October already …

Obviously the layout has progressed significantly since the last blog post, several months ago … or one might think! Progress on the Border District does resemble a very, very slow moving avalanche (of sorts). Some times you have to squint, really hard, to see what is different/changed/new. This might explain the lack of photographic evidence provided on this blog to back up claims made of “progress” …

The focus of late has been around finalising a sequence timetable and layout protocols for the commencement of regular operating sessions, hopefully not too far away. While this doesn’t sound like much, there is plenty involved: clean track and working points; reliable locos, wagons and couplers; car cards and waybills sorted; DCC and signal systems working (as they should);  a sequence of trains that is interesting, challenging and fun; and so on. I’ve been helped by friends to put aspects of operations through their paces – both in theory and in practice – an enjoyable task (most of the time).

One of the big learnings from one such “trial” was that some of my intended structures will make operations somewhat difficult – I had planned a 120 foot covered goods shed for Tatiara Downs, similar to the one at Mount Gambier – but there could be up to 10 wagons hidden inside, so how to best identify and collect the one you require? Also, my Tatiara Downs “industrial district” could have the same issues, with buildings/industries between the operator and the wagons. Trackplan changes again anyone? Hmmm …

While I missed attending this year’s “Modelling the Railways of South Australia Convention” (again), I did manage a quick trip to Adelaide in August for family reasons and was able to squeeze in a few railway related activities. The greatest of these was the participation in an operating session on Geoff’s “Border Downs Railway” (BDR) – only the second time I’ve had the opportunity to do so. The impact and influence of these two sessions is evident in many aspects of my “Border District” (but no, the name similarity is just a coincidence!).

Geoff has a really well thought out layout plan (both individual stations and overall layout), his locos and rollingstock operate without fault (other than that of the operator …), the ABLO car card system and DCC are employed to their fullest and the regular crew are a really great group of guys – they must be, to allow a northern interloper like me to visit more than once! To Geoff especially, but also Ron, Ray, Bob, John and Tony – thanks for putting up with me, I’m hopeful of a third session in the not too far distant future.

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