Sunday, September 3, 2017

Operating Session Rundown

Saturday 2nd September was the rescheduled date for the September Operating Session.  maybe not a good choice, given that it was on the Father's Day weekend and many people had activities already scheduled on the Saturday.  Anyway 6 drivers showed up between midday and 1:00pm.  The BBQ was cooking from about 11:40am and those that wanted had a good sausage on a piece of bread.

The whistle out started just after 1:00pm.  But one of the first trains had issues, as the two trains were already in a consist when someone tried to put them in a consist and one loco locked up somehow.  So both were removed from a consist and one was taken to the programming track and it was re-programmed.  The train consist was re-created and the train was now ready to go again.  So we were underway.

The crew consisted of at least two who were first timers.  Peter and Jeff.  Most of the others were not really veterans either.

Later on a second loco on the Brisbane Limited NL1 would also not move.  So that loco was just 0-5-0’ed out and the bicentennial 8040 left to carry on alone.  This train had an issue on the first sleeper.  It derailed about 10 times on its run.  As I was the driver, I put up with it.  That was very annoying.  I will look into this next weekend.

Apart from that listed above, most trains ran quite well.  We ended up running about 26 trains.  So we only got through about a third of the timetable.

With such a reasonably small crew, we had 7 drivers, I decided to not have North Coast Control.  So Arthur was forced to test his road knowledge.  He did pretty good.  Well apart from one point when he did not read the card for the Oil Train.  The card said to leave the loco in the siding that the LPG gas tanker gets left in.  Unfortunately, he drove the loco over to the Norco Siding and left the loco there.  Unfortunately later on in the session another train drops a few wagons in the loco siding, so we had to move this one back.  Interestingly, the loco which was left out into the Norco Siding, must have had its throttle knob hit, as it was left on full speed.  My Norco Siding, doubles as a programming track on my layout and I have it actually isolated most of the time.  So the loco ran in there and stopped running.  When we tried to 0-5-0 it out to the correct place, the loco just ran off.  Given that I did not have a throttle when I was trying to relocate it, the loco just wanted to power off into the sunset until I could grab a throttle and selected the loco, thus instantly setting it to speed step 0.  I then drove the loco to the correct place.

There were about three incidents of trains running the points at Dutton Park, when they were set for the opposite direction.  That caused a short on that section of track.  

There were a few other mystery shorts and sections of track were occasionally shut down.  Eventually they came back to operation.  I have not idea who was doing what when these incidents occurred, but I am almost certain that it was because someone ran a point or something similar like someone had a bogie off the track.

We did get a couple of photo from the session, but most were taken after the session with the trains in their final resting place.

During the session, my Raspberry Pi running JMRI and my wifi connection for the various drivers went on the fritz.  No one could enter a loco number.  That was after a test I previous ran that enabled contract to trains to work properly.  Maybe it just needed to be rebooted.  I will look into this next weekend.

Today, I went down to the shed to fix up a few consisting issues.  It appears that maybe the battery in my NCE 5Amp system, has finally died.  Quite a few consists were non existent.  So I finally replaced the battery.  This is the first time I have done this since I have had the command station.  This must be close to 8 or 9 years.  Although after deleting some consists and then re-creating them, most consists were still in the system even after replacing the battery.
The banana train has made its way from Grafton and dropped wagons at Old Cassino, Limsore and Murwillumbah.

The Brisbane Limited after all its loco and sleeper issues has made its way to South Brisbane Interstate Station and left the motorail wagon and a louvre van in the platform for the shunter to reposition later.  The train loco has run around and moved the carriage set into track 3.

The branchline shunt has left 5 wagons in Cassino Yard before it continues onto towards Old Cassino, Lismore and Murwillumbah.  The five wagons here (yes 5 not 4) are then on delivered by a shunt loco to the Cassino meatworks just a kilometer down the track by a train further on in the timetable.

This is the loco in charge of the branchline shunt.  the two wagons destined for the Norco siding, have actually been left in the platform at Murwillumbah.  I might have to chastise that driver next time I see him.

The Oil train, has positioned 4 wagons in the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding.  Behind the case store is an open wagon with a few 44 gallon drums of oil in it for offloading.

Next stop for the Oil train is Lismore Oil Siding.  Here another four wagons are left in the siding.  The loco cannot enter the siding, so some light footed maneuvers are needed to position the oil pots in the siding with the loco remaining outside the gates.

Lismore Yard is pretty busy in this shot.  Even though the five louvre vans in Storage siding No.1 should be in storage Siding No.1. and the three open wagons in Storage Siding No.1 should be in Storage Siding no. 2.  I'm wondering if I need to issue glasses (or at least free eye tests) to my crew in the future.

The Cement train was driven by me.  It was an interesting run, as I left late and had to wait for a cross at Rappville Loop to occur before I could leave Grafton Yard.  When I got to Cassino, the Oil Train was already shunting the Old Cassino Oil siding.  So I had to wait for this shunt movement to complete and the Oil train to take the Yard, when I ran through on the Main and overtook the oil Train.  Once I made it to Lismore and sunk my staff, the Oil Train could continue onto the Lismore Oil Siding and do its magic, while I was dropping Cement wagons in No. 2 Storage Siding at Lismore with the staff for the next section.

This is Old Cassino.  In the distance, the Banana Train was left two wagons at the Goods Shed.  also just visible is the wagons in the Norco siding left there by the branchline shunt train. The stock train has unloaded stock at the stock siding and is now sitting in the loop ready to head back to Grafton for stabling.

Due to some later running, and not having a camera with me, a cross between two infrastructure trains namely the Ballast Tamper and the railset train occurred at Border Loop.  But being later I missed the cross.  Here the railset train is making its way around the bottom of Cougal Spiral.

Moments earlier the Ballast Tamper which was working on the Mainline at Border Loop, as its flashing red tamping indicator lights are operating, was making its way towards The Risk.  It is just about to enter Border Tunnel.


  1. hahahaha - you can't blame me for running into reverse points and shorting the layout this time Craig!!

  2. Shelton, we actually did blame you. We called Arthur Shelton due to some of the issues he was having and you got the blame. You weren't there to defend yourself, so we all thought it was entirely appropriate.