Sunday, August 18, 2019

Painting, Soldering and Track Laying - as Well as Running an Ops Session

This week we visited Cliff’s on Tuesday.   However, I did not get there until quite late due to work commitments and so I didn’t visit his layout this time.  By the time I got there everyone had adjourned to his unit and sat around to eat and drink.  I got there and enjoyed the conversations with those in attendance.  PK was doing another MB Klein order, but what I wanted to purchase was not in stock.  So I placed it on backorder with PK.  Being the great mate that he is, he advised the next day that he actually had 5 packets of what I was after in his kit bag.  He offered to sell one to me for a good price.  So on Thursday PK rocked up at work and I handed over some cash and I was then the proud owner of a packet of Tichy Train Group 44 gallon drums.  96 of them in fact.  However, upon checking the contents, there were actually 100 inside the packet.  The first 30 of them have now been assembled - lid put on the drum, and painted silver.  The next lot will be painted all different colours, to represent the various oil company colours of the era that I am modelling.  I should work out what colours they need to be and build up a stockpile of those paint colours.

Saturday this week, was the local NMRA meeting at Darren’s place.  So Geoff, Brendan and myself were conscripted (we didn’t need too much coaching) to run trains on his layout while the other members of the Division watched, and asked questions.  That allowed Darren to be free to speak to other guys while we kept the trains running.  I think a few of the visiting members got a laugh or two from the bantering that was going on between the various crews.  But we really need to get allocated trains before Geoff in the roster.  He kept me at a crossing loop for about 2 hours while he shunted at the Branchline Terminus, before I could get there to do the same.  Geoff had a wheatie, and was swapping the various empties for fulls before departing back to the junction station and onforwarding to Sydney.  I had the shunt train and it was an absolute brain teaser with all the shunting required.  I made one big stuff up on this train.  I had to shunt down to the good shed at the end of the line and swap a loaded wagon for an empty wagon.  However, I missed the sign “Locos to not pass this point” and I lost power.  I should have had a couple of wagons as match trucks so I could reach the siding with the loco safely outside the private siding boundary.  Oh well, I will remember next time.  It has been quite some time that I have had this particular train to shunt.

I had some very good conversations with some of the members.  Some I had not met before, and some that I had not caught up with for some time.  The lunch put on by Darren’s wife and daughter was fantastic.  It was a fantastic day.  About 45 people were in attendance.

Today I went down to the shed just before lunch time and did some spray painting.  I had some steel loads to touch up, I found some more steel beams to spray paint and I spray painted 30 new 44 gallon drums for various loads around my layout and for making up on a pallet which I have started selling.  I have a few pallets left in my collection that I thought I might be able to sell off with a load.  I was inspired by Arthur Hayes’s article in the last AMRM where he created some loads for his HWA wagons from Queensland Scale Models.  I just happen to have a few spare of these on my 12mm network.
The painting results.  44 gallons drums, and various steel loads.

Once the painting was over, I had some lunch and then resumed shed activities where I had to fix some soldering issues with some wires that had come loose.  My dual gauge point on the lead into Acacia Ridge Yard from the north had the wire to the frog come loose.  So that was fixed as did the control panel for the standard gauge entry to Acacia Ridge Yard from the south, which had the wire for track 2 come loose.  The next task was to bite the bullet to rip up a curve point in Acacia Ridge Yard from track 2 to track 3 (used by the steel shunt).  The baseboard under this tracks will be levels across a baseboard joint and hopefully take out a bit of a high spot that causes some issues.
This train, consisting on 1770 James Cook, three HWA wagons and one load for an HWA wagon is what I picked up last weekend at the Pine Rivers Model Railway Exhibition.

While doing work on the track, I decided to install most of the 12mm track I picked up at the Pine River Model Railway Show the previous weekend.  I installed the new siding off the number 2 loop siding in Fisherman Islands Narrow Gauge Yard.  I then set about installing the crossover from the narrow gauge track 1 to the dual gauge track.  This was completed and tested and seems to work well.  I then installed the first crossover in narrow gauge track 1 that will connect to narrow gauge track 2.  The second set of points has not been installed as yet.  That is a job for next Saturday afternoon.  Of course I will have to install the myriad of track jumpers to the various sections of track in the narrow gauge yard so we have continuous track power and locos can continue to sit there and idle away if required.  Considering that I only have one narrow gauge loco with sound, I’m a bit optimistic about my statement, but at least the trains can run to all section in the yard when it is rewired. 

What I am doing to the narrow gauge yard, I have already done to the standard gauge yard, as seen in the photo below.
This photo shows the narrow gauge track 1 with the crossover to the dual gauge track, and the first point installed to connect to the narrow gauge track 2.  The second point still need to be spliced in.

This photo shows the new dead end siding middle left, that will allow a loco or two to be stored within Fisherman Islands Narrow Gauge Yard.

Next weekend I need to pick up some supplies at the local hobby shops and then I will head over to the Redlands Model Railway Show later in the morning.  Sunday I have other activities planned.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition

This weekend I’ve clocked up the Kilometres travelling to and from Strathpine for the Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition.  The collection of layouts this year featured some QR ones.  Three absolute rippers in fact.  Stannum Vale was there in HOn3½ with fantastic scenery and exquisite models.  Across the aisle was Samford making its debut.  It was in On3½ with S scale track – 22 mm I think.  Great big rollingstock vehicles, nice scenery and inspirational.  Just next to this layout was Dagun in also HOn3½ .  Another relatively new layout.  It even had two of my scratch built grain wagons with tarps on it a couple of times on the weekend.  I must admit that they were not up to the same quality as the others, but at least they got a run.

We also had a sugar industry layout also representing QR outline, and we had a couple with NSW and Victorian outline trains making appearances.  We also had a fictional On30 layout Mt Mee Tramway also with very nice scenery.  With a bit of imagination, we could also include two other layouts in the local outline.  Urangan Pier based on a replica of the pier at Hervey Bay and also Broxburn Sidings, but you need to watch out for the huge crocodiles on this layout.

There were the usual culprits with their shops and/or businesses and I saw plenty of folding stuff handed over – particularly from my wallet.  I have about 4-6 weeks before the wife finds out how much I spent.  Just be quite PK!  On Wednesday this week, I might get down to the shed and install a decoder in a new 1720 class loco - actually James Cook 1770.

So over the weekend I had plenty of fun.  I built a few models.  I gave away a few items.  I sold a few loads and tarps.  I had plenty of conversations with exhibitors, Club members, and the public.

Soccer season has now finished and my son’s team won one game and drew won in a challenging season.  Yesterday was a 9-0 loss against a team of thugs.  My weekend have freed up somewhat.  Now next weekend is the NMRA meeting at Darren’s place.  More trains.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Still Tinkering Around Rocklea Sidings and Acacia Ridge Yard

I was able to have Friday off work so I could pick my son up from school camp just after lunch time.  He spent 4 days hiking around Mount Barney.  So in the morning before I went to pick him up at school, I started working on the replacement of the point motor base/actuator for the standard gauge entry to Rocklea Sidings.  I replaced my Peco point motor base with a sprung loaded version (Peco PL-12) which I obtained from Shelton – thanks mate.  I installed this and then fired up the DCC system and I ran my NR class loco through the point in both directions.  There seemed to be no issues.  When I tried to run the NR class loco into the sidings, the point would not throw to the siding.  I decided to leave this until Sunday.

So today I worked out the DCC accessory address for that particular point - 1142, as I cannot reach the control panel when I’m working on the point on the layout, as I have to crawl under the layout and stand on an old stool in an access hatch, so I have to use my throttle to call up the DCC accessory address of the point motor and throw it that way.  My idea was that I screwed the Peco PL-12 down to tightly and the point motor will not throw the point in one direction.  So I released the screws slightly and gave it another go while I monitored it in both directions.  Well it takes 2 and sometimes three throws to push it over fully for Rocklea Sidings.  For the mainline, it throws first time.  I think there is some binding somewhere in the setup.  I also ran a narrow gauge loco through the point on the mainline and this is also good.

On Saturday I worked on getting everything ready for next weekend as I will be working on a stand doing some modelling at the RMCQ’s Strathpine Exhibition next weekend.  This is at the Strathpine Community Centre off Mecklem Street at Strathpine.  It is open 9-4 both days.

Today I did some more pottering around as well.  While I was working on the Rocklea Standard gauge point, I decided to re-visit the point from the dual gauge in Acacia Ridge Yard that allows a train to come in off the mainline from the south from track 1 inbound to travel to the dual gauge siding.  So this has now been much improved with no shorts now with wheels touching dual gauge trackage of opposite polarity.  

I also did some work on the workbench.  I spent some time adjusting the tarped loads on my four QR narrow gauge grain wagons.  So I’m happy that these are now fitting the wagon.  I also made some steel H beam loads for various steels trains, standard and narrow gauge.  I also made up another 20 bee hives for next weekend.  I also made up 10 pallets with 44 gallon drums on them also for next weekend.  I also made up another three 20’ container flats for generator sets.  I think I also potted around on a couple of other activities while at the workbench but cannot remember what I did.

Say hello to me next weekend at the Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition.

This is one of the two dual gauge points that I installed recently.  This one is actuated via the DPDT switch in the baseboard with an omega spring to ensure it does not over throw.  The frog is electrically switched via one pair of contacts on the switch.

The same point but now in the opposite position.

This is the standard gauge point into Rocklea Sidings.  The point motor in the bottom of the photo sits upon a Peco PL-12.  I was hoping that the PL-12 would provide an over centre spring effect to the dual gauge point.  But there is binding.  I will spend some more time on this in the future.

This dual gauge point is located on the Acacia Ridge Yard dual gauge track, just left of the standard gauge track 1.  It now appears to work quite well.  But I will super glue some extended check rails into this point when next get a chance to climb under the layout.

This view is of the narrow gauge end of Acacia Ridge Yard.  The track where the standard gauge wagons are is the extension of the dual gauge track in Acacia Ridge Yard from the photo above.  To the left of that track is the standard gauge mainline into Acacia Ridge from Glenapp Loop, which brings trains to and from Grafton.  Above that is the trackage towards Clapham Yard which is reached by exiting the other end of Acacia Ridge Yard and travelling around an 180 degree curve, thus gaining the relevant height.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

I Think I Made My First Point Very Well

This week I had not been to the shed until late this morning.  While I was planning to try and check the scratch built points electrically before I installed then in the layout, I was too lazy to wire them up.  So I bit the bullet and installed one of the dual gauge points in the northern lead into Acacia Ridge Yard.  I trimmed the rails so it matched the size of the point I was replacing and basically it slipped right into the space provided.  I installed a double pole double throw electrical switch in the baseboard to actuate the point by an omega spring made from a paper clip.  I used the switch to control the polarity to the frog of the dual gauge point.  After installation I turned the layout power on and there were no shorts.  I ran my 45 class, an AR Kits loco that I installed a decoder in about 10 years ago numbered 4519 which was sitting in the standard gauge siding where this dual gauge point connects to.  The loco was driven out of the standard gauge siding and it ran well out onto the mainline.  I then switched the point via the electrical switch and omega spring and the 45 class ran well back through on the mainline.  I then ran the 45 class back the other way and then back into the siding and the standard gauge trains have never run so smoothly through this set of points.  Next test was a 1720 12mm class loco.  1741 was then run through the point backwards and forwards and it ran well through the point as well.  I then took my new wheat wagons for a run, hauled by the 1720 class loco.  They also ran through the point pretty well.  I could not have hoped for a better result.

I decided to push my luck and started removing the other point I was to replace with a new scratch built dual gauge point into Rocklea Sidings for the standard gauge trains.  That was easy and I then cut the dual gauge point for this location to the correct size and installed it.  The standard gauge entry into the Rocklea Sidings seemed to work pretty well.  I then made another omega spring from another paperclip and connected that up to the original point motor.  I then pushed some 12mm wagons that were sitting in Rocklea Sidings through the mainline trackage of the new point and they also seemed to work.  So it seems that the trains pushed through this set of points seem to work quite well.  But I ran out of time to fire up the DCC system and see if there was any shorts with the new point and if powered locos will travel through the points.  I think I will now leave that task until Friday this week. 

All in all a positive result for the few hours I spent in the shed today.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I Have Some Points to Make

This week on Tuesday night we visited Lefty and Son’s place just up the road in the next Suburb.  There was about 8 or 9 of us there if my memory serves me correctly.  PK was supposed to attend, but his car suffered a fit just outside the PA hospital.  Apparently the good folk from the RACQ got him and his old almost 25 year old car home, and an auto electrician was able to do some sort of transplant surgery on the old Camry and the damn thing might still have another 20 years of life left in it.  That is probably how long it will take for him to get around to installing his Clothesline in the back yard, so he can then insulate and line his shed, as a prelude to building his HO and N scale empires inside.

So Lefty has been given some offers of help to install some wall brackets that will allow a roof to be provided to his top deck on the layout.  This will assist in keeping dust and other particulates from the layout and provide a base to mount his overhead LED lights onto.  We await his call to arms to provide assistance.

PK was going to drop off his Fast Tracks dual gauge jig on Tuesday night, so his non-show was jeopardising me building some dual gauge points this weekend.  But PK did come to the rescue when he rocked up at work for a coffee early on Thursday and handed over his fast Tracks jig, so my plans could go ahead.

I was able to sneak over to Austral Modelcraft on Saturday morning before soccer and picked up two lengths of code 83 rail so I could spend this afternoon in the shed making two dual gauge points.  I had already cut the PC board sleepers last weekend.  So today was just cutting the insulation joints on the PC board sleepers between the two rails, then slowly measuring, cutting to length and grinding the various shapes of the rail lengths in the points.  These were then soldered up and various pairs of HO and HOn3 1/2 bogies were run through them.  Once complete I installed a throw bar.  The points seem to work.  Hopefully I will get around to looking at installing this set of points into the entry to Rocklea Sidings next weekend.

So after completing the first sets of points, I then thought about starting the second.  A quick scan of my supply of PC board sleeper strip material revealed that I had one length left in the packet hanging on my workbench.  That was not going to be enough.  I then went to the location where I left my last few point building projects and found another length of PC board strip along with another half a length.  Well that was just enough.

So the PC board sleepers were cut off, the rails cut to lengths, and eventually everything was soldered up and this point also seems to work.  Although the actuating throw bar was giving me some trouble, it has been added and this one set of points also seems to work.  This set of points is due to the lead into Acacia Ridge yard from the Clapham Yard end.  It provides a small HO loco storage siding at this location.

My first task next weekend, will be to put both of these points on a small test track and ensure that they are correctly electrically isolated, before I put them on the layout.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Still Stuffing Round with Rocklea Sidings

I had Friday off work this week and spent some time in the afternoon down the shed.  I ripped up the dual gauge track between Clapham Yard and Rocklea Sidings with the intention of relaying this section.  I had a narrow gauge curve point in this section to allow narrow gauge trains to gain entry to Rocklea Sidings.  This narrow gauge curve point had a third rail laid on the outside to form the standard gauge track in this section.  This was always causing some issues.  The reason was that the third rail on the outside was not exactly 16.5mm from the far rail on the inside of narrow gauge point.

So after lunch I ripped up the track and then took to the baseboard with a Dremel with a sanding disk in it.  This was to take a bit of a bulge out of the baseboard at this location and ensure a smooth base to work from.  This had the desired effect.  I then stole one of the points allocated to Fisherman Islands Yard for a narrow gauge cross over and installed that point in the track narrow gauge main line at Clapham Yard that merges with the standard gauge track from Clapham Yard to form the dual gauge via a Tillig gauge splitter piece of track.  I had to add about an inch onto the baseboard at this location first to allo wteh extra track to co exists with the dual track mainline.  So it made a longer narrow gauge lead into the Rocklea Sidings but this now runs very well.  The dual gauge main line track also runs better until it gets to the current dual gauge point that splits off the standard gauge into the Rocklea Sidings Complex.  I have not reconnected the point motor for the standard gauge sidings so I cannot run trains through it.  I did however, relocate the point motor from the old narrow gauge curve point, by extending the three wires to the Peco point motor to the new location of the point motor.  This relocated point and point motor now works very well.

I am once again contemplating scratch building two new dual gauge points for two locations on the layout to replace two others currently in use.  One is a bastardised Peco HO point, that I ran the third narrow gauge rail through.  I feel I can now build a better version of this point.  I think I will need to purchase a couple of lengths of code 83 rail this coming weekend and have to borrow PK’s dual gauge Fast Tracks point jig.  I’ve had one of his jigs for months, but I need it to use it to build one of these points, and I will need to borrow the other jig to build one point of the other hand, with the third rail on the other side of the point.

Let’s see how I go over the next two weeks or so working on that task.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Trip from Toowoomba to Fisherman Islands

I was extremely fortunate to be offered a cab ride last Monday from Toowoomba to Fisherman Islands on an Aurizon coalie.  It all started at my place when I was picked up and transported to Willowburn Yard to sign in and do a breathalyser test.  Of course I registered 0.00% so I could take my place in the car out to the Harlaxton Ballast Quarry with the crew for a change over.  My crew were great.  They even knew some of the old folks that I know from QR, QR National and Aurizon.

We had a slow trip down the range not exceeding 20km/h, passing many empties on the way back up to the mine.  Our first crossing loop was Rangeview reached at 12:01pm.  At Springbluff we crossed out first empty 9616 with 2305 + 2346 in charge at about 12:42pm.  There were lots of people on the platform, maybe due to school holidays.

We then crossed 2348 + 2350 on 9618 at 1:48pm through Lockyer.  This was followed by 2328 + 2313 on 9620 at 2:00pm at Helidon.  At Helidon the detector told us that we were 692m in length and had 44 Vehicles (of course two were the locos).  

At Gatton we passed 2388 + 2333 on 9624.  We were held outside Ipswich awaiting for an electric to get in front of us, and we passed 2306 + 23?? at Booval.

There was a cattle train in the cattle siding at Dinmore hauled by 2365 + 2390.  We had green lights all the way from Ipswich until arrival at the Fuel loading point at Fisherman Islands at 5:16pm.  We left provisioning at 5:46pm and basically my day was then complete. Our train was lead by 2320 and wouldn't you know it, I never got the other 2300's number. 

What a day!  We passed many electrics once we got into the suburban area.  A couple of places you could just look at the track and see that there was a bit of a wobble coming up and then sure enough as we went over that section, we got a good shake.  I got to see some unusual QR signal aspects, and could listen to the various announcements over the radio.  Some were quite interesting when we were in the Brisbane suburban area.

Thank you to those that helped to arrange the days events.  I had an absolute blast.

I think this is leaving Rangeview Loop.

About to enter Springbluff

Through Springbluff platform.

Murphy's Creek and an old water tank.

Cross just short of Lockyer

Another cross near Helidon

Our crew change point.

Through a Tunnel.  There were many.

Entering Brisbane Traffic Control territory.

The NGR homebase.

The signal that we had to wait for outside Ipswich.  Ipswich Railway Workshops are off to the left.

Bundamba and the branch is coming in from the right.

Dinmore passing a cattle train and an electric.


Wacol - just for Bob.

Another shot of Wacol.

And another shot of Wacol.

Just west of Darra.  This is advising us that we are taking the freight bypass track.

Just short of the Springfield junction and our destination is the freight bypass track.

Through Darra on that bypass track.

You are about to loose the overhead if you are an electric.

Corinda, my old stomping ground from 30 years ago.

About to cross over to the main.

Crossing over to the main.

Tennyson just before Yeerongpilly.

Joining the dual gauge at Yeerongpilly.

Up over the flyover at Dutton Park and Park Road

Through Coorparoo.  Another famous layout.