Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quick Update 1

The track crews have been busy at Hollister Yard. The photo below shows the new turnouts that will connect the coal yard and the freight yard.

The background story on this can be found here: This connection will enable the yard crews to hand off cuts of coal and freight between the two yards without having to run all the way out the yard leads. This will be especially helpful in building and classifying the locals, all of which handle both coal and freight.

Of course, everything about this little project will be a challenge. Locating the toggle switch for the turnout on the yard panel will require moving a terminal strip that supplies track power to a bunch of toggle switches. Which will, in turn, require some more wiring. And the throw bars for both turnouts are located right over cross members under the layout. So those will have to be moved or reconfigured in order to accommodate the Tortoises. And... well, you get the picture.

Actually operating the layout can produce all kinds of fun projects!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A True "Duh" Moment

As I prepared for an upcoming op session, I realized that I needed more track warrants. The warrants are posted on small clipboards that hang from the fascia all around the railroad. This makes it convenient for the crews to grab one before calling the dispatcher for their next move. I usually have to print more prior to each session. And I also need them for the dispatcher.

I designed the warrant in Excel so that I could have four warrants per page and each would be the same size. The photo below shows the 8 1/2" x 11" form. Everything is spaced out so that the sheet gets cut in half in both directions in order to make equal sized warrants,

In an effort to save paper, I wondered if I could print the form on both sides and therefore get twice the number of warrants from a single piece of paper. So I printed both sides and sure enough, it lined up perfectly. Well, duh- of course it would. So I printed up a handful of pages on both sides and cut up the new supply of warrants.

About this time, I was feeling pretty good about myself. As I also needed a handful of full sheets for the dispatcher to use, I wondered if the full sheet printed on both sides would work. So I printed up a sheet on both sides and turned it over. Wow- this will work great! And then it occurred to me- Jim Rollwage had been doing this forever. And I've dispatched the Denver Pacific many times using his full page sheets that are printed on both side. This was clearly a double "duh" moment. So I dutifully printed up another five pages- on both sides- for the dispatcher.

I guess sometimes it just takes forever for a good idea to finally sink in...