2015 Annual Report

                                      B&O Railroad Pass from 1933       ORW Pass for 1913          

B&O Shepherd Branch (O Scale)

The Anachronistic Region operating crew (a round-robin group) participated in eight operating sessions in 2015. We continue to run five trains during each operating session: Port Shepherd Job, Uniontown Turn (U-Turn), Twining City (TC) Switch, Second Port Shepherd, and the B&O Coal Extra to the Potomac Electric plant.

Repairs to the oft-troublesome Twining City crossing seem to have reduced the complaints from the operating crew.

Potomac & Patuxent Railroad (O Gauge)

The Maintenance of Way (MOW) crew was very busy and productive this year. This is the linear trackplan for the rebuilt railroad. (See diagram in 2013 Annual Report.) It's a loop, so the two Girards are one.

This year, the track, turnouts/switches, roadbed, and subroadbed were completed for Girard, Walden, P&P Jct., and Potomac. Roadbed and sub-roadbed are in place for Hiram and Patuxent. Realistic Backgrounds photo backdrops were installed behind all six locations.

Ohio River & Western Railroad (On30)

The OR&W MOW crew installed the track, roadbed, and subroadbed for the three staging tracks and reverted loop that represent Bellaire on the east end of the railroad (below Hiram on the P&P). The Signal Department needs to install sensors on the staging tracks to ensure that trains clear the fouling points. Block occupancy detectors also need to be installed since the staging tracks are not viewable from the operating aisle. Tortoise switch machines were installed in Bellaire and in the Zanesville return loop (west end).

B&O Locomotive Shops

In the continuing saga of the Weaver VO-1000, wipers were added to the uninsulated wheels in an attempt to improve electrical pickup and thus slow speed performance, but there was no improvement in either. Management decided to restore the locomotive to TMCC three-rail operation in Great Northern livery. The locomotive was checked out by a local hobby shop to ensure that the TMCC functions worked. The sound functions work, but the locomotive draws a higher than expected amperage which may indicate either binding in the trucks or a “problem” with the TMCC. The locomotive is sitting in its box on the shelf. The B&O shell is also sitting on the shelf.

The shops unveiled an Alco RS-2 kitbashed from a Weaver RS-3. The locomotive was painted in Southern Railway green and dubbed SR 2118. An NCE DCC decoder is used for speed, direction, and lights. A Soundtraxx Alco decoder is used for sound. To date, there have been problems getting the two decoders to work concurrently. The plan was to use the consist function to link the two decoders, but that has proven troublesome. In addition, the locomotive does not run as smoothly as most Weaver Alcos. At the end of the year, the locomotive was back in the shop for additional work on the drivetrain and the decoders.

OR&W Locomotive Shops

A Soundtraxx DCC decoder was successfully installed in Bachmann 2-6-0 OR&W #16. The decoder and speaker were installed in the tender. This is a full function decoder, controlling speed, direction, lights, and sound. Subsequently, a “keep alive” module was added to ensure uninterrupted performance of the decoder.

The OR&W purchased another Bachmann 2-6-0 on the used locomotive market. The OR&W now has three 2-6-0s and one 4-4-0. Additional sound decoders and keep alive modules are on hand for the 2-6-0s. The 4-4-0 has a standard DCC decoder, but it will be replaced with a full-function sound decoder and keep alive module as well.

B&O Car Shops

The B&O car shops acquired a Weaver covered hopper (ATSF 340077) from used freight car market.

Fourteen NMRA and O Scale national convention cars were sold to Norm Pullen of Norm's O Scale.

Conventions and Shows

In March, I organized a clinic about the Mid-Eastern Region (MER) for the Potomac Division mini-convention. I was joined by Treasurer Tom Buckingham and Director Martin Brechbiel, but attendance was not great.

The annual convention of the MER of the NMRA was held in Mount Laurel NJ in mid-October. On Thursday evening, I performed my duties as MER-NMRA Secretary during the board of directors meeting. On Friday, after a morning of clinics and silent auction, I joined three members of my round robin group for an extensive tour of layouts in Pennsylvania, north and west of Philadelphia. On Saturday morning, I attended the Superintendents' Breakfast hosted by the MER board. In the afternoon, I ran three trains during an operating session on John Rahenkamp's CLW railroad. On Sunday morning, I was taking notes at the annual members meeting.

In 2016, Shepherd Branch management intends to continue its assessment and overhaul of the branch’s steam and diesel locomotives. P&P management will focus on reconstruction of the three-rail display railroad. Ohio River & Western management hopes to continue construction of the railroad, plus install sound decoders in the steam locomotives.