Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lesson Learned #5263

Not sure I want to openly admit this, but here goes:

I had not run a train since the last Ops session in January. Since then, I added in several Tortoises, some twin coils, ballasted the yard and added in a crossover between the 2 mains.

I had been adding decoders and mu'ing them in the yard for an hour or so and then thought I'd take a train out of the yard. It sputtered a bit as the track had not been cleaned since Jan, so I went ahead of it and cleaned a bit. Then I heard the click of the PM42 for the Danville section, looked back and the train had stopped.

Must be on a switch. Nope. Must have laid something on the track. Nope. But it's been on for 2 hours and now magically has a short? From cleaning track? Panic sets in and I start clipping wires. Still shorting. The more I think about it being on and then suddenly shorting, the worse the panic and frustration gets. I start cutting the track bus until it's down to 20'. (I was planning on subdividing anyway, just not right now.)

I finally turn the lights out and leave thinking tomorrow will be a better day. Next day, I power back on and guess what? still shorting. I'm looking for anything out of place. Something must be laid across the tracks...... then I spot it.

When I put in the crossover, I had to add a linkage to the ground throw because of the Maybelle track to the back. It was a steel wire not in a sleeve and was against the underside of the tracks. Evidently, between painting the rails and glue from the ballast had isolated it enough to run for 2 hours, but when I moved the ground throw to bring the train thru it became the short.

So, here I am a bit grayer, a bit wiser. I thought this was supposed to be fun ??

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