In the layout room, nobody can hear you scream

Approaching Perfection Asymptotically

I once heard a live-aboard sailboat owner lament, "With ownership comes maintenance". Truer words have never been spoken.

Having a layout is fun(ish), but keeping a layout in good running shape is a non-ending endeavor. Non-layout owners, by and large, don't get this. They seem to think that you open up the doors of your layout room on operating night and "VOILA!", it is all magically pristine, with superbly clean track, and mirror-bright clean wheels.

Not so.

Maintenance is an on-going task, particularly on a DCC N-scale layout. Our locos don't (yet) benefit from the "keep-alive" capacitor unit that the HO fellows have. (But I'm not bitter!)

After each session, I generate a list of maintenance items that must be completed before I'll schedule the next session. Most are minor (low coupler, dirty track, etc.), but some require that the experts be brought int.

Such is the case of the misbehaving turnout at Boonville. I have an original (non-Kasper MKVII, rev2 - GASP!) turnout at west Boonville that often did not throw completely back to straight track after being thrown for the siding. The throw bar was just a tiny bit short and would catch on the rail, keeping the points from throwing all the way. No amount of filing or tweaking (not twerking, eww) would resolve the problem. In desperation, I implored my friend, Joe, expert turnout maker-betterer, to come have a look.

His diagnosis confirmed my worst fears - my entire layout sucks.

But specifically, that throwbar at west Boonville sucks more than acceptable, and must be replaced. So out comes the suck reduction tools and Joe gets to work.

An hour later, Joe looks up from the patient and says, "I call the time of death at 6:52 pm". No, he actually says, "Boom! Done!" (or something like that). And now the west Boonville turnout works perfectly. Many thanks to Joe!!!
Throw bar
Thanks to my buddy, Joe, the official Grand Poobah of track maintenance on the Mighty MKT, a new mo' betta' throw bar gets installed at the West Boonville turnout. As Joe likes to point out, retrofitting parts into a scenicked and signaled layout is a "special kind of Hell".