Last night was a continuation of the last few weeks, wiring up switch machines and din plugs for dcc access. I know good progress was made in Maple Valley because I could hear Ed throwing turnouts with the unmistakable sound of the tortoise motor. Wain and I discussed using Lenz LS150's or LS110's to run the turnouts in Franklin. Think we decided we could use 2 LS150's with 12 turnout controls, and since we only have need for 8 up there, we'd use the extra 4 in So. Seattle Yard. Looking forward to that. Last night featured a new purchase from Bachmann, their ballast spreader car for HO. It's product number 39016 and you can find it online for around $32-39. Here it is on our layout last night. The premise is simple, set the height on the back lever to regulate the depth of the ballast. To do that you simply tighten the wing nut. We used the lowest setting. Fill the cup and pull the side lever to open the door at the bottom of the cup. The wheelsets allow you to keep the car on the track, which allows the spreader to deposit ballast on all the sides of the track. It is a great little tool. There is a bit of a learning curve to it and I intend to do a video on it later this week. We found you can do about 2 feet of ballast per cup load and that included moving the car back and forth over the 2 foot section to assure even coverage. One important consideration, if the flood door is open, keep the car moving or you'll end up with a pretty deep pile of ballast. If you look at the picture above, the ballast to the left of the car is new and unglued, the ballast to the right was done by hand and is already glued in place. After putting down the ballast we used 1/2" paint brushes (that were trimmed about half way up to stiffen the bristles) to spread the ballast evenly and get it off the ties. We used our Arizona Rock Products GN ballast for the project. It has a fine dust to it, so the unglued ties appear covered, but once you apply the wet water, that goes away. I was able to do about 30ft last night, with several interruptions. Doug did about 20 feet of double track main in our lower level. I'm really pleased with this little gadget. My only issue with it is the front truck binds up a bit. Reynold is going to try and free it up a bit next week, but that may be problematic as it appears that the wheelset is put in place, then the side arms holding it in are glued together, so it may not be able to be adjusted. More on that next week. Thanks for checking in.