Saturday afternoon, being the third Saturday of the month, was spent at Anthony’s operating trains at his monthly operating session with Shelton, Brendan and of course Anthony himself. It was another great session. Anthony’s trains just run so well. The company is great, the environment is very conducive to transporting yourself into the Border District in the 1970’s. A few changes were made to the layout – particularly to the staging tracks and are a great step forward. The changes were well received by the crew. This layout is certainly a well through out layout and is just absolutely great to operate on. The time that goes into setting up the wagons before each session, changing the wagons cars to their next destination ensure that they are in the correct train order must be immense. Anthony needs to remove trains from the layout before the next operating session, and add new ones. This is a different concept to mine, where I try and incorporate all the movements to set up the layout for the next session into the end of the last session.
This morning I went over to Shelton’s place to assist with some ideas generation and conceptual design for a redesigned Western Victoria layout. Shelton drove me to and from Anthony’s yesterday and we were talking about his layout. So I volunteered to spend some time helping him brain storm. I think we spent almost two and a half hours, drawing designs, measuring, discussing, changing, and improving on our initial concepts. I think Shelton will probably update everyone over the next few weeks as his concept designs are further teased out.
During the week, I spent many hours redesk checking the changes to the timetable that I discussed about last week. I added the timetable cards to the timetable graph to see if they fitted in between the other already existing trains. I also added 10 narrow gauge trains to the graph. However, on Friday I came to the conclusion that I have the narrow gauge trains running in the wrong directions. Basically 3 of the movements are runs from Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard to Fisherman Islands Narrow Gauge Yard and three trains run back in the other directions. Sometime eventually after I win lotto, I hope to purchase a narrow gauge empire consisting of one coal train (8/9 wagons), one wheat train (8/9 wagons) and one shunt with a mixture of container wagons, louvres and tautliners. I will need a few more wagons for the other four trains that run from Acacia Ridge narrow Gauge Yard to Clapham Yard and return. I will need at least three narrow gauge locos. I think it will take about 5 or 6 years to amass this collection given my budget constraints.
Anyway, I have come to the conclusion, that I will reverse every one of the just created narrow gauge trains in the timetable. So the train paths that went from Acacia Ridge to Fisherman Island will now run in the opposite direction. The paths that ran from Fisherman Islands to Acacia Ridge will now also run in the reverse direction. I just think it makes more sense especially with making use of the various sidings and the shunts trains. It is quite obvious when you look at the timetable graph.
On Friday I also soldered a wire that had come off a control panel at Murwillumbah.
So this afternoon I went down to the shed and test ran the newly changed standard gauge trains involved in shunting Clapham Yard and all the shunting moves associated with the wagons coming off at Clapham Yard and running via Park Road to South Brisbane. I have added 3 more 80’ container wagons to the roster and also added 6 other wagons to the Park Road to South Brisbane Shunt. These wagons were just sitting around South Brisbane taking up a siding. Now they will sit in Park Road and take up a siding and move back and forth to South Brisbane. This arvo's session was not without incident. No sooner had I started running No.1 Container out of Grafton when it was involved in a level crossing accident at Baker’s Farm level crossing.
The car rolled down the road and stalled just as the train came through.
Later on there was a further issue when going through Running Creek when a bogie screw came off.
A breakaway the train occurred in the Running Creek section.
When the loco crew walked back to investigate, they were confronted by this! A bogie screw had fallen off and this was the result.
Anyway still further on the loco from No. 2 Container came to grief at Border Loop, when it found the missing bogie screw from the earlier incident. While running the various trains, I have made myself a list of about 4 items to fix over the coming weeks. I spent considerable time under the layout, fixing up two manual point throws - triggered by a Dublo lever switch. These levers had become inoperable over the last few running sessions and as I was running trains past today, I took the opportunity to fix these small issues up. I also replaced a few KD clone couplings with genuine KDs on a few wagons. I reglued (superglued) a few KD’s to some wagons where they keep on coming adrift. I cleaned the wheels on about 10 container wagons. I gave them a good descale. I also cleaned the wheels on at least 3 locos to improve their operating reliability. I also added KD washers to a few bogies on some freight wagons and this seems to have made these trains more reliable.
Just now as I was writing this blog, I had a thought that I could extend another two shunts to Acacia Ridge Yard as this now has a huge number of spare wagons just laying around in it. I’m sure there will be paths available. I will also get to use the series of cross over points that I had previously added to Acacia Ridge Yard.
So this week after reversing the narrow gauge trains in the graph and updating the timetable cards following today's test run improvements (mostly textual descriptions on the timetable cards), I will look at the extra standard gauge shunts to/from Acacia Ridge. I will also start crossing off the items that were added to today’s to do list.