Sunday, August 3, 2014

August Running Session Summary

After being slack with getting the invitations out for Saturday's Running Session, during the week I finally sent out the invitations out.  Quite a lot of the normal running session crew had other activities planned.  So I tried to get a few other takers as the 'Nos' came rolling in.  Eventually our session had four drivers and me.  Quite a lot down on previous sessions as I can accommodate 12 drivers concurrently in the timetable.  Because of this low number, we ran with no North Coast Control position.  The drivers just worked their own way through the passing loops - taking and depositing their staffs as they progressed between crossing loops as they made their way around the layout.  But that was fraught with peril as you will soon find out.
How did the session go?  Well not bad except for two trains that were absolute shockers of performers.  These two bad performers were NL2 - the Southbound Brisbane Limited from South Brisbane to Grafton and a northbound (Down) container train from Grafton to Clapham Yard.  During the week, I ran NL2 from South Brisbane to Grafton and back and did not have many issues.  But during the session it derailed maybe a dozen times, it lost a motorrail wagon, lost a bogie off a first class sitter.  It was also involved in a level crossing accident in which at least one person was killed by a carriage coming off and landing on its side - on top of a pedestrian.  Now we can't blame all of these incidents on the train.  There has to be some driver responsibility here.  The driver ran through at least two sets of points causing catastrophic derailments.  He also entered a passing loop at Fairy Hill at the exactly same time as a train from the other end was also entering and had a head on collision.  He was OK though, as he had the staff.  Why bother watching what the train is doing, or reading the train card about what track to take etc.?  Also why turn the locos off when they derail?  When they are put back on the track again - they take off - even though they area not being watched.
Can Auscision please hurry up so I can replace these old NL2 RUB coaches with the XPT and also their Brisbane Limited set.  In the mean time, I think I need to replace all the bogies on these RUB cars.  The Down container train that ran from Grafton to Clapham Yard also lost wagons, tipped over, and uncoupled about 20 times. 
The drivers of these two trains showed plenty of patience in persisting with these trains and running them through to their destinations.  In the lead up to the session during the week I ran the other Down container train but not this actual train. 
So today I run both of these troublesome trains both ways on the layout and did a bit of tinkering with the bogies, and replaced some couplings.  They ran almost faultlessly.  I think we can look forward to a better performance next session.
Before the Running Session I added two HLX wagons to my works sleeper train after spotting a photo I had on the layout.  However, this made the train too long for the Rocla Sleeper siding - its destination, as I did not check before the session.  So I had to remove one wagon when it got to the Sleeper Siding otherwise other trains could not pass this location. 
On a positive side I can now absolve Geoff from being called the train stealer, as Paul has inheritted that name now as he stole the wrong wagons from Lismore Yard for his pickup freight.  He took the wagons from the wrong siding.  While at Old Cassino when I pointed that out to him, he decided to back up around my hidden spiral from Lismore to Old Cassino, the train derailed in the hidden section.  This occurred at the same time that Shelton had problems with the Brisbane Limited Express and Anatol had issues with a derailed Down container in the helix.  It is things like this that can drive a man to drink – oh I was at the time.  I lost my beer in the shed a few times that day as I was fixing up issues here and there and put it down so I could use my hands.
One of the things I did not do before the running session was not clean the various sidings that trains were to enter and that caused some problems with jerky and inconsistent running.
I had a point motor at the very throat of South Brisbane loose a wire off the point motor.  Another point motor was not working at the cross over at the run around point midway through the South Brisbane Platform road.  Also the end run around point at the far end of the platform was damaged with one point rail popping out of the throw bar.  So today all of these issues have now been fixed.
So in summary, we ran about 17 trains during the running session in just over 3 hours.  I did enjoy the company of the guys on Saturday and I thank them for coming over and attending.  So the plan is to do some more scenery before the next running session and also do a few more tweaks here and there with various pieces of rollingstock and the track work. Who knows we may eventually get an uneventful running session next time.
This photos shows South Brisbane Interstate with the local South Brisbane shunter 8018 in its own loco siding with two 80's on the Up fruit train in track number 6.  Another loco a 442 (I think) is visible in track number 4.

A view from up above South Brisbane Interstate showing the large number of wagons in the yard.  In the top of the picture is Park Road Siding with a few excess wagons siting in storage and veering off at the top of the photo next to the power pole is the track heading towards Loco Pilly and destinations further south.
This view shows Clapham Yard with the troublesome Down container train in track number 2.  Various other wagons are in track 3 and 4 along with a spare loco 4499.  In this view you can also see the level below - Glenapp Loop and below that again the Richmond River Bridge - just south of Cassino.

The northern end of Clapham Yard.  Some of the sidings in Loco Pilly can be seen to the far right.

Here we see the troublesome Down Container train now travelling in an Up direction on its shakedown run following attention late today.  It is about to enter into Acacia Ridge Yard in this photo.

The train is still coming down the gradient from Clapham to Acacia Ridge.  What the train driver doesn't know is that someone has opened up the container on this wagon and stolen its contents of electrical goods.
On Friday night I went to Geoff’s for a modelling night along with Shelton and Brendon.  I added a few pieces of strip wood to the wooden bridge that I was working on the previous week.  I need to purchase some 3x2, 6x2 and 4x3 strips of scale lumber for the handrails and bracing, so I can continue on with this model.  The local hobby shop did not have any of these on Saturday morning so I may have to wait until a future Train Exhibition and check out some other hobby shops.  Luckily there is one on the 23rd and 24th of August at Strathpine in Brisbane.
The wooden bridge I'm currently working on located between Lismore and Murwillumbah with its timber deck now installed and awaiting its hand rails.  More work on the scenery on the left of the layout needs to be carried out.


  1. The Brisbane LTD last two cars were the most troublesome. Also I think we should have a rule where the points should be returned to their position by the driver that changed the point.

  2. Craig, looking at picture #2 it's no wonder you were having derailments.

  3. Shelton, I think an even simpler room is "Don't run through a set of points that is not set for you".