Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fueling Progress Towards Next Operations Session

After making changes to the timetable following last weekend's trial operations, I decided to continue to fuel my progress - so to speak.  So yesterday I spend time with No. 49 the Down Fuel train from Grafton to Old Cassino and Lismore.  The train after leaving Grafton Staging, and heading though Rappville Loop, it takes the back platform road at Cassino and then runs into the yard at Old Cassino.  From here it backs into the Shell Oil Siding.  I have rearranged the wagons on this train.  I also added an open wagon, which will contain a load of oil and other petroleum based product drums.  This wagon will be the last vehicle on the train and will be positioned alongside the case store in my Shell Oil Siding.  There will also be a visiting Ampol NTAF, along with a short wheelbase Shell tanker and a Shell NTAF.  These four wagons will be cut off and the train will proceed to the next town – Lismore to so some similar shunting.  It must be remembered when shunting the Oil Sidings on my layout, that the loco cannot travel past the gates. The track is poorly maintained and cannot handle the weight of a loco.

At Lismore, the train which still has two Shell Oil Tankers and two other tankers on the train destined for the Shell Oil Siding in this town will travel into the platform road at Lismore, and then shunt back into the Shell Oil Siding after first making sure that the gates have been opened.  The train still has a Speed-e-Gas tanker on the front, and this enables the wagons being dropped off to be positioned inside the gates of this private siding.  I am still at least one oil tanker short for this train, and if possible, I might swap out my two non-descript (other) oil tankers when the Eureka ones hit the market.  Once the oil wagons have been dropped off, the train now only hauling the gas tanker, heads through the platform again and into the yard.  As the train was leaving the siding, the shunter ensures that the gates are closed and locked before heading to the platform.  Once through the platform the train then reverses back into the gas unloading frame located in one of the sidings in the yard at Lismore with the loco stabling in the siding until it needs to haul the train back south.

A number of hours later the loco of now no. 50, the Up Fuel Train hauls the now empty gas tanker into the yard and runs around the tanker via the main line.  The train then heads back through the platform and travels to the far end of the Shell Oil Siding at Lismore.  The train, then shunts back onto the now empty oil tankers.  Again a check is made to ensure that the siding gates are opened before heading in.  Once coupled up, the train is pulled clear of the gates and then the train is left there, while the gas tanker is pulled forward and then pushed back and left on the main line clear of this set of points.  The loco then sets forward again, and then pushes back onto the oil rake again.  Ones coupled, it pulls forward and then when clear of the points, sets back onto the gas tanker.  This positioned the gas tanker in the correct position for the next timetable run.  The shunter then closes and locks the gates to the Oil siding, and the train heads south to Old Cassino.

At Old Cassino, the train heads to the platform road.  The loco uncouples and then runs around the train via the yard track.  It then couples up to the northern end of the train and then the train is propelled back into the Oil Siding.  It collects the three empty oil tankers and the open wagon, now loaded with returning empty drums of oil and petroleum products.  Once coupled, up the train heads back to the Old Cassino platform road, and the loco then uncouples and then runs around the train again, and then sets back onto the open wagon at the now front end of the train.  The train then resumes its journey south through Cassino, and Rappville Loop, past the Rocla Sleeper Siding and into a free track in the Grafton Staging Yard.  The loco then uncouples and runs around the loop and comes back and couples onto the other end of the train.  The train then pulls forward out back onto the mainline and once clear of the point to the dead end sidings, shunts back into its designated siding, all ready to begin the trip during the next exercising of the timetable in late August.

So that is the testing of the Fuel Train.  The two timetable cards, for No. 49 and No. 50 have been adjusted with the current activities to be performed and the shunt list has been adjusted to include the additional open wagon in the consist.

This planning and trialling was not without its headaches.  With the additional wagon in its load, the Fuel Train now does not fit in its designated siding.  So a number of changes have been made to the trains located in the dead end sidings at Grafton Yard.  The Ballast train that was the source of last week’s testing, has moved from track 9 to track 8.  The Fuel train which was in track 10 has now moved to track 9.  The Sleeper train which was in track 8 has now moved to track 10.  All the timetable cards for these trains have also been adjusted.

With plenty of work to do, but no motivation to do any, I do a couple of small tasks as well yesterday.  I did add about 75mm of track length to the Oil Siding at Old Cassino, so it can now comfortably take the 4 wagons it needs instead of the three it previously held.  While working on the run-around movement for the gas tanker at Lismore, I decided to bite the bullet and install a small through girder bridge over a road underpass on the northern side of Lismore.  I cut the track out, spliced in a length of bridge track that I had left over from when I installed the kitbashed bridge at Cassino over the Richmond River.  The styrene structure of the over bridge also ended up being thicker than the cork roadbed under the adjacent track at Lismore, and you guessed it, I had already ballast the track down in Lismore.  Bugger!  Anyway, there is now a slight rise over the last 5 centimetres before the bridge.  On the other side I have had to pack under the track as the first train through there uncoupled between the loco and first wagon.  As part of the testing of the bridge, I ran the container train that was sitting at Murwillumbah back and forth through the bridge and I ran the motorail from Grafton back and forth through the bridge.  The reasons that I did this, is that the bridge is on a slight curve in the track geometry and the styrene bridge base that I scratch built ended up being rather narrow given the curve was involved.  Whoops, I wish I had my time back again.  I would have made the bridge another 5mm wider.

Anyway, everything ran through smoothly.  Future activities in the lead up to the forthcoming Operating Session will involve cleaning the track and printing out the timetable cards and the new timetable graphs.  Oh that's right, I still have a short that appears intermittently somewhere between Dutton Park and South Brisbane Interstate when I throw the points at Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands.

Next weekend will be spent at my Club’s Model Railway Exhibition at Strathpine north of Brisbane.  I will be spending most of my time on the door, so say g’day if you come along for a visit.

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