The construction of Andy’s ‘HO’ scale model railroad is continuing slowly. The pace has been dictated somewhat by a need for quite a lot of experimentation and testing.
The idea is to model various industries served by diesel outline freight trains. Obviously the scene will involve a lot of shunting plus coupling / uncoupling of cars and the plan is to do all of this automatically, without the need for intervention from the ‘hand of god’ as seen on many other models.
Locomitives are to be controlled using the latest DCC technology, allowing multiple engines to be on the same tracks. However despite DCC being around for a good few years now, there are still some issuse with it, which have become painfully apparent during construction. The first of these is the cost. The original plan was to use second hand rolling stock retro-fitted with DCC control chips. But the small ‘plymouth switcher’ locos being tested often stall out on dead sections of pointwork, despite the DCC chips also containing a ‘stay alive’ power unit, which is supposed to power the loco across these dead sections. From the trials done so far, it looks like the cheap stay-alive used in the experiment was not a good idea! After viewing apparently amazing performance from a DCC Concepts heavy duty unit in a Youtube video, one of these has been ordered to see if it improves things any. Unfortunately no sooner had the order been placed than the ‘Beast from the East’ rolled in and stopped the post from getting through. So as this is written the new stay alive has yet to appear for testing.
For now, track laying is continuing. The first two 4ft long baseboards had their first outing at the February club day, where Andy wired the first one (using some left over telephone wire) and discovered the disappointing performance of the loco over the pointwork. There is track to lay on four boards in total, with a future extension not being completely ruled out.