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.

February 18, 2017

Two steps forward, one step back?

PHL 30, an Atlas GENSET with a Tsunami sound decoder with current keeper
sounds great but doesn't run correctly. Hopefully it's just a programming issue.
Or maybe it was two steps back.

First the bad news. The decoder in PHL 66 started acting erratically. A email to TCS indicated that it had to go back for service. So I had to uninstall it. That wasn't too big a deal as I was the one who installed it, so I knew what all the wires were and what to unsolder.

TCS have received the decoder, but have not told me what the trouble is. Hopefully they can fix it. They seem to have a good warranty program.

In the meantime, PHL 30, an Atlas GENSET, came back from the installer with a Tsunami sound decoder and a current keeper. The engine sounds great, but the throttle inputs are erratic.  Mat Thompson, a local modeler with a lot of DCC programming experience suspects that this is a programming issue.  We have set up a trip to his layout where he has a DCC programmer with a booster. Lets hope that reprogramming it solves the issue.

On the plus side, all my O scale locos are operating well. I have new Stanton battery power supplies to install in the battery engines, but that is not a priority job right now.

Hull templates and parallel mid-body mocked up at the borax factory wharf.
I also did some planning work on the large bulk carrier ship for the Borax factory. I had some plans for a bulk carrier hull that I built in N Scale. I enlarged the drawing for HO scale. The hull will be 10 inches wide and 60 inches long. I could make it a few inches longer if I adjust the wharf area.

 The white paper sheets show the hull templates for the bow and stern section. These will be used to cut three quarter inch poplar layers on my brother's band saw.  I will glue up the cut wooden layers to make the bow and stern sections. Once they are carved and sanded to shape, I will connect them with a parallel mid-body section. This is a modified bread-and-butter ship modeling technique.

GP-7 switching cars in Union Bridge on Wes's layout
Terry Terrance and Wes Morgenstern monitoring staging tracks under
Union Bridge on Wes's layout.
This afternoon I visited Wes Morgenstern's O scale Western Maryland layout. Wes is the author (editor) of one of my favorite railroad books, "Working on the Western Maryland." The book is a series of personal reminiscences of employees on the Western Maryland RR.  The stories in it are just wonderful.

The guys at wes's layout handed me a throttle after I arrived and I helped switch cars in Union Bridge. Wes has lots of steam power including some huge WM Challengers, but we had a diesel for this job.

After visiting Wes, I headed to my mom's place to have dinner. While there she gave me a photo she found. It is another photo of the Twinsville layout.  It is a tiny 2 by 3 inch snap shot in bad shape, but it gives a good overview of the whole layout.


  1. I love that photo of the Twinsville layout! Such a treasure.

  2. Good stuff (except the decoder problems) as always Bernie!