About the MFR

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) is a proto-freelanced model railroad based on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad located in northern Idaho and north eastern Washington State. For the very latest on the layout, please visit my YouTube channel and follow along with my Instagram account.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


This is not good.... Last night I installed CurrentKeepers in my Athearn GP15-1 and GP38-2.  I started with my GP15 first.

Problem #1  The Tsunami board in the model did not match the supplied directions.  I had to do a bunch of searching on the web to finally track down the board model number so I can figure out where to attach the wires. Turns out the board is a TSU GN-1000. This webpage provides an illustration of where the wires need to be soldered: http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/mainnorth/alive.htm

Problem #2 I can't solder apparently. I didn't have an issue soldering track work, but for some reason I could not get the wires to solder to the board at all.  Took me many tries to get it to finally adheir. I tested it on the layout before I attempted to reattach the body and everything worked perfectly! However...

Problem #3 The locomotive comes equipped with headlights, a Mars light and a beacon as well.  These are really cool, but they also mean that there is a mess of wires that won't allow the shell to fit correctly once the CurrentKeeper is installed.  I tried it maybe a half a dozen different ways but no dice.  There is just not enough vertical clearance in the body to make it happen for me.  If I was diligent I could probably re-arrange the wires in such a way that there is enough clearance if not for my last problem...

Problem #4  The screw to the coupler box is stripped and I can't open up the locomotive now.  That's right. When I purchased the locomotive "new" from the online retailer, it came with a partially stripped screw in the coupler box. (along with a handrail that had been broken and glued back into place, but that is a different story) Anyway, that was annoying, but with the right screwdriver and a light touch, I had been able to work around it up to this point. However, last night with the constant assembling, disassembling, rearranging the wires, assembling again, seeing that the body still doesn't quite fit as it should, disassembling again, etc, the screw finally gave up and stripped away completely.

So now I have this locomotive that I can't do anything with. I can't get the body off the frame, I can't close it up completely.  I'm VERY frustrated right now.

By the way, after I ruined my GP15, I installed the second CurrentKeeper in my GP38-2. It went in just fine. No problems at all. Figures.

So, not all is lost.  Truth is I secretly hated that GP15 as it has given me nothing but problems from day 1. Part of me is glad it is gone from my layout. I also think I can spin this into part of the "lore" of the railroad. Something like:

A catastrophic engine failure has placed MFTRs GP15-1 out of commission for the foreseeable future. This comes at a fortuitous time however, as the railroad has seen a decline in rail traffic the past several years. Trains in the Pend Oreille Valley have become shorter in length and less frequent. The extra pulling power has proven to be less economical than beneficial. The crippled GP15-1 now sits at the rail shop in Sandpoint Idaho awaiting it's ultimate fate. 

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes, I'm amazed we keep doing this hobby. I've had many frustrating days like the one you describe. I usually walk away from the workbench and do something else for a while - then try a different project (e.g.: scenery instead of electronics).
    Good luck with the GP15 - or in finding a suitable replacement (maybe a second GP38-2?)
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)