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ianathompson

AFK (Altonian Complementary Railways)

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I don't think I can be called a crew! I visit once a month for a bit of play time, but even though I've been doing this for well over two years, I'm still perplexed by lots of it (I still struggle with the names and locations of all the stations for one!), but I have to say that it is fun. I find the hulking great locos running on narrow gauge fascinating, and one of the things I love is the why that the locos bang around (because of the lead in them that is required to get them up the hill) just like real locos.

 

I have to say that it is nice to operate a railway that has a purpose, and following the trains around the system, and how one late runner (every move is against a 3 min per move clock) knocks other trains (just like real life).

 

I find the completed scenes are very inspirational, and very convincing too. Its a real room full and it takes a bit of shunting to just get into the alleys to operate from.

 

Its also surprising where the conversations head off to when you get operating, a very interesting chat about transport wagons happen last month......

 

Looking forward to next months visit....

 

Andy G

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Andy

 

Should be ok this Monday, is it? Big carol service this weekend (Advent Responsery and the Great 'O's) so leave a message on the answerphone.

 

Barry, the layout is usually operated single handedly. I did cover the reasons for this somewhere on the labyrinthine website.

 

It mainly boils down to the fact that I want to operate as and when I wish rather than having to organise formal sessions.

 

As can be seen from some of the constructional pictures on the website there is not a lot of spare room and it can get tight even with two people.

 

It is usually operated for some time every day when it is in session.

 

Ian T

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Ian,

 

Indeed this coming Monday is the day.....

 

Andy G

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This week's photos have now been uploaded and are available at https://myafk.net/operating-session-4

 

A small selection are shown below.

 

Incidentally, I noticed that I failed to include a location map with the last batch that I posted.

I have remedied this but would like to know whether people find this feature useful or not.

It takes quite a bit of fiddling with the web site package to put these diagrams up.

I'm quite happy to do it if people find it useful but if not.......

 

46077632802_551d840d28_c.jpg4-110 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

110. The banker finds plenty of work at Ithilarak. Having removed a couple of hoppers from the mine and attached a couple of vans it restarts its uphill shunt from the top of the Vulpafaukangulo. Whether it would be advisable to go onto such a steep gradient to perform shunting moves is a moot point but, as with many model railways, lack of space prevents.any choice. The observant will note, as well, that the shunt move is outside the protecting home signal, which would never occur in reality.

 

45403795804_b4b9dfbc5f_c.jpg4-118 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

118. Running as train 0001 the loco from the car train has returned to Cadsuine-Fanhuidol to pick up the log load in the foreground, as seen from the balcony of the station house. The train number was generated from the standard sequence for identification. 0 indicates light engine and the second 0 indicates "other destination" (not included in the list of stations) whilst the 01 indicates its position in the sequence. It will return as train 9602 propelling the wagon, as allowed for in the instructions. This number was generated as: 9 extra goods, 6 Ithilarak destination, 02 position in sequence.Quite how the wagon was loaded is a mystery given the lack of a fixed crane in the yard and the restrictive nature of the low bridge across the only road into Cadsuiane (see photo 12). It is, of course, yet another model railwayism.

 

45403796534_4683fdd189_c.jpg4-130 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

130. On the other side of the summit the afternoon FDV-RFK goods has reached Caladonno, where it makes the station stop. The view is taken from the road bridge where the RN 424 passes over the railway. Unfortunately the University buildings from the lower level intervene but the brain usually 'airbrushes' them out. This is perhaps the first photo to capture the 'sparkle' of the ice crystals. This effect was created by mixing silver glitter into the Woodland Scenics snow. The track brake on the loop is just visible inside the right hand rail.

 

Ian T

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This week's photos have now been uploaded and are available at https://myafk.net/operating-session-4

 

A small selection are shown below.

 

Incidentally, I noticed that I failed to include a location map with the last batch that I posted.

I have remedied this but would like to know whether people find this feature useful or not.

It takes quite a bit of fiddling with the web site package to put these diagrams up.

I'm quite happy to do it if people find it useful but if not.......

 

46077632802_551d840d28_c.jpg4-110 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

110. The banker finds plenty of work at Ithilarak. Having removed a couple of hoppers from the mine and attached a couple of vans it restarts its uphill shunt from the top of the Vulpafaukangulo. Whether it would be advisable to go onto such a steep gradient to perform shunting moves is a moot point but, as with many model railways, lack of space prevents.any choice. The observant will note, as well, that the shunt move is outside the protecting home signal, which would never occur in reality.

 

45403795804_b4b9dfbc5f_c.jpg4-118 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

118. Running as train 0001 the loco from the car train has returned to Cadsuine-Fanhuidol to pick up the log load in the foreground, as seen from the balcony of the station house. The train number was generated from the standard sequence for identification. 0 indicates light engine and the second 0 indicates "other destination" (not included in the list of stations) whilst the 01 indicates its position in the sequence. It will return as train 9602 propelling the wagon, as allowed for in the instructions. This number was generated as: 9 extra goods, 6 Ithilarak destination, 02 position in sequence.Quite how the wagon was loaded is a mystery given the lack of a fixed crane in the yard and the restrictive nature of the low bridge across the only road into Cadsuiane (see photo 12). It is, of course, yet another model railwayism.

 

45403796534_4683fdd189_c.jpg4-130 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

130. On the other side of the summit the afternoon FDV-RFK goods has reached Caladonno, where it makes the station stop. The view is taken from the road bridge where the RN 424 passes over the railway. Unfortunately the University buildings from the lower level intervene but the brain usually 'airbrushes' them out. This is perhaps the first photo to capture the 'sparkle' of the ice crystals. This effect was created by mixing silver glitter into the Woodland Scenics snow. The track brake on the loop is just visible inside the right hand rail.

 

Ian T

I can't seem to see the 'location map', it appears to be cut-off at the side. Applet from that minor gripe - enjoying the latest batch of photos, very good indeed.

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The location map has been squeezed in to the right hand side but it should be clearly visible on a PC screen.

 

I am not sure quite what is visible on a mobile as I do not use one.

 

I know one or two people have complained about the captions on some of the earlier pages not being visible on a mobile.

 

It is difficult to keep tabs on the website package but hopefully there should not be too many problems.

 

Thanks 

 

IanT

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The location map has been squeezed in to the right hand side but it should be clearly visible on a PC screen.

 

I am not sure quite what is visible on a mobile as I do not use one.

 

I know one or two people have complained about the captions on some of the earlier pages not being visible on a mobile.

 

It is difficult to keep tabs on the website package but hopefully there should not be too many problems.

 

Thanks

 

IanT

You are right, it's fine on computers/laptops but on mobile it gets cut off to the side.

 

No matter, I can still see the photos perfectly well, but need the laptop for captions/diagrams. Not really a problem, just the way the site gets displayed on a phone's smaller screen I guess.

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This week's photos have now been uploaded and are available at https://myafk.net/operating-session-4

A small selection are shown below.

 

46247899231_c31b1859d0_c.jpg4-135 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

135. Shunting completed the goods makes its way across the valley bottom having left Breĉo de Glissent. Close inspection of the WTT shows that this train is booked to wait at Glissent for the local and express to pass but it is standard practice for the train to run early hence the pressure on the railcar crew to do the dirty work (see photo 110). With a mere "110 tons" on the drawbar this will be an easy ride today. (Tonnages are calculated by counting wagon axles, excluding the crew van.)

 

46247902561_e1f223c23d_c.jpg4-140 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

140. The local goods has arrived at Eromarbordo and has begun shunting. The first job is to push the grain hopper into the silo unloading bay so that this can take place during the remainder of operations. The empty hopper can then be ready for picking up before the train leaves. The low level of the lighting is obvious in this picture and has been previously remarked it was not possible to place it at the front of the layout in this location.

 

31308730837_050f647e8f_c.jpg4-146 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

146. Once the shunter has taken the car train down to Rivaboro for unloading the schools' railcar runs up to the Basabazaro to wait for departure time. The ungainly loco (a I-B-B-I) waits to return to the depot. The railcar will run onto the CFS trailer which has been uncoupled from the electric railcar and push it beyond the points. This is another that has been in abeyance for some time and could do with some atention. The signals wiring could be covered for instance and I discovered a few days ago that it is still not fixed down!

 

46197138662_8d8c8f67d4_c.jpg4-149 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

149. The mixto pulls into Caladonno under clear signals, where it meets the schools' railcar. This is the only crossing of the day scheduled for this short loop. As has been noted elsewhere the loop was an afterthought and serves to allow trains too long for Fenditavalat to cast off extra wagons before returning to trip them in to the city. The railcar crew will be reminded to display a tail lamp before leaving!

 

Ian T

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Another batch of photos form another week's operations are available at https://myafk.net/operating-session-4

 

46317130761_1b1a7cc27e_c.jpg4-157 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

157. The moves in the Basabazaro have to be carefully choreographed. The shunter will pull forward with the two vans to remove the vans at the rear of the train. These will then be shunted into the dairy.

 

46317134571_7f551b98ec_c.jpg4-168 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

168. The down mixto pulls into Ithilarak's PFT. The gradient over the viaduct is clearly visible in this shot. There was also a rock face which fitted above the tunnel but that seems to have gone walkabout as well.

 

 

32445141928_9a1f01870a_c.jpg4-175 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

175. The up "railcar" pauses at Boursson where it crosses the KTT goods. The railcar was checked by the distant being "on" as it approached but by now the goods loco is in the clear. It is on the wrong end of the train at the moment but all the set outs and pick ups have been made and the van for Sojonno is correctly positioned so it should recover time once it departs the intermediate halt, unless there is a glut of traffic.

 

32445143238_69a2f779bb_c.jpg4-182 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

182. A similar photo taken fifteen or so minutes later shows that the shunter has attached the inbound wagons to the outbound ones so that it can push them onto the ferry. The poles on the reach wagon have been disconnected as the inbound wagons will act as a 'handle'.

 

Ian T

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Nice to see a railway with "purpose"

Baz

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Barry,

 

Thanks. It helps to keep me out of mischief!

 

The layout was designed from the outset to provide these sorts of operational opportunities.

 

I suppose I have looked at too many copies of Model Railroader!

 

The website does contain some insight into the design process for any-one interested.

 

Ian T

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The session has now finished and around thirty odd photos have been posted on the website at https://myafk.net/operating-session-4

 

A small selection of these is shown below.

 

Most of them try to convey operational problems faced by the AFK.

 

31508066057_bfe43b63f0_c.jpg4-185 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

185. The late evening RFK-URT goods stands in the platforms at Relforka, ready to leave. Rather unusually this is not totally formed of SG vehicles because there is a shortage of equipment at Boursson, which will be addressed by dropping NG wagons from this train. In addition the first van has been transferred from the Eromarbordo goods as it is full of fish bound for Lacono. The transfer has put the goods 10 minutes behind schedule. Control has a decision to make. Is this train let out late, running against the mixto, or is it held to ensure a clear run for the mixto? The Narnian railways, rather like their Thalnian counterparts, are not noted for their speed or promptness and three times out of four the FT train that the mixto connects into is late. Feeling lucky? Do you twist or do you stick?!

 

45534831105_e5a2fd408f_c.jpg4-191 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

191. Having been tipped the wink by Glissent, the mixto moves along the short loop at Boursson because the freight is too long to fit into the loop. Once this has cleared the south end, and the signal clatters to the near vertical 'clear' aspect and the mixto wastes no time getting onto the move. As it happens the crew and AFK Control need not have worried because Nerv FT Control have rung through to say that the connecting train from Beruna in Narnia is running 15 minutes late. (This was divined from the dice throw.) Nerv is the FT junction between the Ruritanian and Narnian lines and oversees all SG running in the province whilst liasing with the respective countries' railways. The standard practice, in any case, is to hold theSG train at Relforka for the AFK connection, although the AFK management try to avoid the opprobrium that follows this necessity. A large number of Provincial functionaries and politicians use the mixto to connect into the sleepers added at Gascari (the border station) to reach Sarip on the following morning. The FT HQ would never hear the end of it if these connections were missed!

 

45724598614_68ba7c550d_c.jpg4-193 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

193. As the evening draws in snow is falling over the high passes of the Marronĝaco Massif and it is necessary to plough the route between Cadsuiane and Calodonno. The plough has been coupled to the front of the RFK-FDV freight for the run down the north side of the Hecaraxë pass. Here it has been uncoupled to allow the plough to run into the loop. I am considering altering the profile of the watermill, which has remained untouched throughout the session despite good intentions, so that it does not obscure the (eye level) view of the line on the shelf above the village.

 

45534837735_c9ce00709d_c.jpg4-202 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

202. It is 20.40 before the pilot can begin to contemplate breaking down the long goods train brought in by the afternoon KTT goods. This was last seen in photo 170 and arrived at 18.20 but other duties have called. The shunter discusses the moves with the loco crew having written down the destinations of each wagon onto a sheet of paper. This is what our American cousins refer to as a switchlist, but I am sure that there was an English equivalent name (shunt list?). This is the first time that I have followed this procedure but the reasons for doing it are the same as those used on US layouts. All the wagons are listed on one sheet of paper rather than fumbling roughly a dozen consignment notes around on the edge of the layout. It seems likely that this will become a standard procedure in the future as similar ideas would have benefitted the chaos at Urteno. At one point there were twenty plus wagons to keep track of. The eagle eyed will have spotted that van 222 has been carried past Boursson and will need to be sent back. Jasmond will be on the case in the morning!

 

45534842565_ac58c2d203_c.jpg4-215 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

215. The log train is finally ready to depart. In the light of experience I would try to avoid assembling the train so early if the situation recurred. It would have been easier to hold the wagons in the sidings rather than to take one loop out of the equation for most of the evening. To be fair when the original decision was made to form the train there seemed to be a real possibility that it could leave shortly afterwards. As I have remarked before, the AFK is only one bad decision away from tying it in knots, as the real thing often was.

 

45724606064_ea5f3487f1_c.jpg4-224 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

224. Urteno is still busy as midnight strikes. The railcar needs to run round the Post van and the shunter still needs to sort out the wagons from the ferry as well as pushing SG wagons into the furniture factory. The cement train (FDV-LAC) has been held because no path was available but it is now running through one of the loops.

 

The railway has now closed down for maintenance. During the interregnum certain items will need attention as noted below.

 

Some point microswitches are not activating as they should do, but it came as a shock to realise that some have been in place for almost twenty years!

 

The Billard railcar needs attention. That is now forty years old.

 

The 0-8-0 performed in an acceptable manner so that needs completing, as do various diesels.

 

The 0-8-8-0T mallet performed reasonably well but still needs some attention.

 

There are plenty of wagons awaiting paint and many coaches want roofs.

 

That is before any work is done on scenery, building new stock and carrying out an in depth survey about whether, where and how to add a paper factory. It has become noticeable in recent sessions that traffic has grown in the last twenty years and that many trains now run at or close to capacity.

 

Ian T

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The great stumble forwardish


 


Little news of real import from Altonia of late.


 


One thing that has begun to irritate me is the prevalence of white styrene wagons in the photos.


 


These have all now had a basic daub of paint and should look a little better in the next batch of photos whenever the next session starts.


(Pound to a penny that one has somehow been missed.)


 


Not quite the great leap forward, hence the post's title.


 


Ian T


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The great stumble forwardish

 

Little news of real import from Altonia of late.

 

One thing that has begun to irritate me is the prevalence of white styrene wagons in the photos.

 

These have all now had a basic daub of paint and should look a little better in the next batch of photos whenever the next session starts.

(Pound to a penny that one has somehow been missed.)

 

Not quite the great leap forward, hence the post's title.

 

Ian T

 

It is all progresss.... 

Baz

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In answer to a question posed on another forum I have also posted here about some ideas that I have for the layout.

 

I hope that you will find this of interest.

 

I have begun to consider the paper factory without reaching any firm conclusions at the moment.

 

As usual the American modelling market is light years in front of its British equivalent in terms of considering traffic demands and operational procedures.

Industries along the tracks 2 gives a 12 page overview of the paper industry and as I take Model Railroader on a monthly basis I have plenty of other info when I get around to digging it out.

The series covers six industries per volume and I have all four in the series.

 

My current analysis suggests the following traffic based on a pulp mill being attached to the paper mill.

 

Incoming traffic would consist of: 

Pulpwood mostly from the AFK (NG) but with some hardwood (SG) to give the correct blend

Wood chips (possibly) SG

Recycled paper in SG vans

Sulphuric acid containers (SG)

Kaolin (in tankers) (SG)

Detergents (for de-inking) chlorine and additives (in drums SG opens and vans)

Coal (SG?) or increased NG coal traffic, possibly in bogie hoppers.

Paper would, of course leave the factory.

 

To accommodate such a large increase in traffic some re-alignment of current traffic flows is under consideration.

It seems most likely, at the moment that the mill will be located at Lacono and may be worked by a fireless loco (I have a specific prototype in mind as a basis).

 

The carpet factory would relocate to Urteno and the agricultural machine factory would either close or also relocate to Urteno.

The NG pit prop traffic would become cordwood for the mill and there are around a spare eight open wagon carcasses that need completing and to have a purpose in life.

Time and the next operating session will tell what transpires.

 

46135094144_a543ea4292_c.jpg56 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

Not quite the face that launched a thousand ships but it did launch a review of AFK industries. The Billerbahn acid wagon container kit was obtained from Ebay at a sensible price. It is not finished. I would like to hear of the experience of any-one actually running one of these on an O gauge layout. Mine would definitely be rewheeled if used as a working wagon. It also weighs a ton and needed soldering together (without special low melt solder!) which led to a few exciting moments.

 

46135094864_2682b09241_c.jpg57 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

The two 'modern' (1960s) slide wall vans will fit onto three transporters. It is intended that only Hbis wagons (i.e. slide wall vans) and German Grossraumwagen will serve the factory rather than the run of the mill vans.

Any observations and information will be gratefully received.

 

Ian T

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The latest signalling developments can now be found on the website at https://myafk.net/signalling-methods

Construction of the signal (shown below) was more complicated and time consuming than expected but work is  slowly progressing towards another running session.

 

46388959414_b07434ff79_c.jpg55 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

Ian T

Edited by ianathompson
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On 16/02/2019 at 14:08, ianathompson said:

The latest signalling developments can now be found on the website at https://myafk.net/signalling-methods

Construction of the signal (shown below) was more complicated and time consuming than expected but work is  slowly progressing towards another running session.

 

46388959414_b07434ff79_c.jpg55 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

Ian T

 

I love how the variety of signalling continues to multiply! Despite the wonderfully varied plethora of countries' signalling, it just works.

 

Anymore additions in the offing? ;)

 

Regards, B

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15 hours ago, hexagon789 said:

Anymore additions in the offing? ;)

 

Regards, B

 

Not at the moment. Another six signals are needed to complete the installations away from the colour light stations at the moment.

I certainly intend that one of these should be a Swedish example but time will tell.

 

On the signalling front the Lacono colour lights still need completing and the scheme at Urteno simply exists on paper.

I have unsuccessfully experimented with Italian "Marmot" signals but the problem is finding a LED that will project in two directions at once.

I appreciate that the prototypes did not do this but this is what is needed on my "Home Brewed" Urteno scheme.

 

This latter, it is envisaged will combine colour lights and pneumatic points which will require an active indication that they have been released to hand control.

I have some ideas about this but for the moment stock and loco building is taking precedence.

 

Ian T

Edited by ianathompson
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Work on the stock has been ongoing so I can report more slow progress.

 

40361961843_1bf3e84684_c.jpgops decant 010 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

The I-B-B-I has finally reached completion. It is in a slightly more presentable condition than its sisters, recently pictured, [on another website] as it is expected to carry out second tier passenger work.

 

47274819722_3170f8c3fa_c.jpgops decant 008 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

The creature from the black lagoon has also received attention. Its buffers were set a little too high so that it used to jump onto the wagons, rather like a cattle dog onto the back of cattle. (Another endearing trait of the creature!)

 

It has been cured of this tendency and also equipped with swinging couplings as well. As might be imagined this was no easy task with a model built twenty five plus years ago. A few bits fell off but they were replaced and everything seems to be okay, after a coat of grease, rust and gunge.

 

The creature is seen shunting two (brand new) wagons into the siding at Breco de Glissent. As has been noted before the goods yard entry point dips across the cant so this is one of those awkward spots that often occur on a large layout. It is often used for testing stock because it is adjacent to the work bench. The rationale is that anything that can get into here is likely to be okay anywhere else on the system.

 

The wagon shells were built a couple of years ago, when I still worked in signalboxes. They have patiently waited in the 'round tuit' queue for some time before recently being wheeled and fitted with couplings. The latter are home made and take ages to fabricate but provide a semblence of the centre buffers common on the continental NG. The wagons already appear distressed, note the hole in the rotten planking, and one has mismatched doors, although whether by design or accident I cannot now say. The one enxt to the engine also seems to have problems with its springs as it is higher at one end than the other. So long as they perform they will be accepted as is. They are part of a batch of a dozen new wagons going through MaD, which has also converted an errant six wheel brake into a bogie vehicle.

 

Hopefully these items can soon be signed off (temporarily in the case of the wagons) with a view to another running session.

Ian T

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The AFK is once more in harness and the latest session can be found at https://myafk.net/operating-session-5

 

There is  a selection of twenty or so photos on the website of which two are shown below. I think that Flickr have started blocking some of the ones in earlier posts, although many were included on the website.

 

46648262385_5b325cd2fb_c.jpg5-6 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.6 The fireless runs over a previously little used connection and hides under the signal box.. Drivers of fireless locos were industrial workers not necessarily trained in railway rules (no pun intended!) so it is open to debate as to how far the loco would be allowed into the station. I have assumed that the AFK has only authorised it to run along platform 2 and into this siding, or the adjacent one, without a conductor on the footplate.

 

46648262995_e17784b2e1_c.jpg5-15 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.15 The paper train is the first to pass the new ES (home) at clear. The indication tells the driver that the route is set into the RT (main) but that the FS (starter) is at danger. There are three arms on the spindle allowing four aspects to be shown. As it is still dark the driver would simply see a yellow as he approached. No more alarums and excursions have been experienced with the transporters but their progression around the curve at Sojonno has almost ensured that the rule book will stipulate that these long vans must be treated as bogie vehicles (i.e. travel on two transporters apiece).

 

Hope that you find something of interest.

 

Ian T

Edited by ianathompson
failed to give link to website
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Is there dome reason why this benighted website refuses to acknowledge that this thread exists? 

 

It is rather tiresome to persistently have to manually find this thread. I presume that this is a side effect of the all singing all dancing update forced upon us.

 

Minor illnesses have restricted activities of late but he recently posted set of photos can be found at 

As usual a couple of shots are shown below.https://myafk.net/operating-session-5

 

47632150711_03fa874aba_c.jpg5-22 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.22 Although the line was cleared at midnight there is sufficient snow by 4am that the two rotaries are required to plough the route again. The plough has been through the loop before returning to clear the main at Caladonno. The signal is off for a departure down the remainder of the Orbon valley where there is less need for snow clearance.

 

47632151991_f0014f0932_c.jpg5-28 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.28 Fenditavalat's alarm clock pulls into the small yard at 5 o'clock. The busier nature of the yard is apparent here as all three roads are full, reflecting the introduction of the paper factory and the attendant rise in wood traffic over the northern half of the line. The yard has quite a long history for a model I suppose. In its initial incarnation the central road, somewhat improbably served a (low relief) loco shed, the pit for which still remains and need removing. This was supposedly justified by the cramped nature of a hilltop city and was just about tenable when traffic levels were much lower. Even so the yard had to be extended by eight inches within a short time. Inevitably the locos were relegated to a specialised off scene depot as traffic grew and much transfer traffic now avoids this cramped location. The hopper was brought in yesterday and will be taken to the blanket factory once there is time and space for this.

 

47579340682_2e4388a850_c.jpg5-35 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.35 The early morning railcar from Urteno gets the green indication from Breĉo de Glissent's ES showing that the branch service from Eromarbordo has already arrived and is standing in the loop. The service splits here with the front half running on to Urteno whilst the rear set acts as station pilot and provides connections along the branch to Urteno.

 

Ian t

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The carefully laid plans of the AFK are beginning to unravel.

 

Unlike most model railways where everything is properly choreographed and works like clockwork this layout is based on my experiences of the real thing.

Late running SG connections, heavy traffic and snow fall are all affecting timekeeping in this session.

 

As the operating plan heads for meltdown the latest batch of photos can be seen at https://myafk.net/operating-session-5

 

46761893525_8dfc28073d_c.jpg5-40 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.40 Shunting the Eromarbordo goods often provides a relaxing counterpoint to the problems encountered on the mainline. The train arrived with three wagons and will most likely depart with a similar number today. Shunting here is never easy however due to the complex track layout and it is easy to reach an impasse if future moves are not considered. All three roads are blocked as the crew take a breather and water the loco. The cramped nature of the site is evident but it repays this in the additional interest provided.

 

46761894705_b1fe6911db_c.jpg5-51 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.51 .... after much toing and froing the passenger departs almost quarter of an hour late. The train is incorrectly marshalled as the Post van and ambulance should be on the rear so this may have repercussions further along the line. If it had not been for the availability of the new short loco built with this duty in mind the departure would have been delayed even more.

 

33800317868_ebeaf69c6a_c.jpg5-56 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.56 Another traditional photo shows the express and the following local standing at Relforka. Today the express is pulled by the I-D-I and the local is taken by the 2-6-6-0T mallet. There is trouble brewing in that Nerv FT control (the (Thalnian Railways centre of operations in the province) has phoned through to say that the connecting services from the capital are over half an hour late this morning which will involve holding the express at Relforka to make the connections. (This is the result of a dice throw. The lateness is varied for each connecting train. Unfortunately the 100 sided dice threw up a 94 which denotes big trouble!)

 

Given the extra traffic due to be carried today this involves a hasty remarshalling of the sets at Relforka and a revamped plan for transferring the hockey players and crowds to Caladonno. The plan is to run the local on the express schedule without waiting for a SG connection and to run the "express" as a sort of de luxe 'sweeper' train stopping everywhere. The original intention was to terminate the local at Urteno but it looks as though it may have to run through to Fenditavalat now. This is promising to be a real mess! Looking further down the road the spare set held at Fenditavalat to provide a prompt connection at Relforka when the express runs late is out on the road deputising for a railcar (see photo 51). There might be a need for a piloted railcar later today.

 

33800318778_fdde086b8d_c.jpg5-57 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.57 Things go from bad to worse as the schools' train stalls in the cutting at Lamassco. This is not a result of a dice throw but reality. The AFK is not an easy model railway to work. The line is steeply graded and the stock (and locos for that matter) are heavy items. Unfortunately a combination of a tightish curve and, I suspect, a slight steepening of the ruling 1 in 36 mean that this area is a well known black spot on the layout. It is, I suppose, the antithesis of those layouts beloved by the magazines with their beautifully delicate details accurately modelled and never a curve or grade in sight!

 

It would be possible to give the train a prod and ignore the big finger from the sky but that's not how I prefer to work if I can avoid it. The 0-8-0 from the early running URT-RFK goods is waiting at Boursson. It is instructed to go down to the stricken train and assist from the front. This all takes time of course and puts 40 minutes into the schedule. These things did happen on the prototype, and as a signalman I often had to deal with them. Reality was somewhat at

variance with the perfectly choreographed world of many model railways!

 

33800319438_24660308cb_c.jpg5-66 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.66 The local, using the stock from the express, finally gets the road from Relforka at 09.00. This puts it 35 minutes behind the local's scheduled departure and 50 behind its own. Once the path has been lost the delays begin to compound and it can be expected that this is only the beginning of the time losses for this train. Of course TDA, if it had ever existed on the AFK and Thalnian networks in the sixties, would be rubbing their hands at the amount of time that could be charged to the mainline network for a late arrival at Fenditavalat.

 

Ian T

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A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I lat posted.

Thirty odd new photos can be found at https://myafk.net/operating-session-5

 

47714374382_77d405ae14_c.jpg5-70 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.70 The express, seen in the background behind the medieval tower, has lost its path and control decides to run the URT-RFK goods through the section rather than hold it at Boursson. The train sees the "take siding" indication as it arrives at Breĉo de Glissent, putting a further 5 minutes into the express.

 

47714376202_f384ec73d1_c.jpg5-72 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.72 Journey's end at last (see 5.57).The extended schools' train terminates at Varden today where the tobogganists have parked a couple of sledges on the 'ice'. The access tunnel is the concrete bridge in the background which is at the end of the run. The Urteno banker has run up the hill behind the train and coupled on to return the stock to the station. The train loco will remain coupled onto the train to save a path. The ice is not an ideal solution to providing a wintery atmosphere, which is best done in a permanent scene as at other locations on the layout. It will probably stay for the remainder of winter and might well attract some skaters and a hog roast.

 

33889833638_7beab18d66_c.jpg5-92 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.92 The loco and van for the new train associated with the paper mill run down into Lacono at 10.15. The timings of this train are extremely tenuous beyond a nominal 10.30 departure. In effect this is an institutionalised unscheduled train running to an unspecified destination as required. I did make a serious attempt to base this train at Fenditavalat as it could have collected full wagons on the way down to Lacono and returned with empties from the factory. An initial look into the timings suggested that it would be difficult to find a path up the hill for this train in the late afternoon. The upshot of this is that the current extra goods is covering some of the work intended for this train. I will review what happens in this session and may look at some possible retimings so that this train can run from Fenditavalat, which is what I would prefer. The brake van was purloined from the Relforka drawer so there is obviously a need for a few more of these.

 

46977689514_be83d052ee_c.jpg5-103 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.103 The extra has already put time into the express at Cadsuiane-Fanhuidol, where there was a four minute delay until the section cleared. The extra's loco is now running round its stock when the express arrives. The express's loco is just visible under the snowshed in the background waiting for the signal to clear. Up trains usually receive priority at this signal but not today. The express will be held at Ospicio for the late running car train in any case and the load is light compared to the power of the loco.

I hope that you find something of interest.

Ian T

 

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Fascinating operation.

Baz

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The latest photos are available at the usual site https://myafk.net/operating-session-5

 

32903854177_99f41247a9_c.jpg5-106 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.105 The AFK control's day takes a turn for the worse, just as it seemed that everything was being straightened out. Nerv control ring through to advise that the connecting service for the mixto will arrive 25 minutes behind time! (Once again this is a result of a dice throw.) This will have severe impacts on the whole railway as this train is on a very tight timing to return and make a connection (see 4.191). Having just congratulated itself for solving Fenditavalat's surplus of power there might now be a shortage! This is the impact of connecting with a SG system with its own agenda.

 

40881073853_774e877239_c.jpg5-116 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.115 The Jakarutu branch train backs into the oil siding at Gysmorabu to collect the tanker of crude oil. This is an occasional traffic offering and in real life terms it is probably over a year since a train entered this siding! Contrary to expectations everything went smoothly and no problems were encountered, except for the dust on the tanker!

 

40881075263_05d44d9f06_c.jpg5-120 by Ian Thompson, on Flickr

 

5.119 The railcar leaves for the shed. This will allow the passenger loco standing on platform 3, which has dealt with the Post vans (at the right beside the train shed wall) to run down onto the ambulance. The railcar has been signalled by a ground signal alongside platform 1 and the two reds in the heads on the gantry do not apply to this move. As much as anything this picture was included to show the importance of the click clocks and to show that multiple moves can be carried out simultaneously. There are currently three independent sets of moves taking place and a freight train is approaching. These are obviously not carried out simultaneously in real life as I only have one set of eyes and arms! The rule of thumb is that these moves are carried out on one 'click' providing that they would not interfere with one another.

Ian T

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