Retrofitting feeder wires to existing track isn’t my idea of a good time. However, it’s a necessary step if I want a functioning layout.

When I dismantled the Indiana and Whitewater, I just wanted the job over and the mess cleaned up. At the time I didn’t know if I would ever build another layout, so I wasn’t that careful in salvaging things. If a section of track and roadbed came up intact fine, if not, I didn’t sweat it. As a result, I cut the old feeder wires without any concern about reusing things.

Mill Road is built around a pair of turnouts that came up cleanly, yet is missing a number of wiring connections. I had to extend the track on each end of this section and added new feeder wires as needed before ballasting. For completed track it’s another story. Here, I have to drill a hole and solder the wire to rail that is painted and often buried in ballast. If that doesn’t sound like enough fun, I also don’t want to see these wires.

The foam board construction of the cameo also complicates attaching the bus wires. To provide a solid surface to screw into, I glued pieces of thin plywood to the underside of the foam using construction adhesive. Then I screwed 3/4” sq. blocking to these pads to hold the 10AWG bus wires that run the length of both sections. I know, 10ga. wire is gross overkill but I had the right amount of scrap wire that I wanted to use up instead of buying new material. Before attaching the blocks I drilled a pair of holes in each to thread the bus wires through.

Once the new wiring was run, I hooked up temporary power and spent a ridiculous amount of time enjoying the locomotive moving back and forth like a lazy ping pong ball.

I prefer simplicity more than ever.

At this stage in the craft, I want the simplest systems possible. Operations on Mill Road consist of a single locomotive and handful of cars, so even though I have a DCC system, it seems like overkill. Furthermore, I’m not that great a fan of sound effects or installing and programming decoders. I enjoy sound but can easily get along without it. This leaves me with an old school solution that fits my needs: a simple, stationary power pack positioned by the lone turnout and grade crossing. If I do decide to complicate my life in the future, the layout is prewired and ready to go. For now though, it’s been too long since something moved under its own power.