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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.

2020-02-01 - Work Updates

Category Randall

Lately I have been tackling several small tasks. In the category of “nothing to see, move along,'' I've been working on the Napa yard to prevent the track from warping again. I’ve made expansion gaps at the end of each yard track with a dremel tool. For the first three tracks that had the most warping, I have also made gaps next to the isolating rail joiner by the turnout ladder, at the other side of the track. No pictures to offer as these changes were rather anti-climatic.

I’ll continue another day as I need to similarly fix the Napa balloon track, and I need to fix a dead solder in the Napa yard track #3 while I’m at it.

A few week prior, I brought in some small colored stickers which we’ll use to categorize rail cars and engines:

  • Red = cars are known to derail and should not run on the mainline; we can use them for decorative purposes.
  • Yellow = Randall equipment (cars or engines).
  • Green = Jim’s equipment.
  • Blue = Other operators’ equipment.

That list is currently written on the blackboard by the workbench. I need to copy it here for further reference.

My major motivation was to be able to tag defective cars; we have a number we know we don’t want to run as they derail, and often we can only remember because we know we placed it on specific yard tracks. However other operators might not realize that. These will be tagged with a small red sticker under them and then placed on the Napa yard or similar. Over time I want to pick from that collection and use them to be static fill-in cars on the layout, in unused sidings.

Since I have other color stickers, I’m suggesting other people use them too. Yellow will be used to tag Randall-owned equipment, such as the RDCs or the SD70s we got for automation. That’s especially useful for engines like the UP SD70s as we have many, some are from Randall, some are from Jim’s collection even though he’s using them weekly so they stay all the time on the layout. That’s where the little green stickers would be useful.

On rolling stock like engines, these little stickers tend to peel off after a while, especially when placed on hot surfaces like engines. One simple trick I use for that is to apply them with an extra coating of kids glue stick. That’s enough to make them stick longer, yet they can be peeled off if needed, and isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean up any residue.


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