Yesterday a few of us ventured down to Darren’s place for a Running Session on Wattle Flat. The call was sent out for a 12:30 pm arrival for crib with a 1:00 pm whistle out. It was more like 1:30ish pm when we actually did whistle out. We had three crews allocated to the various tasks. I was teamed up with Shelton. I was driver, he was chief photographer. My first train was a shunt to the second crossing loop on the line – Gollan. It involved a complicated shunt of the Milling Bros Mill Siding. I had to pick up 8 wagons from three sidings, and drop off another 8 wagons to those same three sidings. But given that the wagons in the siding, three UL’s and three bogie wheaties were in the wrong order compared to the shunting list required for the return trip, I had to re-order the three UL’s and the three bogie wheaties. I think the traffic controller was a psycho ordering them like that. We then ran back to the Meatworks and swapped over two empties for two loaded wagons. We then ran back to Goolma and dropped off the Petrol bomb and a louvre van at the goods shed and pick two of the same wagons from those sidings up. We ran back to south of North Gulgong and into staging.
We then had to wait for the blind crew to complete their shunt, it was Geoff and Stephen Ottaway. Following that crew completing their task, we all stopped for some more crib and then resumed. I was then paired up with Geoff. We were given the perway special, which had 6 ballast wagons and 4 sleeper wagons, a rail wagon and a ballast plough. The trains came off the Werris Creek branch and had to reverse at North Gulgong. That means moving the van from one end to the other, then we could leave North Gulgong and travel to Goolma. We had to swap the guards van to the other end again and then replace three sleeper wagons and the rail wagon with what was in the perway siding - three sleeper wagons and wagon of rail. No sooner had we done this and a passenger came through heading towards Wattle Flat. Straight after we had another train go through, and that was followed by another train heading towards the branch and a steam special come back the other way. After the steam special had cleared the line, we had permission to travel to the ballast siding at Mebal and swap 6 loaded wagons or 6 empties. I left the train on the main and did my business there. Upon return to North Gulgong, we again had to 'end for end' the guards van and then take the branch back towards Werris Creek.
These shunts are not as simple as you think, as the loco cannot enter the sidings at Milling Bros Mill and the Ballast Siding, so you need to take extra wagons to allow the loco to reach the train in the siding. It was a real brain teaser. It was a real great day, with lots of friendly banter and great company. Thanks for the invite Darren.
Today I had a plan for attacking a few jobs in the shed. The list included tacking up a huge number of wires up under the layout out of sight. This only has a visual affect and doesn’t make anything run better. I did this to the wires underneath Clapham Yard (above Glenapp). I also did this to some wires underneath Border Loop. A number of power cords for the various LED strings that light the layout where also tacked up out of sight. It has started to make the layout look a lot more tidier.
Following this task I did a lot of work back around the Fisherman Islands area. I ran a 15m run of 4 core alarm core cable from the control panel at entry to Fisherman Islands Yard around to the NCE Mini Panel located at Loco Pilly. I also drilled the holes in the control panel at this location. I then identified where the control panel for the other end of Fisherman Islands was to go. I cut a hole in the facial for it to be located, and drilled the holes in the panel for the push buttons. I then ran two more runs of 4 core alarm cable from this panel to the NCE Mini Panel located underneath the southern end of Border Loop. I then ran another run of 4 core cable from the first control panel back the NCE Mini Panel underneath Border Loop. I have run the ground wire between the two Fisherman Islands control panels, but I still need to run the ground wire back to the Border Loop Mini Panel.
I then ran the power bus for the Fisherman Islands power district. I still need to attach the various droppers from the track to the bus and then run the bus back to a new NCE EB1 that is required to power this section of track. I am thinking of starting to run the first accessory bus for this part of the layout. At the moment the accessories just get their signal from the power bus - the same as the track. I know that it is not optimal but have a separate bus actually causes me to run a huge amount of additional wire. I also did some work between Dutton Park and Park Road tacking the various wires up under the baseboard at this locations as well.
There is still lots of work to get the Fisherman Islands section completely operational. But maybe it will be ready for running later this month.