Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hello, old friend.

On November 14th I took the British Oak/ Crigglestone Screens layout to the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud MN. It was two years since the layout had last been there, and when I pulled the layout out of storage I was pleasantly surprised with the condition that it was in. I touched up a few pieces here and there, but for the most part everything was fine. The only real issue, as it was last time was bits of the "coal" bouncing out of the hoppers and onto the track causing derailments. I added some side curtains to the hopper chute in the hope that this would cut that down. It did. But not as much as I'd hoped. There must be another way around this. It might mean a total reconstruction of the loading facility. The structure was going to be rebuilt anyway. We'll have to see. 
Still, it was very reassuring to have the layout operate nigh on perfectly for the length of the show. It does vindicate my decision to build the APA box layout.

There was something that happened that made this day a very special one indeed.
I was operating the layout and a young kid said to me.
"Do you mind if I ask you an unusual question?"
"Sure" I think...
"Do you recognize me?"
"No." Should I? I wondered.
"Remember the Princeton Train Show in 2009?"
I wasn't quite sure where he was going with this.
"I'm Jeremiah."
It clicked. I remembered Jeremiah. He had paid a lot of attention to my Wingett's recycling layout back then. He was cognizant of what was going on with the operations. I think I even let him operate the trains. I even blogged about it back then.
I was so pleased to meet him again. He proudly showed me pictures of a project he was working on. Using a caboose as a basis for a snowplow. I was very touched that this boy had remembered everything from back then and I like to think I'd done something to inspire him to carry on in the hobby.


  1. Hi Ian,
    It's been some time since we discussed mushroom farms and similar on Gnatterbox. I found this topic by accident from a richochet from another two forums.

    Some suggestions from afar to help cut down on the coal ricochet problem. I'm not sure if any of them is practicable, it depends on how you have built things inside your loader.
    Suggestion 1 - reduce the height of fall into your wagons by loading the coal as low as you can, perhaps by increasing the size of the hole that you load from to get your loading height as close as you can to the bin opening
    Suggestion 2 - comes into its own if Suggestion 1 can't be done - fit your bins with internal baffles so that the coal has to bounce and slide off one or two of these internal bin baffle plates before it drops into the wagon. The aim of the game here is to avoid a straight vertical drop into your wagons. In scientific terms, the potential energy of the drop is reduced by the coal bouncing around inside the bin, so that it hits the bottom of your wagons with less energy, thus reducing the chances of having a ricochet with enough energy for a lump of coal to bounce out of the wagon.

    Suggestion 2- Comes from 1:1 scale experience when loading coke wagons many years ago and is a modification to your bin skirts. I recommended this recently on another forum and yes it works. Replace your bin skirts with a curtains of fine chain. Make the length of each of the chains long enough so that they are lower than your wagon sides by a couple of links. When you spot your wagon under the bin, the chains will drag over the top edge of your wagon and will hang inside your wagon. As the load inside the wagon builds the chains will splay out and capture the coal as it is loaded. When you pull away some coal may tangle in the chain but it will be dropped inside the wagon at the trailing edge as the wagon is pulled away.

    I hope that this might get your coal loading problems sorted,
    John Garaty
    Unanderra in Oz

  2. Absolutely fantastic posting! Lots of useful information and inspiration, both of which we all need!Relay appreciate your work.