Monday, August 29, 2016

First Class Service Expanding and Schedule Headaches

Part of the reason to add staging tracks is to get away from using the same train for a morning and afternoon runs. My trains 33 and 34 where the afternoon potato train became # 73 and 74. These are now a fast freight of any kind. It could be piggy backs, a tank train or whatever. That was easy enough.

Then there was the other Canadian trains. Since this train went into St. Albans, which was full. I had to go through the new staging tracks.. CN3/4 now becomes 87 and 88 the more realistic milk train. Southbound will pick up full express reefers and make some passenger stops. Northbound will set out empties at the dairies and make some passenger stops.

The evening passenger trains 12/13 will not work dairies and becomes a more express train stopping at just the bigger cities.

The morning passenger service no longer works dairies and becomes more of a commuter train.

With these changes comes the inevitable schedule changes. These are a headache no matter how you do it. Change one thing and it affects everything else. Then once you are happy you actually run the schedule and you must make more changes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Control Panel and staging addition is done

Today I finished wiring the control panel and tested the panel and I/O without hooking it to the rest of the layout. Tested the buttons and lights with the computer. Fixed a couple of bad solder joints and retested. All is good.

Then I proceeded to connect up to the layout. I had to move a few existing wires first. When all was connected and components added to JMRI. I retested again. All was still good.

Then I spent about 4 hours programming the buttons and lights for use and testing to see that I have achieved the desired goals.

Now for the cleanup.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Staging Control Panel Progress

I obtained many parts from a couple of layouts that were taken down. A lot of those parts got put away until I needed them. I had two large panels put away that I already thought I had stripped of parts. I dug them out just in case I missed some and to my surprise they were completely intact. 

This meant that instead of scrounging for parts, I now had more I/O boards, wires, push buttons and LEDs. I had forgotten to get some green LEDs and this panel was full of them. All of these wires were perfect for the new panel.

The new panel has been wired internally, but still needs the wires attached to the I/O board. This panel will have local control for both staging yards. Each half will have a push button with indicator for which track is selected. A yellow light to show you are in local control and a signal with red and green indicator for leaving the yard.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Time to work on the staging controls

Since the last update I finished installing and programming all of the signals. Testing the programming has been completed. The new panel cover for staging is ready, so now the next step is to wire up the new controls. 24 push buttons and 30 indications lights.

This is the guts inside of the control box. Now to connect all of the wires.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Re-doing control panels

With all of the changes it was time to move some control panels around. I removed the old panel for Portland to be used for Brewer. Then I removed the Bangor/Brewer panel for use for both staging areas.

The new Brewer panel was redesigned for how Brewer looks now. Some of the electronics for Katahdin had to be moved into this panel. It now sits where the upper staging panel used to be. I needed to go into JMRI and make many changes in the program so it would work properly.

The new staging panel face is in the process of being made. There will be an upper staging and lower staging section. Each section will have 12 push buttons for local control and lights so you what track is selected. There will be a local enabled light and a red and green light to tell the engineer if he can proceed or not.

The above panel will be used for staging.

Monday, August 15, 2016

All tracks are in

The Bangor tracks are in. The left seven tracks still need their final wiring.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Upper staging connected to layout

I got the layout staged for the next session so I decided to continue on with construction. I went ahead and connected the new staging to the rest of the layout. This time I cut in a temporary turnout a different way the the first time.

The first time I went the easy route and connected to the near side of the return loop. Unfortunately this caused much more redesign with the old staging and main line. This time I connected to the far side of the return loop. So that the new and old staging comes to the layout the same way. I needed to do this because I will need to take the old staging track for use in the rest of the new staging. The means a more seamless transition to the new staging. If I can get a switch machine on the temporary turnout I will have 13 staging tracks for use until the move is complete.

While I was at it I replaced the temporary wiring for auxiliary power to staging. I also tested the installed tracks to ensure everything worked.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Working on staging again

I am finally back at it again after a long time off for vacations and other things.

The first step was to pre wire all the track in the yard throat. With that accomplished the next step was to put the section in place and test for fit and car clearances. Of course the very last track had clearance issues and the bench work needed to be lowered about 1/2" to clear my tallest rolling stock.

I completed the hook up for the turnouts and made a test panel in the computer for testing all of the turnouts and Occupancy Detectors.

I already had the back section of tracks 8-12 in place, so I connected the front half to the back half.

Today I hooked up all the wires for the installed track. They are now ready for testing.

Before testing happens I'll need to restage all of the lower staging for the next session.