Tag Archives: module

Ops, TT&TO, invective, and blah-blah-blah

It’s been a while since my last post. Life has become hectic with lots of work (as the opposite to none at all for quite some time) so to keep the blog moving I thought I’d cross post my response to Joe Fugate’s recent editorial: Secret to needing less layout on page 11 of the June 2017 edition of the e-zine ‘Model Railroad Hobbyist’. I found that as I read through the responses there was a lot of heat being generated by those for and against the smaller layout ethos. A recent kind email from a new model railroading friend Charles Malinowski got me to thinking about the original post on Joe’s editorial and the thought that perhaps it might be time to draw that line in the sand on this blog too.

If you can, take a moment, to read of some of the initial responses to Joe’s posting. Then either read my post on the MRH  site or as reproduced below. Don’t be shy. Got something to say, then comment and start the conversation here. It’s the only way we all learn.

Am I missing something? Did the hobby just become a pain in the butt during this discussion (and I’m not through reading all the responses yet)? Timetable and train orders, and… all to much work for me. While I understand that model railroading is all things to all people I don’t need all of that other stuff to make a me a happy modeller or operator.

I like small layouts. I live in rented accommodation, and will likely for the remainder of my life due to circumstances beyond my control. My wife loves the idea of me ‘not’ cluttering the place up with ugly wooden stuff that takes over the space, so I have to consider the aesthetic of any layout design as well as the piece of furniture it must also purport to be.

I’m limited in space, money and the time I have available to actually build the thing. So a long time ago I took the first mile, last mile approach to railway modelling. I model industries and locations where there is a lot of work to go on (switching) at an industry or location (such as a team track facility) getting the loads in and out in an efficient and useful way.

Do I care about Timetable and Train Order operation? Nope. Does it affect me as either the modelled customer or as an operator? Nope. And lastly, does it affect my enjoyment of the hobby? Nope. Would I love to model TT&TO operations? I’d love to but I cannot afford it.

I use paperwork, operations plans and rule books to model, and there’s a reason for this. I like my crew (usually my son and I) to feel the need to get the work done efficiently and with haste. There’s a train to catch out there somewhere and our cars need to be on it. I love operating by real railroad rules and with prototypical operations paperwork.

I focus on the things that matter to me, and that is the first mile and the last mile. What happens in between where the rail line curves away from my business – is none of my business. I put a lot of thought into what makes operations work for me. And I’ve shared that online as well. And it is not all that hard to achieve, especially in a small space. You can read more about that on my blog.

Joe’s TOMA approach I like. It means that it is achievable, in space, time and money. It gets you working quickly and allows for interests to develop as your skills and knowledge develop. Big TOMA, small TOMA, even in between TOMA… who cares? The idea is to get something going that allows you to play, find out what you enjoy the most and do that with the effort you have available.

Thanks Joe for sharing that article. I’ve been following along with the TOMA approach because it mirrors what I’m already doing and because it makes sense from my son’s perspective (Dad can we get something running now, I want to play with the trains again).

I appreciate that others do things differently. It’s a good thing. Let’s not get so focused on the forest that we forget about the trees. Happy modelling from Ballarat in Victoria.

Why I chose not to design my layout – Part 7

While I chose not to (over) design my layout, there are some aspects that simply have to have a structured and logical approach to simplify troubleshooting for the longer term. These need to be in place to allow me to add to and grow the layout in the future. This post focuses on the wiring standard for all layouts that I build going forward.

After watching the current work being done over at Everard Junction with the wiring of the new section of his layout (+ Link) one of the things I noticed was the colour code in use. I feel that in the future he’ll find that there’ll be more stress and confusion in the future when tracing and troubleshooting.

As a former telephone technician colour codes are very important to me. As a result I’ve written a module / baseboard wiring standard. If you are not worried about troubleshooting your wiring in the future you can ignore this post now. Each module / baseboard will have a dual wiring BUS. One BUS will power the Locomotives and DCC accessories (the DCC BUS) while the other will power the DC accessories and other non-DCC devices (the DC BUS).

You might be wondering why I’d have non DCC accessories. Think for a moment of LED lighting. LED Lighting is 12V DC so lighting the module / baseboard is made easier using the 12 volt BUS. Additionally internal building lights, signalling and repeater panel lights that do not use DCC to operate can be powered off this BUS. Finally there is no extra effort required to wire these up later; its wired into the module / baseboard from the get-go. There’s no extra work to get DC powered items wired up beyond setting up dropper wires to the DC BUS.

There’s a download!

Andrew’s Trains_Baseboard Wiring Standards_Andrew Martin

The wiring standard for the boards and modules is a work in progress. You are welcome to download version 1. Please keep in mind it is not in the public domain. You may use it for personal use only. Any commercial applications of the document should be run by me first.

I don’t claim that this is the standard you should be using; it works for me. If it works for you too, then please download and use it.