February 25, 2018

New Operation Sessions, Aquia Line 6 and PoLA 13

We hosted another pair of dueling Op Sessions today. JD Drye, Terry Terrance, Mat Thompson, Tom Pierpoint, Joel and John Salmons ran trains on the Aquia Line, while Kent Smiley and Brad Trencamp took care of PoLA.  I had to cancel the January session, so it had been a few months since the last op session, though we did have the kids work the layout in the interim.  I posted a video on youtube showing some of the action from today's session.

My main objective today was to evaluate the operation of the new passenger car. It worked well. However, we discovered that it just barely cleared the Clozet Tunnel portal. That means that if I make a longer passenger car, I will have to be very careful in the width to insure the roof doesn't scrape the tunnels. There also a few places where the mid-part of the body just cleared the switch stands. But they did clear!

Right at the start of the session, engine Haupt went dead. It also had a bug the night before -  as I was test running its decoder made some strange noises. I think it is time to replace the decoder in Haupt with a battery backup. Fortunately, Engine McCallum was available to fill in for Haupt and the session continued without delay. We did not run the General's Special today, but we did run 3 train at the same time.   It is also becoming apparent that I have enough freight cars for now to support a session. If i go to longer trains, I may need a few more.  Everyone liked the new hay bales.

I had replaced the frog juicer circuit that controls 6 turnouts in Aquia Landing prior to the session. The new circuits works perfectly. In examining the old circuit card I could clearly see some components that were damaged.

Newly weathered auto rack 

Kent and Brad got in late, so they got to run PoLA, which pleased both go them. Their session went smoothly and they had a good time. I had added two more auto racks to the scenario. My new plan is to use CMT as the auto rack terminal, instead adding an auto rack terminal as the modular addition. Instead, I will add an additional siding for Vopak as a FREMO module. The geometry here requires a sharper radius around 22 inches, which would be trouble if it was a auto rack terminal. With this design I get to run more tank cars to the expanded Vopak and the auto racks to CMT, along with other loads. Win-Win.

This started out as pan full of cookies.

My mom prepared the snacks today. She made Madeline cookies with bits of dates soaked in marsala wine and a cranberry cake that was delicious. I just got a small sliver, and when I went to get a second piece, it was all gone!

We can log another good session in the books.

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