|Nathan, Joseph & Roman on the Air Line Local switching Somerset. Note hole cut in fascia on the right.|
|Dave & Tom on the Valley Local switching Middletown.|
I used the same paperwork as the shakedown session, but even though the switchlists and work was the same, this session timed out much differently. I expect since 1/3 of the Air Line Local crew had never operated any layout before (kudos for his first time!), and I think that crew made an early tactical error switching the first town, the Air Line Local was very late to Middletown. Consequently, they held up the Valley Local, much to the chagrin of the
grizzled more-seasoned operators.
Youth won over experience though - the Valley Local had to wait. I'll likely rewrite future paperwork to allow the Valley Local to leave Middletown when it's done with its work - at least on the days it doesn't go south to East Haddam (when it would need to wait for Air Line interchange cars for delivery to down-river customers). The Air Line Local would still have to wait for the Valley Local since (on my layout at least) it turns at Middletown and would need to take New Haven and westbound cars back to Cedar Hill yard.
But that was a fairly minor glitch in the operation, which I suspect will also be mitigated by installing "O'Rourke's Diner" (i.e. a refreshment table) at the diamond in Middletown, just like the prototype!
Other than the scheduling this time around, the only other glitches were in trackwork. Rocky Hill/Dividend continued to be the troublespot. The south switch at Rocky Hill was (pretty much) fixed with the installation of a tension spring on the far side end-of-ties (I decided to keep turnout control consistent and not use a CI ground throw after all) and it operated fine during the session. But the north switch at Rocky Hill was balky, not wanting to easily seat when lined for the main (thanks to Tom for pointing it out). Fortunately, once I got a close look at it, I discovered that the throwrod/tie was rubbing/binding against one of the adjacent ties. A little scraping with a #11 x-acto blade freed everything up and I'm happy to report that that switch is now operating flawlessly!
The only major glitch of the night was a newly-developed "Hump
yard" at Dividend!
|The "Hump" at Dividend|
|Another view of the "Hump" at Dividend, looking "north"|
Despite these relatively-minor items, I think it was a very successful session. In addition to lancing the hump (ewww...), another few items were added to the punch list, including numbering the frog-polarity switches on the Air Line to correspond to the schematics (alleviating a lot of the confusion - and the resulting annoying buzzing when shorts occur!). The list of "must do" items is, thankfully, dwindling, but I'm sure the next ops session will add some more....
That's ok though - with every session, the railroad is getting better and the better it gets, the more enjoyable it is to run!
|Air Line Local at Mill Hollow, heading back to Cedar Hill Yard.|
Guess I'll have to see if Santa has any "extra time" in his bag of gifts that he can give me....