Friday, September 17, 2010

Progress Report 09.17.10

Progress continues...

Signal Maintainer Report:
Got my soldering groove on.  Utilized the CR&E's tip of keeping the booster on to instantly know of any shorts.  Re-pulled the bus wire for the top level peninsula.  I still have yet to pull the bus wire for the remainder of the top level, but holes are drilled.  Signal Maintainer Little reports that the following are complete:
  • West Davenport
  • Davenport Yard
  • Rock Island
  • Joliet Grain Co.
  • Blue Island
  • Burr Oak Yard
Rough wiring has been pulled, cut and stripped for all remaining locations on the layout minus the ovalix.   Crews expect to make good time through the remainder of the wiring.

Once wiring has been complete, a train will conduct extensive tests on the trackwork to determine any dead spots on the layout.

Progress Report 09.16.10

Progress continues on the CRI&P.

Back Shop Report:
Carrie Ave Shops report that 15 locomotives are ready for service (decoder, trip pins cut, etc).  Three are traveling to Peconic Shops for electronic upgrade this weekend.  For the initial operating session, only 18 CRI&P locomotives will be active.  Five locomotives will be leased from the Peconic Railroad.

Clerk Report:
All locomotive cards have been created.

Little by little, crews continue to make progress on the layout.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CRI&P Goals Update 09.15.10

Time to reflect back on our goals set back in August.  We continue to make progress.  Some items have been put on hold due to budget constraints.
CRI&P Goals (before Nov 20th, 2010):
  • Design Blue Island track configuration (Complete)
  • Purchase and complete all track installation for Phase I  (Complete)
  • Drop and solder all feeder wires (45% complete)
  • Purchase and install all tortoise switch machines
    (Changed - will utilize SPDT slide switches - Not purchased yet)
  • Industrial Trackage will need slide switches installed, but this can wait (see above)
  • Paint and install blue backdrop for entire layout (put on hold)
  • Purchase and install all decoders for remaining locomotives
    (purchased - Peconic Shops to receive 9/14)
  • Install low profile wheel sets, cut all trip pins on all cars (98% complete - 4 remaining)
  • Purchase/install DCC plug-in jacks (not purchased yet)
  • Purchase/borrow additional throttle (negotiating lease terms with DB&W)
  • Install, paint fascia. (put on hold)
  • Install waybill boxes (will be temporarily installed, but not permanent until fascia is installed)
  • Create waybills (90% complete)
  • Stage Layout (not started yet)

Inaugural Operating Session ~ Saturday, Nov 20th, 2010

Day 224 of N Scale

173 Days since first board was cut (just under 6 months)

Progress Report 09.15.10

Progress continues on the layout...

Car Dept Report:
12 cars were outfitted with low-profile wheel sets
10 cars had trip pins cut
3 cars underwent various repairs

4 cars require non-MTL low-profile wheel sets
All other cars are complete.

Clerk Dept Report:
All waybills are printed, cut and complete.

Signal Maintainer Report:
The other night crews welded the feeder wires to the rails in both Burr Oak Yard and West Davenport Yard.  Upon testing, I found locomotives would traverse half the layout and then stop.  There was nothing on the NCE box indicating a short.  I checked my feeder wires.  All seemed ok.  What could it be?  Finally, I gave up as I had enough for the evening.

Re-visited the situation this evening.  First of all, I have determined a color blind person should not be the foreman on a cabling job.  Red and dark green wires become one general dark color with poor lighting.  Secondly, if a color blind foreman is the only choice, said foreman should only work during daylight hours. 

So, foreman Timmy and his beautiful assistant Sarah set out to determine the source of the believed short.  Assistant Foreman Sarah had plenty of ideas (and questions), but too was perplexed by the situation (daddy, why can't we run trains?).  I started by cutting all the feeder wires that were soldered to the bus cable in both staging yards.  Nothing.  Damn!  I search back and forth the full distance of the layout for anything that might be laying across the tracks creating a short.  Boy is the layout dirty, but nothing that would create a short.  This is quite perplexing.  But wait, Assistant Foreman Sarah has found something.  "Do you hear that daddy?"  Hear what, I ask.  "That sound?  It sounds like a shhhhhhh sound."  Hmm...maybe she found the source of the short (a high pitched sound).  I searched up and down in the area that Sarah heard this noise (the ovalix).  Maybe I had listened to the radio in the car too loud one too many times.  I don't hear a thing.  Assistant Foreman Sarah was called off to other duties.  I continue the search.  I then noticed that the test locomotive stopped just past the overpass in East Rock Island.  I press on the bridge and the loco moves.  The loco traveled the rest of the way to Burr Oak Yard if I held the bridge.  Why would this Atlas plate girder bridge be causing a short?  Why is there nothing indicating a short on the NCE system?  Have I lost my mind?  Quite possibly.  So, I began to ponder the situation.  Maybe the bridge wasn't shorting the layout, but simply blocking the flow of electrons to the layout beyond this point.  But, what about the feeders I had installed to the bus in staging?  Wouldn't that have provided power to the rail beyond the bridge at East Rock Island?  I went to investigate the bus wire situation at Burr Oak Yard.  Uh...oh!  Foreman Timmy called in the problem to the CEO.  Foreman Timmy failed to notice that the bus wire pulled up from the first level to the second level was not one, but two sections actually tied off.  Temporarily secured the two bus wire sets.  Re-attached one test set of feeder wires in Burr Oak Yard.  Headlight!  Tested, all is ok.  Success!  Foreman Timmy has been put on Administrative Leave (again) and Foreman A.T. Little has resumed leadership of the job. 

Assistant Foreman Sarah inquired about the status of the layout later in the evening.  I briefed her on the situation summarizing that daddy messed up.  Assistant Foreman Sarah reassured me "daddy, its ok.  Mistakes happen."  Yes, Sarah, they do.  Thank you!

Progress will continue over the weekend when lighting is better. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project Change Report 09.14.10

In hopes of building a better and stronger Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, management has decided to make a change regarding the tortoise switch machines.  The CEO looked to the expertise of the long running Peconic Railroad which uses a variety of turnout control methods.  On the CRI&P, it was originally decided to utilize the Tortoise switch machines for major control points and SPDT slide switches for the industrial turnouts.   Considering the CRI&P has no desire for central dispatcher control of the turnouts plus the cost factor, it has been decided that the tortoise switch machines would be considered a luxury on a layout of this size.  A more practical and quite effective solution would be the use of SPDT slide switches.  Their somewhat easier installation requirements and cost savings would be quite beneficial to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.  The CEO expects to save approximately 79% or a little over $240 over the original planned turnout controls. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Industry Update 09.13.10

Additional changes to existing industries, addition of CNW branch industries and removal of Peoria and Meredosia branch industries for now.

Davenport, IA

  • Town station - Branchline Centre Hall Depot Kit
  • Davenport Yard - receives sand, diesel fuel
  • Davenport Freight House - Walthers Water Street Freight Terminal - receive/ships LTL freight
  • Consumers Ice & Fuel Co - Walthers Golden Flame Co kit - receives coal and LPG
  • Electrolux - DPM Gripp's Luggage Mfg kit - receives parts, electric motors/ships vacuum cleaners
  • Kohr's Cold Storage - DPM Trackside Transfer kit - receive/ships fruits & vegetables
  • General Electric Co - DPM Woods Furniture Co kit - receives motors, hardware, coil steel; ships appliances
  • Continental Grain Elevator - Walthers ADM Grain Elevator kit - receive/ships grain
Rock Island, IL

  • Town station - Blair Line Leeton Depot kit
  • Sunrise Feed Mill - Walthers Sunrise Feed Mill - receives farm supplies; ships bulk & bagged feed
  • Johnson Grain & Produce - AMB Hinkle Mill Kit - receive/ships fruits & vegetables
  • Putnam Oil Co - Walthers Interstate Fuel & Oil kit - receives coal, heating oil

Bureau, IL
  • Town Station - Walthers Golden Valley Depot
  • Farmers Grain Co - Walthers Farmers Coop Kit - ships grain/receives farm supplies
  • Bader Ag - AMB General Service Building - receives farm supplies

Stockdale, IL
  • Town Station - Blair Line 2-Story Depot kit
  • Markham Produce - AMB Transfer Building Kit - receive/ships fruits & vegetables
  • Illinois Valley Grain Co - Walthers Valley Growers Assoc Kit - ships grain/receives farm supplies

Joliet, IL
  • Town Station - Blair Line Leeton Depot kit
  • American Can Co - DPM Woods Furniture Co kit - receive aluminum ingots, ink labels/ships tin cans
  • American Service Co - Walthers O.L. King & Sons Coal Yard kit - receives coal
  • Joliet Grain Co - - Walthers Farmers Coop Kit - ships grains

Blue Island, IL
  • Town Station - Kit Unknown
  • Midwest Lumber Co - Walton & Sons Lumber kit - receives lumber
  • D&D News - DPM Scratchbuild - receives newsprint and ink
  • Oberholtzer - DPM Scratchbuild - receives wood, steel, packing materials, paint, varnish, machinery; ships finished tools
  • Blue Island Freight House - Walthers Water St Freight Terminal kit - receive/ships LTL freight
  • Chicago Wholesale Foods - DPM Scratchbuild - receive/ships fruits & vegetables and grocery items
CNW Branch
  • Davenport, IA
    • Otis Elevator Company - DPM/Walthers Scratchbuild - receives wire rope, machinery and elevator guard rails
    • Quad City Times - DPM/Walthers Scratchbuild - Receives newsprint
  • Hull, IL
    • Daniel Grain Co - Kit Unknown - Ships Grain
  • Deverne, IL
    • Oakley Grain Co - Walthers Farmers Coop Kit - Ships Grain

* AMB - American Model Builders
* DPM - Design Preservation Models

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Progress Report 09.12.10

Signal Maintainer Report:
Signal Maintainer Johnson worked with his crew this evening to install code line on the CRI&P.  Due to the portable welder issues, the tried and true corded welder (nicknamed "Flesh burner" by crews) was put into service.  Johnson reports great success with the old standby.  Johnson reports that the code line has been welded to the rail in Davenport Yard, Davenport Industrial Park, Blue Island, Joliet Grain Elevator and the CB&Q lead at Joliet.  The code line still must be connected to the main bus wire.

Progress Report 09.11.10

Car Department Report:
34 additional cars had their trip pins clipped and are ready for service. 

No other progress made today.