Friday, June 10, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

During our last segment, I was lamenting about the operational snags that I had encountered in the new west staging yard.  It turns out there were two primary problems.
  1. One of the locomotives involved had a wheel gauge problem, as well as a dragging coupler trip pin, which was creating derailments going IN to the yard.
  2. Another train that was stored in the yard had been jostled off the rails while parked, causing some cars to separate, and others to snag on the outbound frogs.

The track problems occurred when I went in with the "big hook" to collect the derailed rolling stock.  I have a length of trim with a nail in the end that I use as a grappling hook to reach the farthest corners of the netherworld.  (My primary argument against expensive, fragile add-on detail parts on rolling stock.)  This had snagged on a piece of track and pulled it right out of its glue.  I was able to repair it, but once the yard is installed overhead, this area won't be accessible at all.  I suppose with a little more caution, and perhaps a different tool, I can avoid this problem in the future.

So, all of the problems go back to "Human Error," something I'm profoundly good at.  So for now, I'll be adding some bracing to keep the table more stable to minimize the jostling effect, and checking and double checking the maintenance of the fleet to prevent tracking problems.

This doesn't address the primary design flaw, which David K. Smith has brilliantly solved with this drawing:

It's no easy task to implement this design, being as it exists below the engine terminal and yard complex, so I'm perpetuating the debate, to paraphrase The Clash, "should it stay or should it go?"  It's got me stymied, and is holding up progress on building out the yard, and basically discouraging me from going into the train room at all.

Le sigh.  I guess I should give myself a little more time to think about it, but the time draws nigh to, as Grandma so colorfully put it, "shit or get off the pot" ...


  1. Step 1 - open a vitamin Y.
    Step 2 - Find your hammer.
    Step 3 - find an old Bachman boxcar you don't like.
    Step 4 - Pound to an oblivion.
    Step 5 - Open another vitamin Y
    Problem solved.

  2. Lee, what is the total length of each track (inches) you need to accommodate your longest train?

  3. Phil H... Vitamin Y will be an important component in whatever solution is devised.

    Phil D... My max train length is around 25-30 cars. The track length is not a problem, it's where they are in relationship to my arm length!

  4. "I suppose with a little more caution, and perhaps a different tool, I can avoid this problem in the future."

    Yikes! I should think there are countless kinder, gentler (and just as economical) alternatives to a board with a nail...

  5. Heh. Yeah. I've been scoping out the Dollar Tree to find one of those "grab the cans off the top shelf" grabby things... No luck so far.