Running Bear's November 2020 Coffee Shop is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.

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Well-Known Member
A round of good strong black coffee for everyone, FLO. Hope you all remembered to get up an hour later, and set your clocks back an hour.

Or, if you're like me, the fuzzy alarm clock doesn't have an adjust button and started purring and pawing at the (old) normal time.

I made use of the extra time from waking up "early" to put some centerlines on my layout this morning. Hoping to get some cork roadbed applied today. I know, I missed my Oct self-imposed deadline. But the secret project took two days out of the schedule. If you haven't heard about the secret project, click the link in my signature below.

It's the warmest of today right now: 46° and falling. I may go get my walk in now. Gonna be chilly and bitey wind this afternoon


Active Member
Morning all, welcome to a new month! Hope everyone is keeping well, and those suffering the effects of the weather have survived without much (if any) damage.

I mentioned on the October thread that the next time I posted some info pictures, I'd take a look at the control of trains. Obviously the British system is very different from the modern day American system, and below there are two different forms of control, although both are still in use across parts of the UK. There is a commonality behind both however, in both principals and equipment. The principals of train safety remain the same, but the equipment side might be interesting for a few. British terminology is that train controllers are called signallers (dispatcher in the US) We have three, what could be termed, core safety systems, known as GSM-R, AWS and TPWS.

GSM-R is the dedicated 3G/4G railway mobile phone network which replaced an outdated radio comms network, but rather than normal phones, every train is fitted with a GSM-R unit into which the driver inserts his train identifier before starting the journey. At any time he can press one button and the system is 'intelligent' to connect him with the correct signaller that is controlling the stretch of railway he is running on. There is also a button to alert the signaller (without either needing to speak) when he's stood at a red signal, and an emergency button.

AWS (Automatic Warning System) is an old but safe system. When the train approaches a signal, it passes over a magnet. If the signal is clear, the AWS rings a bell in the cab, if the signal is at caution (double yellow/yellow aspects) or danger (red) it sounds a horn, as a secondary alert to the driver. I should add if the horn sounds, the driver has 10 seconds to cancel the auditable alert before the brakes are applied to bring the train to a stand. This system has been in use for many years, and is now supplemented by TPWS (Train Protection Warning System) which provides extra checks. It ensures that the train cannot approach a signal or junction too fast for example, again triggering a brake application if a train is deemed to be speeding. The reality is far more complicated, but that is a general overview.

For many years in the UK, semaphore signals have controlled trains over vast areas of the network. While this method of control is being phased out, it is still planned be used in some areas until 2044! In my local area, there was a location known as Barnetby, which was a Mecca for photographer - lots of freight, old signal boxes and semaphore signals. Unfortunately, they were taken out of service at Christmas 2015 and replaced by modern colour light, controlled from a centralised ops centre some 80 odd miles away.


The former manual signal box, known as Wrawby Junction, near Barnetby. This was one of the biggest manual boxes in the UK, and I believe the largest manual signal box to be single manned for the last few years of its operational life. Only one box in the UK was bigger, but that was double-manned because of the traffic volume.


The levers inside. White are unused, red control signal arms (one for each arm), yellow control distant signal arms, blue are point locks and black are point blades. The signallers used to keep these boxes spotless. In the main there were two or three staff on every 24 hours, one person covering each eight or twelve hour shift.


The box at Wrawby is seen in the distance, as a EMD-built Class 66 waits to proceed. Despite the appearance here, the train is on the second running line heading west, so the driver is looking not at the first signal that he's sat beside, but at the middle gantry. The far gantry has a signal cleared for a passenger train to proceed. Each of the three signals are controlling onward routes, Wrawby being an unusual location of having a south bound (left) line to Lincoln, a south west line (middle) to Gainsborough and west bound (right) line to Scunthorpe.

Contrast that with the modern day way of signalling, dull windowless rooms where the signallers could be hundreds of miles from the railway they are controlling!

This is one of the centres in the process of being set up near Birmingham


Instead of levers, signallers now have signalling diagrams on screens covering many miles of track, all controlled by a mouse! (Sorry this is slightly blurred). Of the screens here, the far left is an overview of the whole area, the next is our TRUST system, which tracks the location of every service operating on the UK network - this is done through location timing points rather than GPS or anything similar, then the nearest three, show the area that the signalling is currently monitoring. Much of the signalling activity is now done by a system comically known as ARS - Automatic Route Setting, which sets up routes automatically and the signallers just monitor and step in when the timetable is running late. But many staff get board with ARS on as there is nothing to do in the main, so a number of them switch it off and do the job manually.


The white lines are tracks, the red lines are trains, in the case of the nearest screen 2C40 and 2V28 designations are train identifiers that signify not a particular locomotive or train, but a service. That service (for example the 10:30 Birmingham to London) will run with the same identifier every day, allowing staff to identify the train - they are not concerned (in generally) with what rolling stock is on it.

Routes are set by clicking the red circles indicating signals. Click the one at the start of the route, and the next at the end, and the computer checks the integrity of the route (makes sure nothing will crash into something else) and then changes the relevant points and sets the signal aspect. As. you can see on the bottom right of the above screen, signals are red, green or yellow.

Hope you guys find it interesting - but do shout out if its nothing that interests anyone and I'll stop posting them! I appreciate its a very different railway/railroad scene from the US.



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Same Ol' Buzzard
Good Morning All. Clear and 51° round here. Fair weather is the name of the game for the next week or so, after a couple of chilly nights.
I had an interesting encounter last night. Just after darkness fell, I went outside and headed over to the woodstack to retrieve a few sticks when a rather large skunk came full bore running towards the porch. I was walking on the ground between the porch and the wood when the skunk ran directly into me! It bounced off my leg, regained its senses and then resumed its trip to under the porch. I estimate that it weighed in at around 4 lbs., quite a large and beautiful specimen in my opinion. About two hours later I went back out again to retrieve something from the car. This time I paused on the porch briefly, and it came racing back from the same direction, this time not having its journey interrupted. From my long association with these critters, I believe that it will move elsewhere after having two encounters with me. No it never sprayed, thankfully

A plateful of bacon and a pair of over easy eggs this morning Flo. Nothing pumpkin flavored for me.

Thanks for all of the likes, reactions and comments made over the last week regarding various posts, everyone. Thanks also for the well wishes on the two journeys and the hurricane survival wishes.

Got in about two hours of train shed time yesterday. After having been away for so long, I mostly just ran trains and did some inspection/maintenance/cleaning/repairs of the fleet of MOW cars. These are the only remaining cars left on the layout with plastic wheels, well mostly...I have changed a couple over to metal. Since they are primarily display models, there's no hurry to convert them yet. Maybe once a year I move them out and park them on various sidings for a couple of days to vary operations a bit.
As I usually do, I visited the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum in Gulfport MS on Sunday this year. Unfortunately they are in the process of moving some exhibits to an additional building across the road; but the new space was not open to the public yet. Their primary work over there is to build a much larger and more operations oriented O scale layout, which a member showed me pictures of. In the meantime, I took many pictures of the existing layouts remaining in the current location. I have not been too attentive of their N scale layout over the years, so I took extra time on this visit to photograph more of it.






Joe - Nice progress you're making there on the extension. Layout surface looks a lot like mine in certain places.
Tom O - I fully understand what you are going through. When I first retired, I tried to be active on five different model railroad forums and one prototype rail forum along with various news sites. Add to that the endless line of model railroad videos on You Tube and I found myself in front of the computer for hours and hours. It was equivalent to having a job again!:( While I still visit MRH occasionally, I still have at least two years of their Ezine to catch up on. I quit TV in 1995 except for a brief 40 minutes each morning.
Gary - Too bad about the provisions in the fridge. I like your whimsical themes on your layout. They have me thinking about how I might add a scene or two to mine.
Rich - Wow! What a great post about operations this morning. I think that a lot of members here will really like it, even if they are too shy to respond!;)

Everyone have a great Sunday. Be safe.


Beach Bum
Good morning y'all, Happy Sunday! Happy November! Happy Standard Time...Did y'all remember to change the batteries in your Smoke alarms?

Bagel with raspberry preserves and black coffee this morning. looks like another rainy day, with roller coaster temperature swings, 34° overnight, to 58° this evening, back to 35° by morning.

Due to Covid concerns, we did not open up for trick or treat yesterday. there were only three groups that either knocked or rang the bell all day, so most families were being careful.

I spent much of the day in the basement, soldering drop wires on switches and flex track, drilling holes and putting the track down. I'm challenged with a soldering iron, so that process took longer, I was way off on my track centers, on the original plan, so everything has been revised accordingly.
Today, I put down the cork roadbed for the second track, and perhaps, start ballasting the first track, once I'm satisfied that everything is in place and works. It ain't easy being me...:rolleyes:

Rich: Those UK railroad photos are very interesting...I enjoy them.

NH RDC departing Waterbury CT 10-29-1966__ Hal Smith.jpg

Return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear, as the New Haven RDC departs Waterbury CT.
10-30-2020 - WB Hole @ Union Interlocking - last day of GG1 use on NJT.jpg

A Westbound "Coaster" enters the "Westbound Hole" at Union in this photo. Rahway, NJ Date and Photographer Unknown. Fun to shift, Virginia Barrel Co. is to the left at the edge of the photo.


Beach Bum
Layout surface looks a lot like mine in certain places.
Willie: But yours has scenery and people....:) What is visible consists of 4 modules, one, a sandwich of 1" foam and plywood, the second is a hollow door, the third a sandwich of 1" foam and homosote, the newest, ½" plywood. All are painted "garden soil brown" roadbed is cork. I use 3/16" gatorboard to "elevate structures to match the roadbed, or use window shims to bring the rail down to surface level. Backdrop is 1/8" Masonite. Much is recycled from previous layouts.


Well-Known Member
Good morning from Covid ravaged So. Central Wisconsinwhere UW Health just opened the emergency 3rd wing of the main hospital to more Covid patients. My grandkids are in quarantine along with their parents as the kids were exposed to oa after school program instructor who let the program know Friday night she has tested positive. She knew Wednesday but came to work anyway as she needed the check. So Monday’s online schooling will be done by their parents who are now off of work for 2 weeks depending on results of the tests.

Willie—your skunk! When we had the campground in Central Wisconsin we put moth balls between the grounds and the woods where the skunks occasionally would go. Moth balls work, throw a few under the deck. I know I have written about being away from the TV but the wife is a news junkie. I can’t even handle anymore the 40 minutes of morning news programming you are watching. Yes, forums and other train stuff was also getting to be too much time. I retired in 2014 and until the pandemic spent maybe 2 hours all day online. It had really gotten out of hand. Since I usually get up at 7:30, having online hours of 6 to 10 prevents too much.

Boris, did you live with a camera in your hands? I love the photos you post, thanks for sharing.

Rich, great photos. I love trains, but really love photos of trains and the back story of the transportation industry. I welcome pictures of trains from anywhere. Today’s picture are wonder. Thank you for also posting your pictures.

Terry, a great statement for today.

Be healthy, be safe, wear a mask please
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Texas Hobo

Well-Known Member
Morning all. Wow, November already. Thanksgiving is definitely going to be different.
Some great weather here on the Gulf Coast. I have been putting off a lot of tasks outside, avoiding the heat and humidity. So now I need to get my caboose in gear and complete those delayed jobs.
Oh and nothing pumpkin flavored for me either.


Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
Happy Noontime to most of you railroaders.....
It was very dark when the 12 paws decided that I had slept long enough this morning - 6AM on the nose - I didn't have the heart to tell them that in reality it was only 5AM. I had not changed the clock last evening, so it will be interesting to see what time they decide to roust me out tomorrow.

Halloween was a bust last evening. We have been pushing 200 little munchkins (big ones too) for the past few years, so with the wife at her mom's, the chore fellon me to provide the treats for the evening.
I arranged the dog fence so as to have them able to see who was at the door without having to keep them from running out or upsetting the non-pooch people and little ones; then I placed my chair, got my virus mask on, and bowl of goodies and proceeded to wait .. and wait .. and wait!
Two and a half hours later - I walked out to the curb and did not see anyone in either direction?
I called the missus and told her that I was closing up shop -- after only having 31 of the under 20 crowd come to the door. We have 180 full-sized Hershey type bars remaining -- which will be returned to Costco; anyone want a candy bar?

RICH - Wonderful narrative, photos all -- keep it up!

FLO -- It's getting on in the day ... How about a BLT? Lots of avocado slices and an order of FF's with a coke to drink.
Oh - Looks like another day in paradise with an 89 high - party cloudy - and at this time not a leaf is stirring. Officially we are 1/13th behind our normally pathetic rainfall.

Gonna load up the pups and go turn in my VOTE at the library then to the MIL's place and let them chase the neighborhood dogs up and down the fence line!


Well-Known Member

This is our first Halloween in our new condo. Asked around (properly distanced on our walking trails). Was warned to purchase only stuff we wanted to consume ourselves. T&Ting was sparse due to the age of the residents. BUT there are a few kids in the neighborhood.

Turned off the porch light after an hour, and took half the bag of Reeses downstairs to the train room. Left the other half for the wife.

If I still lived in LA, I'd drive out to help you eat yours, too


Whiskey Merchant
Good morning. 34 degrees with an expected high in the low 60's again. My cousin and his wife will be here for another night. The counter tops did not arrive and the water to the house is still turned off until the kitchen can be completed which will be done tomorrow. Enjoying the company,

Sherrel - You can send a few Hershey bars up this way. We never see trick or treaters here. Not a single one in 43 years.

TomO - Before I retired, I spent 10 hours a day in front of a computer. One reason I don't get on here every day to check in is because the computer is normally turned off.

Joe - Hit the jackpot with your photos today. An RDC with some Alcos and GG-1. Sweet.

Willie - Like the photos from the museum.

Rich - Excellent photos. I have seen a number of videos from the railroads in the UK and enjoy them. I rode on a lot of trains in Europe years ago when I was in the Navy, but on the continent. Never got to ride them in the UK as when we were there we didn't have much time.

Guess I'll post a few more photos from the archive.

Logan yard.jpg


Herd of Alcos.jpg





"retired" conductor
Good afternoon all!
50° and cloudy, just stopped raining, not sure if its gonna start again or not, but it feels colder that 50°. SWMBO and I went into town this morning to vote figuring we would beat the after church crowd. Well at 10:30 the parking lot was full, and the line was out the door and halfway around the building.. Might try later, might wait till Tuesday.

Flo, just a diet Dew for me, and no, nothing pumpkin spiced please.

Good to see you back in the train shed!

Chet, the motive power chief at Logan Valley musta been a real Alcohaulic!

Sherrel, We had the same luck with T&T. We had maybe 12 out of a possible 200 or more. I even built a candy slide so that we could "social distance" properly. Now I have lots of leftover Hershey bars, Whoppers, and Reese's cups (yum!)

Rich, keep the "over the pond" pics coming!

great shots as usual!

Let me set up a few, from the vault!
Timonium Feb 2011 008.jpg

MMID (Ex BN) SD-24s with 65 car train

Funits leading GP38s

signal crew surprise!!

A real train, for a change!

L8ter all!


Well-Known Member
Afternoon all!

New place looks cozy. Gravy and biscuits for me, Ms. Flo, if it's not too late. Not much going on around here today. Still no internet. I've tethered my laptop to my cellphone so I can catch up on some of my favorite hobo channels on youtube (and watching a few older videos as well). This guy here is one of my favorite channels. Some videos are more scenic and some are filled with heaps and heaps of knowledge. Definitely give him a look see if you are in to that sort of thing.

Has anyone had any luck polishing these old cary bodies? If I can get this one polished enough, I may just clear it and call it done.

Yall stay safe out there!
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