Railcar reallocations and a new timetable

I’ve discovered why the donor mechanism used for freight motor #9 had been consigned to the spares box. The gears slip intermittently when travelling in the forward direction. If it were the other way it wouldn’t matter because the railcar only runs in reverse when shunting.

Anyway #9 has been dispatched to Cuarto Sheds to await attention or replacement of the mechanism and I’ve been working out a suitable Monday to Saturday roster for the other railcars.

Pending #9’s return, Porter #5 has been allocated to the tourist trains but the steam loco is too slow so the round trip only operates between Centrales and San Fernandez, departing after the freight train from SF has arrived, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The return working runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving at Centrales mid-afternoon.

Railcar #44 provides a local service between Centrales and Grande.

Freight motor #20 has been fitted with a knuckle coupler on the rear, allowing a coach to be attached for a daily round trip from Centrales to Cuarto de Pulgada and back. #20 is too long to fit on the turntable at CdP with the coach attached so it needs to be treated as a loco hauled train and run round instead of being turned as a unit.

Railcar #21 (above) works a round trip between San Fernandez and Grande each day and #27 (below, with van) does the honours between Cuarto de Pulgada and Grande.

That’s the railcar rosters sorted, at least until #9 returns to traffic, the next job is re-timetabling the loco hauled trains to fit in with the extended journeys since Grande was added to the layout.

It will need fine tuning but the basic pattern will be #42 (above, at Grande) on the mail and passenger train between Grande and Cuarto de Pulgada, #7 (below, approaching Centrales) with a mixed passenger, mail and freight train between San Fernandez and Grande.

#2 will haul freight trains from San Fernandez to Centrales on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, continuing from Centrales to Cuarto de Pulgada in the late afternoon (shown below at Resurreccion).

The freight will return the following day from CdP to Centrales as the first train in the morning, continuing to San Fernandez after lunch. The freight train operating days slot in with those of the tourist train as mentioned earlier.

Freight trains between Grande and Centrales will run as extras when required, using #8 (above, on shed at Grande) or any other available loco.

This will result in a daily service of two local trains and one express on the upper line, the lower line has one express and one local each day. The through freight train makes a round trip spread over two days, overnighting alternately at SF and CdP, and the tourist train runs in each direction on the lower line every other day.

Despite its Marxist government, and like many other Latin American countries, Sierra Oculta has a devoutly religious population. There is only a very limited Sunday service with railcars #27 and #21 each making a round trip from their respective home stations to Grande and back.

Of course, a railway system like the FCPyF would have a lot more trains than are run on the layout. Mail, passengers and express freight are amply catered for by the trains modelled but there should be a lot more heavy freight to make the railway profitable. However, these trains would not be seen at the termini, nor would they call at small lineside stations, being dealt with in large out-of-town yards instead. Hence they are of little interest to us and can be conveniently ignored.

There’s a lot more to operating a layout than just playing trains!

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About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food. Divorced, three kids, one dog.
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