Friday, July 20, 2012

Double Nickel not so Shiny

I just turned 55. My battle with Rheumatoid Arthritus has been going on longer now than I want to remember. One month just rolls into the next. New issues appear and need to be managed and dealt with.

The latest on the health front? Injections are working, cold weather has me with another chest infection and apparently, according to the latest examination, asthma.

On the modelling front, I am still slowly moving not really making a lot of head way at times, but when I am up to things, I seem to travel ok. This lack of progress only deepens the depression. 10 years now until retirement, I hope, and my home layout is still not started, although my ideas are running along at about full throttle plus 50%. I am still leaning towards a display where my models can lap so that I can sit back and watch. My heart wants to be able to settle to full operational status, signals, lever frames and of course shunting.

My friend James pointed out that unlike our American cousins, shunting really is and was fairly minor in New Sout Wales. An operating session on his layout some time ago required that as a driver, I had to wait at the Home Stick to get SM's permission to enter the yard. Once there, one or two cars were picked up and the train, again after being granted permission, was able to movefrom the yard to the next location, a fiddle yard.

Whilst this was challenging, interesting and totally different to anything I had done before, I wonder just how interesting it would be while operating alone. A tail chaser, would allow me to sit back and simply watch. I could shunt a wagon when I feel like it and share the layout with non railway friends. Even on Stockinbingal when the local Club was exhibiting, shunting was limited to pushing a few cars down beside the Silo.

A recent visit home reminded me what trains represented when I was a small child. Shunting occurred at Griffith mostly at night. A 30T, later X200, 48 and 44 would boss around the various cars for the fresh produce train to markets and then of course the general freight which left much later. I would expect this would have been more a case of swap the Gaurd's Van end to end then push the lot into the relevant siding. Thing is, their banging and clunking would often wake me in the wee small hours. Most intolerable to a young fellow more interested in slumber, sport and eventually girls. I am only now beginning to understand this aspect of operations.

The point is, James is probably very right. Shunting on the NSWGR can be accurately portrayed by turning a train at a terminus and setting it in an appropriate siding. We have very few online customers. Depending on the location modelled, you may have a fuel depot or dairy, silos of course, but little else. The search goes on.

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