There was no railway activity early this week. Friday this week I went to see Star Wars with my son, and in the late afternoon, received some visitors to the shed. Jeff from my running crew brought along his father – Ian - up from Victoria and another fairly local Operating Session provider Duncan Cabassi. Duncan runs a blog that I follow, called the UP / BNSF Joint Division - see my list.
Not having my wifi micro-SD card available for my Raspberry Pi based JMRI, as Greg was taking a backup of the saved config and other guru type stuff, I was limited to two Procab-R’s for a short operating run. I gave Ian and Duncan a geographic tour of the layout, and then Jeff and Ian each ran a train. Jeff ran the Murwillumbah Shunt train starting from Grafton Yard and dropping wagons off at Cassino, Old Cassino, Lismore and Murwillumbah. While Ian took the Container train from Fisherman Islands, picking up another three 80’ container wagons at Clapham Yard and then travelling south to Grafton Yard.
While running the Shunt, Jeff advised that the loco does not fit through the new goods shed at Old Cassino. What? He said he ran it a few Operating Sessions ago and had issues. Well Jeff did not write a note on my timetable card, so I couldn't follow up after the session on the 27 December and fix this. I originally did not believe him when he told me on Friday. But sure enough he was correct and I was left with egg on my face. So today I went down to the shed at about 11:00am and put some cork under the shed, and raised it up. The track at this location was laid on cork, and the shed sits in between the tracks in the yard but not on cork. A bit of a blunder there from me. But easily fixed. The cork has been glued down, and eventually ballast will be added around this location and everything will blend in.
Another thing I did was paint a small baseboard, that I will use to build the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding on. This will allow removal from the layout. I can then spend some time adding detail to the various bit and pieces in this area when I’m up in the house. It will have at least 4 oil tanks, and may even have large fifth tank. It also has a case shed. I would really like to install the various pipes that runs between the various tanks on this removable baseboard for some added detail.
I also spent quite a bit of time considering some track re-arrangements to Grafton Yard. I was thinking of adding a few more points so that the single ended tracks could be reached by both the inbound and outbound routes into the yard. At the moment, all the single ended tracks can only be reached by a train backing in through the outbound tracks. But after some considerable time, I talked my self out of any changes here. However, I did decide that I would investigate making track 8 which is currently two dead end tracks , one on the inbound end and one on the outbound end, that don’t meet, into another single circular return loop. This means that trains do not have to back into track 8 any more after a session. But the train will just run through and stop. I also thought of making a slight change at the outbound end of the track 8, by adding a set of points so that trains can leave by the ladder that takes trains from the return loop tracks - track 1 through track 7. Previously you had to leave via the lead from all the other single ended tracks. This will allow me to create a small section of track about 90cm long, that will house a couple of special trains. Maybe my NSW railbus, when I get one from Auscision or eventually get my Far North Models version operational - it currently has a bit of a bind in the mechanism. I could also locate a small steam special on this new piece of track. I do have a single unused dead end track – track 13, that I could also stage a short 90cm train on.
I am considering that a future project for Cassino will be that all the crossing loops and the sidings on the mainline will be converted to power operation of the loops. These could well be controlled via a JMRI panel on a tablet. The North Coast Controller may well set the track that someone enters into a crossing loop into. That would prevent most head-ons inside a crossing loop. But this is a multi year project that needs to be planned. It requires more thinking.