Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time to ROCK again!

Well, boys and girls, it's that time again!  What time is it?  It's time to ROCK!!

The layout is staged and ready to roll.  There weren't too many improvements since the last op session.  

- Economic real estate growth in Bureau, IL
- Industrial trackage changes in Blue Island after initial design was found to be flawed.
- Repair of electrical system for train order signals.
- GP7 Re-powering project

I believe I failed to mention that last one now that I think about it.  I had numerous issues with my Atlas GP7s.  I've tried everything possible even sending them off to Atlas.  They were just poor performers which is quite odd as Atlas has a great reputation.  All my other Atlas locomotives run fine.  

I had always been quite satisfied with my cheap Bachmann GP7s.  Although some can be noisy at times, they are solid performers running and pulling quite well.  On a whelm, I pondered the thought if an Atlas GP7 shell would fit on a Bachmann chassis.  Well, it did.  As well as my Proto 2000 GP18 that required a decoder and frame milling.  It was one of the first locomotives I purchased, but never placed in service due to the complex decoder install.  So, I began a search for Bachmann GP7s on eBay for cheap.  I was able to locate some and re-power the Atlas GP7 shells plus the Proto 2000 GP18.  All are in service now and I couldn't be happier.  Completely absurd, right?  Yep, but it works for me.  So, it is so.

There is a crew shortage for layouts this month.  I could only find one attendee for this weekend.  We're going to make a go at it though.  A synopsis of the op session is below:

  • All passenger trains have been annulled.  The peeps will just have to ride the bus today.
  • We're running a Saturday schedule, so no train #57 Chicago to Council Bluffs auto parts today.
  • Train #20 Houston to Davenport Freight and #110 IL Shorts have already been run.
  • Initial interchange of cars for trains #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight and #43 Council Bluffs to Chicago freight have been made.  Trains are ready for departure in West Davenport.
  • Bulletin: Train #2 Tucumcari to Chicago freight is required to pick up two Chicago cars in Joliet.
  • Bulletin: Train #112 Davenport to Bureau Turn is required to pick up two cars at the new Bureau storage track for delivery
  • Foreign power on the line: 
    • Erie Lackawanna GP35 #2559 in the lead on train #44 Council Bluffs to Chicago freight
    • Union Pacific SD40 #3017 second unit on train #23 Chicago to Houston freight
  • No fast clock will be used this session.  Trains will be run in sequence order.
One other change.  An offline industry has been added that will have cars spotted at the Bureau storage track.  LaSalle Carbon Coal located in LaSalle, IL (between Bureau and Ottawa (in the ovalix)).  They will receive empties coming off the N&W from Peoria.  The Peoria local will drop the empties at Bureau where (during the night) the LaSalle local will come pick up and deliver on site.  Any loads for the coal mine will be placed back on the storage track for pick up by #112 Davenport to Bureau turn.

Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming having a room size layout.  It is all worth it though when its time to run. I was getting excited last night as the first pre-session trains began to run.  Looking forward to it as always!

Let's Rock!