Sunday, January 3, 2016

Post Operating Session Tidy Up

Following last weeks Operating Session, this week was spent tidying up after the event.  I didn’t go back down to the shed until Tuesday when Paul and Dave popped in on their way home from some of the local hobby shops.  We had a family get together on the Monday so that ruled that day out.  While the guys were here we ran the XPT around the track from Grafton to Cassino and return.  Following their departure, I had some lunch and then later in the arvo I got stuck into actioning a number of tasks following the last Operating Session.  I have created a task list that has about 20 tasks on it.  Some of these tasks are not simple, and some are very costly in the terms of buying some Digital point controllers.
Firstly, to tick some of the easiest tasks off the list, I spent some time working out where best to start the next timetable from.  Upon due consideration, I wound the next timetable start time for the next session back until about 10:00am.  According to the last timetable run, we had one train that had got to its completion at about 1:00pm, We had timetable cards still in the holder that had not started at 9:00am.  Others trains were at various locations around the layout.  I then drove three trains backwards to their scheduled positions in the timetable for a 10:00am restart.  I then picked up the next few timetable cards from the holder and ran those trains to their destination as they were supposed to be completed by 10:00am and I drove another so it was where it is supposed to be at 10:00am.  At this point, I started looking at the comments that people had written on some of their timetable cards to advise issues with wagons, etc.  I actioned the three recorded issues (basically coupler heights of new wagons or wagons next to new wagons) and then made updates to the timetable with some extra text for certain trains.  I also added an extra wagon to one train.  I also swapped a wagon on another train.  I then stuck about 10 containers to various wagons, that were not already glued to their wagons. 

On the top deck of the layout at Border Loop, a southbound container is in the loop, as the Mountain Goat (620/720) arrives at Border Loop and stops at the loading ramp.

At Cassino another southbound container is in the Platform while the Gold Coast Motorail is in the back platform road.

The branch pickup, has left its loading for the meatworks in Cassino yard, and the local shunter has run it over to the meatworks siding.

The pickup goods has made its way to Old Cassino.  It has placed a number of wagons in the Norco Siding - far right and is ready to resume to its progress to Lismore to do some more work.  A stock train is in the Loop.

The Brisbane Limited has had a goods wagon added to the consist and has cleared the platform until later in the day.  Today an ARHS special (CPH/CTH) will use the platform in the meantime.  In the background the shunt train has dropped one container wagon off into track one at Park Road Sidings and collected the rest of the wagons in track 2 and is now ready to head to South Brisbane for some more shunting.

Next it was the soldering iron’s turn.  I soldered four track jumpers back on that I had found had come adrift before or during the session.  I then fixed up the staff machine at Loco Pilly that only worked in one position.  Basically the two wires at the back were under stress and had been pulled off the DPDT switch.  So these were soldered back on. 
One issue I am having is with the headsets that we use for drivers to communicate with North Coast Control.  These have the plastic around the ear pieces perishing and ending up on the heads of the drivers.  So I am looking at either trying to remove the plastic all together or buy another 10-12 headsets for the layout.  They are available for under $5 on evil bay so I might go down that path as the long term solution.  But now I am trying to remove the plastic on a couple of headsets to see if I can sufficiently remedy the issue for the short term.
On New Years Eve, I purchased a few more tubes of acrylic paint, so I could start painting some backdrops and perhaps the water for the Richmond River at Cassino.  I’m just looking for motivation for this activity to start.  Maybe sometime in the next few weeks.
However most modelling work undertaken this week involved my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I spent considerable time building various cages and safety fences to allow staff to climb from ground level to the very top of the structure.  I just need to finalise the pipework at the front of the structure, build some ground topography for the structure to sit on and give the top of the model and all the walkways a coat of paint.  I think it has come up a treat.  A separate blog post will cover this is a few weeks time.
On Saturday decided to get stuck into the point at the Southern end of The Risk.  This was relaid and realigned and I'm pretty sure it has produced a better result.  At least the manual point control works better now.  The point for this area is controlled via a wire in tube method of an old curtail rod wire that I purchased many years ago.  I cut about 2 inches of insulation off one end of wire and drilled a new hole in the fascia for the wire to come through.  I then relaid the point with the actuation wire threaded through the point.  I relaid the track and gave it a work out.  I grabbed 5 container wagons sitting in Cassino platform and moved them up one level to The Risk and ran them through the point.  One wagons kept derailing.  Upon further investigation, it appeared that the wagon had less than optimum flexibility in the bogies.  It was a very old kit that had been assembled and lead added to the centre sill.  The bogies were held in via a pushed in piece of plastic.  So maybe it was an old Callipari kit.  So I loosened the bogie plug slightly and re-ran it through the point and it ran fine.  So far, what has run through the point seems to be working well.  I did dislodge a jumper wire in doing my work.  So that will be fixed next time I fire up the soldering iron. 
The relaid point at The Risk.

I then re-inserted the dual gauge point that I forgot to install before the last running day.  But first I had to get the dremel tool out and cut two flange ways in the various tracks.  Again, what has run through this point so far seems to be happy with the geometry.

The dual gauge point at Clapham Yard is on the left.

Today I got stuck into Acacia Ridge.  I spliced a standard gauge point into track 1, so I can now branch off this track and go into the narrow gauge yard.  The third track is now dual gauge all over its entire length.  I just need to connect the point motors up to a new controller and wire in the switches on a panel to an NCE Mini Panel.

Acacia Ridge Yard.  The first two track on the right at narrow gauge.  The next one is the newly laid dual gauge track.  Next are the tracks 1 through 5, then 4 back through 1.

I have also tried to start work on building a dual gauge point using a fastracks jig.  While it looks easy when looking at the videos for a standard gauge point on their website, when looking at a dual gauge point, it is a whole lot more complicated.  Now this task has gone back onto the back burner.  Maybe that is a job for when I'm on a weeks leave in a couple of weeks time.

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