Comstock Road’s First “Operating Session”


To paraphrase the old saying, “It ain’t much but it’s a railroad”. Last night, I took some time to blow off steam and drive the loco up and down as one does. I then decided to see if I could actual “run” the layout. I set out all three functional cars (the fourth dropped a coupler pocket cover which I carefully set aside somewhere…) in the pictured arrangement. I then made the moves necessary to pick up the two spotted cars and set out the other where the reefer is in the near foreground. (Why is there wooden ice cooled reefer in the early 1970’s? Because it has wheels and couplers and will have to do for now)

It took me about 20 pleasant minutes of trundling up and down to the pleasant burble of the ESU simulated EMD 367B prime mover to accomplish all the moves and get the “train” back on the transfer table. I was surprised at how smoothly things went for a first go. Not perfect but I was not reduced to pushing things by hand and making choo-choo noises. The issue list looks something like:

  • The track power on/off switch on the ESU hand held controller is a bit too easy to hit by accident.
  • The Atlas O couplers on the loco are too stiff and too hard to get to let go of the Kadees on the cars and also somewhat low.
  • A couple of minor loco stalls in no particular place.
  • Freely sliding transfer table can freely slide when you don’t want it too. The only derailment of the session was definitely “operator error”.
  • More cars to switch would be nice.
  • Lack of end stops and scenery in places makes for a less relaxing experience because the consequences of a derailment/overshoot are dire.

None of the above can’t be overcome and my initial results provide me with incentive to get more work done. I find viewing various tasks as improvements in future operating sessions to be a useful motivation tool. 

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