This week after posting a message on the NCE-DCC yahoo forum, I was finally able to get my USB to Serial Adaptor to install on my kids Netbook. While I have got this working, I still have not bothered to take the next step and actually plugged the cable into the NCE Power Pro 5 Amp system and fire up Decoder Pro and control a train and read some CV's. Before I actually get around to reading some CV's from a decoder on my programming track, I had better install a programming track on the layout. I have not needed one before now. I have always had one attached to my NCE PowerCab in Grafton Yard, but none on the main layout. It just so happens that I have two sidings in Lismore Yard, which are located directly above my Command Station, so it will be easy to install some isolators and run the track connections via a Double Pole Double Throw switch. If I get so motivated I could do this either Tuesday or Wednesday.
This week I have also continued work on my timetable for Cassino. I was doing some Google'ing trying to find some tools that would assist in creating my timetable. I was not able to find many, so I just added some extra features to my EXCEL spreadsheet that allows me to highlight when I have two or more trains are supposed to be within the same section. That way I can add a few minutes to one at a crossing loop and Voila! the timetable is created. One thing I was able to find was a spreadsheet on another Yahoo group that printed the line graphs that we are used to seeing as the timetable is usually depicted as. So once my membership of that group was approved, I download the spreadsheet and studied it. Ah! I see said the blind man. I was always unable to develop a line graph in EXCEL until now. It was all down to the chart type and what the input data was. Brilliant.
I could change the existing graph with my data for more crossing locations and my times for the trains and the timetable graph developed. This was a slow painful method, so I tried to copy my data into the spreadsheet for the graph and everything disappeared from the graph. I was stumped. As I usually say - Google is your friend. I was able to work out that blank cells could not have spaces in them, they had to be Null. So once this was changed, I could get all my train paths showing up. Once I had a visual graph, it was easy to then add a few conditional trains for ballasts and sleeper trains. I could then also add a morning and afternoon mountain goat train from Cassino to Border Loop. I just need a could of stock trains and an oil train I think this timetable will be complete. I may create a number of different timetable with different trains running, with crosses in different places.
In order to read the timetable you need to know a few things, all loops are represented as Milage points starting at 0 and ending at 170. Grafton Yard is 0, Cassino is 40, Border Loop is 90 and Acacia Ridge is 120. The branch is represented as Cassino at 130, and Murwillumbah at 170. As I refine the timetable, I will overlay text names for all the crossing loops. Some of the colours are shocking but I will these up at lunchtime at work tomorrow as I can use EXCEL 2003 much better that the 2007 version I can at home.
I have tried and uploaded a .JPG copy of a PDF of the timetable graph below. I'm not sure how well it will display when you click on it. But here goes. If anyone wants a copy of the PDF just leave your email address in my Comments or email me at ca55ino at bigpond.net.au and I can send you one.
25 minutes ago