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My Articles

I also published several articles describing projects I had completed on my layout and rolling stock.

Installing Decoders in Steam Engines

  Many models of steam Locomotives are not available with factory-installed DCC and sound, particularly older brass or die cast models. This clinic shows you how you can install sound decoders in older steam locomotives relatively easy. I explain why the motor must be electrically isolated from the rails, and show you ways isolate it. I also show you how to get good electrical pickup from the rails for no-stall operation, and how to hook up and install a sound decoder (with or without a Current Keeper) and speaker in the tender.
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Installing Sound in an Atlas RS-3

RS-3 diesels were a large part of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) diesel roster around 1964. These engines pose a bit of a challenge for installing DCC sound because the shell snugly fits around the motor and flywheels. However, loud, clear diesel sound can be installed in these engines relatively easily.
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Gondala Loads

Observing CSX tracks from the 6th floor of a building right next to the tracks, I could see and photgraphsee the gondola loads. I used this opportunity to model these prototypical loads in gondolas that I run on my HO scale Long Island Rail Road. View Article

Simple Tips for More Reliable Operation

When I joined an operating group, those avid model railroad operators opened my eyes to improvements needed with couplers, wheels and trucks, track, and turnouts. I also learned that the best way to assure reliable operation is to run your trains in advance. View Article

Lightning and DCC

A lightning strike close to my house took out my DCC system: the purpose of this article is to share my experiences in troubleshooting and restoring my system to operation. View Article

Making Custom Photo Backdrops

Many model railroaders simulate depth in their model railroading scenes by using backdrops. if you are modeling a specific location or area, you might like to have a backdrop that depicts the specific location or area you are modeling. This article describes a solution to a unique challenge. My car float yard and the car floats are located in a corner. If a viewer was standing in the aisle and looking at the car floats, they would be looking north up the East River, and they would see the 59th St. Bridge in the distance. However, if they were looking at the car floats as if they were standing in the car float yard, they would be looking due west and would see the Manhattan skyline about 1/4 mile away. View Article

Why Do Model Trains Derail And The Real Ones Don’t?

I spend hours “tuning up” the track and rolling stock before any invited guests come over to see my layout so there won’t be any embarrassing derailments. However, without fail, the minute the guests have arrived and I fire up the trains, a passenger or freight car will derail, usually in the hidden loop so that I need to crawl under the benchwork and fish it out. This article explains from an engineering perspective that the word “scale” in “scale model railroading” does not apply to all aspects of model railroading. View Article

Using a Selfie Stick for Model Railroad Photography

With your cell phone on the end of an inexpensive Selfie Stick, you can take some great pictures of your model railroad from viewpoints that were previously inaccessible. View Article

Installing Berkshire Junction Operating Crossbucks

This article describes how to install HO scale operating cross bucks manufactured by Berkshire Junction. A circuit board activates operating crossbucks at a roadway crossing. The circuit employs two sets of infrared emitters aimed across the tracks towards detectors on the other side. One emitter/detector set is upstream of the crossing, and the other set is downstream of the crossing. When a train approaches the crossing, the infrared beam of light is broken by the passing train and activates the crossbuck flashers. When the train passes beyond the second emitter/detector set, the crossbuck flashers turn off. View Article

Car Float Operations

Without an easy way to transport freight cars from the U.S. mainland to Long Island, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) used car float barges to transport freight cars across lower New York harbor to float bridges and associated gantry cranes in Brooklyn and Queens. This article discusses the car float barges, float bridges, and gantry cranes used in the transfer process, as well as the car removal and loading sequence needed so the barges would remain level. The article then describes how I modeled the LIRR car float bridges, gantry cranes, and yard in Long Island City in the Borough of Queens. View Article


Last modified: May 28 2020 13:02:43. Site designed and implemented by Marshall Abrams