First Run of the C&T Railroad
A couple of days ago I finally was able to attempt a first run of the season on the Chesapeake and Tenleytown Garden Railway.
Winter around here is not kind to my outdoor G scale track. Even though it was unusually warm during the winter months, the track still heaves and moves sideways with the temperature changes. And don’t ask me where all the roadbed gravel goes. It just seems to disappear, needing replenishment every season.
Even the radio remote control had been giving me issues during the last season. I couldn’t control the speed of the trains with it. That, unfortunately, has been a recurring problem. Expert help was needed for that one…which arrived via my friend Gerry in Perth, West Australia. He, being the ultimate tinkerer and retired electronics guru, had been here in DC visiting late last year with his other half and promised to fix my remote control issues. Sure enough a package arrived from Perth in due course, containing wires and a small metal box and very detailed instructions. Apparently, this was some sort of amplification system, with which the range of my remote control could be enhanced. Following the instructions to the letter it just took a few minutes to connect the whole shebang. With great anticipation I put a locomotive on the track and turned on the power. Well, the poor machine zoomed down the track like greased lightning, all the while I am frantically pushing the “reduce speed” button on my remote control. It finally flew off the track in a curve, ending that experiment. Well, back to manual non-remote control!
So back to a couple of days ago. The weather was great. Perfect for a first run of the garden railroad season.
The track was in bad shape (see video), but it was serviceable. I tried the remote again, but no dice. In any case, I had a train running, but it derailed a few minutes later. So there I was rushing back to the controller in the basement to turn off the power. Back outside to rerail the train. Once again to the basement to turn the power on. Back outside to watch the train. This was getting very tedious and one can easily see why a remote control would be very useful indeed. Then I thought: perhaps the battery in the remote needs to be changed! So I went upstairs into my little office and changed the battery in the remote. Somehow I got distracted and went downstairs again, sans remote. Of course the inevitable happened. I can’t find the remote. Usually I have it in my pocket, but it is not there. So into the basement I go and there it is, right next to the transformer. Now I am back outside and the remote control works like a charm.
Wait, you say! You left it upstairs! Quite right. You see, I have a double track railroad. Each track is electrically isolated and has it’s own remote control system. (Can you guess where this is going…?). I had been using the remote control for the inside track to run trains on the outside track. No wonder it did not work. Oh, well. And thanks Gerry. The setup has quite the range now.
Here is a short video. Ignore the bad track. I know it needs work:
Photos and Video by Ralf Meier (iPhone 11 and Sony RX100M7)