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from a Santa Fe board along with custom-built parts. Though the actual levers and code but- tons are connected to a comput- er, a recording of actual relays plays each time a code button is pushed, resulting in a very au- thentic simulation of the 1970s era. A museum volunteer wrote the CTC mode program in Mi- crosoft Visual Basic 6.0. ABS allows the crews to op- erate all the switches manually, and the signals respond to oc- cupancy, the next signal indi- cation, and the position of the turnout or crossover. It is not possible for two trains to meet between sidings during manual operations since once an oppos- ing train leaves a siding, all the opposing intermediate signals between sidings are set to stop. Manual operations are generally used only for track cleaning and staging trains rather than regu- lar public operations.


In the docent mode, the com- puter program can operate up to nine trains, which follow the sig- nal indications and realistically accelerate and slow depend- ing on the signal aspect. With a single-track railroad, the pro- gram operates trains in oppos- ing directions and is designed to make realistic meets at any of the six mainline sidings. One of the museum volunteers wrote the proprietary docent com- puter program containing more than 7,000 lines of code.


Equipment


Most equipment is RTR from a number of manufacturers, in- cluding Athearn, Atlas, Inter- Mountain, and Walthers. The layout currently has more than 200 locomotives, mostly second- generation diesels of the 1975 era. Several steam locomotives of the era run on the layout, in- cluding UP No. 844 and SP No. 4449 painted in the 1975/76 red, white, and blue Freedom Train livery. All the locomotives are powered and DCC-equipped


with at least two locomotives in each consist featuring sound. Decoders are mostly QSI with some SoundTraxx Tsunamis as well. All the locomotives are weathered appropriately for the era. The predominant power is SP, followed by BN and Western Pacific with a few Chicago, Bur- lington & Quincy and GN units that are still in their pre-BN merger livery. Freight equipment is prin- cipally boxcars plus flats and bulkhead flats with open lum- ber loads, gons, covered grain and cement hoppers, and tank cars. In addition, there is a dedi- cated ore train hauled by BN power, two TOFC trains, plus, of course, the various Weyerhaeus- er lumber turns.


Three dedicated log trains represent the Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company and run on the OC&E using both skeleton and bunk log cars. Power for these trains is OC&E, includ- ing a scratchbuilt U25B slug in a four-unit green OC&E U25B consist. Operating on the Weyer- haeuser Sycan Branch is a 2-6- 6-2 steam locomotive that per- haps stretches the 1975 era just a bit but provides a popular at- traction for visitors.


Docent operations have a dedicated staging area and


equipment that includes some UP and Denver & Rio Grande Western trains. A model of the Rio Grande Zephyr runs up the OC&E after a long detour from a D&RGW mud slide at Thistle, Utah — remember, this is a free- lance railroad! To promote current-day train travel, the museum also occa- sionally operates a contempo- rary model of the Amtrak Em- pire Builder as a way to engage visitors in conversations about modern-day train operations.


Operations As mentioned earlier, opera- tions can be manually controlled with individual crews and a CTC dispatcher, or totally automated with computer control. As the museum has matured, there have been sufficient volunteers to operate in the CTC mode on Fridays and Saturdays, with computer-controlled operations on Sundays (plus Wednesdays and Thursdays during summer hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Several operation- al plans were tested, but given that the museum is open to the public and the primary respon- sibility is to entertain guests, the museum developed a simplified operational scheme.


Operation is governed by


Port of Coos Bay The Port of Coos Bay, Or- egon, is modeled on the layout along with two HO-scale ship models.


“Portland Inter-


change” With Train 262, the Port- land Interchange, in full dynamics as it descends the 1.1 percent grade, it crosses the wood curved trestle, Bridge 6, above Deep Creek before enter- ing into Sycan Junction.


SEPTEMBER 2015 47


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