October 2015


For Monday 12-10-15 on the Kanunda & Emu Flat Railway

Thanks to those who came to Monday nights operating session


Trains ran so poorly at last months session that it was imperative that I get to the bottom of the problem. Trains were running erratically as if they had dirty wheels or the track was dirty or both. During the session I cleaned the wheels on a couple of locos but they only ran smoothly for a short while. A few days after the session I thoroughly cleaned the track using acetone recommended by Ray as well as my usual methylated spirits. I then cleaned the wheels on BL29, a Powerline model fitted with a fiddle-yard mechanism, and ran it pulling one of the through freights. It did two circuits of the layout and came to a stop. Dirty wheels. I then looked at the wheels of the cars in the train and found them to be filthy. I scraped great hunks of grunge off of quite a few of the wheels. So once more I cleaned the track. Also I cleaned BL29’s wheels again and as well I cleaned the wheels on all the cars in the train. Then I sent the same train out again and an hour later it was still running happily with no sign of any stuttering.

My conclusion from this is that as long as I keep running rolling stock with dirty wheels the track will never stay clean for very long.

So I decided to clean the wheels on all the rolling stock and the dummy locomotives, about 130 items in all. Mostly I was able to clean the wheels by rolling the cars over paper towel soaked in methylated spirits. A few I had to scrape the grunge off with a sharp knife and I used a wire brush in my motor tool on a few really stubborn ones. I suppose I spent an average of three or four minutes an each vehicle. It was interesting to note that that metal wheels were invariably dirtier and harder to clean than the plastic wheels. I have been told that metal wheels run cleaner that plastic wheels but this experience has shown the opposite. Most of these wheels have never been cleaned before.

Cleaning all those wheels and getting away for five days in September in our RV left no time to do any modeling this month. Still thats the way it goes some time.


Six operators arrived for this session. Rod and Peter S were road crew 1, John P and John H were road crew 2, Jeremy was Kanunda YM, Ziggy hostler, and myself controller. The Johns had a some problems with 847, a Trax 830 class with a K&M mech, while running the up Myrtle Springs goods. This may be either the hand-piece or perhaps the new CV settings in the decoder. For the rest of the night all trains ran smoothly, looks like all my wheel cleaning was worth while. All the time tabled trains ran on time except for the down Overland which left Cooper five minutes late, the hostler was late getting the power on to the train and lost a further minute arriving at Foster six minutes late. Fortunately it still has plenty of time to make those six minutes up before reaching Melbourne. Trains ran so well that every train had been run except for the timetabled up Mt Gambier goods we found that we had an hour of fast time left before it was due on the layout at Foster. To remedy this problem Train Control issued the Mt Gambier goods with a run early order. The down Myrtle Springs goods even took the time to move the tank car in their train away from the brake-van. From now on we should follow the rule that fuel tank cars should not be next to the locomotive or brake van. Also there should be an idler car to separate live-stock cars from the brake-van on loaded live-stock trains. Speaking of the down Myrtle Springs goods they left an ALGY van of general merchandise, for Myrtle Springs, at the Wooldowie goods shed instead of ALGX 5U carrying a load of beer for the Railway Hotel which could become the pub with no beer if that van does not get back by tomorrow morning after the Myrtle Springs goods overnights at Myrtle Springs. The other car left in the wrong place was an empty OB open wagon that arrived in Kanunda on the up Myrtle Springs goods to be sent to the Pallet and box factory in Foster. It’s still sitting in Kanunda yard because the YM forgot to put it in the down roadside goods.

All in all an enjoyable session thanks to all.

Any comments and criticisms welcome.

Cheers Ken. 


A tidy Kanunda yard at the end of this session. Grey open wagon OB277 can be seen waiting to be sent to the Pallet and Box factory at Foster. 

P1010145 (1)

938 and 705 about to depart Penstone Quarry with the loaded up Stonie. 

P1010125 (1)

847 departing Wooldowie with the down Myrtle Springs goods. The first car is green ALGX 5U van with a load of beer for the Railway Hotel (obscured behind the goods shed). Will this van return to Wooldowie before the pub runs out of beer?

For your information and my interest I kept a record of which trains each crew ran this session. When originally designing the sequence of trains I had no idea how it would pan out. Of course the sequence has changed several times over the years. I think the current sequence works quite well and usually works out very similarly each session. Sometimes train control will hold back non timetabled trains to keep a jet or passenger on time. Remember all trains except the branch-line goods come in off line from places like Adelaide,Mile End, Islington,Dry Creek, Gilman, Mt Gambier, and Melbourne and train control may have held them longer at an earlier station or they may have even got ahead of schedule. I wish train crews to think of them as a new crew with each train they take onto the layout which is part of the South Line in S.A.



BOX NO                               TRAIN NO                            NAME


2                                                 313                                     Down Mt Gambier goods

4                                                   119                                    Down Emu Flat passenger

120                                   Up Emu Flat passenger

5                                                      321                                Down light engine to Maranalgo

322                                 Up grain extra from Maranalgo

7                                                       405                                  Down Maranalgo goods

404                                    Up Maranalgo goods

8                                                        201                                      Melboune Jet

12                                                      101                                         Down Overland

13                                                        202                                        Adelaide Jet

14                                                          323                                     Down light engine to Emu Flat

324                                       Up livestock train from Emu Flat

17                                                        403                                         Down Myrtle Springs goods


BOX NO                                    TRAIN NO                                      NAME


1                                                             102                                            Up Overland

3                                                          402                                               Up Myrtle Springs goods

6                                                            301                                               Down Stonie

302                                               Up Stonie

9                                                             206                                             Adelaide Super-Freighter

10                                                              342                                               Kanunda to Mile End Transfer

11                                                             309                                                  Down Roadside goods

15                                                                 343                                              Mile End to Kanunda transfer

16                                                                   310                                           Up Roadside goods

18                                                                 320                                                Up Tank train

19                                                                  314                                                 Up Mt Gambier goods