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Monday, December 29, 2014

Ringing In The New Year!

Because A Good Traction Layout Should Have A Conductors Bell.

As you may or may not remember, the layout is housed in a protective canopy to keep off dust and household critters and provide layout specific lighting. It's been a lot of work to build when it occurred to me that the layout was unproven and if the intersection didn't work right then I'm wasting time and money building a useless canopy for it. Well, the layout has since proven itself and so I have decided to resume work on it.

Since the canopy has a remarkable resemblance to a trolley car, I thought it would be rather nifty to add a conductors bell to it. And it just so happens that many, many years ago, my wife and I took a trip to San Francisco where I managed to pick up a full sized souvenir brass cable car conductors bell. And wouldn't you know, its a perfect fit!

A length of leather cord was procured from the local fabric store to use as the pull cord. Brass eye-bolts installed to support it and its tied off at the end with an authentic bowline knot (Boy Scouting paying off there).

The fabric store also had these grommets that I thought would be a good way to thread the cord from the "main compartment" to the "motorman's compartment".

So there we go! We've established a means of communication between the conductor and motorman on this layout. Because you know, communication is important on a small home layout. 

And now for some real bell ringing, here is the 2013 San Francisco Cable Car Bell Ringing Champ:

Ding Ding! Yes sir! Ding Ding!


Monday, December 01, 2014


Short Video: I Managed to get Four Cars Running Simultaneously on the Layout!

Just before this blog was started I purchased this MEW 1936 PCC. I became curious about it recently and wondered if it would be able to run on the layout. Looking it over I noticed it has a can motor and that it wouldn't take much to rewire it for overhead. So I gave it a go, and what do you know, it went! You'll see it in the video above.

Excited buy the sudden increase in traffic, I wondered what else from my collection I could convert to overhead...

Then I remembered I have this Huntington Standard from Overland, the second brass purchase I ever made, way back in the early days of construction of the layout. I had already wired it for overhead. But its open frame motor makes it a poor runner and requires more "juice" to get it to go. It barely makes the tight curves, but it works! You'll see this one in the video also, complaining about the curve.

Pretty fun to see some traffic on the layout now. Yes sir! Fun to see some traffic!