Sunday, February 20, 2011

Decoders, Staff Machines, Sidings and Prep for next Saturday

This week I spent two nights installing (hard wiring) two D13SRJ decoders into two Austrains 80 Class locos for a member of our Club. I also replaced the bulbs with LEDs. Upon a test drive they ran very well.

Saturday I thought I'd pull my finger out and finally install the staff machines for the last two crossing loops on the Branch Line. These were for Old Cassino to Lismore (which included an intermediate staff machine at Lismore's Shell Oil Siding), and the Lismore to Murwillumbah section. I might need these if I have my timetable running session next Saturday night.

This is a photo of the two staff machines at Lismore

In the photo above the the left switch controls the section back to Old Cassino while the right hand switch controls the section to Murwillumbah.  Next to that is the NCE UTP panel to enable plug in operation of Procabs and cab04s.  To the right of that is what we use to hold our Procabs - this was a mobile phone holder that Supercheap sold for $5.  Our Club bought 50 of them a couple of years ago now.  About 12 ended up on my layout.  I have also used some kebab skewers in all of my cab holder to enable operators to uncouple wagons - if required.
After Staff machine installation was complete, I decided to install three sets of points that had been sitting in Acacia Ridge Yard on Track 5 for quite some time. From these I laid out 3 new dead end sidings. These are for storing trains that do not belong in a particular running session. I'm just too lazy to take them off the layout.  I need to just shunt a few trains out of the way. I only got three sidings laid as I ran out of track joiners. I'll have to pick some up next Saturday morning and I might be able to get another siding laid before next Saturday night's running session. I probably need another 3 or 4 tracks to store more trains on, but good things come to those that wait.
The three points installed in Acacia Ridge Yard

Looking back along the sidings - a Grain train, concrete sleeper train and an XPT.  The four tracks to the right of these are numbers 1 to 4, right to left and are my balloon loops for storage of trains in the running session.

The other day I send out the invites for next Saturday's drinking - sorry running session. I have got two people locked and loaded, just waiting to hear how many of the other 5 are available.

Today I cleaned the track by running a few trains on the main and the branch. It must have been well over 12 months since I last ran a train from Old Cassino north on the branch. I have done a shunt within the Lismore yards, but no trains have run north of Old Cassino all the way to Murwillumah until today, for a long long time. I have had junk strewn over the track at Lismore and around the spiral between Lismore and Murwillumbah. This got cleaned up. I also moved the two TV sets out of the way. While planning the session, it dawned on me that the Controller needs access to a fast clock to see how trains are going compared with the timetable. So my only way of doing this is to give the Controller his own procab so that he can just watch the clock. All the other operators will see the clock of their procabs.  I still have to make a desktop for the controller to work on.  I might have time next Saturday morning.

This is the first train preparing to head south from Murwillumbah for a very long time.  It is clearing excess rollingstock not needed for the timetable run.  The cab light is on in the number 2 cab end.  This allows the driver to fill in his paperwork before departure south.  The staff machine shows green - thus the second person has not pulled a staff yet.

The first full train north to Murwillumbah heading through Lismore.  This trains starts its run in Murwillumbah yard in the timetable next Saturday.

Late this afternoon I was finalising where all the trains were to be positioned in the various yards for the timetable session.  I was running a double header through Kyogle heading north when it created a short.  It made one of the locos non-responsive - a total failure.  I had to take it to the programming track and kick start it.  I got it going again, but that will create a bit of havoc during the session if that was to occur.  Also one of my 44 Class locos seems to now not want to run backwards.  I will have to look at this during the week.  I hope I have not had a stripped gear or something in the motor.

So how do others run their timetable sessions? Post an update to your blogs and post a comment on my blog when you done it. I'm interested in seeing what we can improve, or just how others run their timetable sessions, or timetable sessions that you attend at other layouts.


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