Here at EnterTRAINment Junction we take pride in our approximately 90 trains that run throughout our displays. What most people don’t realize is just how much our trains run on a daily basis and the lasting effects of wear and tear that this can cause for our layout.
Our museum is open every day during the week so, on average, the trains run about 54 hours a week... or 2,800-3,000 hours a year. (This also takes into consideration our extended hours at Christmas and evening events) Most of these trains are engineered for home hobbyists which, to them, 100 hours a year would be a lot. 100 hours vs 3,000 hours is an enormous difference! I myself was amazed when I heard this! Talk about working a lot of overtime!
The good news is that with the new PLC programming, it’s helping to make trains have a longer lifespan. You might remember from a previous article about our train master, Larry. He checks in trains every day-this could take up to a few hours.
Approximately 1/3 of the trains are now on the new program which means if a train hasn't gotten to the next sensor on the track within a reasonable amount of time, the program will alert the system. We can then reason that the train is either derailed, or there’s a dirty track, etc. Another great aspect of this program is that there is an infrared sensor that detects the presence of people and will stop trains from running when there is no one present. (the lighter blue sections on the photo below means that the trains are at their home location and not currently running) This saves a lot on the wear and tear!
The number always identifies the track and the A, B, or C identifies the train. (i.e. 114 A) The colors will indicate which trains are currently running, if there’s a problem, etc.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to still be done, but it’s amazing the progress that has been made! Hopefully in the near future the trains will be able to take a vacation for all of their hard work!