Model Railroading How To's

Control Panel – Map Style

How to build yourself a Control Panel.

Control Panels make it possible to run more then one train at a time on your toy train or model railroad.   First off we need to determine are you going to opearate with Analog DC or the more recent and gaining in popularity, DCC.      You will still need a control panel designed to throw your switch machines and align the points on said mechanism.

Yes, they can be complicated.     As complicated or as simple as you want to make them .     The simplest of the methods out there would be the Atlas way of doing things.    I used their green slider and reversing switches back when I first started out.   Oh Yes, I was a newbie, once upon a time.     What I wouldn’t give  to go back to those days, with what I know now.     Sigh!

A word about the  Atlas set-up.  It’s “Common Rail,” and I wouldn’t recommend that.    I found to many inherent problems with it and eventually gave up on it.   I learned how to solder in my own DPDT electrical toggle switches to isolate one transformer from the other.     Changing to the DPDT Center Off, electrical toggle switches to control the train blocks and switch machines on my model railroads was the best thing I’ve ever done.   I will give Atlas this, a great teacher and I learned much about wiring thanks to their system.    How be it at a cost.

Shall we get started?

Control Panel for a Hi-Rail layout

Published on Mar 18, 2013

Control for our 26 x 17 Hi-Rail layout, using Tortoise Switch machines, Bi-Polar LED’s, DPDT toggles and SPST toggles for block power. A “How To” so to speak as to how it was built and how we are using it for the layout.   Thanks for watching LaidOffSick.

No fun being laid off sick unless you have a project like this one to tackle.    I love the challenges of building a model railroad.     If you share such enthusiasm you are well on your way to becoming a full fledged toy train operator or model railroader.

The Rails  call them switches not turnouts.   Sheez!  Just beating my war drums.   Hey, it’s my blog.    I said while looking over the top of my glasses with a disenchanted expression.

You can incorporate ideas from all the videos  presented here on BarstowRick.com and come up with your own control panel.     Give it a go.    You might surprise yourself.

RickH.

Railfanning The Union Pacific

Railfanning The Prototypes.

The Union Pacific

This is for that person who said, “That never happened, Union Pacific ran pure sets of passenger cars.”     I would agree in the sense that would be ideal but…well….check it out for yourself.

Regarding Passenger Trains, someone once asked me if Union Pacific ran  REA express cars,  trailers on flat cars, various reefers and box cars up front or  behind  the mail and/or  passenger cars?   Often referred to as head end cars or head end business.   Some of which was tacked on to the rear of the trains.    See  this unusual film capture.

Watching the Union Pacific’s Passenger Trains through the eyes of Emery Gulash and his  movie camera lens.

Union Pacific Odyssey Vol2 Part2

Uploaded on Jan 11, 2009

Purchase at — www.greenfrog.com
Union Pacific Odyssey Volume 2 from the camera of Emery Gulash takes you on a fantastic journey where Volume 1 left off. Volume 2 covers the 60’s and 70’s. You will see more first generation diesels, ‘City’ trains, New second generation diesels, more Big Blows (turbines), the Centennial locomotives, and DD-35’s as well as many other older diesels.

The Golden Spike Centennial at Promontory Point in 1969 is prominently covered including special trains from parts of the U.S. which converged on the scene for the reenactment. Many of those trains were pulled by steam!

If you like steam, passenger trains and first generation diesels, then this beautiful production from the camera of world renowned rail photographer Emery Gulash is a production you won’t want to miss. Original material from 16mm color film.
Approx. Running Time 2 hours-TWO-DISC SET
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
Thanks for watching, Green Frog.

Union Pacific Odyssey vol-2 HD Remastered

Published on Feb 28, 2013

Purchase the complete DVD or Bluray set at www.greenfrog.com

Union Pacific Odyssey Volume 2 from the camera of Emery Gulash takes you on a fantastic journey where Volume 1 left off. Volume 2 covers the 60’s and 70’s. You will see more first generation diesels, ‘City’ trains, New second generation diesels, more Big Blows (turbines), the Centennial locomotives, and DD-35’s as well as many other older diesels.
The Golden Spike Centennial at Promontory Point in 1969 is prominently covered including special trains from parts of the U.S. which converged on the scene for the reenactment. Many of those trains were pulled by steam!

If you like steam, passenger trains and first generation diesels, then this beautiful production from the camera of world renowned rail photographer Emery Gulash is a production you won’t want to miss. Original material from 16mm color film.    Thanks again for watching, GreenFrogVideos.

One discrepancy I noticed and is a common mistake of railfans and model railroaders.  The commentator said there was an SD24 B Unit.  When this was filmed the  diesels that operated without a cab where called “Cabless”   not “B Units”.    The crews would say the lead unit was a GP 30 with an SD24 cabless tied in behind.    What the heck I won’t charge you for that tid bit.

When I visit your layout I want to see realistic trains running and not those of idealist persuasion.   Unless you don’t want to.   I said with a big grin and col.

RickH.

Pulse, PWM & DCC

Pulse, PWM & DCC.

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Mmagliaro.   
In his words:

 

Here’s my brain dump on this subject.

Part 1:
Nearly every DC throttle made, from the 1970s to today, uses pulse power.

They may not say it anymore (probably because the word scares people), but you put a scope
on the output of that throttle, and you’ll see that it is most certainly not a smooth DC output.

That Tech 7 that “doesn’t mention pulse” mentions “slow speed running”, and indeed, it uses pulse.

Even nice modern 5-pole motors run much better with some pulsing in the supply.
Even the coreless beauties that I run in my rebuilt engines can be coaxed to get the
the train moving at a bit slower and steadier speed with some pulse turned on.

This page is very enlightening:
http://www.sumidacrossing.org/PhotoAlbums/ElectricalSystemsPhotos/DCTestingPhotos/

He tested a ton of throttles, put an oscilloscope on their output,
and showed you what the throttles actually do (nevermind what anyone CLAIMS they do).

And they aren’t all old ones.
Look around on his site and you will find a review of one of the Tech 7’s, and he shows that they also
use a pulsed waveform.

——————-
2. Pulses from years ago aren’t like pulses now

The fear and hatred toward pulse power comes from the *type* of pulses used in throttles designed for
big, tough motors used in HO and larger scales long ago. Pulses were often high amplitude brutal square waves
that are great for getting big indelicate motors moving at low speeds, but make for a lot of heat, noise, commutator
pitting, and other terrible things.

But that doesn’t change the fact that when pulses are done right, motors run beautifully on them
and will not be harmed.

———————-
3. What do you buy?

The original poster wanted recommendations on a DC pack that would be inexpensive, would perform
well, and won’t harm motors.

I would stay away from the MRC Tech II 2500 because I have played with those
and the pulses are pretty strong and brutal for my taste and cannot be turned off. They do make engines
run well, and the pulses diminish automatically as you raise the speed, but I found the pulses to induce
a lot of noise in the motors and they seemed to be much stronger than is necessary. Prolonged running at
low speed will mean harsh pulses all the time, which I do not like.

When people say modern motors don’t need pulses anymore, they may not realize it, but what they mean is
that modern motors don’t need THOSE NASTY pulses anymore. You still need pulses for really good
low speed running, and that’s why all the throttles still use them.

DCC decoders are driving the motors on PWM, a very nice type of pulse indeed.
———————–

The Kato pack (reviewed on that site I mentioned above) is very popular. There’s almost nothing inside it.
All it does is feed the pulsing rectified DC to your motor. But surprisingly, THIS ISN’T SUCH A BAD IDEA!
As it turns out full or half-wave rounded pulses are quite kind to electric motors and do a pretty good
job of making them move at lower speeds. So if you’re looking for something simple and safe just
to run your trains, that would be a good one.

I REALLY like the idea of building one yourself. The Stapleton throttles look like really nice designs and are priced
low:    Stapleton Hand Held Throttle    (Although, I’ve never actually owned one)

These use PWM (pulse wave modulation) to get you good slow-speed running. They are square waves, but this
is quite different from the square waves I was bashing above. The amplitude is under control, and they idea is
to increase the frequency and width of the pulses to control the speed. PWM is how DCC decoders power your
motors.
$45 bucks, assembled, seems like a good deal to me. In the $30’s if you build it yourself.

If you are using engines that have decoders in them, and you intend to try to
run them on DC (not DCC), you really should not try to use a PWM throttle, which the Stapleton thottle is.

Only use a PWM throttle if you don’t plan on trying to run decoder-equipped engines on your DC layout.

They will give you great performance on a DC engine, but if you try to use a PWM throttle on a decoder-equipped
engine, you might have some problems since the PWM pulses may confuse the decoder and prevent
your engine from running on plain DC.

———————–

The key is to use controlled, gentle pulses. They will make your motors run better without
heat or damage.

So, what do I use?

I use a home-made transistor throttle I built from a 1970s circuit book, and I have used it ever since.
I built several others over the years with different pulse designs, but never liked any of them, or any
commercial throttle I tried, better than that old home-made one.

It uses smooth DC with half-wave pulses riding on top of the smooth output, and I can turn the pulses on or off
if I wish, but I never turn them off.

But if I were buying something right now, I’d try one of those Stapleton throttles.

Thanks for giving this a read, Mr. Mmagliaro.

RickH.

Read more

Pulse Power Versus Momentum

Here is one of those Hot Button Issues.   I promise!

Here on BarstowRick.com I attempt to keep things simple so that a newbie can understand it.     Remembering what I did and did not understand as a newbie myself.     Electronics is way over my head and I don’t pretend to know the labyrinths of such.   I’ll leave that to the electronics engineers.    In the meantime we can all sort it out together.

Pulse Power – Reflections on the past:

Up until Pulse Power was introduced, you couldn’t get a realistic start-up with any of our toy train locomotives and diesels.      You’d turn the throttle up until it took off and then crank it back down and hope nobody saw that.    What we wanted and clamored for was realistic starts and stops.    Keeping in mind we are talking about the 50’s and large motors that required and high amperage to turn them over.    Notably,  three amp’s or better.

Seems to me the first commercially made pulse powered transformers showed up in the 50’s gaining popularity through the 60’s.      During this time there was talk of a transistorized throttle.    Several model railroad wig wags (magazines) carried articles on how to build your own.    I think it was in the late 60’s or early 70’s we finally got a commercially built transistorized throttles.     What a difference it made.    It should of outdated and killed pulse power on the spot.   However, the numbers among-st hobbyist had developed into a measurable following.    A fair majority of  model railroaders    liked the way their older locomotives and diesels operated on Pulse Power.    Because of their demand,  it’s still in use and with us to this day.    So, one could conclude this is a good thing.    Well, I’m inclined to think….maybe not.

I owned one of the first Pulse Power Transformers produced and it was a very bad performer.     Trains would stutter, falter and hiccup as they started out.   As units improved, some of the performance issues cleared up.   But all to often you’d find yourself going right  back to square one, with stuttering locomotives.   The late 60’s saw numerous improvements in our motive power.    Motors that didn’t need the high amperage but didn’t perform well with the Pulse Power Transformers.       Needless to say I wasn’t happy with that kind of performance.

Pulse Power:  What is Pulse Power?   The simple answer it is early electronics that used AC spikes,   AC  added to DC. to overcome the inertia of the locomotive.   To break the inertia of an electric motor and cause it to run with a realistic crawl, from a dead stop up to full speed.   Usually associated with wire wound rheostat’s.     The first units out were called a lot of things,  in a less then a complimentary way.    

Here, I will use “AC Spikes,”  to denote an unrefined spike of voltage.   Although this is technically incorrect  it best  describes the action taking place.   Gosh many of us used AC spikes, to describe pulse power for years.

Transistorized Throttle:  What is it?    It’s a throttle that tout’s using the purest form of filtered DC and injects a modified form of  AC,  to control a train locomotive or diesel from a dead stop, up to full speed and back to a stop.  Now did that sound like a contradiction?    It is!    Sort of.    Just don’t ask an electronics’s engineer for the complicated explanation.    We’ll be here all day.

The manufacturers  use a potentiometer to control the amount of current that goes out to the train.  There is a type of memory computer chip that controls the automated  increase and decrease in the preferred speed of your train, often referred to as Momentum.     If you are lucky enough you can get one with a Brake feature that performs as does the ones, on the 1:1 foot scale.

What’s the difference between a Pulse Power and Transistorized throttles?    The answer I’ve been taught and may be over simplistic is:    One uses AC spikes to overcome the inertia and the other uses  injected DC  to do the same.   If you haven’t already noted, you are about to learn that may or may not be true.

Keep in mind. when pulse first came out it was called pulse because of the AC Spikes =Jabs of AC=Injected AC, all in an attempt to describe Pulse Power.    Today’s refined pulses are called  PWM = Pulse Wave Modulation.

Now what about DC?    What I’ve learned from Mr. Mmagliaro and others on TrainBoard.com is they now have a rectified DC Pulse.    More on this in Pulse, PWM & DCC posted here on BarstowRick.com.

Now to keep the confusion out of the ranks, which failed miserably in the past.    Pulse Power and it’s copyright only refers to  a very harsh pulse, or as it was described to many of us as  AC Spikes, Injected AC and ‘Jabs’ of higher voltage.       It cannot refer to a Transistorized Throttle aka Momentum with a memory chip to control the speed and stops,  as that’s a different copyright.    Begging a lot of unanswered questions.

I’ve invited friends who  know electronics to chime in and so far I have Mr. Mmagliaro and Greg M’s permission to use their thoughts on the subject.    On TrainBoard we got into a discussion and believe me when I say there are some hard core loyalist to Pulse Power.   It’s true.   Defensive  and  can be aptly described as “Guardians of the Pulse Power”.

Today, those who prefer a transistorized throttle over the pulse power,  consider the pulse technology, to be dirty technology.     Why?    Because of the type of AC pulse or spikes.    It will cause your locomotives to run warmer and if UN-monitored to run hot!   Should you forget to shut it off, you can burn out an electric motor.   How do I know?   I did!   To long of a Rick’s Story Time, for now.

The newer Pulse Power Packs,   have been modified and refined their performance is  by far better then the one I had.

One of the local BVMR’s has one of the newer ones.    He doesn’t use it anymore as he graduated from Analog DC to DCC.    A happy conversion I might add.     He still has the option to use his pulse power throttle.  It’s still hooked up to a DPDT electrical switch on his layout.   One fliip of the DPDT, and he’s back in business.  He can then fire  up and run some of his older HO diesels.    The ones with the high amperage motors.

 

The Transistorized Throttle has it all over the Pulse Transformers.    I’ve been extremely happy with my throttles and I would recommend them to any future toy train enthusiast or model railroader.   The starts and stops are as realistic… as you are going to get.

The power packs or transformers I’d recommend are as follows:   MRC ControlMaster 20 and MRC’s Tech lll Power Command, Model #9500.   Both, produce the purest form of filtered DC.   The Tech lll,  comes with meters which I find helpful.  My favorite of these three, saving the best for last:  The Controller 35M, with adjustable momentum.    I love being able to adjust the momentum and the operational results are  right on!    Dead ringer for the 1:1 foot scale.

Terminology:   Now hear this.   Well that’s what I started to write.   Here’s the problem.    Most of us as modelers don’t have the head knowledge, proof and evidence with regard to some of the claims  we’ve read, heard and depended on from alleged educated hobbyist Many that we depended on and who operated our local hobby shops.     Confounded claims all made over the years in our model railroad wig wags (magazines) and other periodicals..   A lot of it, is over our heads and anything but simple to understand.   Which only makes it extremely difficult to discuss this openly.

Disclaimer:  I better add a disclaimer.   Today, as I write and you read this.  We have some hobby shop owners that are educated and can lead you in the right direction.   Things have changed since the days I first started visiting  our one stop and shop… Gun Shop, Bicycle Shop, Fishing & Tackle, Sports Paraphernalia,  Little League Uniforms, Boy Scout Gear and oh yes we have car models and some train stuff otherwise know as the Local Hobby Shop.    Gosh those folks at Muenzers  (local gun shop, bicycle shop and much, much more) were the greatest as they attempted to help me, educate me and provide me with the best model train stuff out there.   They worked hard to serve me so I could enjoy my hobby.   I think it’s safe to say they learned right along with me.

Do I dare say?    One of the reasons we need as accurate a terminology and definitions base as is possible.

As always, I want you to read the resources I provide here and decide for yourself what you want to believe.     You’ve read by now where I say:  Take from here what you want and…..leave the rest behind.

Elaborating:    How does this technology work?   The simplified version:

I went to lunch with a friend of mine and talked to him about this very subject. I asked him about the oscilloscope and he said true DC would be a straight line. I asked him about the upward blips and he said that’s AC.  Saying it’s dirty DC.  I asked him about the difference between Pulse Power and a Transistorized Throttle. He then said pulse power uses AC to to get the motor to roll over and is usually associated with an older type of wire wound rheostat.   Not so with the new ones but that’s how they got started.   The newer Transistorized Throttle is a pot. aka potentiometer, that controls the power out to the electric motor and it too uses AC to nudge the electric motor. The only way to get purified DC is to use a car battery or battery of your choice or a very filtered rectifier. Credit to Greg M., a Ham Radio Operator, fellow Model Railroader and  heavily into electronics.   Confirming what Mr. Mmagliaro and  what many of my friends on TrainBoard have said.

You will have a chance to look at  a website where you can find what appears to be pictures of an oscilloscope and the various pulses put out by an assortment of transformers or power packs.    What I see on that website  is a DC sine wave with perhaps some signal distortion.    The claim is you can see the AC pulse.   It turns out that is true.  DC is a straight line so any blimps that may be visible are AC.

The Oscilloscope,  A shout out to Mr. Mmagliaro for bringing this to my attention.  Thanks to Sumida Crossing for making this available.  See:       http://www.sumidacrossing.org/PhotoAlbums/ElectricalSystemsPhotos/DCTestingPhotos/

Incidentally you will find my old power pack, the MRC 501.  It’s the first one illustrated.    Looks like they dug it up out of my  back yard.  The top switch is the “Pulse” switch, barely legible.   Click on the power pack and you will find a slide show with a picture of it’s guts and  the then latest version of a wire wound rheostat and transformer.

Confusion:   By now you’ve read where I say something about the confusion.      It is confusing when Pulse Power and Transistorized Throttles “Both” use AC to overcome the inertia of the electric motor to get the train rolling.    Makes them sound like they are one and the same.    They aren’t.

My Original Power Pulse Transformer:   What happened to mine?   I gave it to a friend, who gave it to a friend and then because of it’s poor performance we buried it in our backyard.     What do you expect from a Mortician’s Son.   Happiest service we ever had.   Good bye to an annoying and frustrating….friend?     Uhh,,,err we buried the transformer not a friend.    Although, judging from the response we got regarding the cowboy hat, belt buckle and boots we buried you’d of thought so.   Grin!    Spooked a number of kids who thought it was ok to take a short cut through our back yard from the alley way to the street.     Put a temporary stop to things.     Funniest thing to watch their expressions on their faces.   Surprise,  disbelief and denial was the first responses we saw most often.   See what happened to the last kid that ran through here.

DCC   does it use Momentum or Pulse?   Now here’s a topic that just begs to follow on the heels of this one.     With a follow up question:   Does DCC use AC spikes to get the motor to roll over?   Simple answer is yes,.   Should   you want to start up a heated debate that will out do the one regarding  Pulse versus Momentum.  Ask that question on any toy train or model railroad website.        I won’t even touch that debate here on BarstowRick.com.   I’ll let DCC Guy handle that discussion.

I hope that helps!

RickH.

Ron McF.,   Added a comment here.   It’s worth the read.   If you don’t see it below this posting.  Go back and click on comments under the heading and it should pop-up.

 

 

 

 

Operations Night on Your Train Layout

Operations Night. Find out how much fun it is when you give your toy train or model railroad a purpose. Learn how operations can bring hours of added enjoyment for  friends and visitors.

It’s time to learn how to operate trains on your toy train or model railroad.    Operations night!  You ought to see what some guys and gals are doing to give purpose and  realistic operations to their train layouts.   

From the modelers wig wag.    This next video will give some insight on how the guys and gals at  Model Railroader operate trains.

Operating Model Railroader magazine’s Bay Junction HO scale project layout with DCC

HD: March Madness 2015 Railfanning

Published on Apr 3, 2015

Here are the trains I caught in March 2015. All the trains I caught were during my Spring Break, Weekends, or either late in the day. Enjoy the video folks.   Thanks for watching Nicholas S..

More to come if you take the time to browse this website, click and scroll.

But Rick, I just want to run trains in a circle and watch them go round and round.    Ok, with me but when you tire of that consider what others are doing to make their train layouts more interesting.  At least for some of us.

Security:

For those of you who open your homes for operations night you may find the advice we give regarding Security For Your Model Railroad, helpful.    Such as:   Security Advice and Options available.   IE., Closed Circuit TV systems and Recording Devices.     See;   Security For Your Model Railroad
 

RickH.

Sound for an RS3

It took awhile for the makers of these DCC sound units to come out with actual sounds adding to the realism.     Listen to the staccato of the prime mover and the correct bells and whistles.

The next video captures the sound of an RS3…superbly.

ESu LokSound ALCO 244 & Bachmann RS-3 With New TDS SuperSonic speakers and enclosures

Published on Feb 1, 2015

http://tonystrains.com/ for more information on the ESu LokSound-

A demonstration of the ESu LokSound coupled with the TDS SuperSonic Speakers & Enclosures. Hank, one of our lead techs here at TTX, was kind enoguh to let us borrow his Bachmann RS-3. Hank made some custom enclosure using theTDS Supersonic Mini Speakers and the results are awsome; rich, clear, & robust. If you’re an ALCO fan, we think the ESu and TDS are a winning team.    Thanks for lending us your ear, Erik Fiske.

You won’t believe what’s been accomplished in the world of DCC.    I overheard a conversation involving some Analog DC enthusiast wishing they had that kind of sound.    I will be checking to see if anyone has made sound for Analog DC.    So, you can hear the sound.    As always you can decide whether it’s something you want or not.

RickH.

 

Train Goes Into Emergency

Have you ever wondered what happens when a knuckle in the coupler breaks and the back half of the train is left to run on it’s own.

You won’t believe what  Milleniumforce,  a nick name of course,  captured on this next video.

CSX Coal Train Knuckle Breaks Train Separates Goes Into Emergency

Published on Aug 21, 2013

For licensing/usage please contact: licensing(at)jukinmediadotcom
This is a video I made while following a CSX coal train in Plant City Florida along Sydney Rd heading towards Tampa Florida and it’s final destination, the big bend power plant (Teco Energy) in Apollo Beach Florida. While following and stopping to video the train to go by at the Sydney Dover Road railroad crossing in Sydney Florida, the 63rd car on the train had it’s knuckle broken and the train separated in front of me going into a emergency. I picked up the conductor and drove him back to where the train separated and helped him fix it and drove him back to his locomotive and then he was on his way. I guess I was at the right place at the right time. Please also watch my video of me hosted on Fox 13 news for the story that made it on tv.
CSX Coal Train Knuckle Breaks Train Separates Goes Into Emergency Fox 13 News
For licensing/usage please contact: licensing(at)jukinmediadotcom Thanks for tuning in, A.J. Smith.

When the air drops for any mechanical reason or failure the train goes into  emergency and stops.    Our toy trains and model trains don’t do that.    An amazing catch by A.J. Smith.

RickH.

Union Pacific’s – Giants

Union Pacific’s Giants.   UP had the largest locomotives, turbines and diesels of any railroad in America.   All in the name of pulling freight and crack passenger trains over the Wasatch Mountains.

Take a look at what the Challenger and Big Boy delivered to Union Pacific’s Property.      How would you like to be a member of the crew assigned to work these Giants Of The Rails?      Union Pacific’s Best.

Last of the Giants

Published on Dec 15, 2012

Just an absolute awesome piece of machinery.

Never flinching Union Pacific continued to work toward having the most horse power in their roster  of locomotives and motors/diesels to pull it’s passenger trains and freights.     Giants of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Did you enjoy the preview?    Now then there are other Union Pacific video’s on You Tube.    In the world of miniature railroading you can find  model’s or replications of these Giants.      Lionel’s, Intermountain’s and Athearn’s  Giant’s of the Rails.    Everything from O Scale, HO scale to N and some Z Scale.

I honestly figured that at some point the Union Pacific Steam Program would be shut down.     There aren’t many experienced steam mechanic’s, boiler makers and experienced journeyman around to handle the needed maintenance.   Other railroads, namely N&W did shut down the steam program.     Noting the cost and expense of running steam excursions.      So, enjoy it while it lasts.

I’ve set trackside wishing the locomotive I saw being towed dead in service was a live and pulsing steamer.       I wish, I wish, I wish….!

Not sure why the Challenger wasn’t pulled out to take the lead and pull the dead in line Big Boy into town.     Now that would of been something to watch!

Stay tuned, more to come.

RickH.

Engineers and Conductors

A Day In The Lives Of Engineers & Conductors

To many of us the life of an engineer might  appear romantic, glamorous,  appealing and desirable.  Heroic is how many see them.   After seeing what my family of rails went through… heroic might work.    I remember thinking as a kid that I wanted to be an engineer.    Look at all the neat locomotives and diesels I could drive and those long trains I could pull.    That was until I learned I had to find a place to park the train in the yard and unload all the box cars.   Now you know that ain’t right.  Grin!

My family of rails had other ideas for me and never once encouraged me to go to work for the railroads.    No I had to go to work as a mortician, and they wanted me on call/standby 24-7-365.    I did what?   Yes I did.

In this next video you’ll see why my family wasn’t in favor of me being a railroader.   DJ sounds just like them.

Life As A Railroad Engineer. What it is like to work for a railroad.

This next video isn’t  nearly as exciting  but I promise you it get’s real.

Real train engineer: day in the life/ Train Engineer Jim

Uploaded on Oct 6, 2009

Engineer Jim going to downtown, playing cards with fellow engineers in the break room, and Jim at the controls.   I hope you enjoyed it, Jim.

This next one is part promotional and will help you see things through the Conductors eyes.    It isn’t all riding in the cab someone has to do the work the brakeman and switchman used to do.

A Day in the Life of a Norfolk Southern Conductor

Published on Oct 28, 2014

Learn about the role a conductor plays at Norfolk Southern. Thanks for giving us a look, NSC.

What they don’t tell you is if your train goes into emergency for reasons unknown the conductor gets to walk the length of the train to discover what’s happened and perform on the spot repair to get the train rolling again.    True!

A good friend and fellow Model Railroader, Ron Core is a retired conductor having worked for the BNSF.    He had to walk a train that went into emergency on the former W.P. line, with two lengthy tunnels.    He had the engineer move the diesels or motors out of the tunnel.   Why?    To keep the air clean so he could walk and into it and inspect the train.   He found the problem, an air hose had dropped down tearing it up and consequently puncturing a hole in it, dropping the air.     After repairing it he then walked the train to inspect the rest of it and finally got under way.   Let’s say your time runs out, on the law, now what do you do?   Wait!   And hope a van can get into your location.   Otherwise you and the engineer are hoofing it out of there.   Looking for a challenge?     This is it.

What do you think.   To heck with the toy train or model railroad layout.    Did I hear you say, “I’m going to work for the real railroads”.

Wish I had, seriously.    I would of enjoyed that a whole lot more and I’d be better off today then I am now.   Boohoo boohoo.  Grin!  The shoulda, woulda, cloulda, but didn’t syndrome.

RickH.

 

Diesel Locomotive Basics

A good look at a diesel.

This video is well done.   The participants are mic’d up and they use two cameramen to video this presentation.    Job well done.

Diesel Locomotive Basics

Uploaded on Oct 26, 2010

http://www.thegeekgroup.org – The first of our Vehicles series, we take a look at a Diesel Locomotive. Follow along as Chris and Bruce explore an old EMD SW9 switcher. This video features a ton of great bonus footage after the show, for all the railfans out there.

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Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Geek Group provides access to science, technology, engineering and math by developing programming and facilities for individuals and institutions to learn, explore, innovate and play at an independent pace according to their needs. The Geek Group has many thousands of members scattered across the globe, in every state in the US and one hundred and forty-two countries. Come help us build Awesome!  Thanks for tuning in.

RickH.

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