Saturday, August 17, 2019

In the Santa Cruz Mountains

"Colored b/w photo of the beach train to Santa Cruz near Wrights in the early 1930's"
Robert's Vasona Branch layout had an Open House today, I got to run trains, and help direct people. It was a fun day. What else can you ask for?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Caltrain #288 at San Jose Diridon

It's 8:25 on a warm summer evening, just after sunset. Caltrain #288 led by locomotive 915 "South San Francisco" has just pulled into track 1 at San Jose Diridon station. This makes for a nice photo, which would have been nicer if my camera lens had been cleaner.

This is also a quite unusual operational situation:
Track 1 is the Coast Line through track. Caltrain doesn't normally use this track. You'd rather expect Union Pacific freights, and Amtrak's Coast Starlight here.
Speaking off, Amtrak train 14, the northbound Coast Starlight is scheduled to occupy this track from 8:11pm to 8:23pm and it hasn't come through yet, so this Caltrain is really out of place. As I was walking out, Amtrak passengers were at the platform.

I didn't pay close attention when #288 left, but I suspect they took the cross-over to track 2 just before Park Avenue, because only a few minutes after #288 had left, the Coast Starlight pulled into track 1 and my ride home arrived at the same time.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Caltrain #268 near Blossom Hill

Caltrain locomotive #927, an MP36PH-3C, approaching the signals at milepost 560 just south of Blossom Hill station.

Taking the train home

A meeting ran late, so I took the train home. I was a bit early at the Sunnyvale station, and took train #264 to San Jose Diridon. This time I knew where to go, and directed a northbound passenger to the right platform for her departing train. Plenty of time to experiment with low-angle sun light, too. Trains and planes...

#283 on track 3 in the rear, and #385 on track 4
This is photo is probably my favorite: The going away shot of #268 on its way to Gilroy.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Converting a Peco turnout for Maerklin (5)

Here's the converted Peko turnout leading into the Raiffeisen spur. Compared to earlier builds, I simplified the wiring and the power routing.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Wildlife on the Commute - Blacktail Deer

I took the late bus today and was surprised to see blacktailed deer next to the street. I haven't seen them out this late in the morning before, but hey I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Dave Parks' Cumberland West - Evitts Creek Yard

Tonight I spent most of my time with a view of the hills behind Cumberland, MD. While the session had some hiccups, Evitts Creek Yard was busy with classification work and I had my hands full. Yet there was always time to chat with other operators.

I really appreciate the train line-up and detailed instructions to the Yardmaster about what to do with each train.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Back in Swing

I found a couple hours this weekend to spend more time with Untergroeningen segment 3 and decided to install turnout motors. When I installed these tracks in a hurry almost 3 months ago, including my very first converted turnout without thinking, I forgot to account for the straight through puko strip design I used around the throw bar there instead of the wire loop I used in later builds.

The track is fed with power from both sides of the turnout, so I could have just cut the etched puko strip at the throw bar. However, that would have required disassembling all track on this segment, since there isn't enough space to get in there with a cutter from either the top or underneath. Instead, I just drilled an off-center hole into the throw bar so that the actuator wire from the Tortoise underneath doesn't collide with the puko strip.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Don Edwards again

I had a meeting in the Sunnyvale office today that I should attend in person, and another meeting in the Mountain View office that I should attend in person. I solved that conundrum by taking the Bay Trail through Don Edwards Wildlife Preserve around the outside of Moffett Field.

A nice way to decompress a bit after a busy week. The many photos I took of birds are all terrible. Need to come back with a proper camera and a long zoom lens.