Evaluating the future of the Squamish subdivision.
I have recently begun to consider the future of the layout. There are some problems and it is not as much fun for me. I do not see the vision I set out to create. Here are some things I am thinking about.
Operations:
  • We only have 11 trains on the schedule and yet never run them all. This indicates a problem which may be:
    ---People do not want to run more trains because it is not fun.
    ---I do not invite enough people.
    ---The run is too long
    ---There is not enough action
    ---Too many problems
  • DCC
    ---despite directions posted around the layout people do not use the system correctly.
    ---radio throttles are still sometimes a problem
    ---simplex would not work and was removed.
    ---people do not use duplex correctly but it mostly works
Dispatching:
---Under OCS the dispatcher or Rail Traffic Controller is too busy. During VanRail 2017 he wrote 48 clearances.
---Timetable and Train Order makes this much easier and we have started to implement this but some of the crew do not like it.

Elevation:
---The mainline ranges from 40 inches off the floor to 70 inches. ---Lillooet is too high and makes adding a yardmaster a problem. A platform could be added.
---Some of the recently added spurs are too high.
---The yard at North Vancouver at 40 inches is too low for some.
Climate:
---With people and lights during operating sessions it can get really warm in the train room
---It can also get really cold in the winter.
---there is some unknown insulating problem.
North Vancouver:
---We could use more room for North Van as the isle is crowded and the industries are jammed in where they should not be.
---the hidden loop to the north has derailments sometimes and would be better in the open
---some turnout switch rods come unsoldered.
Squamish:
  • Turnouts
    ---There are about 35 old style Shinohara turnouts that are activated by Lemanco switch motors.
    ---This combination is a problem since the Lemanco shorts as it throws so it cannot be used to switch frog polarity.
    ---The Shinohara turnouts have a metal switch rod so the stock rails are not wired to the closure rails. All current conduct is through the points
    ---These should all be rebuilt to be reliable.
  • Yard design
    ---There is no class yard in Squamish but yardmasters find it handy on the model. Eliminating it would reduce the number of turnouts.
    ---I have looked at redesigning the arrival-departure yard. I could shorten the shops area, lengthen the A-D tracks and add 3.
    ---I would like to make the shops more prototypical which would add a bit of switching.
  • Control
    ---The control panels are old and showing it.
    ---Two panels are confusing. I would like to convert to hand throws on the fascia aligned with the turnouts. Some yardmaster prefer control panels.
  • Complete and final removal of the contact cement is needed.

Locomotives
---Despite the very high price most locomotives do not run well.
---I do not have the skill to tune them and out sourcing has not worked out.
---13 locomotives of 23 run correctly.
---There is no S-13 available for North Vancouver.
Track
---Most roadbed and track is old. Some goes back 40 years.
---Most mainline track is spline and spacerblock. I now believe this roadbed is not sturdy enough and the track moves a little.
---Years ago I did not pay enough attention to keeping track level side to side and straight on.

The future of the Squamish sub