Image above captured on the upper deck of the layout where scenery has progressed to some extent...
Shot with Olympus C-750

Welcome to the SP Oregon Division!

An N Scale RR depicting the good old days along "The Friendly".

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tools of the trade

Today I was following up on a small list of issues that were found during last weekend's ops session.  One of the Bad Order forms was a boxcar that derailed on a switch in the Weyerhaeuser mill.  I used to be able to stick my face right down on a turnout and see what was going on, but the eyeballs are slowly fading, so I use the headset magnifiers a lot more now.  I was unable to get my head under the upper deck with the Optivisor on, and at the correct angle to inspect the turnout.  So I pulled out one of my newer tools as of late (Iphone 6S), and turned on the video mode with flash to get a closer look.  The latest version now has zoom capability in the video mode, so it is a sweet tool for being able to quickly get a real close look (and without storing any data).  Below are a couple still images that portray what is seen, and how helpful it is to make use of this tool when the work angle is not user friendly.  Many of you probably do this without thinking much about it, but I know a lot of guys that have phones that dont utilize them, still have not moved to a smart phone, or are just stuck in their old ways (like me).
Here is a shot of the work area I was trying to get my head under (it didnt seem so bad 15 years ago!):

Here is a "before" image where the flange was getting caught on a handlaid switch point, because the gauge was a bit narrow:

I moved the point over slightly and took an "after" shot which reveals plenty of extra clearance now:

Sometimes we overlook the obvious, so just wanted to share with the rest of you all.
Happy RRing!

Monday, June 13, 2016

SouCalOps - 2016 recap

SouCalOps is a group of layout owners in the greater Los Angeles area that have been contributing to layout operating sessions on a bi-annual schedule... well, this is only the second of hopefully more to come.  Many thanks goes to Al D. for coordinating the event. Invited guests are pulled from other operating groups across the country, many configured in a similar fashion.  This last weekend was the first that I have participated, and had a great time hosting my layout.  It was three days of operations on 13 different layouts, with two addition bonus days for those that just couldn't get enough.  There were also clinics at the main hotel, a feature dinner, and layout tours.  We had guests operate the layouts coming from Van Rails, Bay Rails, Arizona, Colorado, San Diego, and more. Guests spent most of the day here Saturday operating the layout, and I kept the layout open for layout tours, which ended up extending our operations well past the dinner hour.  Special thanks to my local helpers for working all that overtime (also our guest dispatcher from BC Canada), and making it an enjoyable day for all.  It is a pleasure to get responses from my crews post-ops, on how much they enjoyed themselves.  Thanks to all who participated in making this an event to remember!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More pulling power for that yard goat

I have a Life Like SW1200 that has been working the layout all by itself for years.  It wasn't until I bought a Micro Trains SW1500, that I realized what a masterpiece that SW1200 really was.  They both use virtually the same mechanism, but with some added weight on the SW1200, it could pull like crazy as compared to its sibling SW1500.
Ray Eiser installed a decoder and added some Tungsten putty to the SW1200 (including front and rear headlights, and hardwired pick-up), before it ever went into service on the layout, so I never thought much about its pulling power.  Once my new SW1500 arrived, I was really amazed at what a difference there was between the two.  It has been on the to-do list to have a tug-o-war between the two and see just how much difference there was between them.  I finally slapped together a couple vids and posted them on You Tube.
Check out the video links to see just what a little bit of extra weight can really do for your locomotive fleet!

You Tube- SW1500 vs SW1200 Tug-O-War

You Tube- SW1200 vs SD9 Tug-O-War