Friday, March 22, 2013

Pre-Op Session Countdown 03.22.13

This morning, I installed a Micro Trains coupler on a new switcher locomotive for Kelly Yard.  Evidently, it was way too early this morning to be messing with such small parts.  It took forever to get it completed as I was growing ever more frustrated.

I test ran a few locomotive sets at low speeds across the layout.

Tomorrow is the big day.  Op Session #10.  I'm looking forward to it.  I have fifteen trains scheduled for the session.

I have the urge to do more scenery before the op session, but that's out.  I am hoping to get to meet my new cousin that is being born today.  :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pre-Op Session Countdown 03.20.13

Late last night and this morning, I finally got around to adjusting the wheel width on some offending Atlas locomotives.  This was mainly due to my getting upset after the consist derailed in earlier testing.  I repaired four locomotives that were out of gauge.

Other than some housekeeping issues in the room, I believe I'm ready to operate!  I will continue to test run power to give them a good workout before Saturday.

It has been three months since I operated last.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  Let's check back to see what has changed since the last session.

- After the Christmas holiday, finally got over my funk and returned to work on the layout.
- Annulled Train #57, added more unit grain traffic
- Revised waybills to include Return to Agent (Silvis) for grain hoppers.  Yardmaster will act as agent.
- Ripped out the former Cement and Grain Elevator at Moline.
- Replaced the scene with a larger grain elevator and LP gas dealer, scenicked.
- Created about fifty super trees, planted.
- Planted about fifty more JTT trees.
- Scratchbuilt a conveyor building for the sand pit at Belrose Silica
- Scenicked the rural area between Joliet and Ottawa
- Installed lighting and canopy over Utica/LaSalle
- Installed the upper peninsula lighting.
- The Rock was filmed for YouTube.
- Scenicked the area along the Peoria Branch line
- Added new farmland at Bureau, scenicked
- Added fencing and scenery to Joliet
- Decalling in progress for the 6x Blue Route Rock Coal Hoppers
- Added a RIP Track at Ottawa, scenicked.
- Replaced over 130 Atlas/Athearn trucks/couplers with Micro Trains
- Replaced all Accumate couplers on locomotives with Micro Trains
- Updated the appearance of the car card system
- Finally repaired the Atlas locomotives that were out of gauge
- Ballasted many new areas including:
1) West Kelly Yard to East Kelly Yard Switch - Complete
2) East Kelly Yard Switch to Jarrett's Tunnel (2 1/2ft) -
3) Jarrett's Tunnel to East Rock Island - Complete
4) Farmer's Grain to West Bureau - Complete
5) West Bureau to Main Street (Bureau) (8ft) -
6) Peoria Branch (Washington Rd Crossing) to East Bureau Junction - Complete
7) East Bureau Junction to Utica - Complete
8) Utica to East Ottawa Bridge (18ft) - Complete
9) Utica to BN Crossing in Ottawa (12ft) -
10) BN Crossing in Ottawa to JD Tower (Joliet) - Complete
11) JD Tower to Burr Oak Yard (Chicago) (21ft) 

12) All of Ottawa Yard - Complete
13) All of Joliet - Complete

I feel good about what was accomplished in three months.  Some operators that haven't been over in a while will be surprised.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pre-Op Session Countdown 03.19.13

This morning I continued to clean wheels and test run the locomotives.  After testing, I lined the locomotives up on the mainline until they can be moved to their proper location.

With such a rare event for all the active power to be out on display, the company photographer and local railfan Steven Geisler were out photographing the line-up.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pre-Op Session Countdown 03.18.13

Any pre-session progress I declared I might do weeks ago is completely out the window now.  The railroad has taken a back seat to family in town.  No complaints here as I have thoroughly enjoyed having family stay for a while.  It has been some good times!  I do believe I have developed Wii elbow from playing my cousins so much.

With that being said, I have been struggling to get even the basics done like cleaning track and locomotive wheels.  I'll be getting ready for this Saturday's op session on the 11th hour.  I have managed to clean almost all the track (started in Chicago and this morning just crossed the Rock River into East Moline).  

I hope to take more pics during this session.  I had a pretty good write-up last session.  Hopefully, I can take some notes during the session to create a similar summary.

I went back to work on the layout this evening.  I managed to finish cleaning all the track.  I also got a great start to cleaning the locomotive wheels.  About ten locomotives are complete.  I'm also "blowing the snot out of them" running them the length of the layout at full speed.  Hopefully all this work will provide for a smooth operating experience Saturday.