I’ve had random hobby thoughts recently that seem to be related. Over the course of the last month, I’ve hosted an operating session, attended another operating session, and attended an NMRA division meeting. I intentionally altered my schedule to participate in these events. Why? I guess I would have just thrown out a simple, “Because it’s fun,” response in the past. But I’ve become keenly aware that personal participation in activities with other hobbyists directly effects my hobby enjoyment. It’s not just about listening to others talk about a specific subject but taking part in a conversational process that gives me a good feeling.
I moved to El Paso, Texas, in the summer of 2012 and began to seek out local model railroaders. I attended a local NMRA meeting and met Mike who was building an HO scale home layout in nearby Las Cruces, NM. His layout had progressed well and he hoped to begin operating soon. I offered to assist with any tasks to keep the progress rolling and ended up visiting a couple of times a month. Over the next year, the mainline was completed, a yard was installed, an industrial branch was installed, and operating sessions were set up. Mike now hosts once a month sessions on his layout and a few local model railroaders participate. Click on any image here to review a large size.
Building a model railroad involves assembling track components into a design that meets a desire to operate or follow a prototype location. In many cases, three-foot sections of flexible track are joined together, or joined to track switches, as the mainline is installed. Often a tie or two is clipped from the track ends in order to connect the pieces with rail joiners. Installation proceeds and eventually the completed track is tested with a few freight cars and a locomotive before it is deemed complete.
Model railroading is the sum total of a variety of elements as an individual builds their dream layout. History, carpentry, engineering, painting, geology, architecture, electronics and electrical, and other components all combine for the final presentation. Each of these components may have additional aspects. As an example, electrical can consist of work with switches, relays, wire, and soldering.
I worked on the layout over this past weekend and completed the electrical wiring on the yard throat module. While surveying the work, I realized I had not made much progress in the last 4.5 months. Of course, I do consider wiring to be sheer drudgery, yet it is a necessary evil to complete in order to make the trains go. I guess I’ve just been avoiding this work as the fun factor is quite low. It’s a basic human trait to avoid the stuff we don’t like to do.
Over just a few days, I’ve completed the following tasks on the yard throat module.
- installed feeder wires on four tracks
- spray painted the rail and ties
- installed leads on seven SPDT momentary contact switches to control the frog polarity
- attached all feeder wires to the appropriate buss wires
Successful completion of this work inspires and motivates me to keep moving forward. This is how my hobby ebbs and flows. I’ve rarely achieved a straight line progression in task completion. There are often bursts of activity followed by a quiet stretch. At this point, only one module remains to be electrically completed. I hope to wrap that one up in the next week as the B&O Wheeling Freight Terminal project moves closer to operation.
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