“Derails” is probably too strong of a word – it was a technical glitch that shortened our last op session on the Eagle River Division. Well, maybe “technical glitch” is too strong of a word. User error really best describes what went wrong. In this case the user was me, and the error was failing to assign a different address to the most recently added DCC throttle on my Lenz system. This resulted in intermittent failure and resetting of the system each time the two throttles with the same shared address were used concurrently. Nevertheless, I’m fairly sure ABC News would title this story just as I have. (I am not at all proud of that, by the way.)
With the help of model railroader Ron White, we were quickly able to rule out any track problems. Next, there were a couple of suspect locomotives that were pulled from the rails. None of this helped. It was only after the session ended prematurely (we decided to call it quits and go to lunch!) that I was able to revisit the layout later in the afternoon and figure out what was going on. Praise the Lord for user groups. All I had to do was look through some previous posts to find I’m not the first person to ever experience this situation.
We made it through most of our session before the problem became a real nuisance. That’s the good news. The bad news, there are at least 4 or 5 trains that did not make it back to the yard, and are stuck on the mainline waiting for crews. If I had tried to run 4 or 5 trains all at once prior to this last session, I would have probably discovered the conflicting throttle address problem. Of course, I would probably have also wrecked a few trains in the process, as I’ve found it difficult to control even just two separate trains at one time.