Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Progress Report 04.04.12

Last night, I worked on an Atlas U25B (older model) and Kato U30C.  Both are performing erratically.  It is like they have momentum turned on, but it isn't.  The Kato U30C will continue to go after I turn down the throttle.  It only stops when I turn down the throttle again.  I have reset both decoders, but nothing seems to help.

For the past two days I have been reviewing the Blue Island switching district.  I had actually began to review it before the op session but didn't have time to do anything about it.  The area between Illinois Fruit & Supply and D&D News was a hot mess with the diamonds.  Cars didn't roll well in the area either causing derailments.  So, this morning, I ripped up the tracks in the area.  The spur coming off Main 2 now extends straight back to the corner.  A turnout was added to spot ink/chemical cars for D&D News in the rear of the building.  The former tracks to Illinois Fruit & Supply (packaging material unloading ~ the fruit unloading spur is still intact) and Oberholtzer & Sons have been removed.  Those industry spots will simply be sacrificed.  I still have a total of 22 spots in Blue Island so I'm confident we will keep any crew busy.

I have been reviewing Ottawa for the site of the new Libbey-Owens-Ford plant, but haven't come up with a good plan yet.

No others changes are planned as I'm very pleased with the layout.

Reviewing cars that were spotted by all the locals, I noticed Marcus was overwhelmed with traffic to deliver.  On numerous occasions, he had more cars than spots available.  I used my spreadsheet calculator, but evidently when staging the traffic I screwed up allowing cars to arrive before the local went out adding to the day's deliveries.  Oops!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Day After....Progress Report 04.02.12

Completed classifying the cars in Davenport.  I was out on the road more than I wanted to be so I neglected  my yardmaster duties.  Cleaned up the inbound freight and sent the westbound trains on their way.  One train was not operated during the op session.  I engineered train #145 the Clinton Turn switching out Otis Elevator, Quad Cities Journal and Daniel Grain Co.

I had mentioned to the guys that I wanted to add a storage track at Bureau.  I had thought about it right before the op session, but didn't dare sever the main that close to time to operate.  Cut in the new switch off the Peoria line and added a storage track back to the station.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The ROCK Comes Alive Once Again ~ Post #300!

Good evening my faithful blog readers.  The ROCK came alive again today as Larry, Marcus and King Todd came over to operate.  Also, this is post #300 since the blog's conception in June 2010.

32 years ago today, the real Rock Island railroad shut down for good.  Good thing it came back thriving in N scale 30 years later in North Carolina!

The session started off with a failure.  Shortly after everyone arrived, I turned on the power to the tortoise switch machines and train order signals.  Nothing.  We started troubleshooting.  We would get a dim light on one of the train order signals, but not all.  We checked the power pack with a multimeter.  The output didn't seem right.  We're not positive if it was the power pack overloaded or a short.  I started cutting wires.  Once I cut the pair of wires closest to the power pack, the one train order signal and two switch machine motors fired up.  Re-connected to lose them again.  Went further down the line to cut the wire before a junction where the wires split to the two upper levels.  Nothing.  Well, that doesn't make sense.  Nothing was on the wires between the place I cut before and now.  Reconnected and went further down the line to where it split.  I checked all of those wires, but received inconsistent results.  Finally, after cutting some of the wires, I had power to some of the train order signals and all of the tortoise switch machines.  That will have to do.  We need to run some trains!  A disappointment, but every one took it good stride.

Todd started off the session operating #110 Illinois Shorts out of Chicago.  He dropped his cut of cars at Joliet, picked up all the cars from yesterday's Joliet local.  Instead of returning to Chicago as with the last session, he continued on down to Davenport to terminate.  Majority of the cars were westbound traffic anyway.

Shortly after the cars arrived in Joliet, Larry went on duty on #113 Joliet local.  Larry's work was interrupted twice by the morning rush of Chicago bound rocket trains.

Marcus reviewing his paperwork while making his station stop in Joliet.  Larry looks on in hopes that the passenger trains will quickly move on so he can continue his work.

Marcus and Todd engineered the Quad Cities Rocket and Peoria Rocket trains respectively.  Both rockets arrived on time in Chicago.  Would you expect anything else?
I had modified the schedule of the Rocket Trains to more closely match reality.  The result, a first over and under shot in Joliet/Ottawa of the two trains passing.

Marcus was assigned the Rock Island local.  I had taken this train the last couple of times due to me working in the yard anyway, but figured I would give it to someone else to mix things up.  Marcus was on this train for 9 hours.  While working, he was met train #1 Chicago to Tucumcari freight in Davenport, #92 Peoria to Davenport freight in Rock Island, #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight as well as ultra hot #57 Chicago to Council Bluffs.
Marcus in a good mood working the #112 Rock Island local as Larry slips by with train #92 Peoria to Davenport Freight lead by four Alco RS2s.

Todd engineered #1 Chicago to Tucumari freight.

Larry engineered #92 Peoria to Davenport freight lead by four Alco RS2s.

Todd on a very long #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight.  

The duo to of Todd and Larry were out on the road again with #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight and hot #57 Chicago to Council Bluffs TOFC/Auto Parts.  The two met at Ottawa with Larry just fitting between the switches.  Good thing as Todd's train was long and wouldn't have fit.
Todd looking on as Train #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight meets Larry on hot #57 Chicago to Council Bluffs TOFC/Auto Parts.

Broke for lunch.  Todd headed out after lunch.

The afternoon started off with myself rolling out on #217 Ottawa Turn with Larry following close behind on the #221 Blue Island turn.  Larry did well on the local with the newly revised Blue Island track configuration.

Marcus was still out on the road with #112 Rock Island Local.  I had forgotten about train #43 Chicago to Council Bluffs freight.  The dispatcher sent out at 2 hour delay notice for train #43.  I engineered the train out of Chicago to Council Bluffs.  The new track configuration in Blue Island allowed Larry to continue working while I was able to slip past him.  I arrived in Chicago just minutes after Marcus tied down his work in Davenport yard.

Marcus engineered a combined #5 / #11 Quad Cities / Peoria Rocket combo train.  When crews are short, we run the combination train, setting off the Peoria Rocket cars at Bureau.  Passengers are bussed from Bureau to Peoria.  Marcus marked down a 30 minute delay in Bureau dropping the passenger cars, but made up time performing 5 minute stops arriving in Davenport on schedule.  Marcus has operated this train numerous times and does very well maintaining the schedule even under various adverse situations.  Marcus doesn't mind as he receives double pay handling the extra train.

Larry engineered #130 Peoria to Bureau Turn.  Larry was assigned additional work to pickup the Peoria Rocket cars at Bureau to spot at the station in Peoria.

I engineered train #44 Council Bluffs to Chicago freight.  I was held up in the siding in Bureau waiting for the Rocket train to complete its work.  We left 40 minutes late and was only able to make up 10 minutes on the schedule by the time we arrived in Chicago.

I engineered train #93 Davenport to Peoria freight.  It was an uneventful trip arriving just as Larry tied down in Peoria on train #130 Peoria to Bureau turn.

Marcus operated the last train of the session #23 Chicago to Houston freight consisting of mostly empty chemical cars.  Marcus had a slight delay due to the lead unit not loading.  He set off the bad unit and continued on without issue to Davenport.

It was a good session.  I hate we had issues with the train order signals, but as stated before every one took it well.  It will take me a while to figure out that issue.

A special thanks to Marcus, Larry and Todd for coming out to operate.  It was a great time as always!