No.1 Porter: Snow Plough

Underway on the cleared track with the flatcar.

Last week, after many years we finally had snowfall. I couldn’t miss out on that one, so out came the rolling stock and off we go!

Januar 17th, 2021: Operations in the snow, for the first time since the 1990s.
Januar 17th, 2021: Operations in the snow, for the first time since the 1990s.

The joy got somewhat marred, though, since the falling snow caused all the wheels to build up ice and caused many derailments. However, the snow remained and when the snowfall finally stopped at 11 o’clock the next morning, the whole layout was covered in a white blanket. I just couldn’t miss out on that opportunity! So, off to the workshop.

Below, I’d like to show how one can improvise a working snow plough in less than one hour.

New Garden Railroad: The Lead Road Railway

A loading gauge template serves as a station building.

Those of you who have been following along for some time will remember, that I started my first own garden railroad during 2017. After I got stuck with it, so to speak, it was at the end of 2019 with a heavy heart that the railroad got deconstructed and I refocused on rolling stock. However, on the one hand I do need some sort of test track and on the other hand I don’t want to banish the dream of some future garden railroad altogehter.

So I’m pleased to announce that during the summer of 2020 the Lead Road Railway came into being.

Operation Session Autumn 2020

Short Train on duty.

This time, believe it or not, we’ve had three battery-powered units in service, most of the time each had its own operator, too. Alas, the weather didn’t play along all the time, so a spontaneous layout extension was realized at the roofed porch. My No.1 braved the rain several times and did quite well. The encapsulated electronics really pay for themselves.

No.1 Porter: Chain Winch

Completely assembled and mounted.

Besides other insights, the Summer Operation Session 2020 revealed that my Porter needs a better stowing place for the shunting chain.

On the one hand the chain easily drops from the loco if it isn’t properly secured, on the other hand it’s quite fidgety to fixate the chain at a given lenght. So I more or less spontaneously got the idea to tinker on a chain winch.

The first steps happend on a whin and I was sure that they wouldn’t succeed, that’s why I didn’t take any pictures. But after I realized I was onto something, I made some after the fact.

Summer Operation Session 2020

The first short train, consisting of bulkhead, test waggon and the new flatcar.

This operation session was scheduled rather spontaneously and spurred me into building a prototype for a flatcar. Accordingly, I was quite expectant concerning the experience I’d gain with the new waggon.

Since we only had a relatively short time for operations and I was preoccupied with test runs, there are only a few pictures. In return, I learned lots of lessons.

Porter: New Smokestack with Spark Arrestor

Big spark arrestor on wood burning loco.

Since my porter is serving as a working horse in the vicinity of a logging railroad, she’s burning wood, as one might tell by her tender. The original smokestack has only got a small diamond spark arrestor which doesn’t really fit to a wood burning loco.

Shunting Session In The Smallest Places

The waggon is tugged to the far-sided unloading point at the bumper.

It’s Gerd’s fault, again! 😉 Not long ago, he posted a beautiful video on one of his operation sessions in time lapse:

What excited me particularly was the use of a chain for shunting, at 0:38 and 5:18. So when a rainy afternoon forced me to stay in the work shop, I couldn’t resist. Within a few minutes a mini layout was patched together from snap track.

What ensued were three hour’s worth of pure shunting enjoyment. And yet another proof that fantasy and some improvasation can make up for a whole layout.

Winter Operation Session 2020

01 Porter pulling 101 Stake Wagon.

Last Saturday, an old friend of mine and I held a small operation session at his place. The weather was fabulous, we had high temperatures for february, around 14°C and lots of sunshine.

It’s been a huge success: multiple trains running simultaneously, shunting, test drives, lots of talk on lots of topics. But most important: a train-load of fun!

Porter and Tender: Coupling-Maintenance

Threaded rods are screwed into the wood.

My faithful Porter had some work to do during this winter, for which it was transported to different places: Into the garden, at my parents-in-law’s, even at work. Of course, these transports always entail boxing and unboxing into transport crates, which lead to considerable wear regarding the coupling between loco and tender on the one hand, and the conductor’s platform at the tender’s rear end on the other hand. Thus, we’re going to focus today on ever-occuring maintenance and possible improvements.

Deltang Tx22 Completion

Wiring the ground first.

After assembling the transmitter, I proceeded with soldering the parts. This turned out to be a fiddly affair, which kept me from taking pictures. In return, there’s a video of the final testing! 🙂

Overall one can say that the manufacturer’s documentation works very well. Once you’ve found your way around the diagrams and schemas, the assembly is easily done in a few hours’ worth of time.

It is really helpful to plan the wiring in levels or layers. At the bottom, I placed the ground connectors. There I connected the potentionmeters, the main switch, its LED and the bind switch. The two function switches remain untouched for the moment because after soldering they will partly block access to the potentiometer.