The New York Central Hudson.  If there was no Hudson in HO, there would be no Fillmore.  I don’t even think I would have a layout. The lead photo shows the completed J1 Hudsons which now have been upgraded with Tsunami 2 DCC/Sound. There are three J1e’s (5326, 5330, 5341) and one J1d (5366).  In my era, the J1d and J1e sub-classes are easily identified by having a stepped running board with an air tank on both the engineer and fireman’s sides.  There was also a small run of J1c’s (for the MCRR) that had the balanced tanks, but the … Continue reading THOROUGHBREDS


You may know very well when starting to build a layout there are a mountain of tasks to do.  There is much to consider.  We prioritize them as best we can.  Many things are left unrefined as one needs to move on to the next task.  Fillmore was/is no different. As I was collecting appropriate locomotives, my natural inclination was to think that they all will run fine even though there was a mix of DCC/sound systems.  The main ones were QSI, Paragon (Broadway Limited Imports), and MTH’s quasi-DCC/DCS system.  They were adequate for what little running I was able … Continue reading PROGRESS


The DCC system at Fillmore is by Digitrax.  At the time, it was packaged as the Empire Builder Duplex Radio starter set (5 Amp) and I later added a second 5 Amp Booster.  It has served me very well.  The Command Station is Power District 1, the Booster is Power District 2, and they are labelled as shown below. To manage the track power requirements, due to the high density of DCC sound-equipped locomotives, I took some time to consider how I would divide the two power districts that the command station and booster naturally provide.  Here is the result: … Continue reading FILLMORE POWER DISTRICTS


Way back when I had my first two Fillmore operating sessions, everything was working just right, until my guests arrived!  Go figure – if anything’s going to fail that’s the time when it is most likely. I run Digitrax Duplex Radio.  During the first operating session the signal was very intermittent and it was the same for the second one, only not as bad.  When testing the layout, I did not have any trouble maintaining contact with the locomotives I operated. I sent off an e-mail to Digitrax and received a very typically fast reply from Rich suggesting that there … Continue reading RADIO BACK-UPS


The Broadway Limited Imports Address Changer has made the typically cumbersome (in my experience) programming of decoder addresses so easy.  It is very worthwhile, especially so for a layout with lots of locomotives like an engine terminal. In the past it was a frustrating experience every time I tried to program a locomotive with a four-digit DCC address.  Even with a power booster, I found that I had the most success working out the math for doing the long-form way.  A tedious and time consuming procedure that wasn’t always successful, especially if I did the calculation wrong. Now, the Address … Continue reading ADDRESS CHANGER


Since Fillmore is “essentially complete” (defined as: all of the trackage is in place and operational, scenery is plausibly detailed, and the operating scheme is working), I find that I can now explore some more finer points of railroad modeling.  One aspect of operations that I was slow to jump on is momentum & braking.  It was something that I was aware of before, but it was not a priority at the time. Two things influenced me to adopt m&b.  The first is a brilliant posting by Riley Triggs, one that very much got me thinking.  In it he describes … Continue reading M&B UPGRADING SWITCHERS


As I was rebuilding the Staging Elevator, I had a side project on the go as well.  I decided to try adding Soundtraxx SoundCar to my layout.  The problem is that I mostly run open-topped cars with removable loads, so adding the SoundCar decoder in a car is not possible. Some weeks ago, I was interested in a post made by Trevor Marshall regarding SoundCar and how it was applied by some modellers (SoundCar).  Rather than mount them inside cars, two modellers mounted them under the layout.  After speaking to Bob Fallowfield, one of the two modellers, I decided to … Continue reading SOUNDCAR


One thing about living in a condominium apartment is that I don’t really have a table long enough to have a dedicated programming track.  However, I realized, later, that I do – the layout itself!  But I did not want to use a layout track.  So I made a programming track on a removable shelf that stores inside the layout. Six foot long programming track hangs from hooks inside the layout.  It is made from leftover pieces of 1×2 poplar and 11mm birch plywood (Varathaned, of course). Set up for programming: the programming track bolts onto the side of the … Continue reading PROGRAMMING TRACK