April 7, 2014

Breaking the Rules, then obeying the Rules - A dose of operating reality

I marshalled the Up Suburban Goods a few days ago and it was sitting awaiting haulage back to Melbourne in the yard this afternoon. With a few minutes for some running I decided to run it back, typically a run of 9+ laps of the Glenburn circuit. Looking for motive power the Steeple had been rostered on as Yard Shunter all week, and this was typically an electric diagram. So, per prototype, I decided to assign the Parcels coach as a substitute. With a load of 11 including brake I thought this load Ok, however the Parcels coach only has a single motor so was challenged a bit on the 1 in 50 on the immediate Dn side of Glenburn station. Below it is seen coasting through the station city-bound with the Goods having surmounted this grade after some slipping.
It was this slipping that got me thinking that I had seen in the Working Timetable some specific instructions for working of suburban motors (as opposed to the Steeple and Box Cab electric locomotives). So I went to my rather small railway library and pulled out the requisite tome:
Before you say it, Yes, I know it is 10 years after my end date however it is the closest I have and is likely quite close to the same for my era, new/obsoleted rolling stock aside. And there was the requisite section:
Note 1. - 8 vehicle maximum including van. ie. This train was 3 wagons over load. So, a stop at the next yard and removal of the first three wagons (including the IG with the cast boiler load which weighs heavy). Here's a hazy shot of that, the 3 wagons stored as "Other" in the yard and will need picking up by the next appropriate goods:
And off we went, with the now correct loading of 8 wagons.
And as the now lightened consist worked around the layout I continued to flick through the rules as I was sure there was something else. Sure enough:
Two motors - 200 tons on this line, I guess one motor 100 tons (motor excluded). Oh, but that's Passenger Trains, so the 125 Ton loading for a 1 in 50 ruling grade still applies. Hmmm, wonder what my loading actually weighs in at? Time to find the requisite pages with both empty and loaded weights for calculation, for example:
So, using this, (and I am still learning how to do this so, corrections welcome if I have this wrong) my train was:
1 11 Ton U van - loaded with fruit from the foothills - 12 Tons
1 tarped "Tommy Bent" I but quite full, let's say it's wood or like under that tarp - 12 Tons
1 tarped I wagon - 11 Tons
1 loaded shandy I - 14.5 Tons
1 loaded "Tommy Bent" I full with coal (not quite sure why that's heading back to Melbourne....) - 14 Tons
1 empty O hopper - 9 Tons
1 empty IZ - 10 Tons
1 Z van - 13 Tons
Total consist weight: 95.5 Tons!

I had to stop before completing the running of this Goods but can now retake it up knowing it is right. Who would have thought? Does it matter? Why wouldn't getting loading right be any different from every other detail of the layout - scenery, rolling stock, signalling etc. etc.? For me, I have much to learn on operating matters and will not be surprised if I find out I have been making all sorts of mistakes for years - these kinds of loading considerations are a long way from being second nature for me, and frankly I need to do some more work to get better acquainted with them.