Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Operating Session - 27th December 2016

My traditional end of year Operating Session for the 27th December has come and gone.  I only had 7 visitors but we ran quite a few trains.  The day started with a BBQ and introductions, with one new attendee (a NSW modeller) and one whom hasn’t been here for a while.  As is usual now, Arthur just jumped into North Coast Control’s shoes.  I find it amazing, that this man can just come in and gets the feel of the process and has trains running on time for about 2 and a bit hours before we started to have a few trains fall behind the table.  Arthur had no clock in front of him, but he had trains running to timetable - it was just amazing.  Of course one of the reasons for falling behind the timetable, is that there are up to 10 trains running concurrently in the timetable at this point in time, but if we only have 7 drivers we are going to be pushing some running stuff up hill with a rake.

As you would expect, there were some issues.  One wagon lost its bogie.  So it was plucked from its train and the train continued.  I never did find the screw.  Another loco lost its coupler twice.  Hopefully now I have fixed it a little more permanently.  We had another loco in a double head, lose its bogie locating clip, and thus lost its drive shaft.  That loco was declared a failure.  About three trains going south through The Risk has issues with the point at the end of the loop.  The traffic office then decreed that all trains were to use the Loop and good running then resumed.  However, this caused issues for North Coast Control having a loop out of action.  I had one operator derail his train as it went through a turnout that had recently been ballasted.   Over the few days before the session, I ran four trains through that same point in the opposite direction and one in the same direction as the troublesome train.  But the operator found ballast in the frog.  After he cleaned it out, his train ran through.  Sometimes I just can’t take a trick with my testing.  The rail train was having some issues exiting Clapham Yard, as I had added some toothbrush bristles to the track to stop runaways.  But I had not trimmed them off and they were too high and it was causing the rail train to uncouple.  I must get around and fix that.

Of course there were also the usual operator errors.  As expected one person appeared at the top of the list.  I know that he ran the Mountain Goat which runs north from Cassino to Border Loop, but this operator ran it in the wrong direction.  He reversed out of the Dock platform and headed south.  Hmmmm!  We had a lost train at one point.  The ARHS special that runs south from South Brisbane Interstate and heads to Kyogle, got lost.  The driver said it was somewhere in the Running Creek area in one of the tunnels, but after a couple of minutes looking it was found in the Cougal Spiral. I'm going to have to fit GPS tracking to my trains!

Another of the drivers, has a tendency to have his train arrive at its destination and assume that he has completed his shift, when there are usually a number of shunting movements to occur.  We think he will read the timetable cards better next time.  Mind you, the timetable cards have fairly small writing on them, and if you are of the older age group and usually need glasses, then you will struggle to read the cards, so we can’t totally blame him.

So since the session has ended, I have replaced two KD look-a-like couplers with KDs.  I have fixed the wagon with the lost bogie.  The locos have been returned to service.  I also fixed up a couple of scenic areas (actually fencing) that I damaged.  To attend to the comments of one operator about the weight of a few AR Kits Banana wagons, I added some lead weight underneath the wagon on two wagons.  I also added weight to another AR Kits louvre van and a single AR Kits open wagon.  All wagons have been returned to service. 

Today I went down to the shed and decided to wind the fast clock back from its end time of 12:05pm to 11:30am for the next session that is approaching on Saturday.  I then positioned one train – the ARHS special back a crossing loop and the Mountain Goat forward a crossing loop and did some shunting at Park Road Siding.  I also expedited the steel train from Grafton Loops to Rappville Loop as its starting position for the next session.  I have a feeling that I need to look at the Brisbane Limited and its various shunt positioning moves – the fast louvre van that gets attached and the motorail wagon and that train's light engines to ensure that they are in the correct spots for the new timetable start.  My next session will be on New Year’s Eve at 12:45pm with running for 3 and a half hour session at a 4:1 fast clock, I should be able to get to the end of the timetable session before people break for afternoon tea at about 4:15 – 4:30pm.

From Tuesday’s session the following photos have been provided by Shelton – who may or may not have been the driver who drove the Mountain Goat in the wrong direction.  You know what they say “Whatever happens in the session stays in the session”, unless I can make some good reading out of it.
The ARHS Railmotor Tour from South Brisbane Interstate departing on its way to Kyogle.

This shot captures Barry running the Container train travelling from Dutton Park to Clapham Yard.  Our photographer (or TW as known by the crews) was in charge of the Rail train seen in the Main at The Risk.

First timer Dave is running the Steel train through Border Loop.

The rail train has made its way to Broder Loop and doesn't have much further to run as it only goes to Kyogle and stables.

The following photos were taken by me during the session.
The steel train making its way through Nammoona Loop at speed.

A cross is occurring at Kyogle.  in the siding is the rail train.  On the Main is my train the container to Fisherman Islands (located directly above Kyogle).  On the Loop is the fruit train.  This cross stresses the loop at Kyogle to its maximum, as both trains just fit into their respective tracks.

This shot shows that the container has started leaving north while the fruit train is heading south towards Fairy Hill Loop.

The container train has now made its way to Cougal Spiral heading away from the camera.  In a minute to two it will appear again on the top section of track heading towards Border Loop.

Two trouble makers - Darren and Shelton sitting in the naughty corner plotting some despicable act.  I'm driving the train heading around the loop from Cassino to Old Cassino taking the yard.  The loco will run around and then push 4 wagons into the Norco Siding, before resuming it way towards Murwillumbah.  After shunting the four wagons into the Norco siding the train will need to wait until Darren's train the Murwillumbah container comes down the branch towards Casino.  Shelton has just driver the Banana to Murwillumbah and stowed its four wagons in the Banana siding after dropping off at Old Cassino good shed and Lismore Siding.

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