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.

January 8, 2017

The week of DCC Comes to an End

The week of DCC comes to an end with the creation of a separate easy DCC zone for PoLA. I had ordered a separate Easy DCC Zone Master a few weeks ago, but finally got to install it today. The most difficult aspect of the job was running the bus wires from the central distribution panel under the bench work. The rest of the hook-up was pretty straight forward. Once I connected the wires and double checked everything, I flipped on the master power. Fortunately,  there were no sparks or smoke.  Everything seems to be working.

This concludes the to-do list of DCC items I wanted to finish. I still plan to add a third booster for Aquia Landing. That will be relatively easy, as I had previously installed the bus wires under the benchwork as I built it. I also have some wiring to do when I lay the Aquia Landing track, but that will be done incrementally as I work on the track.  All the steam locomotives have functioning DCC and sound. All but one have either batteries or current keepers.

Brad is watching Margaret operate PoLA
Earlier in the day Brad and Margaret Trenkamp visited the layout. They are new neighbors of ours as they recently moved into a striking modern townhouse in the Del Ray area of Alexandria, a mile from my house. Brad is building a Florida theme switching layout in a spare room of the house in the style of Lance Mindheim. It is great to have another model railroader near by. Lance was also scheduled to visit today, but the snowy roads caused him to abort.

Margaret got a chance to run a train on PoLA. She said it was the first time she ever got to run model train. She did a great job as she carefully listened and followed the guidance I gave her on operations. If only my normal operators were so meticulous.  Later Brad got to take Osceola on a run over the USMRR with 5 cars in tow. One of the cars derailed on a turnout in Brooke. But Osceola ran and sounded great. Afterwards, Brad and I discussed the next step in the layout plans.

After they left I checked the turnout and the wheel sets of the offending car. For once it was a wheel set with a wobbly wheel that was partially out of gauge and not my track work that caused the problem. Our the past two weeks I have been tweaking and tuning problems on the Aquia Line as I discover them. Things I have done included, adjusting some stub points to prevent interference. Humidity changes seem to affect them. I also fixed a few switch stands that had minor issues. I cleaned the track and wheel sets on the locos. That is the first time I have done that in probably two years.   The layout is operating better as a result. I did some dusting too, but the layout should probably get a thorough vacuuming. Another remaining task is to check all the cars for consistent coupler height.

I am running out of excuses to avoid layout track in Aquia.

I also did a bit of editing of the Osceola Silent Film Check it out if you have time.


  1. I can attest Osceola is pulling strong! Thanks for having us over, Bernard.

  2. I was hoping you were going to leave that pesky diesel sound chip in Osceola as it would have added an intriguing twist to future Aquia operation…similar to that little dinosaur – a stegosaurus as I recall?- that used to help out with switching on the late/great Gorre and Daphetid. Of course a prototype sound chip has considerable upside too.


  3. If you'd like to make your modern footage look old, try a very slight gaussian blur and/or blur the chroma. It softens it nicely for a vintage feel.

    I love the effort you put into it!