Thursday, October 13, 2011

Progress Report 10.13.11

I managed to weather 18 cars today which consisted mostly of train #1 Chicago to Tucumcari plus cars from a few industries in Davenport.  I'm really liking the look of the weathered cars.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Progress Report 10.12.11

Worked on constructing a Walthers kit that will be used for the Peoria Cordage Company.  I can't possibly model the large structure that represents the real business, but I feel that the Walthers State Line Farm Supply will suffice for a good stand-in.

Worked on weathering freight cars again today.  I managed to get another 17 done.  Funny as that was the same number as yesterday.  All the cars from trains #217 Ottawa Turn and #43 Chicago to Council Bluffs freight have been weathered.  It makes such a huge difference to weather the cars removing that glossy finish.  This is one of my favorites that I completed today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Progress Report 10.11.11

On my lunch breaks, I have been working on weathering cars.  I managed to weather 17 cars from trains #221 Blue Island Local and the #110 Illinois Shorts train over the last few days.  I will continue working on them at lunch and hopefully have majority of the fleet complete before the next op session.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Progress Report 10.10.11

This morning, road construction crews were up early working on SW Washington Street.  They completed work through the downtown section by the station.  Final sanding and painting was completed on the north side of town as well as the side street by the Peoria Journal Star.  Crews will be working on installing sidewalks along the road throughout the remainder of the week. 

Projected Operation Change Notice:
I've been contemplating annulling the second section of the Peoria Rocket permanently.  The last couple of sessions, the train has been annulled due to a crew shortage.  With the projected train numbering changes to take effect this next op session, we are scheduled to run 20 trains.  To run such a schedule would definitely require a fifth crew member which will make it crowded in the layout room.  I'm thinking a max of four operators including myself plus annulling the 2nd Peoria Rocket trains would be best.  This would leave a total of 18 trains scheduled with the possibility of running only 16 if we ran out of time.  Another viable option is to combine the evening Quad Cities Rocket and Peoria Rocket trains to save on crews as we have successfully done in the past. 

In light of the projected changes, a few of the Harriman coaches plus one baggage car could be liquidated as well as the E8 #644.  The E8 has been a sore spot for management for quite some time as it has never run on the layout.  The first issue involved installing a decoder.  Luckily enough TCS installed a decoder for free as part of their demo program.  Even the TCS engineer commented it was the worse install he had ever performed.  The second issue is the large "pizza cutter" wheels that are equipped on this unit.  Neither Atlas nor Kato replacement wheels work with the Life-Like locomotive.  This is a problem operating on Code 55 track.  Management is considering selling this locomotive as-is with decoder installed.  The locomotive is currently in the back shop with the wheels stripped off. 

This evening, the foreman at Carrie Ave Shops caught wind that the E8 was being considered for sale. The employees were so excited that they worked off the clock to get the factory wheels installed back on the locomotive.  The locomotive is now been test run and placed out on the ready track for shipment.

Crews were feeling so good, that they continued to stay past quitting time to work on the problematic Life-Life GP38-2 #4379.  As you might remember, this locomotive has endured two failed decoder installs, a trip to TCS headquarters to be denied an install, and the return trip back to NC to sit on the back lead collecting dust.  Crews moved sister locomotive #4374 into the shop for comparison on wiring.  Upon first try on the programming track, no decoder detected.  Shoot!!  Reviewed wiring on the #4374 with the project loco.  It was hard to say what the wires were actually soldered too due to the circuit board connections so small.  Reviewed the instructions for the decoder to see if we could simply bypass the board.  The decision was made to solder the track pickup wires direct to the brass strips on the side of the frame vs. the factory board.  Placed back on the programming track to find the decoder.  Successfully programmed the loco and placed on the mainline.  Anticipating success, but cautious, the foreman turned on the track power.  No smoke!  That's a good sign.  Throttled up to find success!  Cheers could be heard throughout Illinois as the workers at Carrie Ave Shops applauded their efforts!  Cleaned up the wiring, replaced the shell and tested once more.  The loco runs good.  It has been fueled and now on the ready track!  Success!!!  :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Progress Report 10.09.11

Not much progress this weekend.  I did manage to finish the sanding on the main SW Washington Street through Peoria.  I added a side street for Peoria Journal Star.  Once that is sanded, I will finish painting the road.  I did paint 3/4s of SW Washington St today.  I have laid out the sidewalks along the road.  I will install those tomorrow.