Saturday, January 15, 2011


Today I ran my usual routine operating on the Welztalbahn: One Nahgueterzug each from the North and the South dropping off and picking up cars in Emsingen, as well as the transfer run to Talheim. However, this time I wanted continuous traffic on the main line (instead of just pretending), so I kept two freight trains running, roughly with the same speed  spaced out on the main loop. As those trains ran continously around the layout, I ran the Ng's between them, and made the necessary switching moves. Digital train control is flat out fantastic for this.

When I needed to run an opposing train to either of the two trains I only had to slow one of them down or stop at a (still imaginary) signal, when one of the other trains needed to run from North to South. This also works well with a passenger train looping in the opposite direction between Prechtal Staging, Emsingen, and Talheim.
I did similar things on my father's analog layout many years ago. One loco got it's current from the rails, while the other used catenary. If I wanted to run a train "in-between" it was sharing power, and therefore control, with one of the other trains. It's possible, and one had to time it right cutting in and out of the loop, but that is no match to digital control where each locomotive is controlled individually.

A nice side-effect of this was that my BR50 and BR194 got a good work-out ... a stress test if you will. The tender of BR50 managed to derail several times at a somewhat finicky location with curved turnouts at the exit of staging. Adding some weight to the tender and balance it out evenly helped, replacing the pickup shoe seemed to really make a difference. After I converted this locomotive to digital, the tender was a bit lighter since the I removed the mechanical direction relay, and a decoder is not that heavy.

BR194 needs some tuning, its motor is quite temperamental. I think I'll take it completely apart again and make sure it's mechanically sound.

Finally, my switcher BR86 needs a thorough cleaning. It has a problem were sometimes the gears bind, and the locomotive doesn't move after coasting to a stop. Let's see if I can figure out what's wrong with it.

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