When I built the tea-tray in which to mount the Boxfile, I had the naïve idea that replacing the damaged track and sorting out the track joints between the two files would solve all the 'file's running problems.
Unfortunately what it actually revealed was that there were problems with the stock. A replacement Tenshodo rejuvenated the Y3, a little running in helped the Knightwing shunter - and then it became painfully obvious that all was not well with the wagon fleet.
An extensive programme of testing , recorded in a spreadsheet , resulted and it seemed that Romford wheels and lightweight vehicles were the obvious issues. So I set to, and started tackling them.
It's been very much a snakes-and-ladders experience and my last comment was, once again, over optimistic
Another two wagons for the Boxfile were sorted out over the weekend, which takes me to 24 serviceable wagons. The "extra weight plus Hornby wheels" formula is working well. Two wagons more will receive Sprat and Winkle couplings this week. Another wagon should respond to the standard treatment - and then I'm down to a hard core of 3-4 wagons where further thought will be required.
Things that were supposed to work - turn out not to. I took the boxfile along to a recent DOGA area group meeting, and a fresh clutch of gremlins crawled out to gloat at me. (What is the correct collective noun for gremlins? A breakers' yard?)
The LNER unfitted van -compensated -that ran with rock-solid reliability before I fitted the couplings now falls off with absolute predictability. The GE open jumped the rails unless taken very gingerly. That one at least is explicable - at just 32g I was pleasantly surprised it ran in the first place. And several locos found a tight spot at the file joint on the coal siding and fell off.(The wagons didn't seem to mind it),
The latter problem was duly sorted out with a couple of panel pins inserted to force the track back to gauge and a careful trimming-back of one of the plasticard gap-inserts , which was not quite flush - and now all locos run down the siding very happily.
But the wagons are proving more difficult. I've just tackled another 4 of them with mixed results. An ex Airfix LMS van has received Hornby wheels and more weight, and lo and behold it now runs reliably. However at some point it's lost its vac pipes, so I need to reinstate those
And while I was about it I managed to get a little more weight into the GE open , which is now about 45g and much more reliable
(However the Cowham & Shearer PO seen next to it is still a bit marginal at only 32g and with nowhere else really to add weight)
A little testing and tweaking of couplings meant that a Bachmann Conflat lost its red-card and was declared fit for traffic. But despite adding still more lead under the load and pushing its weight up to 50g a Bachmann 16T slope-side mineral still falls off, every time a coconut, when running one way round.
What's disturbing about this is that these two wagons have ready-to-run chassis, and Bachmann wheels. Both weigh 48-50g. You'd expect these to be absolutely and unquestionably reliable - instead I've been struggling with them.
Even more disquieting - when I started tweaking the height of the wire on the S+W couplings to stop the Conflat uncoupling at the file joint it promptly started to derail on entering the siding - every time
I really don't understand why adjusting the couplings should result in a wagon derailing. The only thing I can come up with is the brass paddle touching the axle and somehow causing a derailment. Anyway I now have a Conflat that doesn't derail, but uncouples every time it's pulled across a particular joint. And if I adjust the wire I get a Conflat A that stays coupled - but derails every time it's pushed across the joint. Not a happy set of alternatives
But this throws a worrying light on two of my other failures - the LNER unfitted van and the 16T slope-sided mineral . Is it the couplings that are somehow causing derailment? These two chassis really ought to be completely reliable. I have an awkward feeling the van may have couplings salvaged off the Blue Spot Fish - which also derailed
I don't understand what is going on here, or what should be adjusted , and I have a regular problem with wagons becoming uncoupled at a particular joint. I can no longer simply put this down to a really ropey track joint because that has been patched.
Some pictures to lighten the mood. Here's two I made earlier
These two now have Sprat & Winkle couplings and seem to run reliably - touch wood.
I'm now down to 5 "hard cases". The LNER van and the Chas Roberts slope-sided 16T have been mentioned already.
There's the Conflat V I built with a Red Panda chassis under a spare Parkside floor and homemade bits along the edges (I don't think you can say a Conflat has sides) with a Bachmann container on top. It weighs 48g, the sheet says Romfords though they might just be Hornby under the paint, and it falls off with great reliability. My spreadsheet notes that the chassis is tight
There's the Parkside BR van I built at a wagon-building class. It's always given trouble because the chassis was completely rigid and somehow twisted during drying. I ended up melting in a bearing to create a little slop - but it doesn't like the back siding. My spreadsheet says Hornby wheels and 48g. There is framing on the underside which rules out compensation. I really don't know where I go with this one.
And finally the steel High - an old Dublo open body on Parkside chassis. 35g, Hornby wheels, and no room underneath to stuff more lead. Hmmm.
Perhaps I ought to finish this off as another LNER van...
It's been gathering dust on the bookshelf for a frighteningly long time - I think I started it even before the boxfile...