Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Rock, MKT, BN and the MoPac

With the upcoming Session on the 18th of February, I got a chance to get some new power brought to life.  I've added four new Through Freights for this session and I needed some extra power for these trains.

To start with, I got a new trio of Rock Island GP's to help fill some of the shortages. Crossing the Ouachita River we see GP40 #373, GP40r #3000 and bringing up the rear is GP38-2 #4304.

This next trio of units will pull the second MKT coal train.  Now I'll have a NB mty and SB loaded FPPX coal train.  This consist is made up of  two of Miss Katy's SD40-2's #603 & #625 with a BN U30C #5394.

Last but not least MoPac will finally make their appearance on The Little Rock with a trio of their own GP's.    GP35 #2555, GP40 #605 and GP38 #854.

I got all these units chipped last weekend and then got them speed matched over the last two night.  Only ran into a few issues this round.  

First, when I fired up the Accutrack speed tunnel, it didn't want to work.  So after I changed out batteries several times with no luck, I broke down and ordered a new, siiiiiigh.

Second, After getting the chip installed in the BN #5394, it worked fine until I snapped the shell on, then....Nothing!  After a bit closer inspection I found that the shell was pushing down too hard on the chip and was pushing the contact pads down away from the frame so it would make contact.  Nothing a couple of thicker solder pillows wouldn't fix!

Third, on the MoPac #605, I had a TCS CN-GP chip sitting aside for this unit. After getting it installed and running, the unit being an older Chassis, it was a bit noisy.....typical for the older chassis'. So I tore it down and Beardonized it.  This entitled removing the Inner Bearing blocks.

Worked like champ the unit would only run in the forward direction while the lights worked in both.  So I removed that chip and installed a new one.  This time the chip worked good until I went to program it.  For whatever reason it would not take ANY form of programming.....grrr!
This was the last loco I had planned to use a TCS chip on, but it might be the last TCS chip I use period!  I've had other troubles with TCS chips, but I'm not here to bash TCS.

Anyway, I'm hoping these additions will add to power needed for the four new trains that I've added.



  1. Well I'm impressed with this new power. I am in the planning stages for a new much smaller layout in the new garage (whenever that is). I plan on running Mopac and having a devil of a time trying to locate any new power.All I have is a very old Kato GP38-2 in blue and a new GP40 in UP colours. I have managed to scrounge up about 20 cars. I would like to run an interchange with MKT if it did or anything that did mix with the MoPac. Since I nothing about this RR I am scratching around a bit and under tight financial control from the fun & finance manager until we get into the new house sometime in July we hope. Allen if you see /hear of any suitable motive power that comes available could you give me a holla.

    1. Thank you Rod.
      Rod, What era are planning to model?
      There is very little MKT power availble these days, Atlas has released MKT units in a GP38 (Green/Yellow), GP40 (Red and Green/Yellow), U23B (G/Y).

      There's been some E units in early MKT schemes. Intermountain as announced one of their new SD40-2's in MKT (G/Y)

      As for MoPac, Atlas has released several blue units. GP38, GP38-2, B23-7, MP15DC, GP15-1.
      In the Canary scheme, they've had GP40, SD50, and at least one more.
      I've seen MoPac units come up on eBay quite often.

      I'll keep my eye's peeled for you.
      When you get serious, contact me, I might have a few units I could let go of in the MoPac.
      I need to start thinning my herd anyway.

      Not sure if the MoPac and MKT interchanged, but can't image they didn't.

      Here's a great site on the MoPac:
      A local railfan owns this site, great info on the MoPac.

    2. Thanks for that info Allen. It will be a while off before I get serious. I would like to do something that comes from the Mopac track plans and include grain, cement etc if I can find a locale that fits.

  2. Great looking lashups! I need to get cracking on speed matching all my locos.

    1. Thanks Karl!
      Have you done any speed matching yet? If not read through my blog post on it.

      Also, definitely look into one of the MRT Accutrack speed tunnels.
      Well worth their cost.

  3. Looking good Allen, you can never have enough GP40's !

    Regarding the TCS CN-GP decoders, last year I had 5 that did as you describe. Sent them back and got 5 more but had same problem with them. Got frustrated to say the least and shifted my focus to working on the layout. About to dive back into it soon.

    1. That's right Brad, can't have enough GP40's!
      Thanks for the kind words.

      I've installed a bunch of the CN and CN-GP's without a hitch. But these last two got my goat! No more unless I absolutely need them.
      I actually tried to contact you about them when I was having the issues, but couldn't find your email address. I had it at one time a few years ago when we were discussing how to figure out when the Forward and Reverse trims got added to those decoders.

      So for now, I will be swapping chassis so I can use drop-in decoders, even if it costs me a bit more.

  4. Enjoyed running the MP's Saturday! They ran great! You're getting me gun shy on the CN-GP's and I just bought 10 so eager to get started on them. I may be screaming for assistance!

    1. Enjoyed having you at the session again Coy!
      Don't worry about the decoders, they work good and are an easy install. Call me if you need a hand.