Saturday, March 5, 2011

Progress Report 03.05.11

This morning I had a brief window of time to work on the layout.  I managed to haul the air compressor upstairs to start installation of the backdrops.  I did well as I installed the backdrops for Burr Oak Yard, Blue Island, West Davenport, Davenport, Rock Island and Franklin Farms.  I have the Mississippi Region measured, but not cut yet.  I'm using a pneumatic brad nailer for securing the backdrop pieces.  It seems to be working out well and makes a quick job of it.

The addition of the blue backdrop makes a huge difference.  I'm loving it!

I'm looking forward to starting on scenery upon completion of the backdrops.

Progress Report 03.04.11

This evening after work, drove down to Lowe's with my cut list.  Purchased three 4x8 sheets of 1/8" hardboard masonite.  Came home, painted and now ready to install this weekend.  These will be used as the background boards.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Progress Report 03.03.11

I worked on the CNW GP7 that had a reported high coupler.  I found the problem to be the shell sitting too high on the frame due to excess wires from the decoder.  Straightened out the wires and taped them down.  The shell sits correctly now, but the frame is very tight in the shell.  I can get it to run quietly after working with it for a bit, but when I put the fuel tank on it makes all sorts of racket.  I worked on it for quite a while.  I have it running ok, but still kind of loud.  The loco hasn't left the shops yet.  Hopefully I can figure out this mystery and send the locomotive back home to Clinton, IA.

Checked the RS2 #450/452 pair used on the Peoria Local as Jeff had reported that the wheels might be out of gauge (due to derailments on a few turnouts).  I checked the wheels to find them in gauge.  I tested through all the turnouts in Davenport.  Majority of the turnouts had no problems.  I did find problems with the Davenport West A/D track turnout, Main #2 at the double crossover at West Davenport and the switch in the Davenport Industrial Park for the Davenport Freight House.  All turnouts were adjusted (bent the point rail some) and tested.  All seem to work fine with no issues.

I'm still debating on what to do regarding the coupler conversion issue.  I have been researching McHenry couplers.  They seem to be good, but I don't know many people who are using them extensively.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Progress Report 03.02.11

Since last night, I have been able to complete four things on my post-op session To Do list.  I increased the clearance on the ovalix and repaired the sagging track issue at Stockdale.  I tested with the pig train in both directions.  All seems well now.

This morning, I dropped another set of feeder wires between the inbound turnouts and yard ladder at Davenport.  I also repaired the slide switch at F/S Farm Supply in Bureau that I managed to snap off on Saturday.

I have also taken inventory of freight cars that have the troublesome accumate couplers.  I plan on researching further as to what each type of car and locomotive will require for conversion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Tale of Two Sisters

Crews operating the CRI&P have long heard about the two sisters Maude and Buela Mae from Bureau, but many don't know the full story behind these two ladies.

Rookie Engineer Jeff took it upon himself to dig up the geneology on these two.

It was brought to my attention after picking up Buela Mae, that I didn't even know the ladies last name. After some extensive searching at the Bureau Public Library and contacting the Chamber of Commerce in Bureau, I now know the ladies full names.  They are the Wyzas sisters!  Buela Mae is the younger of the two, Maude Ethel is the old lady.

Both Wyzas sisters are long lost relatives of the CEO that live in Bureau, IL.  Bureau is a very small town with only a handful residents and a small general store.  The Wyzas sisters homes are easy to spot; the only two nearly identical homes side-by-side separated by a 8 foot tall privacy fence.   You see, the two sisters can't stand each other.  Legend has it they had a disagreement back in the 1939 over a guy.  There was a big knock down drag out fight between the two.  Since that day, they have refused to talk to each other.  Although they reside in the same small town, you will never find the two out at the same time.  They dislike each other so much that they require separate trains to ride to Chicago.  Aunt Maude typically takes the early scheduled trains for her daily trip into Chicago while Buela Mae takes the latter pair.  The Peoria Rocket is required to make a special reverse move across the wye just to accommodate the bickering sisters.  Crews are reminded not to arrive early back at Bureau.  Aunt Maude takes a smoke on her front porch every day after returning from Chicago.  I don't even want to mention what would happen if she is required to put out her cigarette early!  The last engineer that did that hasn't been seen since!

Crews secretly hope the sisters would pass to avoid the tireless bickering and complaints generated from the two.  Unfortunately the old gals keep kicking as they approach 90s years of age. 

So for the indefinite future, crews will continue to endure the two Wyza sisters from Bureau.

A special thanks to newly appointed Senior Class Engineer Jeff for his dedication and research of the ROCK's heritage!

~ CEO Steven Johnson

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Op Session Report 02.26.11

I enjoyed a great day on the ROCK with great friends Marcus, Larry and Jeff.

The session consisted of 18 trains, 4 crew members operating from 4:15am to 10:30pm (4:1) fast time.  We utilized a new method of self-crew management.  Each visitor pulled a number and selected their desired train first.  After that, we simply went down the list.

Marcus took Extra Pig West out of Chicago (the inaugural run).  The train pulled from Chicago at 4:30am.  The train went into emergency at Stockdale when it split in two due to a broken knuckle (track alignment issue).  Further delays were reported in the ovalix where the first trailer on the train had the roof shaved off due to close clearances.  Also, a foreign object in the track derailed several flat cars, further damaging three more trailers.  The wrecked trailers were added back on to the train in Bureau by crane.  Extra Pig West dropped their caboose in Davenport as the relieving crew is quite particular by providing their own upon departure.  The ROCK delivered the train to the AT&SF in Kansas City stating they knew nothing regarding the damage.

Steven engineered Extra Freight West (XtrFW) from Chicago.  It was clear sailing until Stockdale where he waited in the siding for both the #12 Peoria Rocket and #6 Quad Cities Rocket.

Larry engineered Extra Freight East (XtrFE) from West Davenport.  He stopped in Davenport Yard to pick up and set off blocks of cars.  While there, he met Extra Pig West that blew by on the way to Kansas City.  XtrFE was held at Rock Island for the Quad Cities Rocket to pass.  XtrFE was then held at Bureau to meet the CEO on XtrFW.  There were some grumblings regarding XtrFW receiving preferential treatment.  Larry had hopes for a clean shot into Chicago after the CEO past, but no such luck as he was held in Joliet for Jeff engineering the #13 Peoria Rocket making its mid-day run.

Marcus went on duty at 8:15 for the Extra Grain East out of Davenport Yard.  As he started his work, Steven made it to town on the XtrFW.  The timing was unfortunate for Marcus as XtrFW just setoff a large block of grain hoppers to be delivered.  Possibly an omen of the challenges ahead for the day?  XtrFW continued to the old yard to tie down his train.  Unfortunately his conductor failed to read his bulletins indicating he needed to drop his power and caboose off at Davenport and yard his train.  This opened up a can of worms as crews lit up the air waves discussing their newfound freedom to simply "forget" to do something as the CEO did.  Human Resources will have their work cut out for them to correct this issue.  XtrFW backed into the A/D track, setoff his power and caboose and yarded the train as ordered.  A delay report was filed with administration.

At 9:23, Larry took control of the Stockdale Local departing from Chicago's Burr Oak Yard.  It was a quick trip over to Joliet, IL.  There, the crew spent a while thrashing about setting off and picking up cars.  There was some grumblings on the design of the industrial trackage there.  An evil grin formed on the CEO's face.

At 10:15, Jeff took on the Peoria Local out of Davenport.  The Extra Grain East was still classifying cars when Jeff went on duty.  There was some bickering between crews and also for the fact that the yard job hadn't done his duties in properly blocking the cars.

The Extra Grain East made it over to Rock Island.  Again, the seemingly unassuming Rock Island town nabs another victim with its convoluted track configuration.  Again, an evil grin forms from the CEO.  Extra Grain East proceeded past Stockdale on to Joliet as the Stockdale Local was busy at work. 

Steven was called out at 1:15pm on Extra Coal East.  Both the Extra Grain East and Stockdale Locals had to clear up to let the coal drag slide by.

The Stockdale Local went down the N&W Meredosia Branch to work the Central Stone Co.  This presented an opportunity for the Extra Grain West to slip into town.  The crews from both locals worked together to turn the Stockdale Local and get him out of town.

Steven was called on duty for the #5 Quad Cities Rocket out of Chicago.  Steven mistakenly read his timetable and blew out of Blue Island 10 minutes early.  Weary businessmen yelled at the crew as they ran down the platform to no avail.  Again, another source of ridicule from fellow crewman of the CEO's actions.  Nominations for the Somebrero of Shame award have been filing it quite steadily!

#5 split the Stockdale Local and Extra Grain West as they worked at Stockdale.  Larry engineered the late departing #11 Peoria Rocket, passing the Extra Grain West as it was busy at work in Stockdale.

At 6:15pm, a call was put into the dispatch from Extra Grain West requesting a relief crew.  What?  It was evident that Extra Grain West would not be able to complete its work before going on the (hours of service) law at 8:15pm.  Steven was called in as relief crew to take the train over at Stockdale.  It was another two hours before the train returned to Davenport Yard.  Quite a day for the Extra Grain train working a total of 14 hours and two crews!

Jeff headed up the AT&SF Local which took cars from the interchange at Joliet up to the AT&SF North Yard.  Larry engineered the CNW local out of Clinton, IA down to Davenport.  Both made quick work of the locals without any problems.

The session ran very well.  I'm quite impressed with the realism created through prototypical handling of the trains by crews.  I was in utter shock to have a train go on the law.  I have evidently done my job well creating a very challenging job!  Although we had a shortage of locomotives and cabooses, we did what the real railroad would do by simply setting off cabooses, turning power at terminal points, etc.  It all worked out really well!

Each crew member ran 4 to 5 trains:
Marcus: 1 Intermodal, 1 Freight, 1 Local, 1 Passenger
Larry: 1 Freight, 2 Locals, 1 Passenger
Jeff: 1 Freight, 2 Locals, 2 Passenger
Steven: 1 Coal, 1 Freight, 1 Local, 2 Passenger, 1 Relieved Grain Local

A special thanks to Larry, Marcus and Jeff for coming out to operate today.  We all seemed to have a great time joking and laughing, but getting the job done.

Photos from the Op Session: