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Discussion Starter #61
DavefromMD, I guess it's the way I built the corner legs that causes them to not rock. Thinking of adding a couple extra 2-by-4s for bracing...
It's Christmas Eve, and here's some more new pics!

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My current Amtrak consist, based off a bit in the 1989 Christmas movie "Prancer," when at the start of the downtown scene when the wooden Prancer reindeer falls out of a Christmas decoration, an Amtrak train with an F40PH locomotive, two Amfleet coaches and an Amfleet snack car passes by in the background.

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Overview of the snow-covered layout. It's too bad my hometown can't look like this at Christmas…

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The Christmas train stopping at the TYCO lighted freight station.

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Bringing home a Christmas tree for the family…

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A kid with a sled near the TYCO lighted signal crossing and freight unloading depot.

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Is that Santa Claus going down the chimney of a house? But there's no sled, so it might just be the father there dressed up as Santa in order to put presents under the Christmas tree…

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Another father returns home with a Christmas tree for his family.

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It's especially busy at the church with families making a last-minute visit with Santa Claus…
 

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Discussion Starter #62
Some more pics from when the difficult year of 2020 wrapped up (though not difficult on my layout!)

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A Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bumper I got for Christmas. I always found lighted bumpers to look neat, especially on a DCC layout.

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I am now using a 1990s-style blue Life-Like power pack for providing AC power to my turnouts and several operating accessories and lights. A power pack I am VERY familiar with from my childhood, from my early years of playing with HO-scale electric trains.

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People putting out their Christmas trees for the garbage collectors!

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A nice show of the snow-covered residential area and both schools.

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The BNSF freight passing by the Amtrak local.

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The TYCO freight-unloading depot operating in the snow!

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A nice shot of the train layout operating with several of the basement lights off, showing how alive the layout can be with all its' lights!

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I recently got a Life-Like SceneMaster 2-target operating railroad signal that I placed near the Bachmann railroad crossing for the outer loop of track.

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I bought a second Bachmann Plasticville freight station and combined some parts from my old one. The door to the office won't really fit in, though…

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An overview of my BNSF freight consist of the time, mostly pulling TYCO and a couple of Life-Like freight cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Here's another update with more pics, including a couple of projects I've been working on, and a video as well!

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As 2021 begins, school resumes on my layout, including the high school here (complete with fighting students)…

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…along with the elementary school across the street.

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Just a nice overview shot as the main BNSF freight unloads coal from the hopper car into the coal yard…

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The Amtrak train stopped at the downtown station with both platforms being in use.

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What I'm going to try and do here is my first attempt at a railroad crossing with a detection/flasher unit! I'm trying out Logic Rail Technologies's Grade Crossing Pro, the older version, to be wired up to these Model Power crossing signals (they use incandescent bulbs; Lionel now makes them with LEDs.)

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Installing the photocell sensors is pretty tricky, especially with the foam base and the Bachmann E-Z Track, but an advantage of the latter is how the plastic roadbed is pretty good at holding the sensors in place! I am still waiting for the spool of hook-up wire I ordered to arrive before I resume the installation.

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But what I WAS able to do was a conversion project where I took a DCC-ready Mantua Classics GP20 with a slightly damaged shell (but the chassis was all good) and installed a TYCO Santa Fe 5628 GP20 shell onto the chassis and plug a TCS T1-LED decoder into the chassis's DCC plug. Now I've got a nice-looking DCC TYCO locomotive with LED lightning and all-wheel drive! Maybe once I perfect decal application I'll apply little BNSF lettering decals under the cab road numbers, like I've seen on numerous real ex-Santa Fe locomotives that were not repainted yet.

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The main freight hauled by the GP20 dropping off crates from the TYCO operating boxcar…

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…and rolling through the TYCO crossing gate. If the installation with the Model Power signals all goes well, my next crossing detection/flasher installation will involve me replacing the plastic lenses in that TYCO crossing gate with red LEDs and wiring it to another Grade Crossing Pro unit with sensors, to breathe new life into a classic accessory! (And if that works, I may even install a Tortoise switch machine and hook the crossing gate up to that so it doesn't have to use the pressure plate!)

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An all-TYCO consist! This is what I went with for this video…
Of course to go with the TYCO motif I show off the TYCO operating boxcar and log dump car as well! I still need to do something about that one uncoupling magnet that doesn't seem to work properly though...
 
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