Sunday, December 27, 2015

Last Operating Session for 2015 at Cassino

The day dawned fine, I washed the outdoor BBQ setting table and chairs, put out the tea towels on the benches in the shed and set up the tea and coffee, took the milk, sugar and teaspoons down to the shed and moved the BBQ into position, turned on all the LED overhead lights in the shed, fired up the Raspberry Pi wi-fi, sat back until closer to the scheduled start time.  At about 11:30am I fired up the BBQ, and cooked the snags and onions.  On time at midday, the crew started arriving and partaking in a cold drink and a snag on a piece of bread.  This session was the first for two new attendees.  We had Paul for Noosaville, and Quentin from the northside.  Quentin in a member of our Club, a great NSW modeller and the provider of many photos of Murwillumbah cement silo.  Paul has an interest in Casino and has provided hundred of photos that I have scanned that show much lost detail from around the late 80's and early 90's of Casino and surrounding areas.  These are truly gems.  Most of the rest of the crew were regulars, with still a lot more regulars unavailable, due to family time take precedence as it should at this time of the year.

Arthur made his way to North Coast Control, while I took Paul for a tour of the layout.  The rest grabbed their headsets, note board for hanging around their neck to attach the timetable and shunt lists and pen to.  Soon after getting under way, Quentin also rocked up.  However, he did not get a tour, but watched for a while before he dove into the deep end.  I know that Quentin through no fixing whatsoever, pulled two Murwillumbah branchline trains for the roster.  Quentin has a desire to model this branch based on Byron Bay.

Upon starting the Operating Session, it dawned on me that I may have undertaken a bit too much partying in the lead up, as I forgot to re-install a set of point in Clapham Yard that I was updating.  So that rendered track 3 out of action at the northern end.  The set of points just north of that for track 4, kept aligning to the mainline and send half the train one way and the other half the other.  Not a good situation.  Whoops!  
You can see where the Whoops is!

This point when set for the curve, just resets itself back to the straight direction.  I think the spring has gone for a holiday.

Also at the start of the session, there was a short in section 5 of the layout.  I could not work out what was causing the short in that section.  I turned the section off, changed a few sets of points and turned the session back on and it all came good.  But it was 5 minutes of immense frustration, as I was running trains yesterday. I will have to look into this further.

I was very happy that first few comments were that the layout was running well.  That was until a few points were not set correctly and trains run through them and you guessed it, some wagons ended up in the dirt.  There were a few wagons that uncoupled during the session, and these occurred right next to a wagon that has recently been added into a train consist.

It also dawned on me later on during the session that No.11 the branch line shunt train, had all the wagons facing the wrong directions.  So it was not reshunted between sessions.  I must add that text to the next timetable iteration, to run the train around the Grafton Reversing Loops at the end of the previous session.  Luckily it was my train, so when I got to Cassino, with nothing else there I broke it up into the four different sections of the trains and put them back together in the correct order.  Doing so with my shunting across from the back platform road into the Yard, held up two trains and I got a few cross words delivered to me from those drivers.  You know what they say – Refer Rule 1.

Early on in the session, the North Coast Control got himself into a stalemate.  He had two trains sitting in Rappville Loop heading north, and he had four trains (five if you count the railmotor in the dock) sitting at Cassino.  He did not know he was in such trouble.  I had to help him get out of it by advising what train to move first.
The two trains at Rappville Loop - the branch line oil and the ballast train due to go to Cassino and shunt back to the Bonalbo ballast siding.

Cassino, with a stabled container in the Yard, a steelie is sitting in the platform heading south, and a fruit train in the Loop also heading south.  The Tamper is in the back platform road.  The NCC have permission for the Oil Train to take the back platform road and close up to the tamper, as the Container train made its way further north also freeing up space in the yard.

The unfazed North Coast Controller - Arthur.

The crew certainly gave it to one of the drivers.  There were a few incidents called out.  So the call went out, who was the driver – sure enough we could all pick out who it was. 
A few cement wagons left laying around between Old Cassino and Lismore.

This driver was given a bum train with a new wagons continually causing mayhem.  That wagons has been bad ordered and will be fixed tomorrow.
There was one major incident, narrowly avoided at Glenapp Loop, as the Brisbane Limited was barrelling through the mainline at warp speed when the driver realised he needed to stop to exchange the staff- just as there was a southbound Container train coming sedately towards him to take the loop.  It was a herculean effort in stopping the Limited before it ran out onto the mainline and into the container, but I think the hand of god may have been involved.
I must admit, that as crib time drew near at 3:30pm, the amount of trains running went to zero real fast.  In a fraction of a second, the whole shed was emptied.  I have never seen people move so fast.  At that time, as we had a mixture of Tea, cold drinks and a cooling ale, the black clouds were rolling in from the south and thunder could be heard in the distance causing those in attendance to glance at their phone and check out the weather alerts.  They had about a hour before the storm was to hit just south of where we were.  So after crib, the whole crew departed home after a most successful session.
The stats were that we ran 21 completed trains and there is at least one more left on the layout (the one I was driving) that is just one section short of completing its timetable. 

I plan to complete a few tasks before the next session, like install the point that I forgot to install.  I have four timetable cards that have notes written on them detailing what wagons might need their couplers attended to.  I know that another wagon (the last wagon on the banana train) lost its trailing coupler on the last wagon as it was shunted into the Banana siding at Murwillumbah as part of the last train movement before crib.
The banana train sitting in the Murwillumbah banana siding with the troublesome KD on the last wagon.

The Cassino aisle can get busy at stages with shunting occurring at Murwillumbah and lot of other trains running across the various decks.

A northbound container heading up the Cougal Spiral.

Some more crew around Fairy Hill Loop and heading into Kyogle.  I think this is when John lost his train (the Tamper) somewhere on the layout and he could not find it.

The better side of Greg.

Me thinks someone might have changed a point under the train as it was taking the loop at Rappville.

Most of the crew excited at completing the December Operating Session at Cassino.

Our intrepid reporter (Shelton) was active again today.  He took these shots below during the session.

No.1 the Container to Fisherman Islands heading across the Richmond River Bridge.

The Container taking the yard at Cassino, as the crew then go to crib before another crew takes over for the run to Fisherman Islands.

The Murwillumbah Cement train taking the back platform road at Cassino before heading towards Lismore and loosing two wagons, before placing three in the Storage siding at Lismore before continuing onto Murwillumbah.

The cement heading past the Down morning Mountain Goat that will head to Border Loop later on in the session.

The cement leaving Cassino from another angle.

The cement had just placed three wagons in the No.2 Storage Siding before heading towards Murwillumbah.  It was about here that Shelton was told that he left two wagons on the mainline between Old Cassino and Lismore.

I think this is Park Road Sidings.  The locos are heading from Loco Pilly after refueling and supposed to couple to the other end of the train before departing south towards Grafton.  However, Shelton coupled up to the wrong end of the train, before righting his wrong.  We love him!

A graffitied wagon from one of my trains at either the paper train Park Road Sidings or a fruit train at South Brisbane Interstate.

A southbound container in the platform at Lismore crossing the Murwillumbah bound empty banana train.  It will drop four banana wagons in the No.1 Storage Siding.

The day could not have run as well as it did without the help of the boss who purchased all the food, cut up the onions, set the table for Lunch and set out the chips, dip, biscuits and cakes for afternoon tea.  What a wife!  Thanks Beautiful.  By the way, we are hoping for another Operating Session on the Australia Day weekend.


  1. Sounds like you guys had a blast! Enjoyed reading the run down on your operating session. Cheers, Phill

  2. As one of the reprobates on the day - it was a fun time indeed. I really enjoyed it all - thanks Craig.