Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Getting Closer: Test Run

Well, I had the local club over for another attempt which usually means finding lots of problems and placing more red tape.  

The week before had been unseasonably hot.  This caused a short somewhere in my less than perfect trackwork.  I worked for several hours trying to locate the culprit.  I isolated the layout's sections and determined that it was on the upper level's higher section.  I got lucky and found a gap between track and a frog that was essentially connecting both sides of the track together.  The gap was widened and I was able to operate locomotives over the entire layout once again.

I had been running two 4-axel locomotives - a Kato GP35 and an Athearn F59PHI.  I ran them in both directions on the main and a few sidings.  Everything seemed to be working well. 

The club members showed up and I handed out a couple throttles so someone else could run and find the problems.  Everything  went well.  Then one of the engineers decided he would try something more challenging.  I had a short 6 car train sitting on the Goleta siding.  I had run it a little a while back but had put it in the siding.  The engineer of the GP35 decided to run the train so he ran the engine by the siding switch, uncoupled the train from the locomotive it was with and rolled it out of the siding and up to the lone locomotive.  Off he went with the train.

There were a few problems with the caboose which may be a little on the light side weight wise, but the train made it around several times.  On one of the trips, the engineer became a railfan and took some video with his cell phone.  We had to censor some of the background noise on the first half but here is the video:
You can also see the video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CTgckMsOJI

The other club member, operating the F59PHI was jealous and not to be outdone, grabbed some Amtrak passenger coaches which were sitting in the Santa Barbara Yard.  The longer cars and non-Kadee couplers caused some difficulties but the passenger train did travel some distance with some help.  I guess I need to change those couplers.

So I am closer to an operating session.  One fellow operator, who has been clamoring for a session, suggested getting together for a short session and lunch.   I told him I wanted to get a little closer first.  His reply was:
             "Closer" never happens.  I've seen documented evidence of a
              train successfully running on the SP SB Sub. You are there,
              not close.  No one is expecting perfect reliability, especially
              at a first session."

I still want to tweak the trackwork a bit more and "test run" all the trains I expect to run, but I hope to have a session within a couple months.

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