With two guys calling in sick, I ended up with 7 visitors, plus myself for the Running Session held last Monday. However one of the guys in attendance just observed and did not run any trains even though we tried to coerce him – well it was his first visit to see the layout running. We also had another first timer – Iain, However, Iain is a regular timetable runner at Anthony’s place and at many other layouts particularly down in South Australia. Yes - he is one of those modellers.
Two trains are crossing at Cassino. The southbound train in in the main platform while a north bound train is heading into the yard.
We ran about 34 trains and completed this in under 2 hours. Way sooner than I had thought possible. Basically the session was divided into two session, The first with Arthur as North Coast Control and the second with me taking over the reigns. Well there were issues. There was a large incident where the Brisbane Limited (NL1) driven by Anthony fell off Cougal Spiral after the motorail wagon had an issue and caused it to pull inwards around the spiral. The headlines read that 200 people died. Just in front of this train was the 620/720 on a Histerical society tour. Apparently the driver jumped ship as his train was entering Kyogle to run back and take photos of the incident developing behind him and left his out of control 620/720 to continue careering down the track straight through the platform at Kyogle and continuing out the track onto the main line without the staff for the section and if I recall correctly there was a train coming the other way into Fairy Hill Loop. Luckily an alert passenger hit the emergency stop button causing the rail motor to come to a stop and this heroic action saved the day for the passengers and thus another 100 people being killed with a head on crash around Fairy Hill Loop. Now it begs to understand how on earth there seems to have been two trains within the Border Loop to Kyogle section in the first place. The railway management might have to call the drivers Anthony and Shelton before a board of enquiry to uncover the truth about this incident.
The hand of God seen here fixing up some of the wagons that derailed - supposedly killing 200 people.
There where two other major incidents. In one the last wagon on a container train was left behind somehow back in Glenapp Loop unbeknown to the driver and North Coast Control. There was another incident where the last stock wagon on short stock train heading to the Kyogle Stock Siding, lost a wagon somewhere around Fairy Hill. On this instance, the following train was able to stop clear of the obstruction and also add it to the end of his train and take the wagon to Cassino for safe working. It would probably be no surprise that both these incidents were from one of the drivers mentioned above. So I'm not mentioning any names of the guilty - it was not Anthony.
The container wagon found languishing in the loop at Glenapp Loop.
The northbound (down) stock train heading past Ron and Margaret's B&B near Fairy Hill Loop.
The stock train has made it (well most of it has) to Fairy Hill Loop.
The stock train being positioned into the siding to allow subsequent loading.
So while there were plenty of issues, and it seems most issues followed poor Shelton around, most were very quickly resolved and the trains were running all over the place and completing their runs quite successfully. Occasionally there were trains put away as the congestion in certain parts of the network forced two up trains and one down train to run past a location in quick succession and there was already a train at that location, e.g. the Up Ballast Tamper. Poor Paul was on the Tamper locked away for what probably seemed like an eternity waiting for the conjestion to ease.
I had about 7 changes to be made to the timetable cards, some pretty simple – changing the number of wagons to be dropped off/picked up at one location, changing the tracks that two trains enter into in a crossing loop, adding more information into the text on a couple of cards so make it clearer for the drivers to know what they have to do. So nothing too difficult. This has been completed.
There were some issues documented with a few wagons, and I have already swapped out some KD clones for real KD couplers, and fixed up skidded wheels on one wagon. I also need to check out some of the newly ballast track in Lismore with reports of numerous derailments at the location. One driver also found two nails in the track that I missed. I added the nails to hold the track down while I ballasted over the previous few weeks and waited for the glue to dry. I thought I removed all the nails, but we found two in the Loop line at Lismore. Also a few wagons jumped the track on a few sets of points, so some work will be undertaken to fine tune these locations before the next session - in December.
However, as we now have the Fisherman Islands now basically operating, it is time to make some extra changes to the timetable to add quite a bit more operating interest. On two of my trains heading to Fisherman Islands - No. 1A and No 17, they will drop off three container wagons in Clapham Yard on the way through. To compliment this action, a Shunt train will then take them to South Brisbane Interstate Yard where some unloading/loading will occur. These wagons will be returned about 12 hours later and left on a free track at Clapham Yard and when train numbers 2 and 18 return, these wagons will be shunted onto the ends of those trains and then continue their south bound journey. Actually on the end of the opposite train that the wagons came north on.
The first run around movement in a Running Session occurring at Fisherman Islands.
So this weekend I completed the changes to the timetable to accomplish the above improvements. During the next week, I will desk check these timetable card movements and hopefully next weekend on Sunday I will try and do these myself movements myself in order to see that the end result plays out.
I am also looking to add around 10 trains movements to the timetable that are for Narrow Gauge trains. These will run between Acacia Ridge Yard and Clapham Yard, and some will continue onto Fisherman Islands and return. Most of the ones going to Fisherman Islands will be either coal, grain or container trains. The shunts to Clapham Yard will contain louvre wagons. Now just thinking about all these movements and to ensure that I can actually cross some narrow gauge trains some where on the layout, I am thinking that I might have to add an extra narrow gauge track to Clapham Yard. Again a much future task. Sometime next year.