The D&J Railroad -- From Scratch

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Success. Got the new cables installed through the benchwork and all the special boards and laptop isolated from the rest of the loconet and everything is working. It's a real aerobic workout again crawling under the benchwork and running back and forth to ensure the cables are feeding through without kinks.
The LNRs are still working fine. Moving on to other items on the layout.
In particular, I have been working with a friend to integrate an ESU system to my layout to get the added capacity to use various throttles on my layout. Each op session I have visitors who aren't familiar with the Digitrax throttle because they have NCE, ESU or some other system at home. This effort will allow them to bring their own throttle to use on their train so they can run their train instead of trying to learn the throttle. Lots of testing a tweaking both system to get it to work. In the process, we found that the ESU doesn't need the two outboard wires on the Digitrax loconet.
Decided to take a break from working on the bridge and install a grade crossing with gates and signals.
First step was to survey the crossing site then bring in the excavating equipment to start the work.


Started bringing in the under layment for the road surface.


In the mean time, the power guys are running electric power to the site, Should have that installed by tomorrow.
I thought retired life would be long days with little to do but the hobby interests.
Boy was I wrong.
Doing more maintenance and upgrades on the layout than progress.
Got a little more done on the grade crossing with some highway paper.
Conducted an open house layout tour for the James River Division of the Mid East Region of the NMRA in early March.
Now, I'm installing a separate booster for the classification yard. Running a power line from the main Digitrax PS2012 and installing a breaker board in the system. The hard part of routing wire is done. Just sorting out the existing wires to the yard.
I took a motorcycle trip out to Big Bend NP, TX a week ago. A bit to early in the season for a ride like that. Temps were mostly in the 30s and 40s for the most part of the day. Got down into the upper 20s on the last day of travel home. I'm still hurting from that.
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Whiskey Merchant
Ken - Great to see you posting on your empire again. Like the heavy equipment at work. I do have one question. How many MILES if wiring is there on the layout???

Sounds like you froze your butt of on that bike trip.
Might be at least a couple miles of wire if ya include the signal wires. Only added about 60 more feet today.
Yeah, the bike trip. I had wind burn and a bit of frost bite on the nose. Really ugly.
Finally finished that project of isolating the classification yard and applying a separate booster to it. Even my BLI locos cross the power gap without stalling or rebooting.
Still having problems with ballast getting into the slide switches that I use for the turnouts. It causes the rail points to remain just barely open so wheels pick the points and derail.
Now, putting all the fascia material back up will take some effort.
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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I really thought i was going to get a good run at getting some stuff done on the layout, but nooooooo. ONe thing after another screaming, Kennnn, look at me or Kennnnnn, get over here.
I saw these adds on ebay about pre-fab trees for pretty cheap, so I ordered a few bags.
Also, figured out how to make my signals go dark when no trains are present. Now, it should take a week or so to go through and reprogram all of them. I'll post a video of then in a day or so.


Whiskey Merchant
Ken - The trees look good. Who makes them? Although you are modeling the southwest, a few pine forests will add a lot of interest to the layout. Waiting for your video.


Well-Known Member
Ken - The trees look good. Who makes them? Although you are modeling the southwest, a few pine forests will add a lot of interest to the layout. Waiting for your video.
Hi Chet, they look like Grand Central Gems. They are called "pine trees" but they look like spruce to me. I have some and I think they are the best looking spruce-like conifer available.


Maybe Ken can chime in and confirm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to