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The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model train layout. Created by the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club starting in 1961, the layout was donated to the Museum in 2015. Since then I have started automatizing trains running on the layout. I am also the de-facto layout maintainer. This blog describes various updates on the Randall project and I maintain a separate blog for all my electronics not directly related to Randall.

2018-12-26 - Sonora / Branchline Update

Category Randall

The Branchline mets the Mainline at a point named “Angel Camp”. Although we have the Rapido RDC stationed here, I thought it looked a bit empty. There are interchange tracks and a 3-tracks yard. So I added this today:

Behind the Rapido RDC is located Perry’s Traction doodlebug. I placed it on a powered track so that the inside lights would work:

The heavyweight coach car is also supposed to have an interior light but I’m having intermittent contact problems so for now it’s not properly illuminated.

I’m currently not running that engine on the automation as I have derailment problems with the rear truck of the heavyweight coach car on some of the turnouts. The second track and the outbound turnout are not currently wired for automation; that could be easily arranged, and it could make for some interesting operational variety later.

To the right, there’s a small 3-track yard and I added a collection of cars to make it look less empty:

I asked Jim to select the cars so that they look natural at that place. Moreover these cars are just for display. Most of them have issues. Incorrect couplers or axles issues prevent us from using them. We had them sitting idle in the back, yet they are interesting enough that we should just display them.

The front track is left empty on purpose as this one is covered by block sensors for the automation. We can run the RDC in there as a “storage” track. If the engine is detected there when the automation starts, it will automatically have it go from there to the station and then proceed to the normal programming cycle. This would allow us to free the interchange track and have a train go from the mainline to the branchline if needed. No operator actually uses that capability, but at least it’s part of the original programming design.


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