August 2012 Status

I’m posting this about a week after it was written. I’d meant to add to it after doing some work on the layout, but got distracted, and forgot all about it. Here’s what I originally wrote.

It’s now three years since the start of work on Sumida Crossing (if you date from actually applying saw to lumber, and not the earlier design work). The rate of change has slowed over time, and virtually come to a standstill this summer, although that was largely due to external factors. At lot of the apparent slowdown is that the easy stuff is done. Assembling the whole supporting structure of the layout and building and painting all the tables took a couple of weeks of “layout time” (time I can spend working on the layout, which is somewhat limited). I can spend more than that painting and detailing one little plastic building. It’s also because right now I’m in a phase that mostly involves electronics work, and that’s really not the stuff that excites me. But I’ll slog on through it to get back to having running trains and be able to put my efforts into detailing the layout, and playing with trains.

August this year went mostly to wiring work. I’m continuing to replace terminal strips under the layout to add the PM42 power bus, so I can provide a separate power supply to the circuit breakers from that used on occupancy detectors, switch machines, etc. This is nearly done, along with some related rewiring. I should have the “express” tracks working on DC, and probably DCC, very soon now. I’ll need to vacuum the layout again before running trains though, it’s gotten rather dusty from various work in the basement (rail and non-rail).

The past year has been heavily focused on electronics, with earlier work on my attempted use of Transponding (I never did get the occupancy detectors working satisfactorily with that) and lots of soldering related to the BDL168/PM42 “DCC boards” (remind me never to select electronics from anyone who doesn’t provide screw terminal connectors). I’ve also been working on adding lighting to structures, and on painting and detailing a number of those. Plans to build roads and sidewalks in the village area didn’t get off the tracing paper stage, but that’s likely to happen in the near future.

I’ve bought very few trains this past year. I picked up several subway trains last fall from Kato and Greenmax, and a Micro Ace E231-800 over the winter, but then I stopped buying trains, intentionally. I had all of the trains I really wanted, and sometimes two of them, and I wanted to focus my money on other aspects of the hobby (buildings, paint, etc). However, perhaps the lack of a constant stream of new trains to get excited about took away some of my incentive to work on the layout. Certainly the pace seems to have slowed since then. I don’t think I’m going to be buying a lot more trains, but I may try to get one per quarter just to keep my excitement up.

And I have a new train, the Kato E233-3000 Tokaido Commuter Train. This is actually two trains, a 10-car set and a 5-car set. I’ll have more to say about that in a later post.