A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

September 22, 2010

Catering to the Temperamental Iron Beast

I finished wiring the sidings at Brook tonight. I ran some test trains through the siding and things looked good. I can now run trains from the Aquia Landing entrance to Potomac Siding. I had to wire temporary feeders to the frogs. The locos benefit from the powered frogs. With dead frogs the locos tend to stall.  As I stated in an earlier post,  once I get DCC installed in the locos I'll be able to connect the Frog Juicers to power the frogs.

My problem is not this obvious!
The Continuing Saga of the Engine McCallum 

I fixed the front pick up on the pilot truck of the McCallum by bending the wiper so that it rubs in a non-interfering spot.  But as I tested it more problems have surfaced. It runs fine on straight track. The problem now is on curves. It appears that the engine part of the loco is experiencing a high resistance short when it enters a curve. Just about any curve will cause the problem.

The McCallum tender has a new design that picks up from both sides.  The tender by itself will run just like a "diesel" (note the earlier Mason locos don't have this extra pick up on the tender. They must have the engine attached to pick up on both sides. I can fix this as I add DCC by adding additional wipers to tender axles on those locomotives.) Without the engine attached, the McCallum tender runs fine.  But hook up the engine and it stalls on curves and shorts the track.

I tested every other engine and all four run fine, so it is something wrong in the McCallum's engine. I looked over the engine, but could not find the issue. I'll have to work on this later. For now my objective is to get the wiring done to Falmouth so that we can run the completed sections of track.


  1. without see the model; The usual problem is the pilot wheels or carriage contacting the cylinders.
    I use clear nail polish to fix it.

    Bob Harris

  2. I have not taken my McCallum out of the box yet. Another possible site for a short on my SMR Atlantic was the insulating sleeve that must be in place over the drawbar pin.