Sunday, December 8, 2019

Free Train Ride

This week, we visited Peter D’s for our Tuesday Night meeting.  We had some Christmas cheer on display.  It was a good meeting with about 10 of us present having a very good chinwag.We even say Happy Birthday to Kerry.

On Monday PK and myself rode the rails around the Brisbane Suburban network for free.  I met PK on the Gold Coast Train at Altandi before travelling all the way to Varsity Lakes.  
Just before my train came through this train came through heading to Kuraby, where it was getting ready to provide another inbound service.

Our train was right behind.

On the way back from Varsity Lakes, this train was got very crowded, as it made its way inbound.  This must be the first train in the off-peak (when fares apply), thus meaning why it gets heavily patronised.  We caught that train to Roma Street, before we changes platforms and waited about 4 minutes for our Ipswich train to arrive.  We went all the way to Ipswich and then made a quick tour of a rather derelict shopping district and mall.  There is some work underway and everything looked closed.  We then caught the train out to Rosewood, and then caught it back again before we switched platforms at Ipswich to catch the next train back to Darra station.  At Darra, we changed platforms and waited for the Springfield Central train and a quick walk to the Orion Shopping Centre and a lunch break.  

When we were at Rosewood Station, we could see a coal train about a kilometre down the line waiting for us to get going, so it could follow us towards the city and branch off at Corinda and head to the Port of Brisbane.  When we stopped at Ipswich, we could see the track through platform 4 had been set up for the coal train, and it again was to follow us towards the city.  When we detrained at Darra, we could see that the coal train was to travel through the platform our Springfield Central train was to also travel through.  I understand that the coal train usually switches track just short of Darra and runs wrong road through platform 1 for about 600m before it gets onto the unwired freight road from there to Corinda.  So as we could hear the coalie heading our way, we were told by an announcement to head over to platform 2 to catch the Springfield train.  It was going to run wrong road through platform 2, and also all the way to Richlands station.  This movement also delayed the outbound Springfield Station which was waiting for our train to get off his track.  So that was interesting.  I had no idea how far it was from Darra to Springfield Central.  It does take quite a while to get there, and the train is hooting along, as we were easily passing traffic on the highway next to us.
The coalie coming through Platform 1 at Darra, as we started changing tracks.

The second loco on the coalie.

On our way back to Brisbane, PK and I decided to get off at Central and we just went up stairs and then had a couple of beers in the WhistleStop Bar while watching the cricket, before heading our separate ways home.  I was lucky enough to observe when I made my way to the platform that there was a Gold Coast train 2 minutes after the Beenleigh train.  I thought I might take that train, as I expected that my train would overtake the Beenleigh train before Yeerongpilly.  Well it did and I was at Altandi in no time.  I then walked to the bus stop and in less than 1 minute my bus rocked up.  We had great timings and on-time running all day.

So yesterday and today, I was full steam ahead adding ribbing and bracing to 4 HJS wagons, while I watched the women's BBL semi finals and final.  After adding the bracing, this was followed by the underfloor bracing, couplers and bogies.  Yesterday I found out that Aurora Trains sells Southern Models bogies.  So I think I will be buying a few more there in the future, as I scratch build some more wagons.  Today I finished by giving the last 4 wagons a coat of grey paint.  I will be cutting out some tarps for these wagons during the week and super glueing the cotton ropes on.

I still have not done any work on the timetable testing.  So with me being on holidays this week, I will definitely be doing that.  This afternoon I found the plans for a number of other open wagons that Arthur Hayes gave me, so I can also start making a list of styrene required this week and maybe commence making a couple of them also this week and next weekend.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The First Three HJS Wagons Are Now Complete


This weekend I was intent on continuing work on my scratch built HJS’s (not FJS’s I spoke about a couple of weeks back in my blog).  What is a couple of letters difference between friends?  So yesterday morning I cleaned the kitchen table of newspapers and junk mail, and brought out my portable modelling bench/cutting mat.  I eventually sat down at about midday and then worked out that I actually needed some 0.020” x 0.030” styrene to help make the ribs in the side of the HJS wagons.  Well you guessed it.  I did not have any.  I had 0.020” x 0.020” and 0.020” x 0.040” styrene, but not the size in between.  So I jumped in the car and made it to Aurora Trains before they shut at 1:00pm.  I then added the side ribs on one wagon, before I needed to add the metal ‘X’ pressing in the sides and ends of the wagons.  For this I figured that I needed some 0.010” x 0.020” styrene strip.  I did not have any on my portable work bench in the house.  I thought I better check the shed in my styrene pile, before I jumped back in the car and went to Simon Says Hobbies and Games to get a packet of 0.010" x 0.020" styrene, when I found a packet in the shed.  So I added these X’s to both sides and both ends of the first wagon.  The next task is to determine will I add some door braces, or even the underframe bracing to the wagon.  

On Sunday morning, I added some 0.020" x 0.020" styrene as posts and then used some 0.010" x 0.020" styrene from the underframe bracing.  The first wagon ended up looking quite reasonable.  So I then followed the same process for two more wagons.  I even had time to go down to the shed and break out the spray can.  I gave the first two wagons a coating of what supposedly is a QR look alike colour.  I then gave the third wagon a different shade of grey paint.   It was then that I read the colour on the top of the can.  It was silver, and that did not look too good.  I will spray over it, with a grey next weekend.

I'm on holidays tomorrow to enjoy a free trip around the Brisbane suburban system curtesy of the Queensland Government.  We will see how many kilometres that PK and I can tally up.

I'm also on holidays for a couple of weeks from Friday after a Christmas party at work.  So Saturday will entail another trip to the hobby shops to pick up some more 0.010" x 0.020" styrene which I have almost used up just this morning on the first three HJS wagons, and then another can of grey paint for the next 4 wagons that I will complete over the next weekend.  

Time is running out for me to spend some time desk checking the 12mm timetable prior to a December operating session.  I guess I will have to send out those invites pretty soon as well, in order to get a crew locked and loaded.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Technical Consultant

Tuesday this week we visited my mate Dave’s place for our fortnightly get together.  He had an issue on his layout, where the throttles on his NCE Power-Pro system were not firing up.  I knew what that was.  He had to take his command station apart and try reseating his mother board.  The first time, I felt the top board sink into the bottom board, but it still did not solve the issue.   So I did it again, I slightly lifted the top board and then pushed it home again and this time the system came good after the next power on.  Later we heard that Dave’s command station might have had a fall from a 12-18 inch high shelf onto the baseboard below.  I should publish my consultancy rates:-

  • Me fixing your problem $20
  • Me fixing your problem with you watching $50
  • Me fixing your problem with you helping $100
This weekend, I have spent most of the time sitting in front of the TV watching the cricket.  This afternoon I did that at a family get together in front of someone else's TV and having a few ales at a family get together.  So not much was accomplished train wise this weekend, except that I painted up about 8 teabag tarpaulins yesterday.  These just need to be cut up and rolled up into individual tarps.  I also got around to a task that has taken well over 10 years to do.  I mounted some picture frames on one of the A-frames in the shed ceiling.  These included some nice A4 water colours of NSW railways, and the first two of my NMRA achievement certificates.  So these were mounted yesterday.  On Tuesday night, Arthur, our NMRA Achievement Program representative for Div 1., handed out my first two awards at our Tuesday Nighters meeting, as I did not get to the NMRA meeting the previous weekend as I had some family activities to attend to.  Normally there are quite a few NMRA members at our regular Tuesday night get together, but there were not many there on this Tuesday.

So this was a bit of a thrill.   That just reminds me I need to pull my finger out and complete the paperwork for the next three of the awards that I wish to apply for over the Christmas period. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Progress Being Made


Early in the week, I think it was Monday afternoon, I went down to the shed and completed the install of the small baseboard extension I was making to the Clapham Yard baseboard to allow a small siding to be added.  This baseboard extension was screwed onto the existing baseboard, and allowed me to install the new set of points towards the end of Siding 7 in Clapham Yard, followed by the laying of the now two tracks at the end of Track 7.  Each of these two sidings is now capable of holding two narrow gauge wagons.  I bent up a paper clip into an omega loop and connected the set of points to an old DPDT switch.  I drilled a whole through the switch actuator itself, and threaded the paper clip though the hole and through the hole in the point throw bar.  It works like a charm.  I am thinking that I will not power the trackage after the points.  This will make shunting these sidings after the points all that more interesting for an operator, as the loco will not be able to drive through them.  The operator will have to keep a match wagon or two available to reach a wagon beyond the points.  I may not tell the operators of this requirement either. Hehehehe!

On Wednesday I went to Aurora Trains to pick up a can of some spray paint.  I also picked up 4 cans of cheap paint from supercheap as they had their 4 cans for $10 special running.  I was wanting to pick up some Silver paint and also picked up three other coloured cans.  Upon returning home, I found out that I already had a can of silver, what I actually needed was a can of Grey Primer.  You guessed it, that colour was not one of the three other cans I picked up.  I had been delaying painting some 3D printed water tanks for a couple of weeks, because I thought I did not have any silver paint available, when I had it all along.  What a dork!

On Thursday, I got around to doing the painting.  I painted 6 water tanks that Greg had 3D printed for me a few weeks back.  These tanks in various sizes look damn good.  I then turned my attention to 42 x 44 gallon drums.  I painted 18 drums silver, 18 drums red and the last 6 drums which I did not fit lids to were also painted silver.

I eventually started work on assembling some scratch built QR FJS wagons.  I had previously cut out the sides for 7 wagons.  But upon further investigation, I had made them all too high.  Well it was only in one direction that they were oversize I suppose.   So I finally gained some enthusiasm and went to the shed and fixed up the height issue on all the sides for all 7 wagons.  I made up the initial 7 boxes for the open wagon shapes and also made the bases for all of them before I called it quits.  

Later on in the afternoon, I rounded up three sets of 12mm bogies and made some bolsters for all 7 wagons and glued them on the wagons.  I drilled holes for the bogie screws and added bogies to three wagons.  I might have to go looking for some cheap 12mm bogies.  I used rubber bands to temporarily attach KD coupler boxes and took them down to the shed and tested the first wagon against my height gauge.  All perfect.

Next task was to attach some KDs.  I chose to use the KD #5 inside a box and added them to the wagons.  On first look, they looked awful.  The KD boxes stand out like a set of  protrusions on a dog.  I now went back to the that web thingy and checked out what MMR Arthur Hayes blog said and studied how he adds KD to his QR wagons.  Hmmm.  Arthur uses scale couplers and not no. 5’s.  He also sort of attaches the couplers directly to the wagon.  So I took the KD boxes off the three wagons that I added KD boxes to and then set about directly attaching the KDs via a screw and 3mm piece of tube and a piece of styrene to keep the coupler from jumping off over the screw.  I must say that they look 10 times better.  They are also coupled closer together.  So you can teach an old dog new tricks!  I attached bogies to two more wagons and now I have 5 wagons ready to be detailed with frame webbing from small pieces of styrene and then painted.  I might get around to adding this detail later this week.  I must ask Arthur where he gets his 12mm bogies from, as I will need a few to finish off the last couple of FJS wagons, let along all the other scratch built ones I will do, following the plans that Arthur gave me of the various variations to some standard QR open wagons.  I just need to remember where I put those wagon plans for safe keeping.  Hopefully they will turn up.

Today I could not get motivated to add any of the wagon detail.  I did go to the shed and started drawing up a near enough scale plan of the top deck, from Rocklea Siding, Clapham Yard, Loco Pilly and Fisherman Islands.  I have yet to draw in the Dutton Park set of points, and any of the track further north towards Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  I did have a bit of a clean up in the shed today and threw out a lot of paper.  I did find the track plan that I did do for Clapham Yard, Loco Pilly and around to Fisherman Islands and South Brisbane Interstate, but there has been much rebuilding of the tracks in all of these locations, over the various amendments that I did, so I just started again with a new plan.  I will find some time to study the original plan to see how much the final layout varied from the initial plans.

Unfortunately I’m back at work on Monday, but my daughter is now home for about 3 months as she finished school on Friday.  Her next task is to attend University next year.  I had last week off work so I could attend all the scheduled activities, breakfasts, suppers, other handover events at her school.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Bit of a Tidy Up


On Tuesday night we visited Arthur's place.  He always has new scratch built wagons to show off.  It almost makes me depressed, when I can’t get the motivation to re-cut up some styrene that was cut too large so I can then put my own versions of some 12mm scratch built wagons together.  he is a human production line when it comes to modelling.  It was a great night, catching up with everyone and finding out what everyone is up to.  We had Geoff showing off a static grass applicator that he picked up the weekend before.  He was ecstatic about it.  So I might have to find a way of getting one myself.  I did see in some local catalogues that Office Works had 6 x 10L containers for $20.  I could not complain about that price.  So on Sunday I went to my local office works and picked up 2 lots of the 6 containers.  The only issue was that the second bundle was lacking lids.  That did not matter.

This afternoon, I put a whole lot of scenicing material into a series of these new containers.  So I have now thrown out some old stuff and have now got about 6 of my storage wooden trays back to put useful items in.  I also started to install the new 12mm siding in Clapham Yard and have just added a small addition to the baseboard.  I might complete that tomorrow as I'm on holidays this week.

Yesterday I was over at the Club and had to help a mate try and get one of his locomotives running.  People spend lots of time trying to use JMRI – Decoder Pro, but if they don’t know how to use it, it is waste of time.  If you don’t know what to look for, you are wasting your time.  Technology won’t solve issues, if you can’t or don't know how to use it.  This also harks back to my mantra, you can not manage what you can not measure.  So I just took his loco to the NCE test track at the Club.  I checked the loco number that he told me it was supposed to be.  I made sure it was set up for the long address.  I then checked CV19 to see if the loco was in a consist.  Well it was!  That will stop it from running on any system that the consist was not made on.  I removed the loco from the consist, by writing 0 to CV19 and guess what – It ran.  Don’t over complicate things.

There a few simple steps to check over a loco when it will not run.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Buying and Selling, Coming Out on the Right Side of the Ledger


I came home from work on the Friday afternoon, and I knew I had some things I needed to complete.  Do you think I could remember what they were?  Eventually I worked out I needed to paint up about 18 pallets in a red colour for a mate ready for a Buy and Sell at the Club on Sunday.  So that was a pretty quick task to accomplish.  A quick spray on one side, followed about 30 minutes later by a quick spray on the other side.  While I was in the spray painting mood, I decided to take out the old Frosted Glass spray can, and I gave a few cattle wagons a spray along the bottom the wagon.  This was followed by a few more wagons as well.  A couple of QR Louvre wagons were similarly treated and a couple of open wagons as well.

On Saturday morning, there was the grand opening of Ground Up Scenery over at Underwood.  This business has acquired the stock of Dave McPhee’s Modeller’s Warehouse.  Anyway I ventured over there yesterday morning and ran into Darren and his boss, and found out that Geoff and his daughter had already visited, purchased and left, and that Barnacle Bob had also been there earlier than me, and had already left.  Well I did spend much more than I had intended, but there were some reasonable bargains.

When I got home, I decided to spray up another 7 tea bags in various colours so I can make another 14 tarpaulins.  I then broke out the Frosted Glass spray can again, and hit the 3 cattle wagons with a second coat, and the hit another 3 cattle wagons, 3 sheep wagons and a few louvre vans, with various coats out of the spray can.  I also packed up everything required for Sunday’s Buy and Sell at the Club.  On Saturday afternoon and evening, I went back to working on scratchbuilding 10 QR open wagons.  I didn't get far.  I assembled an FJS kit and then when I was about to commence my production line to scratch build a pool of 12mm open wagons, I cut one piece of styrene and then packed it in.

Today I hit the road over to the Club.  I got a good spot at the Buy and Sell and sold an absolute motza.  I don't think I had sole this much ever.  I moved some wagons, a signal and then lots of my scratch built items, namely - Stop signs, Give Way signs, tarpaulins, pallets, insinorators, drums, reo-sheets, industrial bins, a generator set, dunnies, clothes lines and bee hives.  They don't call these events Buy and Sell, so I also needed to support some of the other sellers in their attempt at getting some funds back.  I picked up a VR VLCX wagon and a 12mm left hand point.  

When I finally got home, I packed everything away and paid off my debts from the previous day's Mastercard bill, and put even more money back (about a month's budget) into the rather negative Modelling Budget's balance.  I have even banked next weeks modelling budget straight into the Modelling Budget's balance, but never fear I'm still truckloads from getting positive.  The plan is that by the time mid February comes around, the balance might be back to zero.  But of course that assumes that I do not buy anything that has not already been budgeted for.  

I have one more week, before I'm on holidays and I have lots of tasks planned.  This includes, finally getting time to work on the 12mm Timetable, build some 12mm open wagons, and do some work on detailing the area around Baker's Farm, build an overhead travelling crane and then maybe add a new 12mm siding with my new 12mm point I just purchased.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Finishing Off Some Tasks.


I had a couple of days off work this week.  On Tuesday we had to go to my daughter’s school for an assembly and then spent a couple of hours looking at a second hand car for her.  On Friday we had to go to my son’s school and then spent quite a few more hours again looking for a second hand car.  Well we got what we thought was a bargain.  It is better than my wife’s current car.  5 years old and only 53K on the clock.  A better model and bigger engine.  Boy it has some herbs when I took it for a test drive.  The junior boss checked it out on Friday afternoon after school and was pretty happy with the find.  We pick it up on Tuesday.  We'll probably go for a lesson in it on Tuesday night.

Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon, I decided to do a bit of weathering for my blue 80 class loco.  I saw a photo online and decided to try and replicate this weathering with just some frosted glass spray paint sprayed into a medicine cup and then applied to the model with a micro brush and paint brush.  The first side looks very reasonable thus far.  I will return to that in a few weeks and complete the second side.  Yesterday I went to the shed and decided to try and complete a few tasks.  The first one was looking at the wiring for Fisherman Islands Yard for the newly laid narrow gauge crossovers.  Well upon further investigation and test running of the 1720 class loco, it seems that everything has been wired up already.  Or more correctly, I had enough jumpers originally installed and when I put the points in, everything was successfully jumpered.  I then looked at a few pieces of rolling stock sitting on a few sidings.  These were also hit with the frosted glass spray can and they have had the plastic (new) look taken off them.  I call this can - weathering in a can.  It is very similar to dull coat spray cans.

I also added some lead weight to a Bachmann Tamper that I had sitting in a siding at Grafton Yard.  Actually I have two of this train.  One is located in the Old Cassino Contruction Siding and runs well as it already has had extra lead weight added.  So I added weight underneath the other train and it seems to run a bit better.  I think it might need a bit of an oil in the gearbox though.  Before the weight was added, the wheels used to spin and any gradient was a task too hard for the train.  It is now miles better.

Today I went to a local Buy and Sell.  I picked up a quad output point decoder for one of my mates for a steal of a price and dropped it off to him on the way home.  I ran into another mate who wants some of my scratch built styrene pallets next weekend at my Club’s Buy and Sell.  When I returned home I was a few red pallets short.  Like I had none.  I thought I had a few unpainted pallets that I could paint up in red.  But I was wrong.  I had 6 unpainted pallets.  So I purchased a packet of styrene and along with what I already had on hand, I made up another string of 25 pallets.  I will paint about half of them this week when I come home early one day, so they will be ready for sale this coming weekend.  Yesterday I also added the handles to the last 4 of my industrial bins, and painted up 9 sets of lids.  Today I got around to painting 6 bins and then when they were dry added the lids to 9 bins.  I also folded up a dozen tarpaulins this afternoon.  During the week I painted up around 20 tea bag tarpaulins, so I could make up about 40 tarps.  So I have quite a few left to fold up.  Tonight I will put the finishing touches on another 36 or so 44 gallon drums.  They can be painted next week or maybe next weekend.

I have also started looking at my narrow gauge timetable.  My number of wagons has grown since we last had an Operations Session, as well as the number of narrow gauge locos has also grown.  I have also added two extra turn around sidings, converted 5 dead end sidings into run around loops, and added three extra dead end sidings in the narrow gauge world.  So I need to ensure that everything starts off at the correct location, and every wagon is added to a train sometime throughout the session, and at the end of the session, everything ends up back on its original location.  I might also have to add the loading and unloading of a narrow gauge steel train, just like my standard gauge train does.

I am also considering applying for my Dispatcher, Electrical and Civil NMRA certificates.  These will take some time to put all the documentation together.  Maybe I will focus on this over the next month or so and not do too much work around the layout.  I can then continue to start on adding some more detail items around some areas on the layout.  This will be a very big job.  I do have some major model building to carry out, with a travelling crane for the Rocla Sleeper siding to be scratchbuilt, and the main platform station building for Cassino being the two major construction targets for December this year.  Who knows I might even finish them.  I was wondering if I could actually incorporate some sort of movement into the travelling crane, but it might be too difficult.  I have been delaying jumping into the station building.