Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tomorrow is last Day to Enter Gondola Giveaway

Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Great Gondola Giveaway contest.  To enter go to the post on of March 14 and make a comment on that post with a request to be entered into the contest.  This Friday morning I will video the actual drawing of the winner and will post the video anouncing the winner. Check the blog Friday morning to see if you are the lucky winner!!!  Good luck everyone!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Operating Session

Had a fun op session today that went real well.  Ran 16 trains, switched a lot of cars, perfromed numerous meets, hostled many a consist and genreraly had a good time.  This was our first session with both Global III and the BNSF switcher fully operation.  Both integrated into the operating scheme well.  Howver, with those two jobs taking a throttle each we ended up short on throttles.  Luckily a comple of operators had brought theirs along and it all worked out.  I took a bunch of pictures but only a few came out good enough to post.

Tom O. and Bill Reid were the first crew to run Global III in Rochelle
Jeff Tendick runs an Autorack accross the Rochelle diamonds while gang of four try to figure out how to switch cars at GloabllII

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Op Session Documentation

Below is an link to the documentation for our next Op Session this Sunday.  This page will be updated with new documentation a few days before each op session.

Op Session Docs

Operations @ Franklin Grove

Even though train MDAPR is occupying both mainine tracks in Franklin Grove as it switches local industries, the dispatcher is able to get coal train CABAT past through efficient use of a crossover @ MP 93.

MDAPR is a manifest train originating in Dallas, TX and terminating at Proviso Yard
CABAT is an empty coal train from Yard Center in Chicago to Antelope Mine, WY

Monday, March 22, 2010

FVM GEVO Part 2 - Brightening up the Ditchlights

The Fox Valley Models new GEVO are excellent locomotives. There are so many great aspects of the models that puts them head and shoulders above Atlas and even Kato.  Outstanding details, easy DCC  install, very smooth running, options to install even more provided details such are grab irons, wipers and sunshades.  They are great locos.  There is just one thing that was disappointing for me.  The very dim ditch lights.  So, I looked at improving the brightness of the ditchlights.  After removing the shell and inspecting the light pipes I noticed that rather than being one peice there were two seperate peices, one for the headlight and one for the ditch lights.  Also, the ditch light pipe was loose and able to hang down.  Obviously, the lower ditch light pipe was not getting enough light.  The LED was aimed at the upper head light pipe.  So, the first thing i did was place a very tiny amount of superglue between the two pieces and pressed the lower piece onto the upper piece.  The small amount of glue was able to hold the lower piece up against the upper piece as shown below.  The red circle shows the two peices where the glue was applied

After putting the shell back on the loco, there was an improvement in the brightness of the ditch lights but, the difference between the headlight and ditch lights was still pretty large.  So I used a pliers to carefully bend the LED down toward the lower ditch light pipe.  Unfortunately, this rendered the LED dead.  So, I removed the LED, and replaced it with a 3mm LED that I bent down before soldering it to the light board.  The LED was a bit longer than the original so I had to clip the tip of the LED off so that it cleared the light pipes. 

The result was even more improvement on the brightness of the ditchlights.  Still not quite as bright as the headlights, but definately visible.  Below you can see the ditch lights with the new LEDs and glued light pipes (first picture) compared to the original (seoncd picture).

As you can see I use a white LED for 5405 and a yellow LED for 5697.  I'm sure which one I prefer but I am leaning to the white.  The problem with deciding is that the pototype looks white some of the time and yellow at other times as shown below.  It seems to me that they are white when seen in the bright afternoon sun and appear more yellow when there is less sunlight.  Any ideas out there?

I'm glad I was able to improve the ditch lights.  Its a very easy and very inexpensive improvement.  I will definately be purchasing more GEVOs (got a KCS unit on order and will likely pick up a CSX unit and maybe even a couple of BNSF units).  With the improved ditch lights they're simply the best.  BTW, after running the units around the layout for a while they are fully broken in and run as smoothly as my Katos.  In fact, I would say they are quieter that my SD70ACes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gevo Video

Here's the first run of the Fox Valley Gevos on the UPRR Geneva Subdivision.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Curved Turnout

I need three curved turnouts for the Global III engine facilities.  Since it is not cost effective to purchase a fasttracks assembly fixture for just three turnouts, I am doing these the old fashion way.  I taped a template to a piece of wood, spiked down the PC ties and soldered the rails in place freehand.  I was still able to use the fasttracks tools for filing rails and used my #8 fixture for soldering the frog point.  The resulting turnout came out pretty good, but took me 90 minutes versus about 45-60 for turnouts with the fixtures.  The turnout is 30"/20" radius.

After installing the turnout, I found out that I needed lots more fine tuning, filing and tweaking than usual. But its in and works great.  Makes me realized, though, how much I appreciate the assemblt fixtures.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FVM GEVOs Arrive on the Geneva Subdivision

   Recieved my two UP GEVOs from Wig Wag today.  Took their sweet time sending them out but that's another story.  Anyway, the GEVOs are stunning.  Extremely well executed with lots of fine details throughout.  They were a little tight when I first tried to run them, but loosen up quickly and are very smooth running.  Better than Atlas and almost on par with Kato.  I suspect that with more break in, they will equal if not surpass Kato.
   I am disappointed with the very dim ditch lights. To be honest, the dimness is enough to be a deal breaker for me.  To me it doesn't look like a modern locomotive unless you have the three lights leading the way.  May not be that big of a deal for others.  I'm hoping that I can find a way to easily correct the problem.  At first glance it looks light the LED is not quite lined up with the optical plastic that leads from the LED to the ditch lights.  The plastic that goes to the headlight is a separate peice from the one that leads to the ditchlights.  The headlight looks fine, but the ditches are not getting enough light.  Next week is spring break so I should have some time to give it further attention.  I really hope that something can be figured out becasue other than the ditch lights, the model is fantastic. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Atlas Boots Genevasub Post

While trying to get the word out about the gondola giveaway, I posted to the Atlas Forum as well as Trainboard, Railnet, and  The post to the Atlas forum was removed.  No communication to me as to why.  Just gone.  I'm thinking it had something to do with the post promoting a blog.  Oh well.  I'm officially boycotting the Atlas Forum.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Great Gondola Giveaway

I got these two gondolas a while back and when I put them on the track I realized that they were fishbelly gondolas and not really appropriate for a modern era layout. So, I've decided to give them away to a lucky follower of the Genevasub Blog. To win the gondolas all you have to do is comment on this post indicating you want to enter the contest. No need to be an offical follower of the blog and no need to give me your address just yet, you can do that if you win. The contest will end April 1 (No fooling, honest!!!) I'll make a video of the drawing so that everyone can see that everything is on the up and up. I'll send the two gondolas postage paid via priority mail to the lucky winner. I also have a couple of Atlas engines that I will be giving away if this contest goes without a hitch. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!!

BNSF / UP Interchange Yard

Spent last week building and installing 4 turnouts for the BNSF / UP interchange yard which is located next to the Delmonte warehouse in Rochelle.  Its a pretty steep grade from the UP mainline to the interchange yard, but that's exactly how the prototype is as you can see from the video.