I’ve asked my crews to drop a flag every time that a car or engine derails that’s not obviously the crew’s fault (e.g., running through a switch isn’t interesting). Ideally, they’ll put a note on the flag with the car number and any other relevant information (direction of travel, orientation of car, etc). I provide several different colors of sticky notes (hey, 3M is local, so I use actual Post-it® Notes), and give each crew member a pad.
The switch into Ghirardelli was a notable problem, with about a dozen notes at the end of two sessions. Really, I think every move over the switch didn’t work, as long as the switch was reversed. Normal wasn’t too bad. Definitely trouble with the switch, because the cars listed varied a lot.
It didn’t take too long of careful investigation to determine that the guardrails were missing on that particular switch. Now some people will claim that a switch shouldn’t need the guard rails, and that problems with their absence is a sign of a poor switch. I’m not one of those people. Nothing else about the switch was out of tolerances (handy dandy NMRA gauge to the rescue). Shortly, two new guard rails had been installed and testing proceeded to show happiness.
The third session was held after that repair job, and I’m happy to report that *NO* flags were thrown there at all during the course of the session. And, yes, that track did get used, so I know that there was movement there.
During this last session, few flags were thrown, and they varied more in location. I think each was at a place where at least one other flag has been thrown, and some were the same car at that particular spot. There are a couple of cars that I am still running with crappy wheels. If I can get them to work properly, I think everything else should be fine.
That’s the third op session now. 97 to go before I have to make T-shirts.