Posted by: bgtwindad | December 17, 2011

Fernwood Revisited

  by BGTwinDad
, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

Today was a very fun day, train-wise.  I spent most of the morning at Pete Birdsong’s place.  First we did a dry-run of my upcoming demo of the Virtual Sound Decoder project at the next NMRA Division 10 meeting.  We’ll be using Pete’s new N scale switching layout as part of the show-and tell.  It’s based on a published track plan (can’t recall the name) and is built on a sheet of Masonite with an aluminum angle frame.  Very lightweight and portable.  It also has Peco turnouts, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in person.  I am now a HUGE fan, especially in places where manual operation is desired and one does not want to use over-scale ground throws.  Here’s a helicopter-shot of the layout.

Pete has only just begun the scenery work, but the layout is fully operational and he’s already integrated it into his operations software. He also has it hooked up to a benchtop-mounted sound decoder and a PC speaker to provide neat sound effects.  It was interesting and educational to compare the operation of the commercial sound decoder with my VSD software.  I have some work to do, but I think mine held up pretty well, if I do say so myself.

After our testing, it was time for Pete’s monthly operations session, and the gang arrived in droves.  I first took the “milk run” which involved an RDC with a passenger car and a boxcar all the way from Camp 2 all the way to Fernwood.  By the time I finished there was a long line waiting for trains, so I took a turn at switching the N scale layout.  It was quite a challenge using the old U-boat to shuffle cars up and down the hill and get them all in the right spots.

By the time I finished that job, the crowd had thinned just a bit, and I had time to squeeze in one more run, using a weatherbeaten 2-8-0 to haul a short cut of boxcars from Fernwood to Magnoila, switching out for two different cars, and shuffling on to Camp 2.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning, to say the least.

To top things off, Pete introduced me to one of the club members who owns a local hobby shop that I was not aware of – and who was able to cut me a sweet deal on a decoder for my new SD35… so by bedtime my birthday present was off the display track, through the shop and ready for revenue service!

You can see more photos of Pete’s layout in my Flickr set.  I hope you enjoy them!!







  1. Pete’s layout. OMG!! Thats nice.

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