Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Update

Slow progress this month as my wife continues with rehab and the constant visits to doctors, blood tests, physio & hydro continued on a nearly daily basis. Lucky for me she can now driver herself to some of the sessions. The Round Robin Group has been variable with members away and having other commitments encroaching too.

However a few things have been achieved and include work on the Flintston Control Panel, Commissioning Flintston Yard, unboxing more Rolling Stock, some new PFE cars, Programming Locos and Trial Running.

Flintston Control Panel 

Last month it finished here

This month I installed the two sets of Double slip indications & CD discharge unit below Framework.

Now for the additional wiring for the bi-colour LED's in the control panel.

Commissioning Flintston Yard

Following the powering up of the double slip indications & CD discharge unit the checking of each turn out is being tested for operation, frog power and panel indications and when all is correct the point throw wire is cut off at rail height.  Chris and I are about 1/3 of the way through the 20 points in the yard.

Rolling Stock

Following the successful un-boxing of the coal hoppers last month I un-boxed the remaining RTR cars that had previously had Kadee's fitted...

Coupled them all up for a trial run

My birthday occurred this month so with my wife's financial help I bought myself a present - a set of PFE cars

Programming Locos

Given the failure of the Blueline Locos in session 1 I programmed two Atlas Gold Series B23-7's for the Loco pool.  I have two Paragon RSD-15 ready for programming as well.  I guess I will need to try again with the seven failed Blueline diesels.....

Trial Running

Two shakedown sessions with operators from the Wednesday Round Robin Group were held this month. Apart from assessing the reliability of locos and rolling stock I am asking operators to record times to undertake shunting and running between locations.

Session 1

Bob, Chris, Ros and I took part and we ran a number of trains.

I acted as train control and worked the control panels (when not providing guidance or problem solving) whilst Bob loaded the ore train at Iron Hill and then ran to Huntington, Ros ran the PFE from Shasta to Hornertown and re-iced the train at Hornertown, and Chris ran the Adamsville to Huntington commuter train followed by the Oily from Stanvac to Hornertown.

The session found a number of issues to be attended to: too much gunk on the rails (it has been a number of months since a good clean and the CRC 2-26 had dried out); all of the Blueline diesels had problems and had to be removed from use (2 x SD-7 with Lenz STANDARD+ decoders, 1 x SD40-2 with ESU LokPilot decoder, 2 x RSD-15 with NCE 141P decoders); The Athearn SD45T-2's with LokPilot decoders ran well except the Kadee couplers fouled the Snow Plows and occasionally caused a derailment and they have insufficient bogie swing for the switching tracks at Hornertown (After all they are mainline locos not switchers!).

Track Cleaning

After the first running session I decided that the rails needed to be stripped using the CMX filled with MEK and then CRC 2-26 spread by another car with a felt pad after the MEK has evaporated   This was a long process as I run the CMX over the tracks 2 or 3 times (I wore out 4 pads this time) then it took a similar amount of time for the CRC 2-26 - I spent between 6 and 7 hours to complete this.

During the cleaning my wife called me from outside the train room in a loud voice "Are you taking me to hydro!" - I had been completely immersed in the task that I had forgotten - black mark here.....   I immediately shut the layout down and scampered out to the car where she was waiting.....  Later when I got back and restarted the process to find the loco derailing...  I discovered that in my hurried exit the CMX was left over a point in Picard Junction and the plastic ties around the throw bar were soft and tacky and the centering spring had cut through as I forgot to close off the CMX car.

The next day when we went into the city for my wife's hospital appointment we visited Orient Express and I purchased a replacement turn out. I needed a hand to fit it so Chris came to the rescue to help me so after using the Dremel cut off wheel to remove sections of the old turn out before placing the new so the running session the following day could proceed.  Thanks mate!

Session 2

Chris, Ros and I took part and we ran a number of trains.

Again I acted as train control and worked the control panels (when not providing guidance or problem solving - less this time) whilst Chris loaded the ore train at Iron Hill and then ran to Huntington, Ros ran the PFE from Shasta to Hornertown and re-iced the train at Hornertown then on to Stirling.

Steam Loco Trials

I have a number of steam locos that I have bought over the last five or six years and I have started testing what each one runs like and how they pull so I can set some operating rules for use.  Most of the Paragon (4-8-4, 2-8-4), Blueline (AC4/5's), Athearn Genesis, Bachmann Spectrum and IHC Gold Series seem to run well.  The Bachmann GS-4's are a different story though - they will need some work....

Throttle Instructions

At the trial running sessions it was realised that "Basic Operating Instructions" for the Roco MultiMaus Throttles were required.  They can be used in Library or Loco Number mode - I use 4-digit Loco Number.  I have prepared these basic instructions for operators who come to visit.

The next work session is in May as this weeks Round Robin is a running session at Ross's Willunga layout.

That's it for this month.  I'm think the full operating session will happen in June - I'm still optimistic!

Thanks to those that continue to help me achieve my ambitions and hello again to all my followers!

Till the end of May.


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