Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Trip to End All Trips

Well what a week so far.  The week started on Thursday morning when PK and Kevvie rocked up at sparrows.  Kevvie came down the back a for a quick 10 minute visit to the shed.  We then hit the road and went down to Darren’s.  Again we went down to Darren's Shed for an introduction for Kevvie to Darren’s layout.  Not 10 minutes later the adventure started.  We hit the road proper and went down south via the Lions Road. 

We were about to drive under a bridge down near the Qld/NSW Border, and we came across a crew replacing Bridge transoms. So a few photos later we were back on the road south.  Next stop was Casino.  There was a road/rail vehicle running through the platform and up towards the bridge over the Richmond River.  It was just out of view, so we went back to the car and were about to head back off, and you would never had guessed it, just as we backed out, the road/rail vehicle ran back through the platform.  So no close up photo.

Next stop on the tour was Grafton.  We ran into the Sugar Shunt and took some great photos.  Next stop was Coffs Harbour.  We worked out the northbound XPT was coming through, so we decided to head down to Boambee Creek and ended up with some more great photos.

We ended the day at Port Macquarie.  The next day we drove to Taree and after a couple of minutes, we met the southbound steelie running through the loop.  A few minutes later, a northbound cement and sugar train came through on the main.  Some more great shots were captured.  Next stop was Martins Creek Station.  Ten minutes after arrival, we met a northbound Newcastle set.  We went over and got some photos of the ballast loading facilities.  Our next stop was Patterson.  We took a few shots of the railmotors and infrastructure and then, you guessed it, we met a train again.  It was this mornings Steelie again.  It was followed by a southbound Newcastle set that we passed earlier at Martins Creek, and then a southbound XPT came through as we had a counter lunch at the local pub.

Again, another stop.  This time at Telarah.  A railcar set arrived just as we did and departed almost immediately.  We then headed to High Street Station.  Within minutes, we ran into three railcars, three loaded coalies; PacNat, Aurizon and a Fetchers train (I think).  We also saw a northbound SCT freighter and then a northbound XPT.  More great viewing.

Our viewing day ended at Hornsby Station, watching the start of peak hour before heading to our hotel.  The next day was a day organised by Marcus where we visited 6 people’s layouts, and one Club Facility.  What a great day.

The reason for the whole trip was the next day.  It was the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention on Saturday held at Loftus TAFE.  An early start ensued and after a day of spending time learning in lectures and also giving my presentation three times - (no mention of money's changing hands here between myself and various model railway businesses).  We ended up at the home of a very prominent model train person for a layout visit and enjoying a run.

Today we headed south.  Actually we headed north to go south (Sydney’s roads are very strange) and again visited 4 more layouts and 2 Club facilities.  Another great day!  While we are all now starting our way home, I will eventually share some of our photos later on during this week and next week.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition

This weekend was spent at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition, at the RNA showgrounds in Brisbane.  What a great weekend.  On Saturday Geoff helped me on the Structure Building Stand.  While today Jim Hutchinson was my partner.  Geoff was making trees and was mesmerising the public with what he was producing.  They are truly masterpieces.  You’ve got to see his layout close up with these trees on it.  It is a work of art.  Today Jim Hutchinson was showing off his architectural masterpieces.  Again the public was once again astounded by the quality of the modelling work being presented.

I started the weekend making some water stand pipes for my layout.  I was asked by Phil Overton from the layout next to me to make a clothesline for him, which I did happily.  While I was making two (it is never any good only making one model at a time), quite a few people from nearby stands came along and suggested that they would also enjoy a clothesline or two and that then turned into 9 more that miniature models being requested.  Yesterday I finished the day by making an O scale model.  I was all washed out by the end of Saturday.

Today PK, advised he wanted some N scale models for the N scale exhibition layout which was on the other side of me at the show.  Hmmm!  I was non committal, as I needed to ensure that I could get the clothesline to rotate and I also wanted to ensure I had the correct sized styrene available.  Well, I did not tell him, but I started making two N scale model clotheslines.  That turned into three, but the third was an absolute PITA.  everything seemed to go wrong with it.  Eventually it was completed and it too worked.

So I called PK over and advised him that he had to install it. A suitable house on the front of the N scale layout was selected and the clothes line installed.  Job done!  It just needs to be painted.

I did go onto to complete another N scale and HO scale clothesline before I stopped working on that line of business.  But not before another member of the public came along and wanted to take another one off my hands.

I then turned my attention to completing the 4 water stand pipes that I started the day before.  Before I left for the Exhibition this morning, I went down to the shed to pick up a few plastic sprews I had laying around, with nice round ends.  These were used to help complete the water pipes.  The nice 90 degree ends were cut off and glued to my pipe work, as they were the exact size I needed, and formed a nice curve which I could not get the styrene rod or tube to form.  The resultant water stand pipes ended up looking quite good.  At least I was impressed.  But the number completed multiplied to 6.  So six would allow me to install some in Glenapp Loop, Rappville Loop, and Fairy Hill Loop.  I think I would also need some for Kyogle, Border Loop and some more in Cassino, especially the loco area.  That is even before I consider the Murwillumbah branch.  Just when I thought I was also finished building water stand pipes.  Later this arvo I added the water inlet value and pipe work to the water stand pipes.  I think this was the piece de resistance.  

So today I made my way around the exhibition and made a purchase of 12mm track, some styrene and a couple of Uneek kits.  I also took home a bucket full of Matt's ballast.  I also picked by a 3 pack of 12mm tautliners courtesy of my sometimes morning bus driver John who was rationalising.  I spent plenty!  The track will allow me to complete Clapham Yard (narrow gauge section), and install the last narrow gauge siding in Acacia Ridge Yard.  It looks like that the last thing I need to do is pick up about a half dozen more 12mm points to be used to facilitate run-arounds in some long sidings in Acacia Ridge Yard and Fisherman Islands Yard.  That should complete the total track work on the layout.  It is likely that this still could be up to 12 months away from occurring - but could also occur in November at the upcoming Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention at which I am presenting a session at.  So if it is November, that will be 13 years of track laying.  The new 12mm wagons, have caused me to just doubled my 12mm fleet of rollingstock.  If I continue to add to the 12mm side, in about 3 or 4 years time, I might be in a position to hold, a dedicated 12mm operating session, as part of my timetable.

Speaking of conventions, this Thursday sees two car loads of people from Brisbane heading off on a big road trip to Loftus for this coming weekend's Modelling the Railways of NSW convention.  I happen to be also presenting a session at this convention as well, along with Dave Lowe the other driver.  I just hope at least one person shows up to my session.  I also hope that if it is only one person attending - I hope it is not PK!  I couldn't put up with him being that person!  Hehe - couldn't resist.

It also appears that Marcus has arranged some great visits to a few model railway layouts on the Friday and Sunday for the guys from north of the border - from Brisbane and the flyboys from Toowoomba.  What a great guy.  I hope I can still put a blog post together next Sunday!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Putting up Some Walls

On Friday this week, after finishing early, I made my way over to a plastics place at Archerfield.  I was looking at pieces of acrylic and polycarbonate to be used as walls on either side of some of my high track sections, to prevent disaster if a loco of carriage comes of the track and plummets to the ground below.  The  guy at the outlet was very helpful.  He gave me two small offcuts so I could experiment with cutting and drilling.  A full 2440 mm x 1220mm is not cheap - $150 to $160.

The first piece of polycarbonate I tried was 42cm x 20cm.  I marked out the first strip of 6cm.  I tried scoring the strip with my snap off blade knife.  It was taking quite some time to make my way though the substance.  So I thought, let’s get the Dremel out with the cut off blade and see if I can just follow the line and cut off the strip.  It seemed like the blade was melting the substance and it was resetting when the blade went past.  Anyway the molten flow was cleaned off the strip and then I drilled three mounting holes in the product with my standard drill.  First a small hole, then a larger one.  This was attached to the layout baseboard.  The strip was mounted on the raised track section between Dutton Park and Park Road Siding on the back side. 

So after installation I resumed trying to score the next strip off the remaining polycarbonate product.  This time after about 20 passes of the knife, I wanted to try and see if it would score and snap.  I started bending at one end, and I head a snap, so I worked my way down the strip, bending some more.  Eventually the whole strip was separated.  I then divided the remaining sheet in half, scored it a few times and again snapped it in two.  These strips were drilled and added to the same section of track making my way towards Park Road Siding.

After reflecting upon the work that was occurring, there was a section of track just as the trains get to the set of points at Dutton Park, that splits the traffic towards either Park Road or Fisherman Islands.  For trains heading towards Park Road, there is a bit of a swing to the right, before branching off to the left – a reverse curve as you will.  This piece of track is slightly exposed with no barrier in case of derailment.  So I found a piece of old Ssyrene type material, that was originally part of a venetian blind.  I was given this many years ago.  It fitted perfectly, so it was attached to the outside of the track.

The other piece of clear material that I picked up from the plastics shop, was a piece of acrylic, 50cm x 16cm in size.  It was marked off into three strips.  The first strip was then scribed many times, and I think this is a softer material than the polycarbonate, but I think it is less flexible and more brittle.  I was trying to use the same method as before, a few scribes, and then trying to snap off the strip.  As this was occurring, the first strip broke into two pieces.  Whoops.  So half was added at the end of the other 4 polycarbonate strips, and now the track coming around the main line from South Brisbane Interstate station passing the Park Road Sidings towards Dutton Park, is protected in case a train wants to not take this large curve.  The other half of this strip, was added on the inside of the Park Road Siding at a place between where a top of baseboard mounted point motor sits and where the existing timber laminated edging right next to the Park Road Good Shed sits.  Perfect fit.

So I went back to the remaining Acrylic sheet, and started scoring some more, to separate the last two strips.  This time, I ensured the score was quite a way through before I attempted snapping again.  These ones did split near enough to down the middle.  I started at one end, and tried to snap, and once I made the original break, I continued bit by bit, along the score mark, until the whole strip had come apart. 

Getting back to the track the splits at Dutton Park and this time the one that heads towards Fisherman’s Islands, there is big curve here.  So I fixed the two strips of acrylic to the outside of this curve.  So after this small piece of work, I am much more confident that the trains running on the exposed sections of track high up on my layout, will not be damaged should there be a derailment on these sections of track.  Any wayward rollingstock should just hit the new clear walls and remain on the track.

What started this journey was when I was over at the Club a couple of weeks ago, I was given a couple of small offcuts, some from the rubbish bin, of some polycarbonate used at the club around the layout edges.  I had previously affixed small offcuts to the inside face of the Dutton Park to Park Road raised section of track.
The raised section of track from Dutton park in the middle left, heading towards Park Road Siding on the right.
This shot shows the piece of acrylic that split in two.  It was put to good use, on either side of the baseboard around Park Road Siding.

The track to Fisherman Islands is heading to the left.  The two pieces of acrylic are seen in this shot on the outside edge of this curve.

I will probably get back down to the shed on Monday and measure up what lengths of polycarbonate I need to complete the protection of trains on very top deck of the layout.

Once the fixing of the see through walls was completed, I adjourned to the PC, and continued working on my Modelling the Railways of NSW presentation.  I made a few cosmetic changes.  I then updated my document for the Open House nomination form for the September NMRA Convention.

Today I resumed activities fine tuning the Modelling the Railways of NSW presentation.  I decided to take new photos of the ones in the current presentation, where some scenery work has progressed further.  I thought it might show the layout off in a brighter light.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Week's Activities in Review

Tuesday this week, we ventured over to Arthur’s place for our regular meeting.  On his layout, he had his new oil tankers running circuits on the QR track.  They look very nice.  Arthur, does some very nice modelling work.  The rest of the night is then spent sitting around his tables in his garage chewing the fat.  It was a very good meeting.

On Wednesday while the various ANZAC day marches and dawn services where on TV,  I went down to the shed, turned on the TV, and started to investigate if I could make quite a few more water stand pipes for placing in various crossing loops on the layout out of pieces of styrene.  Well I did cut up various sizes of styrene tube and cleaned them up.  I will need to work out how to effectively bend the various tubes if this project is to be any sort of success.  May be I might have to use some brass sections, and see if I can bend these a bit easier.

Yesterday quite a lot of Tuesday night crew went down to Darren’s place, as he put on a Tuesday Nighter’s BBQ lunch.  Darren lives very close to Whoop Whoop, well not that close, but at least you can see Whoop Whoop from there.  He makes the trip up to our places in suberbia every second Tuesday night, and this was his thanks for opening our houses to him.  Well I was picked up by Shelton who already had Cliff in the car, and David who also drove to my place, and we all travelled together.  So we car pooled to Darren’s, and were met there by Greg, Arthur and Peter, and were soon joined by Geoff, PK, Grover and Brendan. 

The work that Darren has done on the layouts if fantastic.  The whole area around the Ballast Siding has been redone.  It now has a small run around siding, and it has incorporated a building that Geoff was getting rid of.  It has one less siding at the ballast loading end and a ‘headshunt’ siding has been installed at the other end, to service Geoff's building.  The scenery work that Darren has undertaken around this area is great.  Darren has also purchased maybe a couple of hundred trees, and these are starting to spring up in clumps around the layout and look fantastic.  I think I can see a bulk order for the same types of trees coming in June on my layout.

During the day, quite a few trains where run from end to end on the layout by various drivers.  We always knew when Shelton was running a train, as occasionally the layout would go silent, as he ran into a wrongly arranged set of points.  At least PK said it was Shelton.  Darren arranged a great BBQ for us, so we were well fed.

I can’t wait until Darren has his next Operating Session.

When I got home, David and I went down to my shed. for a few minutes.  Following the visit to Darren’s, and seeing a couple of vary large termite mounds at his place, or up his street, and also seeing quite a few the previous Sunday when out on the 620/720 railmotor on the trip to and from Casino, I decided to try and make a couple on termite mounds.  So out came some plaster, some yellow ochre and voila.  Quite a few (maybe over a hundred) small termite mounds were created and allowed to dry.  Hopefully when I next get down to the shed, I will be able to use a couple of dozen mounds around the layout and maybe quite a few more, might be destined to some mates layouts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Railmotor Trip from Roma Street on 22nd April

Last Sunday Darren dropped over to my place and we then caught the bus into the city.  We then walked to Roma Street Station and up onto Platform 2.  We wanted to see where the Railmotor might be.  There was a chance that it could have been in the headshunt on platform 2 or it was yet to come in from Acacia Ridge.  Well it was sitting in the headshunt.  We were soon joined by PK who was also coming on the trip with us. 

The points were already set to take it to Platform 3.

So we took some photos and then made our way to Platform 3.  The railmotor then made its way to platform 3 and we got some photos with the crew.  The crew were Darren’s mates from Pac Nat days – Ben and Laurie – What a nice bunch they were. 
The crew Ben and Laurie

We also caught up with a few mates on the train.  Bill and his wife and another friend, as well as a number of railway related people that we knew. 
I could not resist taking this photo.  It is Bill and Ben, and it must mean that Darren is Weed.  The old guys will work this out.

Today’s trip was to go to Kyogle for people to disembark, or if they wanted to head down to Nammoona crossing loop and then come back to Kyogle, pick up those who alighted and head back to Roma Street.  We were to be on the 621/721 railmotors from the Railmotor Society at Paterson.  The trip was arranged by the ARHS – Qld Division.  Before leaving I had asked Ben if he could swing an extension through to Casino.  He advised that he was puzzled why we did not go there in the first place, given that Nammoona is about 5km from Casino. 
Initially given an Amber signal.

Then it turned to Green.

The railmotors left Roma Street on time, but then made a slow trip to South Brisbane and then through to Park Road where we stopped for a few minutes.  Ben was like a kid with a new toy.  His frantic use of the horn must have been capturing people’s attention.  We sat there for quite some time.  From then on we were about 17 minutes late.  No doubt we were waiting for a coalie or grainie coming over the Dutton Park Flyover heading to Fisherman Islands.  I thought ‘Oh No’, I hope the rest of the trip is not this unlucky.  Well it was just fantastic from that point on.  Little by little, the crew gradually made up time.  Upon passing through Algester, we were able to see Lefty and Son waving to us from their back yard, just before we passed over Sheep Station Gully.

While at Roma Street, some advised that train tracker was advising that the SCT train was still around Nana Glen and running late.  Well we were eventually advised that we were to cross the SCT freight at Nammoona, and as such, we were to head to Casino.  Good things come to those that wait.  I was able to get some video coming into Casino.  While on the platform at Casino, I thanked Ben for taking us to Casino.  He also advised that the Railmotor hit 115km/h a couple of times on the trip down.  That seemed like it was really hooting.  Not bad for an old girl like the 621/721 is these days.   We eventually reached Casino at the time we were supposed to reach Nammoona Loop. 
Hey look!  Santa was on the train and next to him is Darren.

I took a few shots of the houses that back onto the railway line at Casino, the Hotham Street level crossing, and the Meatworks at Casino.  I also then took a video of passing through Nammoona Loop.  Which is where Ballast is loaded and previously Cattle were loaded/unloaded.  We then had to wait until the SCT freight reached Kyogle Loop before we could head north. 
Up one of the streets at Casino.

Up another street.

The old Cab Company.

Hotham Street level crossing.



More Meatworks.

And again.

Once more,


We eventually were given the road and headed off to Kyogle to pick up those that decided to get off there on the way down.  We got there about 18 minutes late and we were underway straight away - 4 minutes down, well for about 3 or 4 kilometres.  When we got to Kyogle Loop, we again had to wait for the SCT freight to reach Loadstone Loop.  From this point in time, we did not see the freight until we passed it, when it was securely sitting in its terminal at Bromelton.

It was amazing passing over the Border Ranges in both directions.  We go photos of the Cougal Spiral, a very nice water fall just south of Glenapp, and who would have guessed it, it poured as we passed through the ranges in both directions.  It was fine on either side of the border.  I let PK have the window set on the way back.  PK captured some absolutely stunning photos, of some bridges, old houses, and the Water Tank at The Risk.  The only thing left there.  PK had a huge zoom on his camera.  The Railmotors got back into Roma Street about 4 minutes early.  They certainly were hooting along the track.
From Cougal Bridge.

The other side of the bridge.

Cougal Spiral

And again.

And again.


Now from the top looking down

And again.

Crossing the Logan Motorway.

And the other side,

Could belong to someone we know.

The Norco Building at Kyogle by PK.

Another shot of the Norco Building by PK

A great shot of a bridge by PK

The water tank at the former crossing loop of The Risk, by PK.

Going through the old Border Loop area by PK.

The Water tank at Glenapp Loop by PK.

New set of dual gauge points going in at the southern end of Greenbank Loop, by PK.

Other end of the point, by PK.

What a fantastic day!  Great company with Darren and PK.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

More Places to Water Engines on the Layout

Last Monday while still on holidays, I completed the detailing of the dual control water columns that I received from Jim Hutchinson on the Saturday.  I touches up the paint on them and then set about installing them in one of the crossing loops.  These two went into The Risk Loop.  One at each end.  I had to scrape away some of the ballast back to the cork underneath and then drilled a hole for the mounting sprue and glued them in.  They do not look half bad.  I also got my bicentennial 38 out and ran it up and down either side of the water column to ensure it fitted. 

I think I will need to find quite a few more water columns to put them in other crossing loops around the layout.  I might be able to try and create some near enough looking copies out of styrene, who knowns.  This will be a project for a few weeks time on my modelling desk at the Brisbane May Model Railway Exhibition.

Yesterday I ventured down to the shed after lunch and I gave my NR class loco a run.  It probably hasn’t run for a couple of years.  I did find a length of track that I had just ballasted which I had not cleaned the rails.  You guessed it, the loco came to a sudden stop with all the glue still on the top of the rails.  The NR loco ran to all points of the layout.  Its load was my dynamometer wagon.  It started outside Grafton Loops and ran to Cassino.  That is a distance of 21.9 metres.  From this point it is a further 38.8 meters to Murwillumbah stop blocks.

From Cassino to Acacia Ridge, it is approximately another 79.5 metres.  Thus the distance to Grafton to Acacia Ridge (at the dual gauge take off point to points further north) is a total of about 101.4 metres.  From here it is just over 20 metres to Dutton Park and approximately another 9.5 metres to Fisherman Islands stop blocks.  From Dutton Park to South Brisbane Interstate stop blocks it is 13.7 metres.  That makes South Brisbane Interstate over 135 metres from Grafton.

Today a few of us went for a trip on the Railmotor Society’s 620/720 set from Roma Street Supposedly to Nammoona Crossing Loop, but it was extended right the way into Casino.  What Luck!  But I will post about this trip later during the week along with some photos.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Still Pottering Around

This week was interesting.  I helped my daughter and one of her friends make a Mangonel catapult.  The thing was about 60cm long and 30 cm high and actually worked!  The girls helped with the screwing and the sanding of all the wood cuts.  The contraption actually sent a rubber ball through the air for about 4.6 meters.  They were rapt with the result.

On Tuesday model railway activities were back on the agenda.  I visited two local hobby shops, Hobby One and Austral Modelcraft checking out what sort of bridges they had in stock, but also looking for ballast.  Both shops had  various bridges available, but I decided not to purchase one, and neither shop had any Australian ballast.  They only had the woodland scenic rubbish.  That evening, I had 11 guys come over for our fortnightly get together.  So I had to give the shed a bity of a clean in the arvo.  As I was attempting to vacuum the shed, one rather newish (still under warranty) vacuum cleaner blew up, so I had to do it with a broom and dust pan.  The vacuum cleaner has since been refunded, as it still had time left on its warranty, otherwise it was going out in today's curb side council cleanup.

Thursday I visited Simon Says Hobbies and Games, and decided to buy a bridge from his shop.  I also purchased a number of electronic components from Jaycar, so I could make 10 power supplies that rectifies the DCC track bus and produces a 12V DC power source.  I soldered up 5 of these power supplies, and eventually installed two onto the layout bus.  One was located at Fairy Hill Loop signalbox and it powers the headlights of a car parked nearby - maybe someone was visiting the signaller, or it was a crew car for a change over job.  The second power supply was located on the Summerland Way underbridge at Kyogle, and again powers another car.

On Friday night I ventured over to Brendan’s place for a BBQ snag, and a modelling night, with Geoff, Darren and Anthony.  I started removing components from the bridge kit and cleaning them up, ready for assembly.  Maybe assembly is next week’s job.

On Saturday, it was Club day, so after missing the last 2 meetings, due to cricket activities with my son, I was able to make it over there.  There was also one presentation by a club member about Engine Driver/Wi Throttle integration into JMRI and customising the function button descriptions on your throttle for a particular locomotive.  That was good stuff to know and the presenter has developed a process for a member to bring his .XML file from his home layout for any number of locomotives with his function key descriptions setup, e.g. Brakes, Coupler Clank, Dynamic, etc. and then copy it to one of the Club PC’s and automated jobs will copy these to a particular layout JMRI PC, either the N scale or HO scale layouts and once JMRI has been refreshed, those function descriptions will appear on your throttle at the Club.  Pretty Good stuff.  There was also a discussion on the scenery and industry plans on the top deck on the HO layout.  This also was pretty interesting and was very helpful.

After the meeting I met up with Jim who was having a clean out at home, and he donated to me two Lloyds dual control whitemetal water columns, a styrene 20,000 gallon water tank, about 10 x 20’ containers (five were refrigerated ones) and a shed.  These are destined for the layout.  Thanks Jim. 

Today I painted up the two water columns with silver and black paint.  So they will be fine detailed tonight/tomorrow and placed on the layout soon after.