Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bylong Operating Night

We held another operating session last night and all concerned felt that it went very well and that the layout operated very well which was a relief.

The layout is run to a 12 hour timetable that starts at 6:00am and concludes of course at 6:00pm. The timetable is run at a fast time rate of 6 to 1 so that 1 hour on the fast clock is 10 real minutes. This was made easy by the use of the clock facility in the NCE DCC system where the fast time is displayed on the Pro Cab throttles. Marcus Amman was also kind enough to bring along two fast clocks that plug into the cab bus and display the fast time in large red LED numbers. One clock was placed at Bylong and the other at Wollar for the Station Masters.

We ran again using NCE radio throttles as since the previous operating night a number of the Ramblers had their Pro Cabs converted to radio. There more than enough radio throttles to run the layout. The radio throttles performed flawlessly with no one complaining about delayed response or missed keystrokes.

We ran 25 trains during the session and finished the night at 6:00pm fast time one train movement behind the timetable which all agreed was pretty good, better than last time.

We didn't have a dedicated Station Master / Signalman at Bylong this time. That was my fault as I didn't ask for volunteers and we did have one instance of two trains in the section between Bylong and Cox's Gap Loop but not a cornfield meet due to that lack of control. There was one other instance when I was shunting the branch mixed in Wollar and I gave permission for a passenger train driven by Dave "Rowdy" Allen to leave Wollar down the grade to Bylong as a coal train was climbing the grade. This of course was very wrong of me as I had usurped the power of the Wollar Station Master, Layne Hardy. Layne has been the SM for the last two sessions and has done a really good job although he did say that next time he would like to run a train or two.

I will leave you with this YouTube video of 3532 on 81 Goods banked by 5085 as it passes through Bylong in preparation for the climb to Cox's Gap and Wollar. Apologies for the quality of the video but I quickly grabbed the camera and took the video without having the chance to set it up so that the focus was better. It is however interesting to listen to the discussion going on .


B. Kooistra said...

Great stuff, Ramblers! I almost felt I was in the room. Was that James McInerney I heard in the background? I trust he's keeping you honest and wrote you up for almost creating that head-on collision! Quite inspirational, Ray. Just what I needed to see while I struggled with tiny bits of styrene building grain wagons!!

Ray P said...


You have a good ear for voices condsidering you have only spent one evening here when James was in attendance. Then again, James is one of a kind.


James McInerney said...

I resemble that comment! ;o)

Great fun, as usual! Can't wait till the next one. I think a Train Controller (preferably with a big stick!) is definitely needed to keep that anarchic lot under control. Talk about the 'Rafferty's no-wire block' system of safeworking! (For Blair's benefit, the NSWGR once used the Tyer's 3 wire - 3 position and Tyer's 1 wire - 3 position block telegraph instuments to control double line sections, 'Rafferty's no-wire block' is a reference to those systems of safeworking, combined with 'Rafferty's Rules' [ie no rules!] to denote a complete lack of safeworking of any kind!)

Yes, there was a lot of very 'dodgy' behaviour (particularly shunting outside the home signals while the section was occupied) that attracted the interest of the DPC. Might have to bring some 'bung' forms (traditional NSWGR name for the 'please explain' correspondance that occured when something went wrong) along next time... ;o) There were defintitely a couple of people there who should have been 'put back' (reduced in grade) to engine cleaning for some fairly spectacular safeworking breaches!