September 2015

THE MONDAY NIGHT MAIL TRAIN

For Monday 14-9-15 on the Kanunda and Emu Flat Railway

PROGRESS

This month I have attempted to set CVs 2 5 and 6 on all the locomotives on the K&EFR to get them all running in a similar way. The criteria that I used was that each loco should take about nine or ten “fast” minutes to travel flat out from Foster to Kanunda. The time in the time table for this distance is eleven “fast” minutes on the four to one time clock. So if crews get behind the will not be able to wind up the throttle and bore through at 200 Kph to make the time up they will only be able to make up about two minutes in the eleven minute trip. I have not done this before because I thought it would be time consuming and I was right it seemed to take ages. The only ones that I was unsuccessful with was the steamy which has a very basic Lenz single function decoder which does not use CV 5 or 6 and S301 a Train-O-Rama S class which has a TCS T1 decoder. No matter what values I put in CVs 2,5,&6 S301 continued to run exactly the same as before, changing the CVs made no difference.

THE SESSION

I was faced with limited time to prepare coming up to this session. I seemed to be experiencing problems with dirty track during preparation. I clean the track on the K&EFR by rubbing the track with a cork block dampened with Methylated spirits. I also vacuumed the track. Cleaning the track twice did not seem to improve the running of locos and their wheels were getting dirty quickly. I thought that the cork block and the brush I use to apply the metho to the block could have been contaminated. So I went over the track with a Peco track rubber then put a new cork surface on the cork block and used a new brush. After doing that the track absolutely gleamed. For this session we had Peter S and John H as one road crew and Rod as the other road crew. John P was Kanunda Yard Master and Sol was Hostler leaving myself to be Controller. Early on my faith in the gleaming track was shaken when the Overland, one of the first trains to be run, ground to a halt not even half way round the layout. The gremlins had hit and continued to torment us during the whole operating session. We got the Overland to it’s destination once we cleaned the wheels on X49. Another example was 846 on the Emu Flat passenger it also stopped running and I had cleaned 846’s wheels immediately prior to the session. We could only get it to complete it’s schedule was to clean the wheels on 846. Wheels had to be cleaned on several other locos as well. Naturally all this stuttering and stopping then cleaning wheels put all trains well behind time. Another byproduct of the badly running locos was that we experienced an unusually large number of short circuits. Concentrating on trying to just get a stuttering and stalling loco to run meant that operators were unable to focus properly on where their train was going. John P was struggling with Kanunda yard but seemed to be getting on top of it when the session was called to an end at 10PM with four trains still to run.

Apologies to those who operated the badly performing locomotives. I now have my work cut out to get them running right again. I need to work out wether the problem is dirty track, track cleaning, dirty wheels, or even changing those CVs. Some how I will get rid of the gremlins.

All comments, criticisms and suggestions welcome.

Regards Ken. 

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503 in Kanunda yard at the end of the session.

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 Another view of Kanunda. Note the gleaming track.

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A shell shocked controller about to make a quick get away once the session had finished.