A little bit of invisible progress...
As I mentioned previously, in December I accompanied my good friend Chuck from NJ to inspect the new house that he's building in Tennessee. To shorten the trip a little, he stopped over here in VA and took some photos of the layout. We moved a train or 2, but no ops at that time. I didn't realize it, but he took a slew of photos and was kind enough to put them in a package for sharing mostly with our old OPSROC group; you can tell by the captions that it's oriented for those who previously operated on the layout. It gives a great overview of the layout from end-to-end! Thanks Chuck, and good luck with the rebuilding of the KW&N Rwy. Above is a sample of the package; look on the new "Periodic Updates" subpage under the "The Layout" main page for the whole document.
My progress is mostly invisible right now, although I have posted some docs in the Operations section of this website. I spent a tremendous amount of time refining the "Op Plan" which includes train descriptions, the master schedule, and a stringline chart to graphically show how it all works. It is now "published" as Rev 1. It is essentially the same as the one used for successful operations on the old layout. It has been modified to reflect the new geography (sequence, distance, names, industries) and the stringline chart finally reflects the correct orientation of time along the x-axis and distance on the y-axis. No additional trains have yet been added to take advantage of the new interchange/trackage rights opportunities or the additional staging tracks available. That will take some more equipment to be commissioned and some further schedule modifications or session lengthening. Let's get back up and running before we do any expansion!
I ran a few trains to check the assumptions. That gave mixed results: the schedule is fairly accurate, but there are layout bugs (surprise, surprise!). The passenger schedule works well. There were only a few track-related problems on the passenger route(s) that were easily fixed. I didn't get to run the first freight until well into the heating season. What a shock (both figuratively and literally) to move from coastal NJ to the piedmont of VA! A mile from the beach with a wall-mounted gas-fired space heater kept the basement moist enough all year 'round that there really never was an issue there; in fact a dehumidifier was essential in the summer months. The humidity in the house here settled down to a desert-like atmosphere and apparently some of the newer benchwork and trackwork contracted. There was buckled rail wherever the glue wasn't applied quite sufficiently, especially near switch points. Anyway, that freight run uncovered a page full of issues that have been addressed. It also convinced me that a whole-house humidifier will be essential for health, comfort, and reliable railroad operation.
So yesterday, the humidifier came online, added to the main HVAC system. The house was very dry and it's not very small, so it's taking a while, but I have seen an increase in 5 percentage points overnight.
So on to more testing and re-commissioning the rolling stock and locos. I will also be working on the waybills, as they all need revision now--train names have changed and many of the industries have been renamed and all have had their "CLIC" numbers changed to reflect the new geography.
I'm on the county's list for vaccine...can't wait to host some test sessions soon enough!