Over the last week, work on the layout came to a halt. Not due to lack of interest, time or resources, but rather to enjoy actually running trains, troubleshooting the track work once more before scenery is applied and to gauge how our JMRI Operation programming perform.
So far, intense rail polishing over the layout help to greatly reduce electrical issues. At this point, I’m confident to say 95% of the rails are perfectly clean, which greatly improved operation. We simply use a 1” x 2” MDF block with 220 grit sandpaper firmly glued on it. It does a great job and keeping one at hand helped to track down issues without wasting time cleaning all the track at once.
In term of locomotive, my Atlas GP40-2 CN 9423 is now fully operational. It was weathered and got a decoder a few months ago, but we finally programmed it and wired back the ditch lights. So far, this locomotive performs beautifully and smoothly. The sound is a little bit low and will need tweaking. I wouldn’t be surprised I’ll have to improve the speakers in the future, but so far, it’s quite satisfying to operate with an actual locomotive that visited the Murray Bay Subdivision at that time.
As for JMRI Operation, we had a rickety start because I fiddled too much with cars which caused errors. Besides that, we found out I over complicated how Clermont and Villeneuve yard works. In general it is fine; however some cars have weird and erratic movements that don’t fit their normal behavior. It seems I’ll have to reprogram some tracks and routes to make sure car flow is more fluid in the future.
I could reprogram everything now, but I prefer to run JMRI Operation as it is right now to track down more bugs.
These operation sessions were also a good excuse to get rid of many cars no longer fitting the prototype era. Several older kaolin tank cars and insulated boxcars were removed as a result. Jérôme also share my opinion several of our cars will benefit detail upgrades. It has been decided that every blue box era covered hopper on the layout will now receive the Tichy ladder rungs treatment. It shouldn’t take too long to do.