On Monday I set about going some more work on the “To-Do List” that I set myself following the last Operations Session on the previous Saturday. I fixed up the point at Dutton Park. It now throws in both directions. I then went to the point at the southern entry to Clapham Yard that I thought was giving me some issues. I had originally identified that I could not access track three from the mainline as the point I was looking at was not throwing. However, the point that was not throwing was for entry into track 4, and I was never pushing the button for track 4. That is why it was not throwing. So when I pushed that button, it threw as it should have. Maybe I need to learn to count to 4 from my current maximum of 3. I also fixed up a power jumper for Rocklea Sidings.
Now wanting something to do, I decided to continue my work around Cassino Yard. There are two disabled wagon sidings branching off the headshunt at the northern end of the yard. These have been covered by masking tape for years. So off came the masking tape, and I cleaned up the area, and then covered them with ballast and a brown coloured tile grout to simulate dirt. This was spread with a fine brush and then covered with diluted PVA glue and allowed to set.
So while this was drying, I was having a think about how I could link five of my trains together. I run a steel train from Acacia Ridge in the early hours of the morning to Grafton Yard (Train no. 8), where it sits in a siding until later in the timetable and comes back in two moves. The first move (Train no. 7) is from Grafton Yard to Cassino in the Yard for a period of time. From there, when a northbound path is available, it moves from Cassino Yard all the way to Acacia Ridge Yard (Train no. 7A). I also have a steel shunt train that runs from Acacia Ridge Yard that departs a couple of hours after the mainline steel train has left south at the beginning of the Operations Session. This shunt (Train no. 65) goes from Acacia Ridge Yard to Rocklea Sidings, where it backs into the steel siding at this location. After a couple of hours, it then comes out onto the mainline and propels the train backwards towards Acacia Ridge Yard (Train no. 66). These two shunts are totally independent to the other mainline steel trains.
So my thinking is that when the mainline loaded steel train arrives at Acacia Ridge Yard very late in the timetable sequence, it uncouples the last 5 wagons and leaves then on track 2 within Acacia Ridge Yard. The steel train will then travel further around the loop at Acacia Ridge Yard to the end of track 1 ready for its departure at the beginning of the next timetable session. After this has occurred, the 48 class loco that runs the shunt from Acacia Ridge Yard to Rocklea Sidings and back again, will form Train no. 70, and push its now empty train onto the end of the steel train on track 1 in Acacia Ridge Yard, and then come back and collect to 5 wagons left by the steel train on track 2. It will then move these wagons to track 3 in Acacia Ridge Yard for the next session. This way, I am swapping wagon from the steel train to the shunt and back over the session, and free up track 2 for other crossing movements in the timetable. Also the drivers of the various trains will have to unload the steel train while in Rocklea Sidings (Train no. 65) and will then load the steel train when it arrives in Grafton Yard (Train no. 8) before it heads north again with a new load of steel to repeat the process.
In order to facilitate these movements, I think I need to add two sets of points between Acacia Ridge Track 2 and Track 3 on the inward side of Acacia Ridge Yard to allow the 48 class shunt loco to easily get to the rear of the empty steel wagons that have just come from Rocklea Sidings, so they can be pushed onto the rear of the southbound empty Steel train for very early in the next timetable session. The loco can then come back onto the just left full wagons, and move them to Track 3 ready to take them to the siding. I just happen to have these two points needed in my pile of spares. These might be installed next weekend following a visit to a hobby shop.
My plan for next weekend (probably Sunday now, as the boss is going out and I won't be doing much in the shed) is to also run a mini timetable with myself, and maybe one or two others (any takers for a beer or two and a run?), running 5 x railbus movements, 6 x steel train movements and 5 x other shunt trains from Grafton to South Brisbane Interstate with a shunt to and from Rocklea Sidings for Limestone traffic. I have to fit this in between taking my daughter for a driving lesson which have now started while she has finished school for the year. I can’t wait until later in the year when she gets some experience under her belt, and she can comfortably drive me to the train shop and back on a Saturday morning. That will be the life. No sooner will these lessons be finished, when I will have to start it over again but this time for my son.