for the CF&I mine and hauling up it into place, tacking up sheets of Campbell's corrugated iron, and hefting up sheets of cardboard roofing will no doubt be better exercise! So we expect Hal back to work as soon as possible, vacation over!
-Doc Holiday

Durango: Word is that Big Joe went off galavanting around with his son, supposedly to go fishing in the country. We know this is just another excuse to see trains and try to convert his son over to more practical endeavors, such as railroading and fishing, who seems to enjoy working too hard!

McMurtrie recording for Mr. Secretary H

May 31, 2007
Crew: GaryM

Light crew tonight. No StevO, No Bear. President Grant not feeling well, went home after chow at the Section House. Skywalker due in next week. No sign of the Professor and the rest!

Finished up some work on the Salida #2 switch, soldering down some rail in a few spots that were still just temporarily spiked. Put the Gandy dancers back on the Salida House DG switch (No. 2A, although numbers don't matter). Completed the secondary frog and right point. Work more on that Saturday.

Noticed a couple pecularities. Seems a sky hook fell into Grant's Folly, the open field where cattle don't roam. It appears similar of the type to hang giant RR calendars, and some Godlike force left it in the field. It must have been an act of God, since RR employees have been instructed to clean up their work areas and not put trash in the landscape. The other weird item was a sabre saw somehow walked itself outta the tool crib and laid on the bedrock far below Salida. I know it must have done it on it's own since the employees now diligently keep the yard and surrounding area spotless.
-McMurtrie

McMurtrie recording for Mr. Secretary H

May 24 & 26, 2007

Crew (May 24): Hal, Barry, Andrew, Steve, and Grant
Crew (May 26): GaryM, Hal, Barry, Steve, and Grant

Open House
The NMRA Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention was this past weekend (Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27). The club was on their layout tour for Thursday night and for Saturday afternoon. Thursday night was the most popular with approximately 20 to 30 people visiting. Saturday afternoon was less crowded with approximately 10 people stopping by. We did not have a sign-in sheet and did not keep track of people.

There was no attempt to have an organized presentation. People were invited to walk around and ask questions. About 25 copies of the handout were taken. Andrew and Grant ran trains around the standard gauge loop and an occasional narrow gauge engine was powered up, but people generally ignored the trains and concentrated on the track and scenery.
- Kent, Secretary, SMLI


May 19 & 20, 2007

Crew: (May 19): Gary M, Hal, Joe, Barry, Steve, and Andrew
Crew: (May 20): Joe and Steve

Salida
Gary M. and Barry continued work on Salida switches. Both mainlines are now open through Salida. The motor for the switch going off to West Salida is not active but the next switch and the Arkansas River bridge are not complete so having the switch pined in the through position is not a problem. Andrew ran trans through the area to check it out. A couple of cars had problems and we believe it is a car problem, not a track problem. It should run find for open house but you should avoid plastic wheels and non-Kadee couplers. Take it slow the first few times.

On Sunday Steve discovered a problem with the crossover from Main 2 to Main 1. The problem was isolated to an unspiked guide rail. Problem fixed.

Monarch
Hal worked on Monarch. It appears that the storage tracks off to the right are now in place. The small trestles are now in and ties have been install leading to them. The tracks at the mine are still temporary but it looks like we are very close to having the entire area functional.

Gunnison
On Saturday and Sunday Steve and Joe continued on the track layout in Gunnison. The track and cork in Parlin was removed and then put back in place but glued down this time (silicon caulk). All 3 tracks in Parlin, the curve into Gunnison including the new wye switch, the line to Crested Butte, and the row of switches feeding the Gunnison yard were all glued in place. Trains were run through the area to check it out. The exact placement of the bridge at Parlin and the water tank are yet to be determined.

All the activity seemed to have sparked a "special press release and town meeting" by the mayors of Crested Butte and Gunnison. The Gunnison mayor was quoted as saying, ďWe know the link to the standard gauge portion of the D&RGW is vital to efficiently moving traffic to and from our towns. The lack of completed trackage across the river and into the dual gauge yard in Salida is the result of poor planning and execution on the part of the SMLI management team.Ē And the Crested Butte mayor added, ďIt is our understanding that the President of SMLI has been spending time on such follies as flying machines. Why does anybody need to play with such outlandish concepts when we could have a perfectly acceptable transportation system with the completion of one bridge and three switches? We understand that this delusional nut-job (referring to the Dual Gauge Track Foreman and Treasurer) is currently traveling in support of a supposed flying machine that can put objects into an orbit around the earth! To what purpose could orbiting objects ever be to the average man, especially when he canít even ride a train across a river". The situation has grown to the point that the SMLI President plans to personally visit the site. Hopefully he can resolve the situation and we can get the trains running again.

General

  1. Open house is next Thursday night and next Saturday afternoon. Thus the normal Saturday morning work session has been replaced the afternoon open house.
  2. Lots of preparation for the open house. The place is looking good.
  3. Kent put together a hand-out for the open house: track plan, some pictures, and a brief description who we are.
  4. Is anyone putting up signs to help people find us?

- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
May 10 & 12, 2007

Crew (May 12): Gary M, Hal, Joe, Barry, and Steve

Salida
Gary M. and Barry continued work on Salida switches.

Monarch
Hal worked on Monarch. It appears that the storage tracks off to the right are now in place. The small trestles are now in and ties have been install leading to them. The tracks at the mine are still temporary but it looks like we are very close to having the entire area functional.

Gunnison
Steve and Joe continued on the track layout in Gunnison. The plywood between the Gunnison yard throat along the backdrop toward Crested Butte (where the wye is) was replaced. It is now wider and more robust. This has the advantage of allowing better options for support bracing from under the table and gives a large flat surface for test fitting track plans. The new plywood and the Gunnison roadbed section were sanded smooth and are ready for track. Large sheets of cork roadbed were temporarily laid in Gunnison and the switch ladder sections and the yard tracks laid out. The positions have been initially marked but nothing has been glued down. Some additional positioning of switches and tracks is expected before the final positions are determined, but it is getting close. It is beginning to look like a train yard again.

Parlin
The plywood from Gunnison to Parlin was replaced with a bigger sheet. The position of the curve and the wye switch have been initially marked but some additional adjustment is expected before the final positions are determined.

General

  1. 2 weeks till open house. Time is running out.....chop chop.....work faster.....no goofing off......what do you think this is, a hobby?
  2. More general cleaning in preparation for the open house. The place is are definitely less cluttered and the isles easier to navigate.
  3. On Sunday (Mother's Day) Gary, Steve, Grant and Joe spent 3 hours at Caboose Hobbies. The report I got said they had a great time but did not mention any big purchases.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
May 3 & 5, 2007

Crew (May 5): Gary M, Hal, Joe, Barry, Steve, and Kent

Salida
Gary M. and Barry continued work on Salida switches.

Gunnison
Steve continued on the track layout in Gunnison.

General

  1. 3 weeks till open house.
  2. General cleaning in preparation for the open house. If you don't want it thrown away or put someplace you can't find it, put it away yourself.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
April 26 & 28, 2007

Crew (April 26): Gary M
Crew (April 28): Gary M, Hal, Joe, Barry, Steve, and Kent Passengers: Mark & Max

Salida
Gary M. continued work on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Left hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track). The rail on mainline switch is now all installed but gaps need to be cut and electrical needs to be hooked up. The final adjustments will be made when Gary is able to run engines through the switch.

The Salida coal tower is now complete in Kent's CAD program. Strange, the computer version looks just like Hal's cardboard model.

Monarch
Hal continued work on the Monarch mine. Each week he adds more detail. There are now 2 support buildings, a small shack in front of the mine on the lowest level and a medium size building to the left of the mine on the middle level. Most of the foam has been contoured and glued in place. The mine itself is on a lift out piece of foam that will not be glued down. The mine track, and all of Monarch, really needs to be finalized and glued down before he goes any further. It would really be nice to see trains running up there during the open house.

Kent took more measurements of the mine and continues entering it into the CAD program. The CAD version has the mine in sections and the sections are then put together, just like Hal's model. The CAD version is now about 1/2 complete. The hope is to get it finished before the convention.

Gunnison
Steve continued on the track layout in Gunnison. The main switch ladder is now soldered and positioned. A "final" layout was selected that seems to meet all the needs. The arrangement will allow a 24 inch radius into Parlin. The curve is right up against the backdrop and the trestle may end up on the curve, but it all seems to fit.

General

  1. 4 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or Sunrise Division
  2. Max and his dad dropped by again. They are beginning to be weekly visitors. After running trains and enjoying the layout they left and came back with donuts. Now that is the kind of visitor we like.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
April 19 & 21, 2007

Crew (April 21): Breakfast attendance was Gary M, Hal, Joe, Steve, Kent, Eric & Caleb Schallenmuller

Salida
Gary M. completed installation of the third rail from the main yard toward Tennessee Pass. The dual gauge goes a reasonable distance around the curve then stops. Probably an "end of yard" or "end of dual gage" sign is appropriate. The work continues on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Left hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track). The rail on mainline switch is now all installed but gaps need to be cut and electrical needs to be hooked up. The final adjustments will be made when Gary is able to run engines through the switch.

Kent took measurements on the Salida coal tower and Saturday night entered it into the CAD program. The computer version is complete and looks just like the model.

Monarch
Hal continued work on the Monarch mine. He has added a small shack in front of the mine on the lowest level and a medium size building to the left of the mine on the middle level.

Kent took measurements of the mine and started entering it into the CAD program. It took 6 pages of notes and diagrams to get it all and still missed some key dimensions. This is really a complex structure and Hal has done a super job.

Gunnison
Steve worked on the track layout in Gunnison. The main switch ladder was soldered together and tested by running an engine through it. By moving the ladder around on the plywood, various track placements were examined. The desire was to place the yard ladder to maximize the number of tracks, service the ash pit and coal station, and still mate up to the existing turntable position. It appears that the ash pit track will now be on the north side of the turntable lead with the coal chute unloading track on the south side. The ash pit will be between the coal chute and the turntable. The 4th yard track will be single ended and not be a double ended track as it was before. There is still the curve into Parlin, the trestle, and the water tank to deal with. There are just too many things for the small space. General

  1. 5 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
  2. Kent provided 2 large size prints for Hal. One was an isometric of the layout as seen from the front right hand corner near Parkdale. The other was a layout view as seen from the back right corner near the hanging bridge. These versions have the Hanging Bridge and the trestles at Monarch. Additional items (like the Monarch Mine and the Salida coal station) are being added. The intent is to have nicely detailed large size pictures for the convention.
  3. Lots of engine activity this week. The yard at Salida was full of diesels clanking and grinding with a few steam engines chuffing away. Just walking by gave you the feeling of a busy yard. Soon we will have the mainline complete and actually be able to run. Open house should be great.

  4. Big discussion on the numbering of engines and cars. Gary has a list on the web site... so... to quote Gary: "CHECK THE WEB SITE!"
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI

Kent left before I did, and I canít remember if Kent was still there or not, and I wanted to share the success.

I soldered together the ladder, the wye switch to the east leg of the wye to Crested Butte, and then soldered on about a foot and half of the curve to Parlin. Then Joe, Hal and I got power on the rails by using some alligator clips. We used one of Halís Blackstone K-27s and ran it through the entire thing, from end to end, backwards and forwards, including the curve to Parlin and the wye switch. No derailments! It was a bit of a pain, since the frogs were cut we had to keep moving the alligator clips, but we ran it through the entire thing. I want to bring my K-36 out and do the same test to make sure a brass loco can handle the curve radius. If it passes the test, weíll proceed. Iím encouraged.

I also think we can get the trestle and the water tank in Parlin into the space. Weíll tackle that when we get there.

I was so impressed with Halís Blackstone K-27 that I went up to Mizellís and bought the last one they had.

-Steve


April 12 & 14, 2007

Crew (April 14): Joe, Steve, and Kent

Gunnison
Steve worked on getting Gunnison ready for track. He patched the openings left from the coaling station and sand pit. Plywood pieces were cut to be press fit to the openings. They were glued in place and sanded flat. A piece of plywood was cut to fit the triangle at the entrance to Gunnison and around the curve to Parlin. Thanks go to Joe for making a Home Depot run for some more plywood. Some work needs to be done support the new plywood, but it is cut to the right shape. There were some initial discussions on the track plan and positioning of the switches to see how things could be made to fit. One possibility is to move the sand pit to the other side of the track and deleting the last siding in the yard. When we first laid out the yard we realized that just a few more inches would be a big help. Things have not changed. We really need more space.

General

  1. 6 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
  2. Kent worked on getting large size print outs for Hal. These are the isometric computer drawings of the layout that have been hanging on the back wall for several months. The latest version has the corrected track plan (except for Gunnison and Parlin). It also has some of the buildings, bridges and streams. Thanks to Lockheed Martin printers, I am now able to print it out as a single 28 x 16 inch picture. The image is 6K x 3K or 21.2 mega Pixels thus the final picture is 220 pixels per inch. It really looks nice.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI

April 5 & 7, 2007

Crew (April 5): Gary M, Barry, and Hal
Crew (April 7): Gary M, Barry, Hal, Joe, Steve, and Kent

Salida
Barry continued his efforts to getting switches completed. Gary M. continues working on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Left hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track ). The mainline switch is almost complete.

Monarch
Hal worked on the mine and the track at Monarch. He decided to cut down the hill between the switch back tracks and the mine tracks. It looks much better and now provides a good view of the mine and loading gondolas. He brought in a couple of the out buildings that were around the mine and found positions for them.

Kent continued painting of the backdrop.

Gunnison
StevO was no the job with determination and gusto. Despite the occasional spilling of blood, he successfully removed all the remaining track and all the cork. Gunnison is now completely bare down to the plywood. The plywood triangle at the entrance to Gunnison was removed and a larger piece will be installed. This will allow more maneuvering room to relocate the curve from Parlins and the wye to Crested Butte.

General

  1. Joe brought in some engines and ran them around. His passenger train pulls well over an amp coming up the helix and may have tripped the PM4. Dirty tracks and other activities going on made repeating it unreliable. Some more experimentation is needed to verify what may be a PM4 setting problem.
  2. 7 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
  3. Don't forget to file your taxes. But this year you have until April 17th to do so because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is a holiday. What holiday you ask? Why it is Emancipation Day. You don't get Emancipation Day off? Why not? If you were a government employee in the District of Columbia you would.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
March 22 & 24, 2007

Crew (March 22): Gary M, Barry, and Hal
Crew (March 24): Gary M, Barry, Hal, Joe, and Kent

Salida
Barry continued his efforts to getting switches completed. Gary M. continues working on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Left hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track ). The mainline switch is almost complete.

Kent continued work on the roundhouse backdrop. The second set of pictures give less roof rise and look better. Effort now is on matching up the roof lines at the extreme left and right of the picture.

Monarch
Hal positioned the Monarch switches and started permanently install the track.

General

  1. Joe brought in 9 engines and ran them around to check them out and to check on the great oxidation experiment #2.
  2. 9 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
March 15 & 17, 2007

Crew (March 15): Garry M, Barry, and Hal
Crew (March 17): Breakfast was attended by Gary M, Gary R, Barry, Hal, and Joe.

Kent dropped by for late conversation.

Gary M, Hal, and Joe went to Christ on the Mountain then joined the others at the club house

Salida
Barry continued his efforts to getting switches completed. Gary M. continues working on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Left hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track ). Slow but steady progress.

Kent continued work on the roundhouse backdrop. The initial pictures were photoshopped into one background scene and test fit. Only a few adjustments and it will be ready. It looks nice from straight on but appears to have to much curvature when looking at an angle. New pictures were taken that should give a flatter backdrop (30 inches from the turntable center and 10 inches above track level).

Monarch
Hal and Barry position the Monarch switches and track so Hal could glue down the cork for the mine track. Next week we should be able to permanently install the track and test it. Hal also worked on the foam for the scenery around the mine.

Gary R. continued his work on the backdrop board that was installed when we cut the backdrop corner. More effort on the sky blue and white. He also worked on the backside of the board which is visible from Crested Butte and the backdrop inside the top of the helix.

Kent worked on the Monarch backdrop painting. Added more browns and overall shapes, no detail yet.

General

  1. Joe ran trains and checked on the great oxidation experiment #2. Trains run just fine but a cloth shows a gray residue on the tracks.
  2. 10 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
  3. Visitors.....dead mice. With spring like weather one would not expect them indoors. Guess they wanted a sneak preview of the open house.
  4. Christ on the Mountain had a large number of vendors and lots of attendees. Joe stocked up with two GP9 II's, GP30, SD9, and a bunch of gondolas and rolling stock.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
March 8 & 10, 2007

Crew (March 8): Barry, Garry M. Crew (March 10): Barry, Gary M, Gary R, Hal, Andrew, and Kent Salida
Barry repaired several switches in the Salida west yard. We seem to be having a lot of minor damage, probably just a result of all the activity in that area. Extra note to everyone to be careful. He made repairs to switches #3, #5, #10, and #11. He then continued his efforts to get switch #13 and #14 completed.

Gary M. continues working on switch #2 (Left hand dual gauge mainline branch to Gunnison) and #2A (Right hand dual gauge switch to Salida House track ). One rail is now installed from the mainline frog through #2A and on into the house track. This sets the curve between switches and really determines the exact location of switch #2A. The curve looks nice and smooth, almost like we planned it that way.

Kent worked on the roundhouse backdrop. After some experimentation he has settled on a technique of taking a picture of the existing portions of the roundhouse and using it for the backdrop. The intent is to make it look reasonable to a casual viewer. Thus a view point in the middle of the isle was selected (actually 30 inches from the turntable center and 15 inches above track level). The first attempt turned out good but additional pictures were taken this week.

Monarch
Hal added foam for the scenery around the mine. The road to the right of the mine, some of the hills to the left of the mine, and the tailings in front of the mine are roughed in. A decision was made to limit the tailings in front of the mine to a very small section so it does not block the view of the cars on the mine loading tracks. This is actually prototypical. Old pictures of the mine show that the tailing pile grew as the mine progressed. Thus for the dates we are modeling, the tailing pile was small and nowhere the size it is in today's pictures. With these decisions made, the track and switches can now be installed and checked out.

Gary R. worked on the backdrop board that was installed when we cut the backdrop corner. He plastered up the screws and board defects, sanded it smooth, and painted. He used the sky blue and blended white on the lower levels to make it match the rest of the backdrops. He also worked on the backside of the board which is visible from Crested Butte.

Cleora
Andrew added scenery along the front isle from Red Hill tunnel to Cleora. More foam bushes, dirt, etc. He masked off the track at Red Hill tunnel in preparation for adding dirt to the rock wall. Does this mean that we have abandoned the effort to extend the red rock along the backdrop so the line of telephone poles could continue down the hill toward Cleora?

General

  1. Joe's great anti-oxidation experiment is complete. Conclusion: Noalox failed. It did not produce satisfactory results and Joe cleaned all the track to remove it.
  2. Joe's great oxidation experiment #2. What, you ask, is experiment #2? Joe is experimenting with another concoction to prevent oxidation and keep the rails clean and shiny. This time he is using ACT-6006, "Aero-Car Hobby Lubricant". This is sold by Caboose Hobbies and they would never sell something that did not work. We shall see if it passes Joe's critical examination.
  3. 11 weeks till open house. The club is on the Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention layout tour list. See Gary M. for more information: http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision
  4. Hal is presenting a class on structures at the convention. 45 minutes of sage advice followed by 15 minutes of questions/answers.
  5. Visitors again. It seems that we are becoming a Saturday morning tradition with Mark and son Max. For about the 5th weekend they have dropped by.
  6. Note to Gary R.: We ran out of solder. Can you order more? Anything else electrical what we need?
  7. Extra note to everyone to be careful around the layout. Things will naturally get damaged as we work, but lets try to keep it to a minimum. And a special thanks to Barry for repair the switches.
- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI
March 1 & 3, 2007

Crew (March 3): Barry, Gary M, Hal, and Kent

Salida
Barry worked on switch #13 and #14.

Monarch
Hal and Kent worked on the Monarch backdrop. Hal brought in the mine and positioned it. The mine position was painted on the backdrop so we can reposition it exactly every time. The roads and mountains that had been roughed in last week were in about the right place. The main road that loops from the upper level of the mine to the lower level was the exact correct height but did not extend out to the right far enough. It was repainted. In positioning things it was decided that the lower part of the loop should be part of the scenery and not painted on the backdrop. Foam will be built up in that area to show the roads and gradually blend into the backdrop. The same will be done on the mine road that runs from the upper level all the way to the right and becomes a scenery road at track level right the corner. General
The NMRA Rocky Mountain Region 2007 Convention is scheduled for May 24 thru 27 (Memorial Day weekend). The club is on the layout tour list. That gives us only 7 weeks to get ready. A great opportunity to meet new people and make expand our knowledge, but we need to make a good impression. See Gary M. for more information and checkout his updated home page (registration forms available online): http://www.TimelessRails.org or www.trainweb.org/SunriseDivision

Joe and brother Phil are at the Salt Lake Railfest. Next week we should get an ear full of tragic train stories.

- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI



Feb 21, 22 & 24, 2007

Crew (Feb 21): Kent
Crew (Feb 22): Gary M, Hal, Barry
Crew (Feb 24): Gary R, Joe and brother Phil, Barry, Hal, and Kent did a brief hit and run.

Salida
Gary M. worked on the rail and made a frog for Switch 2A (Salida House track RH DG switch). He is building Switches 2 and 2A in conjunction. #2 is on the SG mainline, which will complete the code 70 replacement program there. He is concentrating on this area so we can get the standard gauge operating again. Barry worked on switch #13 and #14. Monarch
Hal and Barry cut back the backdrop corner next to the Monarch wye to allow more room for scenery between the track and backdrop. The surface needs prepping for painting the sky backdrop. Even though the backdrop will be mostly hillside, the backdrop should be painted with white & blue as before, so when the other colors are added it look the same with the other painted backdrops.

Gary M. ran his K-27 on the switchback and it got 'stuck' on the tail track on the RH switchback. This is because the rails on the MicroEngineering flextrack were manufactured out of gauge too tight (this was not an installment problem -nail or anything, pinching the rails). In fact, it is so tight the rails will hold an NMRA gauge in place perpendicular to the track at that point. This is not "operational" track. This was another reason why I bought Shinohara flex track, it gauged out perfectly. All the MicroEngineering track still needs replacing or fixing. Gary has requested that if anyone finds any MicroEngineering flex track to please throw it away because he does not want it accidentally installed and the problem coming back.

Kent started painting the backdrop. He roughed in the roads and the mountains at the mine and to the right side. The painting is just cartoonish to get the basic placement of things. The big unknowns is how high to make the mountains (how much blue sky is left at the top) and where the mountain roads should go.

General
Joe and Phil finished cleaning the all the standard gauge track on the staging deck, helix, reverse loops, Salida, Cleoa, Parkdale and Royal Gorge. The only exception is the short section of the SG trackage from the Tennessee Pass Tunnel to West Salida. The track was cleaned with a soft Bright Boy and then an alcohol cloth. They then ran their new Bachmann Spectrum 2-6-6-2 coupled to the SMLI track cleaning car on all tracks (only the first two staging tracks) before they left for the Great Train Expo. The train expo was well attended - somewhat larger than the Nov expo with a few more, different vendors and more modular layouts. Lots of people especially kids enjoying the layouts.

- - - Kent, Secretary, SMLI






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