Sunday, August 19, 2018

Getting Stuck In - Trains and Trackwork

Tuesday this week, we went to Bob’s place and got a look at his layout progress.  The scenery that has already been completed is a credit to his abilities.  His bridge across an old almost dried up creek is fabulous.  Some attendees were absolutely raving about the bridge – hey Cliff?

Wednesday this week was a public holiday in Brisbane for the EKKA.  It also happened to be my son’s school sports day.  If the student attend the sports day, they get the next two days off school.  So early in the day I went to the sports day with my son and gate crashed my niece’s marquee.  The boss and daughter came out later.  After a great day watching the kids having fun in the various events spread around the oval, we made our way home.  I mowed the lawn when I got home and then decided to head down to the shed, and completed the ballasting around Kyogle, except for two points.  

I also took Thursday off and after doing a few things in the morning, I went back to the shed and ballasted around these two remaining points in Kyogle.
A photo of Kyogle from above.

Kyogle from the aisle looking at the newly laid ballast.

So that now leaves the following places left to Ballast.  All of Murwillumbah Yard, all of Rappville Loop, a few sidings around the rear of Lismore and a few inches around some of the level crossings on the layout in Old Cassino, Cassino and Rappville.

Later in the day, I went back down and hoped that the ballasting had now dried.  I decided that I was to have my own Operating Session.  I ended up running about 15 trains.  I found some issues, with ballast in between point blades.  These issues were remedied one by one.  I realised that I needed to install an additional uncoupling magnet in Murwillumbah.  I will work on this installation over the next few weeks.  I plan on using a push pull actuator to position the uncoupler under the track in which it is work under.  I am yet to see if the magnet will work through the thickness of the baseboard.  
The reason for the uncoupler is when the X200 shunts the motorail wagon out onto the main, it needs to be disconnected, before another loco puts the wagon on the end of the train.

On Friday after seeing off a mate into retirement after lunch, I came home and went down to the shed for an hour and a half.  I found a spring missing off a KD coupler and fixed this.  I also ran about 5 more trains in the timetable.  When doing so I realised that I needed to add some weight to one of my 80’ container wagons.  I also decided that I needed to rip up a section of track about 30cm long and replace it in The Risk.  This section has a small kink in the track and the rails are lifting from the sleepers.  I will action this next weekend.
The new section of track ready to be installed.  The track at the rear is the main and has the kink in it.

Saturday was the date of the local NMRA meeting, and it was at Darren’s place.  So I went over and said G’Day to a few friends and enjoyed the sight of three more mates running Darren’s layout for the visitors.  After a fantastic lunch put on by Darren and his family, I made my way home and slipped past the boss and made my way down to the shed.  Once there I decided to glue together three NOAF/NOEF/NOHF wagons kits – I think.  I was quite impressed by two BD wagons that Darren had on his layout.  I initially thought that the three wagons I had in kit form were BD’s, but that were the ones listed above.  My only issue was I missing one end.  I intend to manufacture one out of styrene tonight.  One had has wheels fitted and is sitting in the oil siding at South Brisbane Interstate.  The second will get wheels, as soon as I can find some screws for the bogies.  I also decided to add some weight to one end of a 80’ container wagon.  I placed a small amount of lead over the front bogie, underneath  a 40’ container.

I then decided to complete some track changes in Grafton Yard.  As I was short one 3-way point, I decided to bite the bullet and rob Peter to pay Paul.  I stole a 3 way point from the rarely used yard section at Acacia Ridge and moved it to Grafton Yard so I could install 2 more sidings.  So that is now laid.  I just need to add power jumpers to those two tracks.

Today I continued on the track work agenda.  A few weeks back I installed a new Oil siding in South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  But if you look at the original yard diagram, and then look at mine, you will realise that I have one track too few.  When not anymore!  I had room to add track number 9, so I did.  I had a curve point to allow track 9 to fit into the spare space.  Now I have moved the wagons that I was storing in track 8 out.  Some spare ones went to track 9.  Others which were a breakdown train and a few guards vans went to track 7.  This means that track 8 is now free and I can use this as the track for the container train to have its containers unloaded on.
South Brisbane Interstate showing the oil siding on the far right (now track 10) and the new track to its left - track 9.

After that I continued on the trackwork agenda.  I bit the bullet again and started laying the track for Rocklea Yard.  Bit by bit it was joined up and then I worked out that I really needed a left hand point to complete the standard gauge sidings for the Limestone wagons.  I had a right hand one instead.  Damn!  I then looked at Grafton Yard, right near where I installed the 3-way point yesterday.  There was a left hand point, and I could swap it over for a right hand point with little effort, and no consequences.  So I did that.  The sidings at Acacia Ridge were changed over.  But I did have a bit of a Doh moment.  I removed the left hand point, then got distracted and put a point back into where it came out of and I thought that was easy.  I then went install the point into Rocklea, and I realised that it was the wrong hand.  I had re-installed the left hand one back into Grafton Yard.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone – I think I’m going senile.  So I removed left hand point again, this time installing the right hand point back into Grafton Yard where the left hand point was.  The left hand point was installed into Rocklea, so all the track work is now complete, except for the standard gauge point which will allow entry into the standard gauge tracks off the main line.  No shop has one of these Tillig points.  I just have to wait.  I then wired up the power to the tracks, with quite a few jumpers around the eletrofrog points.  I even installed a manual polarity (reversing) switch for the Tillig dual gauge crossover.
Rocklea Sidings.  With a few wagons already in there to assist with testing.

I then powered up the layout – and no shorts were observed.  However, when I ran a narrow gauge train into the sidings, it stopped.  I must have a dry solder joint in the jumper for one of the rails.  But given the time, I decided to call it a day and tackle that job next weekend, when I will also try and fix the kink in The Risk on the mainline.  I will get out by trusty multi-meter and try and work out what is going wrong with Rocklea.
A few wagons now reside in Clapham Yard, which makes it interesting for trains to do their things in an Operating Session.  More will eventually grace this yard.

Loco Pilly, has three locos _ a double header and single shunt loco, a CPH with its trailer and a breakdown van with stuff in it.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ballasting at Kyogle Continues

Not much time was spent on railway related activities this weekend, as my daughter had tickets to see a boy band in the city on Saturday night.  As such we stayed in town for the night just 1 block away from the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre concert by 5SOS was held.  If you don’t know who or what 5SOS are, you are too old.  My son even had a swim in the hotel outdoor pool and apparently it was quite warm in there.

Anyway, I went to the Club for our monthly meeting on Saturday morning, before coming home very early after the meeting and then catching a bus back into town to meet up with the family at the hotel.  Back at the Club, we had a good Club Meeting.  There is plenty of activity occurring at the Club with work occurring on both the HO and N scale clubroom layout, and plenty of trains circulating.

Today after getting home from the city, following a free ferry ride round the city, and a walk through two markets in the city, I went down to the shed this arvo and continued ballasting Kyogle.  Kyogle is a bit of a pain as the trackwork at this location is probably the most inaccessible of the whole layout.  Last week I was ballasting from the northern end of the location, to as far I could reach from the front of the layout.  This weekend, I was doing the southern end of the Kyogle Loop, from an access point between the Running Creek blob and the Fairy Hill Loop.  I’m not looking forward to the next section (the middle of the Kyogle Loop) as I will have to do the really hard bit which is hard to reach from each end.  I have to jump through a few hoops (almost) to get into two access hatches so I can reach the yet to be ballasted section.  Today, as I didn’t feel like doing the limbo to get into those access hatches, I just delayed it, and put it off until next weekend.

To keep busy in the shed, I made up about 26 small wooden handles and installed them onto the actuation wires on the manual push-pull wires in Glenapp Loop, The Risk Loop, Border Loop, Kyogle Loop and Fairy Hill Loop.  I will eventually paint these so everyone can see them, and they will follow the same code, so everyone knows what they will be used for. So the up end may be one colour, the down end maybe another colour and cross overs another, and access to a siding another colour again.  I will think about this and maybe discuss with some of my Tuesday Night friends this week.

This week we head over to Bob’s place on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to see his track laying progress.  I will also pick up one of his excess HWO wagons, from the 1990 period, for a very fair price.  That wagon fits my layout timeline very well.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was the RMCQ organised Pine Rivers Model Train and Hobby Exhibition.  I went on Saturday and bought a few things from the various shops present.  I also spent most of day when not shopping sitting at a modelling desk doing a few modelling jobs and selling some simple items.  I was kept company by Darryl and Dave also doing or showing off models of various types.  I sold a few HO scale clothes lines made from styrene and rolled up tarpaulins.  There were a few very nice layouts on display and a good mix of shops.  One of the things that I did purchase was 2kg of ballast, 1kg of Allandale and 1kg of Martins Creek from the Matt's Ballast range.

I had a number of very interesting conversations at the show with various mates, fellow modellers and members of the general public.  One such conversation was a bit of a shock.  I was told the latest bridge that I installed on the Murwillumbah Branch that I had previously posted photos of on the blog, was of a type not used in NSW.  I was told that NSW Railways did not use the type of truss bridge that I had installed over the Leycester Creek.  Noooooo!  I felt very deflated.  Then upon getting home, when I got onto the PC that night, I saw on Facebook, a photo by Rev. Bob Richardson of a NSW location with a 73 class heading over a bridge of the exact same Truss type that I had installed for my bridge.  That cheered me up no end.  However I did know that it was not the same model of the one located at Lismore.  Oh Well!  I still felt a hell of a lot better.

Today I went down to the shed this arvo and completed the ballasting of the Cassino Yard.  I also did about a metre total of track distance across three main roads in Kyogle.  I still have about 5 metres to go on the Main, Loop and siding at that location, and then about another 2 metres over the two private sidings on the other side of the main line.

I also started to arrange the track for Rocklea.  I still have not been able to get one piece of Tillig track that I need, but I think I have everything else.  Well I think could use another left hand medium point to be installed within the siding area but I have a right hand curve for that location.  This was identified only after I laid out the track that I picked up yesterday at the show.  Oh well, another trip to the shops next week.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ballasting Underway

On Friday this week, I came home early and eventually went down to the shed after 4:00pm.  I spent some time, laying ballast from the northern end of Fairy Hill Loop to the southern entry into Kyogle Loop.  Saturday I got down there after lunch and glued the ballast down that I laid of Friday.  I then turned my attention to the main line from Hotham Street level crossing at the northern end of Cassino and started laying ballast into Cassino Down Yard.  This ended up being about 2m of ballast that was laid.

Today I went down to the Shed before lunch and ballasted the two sidings in the Cassino Down Yard and the headshunt for the two disabled wagon sidings just off the Up Yard.  All up this was about 4metres.  After lunch I continued the ballasting of the mainline up Cassino Signal Box for about another 1.5 metres.  I also extended the ballast in the Down sidings on by about a metre on each track.  I also spread a bit of ballast to tidy up the Cassino Up Yard to the point where all the tracks converge before they diverge again into the Down Yard.  I still need to ballast the track from the diverging point to where the sidings near the disabled wagons sidings are and the disabled wagons sidings themselves.  This small amount of ballasting will be done in an afternoon if I can get a short day at work this week.  That will exhaust my ballast supply for Cassino.  I also need to ballast the Down Siding in Cassino outside the Loco, and the whole Cassino loco area.  I do not have any ballast left for the Up Siding and the Loco area.  

I also have to ballast the southern end of Kyogle.  That is from a point half way down the crossing loop and I need to do the Main, the Loop, the Yard Siding, and the two private sidings.  I have a feeling that I will just have enough ballast to complete this area.

Hopefully I will pick up some much wanted 12mm track and some second hand HO points at our Club’s Model Train Exhibition next weekend.  I might be able to pick up another kilogram or two of ballast to allow completion of the Cassino loco area.  That will leave me with only the area through Rappville Loop to do, apart from a couple of sidings here and there.

At our Club's Model Train Exhibition, I will be doing some modelling at a table on the Saturday.  I will also have a few NSW and VR wagons and a couple of Lima and Powerline locos for sale.  Some even have chips.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fixing a Few Issues

Last Tuesday was the visit by the Tuesday Night crew.  I had a few locos running up and down Acacia Ridge yard, but when I ran out onto the dual gauge towards Clapham, the locos stopped.  I knew that I did not connect two power connectors near where I put the narrow gauge point into Rocklea yard last week, but I didn’t think that was the reason.  

Anyway on Saturday I was intent on fixing all the issues in Acacia Ridge Yard and the track to Clapham Yard.  I turned the power on and there was an instantaneous short in the Acacia Ridge Yard power district.  I had just connected 4 or 5 droppers before hand in the narrow gauge yard.  So I disconnected them and still could not work out what the cause was.  I then decided to humour myself, and walked around to the section of track in track 3 of the concentric loops in Acacia Ridge Yard and looked at the two car carriers sitting in that location and looked at the wheels on one set of bogies.  It was sitting across the isolation joint of the reversing loop.  Hmmmm!  Now I had no idea why it was not switching the reversing loop instead of just causing a short on the NCE EB1.  So I moved the wagon 1cm, so the wheels were no longer on the join.  I turned the power back on and this time, the power district fired up.  So I re-connected the droppers that I just disconnected.  I then set about trying to track back why the mainline had no power.  I reconnected the two droppers that I lazily did not re-connect last week.  I also ran a dropper to the narrow gauge siding in Rocklea Sidings, as I found out that a section of track was fed by the track and there was a bad joint, so I now bypassed that section with a connection to the track bus.  I then touched a solder joint where the track bus starts at the southern end of Clapham Yard and everything came alive.  So I had a jumper that was just about to come adrift.  So after that, the layout was all back to working.  I didn't realise that when I laid the track last weekend, I never cleaned the new track I laid for standard gauge trains, so trains run rather badly through the new trackage on the mainline just outside Rocklea Sidings.  I then did a bit of testing for the far end of the dual gauge headshunt at the southern end of Acacia Ridge.  It revealed that I was missing a track jumper there, after a set of point, so the head shunt was dead.  So that was added and that section is now all good as well.

I then attached the new NCE QSnap to the layout fascia.  This was then attached to the track bus and it will be used to control the points in Rocklea Sidings.  I ran wires to the point motor controlling the points into the narrow gauge siding.  A quick test and everything is working fine.  I need to get my hands on a Tillig LH set of points for the standard gauge sidings to be started and a HO - HOm crossing so I can really get stuck into the real track work of the Rocklea Sidings.  I’m hoping to have this all complete before mid September, as my layout is one of the open layouts for the NMRA Convention on the Gold Coast this year.
The NCE QSnap on the left next to an NCE Snap-It.  At the top of the picture on the right is the narrow gauge point into Rocklea Sidings already connected and working
The entry into Rocklea Sidings.  On the right is the narrow gauge.  On the left of that is where the standard gauge will branch off.

The layout of Rocklea above.

I have also started to look at what else I need to do before September.  There is some ballasting of Old Cassino station and yard required and a small section of the mainline south of Cassino just short of the Bruxner Highway.  So these were done today.
The few feet either side of The Bruxner Highway were ballasted today.

The eastern end of Old Cassino how ballasted.

The Cassino or western end of Old Cassino.

I have also had some brain waves to do some small detail accessories for a couple of places for the layout.  I am going to install some safety bollards around a work site.  I made about 16 of these last night and painted then a very nice safety orange colour today.  I will also make up some safety tape to go between the bollards.  Now that will be interesting.

I will also try and make a couple of drones that will be flying over the layout in some places.  
The train above is the Cement Limestone train that will use Rocklea Sidings.  It is sitting on the dual gauge headshunt in Clapham Yard.  It is propelled back to the sidings.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Mainline Track Changes for Rocklea Started

Yesterday I picked up most of the narrow gauge items that I need to start the install of Rocklea Siding.  I am still waiting for some dual gauge Tillig track to come into the local hobby shop.  

After visiting the hobby shops yesterday I went over to the Club for our monthly meeting day and did what I have not done for some time - run some trains on the layout.  This time, I took a couple of 12mm locos and half a dozen carriages (my whole collection) and did a few laps on the layout.  Since I had last run on the layout, the wifi system had changed at the Club, so I had to set up my phone again.  I really need to operate wirelessly, I cannot handle plugging in via my hand held throttle.  After a couple of laps on wifi I asked about what happened to the Club's radio base station.  Apparently that was a loaner from a member.  Luckily big Dazza had his NCE RB02 tucked away in his train box, so I plugged it in and then went radio via my ProCab-R.  I find this so much better to control a train on the layout than a phone via wifi.  I can set up my Procab to have 6 different locos and can scroll through them.  So much easier.

Today I ripped up about a meter of track between the southern entry to Clapham Yard around a bit of a curve to where the tracks to Rocklea Sidings are going to diverge.  I had to remove my transition track which takes the third rail from the left to right side and then end for end an existing length of Tillig dual gauge flex track as the third rail was now on the other side.  I then installed a narrow gauge left hand curve point and then ran a single rail of code 100 around the outside of the 12mm point, in the location of the outside standard gauge rail.  I then re-installed the transition track into the main line and then joined up to existing track work heading towards Acacia Ridge Yard.  The reason for the transition track is that Tillig only makes left hand standard gauge diverging track with the dual gauge going straight through with third rail on the left hand side in the direction of travel.  This diverging piece of Tillig track will allow the standard gauge to get access to Rocklea Sidings.  You know what they say, good things come to those that wait.  I just have to wait for a track delivery to the local hobby shop.

While the track work in Rocklea sidings in basically finalised, I am tossing up adding a small section of dual gauge track that used to go across a bridge over a creek inside the industrial complex that was Rocklea Sidings.  I have the various scratch built splitter tracks that I had made previously for various locations around the layout, ready for use in merging and diverging the length of dual gauge track.  I’m just thinking of doing it because I can.  But it means that I might need another point motor and a point accessory controller.  More Money!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

I Like the Sound of That

On Monday the postman tried to deliver my Auscision 48 Class locos.  Wouldn’t you know it, the wife was out with the kids at the shops.  Bummer!  That meant that I had to wait another day until I could get my hands on the locos and wife picked up my delivery from the Post Office.  I came home from work early on Tuesday and sitting on the bed was my package.  I went down to the shed and put them on the track.  I read the accompanying notes and the locos were off and running up and down the tracks of Acacia Ridge Yard.  I used 'program on the main' on my NCE DCC system to change the addresses one by one to match their individual loco number.  

The first thing I realised was that the sound coming from the locos was awfully loud.  Don't get me wrong, it sounded very good, but loud.  That night I went to our fortnightly Tuesday Nighters meeting and took a loco with me.  Everyone agreed that the sound was loud.  The loco did a few trips up and down a siding on Lefty and Son's On30 layout, driven by some of the attendees.  They were trying out all the sound functions.

So the next day I scanned the net and found a quick start manual for ESU decoders and CV63 was the master volume control.  This was changed to 50 in one loco and 60 in the other from the default value of 192 – which was full volume.  Apart from that, the locos run well, and sound very nice.  I just now need to work out what roster that will take in my timetable.  I think one will replace 4894 from Trainorama on a stock train from Grafton to Kyogle Stock Siding and return.  I think that 4894 will then end up double heading the other stock train with an 80 Class loco.  The other Auscision 48 Class loco will maybe end up replacing an 80 class on a ballast train.  I'm just trying to get the best value for money for the sound that these locos have.

On another matter, I have been thinking about my implementation of Rocklea Sidings.  You know that is a dangerous thing - me thinking.  Initially I was going to put in a dual gauge point and run a standard gauge siding into Rocklea and there would be two tracks here to allow the drop off and collecting of Limestone and Cement wagons.  The train will push the wagons from Clapham Yard into the siding and then return either light engine, or with the empties to Clapham Yard.  

Now we all know that Rocklea also had some narrow gauge tracks into it as well.  Well you guessed it.  Planning is underway and there might be a narrow gauge point to the same complex.  The trackwork may look very much like the actual trackwork at this location, with one narrow gauge track crossing over the standard gauge track at a location inside the complex just because I can.

I did spend some time on Friday afternoon trying to scratchbuild a set of dual gauge points for the entry into Rocklea Sidings.  They did not end up being too good an effort.  I did this in order to expedite the creation of the sidings while I await the delivery of a Tillig dual gauge Left hand point.

On Saturday afternoon I went to Bunnings and picked up a sheet of plywood for the baseboard for Rocklea.  So later this was cut up.  The method of holding the baseboard in place above Acacia Ridge Yard was perfected and it was all systems go.  Access to the loops at Acacia Ridge Yard will still be maintained.  I then laid out the track for the standard gauge sidings at Rocklea.  I found a left hand curve point that will be used to split the two standard gauge sidings at this location.  I then planned the track for the narrow gauge track at Rocklea.  My first problem is that the third rail was on the wrong side of the track to allow me to just insert a narrow gauge point to form the take off for the narrow gauge sidings.  While looking for some stuff on the Friday afternoon, I found a Tilling track to swap the third rail from one side to the other.  Hmmm.  I can use this.  Just 700mm up the road outside Clapham Yard, I had scratch built one of these tracks.  If I remove this track here, and run the third rail on the opposite side until the location of the narrow gauge point and then swap it back to the other side with the Tillig track or my scratch built version, all will fit together nicely.  I just need one length of dual gauge flex from Tillig, a left hand narrow gauge set of points and a couple of lengths of 12mm flex and the narrow gauge sidings can be started also.  I am waiting for a left hand Tillig dual gauge point to arrive and then I can actually install the whole siding complex.  I picked up a new NCE QSnap four output point controller yesterday and I have four spare Peco point motors to control the various points.  So everything is coming together.

Today I added the final pieces of the Rocklea baseboard and confirmed all the track purchases I need to finish this section off.  There will not be any photos posted of this for 2 weeks as that is just after the Tuesday Nighters are at my place.  I want to show them in person first.  I also tinkered with the troublesome dual gauge point in Fisherman Islands Yard and I now have it working reasonably well.  It still takes two pushes of the button on some occasions to fully throw the point, but I think it will get easier to activate through continued use.

The next major job is to run the wires from my control panel which will control Rocklea Sidings.  The panel is located against the Acacia Ridge baseboard and the wires need to go about 30 feet to the NCE Mini Panel at Loco Pilly.  But now with the few extra sets of points in this location, I need to run a few more wires from the control panel than originally planned.  I'm certain that I need to pick up another 25m roll of wire from Jaycar first.  Maybe a job for next weekend.

While still on the subject of thinking, while working on the baseboard at Rocklea, I kept looking down at Grafton Yard.  It appeared to me that I install a Peco 3-way point where I have a left hand set of point, and deploy that removed set of points, I will be able to add two more short sidings in Grafton Yard.  So I will keep my eyes out for a second hand set of Peco 3-way points.  One of the tracks will allow me to store my Railbus when it arrives.  I'm also thinking of storing a water train for all my fettler camps in one of those tracks as well.