Train Blog
Logical mind meets Illogical line PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 07 February 2011 16:29

Continuing the earlier posting...

Got home early, everything in control. Moved things into place for ops, a very methodical process (in a little house, you have to do a number of things to make it ready for 8-12 operators). Anyway, was performing the final step, adding CRC to spots on the line and then running a set of F3s up and down the track to spread it out. The engines were running smooth and I was actually goosing them right along. On the first uphill, at high speeds, they piled up at the lower Serrano turnout. Odd. Well, I was going TGV fast.

Then the second run up (more sedate) and this time I saw them go off the rails, right behind the sugar refinery. This is one of the problem spots on my railroad, a place where a climbing turn enters a swayback, and of course, there's the joint. The GS4 has to be rerailed every time through there. But this time, my Fs (four axle railstickers if there ever were such a thing) were going off. I figured the the first pileup was caused by the wheels going off the rails and the train sliding along until crashing at the turnout.

I ran them back and forth, reversing them around, but the same truck set always went off at the same spot. I checked the gauge - fine - and the truck seating - fine. I looked at everything. Then I decided, F-it, its only one spot. So I ran them up the hill and derailed (the same truck) coming off the Stenner Creek trestle.

Okay, that was getting weird. Even though the my gauge showed the wheel spacing spot on, I cracked open the engine (I love doing that right before ops), dropped the truck out, popped it open and pulled the wheels off. Other then a little kitty-cat hair-winding, fine. But just in case - JUST IN CASE - I got out a new set of wheels (I buy these things in batches and keep a bunch around) and put new ones in). Put it together in a minute or too, checked everything, and then ran it up and down the hill across the bad spot. No problems. Ran it across the trestle. Fixed. I don't know why those wheels were bad (perhaps they had a wobble in them?) but that seemed to fix the problem.

Isn't it great, simulating the heartburn of a real division superintendent?


Last Updated on Monday, 07 February 2011 16:50
Isn't this supposed to be a hobby? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 07 February 2011 14:08

I'm sweating bullets and biting my nails right now - I've got Ops. I hate hosting. Once it gets going, its generally okay. But until then, I'm like an actor before going out on stage. I'm wired, tight to twanging.

Problems I dealt with this weekend: A corroded wire (again!) the in Salinas panel. A Watsonville turnout that wouldn't carry power. A steam engine that worked fine until I added the front coupler, and now its dogging. My new sound-equipped E8s are jacked a little high, putting their pilot couplers out of line. And the Salinas switch engine, which no longer wants to run through the tight turn behind Valley Fruit very well.

I'm too much of a perfectionist for this. Its like three days of gentle nausea.

Godallmighty, just let the clock start!

Last Updated on Monday, 07 February 2011 14:14
OpsLog - LM&O - 1/26/2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 26 January 2011 22:44

I have to smile when Everquack or World of Warplug folks brag about online squads who have been together for five, six months. My operations group has been together upwards of twenty-five years. I've got silent-service guys, ex-military pilots, software experts, a once-mayor, a veterinarian, former cops, linemen, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. I've gone to their weddings and funerals, loaned money, asked favors, exchanged Christmas cards and dirty jokes. As for train-running, we learned it together, from loop-counting to invitations to pro-rails, the superbowl of ops.

Tonight it shows. People arrive on time, they dive in to clean our massive layout. I count noses - we're short tonight. I know of an illness, a post-ops recoup and a broken arm. Still, most of the trains are signed up. We toss radio checks about, I line up the first few track warrants, the crews dial up their locos.

"Anytime, dispatcher," someone quips.

The clock is hot.

It's the professional teamwork you onliners could only dream off, tight controlled radio transmission, snappy read-backs. I'm playing ahead of my game tonight, Martin Yard is tossing them back as fast as they come in and the varnish is running bang on schedule. Things are smooth. The room is quiet, nobody idling in sidings swapping stories. It's actually getting dull. I bump the clock ratio up to keep it tight.

247 calls at the limit of Martin Yard, looking for clearance onto the main. I've got a passenger move coming out of the west dead at him, running on the dot. Usually I'd keep him in the hole but someone mentions the engineer is feeling sick and probably should go home (he didn't want to pack up in mid-run). Its risky but I open the door for him to run to Mingo Jct and do a siding-dive - I know 247, the guy runs tight and sharp, no dawdling. As insurance I ring up his opposition and have him notch back to Mingo. In essence, this meet is off warrant and off book.

"No problem," the varnish-driver confirms.

247 calls clear at Mingo and confirms 68 is only just getting in. He's still rolling as I'm reading his pre-written order, clear to Cincinnati, end of the line. He'll be off the division in five minutes, packed in ten, in his car in twelve, home in thirty.

These are my boys.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 23:30
OpsLog - UP Chicago - 1/24/2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 24 January 2011 22:56

I love going to Dick's ops. Its been down for a while, but its a handy little railroad with a casual session. Best thing is that its a mile or so from my house, an easy bike ride.

Good group showed for the Grand Reopening. Took a job footplating in Cheyenne yard, cleaning up the paperwork and getting the crew rolling. But Don's clever so I leave him to it, hooking a freight out of the yard, a flat run to Chicago. The layout's live around me and I'm enjoying the nice scenery, passing trains and watching for open turnouts (these newbies are leaving every barn door open).

At Chicago, I hop another train back, this one with fun 'n games at North Platte. I drop off the main, thread over to the industrial track, and only then find out that the Chicago yardmaster filled my consist with through loads. Nothing's going off and since I'm at maximum tonnage I can't pick anything up. Still, a new engineer following me up did have to work Platte and since I knew the place, I dropped onto a siding to clear following traffic and slipped onto his crew to help spot cars (God, I loooove switching). Rattled my freight into Cheyenne, last freight home. Dropped the cut and ran the units over to the house. Great fun with great friends.

Afterwards, I rode home on my bike on the quiet streets, pleased at the fun we'd had. But there was still one more pickup I had to make, this one a fuzzy highball, a nine-pound Unstoppable, as detailed HERE.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 23:18

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