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Welcome to the "Backshop Limited" Edition of the SBS4DCC newsletter.

This is a special edition to share a brief story of some railfanning I got to do this summer.  While this day was mostly just straight up fun, it did have purpose and it might even benefit anyone using Zimo sound decoders.

... All Aboard!

Sound Design (Heinz Dappen) Zimo Sound Projects
Heinz Dappen of Sound Design (L) and Bryan Vianco of (R) make decoder sound recordings at The Indiana Rail Road LMF in Jasonville, IN

Sound Design Records North American Prototypes For Zimo Sound Projects

As many of you know,  I have a regular forty and SBS4DCC is my irregular eighty.

Every now and then I get a chance to breathe and on one rare occasion recently I did just that.  Breathe diesel exhaust that is...  Man it was great!

Mr. Heinz Dappen of Sound Design and I were invited to the Indiana Rail Road Company's (INRD) new state-of-the-art $7.6 million Locomotive Maintenance Facility (LMF) at the Hiawatha Yard near Jasonville, Ind (the former Milwaukee Road Latta Yard) to make sound recordings of several locomotives for use with Zimo sound decoders.  

Sound Design produces sound projects for use with Zimo DCC sound decoders and has made a special trip to the United States to make recordings of North American prototype locomotives.

The Indiana Rail Road is a modern, industry-leading Class II "Regional" railroad that operates some 500 miles of track through central and southern Indiana.  Their primary traffic has been hauling coal from the Bear Run Mine in Sullivan County to various power plants around the state.  They have invested heavily in locomotive maintenance, intermodal and transload facilities to diversify and grow the business.  

In addition to maintenance duties for the INRD's fleet of 41 locomotives, the new LMF provides maintenance services for CIT Rail's leased locomotive fleet.

We were truly fortunate to receive such an invitation as an opportunity like this only comes along once in a lifetime.  The INRD does not usually provide tours and very few railroads would ever make an opportunity like this possible.  They are running a real railroad after all.

We were treated to a fine example of Hoosier hospitality and presented with operating examples of the SD90/43MAC, GP38AC, SD40-2, SD60M, ES40DC, and SW1500 to record.  Heinz said the opportunity to have so many unique engines to record in one session was incredibly rare.  Mr. Wayne Wiza, Chief Mechanical Officer of the INRD, must have pulled off a miracle at the power desk to have so many different locomotives on hand for the event.  They are running a real railroad after all...  Heinz also noted that he has never been able to work so efficiently through a recording session, a testament to the amount of effort and organization that Mr. Wiza and his team put forth to make this session possible.

The session went flawlessly and Heinz even managed to get recordings of a SD40-2 dynamic brake in service thanks to some last minute coordination between Mr. Wiza and Mr. Cleveland Elliot, Road Foreman, to get Heinz in a cab and over the road.  We did not expect to be able to get this sound sequence since it requires a moving locomotive to operate the dynamics and we weren't sure if such an opportunity would be possible.

Everything progressed smoothly over the course of the day and the timing of events worked out perfectly so that they were able to put him on a train that would be rolling through DB territory.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  I admit I am a bit jealous though...  I had to drive the pick-up vehicle since this was a one-way fare.  

My favorite sound sample of the day was the automatic parking brake of the ES40DC.  For a brief moment I thought they were pulling up a boat anchor.  It must have taken five minutes to wind up all of the brake cylinder chain.  Then Jeff blew the horn and I was quickly reminded of my GPS coordinates.  I sure hope that makes the final project!

We are humbled by the generosity of time and facilities provided by Mr. Thomas Hoback, President and CEO of the Indiana Rail Road and wish to give special thanks to him and to the following INRD personnel for their contributions:

Mr. Eric Powell, Manager of Economic Development, for arranging and organizing the event, thank you Eric!,

Mr. Wayne Wiza, Chief Mechanical Officer, for coordinating the staff and power, and well, for making this happen, well done...

Mr. Cleveland Elliot, Road Foreman, for coordinating the over-the-road events,

Ms. Shae LeDune,  Executive Assistant to the President, for final event preparations,

and to the staff of the INRD Jasonville LMF for making this opportunity so successful.

We extend a special thank you to our guides Jeff and Andy for their time, knowledge, and patience in operating the locomotives.

Heinz, myself, and the model railroading community will be forever indebted for this contribution to the World's Greatest Hobby.

Heinz continued his trip across the country in search of more opportunities to record North American prototypes.  His itinerary lead him to the IRM in Illinois where he captured sound from a vintage Alco RSD-4/5, to Colorado where he recorded additional sound sequences for his Shay projects, and to California where he captured the sound of an iconic Baldwin 0-4-0T switcher.

In all, Heinz should be able to make several great new prototypes for the Sound Design catalog.

Recording INRD SD40-2 #4003 at the Jasonville LMF
Flag Stop... 
What YOU See Is What I Have


SBS4DCC - Stock Status Information


Just a reminder that SBS4DCC features real-time inventory tracking.  If it says it is in stock... it IS...  I try to maintain a strong selection of DCC and Model Railroad products and try not to hide what I do not stock yet.  I appreciate the opportunity to provide catalog items when you can wait a few extra days as this makes a huge difference in my ability to grow and expand my selection.


Every now and then, I do run out of an item.  Backorders are accepted on many stock items and orders can still be placed for those items through the web store.


Don't see what you need?  I have a growing list of suppliers so be sure to ask about any product you need that is not listed on my site.  

SBS4DCC Products...

Finally! A small speaker that will rock your world.  


Four Sizes
Eight Baffles
Thirty Two Sweet Speaker Options



SBS4DCC Varnish Lighting 


Bring your crack passenger trains to life with the brilliance and intensity of flicker-free LED lighting at an affordable price. 



Constant Non-Directional Design


Expandable Anti-Flicker Circuit


DCC-Friendly Design 


Adjustable Brightness


Z, N and HO Scale Models Available





DCC Tools...
The ESU LokTester is a stand-alone DCC Decoder Test Station compatible with any brand of decoder or command station.

Screw Terminal
Next18 NEM661
6-Pin NEM651
8-Pin NEM652
PluX NEM658
21MTC NEM660


6 Function LEDs
5-pole Motor
20mm Speaker

The MRT Accutrak Speedometer is a free standing, battery operated scale speedometer HO and N scales.


Its design is based upon infrared beams which create a "trap" zone through which the train travels.

Accutrak Features:

Ideal for DCC speed matching DCC


Operates on 2 AAA batteries


Scale Selectable  - N or HO

Use this handy portable tool to keep your servos centered while you mount them under the layout.

The tool consists of a battery box connected to a small circuit board that continuously puts out a centering signal for the servo (1.5 ms pulse).

Keeping your servos properly centered while mounting is the key to making the servos work best.

The battery box has an on/off switch to save your batteries when not in use.

Everyone using servos for turnouts needs one of these.

Requires 3 AA batteries.


RRampMeter is now marketed by DCC Specialties!

The only inexpensive device that accurately measures DCC Volts/Amps. Also measures AC and DC Volts/Amps.

Costs less than DVMs that cannot measure DCC. 

Ver I, II, & III rated at 6 Amps and Ver IV rated at 20 Amps.

Measures true RMS Volts/Amps, +/- 2%.

Suitable for all scales.

No batteries required.

Designed for Left/Right-hand use.

PCB length 5.63"; Enclosure length 4", width 2", height 1.25"

4 Styles Available
Adjustable contacts permit direct track voltage measurements for all scales.

DCC Links...

DCC Calculators & Reference...



And don't forget I carry a fantastic selection of DCC products from all of the best manufacturers including CT ElektroniksDigitraxElectronic Solutions Ulm (ESU)Lenz,MRCNCEQSI SolutionsRoco Z21SoundtraxxTCS and Zimo.


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