Tuesday 27 February 2024

Running In

 With everything working electrically, it is now time to test out some of the plans that I have for the railway. Initially, I wanted to try out the passenger side as I had bought some quite old Hornby "blood and custard" coaches to run with the Accurascale Manor 4-6-0.

Ok so first off, there was a problem with the Hornby coaches. They had what the hobby calls "pizza cutter" wheels and wouldn't go through the points so I had to buy a pack of Bachmann replacement wheel pairs. These fixed that problem. Then, I was having difficulty uncoupling the first coach from the loco as the coaches had the old type of coupler - the whole width of the coach - and my hand uncoupler was causing derailments. The answer to this was to replace the couplers with Kadees.

Brett at the LHS sold me some NEM Kadees and some little NEM sockets that were supplied by Golden Valley. These seemed like a good idea in that you just glue them to the floor of the coach and plug an NEM coupler in. However, they interfered with the bogies and were too high to couple properly to the Manor. The Manor had NEM sockets so it was easy to remove the existing couplers and replace them with Kadees so that was the benchmark height.

The floor of the coaches was very high so I had to pad out the base to get the couplers to the right height. I used the Golden Valley adapter on one coach but it needed cutting about and padding out so it was a bit of a faff so I dug out some Kadee no. 5s for the other two coaches. Here is how it looks - not nice but it all works. First the Golden Valley NEM set up.

Now, the No. 5s much neater.

Once I had the couplers sorted, it was time to run some trains. I have three passenger trains planned for the routine. One will be a 64XX with an auto coach. Then there will be a 64XX with two local passenger coaches. Lastly, there will be the weekly holiday train which will be the Manor 78XX with three Mk 1 coaches - 2 brakes and one full coach. The theory is that these three coaches came off a London to Cornwall train (led by a Castle presumably) and were brought down from the main line by the Manor. Here is what it looks like with two of these in.

I did, however, uncover two problems that interfered with the successful running of the trains. First off, there was an issue with the Manor transitioning from the main baseboard onto the fiddle yard board. It seems that there is a rise in the track at the edge of the board that is causing the Manor to slip its wheels.  Also, the long Mk.1 coaches don't much like the join either. I need to do some work on the join between the two boards to get rid of this. Secondly, the Digitrax controller isn't acting normally when there is a short. Normally, if I run a point the wrong way round, there is a short which clears itself when the loco is moved to clear the point. This is not happening and I am having to turn the Digitrax box off, wait 5 or so seconds, and turn the box back on. 

(Aside: needless to say, the point of the levers is that I can see how each point is set so that shorts shouldn't happen - as in a real signal box - but I still do it!)

I put a question up on Model Railroad Hobbyist where the answer seemed to be a fault in the Digitrax controller. However, I thought about this and I think it has more to do with the way that I have wired in the ESP radio receiver for the point levers. I just put the ESP board in between the controller and the power bus which makes it susceptible to the short. I think that I have to put in a separate accessory bus so that the short doesn't get to the ESP board. In any case, I am checking this ideas out with DCC Concepts so we shall see what we see. Here is the current and proposed layouts.

There will be more on this, I can promise.

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