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The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model model railroad. 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 model railroad 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.

2019-12-31 - Last Changes for this Year, and Plans for Next Year

Category Randall

Yesterday, I changed the freight train to use the 5278 NYC steam engine for the Polar Express. Jim put some labels on it. Also it’s worth nothing I’m not a fan of the Polar Express thing which I see mostly as a commercial effort, yet again it works for our audience, and that’s eventually what matters.


A NYC J-1 Hudson (4-6-4) pulls our Polar Express on the Automated Line on the HO Scale DCC Layout at Randall Museum, San Francisco.

Of note, I was having some issues with the sound on 5278.

For some reason when it starts under automation, the main chuf-chuf steam sound would not happen, yet auxiliary sounds such as a bell or brakes would. I added an additional F8=1 at the start of the program, which should turn sound on, but did not fix it. Not consistent. Either a function has been changed, or the decoder needs a reset.

 We only had that train running for a week.

While there, I formulated the following plan for next year:

1- Next to Stockton station by the pillar there's a brown warehouse with tracks. I'd like to park some freight cars there, and maybe even a non functional switcher. Coordinate with Jim to find which cars/engines to use.

2- I could use his help in sorting equipment to find the freight cars or engines that are good for that task. Typically stuff that derails all the time and that we don't want to roll on the mainline.

3- Order some little stickers we can place under the cars to identify those that we know we do not want to run, or belong to a specific collection (e.g. Judy’s, Jim’s, etc).

4- Behind the Fairfield city and up the summit mountains there are empty scenery spots. For example on the access road (which hard looks like one from the audience). I was thinking of looking at the structures we got and place some of them there. Don't need to overcrowd it, but a few may be nice.

5- I don’t remember if we got engines from Judy’s collection. I’d like to display them on dead tracks (e.g. ones that are turned off). They are likely DC, so the other option is open them and unsolder the track power leads to make sure they don’t run on DCC by mistake.

For example the Amtrak would make a good static display at the station.

6- I’d like to park some trains on the sidings we never use: Fairfield station, Summit block 372, etc.

7- In Fairfield, my plan is to make a new board to replace the lift-out section. See if I can find someone at the wood workshop to cut one for me or let me use their stopsaw. One idea is to fix structures to this board and make it easy to remove. I’d also like to play on scenicking it as a modular approach. Find a little scene I can make on it, add some grass, etc. Maybe encourage Allen and/or Morgan to contribute to it.


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