7 APRIL 2018
ALCO C-420 has returned home after an absence for conversion to ESU LokSound. Several missing parts including the horn and some MU cables were also replaced, and an engineer was added. This my sixth locomotive with sound; with twelve currently on the roster I am now at the halfway point in re-equipping the fleet. 632 is seen here at Chetwynd after its return trip north:
25 MARCH 2018
Spring Break has afforded an opportunity to complete a number of layout projects, so there is a fair amount of news to share this time around.
All of the Singlets for Chetwynd Yard have now been installed, connected to their respective servos, and the end points programmed. It is now possible to actuate the turnouts using the push buttons on the Singlets. The next and last step will be to mount the control panels on the fascia and connect the toggle switches to the Singlets for remote operation from the fascia. This photograph shows eight of the Singlets in place underneath Chetwynd Yard:
Another big step forward toward operations was extension of the XpressNet command bus around to the other side of the layout. This project included the provision of fascia plates and throttle pockets in front of Chetwynd Yard:
Chetwynd Yard has also benefited from the provision of a shelf to accommodate the station and freight shed which extended past the fascia due to the final location of the main track and adjacent shed tracks. The shelf will also accommodate the parking lot adjacent to the station which I am keen to model. In this photograph two of the new Atlas F-100 pick-up trucks can be seen in the parking lot:
Other recently completed projects include the provision of stowage for uncoupling skewers around the layout, new power supplies for the LED layout lighting on a new shelf underneath Chetwynd Yard, painting of the fascia for the new helix cover, and LED lighting for inside the helix. I have updated the Lighting, Helix, Wiring, and Turnout Pages under Construction with additional information and photographs for these recently completed projects.
Chetwynd Yard is now very close to completion and the layout will soon be ready for full operations.
15 MARCH 2018
The advent of better weather has enabled me to get some planned additions to the benchwork painted out on the balcony. These include the fascia on the helix cover, a horizontal extension for the Chetwynd station & freight shed, vertical extensions for throttle pockets, uncoupling stick holders, and a shelf for the layout lighting power supplies:
With the fascia portion painted dark green, the helix cover was installed permanently on the layout this evening:
11 FEBRUARY 2018
All of the servos for Chetwynd Yard have now been installed, and all of the throw wires trimmed. In addition, all of the frog juicers have been installed and connected. More photos on the Construction-Turnout Control Page. The final step is installation of Singlet drivers and control panels. Work is now underway to prepare Singlets, control panels and toggle switches for installation.
10 FEBRUARY 2018
The long awaited helix cover has been completed and installed for a test fit on the layout. It will be removed for painting of the fascia portion and then re-installed. A test train with trailers on flat cars was run to check the clearance underneath the cover. More photos on the Construction-Helix Page.
15 JANUARY 2018
Lots of progress on the layout to start off 2018. Track bus wiring and auxiliary bus wiring underneath Chetwynd Yard are now complete and the first work train, Work Extra 581, has entered the yard under its own power:
Work is now underway on a cover for the helix. Several electronics projects are also in progress including substituting new power supplies for the LED layout lighting, extending the command bus around to the other side of the layout, and providing indicator panels for Main and Auxiliary Power. The next step in preparing Chetwynd Yard for operations will be to install the servos for the turnouts, and trim the throw wires.
27 DECEMBER 2017
The layout has taken another significant step forward with the completion of tracklaying for Chetwynd Yard. This is the last major section to be laid; only the permanent trackage for several bridges now remains. Please see the Construction - Track Page for additional information and photographs. Work will now commence on track bus and auxiliary bus wiring underneath the benchwork.
15 NOVEMBER 2017
I have completed a new Maintenance Of Way car. BCOL 993032 is one of the railway's unique cat tool cars. It will go to work on extending the roadbed into Chetwynd Yard. Please see the Rolling Stock Page for further information.
15 NOVEMBER 2017
I have arrived at a preliminary track arrangement for Chetwynd Yard which closely mirrors the prototype, and which can accommodate sufficient cars and motive power to facilitate a prototypical operating session. The arrangement includes a mock-up of the Canfor sawmill with mill buildings, chip loader and wood burner.
21 OCTOBER 2017
Several new items of rolling stock have been added to the fleet, including two private owner chemical tank cars, two CNWX cylindrical grain hoppers, and a dry van trailer for Caravan Trailer Rentals. The trailer was inspired by a 1974 photograph from Keith Hansen depicting a Caravan trailer at the BCR trailer ramp in Dawson Creek.
15 OCTOBER 2017
The final phase of tracklaying gets underway today with the commencement of work on Chetwynd Yard. This view looking north shows the cleared benchwork and the various track components assembled for the project, including flex track, offcuts from previous tracklaying, rail joiners, and turnouts.
14 OCTOBER 2017
My three M-630 locomotives have returned home after a long absence. They are now equipped with ESU LokSound decoders and Star Micron speakers, and feature the latest ESU sound file for the ALCO 251 16 cylinder prime mover which was recorded from an actual M-636. They are seen here at Septimus. At right is C-630M No. 701 whose decoder has been updated with the new sound file. ALCO C-420 No. 632 and C-425 No. 810 will be the next units to be converted and have departed the layout for a while.
31 AUGUST 2017
I have taken a break from layout construction to work on some new models which will soon join the fleet. I have also completed a major upgrade to the website with completion of the Motive Power and Rolling Stock pages. The photographs illustrate the locomotives, freight cars, trailers and work equipment which will operate on the layout. I invite you to check out these new pages.
The final phase of track-laying and wiring will be for the yard at Chetwynd. I have acquired most of the required track components and work at Chetwynd will begin this fall.
23 JULY 2017
The yard at Dawson Creek is now fully operational, and several locomotives have been brought up to Dawson Creek for the testing and adjusting of turnouts. Seen here beside the station are C-420 No. 632 on Shed Track 2, and RS-18 No. 613, RS-10 No. 581 and RS-18 No. 607 on the station track.
23 JULY 2017
The final phase of wiring for Dawson Creek Yard is complete. The control panels and toggle switches have been installed and all of the turnouts in the yard can now be controlled from the fascia. This completes a three month long process to prepare the yard for operations and is a significant step forward for the layout. More photos at the bottom of the Wiring and Turnout Control Pages. A period of testing and adjustments will now be in order. A big thank you to several friends including Anthony Craig, Doug Hicks and Michael Batten who provided assistance with various aspects of the turnout control project.
15 JUNE 2017
The servos and frog juicers for all of the turnouts in the yard at Dawson Creek are now installed. Work will now commence to install the control panels, toggles and servo controllers. This is the final step in preparing the yard for regular operations.
15 MAY 2017
The first two phases of wiring underneath the yard at Dawson Creek are now complete. The track bus is in place and connected to the feeder wires for the track sections and frog juicers. The auxiliary bus is also in place and connected to the feeder wires for the servo controllers. Work is now underway to install the servos, controllers and frog juicers.
15 MARCH 2017
Track-laying is now complete at Dawson Creek, with all of the remaining tracks for the east half of the yard now laid down. This includes the elevator lead, the spur tracks for Peace River Lime and BC Hydro, and the tracks serving the station and freight shed. I have yet to install missing ties at the joints between track sections.
Several months of track bus wiring and turnout control are next.
5 MARCH 2017
Track-laying continues at Dawson Creek, with all of the tracks for the west half of the yard now laid down. This includes the spur track to the Alberta Wheat Pool and the two tracks to the trailer ramp. This view is looking west:
My attention now turns to the elevator track on the far side of the yard, and the east half of the yard tracks.
25 FEBRUARY 2017
C-630M No. 701 came home today after a lengthy absence and has rejoined the motive power fleet. The TCS AMD4 decoder has been replaced with an ESU LokSound Micro Select programmed with the ALCO 16 cylinder 251 engine (air start version) and the distinctive K5H horn. It becomes my second locomotive with sound, and is pictured here with C-425 No. 801 southbound through Septimus:
Locomotive Location Report 2017-02-25
570 RS-3 out of service with defective gear tower
573 RS-3 in service in DC mode for shows only
581 RS-10 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus
584 RS-10 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus
607 RS-18 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus
613 RS-18 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus
632 C-420 in service; Work Extra 632 Dawson Creek
701 C-630M in service; Extra 701 South Septimus
708 M-630 out of service with defective truck
710 M-630 out of service; away for sound installation
717 M-630 out of service; away for sound installation
804 C-425 in service; Work Extra 812 Sundance
810 C-425 in service; Extra 701 South Septimus
812 C-425 in service; Work Extra 812 Sundance
20 FEBRUARY 2017
All of the sub-roadbed for the yard at Dawson Creek is now in place, and the track centres have been marked on the foam track-bed. The yard is now ready for track to be laid:
15 FEBRUARY 2017
The trackage for the Northwest Wood Preservers mill at Dawson Creek has been installed. This includes the turnouts, a chip loading track, a lumber loading track, and a tie spur as per the prototype. Work Extra 584 arrived with a train of revenue freight cars to test the new trackage:
5 FEBRUARY 2017
Tracklaying at Dawson Creek has commenced with installation of the approach curve from the end of the Kiskatinaw power district up to the first turnout in Dawson Creek yard. Work Extra 632 was the first train to pass over the new trackage. This was also the first train to reach the benchwork on the south wall and the first to arrive at the start of the Dawson Creek yard:
15 JANUARY 2017
Welcome to my new website which has replaced the old one using the same URL. The first site was online from 2006 to 2016 and reached the point where it became too difficult to maintain, or even update. This new site retains much of the content from the original site, but there has been an effort to simplify and streamline the content. Please note that some pages (Operations, Structures, Motive Power, Rolling Stock) are still under construction and will be completed in due course.
New features include a slider for photographs on the Home Page, a new page in the Construction section on turnout control, a new page listing articles and books I have written over the years, a new page acknowledging those who have assisted with my layout construction, and a Contact Page for getting in touch with me or providing feedback.
Much has happened on the layout since the last update to the old site. During 2016 the entire mainline was laid with Atlas Code 55 track and permanently wired. The turnouts at Septimus, Sundance and Tremblay were powered with servos and the control panels were installed. It is now possible to run work trains over the mainline and along the staging tracks at Septimus, and all of the turnouts can be operated from the fascia control panels. Several successful Open Houses were held in November 2016.
On the equipment side, I acquired nine new BCOL bulkhead flatcars as part of the second run from Prairie Shadows, and completed my fleet of BCR van trailers and flatdeck trailers. The trailers are pictured on the Rolling Stock Sub-Page titled Home Road Trailers.
As we enter 2017, work is in progress to re-install the permanent bridge across the Pine River with Micro Engineering Code 55 bridge flex track, and preparations are underway for tracklaying at Dawson Creek. The scenic mats, temporary structures and vehicles have been cleared away from the benchwork and surveying for location of the yard tracks is now in progress.