We had a formal running day yesterday. I only had three acceptances out of 21 invites. I couple where maybes depending upon the wife etc. Must have been a bad time to schedule it - note to self - not on a long weekend again - except my Christmas session which will be on either the 27th or 28th of December this year. Anyway before we started the session Greg tried to make some changes to my Raspberry Pi (JMRI) setup to activate the fast clock and the Pi was not communicating with the NCE. That was not good! Anyway Greg gave up and at least the Pi started talking to the NCE Powerhouse Pro and that made Greg happy as he used his smartphone to drive his train. Drivers using the NCE Procab throttles have the clock time broadcast on their screens. Thus they can see how they are going compared to the timetable. Thus this is my preferred throttle. Drivers using their smart phone do not get this. However, in JMRI I need to turn on the fastclock feature and have the NCE system set as the master and apparently if this occurs, drivers can get the time on their phone. So thus the reason for us to experiment with this feature. We can't have the phone drivers without a clock and causing timetable running issues.
So to summarize yesterday's session, the four drivers between us, ran 29 trains to completion. Two trains were not run (skipped) and we had three more trains stop mid route when we stopped for crib at about 3:45pm. After crib we did not restart the session as everyone bailed at about 4:30pm. Since the official end of the session, I completed one more train through to staging, and I moved the other two half finished runs to a point in the timetable where they will restart from next time. I also started another train and ran it through to the same time in the timetable. Subsequently today, I ran one of those trains through to completion. Having looked at where we are in the timetable, and with the time at 8:10pm, there is not much left to run in the timetable - about 12 trains. I think over the next few weeks I will just run these remaining trains in the timetable to completion, either by myself, or with whomever pops in for a visit.
I have collected all the notes from the session that were written on the timetable cards. This must have been the best amount of feedback that I have ever received. I have about 15 sets of jobs to do. Some of the jobs are track that needs to be cleaned and some sections investigated as to check point blade fed power as there was some intermittent power in some tracks (especially in some of my dead end sidings in Grafton Yard). I have a few trains that caused issues as you would expect. It seemed that Greg was the driver on most occasions – the poor buggar. Anthony had a couple as well, as a coupler fell off a wagon and caused an issue. Of course he cleared the section and after lashing his chains to the wagon he took it to the next crossing loop, and did some magic shunting and put the troublesome wagon on the rear of the train to allow completion of his run.
During the session, I could hear Darren yelling out as if he was happy as a pig in "Sh!t", saying “I have not run this trains before”, or “This is a shunt - I like to shunt”. So we know he was having fun. I got to run quite a few trains as well. My trains ran quite well. With just four drivers, we got through about 10 hours of the timetable clock, while the fast clock was a couple of hours ahead of us. If we had 6 or 7 drivers I think we would have been running very close to on time. Each running there are different things to tweak and I think there are less and less real issues. This was also the first showing of all my currently installed LED lights. I had plenty of positive comments about them from the crew. I currently have 13 strings up with another 2 more to install. I will need to purchase at least another 4 strings over the next 12 months.
After lunch today for a couple of hours I went to the shed to attack some of the list of jobs. I added a small section of baseboard to the end of the dead end sidings at Grafton Yard. I installed a screw to the end of each of 5 tracks (tracks 8 - 12) to stop the train from careering off the end of flat world into the great abyss. I fixed a loose wire on the Murwillumbah Control Panel. I also fixed a wire to track 8 in Grafton Yard that I accidently caused to come adrift when I was cleaning track yesterday. I adjusted the point at the southern end of Rappville Loop. I packed the track on the lead into the point, tacked the track down with more nails and shimmed the diverging route's check rail with styrene. I also added a few more track pins to the track in the Loop at Cassino, as it was not stable and caused issues with the stock train I ran today. I also adjusted the wheels on one of those wagons today as well. I also adjusted the couplers on an MBC wagon on the pickup freight I was running. We will see if that fixes its issues from yesterday. I also adjusted the bogies on a LIMA VMPY car carrier which had K&M brass wheels. It derailed 7 times when last vehicle on Darren's run from South Brisbane to Grafton Yard. I then reversed 6 trains - four of which were in the dead end Grafton sidings, so they are ready for the start of the next session. The timetable cards for these trains will be adjusted to include this reversing as part of their return into Grafton Yard, i.e. travel around an empty Grafton Yard loop and then back into their dedicated siding. I also did the same to the two passenger trains as the motorrail wagon has to be at the front when heading north. Their timetable cards will also get similar treatment.
I still have a number of trains to do some maintenance on - mostly coupler height issues - including a couple of locos and a few wagons. I will take these trains for a run out and back and see how they go before releasing them back into traffic. A couple of wagons had been swapped in and out of consists between the last session and this one.
So tomorrow will be some more time in the shed working on these trains. Hopefully an Auscision 45 Class may turn up during the week to be followed soon after by a set of Eureka RSH wagons ordered by a mate. Who knows, maybe even Austrains whose clients are mostly aliens may ship an 81 class that I have asked for many years ago - just 2 months short of 6 years. I emailed him last week and phoned twice last year and was told "I will ring you back when I'm in the office" and the simple use of technology seems to elude some people's ability.
I'm on holidays this week as I have to escort my kids to their new schools via the bus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Luckily they start on different days. My son already looks like having cricket training on Thursday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. Quite possibly shed time will diminish while cricket season is on. Happy Australia Day for the 26th!