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CameronL

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    Cheshire
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    Railways, photography, reading, cooking, dog walking

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  1. Hi Martin. Sorry to hear you've had the mid-project glums. Having been involved in a project or two, both in my home life and professionally, I can sympathise. You start a project with a wonderful mental picture of how it's going to end, and even if you're the best project manager in the world you don't foresee all the pitfalls. As the great Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said: "No plan of battle survives contact with the enemy". As soon as you try to put your plan in motion all sorts of unforeseen issues come out to play. You get to the point where you start thinking "What's the next thing that can go wrong?" So how do you cope with this? Let me say that you're in a great position to do exactly that, because you've already achieved so much. Look at the list above and don't say "stumbling blocks", say "challenges overcome". The railway room is ready, the baseboards are built, the track is laid, the DCC is sorted … I could go on. Don't make a "To do" list. That will only make you feel worse. Make a "Done" list. (You'll have quite a long one by now). Be as detailed as you want to - it just makes the list longer. Every time you make progress add a line to it. Then print it off and pin it up in your railway room. Every time you walk in there look at it and think "What can I do to make it longer?" It's very motivational to be able to add a line to it, and if you keep your old versions you will see how it grows with time. This way every time you make any progress, no matter how small, you can celebrate it, which keeps you thinking that you are making progress. Overcoming the major issues just becomes a bigger celebration. And set yourself some milestones - maybe completing one station or landscaping one area if the layout , or finishing the plan for the signalling. Whatever, if you decide it's a success when you achieve something that isn't a finished layout (does such a thing actually exist?) it's another reason for a celebration You can even keep a list of achievements for the days when you can't face the railway room. Simply list all the stock you've got ready (built, painted, weathered) to run on the NMGSR and watch it grow. (Please post some pictures when you do - I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that seeing such craftsmanship is an inspiration and the comments you get will give you a boost). Trust me - it works. In the past I've had to speak at seminars on how to keep a positive state of mind in the face of a difficult project, and this is a sure-fire winner. Regards Cam
  2. Don't understand. Static is a buildup of negative ions. How can negative ions be cat-ions?
  3. Hi Brassey. Thanks for that. It hadn't occurred to me because Martin's list of requirements made no mention of fitted / unfitted. However, it got the brain cells working. Rather than pollute Martin's thread with GeekSpeak I've posted a detailed answer to the problem here. Regards Cam
  4. Brassey said - "Your freight system does not seem to take account of fitted and unfitted trains, unless I've missed something " No it doesn't. I developed it using the information from Martin's thread, which made no mention of fitted / unfitted freights. He has since mentioned that it's not an issue on the NM&GS as all freight will be unfitted apart from NPCS wagons which will be attached to passenger trains anyway. (I also gather from his latest posting that changes have already been made. Best of luck with that, Martin. PM me if you have any problems). However, thanks for the question as it got me thinking. How would you incorporate fitted / unfitted into the system? There's more than one way to do it, depending on what you want. 1) In the case where you want to run unmixed trains that are all either fitted or unfitted the easiest way would be to simply duplicate the "Tables" tab in the spreadsheet so that there were two versions; "Fitted" and "Unfitted". Each would contain on its "Wagon Types", "Weighted Wagon List" and " "Full Destination / Load List" only those wagon types which were either fitted or not. Each of the tables on the "Train" tab would change from "Train 1" and "Train 2" to "Fitted" and "Unfitted", refer to either the "Fitted" or "Unfitted" tabs and Shazam! You're suddenly generating wholly fitted or unfitted freight trains. Wagon types could appear in both tables depending on whether or not you have a mix on your layout. 2) In the case where you want to run mixed trains with a fitted head you would only need one "Tables" page but with some amendments to the "Weighted Wagon List" table. An extra column would be added with the values of either "F" or "U" depending on whether the wagon was fitted or not. Please note - the numbers of "U" and "F" values are different. This can be used to reflect the relative numbers of each type of coal wagon. Then there's a simple addition to the "Train" tab - a column to display the "F" or "U" value - Please note the "VLOOKUP" command. It uses the random number generated in Column C to lookup the value in the new fourth column of the "Weighted Wagon List" table. Of course then you've got an uber-Inglenook problem of assembling the train not only in destination order but whether a wagon is part of the fitted head or not. This is one for the Shunt Hogs among us. I've attached a copy of the spreadsheet if anyone's interested. It didn't actually take long to amend, and I worked out how to do it on a dog walk. Have fun. Cam. Freight Train Generator FittedOrNot No Macros.xlsx
  5. Maybe re-ordering the selection into destination order could be the Mark 2. Anyone fancy having a go? I think this could be achieved with a macro but RMWEB wouldn't let me upload it. Maybe this is a case of using "appropriate technology" and rewriting the list on a whiteboard to go with the train. Martin, it was fun to do. (Does that make me sound like IT Geek of the Week?) Hopefully I'll be able to put it into practice myself in the future. Cam
  6. I'll 'fess up. It was me. Anyone who guessed wins a prize - your very own air guitar. So as not to hijack this topic I've started one of my own which describes the situation and allows you to download the spreadsheet and written instructions so you can have a go yourself. It's here. Have fun with it. Cam
  7. This is a track plan of the Nether Madder and Green Soudley railway. It’s not mine. It’s the RMWEB topic of Martin S-C of this parish. As regulars to the topic will know, I’m a keen follower (among many) and have occasionally added my ramblings to the discussion. It’s covered the development of a system layout from design through waterproofing the garage it has been built in, baseboard construction, track laying, electrics and some beautiful stock construction, painting and weathering. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. One of the many issues it has touched upon is allocation of wagons to freight trains. Martin went into great detail about this, describing his use of a pack of cards and a 100-sided dice (role-playing games for the use of) to generate random consists of eight wagons. Into such great detail, in fact, that it got me thinking. I’ve been toying for some time with the idea of using some kind of computer system, probably Excel, to do the job, and Martin’s description of his needs was so comprehensive that it inspired me to have a go using his data and rules (my own being a long way from as well thought out as his). The detail of it is here If you look at this page you’ll see the full details of Martin’s requirements. (You’ll also see some ramblings from me about special loads and random engine breakdowns). But basically what Martin has is – · Twenty-one destinations, both stations and industries, which need to receive a variety of different wagon types. · Twenty-two (could soon be twenty-three) wagon types, some of which will only go to one destination, some just about everywhere. · Different “weightings” for both destinations and wagons i.e. larger destinations will receive more wagons than small ones, and some wagons need to be seen more than others. The layout is a coal-mover with a rich variety of other industries so coal will predominate. And the Excel spreadsheet below is what I came up with to solve this problem. Have a go. I’ve done a nice, macro-enabled version with a “Reset” button but RMWEB won’t let me upload it so if you want to see it change just put the cursor in any blank cell on the “Train” page and press the “Delete” key on your keyboard. If you want to know how it works there’s a Word document as well describing the principles. Please feel free to download both, have a go and if you have a similar problem adapt it to your own needs. I’ve put in some little extras on the “Other Goodies” sheet as well to handle other situations – · “Special loads” – the loco boiler on a Lowmac, the new piece of heavy plant at the quarry etc. This let you run such loads without them being seen so often that the situation just becomes unbelievable. · Breakdowns – if you want to make life really interesting by having one of your roster break down and go off to be repaired, so you have to find a replacement for its duties. · Rare Occasions – anything else. This whole system uses the abilities of Excel to generate random numbers then lookup information according to the results. What I’ve shown you works for the NM&GS. It can be adapted for anyone’s situation. It does have certain advantages over any system based on pen and paper / playing cards / 100-sided dice / crystal balls / divination – 1. It’s faster 2. You don’t have to worry about your 100-sided dice ending up under the sofa / in your mug of tea / in your dog 3. It works with any numbers you want to put in – you can’t buy 97-sided dice. 4. It never produces an impossible value – for instance if your playing cards turn up a wagon type that only has two destinations out of twenty it might take a lot of rolls of the 100-sided dice before you get a valid destination. This system only gives you valid combinations. Disclaimer – I make no claims to being an Excel expert. This has been developed using the functions of Excel which I know well. There could be a better way. If anyone knows one, fine. If anyone does get a version working for their own needs or has a better way feel free to post it with a description. Disclaimer 2 – If you can’t get a version working please don’t ask me to sort if for you. This system is released “unsupported” – computer-speak for “Son, you’re on your own.” Have fun with it and let me know what you think. Thanks to Martin for documenting his system so well that turning it into a spreadsheet was a doddle, for testing it for me and letting me start a thread about it. Regards Cam P.S. – some people prefer low-tech ways of doing this (pen and paper / playing cards / 100-sided dice / crystal balls / divination). Let me paint a mental picture for you. A OO-gauge, pre-grouping layout. Trundling along the track is a rather fetching 0-6-0ST pulling a rake of quaint four-wheel carriages. That rather fetching tank engine is trundling down the track using more computer power than was used to get the Apollo astronauts to the Moon (if it’s DCC). Low tech? I think not. Freight Train Generator No Macros.xlsx The Excel Freight Train Generator.docx
  8. Sorry Neil, I stand corrected. Wasn't knocking BLTs - I've modelled more than one myself. However, you do reach a sort of event horizon where the number of wagons that just go in and out again stretches the layout's capacity. (And I was stupid enough to have a boiler on a Lowmac that just came out, sat there and went back again. We live and learn). I was mainly focusing on the "exotic" loads that sometimes appear. It's unlikely that any BLT, no matter what's down the line, would see a ship's propeller or a loco boiler. Thanks. Cam
  9. Hi Martin. The above is very true. On an exhibition layout, particularly a fiddle yard / through station arrangement it's quite possible to have the "exotic" loads just trundling through on the way to somewhere else. So you can have the ship's propeller without a shipyard and the aircraft fuselages without the aircraft factory. However, on many layouts from the humble BLT to systems layouts such as NM&GS the rule is "If you have a wagon you need the facilities to unload / load it and the industry to use what it's carrying." Put it simply, if you have a lovely string of milk tank wagons you need a creamery. (Am I announcing my attempt to get on Mastermind with a specialist subject of "The B******* Obvious" here?) As you detailed above, the NM&GS has a wonderful range of industries, all requiring several types of wagons. OK, a lot of them are opens, sheeted opens and simple vans, but there is scope for some quirky loads. You want a boiler on a low-loader? How many of your industries will have a boiler house? The gasworks, the mine and the brewery to start with. It doesn't have to be a locomotive boiler (although as you have a loco works there's also the scope for that). You hinted at this kind of load in the "Machinery" description of a previous post. This can really work in your favour if you take some time to work out what the "Exotic" loads might be for a particular location - a new boiler, a new copper for the brewery, an oxide tank for the gasworks, new heavy plant for the quarry etc etc. These are the loads you won't see every day. List them then decide on what percentage of your operating sessions you want one of these out-of-the-ordinary loads to make an appearance. If it's one in three and you have ten special loads give each of them a number between 1 and 30 then use the many-sided dice to give you a number. On average 2 out of 3 times you'll roll nulls and not have a special load to cope with, but occasionally you'll have a special to include, probably with one of your mobile cranes to unload it. You also mentioned traction engines. There could be an added tweak to move these from their last location to a new one, so they'll move round the system occasionally. In this way your unusual loads can put in an occasional appearance (so staying unusual). As you build up a stock of such loads you just tweak the numbers to accommodate more of them. You can have unusual loads that help to tell the story of the layout without a ship's propeller in sight. You can even use a similar system for throwing a spanner in the works of your loco roster by adding the chances of an engine breaking down. Decide on a chance of this happening (maybe 1 in 5) and multiply the number of engines you have by that. So if you have 20 engines you can then use the dice to roll a number between 1 and 100. If the number of a loco comes up it's off to the works for the day and you have to find a replacement. You can even refine it by deciding what needs doing to the loco when it gets there, from a simple valve replacement to a re-boiler. So then you can have a special load with a loco boiler on it (as long as you're happy producing dummy boilers for everything from the Pecketts to the E4 or can live with a one-size-fits-all boiler for your entire roster. It all depends on how much of a stickler for accuracy you are, and I get the feeling that you are admirably so). Has this been helpful or have I just wasted everybody's time? The former, I hope. Great seeing all the progress. Best wishes Cam
  10. I totally agree. I think that when the landscaping is complete to stand at that spot hearing a train approaching then see it pop out of the tunnel and rumble over the bridge will be a real visual treat.
  11. And not just tar tankers. Don't forget the coke wagons. Coal from the colliery in, coke out both for your local coal merchants and fuel for the trams, which had to be smokless. Industries which use several types of wagon are the best! Particularly when they supply something else in the layout. Great seeing all the progress. Best wishes Cam
  12. Hi Martin. I will definitely go for the second version. I'm a huge fan of curvy lines and I loved the curve of the first arrangement but the lazy S of Mark 2 is, to my way of thinking, much more appealing. A passenger train entering Witt's End will change direction twice within the confines of the station. Gets my vote. But it's your layout. Feel free to ignore this. All the best. Cam
  13. I don't know about that. A baseboard and stand made out of sapient pearwood could be useful. It could unload and set itself up at shows. On the matter of suitable engine names, how about a Victorian-style 4-2-2 called The Octiron Duke? Regards Cam
  14. Sorry, Butty. Totally forgot about Ivor, see. Still stand by golem - power - "The Flying Potsman"?: Buildings look amazing. I have the fully-illustrated edition of "Eric" and they look like they've dropped straight out of the pages. All the best. Cam
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