This week started off with the continued development of timetable No. 1 for Cassino. I think over time I will make up a number of timetables with different motive power and train consist options for different eras. In timetable No. 1 besides the mandatory trains, there are quite a few conditional ones. The complete timetable now has 45 train movements in a 24 hour fast clock period. It should take 3 hours to run the complete timetable. Some of the trains are just runs from Cassino Yard to the Cassino Meat Works siding and back which is located just outside the yards limits across a busy roadway. This trains runs in the morning and afternoon. There is also a propelling move from Cassino to the Bonalbo ballast siding in the opposite direction - which is how this actually occured. Another train also runs from Grafton Yard to Rocla Sleeper Siding to load sleepers and returns back to Grafton Yard after running around the trains a few hours later. There are quite a few passing opportunities at every crossing loop in the timetable. So when I get to test the timetable it will be extremely interesting to see what sort of bedlam develops. I might have to pay the crew danger money as I'm sure some hairy situations will arise. For the conditional trains in the timetable, depending upon the number of operating crew available for each session, this will determine how we decide what conditional trains will run (throwing a dice, tossing a coin, etc.). So while 45 trains might sound alot, some are extremely short trains on short runs from one loop to the next loop or siding (and then put away) intermixed with containers, steelies and fruit expresses that are at the limit of crossing loop dimensions.
I spent some time yesterday again trying to create a few trains in the yards with the correct wagon make up for their timetable description. I have come to the conclusion that I have way too many of some types of wagons and too few of others. I might have to dispose of some excess wagons to create a small nest egg to buy others that are needed. I have also come to the conclusion that I do not have enough decent motive power. Another dozen locos would do a treat - so I can't wait until the 48's from Tom's and the 81's from Austrains hit the rails. But a few more 44's, 80's and Jumbos would not be an issue either. However, two of my jumbos seem to have the cow catcher too low and scrapping on the track at a few places around the layout. While I also hope to get an Auscision XPT or two and a couple of 59's from Eureka, these will have to be for timetable No. 2 and timetable No. 3. Timetable No. 2 might be for some steam trains, while number 3 might be for post 1991 traffic when the loco hauled passenger services were be replaced with XPT's. I think I might have to provide extra detail in or with the timetable so that I record what actual wagons are in each trains consist especially if I run multiple timetables and some wagons are in and some are out and some trains are in and some are out depending upon the timetable being run.
As I was moving trains from Acacia Ridge to Grafton yesterday I was also fixing a few dips in the track with some packing. I had planned to cast two tunnel mouths in plaster today from my self-made moulds, but never got around to it. I washed the car, played the Wii with the kids twice and helped Kyle with setup and run his Thomas Tomy train set which took up the family room. I guess I was still doing something train related!
Tuesday this week was Tuesday Nighter's at Mike's. We had a pretty full complement attend. On Friday morning I was checking my email and saw that Geoff had called an impromtu Friday night modelling session for Darren, Peter and myself. Oh Yeah! I did not go to work on friday so I was able to spend an hour in the shed late in the arvo and quickly created two small control panels for Rappville Loop and Rocla Siding. These two loops were originally designed for wire in tube control of points. My lever mechanisms did not always work successfully. So I have now bitten the bullet and decided to supercede these as CTC signalling has now been installed south of Cassino. On Friday night I took the modelling opportunity to solder the wires on the control panels. They were screwed to the facias on Saturday afternoon. The 4 push buttons on these panels will control the points at each end of the loop. The push buttons will be connected to free slots on my existing NCE Mini Panel which will be coded up to issue commands on the track bus to throw the 4 point motors (2 at Rocla, and 2 at Rappville) via a new Digitrax DS64 accessory controller that I need to purchase.
Also on Friday night at the modelling session I put the finishing touches (sides and roof) on 3 coil steel containers that I had in varing states of assembly. I now have to put the top detail to allow lifting of the containers off the wagons and that may be actioned this week. I have about 5 N scale containers and about 8 HO scale containers to complete. At this session, Darren was putting together a Casula PC2 station building kit. Peter was putting the finishing touches on his Oil depot setup. Here Peter had some nice detail kits from the local hobby shop that I must avail myself of, when I build my two oil depots on Cassino. These are for Old Cassino and Lismore and are both Shell depots. Anyone bringing out some Shell tankers? Geoff was distressing and staining the sleepers for his last two scratchbuilt points for his layout. A very productive evening and the beer was cold, and the company good. When is the next one Geoff? Or when is the orientation session at Darren's? - Hint Hint!
Today I also affixed the last two signal panels (for the staff machines) to the facias at Fairy HIll. There was one of each side of the baseboard. So again just a bit more progress, only another 20 years to go!
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