Image above captured on the upper deck of the layout where scenery has progressed to some extent...
Shot with Olympus C-750

Welcome to the SP Oregon Division!

An N Scale RR depicting the good old days along "The Friendly".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Post Ops 6-18 Review

Well, the track cleaning train worked really well with the Centerline cars in the lead, followed by one of my custom cars, the power, and another five masonite pads.  Thanks for the suggestion Ron! Quite pleased with this new train's performance and how it will preserve on-line scenery details, as well as spare me some of the extra Ops prep work.
First time trying a drawing from a coffee can so operators could pick what jobs they wanted to start with... but I didn't realize we were missing one operator until he came back and pulled #1 out of the can half way through the job bidding...  My bad.   :(
We broke new ground with 11 participants this session.   A good turnout of crews with Michael dispatching from the comforts of his home, John worked the new position of West Eugene Yd Switcher / Hostler / Herder, which needs some refining, but special thanks to him forging the way through uncharted territory.  Kel worked the East End / Yd Master reducing the usual overload of multitasking for me... and even looked like he might have enjoyed it.  Danny bagged two of the local jobs somehow (Weyerhauser and Springfield jobs), but was a smoooth operator.  Steven ran the Oakridge Turn, and Marc handled the first call for mid-train helpers on a lumber drag from Oakridge up to Summit.   Road jobs were shared by most of the crews including Arnold, Mike, and Hans.  Special thanks to Ray as usual for his expertise in the Signal / Comm dept, and a pat on the back to the host for putting up with them all.  lol  I was worried it might be overcrowded, but seems to have been comfortable enough where the upcoming expansion might not force me to reduce crew sizes from where they are supposed to be...
Had a few problem children that derailed.  Only car to lay on it's side was an LPG tanker on the Springfield Job that appears to be due to an old NWSL wheel set (Call Hazmat!).  I'm assuming a few other bad wheel sets still out there, but all documented with the few cars that had "pulled knuckles".  Only scarey moment for me was the first time in recent memory that the beet train had a couple cars derail on the head end.... but saved before the dreaded domino effect dumped out all the live loads. 
Thanks to all who showed up and participated.  I had a blast as usual, and already looking forward to the next run!  Watch for the next crew announcement as we will try for around mid August so I can actually get some work done to the RR before then.
Good Times no doubt!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Update on the Track Cleaner Train

So there is good, but it comes with the bad.
The good is that all six of my custom cars are done.  They all track exceptionally well, even being pushed as one whole block through the yard ladders! ... kind of blew my mind they performed with talgos so well, as expected having to body mount the couplers.  The bad is the Centerline cars can't handle more than 2 of my custom cars in tow without derailing.  Have to do more experimenting, but looks like I will just pull the 2 Centerline cars (one wet followed by one dry) alone, then a second section train with the 6 cleaning cars not too far behind.  I was thinking maybe the 6 cars were overkill, but the last car in the string still gets dirt on it's pad after just a few laps on the layout.  Overall the track appears to be pretty clean, and the units don't stumble following behind the first pass of the cleaner train.  After track, its typically the Trix wheel cleaner to all the power, but more testing needed before I change anything there.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Track Cleaning Train

Been working on a train to do the work ahead of ops sessions since it has really been wearing on me lately.  Here is a shot of what I have going...

I'm using two Centerline track cleaning cars, and six modified MDC 50' boxcars with masonite pads following up the rear.  The first Centerline car gets alcohol, the second is dry, then the remaining cars will complete the cleaning.  Finally got all the pieces together and most of the prefabbing of materials is done.  I finished the first car today, so the rest will now go quickly.  Here's a shot of the materials:

I am using 1 ounce tungsten weights (thanks Ray!) for extra down force on the cleaning pad, then to keep the car tracking well (since I use low profile wheels), I upped the overall weight of the car itself to over 3 ounces.  So far it has tracked flawlessly over turnouts and around the layout a couple times... we'll see as I add the rest regarding performance.  If I have to add more weigh I don't anticipate any issues.  Here's a shot of the components assembled together.

...and the first completed car to hit the rails:

This set of cars will blend in well with the rest of the fleet during ops so that I don't have to remove all the cars every time.  They will hide on a back track in the yard during ops sessions so I can pull them out if we need a quick rebuff of the rails.  It is just the 2 Centerline cars that will get pulled after initial cleaning is done.  Looking forward to putting the brightboys in a box for the most part... but I'll still drag one out for spur tracks where the cleaning train can't roll through easily.   :)