Tag Archives: News

Frost River Update Part 4

Here’s video update part 4. No narration this time, just a short video of trains running the now-completed main line loop, including crossing the lift-out bridge across the aisle.

I’m planning to provide update part 5 soon, in which I will describe some of the work that went into reaching this milestone, including tracklaying, hooking up the DCC track bus, setting up my Raspberry Pi / JMRI train computer, setting up servo turnout controls, and constructing the bridge.

Thanks for watching, and stay tuned!!

Frost River Benchwork Complete!

As of today, the benchwork for Frost River is officially complete!
Finished cutting foam

Finished cutting foam

Finished cutting foam

With the exception of some minor adjustments and “punch list” items, construction of the base benchwork and installation of foam on the Frost River layout was completed today. I have also sketched about half of the track design onto the foam, so that I can plan out where and how to contour the foreground. Once that is done, I will cut and install the fascia.

Still to come, construction wise: the fascia, the lighting valance, and the backdrop. Then it is on to more “modeling” tasks … laying track, building and installing structures, and scenery.

And there was much rejoicing….

The End of the Road for Glover’s Bend

All good things must come to an end.  To every thing there is a season (turn, turn, turn).

My Glover’s Bend layout has come to its end.  This evening I removed all of the structures and began pulling up all of the turnouts.  All of the usable ones will be sold to help fund the new Frost River layout.

The End of the Road
What’s left of Nolan Yard and Glover’s Bend after tonight’s destruction

Before the deconstruction began, one last train rolled past the station at Glover’s bend: a Pennsylvania Railroad Alco PA-1 pulling a passenger car … another part of the “nScale.net Wandering Fleet” of rolling stock.

One last train passing the station at Glover’s Bend.

One might think I would be sad. No, I am not. I have very much enjoyed designing and building Glover’s Bend, but it is time to move on. The space in the Den is needed for other family things, the new upstairs “train room” is almost ready for benchwork construction on Frost River to begin, and I have made my peace with the transition.

It is time for a new season and new things.


Fun in the snow!

Yesterday, Kentucky got over a foot of snow (17 inches at Bluegrass Airport!) in less than 18 hours.  It wasn’t all bad, though.  Here’s some video of my friend Ray clearing the rails on his 7-1/2 inch gauge Soo Line railroad.

The fun part is that we had just gotten cleaned up from a foot-deep snowfall a few weeks earlier.  Here’s some more video of that snow-clearing job…

Continue reading Fun in the snow!

Sometimes you do need a pro…

If you are ever in the need for some expert layout design help, contact M.C. Fujiwara at Yardgoat Layout Design.  This guy is “the man”.

I was growing increasingly frustrated with the design I posted earlier, and the various changes I was making to it.  I could not clearly articulate in track and scenes the concepts that were swirling around in my head, and the pressure of this being my “main” layout was causing me all kinds of grief.  I was getting plenty of helpful advice from some trusted advisors, but it just wasn’t coming together. Continue reading Sometimes you do need a pro…

Frost River Moves Upstairs

After a long discussion with the “Planning Commission”, the CH&FR has been ceded property rights to the 10×10 foot spare bedroom upstairs. Plans are progressing for an around the walls shelf layout (with a peninsula) that will provide point to point operations for several people.

The proposed track plan is based closely upon the HO scale “Midwest Branch Line” plan designed by Lance Mindheim with some modifications for the continuous run and the point-to-point (vs. out-and-back branch) operations. And of course conversion to the different room dimensions and N scale. Continue reading Frost River Moves Upstairs

More new Power on the CH&FR

The CH&FR museum has picked up an Erie Lackawanna EMD E8 to add to its collection

The CH&FR Museum just acquired an EMD E8 in Erie Lackawanna paint (a nice match to its F7!), which will be used on passenger excursions.  This is especially nice since now the passenger cars will have power and heat provided by the locomotive’s steam generator!

The CH&FR museum has picked up an Erie Lackawanna EMD E8 to add to its collection

The engine has completed DC testing, and will be refitted with DCC control as soon as the budget allows. There are also some minor repairs required to the rear coupler.

The CH&FR is looking forward to putting this streamlined classic passenger Diesel to work!


CH&FR Announces New Passenger Service


GLOVER’S BEND – The CH&FR Railroad is proud to announce a new pilot passenger service with daily commuter service from Glover’s Bend to Huntington WV, Ashland KY and Russell KY.

The twice-a-day service will run as follows, Monday through Friday:

Northbound Station Southbound
Morning (#50) Evening (#52) Morning (#51) Evening (#53)
7:00 AM 4:45 PM Williamson, WV 9:45 AM 7:00 PM
7:15 AM 5:00 PM Glover’s Bend, WV 9:30 AM 6:45 PM
8:00 AM 5:15 PM Huntington, WV 8:45 AM 6:00 PM
8:15 AM 5:30 PM Ashland, KY 8:30 AM 5:45 PM
8:20 AM 5:35 PM Russell, KY 8:25 AM 5:40 PM

All times shown are departure times, except the last station, which is arrival time.
Weekend schedule will be published separately.

Onboard amenities include free coffee, newspapers and WiFi, and continental breakfast served in the diner/cafe car.

Extended year-round weekend operations to Charleston, WV and Cincinnati, OH will be added shortly.  The railroad also expects to provide weekend excursion service through the scenic New River Gorge during the fall foliage season.

The new commuter and excursion service will be provided in the CH&FR’s newly refurbished 1920s-vintage heavyweight passenger cars.  These cars provide the latest in modern conveniences including heating and air conditioning, comfortable seats with USB power plugs, and free WiFi service, while providing a first-class vintage railroad experience.  At the head end will be the CH&FR’s own Erie-Lackawanna EMD F3 #6611.

Same-day one way or round-trip tickets may be purchased at any station along the line.  Weekly and Monthly passes will also be available at a discounted rate through the CH&FR website.

Science Night!

Science Night by BGTwinDad
Science Night, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

Last week I was asked to provide a presentation on a science or engineering topic at my daughter’s school. Since most of the other presenters had the “work” and “research” angles well covered, I decided to show something fun.

To the left is a test loop of track that I built.  The loop is broken into 14 blocks that are wired for train detection through a Digitrax BLD168.    The front, back, and left/right curve halves are connected to Digitrax RX4 for transponding detection.  That may be a lot of technical “jargon” for some of you.  The BDL168 detects which of the 14 track blocks the locomotive is on.  The RX4 allows the locomotive to “check in” and report its road number to the computer.

Speaking of the computer, in front of the layout, left to right you see a Digitrax Zephyr Xtra command station, which actually runs the train.  The small box in the middle is a PR3 which is basically a USB connection for the Zephyr.  And then, of course, is the computer.

On the computer (an Apple MacBook Pro), the JMRI software program is running.  It’s displaying a map of the oval,with the train’s location highlighted.  At the same time, it’s running my Virtual Sound Decoder, playing the sound of the engine through the speakers at back, and of course the sound appears to be coming from the locomotive, which is the whole point!

The poster board to the right has some “slides” showing how various sciences (both “hard” and “soft”) can be applied to Model Railroading or any other hobby.

The whole thing was a big hit with the kids, I think.  Either that or they were very polite.  Of course, they were getting extra credit for it!