So at the appointed hour, we had everyone turn up for the BBQ. After polishing off about 20 sausages, we adjourned to the Shed. As we did not have many crew, so we decided to forgo the Yard Master position and North Coast Control. While we have a nice little area complete with scematic panel of the whole layout, a phone from North Coast Control to Grafton Yard and Acacia Ridge Yard, and a headset setup from each signal box back to North Coast Control, you don't really have to run with it. By having detail on most of the timetable cards, advising the train number you are supposed to cross, and what track you are supposed to enter (Main, Loop, Yard, Siding etc.) at the various crossing loops, you can work the trains through the network without having North Coast Control.
Sure there were a few shouts of "Is anyone running Number 14?" To which you would hear 'Yes' occasionally, as we stripped quite a few Conditional trains from the timetable. If you knew a train was running, sometimes there was another question "Where are you now?" This could allow you on some occcasions to sneak a further section or two. However, the timetable is quite tight and there are quite a few three way crosses that occur, so trains really need to be where they are supposed to be or you could get some real issues eventuate.
So generally, the layout ran reasonably well, but we did have some issues, with a few derailments, uncouplings, a loco stutter or two. We had one push button switch on one of the Murwillumbah panels fail - the 'Main' route actually, but the switch worked when worked from the other panel, so we just used that. This was caused by a wire coming off the switch. We also had a staff machine hiccup at Glenapp for the staff section back to Acacia Ridge keep flashing on and off. I think there is a bad solder joint I need to fix. I did notice that the push button on one of the Kyogle panels was not working for at least one route. I will fix that up tomorrow as well. The major issue of teh session was a ballast train at Old Cassino blocking access to the Up Pick up's access to the Diary Siding and the four wagons in there it needed to collect.
We had a few beers, a few softdrinks and a few coffees. We also had a packet of Chips and a few biscuits as well at half time. But the real issue was when there was a short at one point not long after the session started and the power supply fuse blew. Oh no! It could have been an early afternoon for the crew. But it turned out to be the longest session we have had with stumps being drawn at about 5:30pm I think. However, Brendan grabbed my multimeter and verified that there was no power coming from the power supply. Luckily I had a spare fuse that came with the power supply. This was installed and voila we were up and running again. I will be heading over to Jaycar tomorrow (if it is open) and picking up a handful of these little beauties so I don't jeopardise any future running sessions.
So the timetable started at 5:00am on the Clock, with 4 trains out on the track already at various locations. It actually ran to completion at 1:00am the next morning. We started off running at 8:1. I adjusted it to 7:1, and then finally back to 6:1 at the end. Poor Darren got some really bad derailments. He killed a few passengers on NL2 going through Border Tunnel. I think the inquest is on Tuesday Night. He also got most of the shunting movements which he loves, these being the Empty Cement from Murwillumbah and one of the Banana trains - I'm not sure if he got the Up or Down movement. Brendan also got a shunting train to contract being the Down Pickup Goods.
We are still adding more descriptive words to the timetable table cards to help the driver as people get confused occasionally. Sometimes it is the terminology as not everyone has come from a railway background as sometimes railway jargon is used. This is an evolving process. One disappointing aspect of the session were two Eureka BCW's were falling into the track at one point near Rockla Sleeper Siding. It was because they were really under gauge by about 1mm. This will be fixed up tomorrow, so it's not a show stopper.
Below are a few photos of the session.
Shelton was controlling a rather short stock train hauled by a 49 class into Kyogle towards its intended destination of Kyogle Stock Siding. However, Shelton left it on the main at Kyogle and caused a back up of trains, in particular Darren's NL2 back down south. This was the start of a bad run for NL2. Shelton has to front up on Tuesday and answer deriliction of duty charges.
Paul is bringing NR4 back into the dock at Cassino from its Mountain Goat run to and from Border Loop.
Here we see an Up Contatiner train run by Shelton about to take the Loop at Kyogle as Brendan's Down Paper Train was sitting on the main. This is just like many crosses that occured during the session.
Paul was bringing the NR4 into Fairy Hill Loop with two other trains. This was the first three way cross at this location that I can remember. Photo take by Shelton.
The other trains involved with the three way cross at Fairy Hill Loop. The 49 Class driven by Shelton was in the siding, while the Container driven by me was coming up the grade from the helix. Shhh - we won't tell anyone that the Container had broken away behind the first wagon and the rest of the train had started to run back down the grade. Fortunately it pulled up about 4 feet back, due to the friction of the wheels on the curve. I thought it might go back down the entire helix. Photo by Shelton.
The last in the sequence of photos by Shelton. The railmotor has stopped near the end of the Main after returning its staff at the signal box. The driver is about to recieve teh staff from the driver of teh 45 Class as the Container enters the Loop. The Stock train with only three sheep vans was in the siding. Darren keep commenting that in 1986 45 class locos were not to lead.
Thanks for coming over guys! It was a great day.
Next weekend I hope to be on the Railmotor Society's 621/721 on the trip from Brisbane to Kyogle and return with a short side trip to Fisherman's Island in the afternoon. So it is quite appropriate that we show some photos of the railmotors from today's running session.