So I finally have ATS receivers mounted on some of my locomotives. It was an interesting project where I learned about Automatic Train Stop on the New York Central and 3D printing via Shapeways. Also, while doing my research, I discovered that I could add an additional prototype operation which was actually performed in New York Central engine terminals that served locomotives from a main line which had ATS.
Even though the checking of the ATS electrical circuits was part of the routine inspection performed inside the roundhouse, before an engine left the ready track, the ATS was tested again. This can simulated easily on my layout.
The testing procedure is illustrated at the end of this post, but first I had to make the ATS wayside inductor part; I needed four in fact. So I 3D modeled them again and had them printed as I did the ATS receivers (I ordered six, in case of screw-ups – me, not Shapeways). Here is a picture of the 3D model.
I decided to place my ATS test station toward the end of each ready track. I was careful to choose a location so that a locomotive being tested wouldn’t foul the turnout at the end that leads to the single outbound track. I used the longest of Fillmore locomotives, an L3a Mohawk, to find the right location (picture below – L3a on the left, J1e Hudson on right).
The white paper strips (below) show the final location; they represent the hardstands.
The wayside inductors have to be mounted on extended ties, so after clearing away and levelling some cinders, I added extensions made of styrene strip. The picture below shows them installed. The hardstands are made from .060” styrene each with an expansion groove scribed across the middle. The long rods are tubes for mounting the lamp posts (they also guide the fine wires below the sub-roadbed).
This next picture shows the hardstands and the scenery fixed up. The hardstands were painted and weathered before gluing them down with silicon adhesive caulking. The ballast, applied afterward, is fine cinders from Woodland Scenics.
I made two of my usual homemade lamp posts (see Category: Tech-Scenery for that post). The sign is .010” strip styrene with decals applied for lettering.
The inductors are painted Testors acrylic Grimy Black and lightly dry brushed with Testors enamel Dark Gull Grey. They are attached with Woodland Scenics Scenic Accent Glue (tacky glue).
The ATS test procedure requires two wayside inductors for each track. I spaced them about 10 scale feet apart (I don’t know how far they actually were). The test procedure is done with all mainline locomotives during an operating session by the road crew (not the hostler):
The locomotive is moved forward at no more than 3% throttle (to simulate the minium 2 mph the prototype had to achieve) over the first inductor while the imaginary forestalling lever is held down. As it passes over this inductor, the cab whistle blows (this is simulated using the short whistle function key).
Over the second inductor, the forestalling lever is not used and the locomotive goes into service braking (the brake function key is pressed).
Resetting the system requires the locomotive to be fully stopped. The fireman climbs down and resets the brakes on the ground (picture below – the reset button is seen on the tender frame above and between the two rear-most truck wheels). We wait a minute or so before moving off to simulate this.
This gives an extra, untypical, yet meaningful operation to perform while it also provides authentic history and technical detail that other operators may find interesting.
Enough flirting with EMC glamour girls and ATS! Better not waste any more time. Fillmore desperately needs some completed Hudsons for operations….