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Lee Nicholas and his Utah Colorado Western

Lee’s outstanding Utah Colorado Western has been featured numerous times in the model press as well as in Great Model Railroads video tape #27. He is also a great proponent of the C/MRI system including holding seminars on the subject as well as sponsoring extremely popular operating sessions attended by prototypical oriented operators from all around the US. Train control is by Rail Lynx providing a direct IR link between each walkaround throttle and the engine(s) being controlled.

UCW operator Jon Robinson is the brains behind the C/MRI installation. Prior to the adopting the C/MRI, Jon spent hundreds of hours designing his own interface. He spent untold hours and wore out the knees in more than one pair of pants, crawling around under the layout hooking everything up. Although his efforts provided the UCW with a reliable interface for a number of years Lee and the UCW crew decided in 2000 to replace the system with Bruce Chubb's C/MRI system. As Lee stated, “Updating to the C/MRI gave us a system that was easily expandable and one that I could easily maintain and program.”

UCW operator Rod Loder was the inspiration behind creating the CTC machines for the UCW. He’s done the same for many other layouts around the country. His company, Photo Electric, now offers a full line of CTC parts and panels. The first panel supplied for the UCW in 1990 was the US&S style machine used on the Southern Pacific in Eugene, Oregon. (That’s also the machine copied and simulated for use in Eugene Oregon on the SV Oregon System).

In the spring of 2000 it was also decided, along with the change to the C/MRI, to replace the SP board with one from the UP. The new machine is also of US&S vintage and was part of the UP's dispatch center located in Pocatello, Id. Rod’s company completely refurbished the machine with the UCW track and lever arrangements making these old relics look factory fresh just off the "Showroom Floor". All hardware is original to the machine which includes: switch and signal levers, code buttons, toggle switches, lamps and glass lenses and all the contacts behind the scenes. Good friend, John Signor of Dunsmuir, CA, provided all the artwork for the track panels. They are photo etched on aluminum by a company in Wisconsin.

The C/MRI system along with Oregon Rail Supply 3-color signals were installed in a 3-month period; June - August of 2000. Don Wood, of Easee Interfaces, assembled and tested all the required C/MRI cards and built up all the cables. The UCW crew tore out the old system, installed the C/MRI, did all the wiring with the new trackside signals and everything was up and running perfectly in 3-months. As Lee states, “I am very pleased with the CMRI system it was easy to install and program and performs very well.”

For more information about the UCW and its C/MRI application visit Lee’s excellent UCW WEB Site.


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