I went down to the shed this afternoon to turn everything on and run the track cleaning train all the way around the layout and to visit most sidings as well. I fired up the track power and you guessed it. I was getting a short. It was in power District number 4. That is the section of track from Cougal Spiral just north of Kyogle through to Acacia Ridge Yard until just short of Rocklea Sidings. Well that was a disappointment! So I isolated that section and ran my track cleaning train all the way up to Kyogle and them jumped into problem solving mode. I quick glance at all the track work revealed nothing. The last time I was in the shed, I had that section of track operational as I was testing my narrow gauge 2300 class loco. So I knew the problem had to be relatively simple. I then started looking under the layout at all the wire from the power district track bus ensuring that the two wires in the bus, had not come together at any of the points which had track power jumpers up to the track soldered to them. Nothing was evident. My next thought was to get out my multimeter and measure the resistance at various points along the track to determine if I could find the point of least resistance. But as I got to the farthest end of Acacia Ridge Yard on my visual inspection of track, I started checking out my parked Steel train that was in siding no.2 of the reversing loop. Well I looked at one wagon, it had a set of wheels directly on the joiner that separates the section that is the beginning of the auto reversing section on the return loop at that point. Well I moved the wagon about 3mm so it was no longer on that section of track spanning the auto reverser and turned track power on. My layout ammeter was no longer spiking up to 3 and half Amps. That short had now gone.
I guess there may not be many power feeds in that section and the track is getting the power feed along through the joiners in the track. I single wheel on that join at track power up time was not enough to trigger the auto reverser. I can drive trains through that section and the auto reverser operates every time. Maybe this one wheel was not suitable to act as a trigger. Well, eventually I completed the track cleaning activities all the way from Grafton Yard to Cassino and then out along the Murwillumbah branch. I then backed up to Cassino and proceeded to Dutton Park and took the Fisherman Islands Branch, before again back tracking to Dutton Park, and then travelling through to South Brisbane Interstate Station and Yard. The track cleaning train then ran back along the main line until it made it to its siding in Grafton Loco.
The fridge has been stacked with some more soft drinks and ales. The outdoor setting and pergola were cleaned. The timetable cards are ready and the updated train graph has been installed with the latest trains included. So tomorrow the only things to do is to get the tea/coffee, milk, suger and coffee cups out, turn on the layout lights and fire up the Raspberry Pi for wifi access for the poor people who cannot afford an NCE radio throttle – which is my preferred way to operate the layout. The BBQ will be cleaned and then fired up for tomorrow’s snags for lunch.
I have about 9 coming over, but 2 will be late starters. We have about 36 or so trains to run and I may pull a couple from the timetable. The Fastclock will start at just before 15:00, so we have about 10 hours to get through.