Another two dozen photos are available at http://myafk.net/operating-session-3
3-178 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
177. Just before 19.00 the early running FDV-RFK goods pulls into the tunnel below the Terramazim, at the south end of Lacono, to rearrange its train. This will result in the engine remaining in the tunnel throughout these procedures which, with a large Mallet repeatedly restarting on a stiff grade, will make footplate conditions unpleasant to say the least. The tunnel has a large bore, however, to take the SG wagons, so conditions are not quite as bad as they might be. The model's bore was forcibly enlarged with a knife, hammer and chisel when it was discovered that a German Großraumwagen would not run through it. This accounts for the current short lining which was once longer. Something else to attend to!
3-181 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
180. The few patrons of the snow train have had an exciting ride. Firstly one of the low loaders derailed, catapulting a lorry into the frozen lake, then its mate tried to demolish the snow shed! The problem, as ever was clearances. As noted in photo 34 these large vehicles were built after the infrastructure was in place. The viaduct parapet has now been pared back and the snow shed has been slightly relocated, although this is the sort of work that I try to avoid during an operating session. Ospicio's backscene and foreground can easily be removed to allow access to the site and the pointwork at this northern end needed a lot of attention in the early days. The snowshed was once square but it now leans rather alarmingly. This is not too apparent when the backscene is replaced and for most of the time it is barely visible unless one deliberately looks for it. You probably did not even realise that it was there!
3-182 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
181. The snow train eventually negotiates the scene successfully and is about to enter the very small part of Ospicio, the lake with the melting ice, (on the flap across the doorway) that has been completed. [A better photo of the lake can be found by going to the Opiciod'Helcaraxë section of a journey along the line. It does not seem to have featured prominently in Operating sessions.] The two trains at Boursson, visible in the gloom at the bottom right, have been in suspended animation for some time as has the railcar last seen in photo 165. This is a common practice on the layout. It is a one man band and currently there are supposedly eight trains 'in motion' over a 75kms mainline with another two or three scheduled to begin their runs shortly. There are also two pilots active as well. One aspect of the compromises necessary is that the loco for the beet train has been brought into the station and the goods pulled forward to foul the points at the entry. This is necessary to clear the circuit (which can be switched between Boursson or Lacono as necessary) for shunting to take place at Lacono. No DCC here and there never will be! It would be possible to insert a cut into the rails but given the likely derailment issues that would occur on such a curve this also remains an unlikely solution.
3-190 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
188. The shunting continues at Urteno and the ferry has received a full load of wagons to take to Karamspur. The last vehicle, an open, contains barrels of Marronĝaco, a spirit named for the area. These will be used in the blending process. The unpainted van is, despite appearances, a grain hopper which has been converted from a normal van and fitted with a permanent chute inside. The other vans are empties as the brewery is now short of wagons. Any road vehicles wanting to use the ferry at this time of evening either have a long wait or a lengthy drive around the shore of the lake. The incoming wagons removed from the ferry include a van of beer for Eromarbordo. Experience has shown that attaching this to the last railcar of the day is the easiest way to get the beer to its destination.
3-193 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
191. The mixto is not hanging about and reaches Boursson only slightly behind time. The beet train is waiting in the loop. In some ways this epitomises the NG layout that I always dreamt about building from being a primary school kid. Big locos, large rolling stock, long trains, signals and (relatively) fast running. It is not everyone's cup of tea but for me personally it beats four coupled tank engines pottering around shunting minute wagons carrying four milk churns or two spadefuls of coal!
3-195 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr
193. The late evening goods (RFK-URT), loaded with Großraumwagen, stands in Relforka's platforms waiting for the road. It will stand for some time as the mixto will take priority. AFK's control has more pressing problems. Nerv, the junction of the Ruritania/Narnia lines on the FT (Thalnian Railways) has rung through to say that the last train will be 45 minutes late, a not uncommon event as the train has a long journey from Sarip, the capital. The knock-on effect will be that the connecting railcar will not reach Urteno until well after midnight. One problem with a multi deck layout shows up here. It is difficult to avoid dark spots in the gaps between the fluorescent lights, as is evident on the two vans at the left. The camera accentuates this as the brain 'airbrushes' out the problem. It is a bit academic in any case as I usually operate Relforka without lights as it is simply a fiddle yard that has been dressed up.