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Mothers Lesson

Mothers Lesson

It started fairly innocently. The better half said she needed half an hour in the kitchen before we went out to see a movie. Wonderful I thought, just enough time to reset the layout back to its starting position and tune a few couplers.

As per normal I started the system up and sent one train on its way. What I hadn’t noticed was that the hinged drop away across the door, to the over scale outside world, had not been put in place after a day working in the garden, completely my responsibility as I was the only one going through the door that day.

As I looked to admire VR B-65 and its series of spirit cars and newly built guards van I realised my mistake all too late. Only 12 months ago I upgraded my system to DCC giving me two options to stop the system, a single transformer or an emergency stop switch on the main controller, not to mention the power point right next to where I was standing.

10cm before a 5 foot drop I made my move, two steps then I could reach the loco and lift it before it fell to the concrete floor. Unfortunately I didn’t make the two steps. As I took off, my foot caught on a power cable I had left on the floor, tripping me. Thinking of the potential damage to both the loco and what ever was on the other end of the power cable I stopped moving both of my feet and reached for the loco.

There are moments in life where you see everything in perfect clarity, this wasn’t one of those, there was however a flash of realisation, which told me that there was no hope of reaching the loco from here and that self-preservation was now the priority. Too late I made a twist of the wrist designed to land my hand against the door, and missed.

At this point I will save you the details other than to say that after a 15 minute trip to the hospital and 5 hours in the emergency ward, my dearest took me home licking my wounds, minor bruising and one broken wrist, neatly plastered.

The trip home was spent discussing the amount of damage possibly done to the loco, its carriages and the newly assembled and painted CW guards van. To both my joy and strange disappointment I found the loco on the edge of the drop off. Clearly I had never got around to putting the extra pick-ups on the rear of the loco. As it moved half off the edge it dutifully stopped without falling.

Lessons Learnt
If you have a lift out section make sure you install a dead section of track on both sides prior to it and put a switch on it to turn the track off when the track is out. Preferably a micro switch triggered automatically when the track is in place. (I’ll write an article as I construct the solution)

Always be aware of your emergency stop options. Even shorting the track would have done the job, if only I’d thought of it.

A loco is only a loco, they can be repaired or replaced. Broken limbs can’t be fixed with glue and you can’t buy new ones yet.

Final lesson is to listen to your mother, mine always said “don’t leave those cables across the floor, you might trip on them one day.”

Post Script. Special thanks to my dearest who is still assisting me with my household duties. Four weeks left before I can do anything on the layout other than running. Who would have thought of Model Railways as an extreme sport?