Sunday, December 18, 2011

T'was the week before Christmas....

Tuesday this week, the Tuesday Nighters visited Lefty and Son’s up the road in the next suburb. There was 10 men in the shed. Darren and I got to work and added a small piece of baseboard to Lefty’s layout and laid track over it, extending a siding, before the night was out.  Someone has to make progress on Dave's layout!  Discussion during the evening was interesting, company was first rate and we had a great time. PK had some samples to show off, which we split up before leaving.

I’m arranging a large bulk order of cattle and sheep wagons from Eureka (at the early bird price) with some of the Tuesday Nighter guys and some other guys from the Club. There will also be a much smaller order of oil tanker wagons from SDS. I wish someone would bring out a 3 or 4 pack of just Shell wagons! All my oil sidings will be labelled Shell, so I need Shell wagons to operate them.

Thursday afternoon, I had some skin cancers cut out so I came home early (Any Excuse!). So I went to the shed. I started verifying the wagons cards for my shunting trains. I had wagons all over the place. Some wagons that were supposed to be at Lismore, were at Murwillumbah. Others that were at Old Cassino should have been at Murwillumbah. I manually swapped wagons around and added more identifying info to the wagons cards. This included things like - wagon colour, or some sort of distinguishing feature – like the colour of one bogie. There is absolutely no way to read the wagon numbers on the side of some of the wagons as it is too small.  Besides some don't have codes, let along a number.  I also recorded the wagons in my block trains. I will try and get around to eventually creating wagon cards for all these block trains that just run from yard to yard.  But that may not be done before the next Running Session. That night I decided to install the decoder into a HO Thomas steam engine for David. I just need to wait for three more small N scale decoders with 8 pin plugs to show up for David’s other three locos.

Friday afternoon I got down to the shed after I mowed the grass.  I had to move Kyle's bike into the shed, so I can put it together tomorrow night.  It is his Birthday on Tuesday.  This is his first bike, as it will have training wheels.  Hopefully he will like it, along with his new model helicopter.

Saturday arvo I decided I’d start getting the trains back into position for the next running session. As I ran some trains, they gave me some issues. Some point blades were not set (thrown) correctly and a few trains hit the dirt. One point blade needs to be glued back together.

Yersterday morning I started arranging the crew for the next session. I will try and get some new blood in the form of the Range Team – some NSW modellers from Toowoomba.  Some of the regular crew will not be available so I'm trying to sign up some reserves.

I also picked up another set of headphones, but this time they are a different brand. I think I will use these for the North Coast Control. The headphones don't seem to be as good, but the microphone seems to be compatible with the setup we have.

I made quite a few notes on improvements as I ran some trains yesterday. I fixed a coupler on a 48 class (2nd unit on a long train) as the couplers had lots of up and down play so the locos kept uncoupling. That was fixed Saturday night. I also fixed the couplers on 5 oil tankers that I lowered some time back as they hit the top of a tunnel. The lowering of the bogies stuffed up the coupler height. As I was operating this train, it was annoying for the couplings to be so low. Well that was also fixed on Saturday night. I also shimmed a few track joints on one side of the join.

Today I got down to the Shed again late this arvo.  We went to a 2 year old's birthday party down The Spit, at Southport for most of the day.  I added anotehr uncoupling magnet at Murwillumbah - one more to add this week.  I also added some toothbrush bristles to Murwillumbah (the main platform, the loop line, the cement siding and the main line next to the cement siding.  I also added two more to Cassino Meatworks siding.  I did some testing of the uncoupling magnet.  If a run my train at speed step 4 (in 28 speed step mode) and hit reverse direction, the wagons uncouple about 75% of the time.  If it doesn't work, just back up and try again. Quite nifty if I do say so myself.

I drove another 5 trains from Cassino and Old Cassino all the way back to Grafton Yard for stabling.  I have two more trains that I have moved as far as Cassino, to get back to Grafton Yard before the next session.  I also need to send one train to Murwillumbah - not sure where that one is located at the moment - probably Grafton yard somewhere.  I also think I have one train I need to move to Acacia Ridge as well.  I think that I have too many wagons on one of my shunting trains, as it does not fit into the siding at Old Cassino.  I will have to think about that over the next week, and try to solve this situation.

This week I will need to print the timetable, and any other supporting info for the session next Tuesday.

I wonder what next Sunday will bring as the big fella in the red gear will be visiting. I’ll let you all know next week. Hope all your wishes come true – Merry Christmas for next Sunday.

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