Sunday, January 19, 2020

New 44 Class Gears


Well I decided to try and replace the gears in two of my clicketty clacketty 44 Class locos on Saturday.  I had to re-acquaint myself with the process of removing the bottom of the bogie, but that took about 3 minutes to check out Darren Lee’s post on a facebook group and all was good.  Screwdriver, plyers and voila.  Off they come.  I purchased 48 gears and they arrived on Tuesday this week along with my AMRM.  The new gears are certainly larger than the ones I am replacing.  I replaced the gears in the first loco, put it on the track and it ran awfully.  The loco now binds.  There are some quite large jumps as certain wheels go round.  It is an absolute disaster.

I did the change to the second loco and I get the same results.  I replaced the gears with the original ones and it now hops all around the layout.

I spend half a day doing this, testing it and I’m quite upset with the results.  My mate PK replaced the gears on his 47 Class during the week and he reports that the loco is running well.  The last time I replace the gears, the results were very good.  I can’t believe that the gears are the wrong ones, too large or have their own issues already.

Following further work today on the first loco, it seems that years of thumping down the track has damaged other gears in the loco.  Oh Well, it looks like two of my 44 class locos are now to be consigned to rotten row.

Also today I thought about picking up some styrene from my local hobby shop - Simon Says and trying to create my own rail for the AKFX/Y wagons that I built the other weekend.  I picked up three packets of 0.030" x 0.060" which I will use next weekend for building the rail load.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fixing Stuff Up, and Some Loco Tuning to Occur Next Week

This week, it has been back to fulltime work.  I did get away slightly early on Friday (if you call after 4:00pm early), a consequence of me being the acting boss for 5 weeks, as I could not knock off too early.  I did get to the shed and grab some wagons and a 1720 class (actually 1770 – James Cook) and got them ready to take to the Club on Saturday for a run.  When there I ran a small train of about 6 or 7 wagons around the 12mm.  The track there was dirty and my train could not run without running the track rubber in front of the train even though the track was also pushing a track cleaning car.  The track there needed a good oil with Wahl oil, but the club does not use that.  I do use the Wahl oil and I think my 12mm track runs sh!t tons better than the club layout.  Maybe it is the environment that the Club shed provides, with a huge roller door right next to the HO Club layout and all the dust and dirt coming in through that door.  I’m also certain that there will be many modellers that will say 'never oil your track', but I can certainly say that it helps with conductivity and there are plenty of articles about that discuss the types of solvents and oils to use on your layout that work.  Wahl oil is certainly one of the good ones.  I just need to buy another container of Wahl oil as mine is getting low.  It has taken a number of years to get down to this level, but I need to acquire another bottle.

The running on the Club track then identified that I had one KD coupler without a spring, one bogie screwed too tight and another wagon that had its couplers about 2mm too high.  The bogie screw issue was rectified at the Club, but the other issues were deferred to the Shed today.  Following actioning these few little tasks, I then decided that I needed to continue on from last week and build another two extra wooden steps for the train room.  This time for both corners of Clapham Yard.  So out came the saw, drill and screwdriver and voila – 2 more steps.  

After the work, I moved to the 'Play' part of the day.  I ran about 12 trains in the timetable and now the layout timetable is reset to 10:30am in the morning.  There are about 5 trains mid run in various locations around the layout and there are about 3 others that are due to start at exactly that time.  So whenever I eventually schedule the next session the layout is all ready to rock and roll.  I did notice that two wagons on one of my stock trains had skidded wheels as the train made its way around the layout today.  So this was fixed up.  I think these skidded wheels came about when I hit the bottom half of these wagons with my 'Frosted Glass' weathering spray can and maybe locked the wheels up.  These wagons do look good after a dose of that spray.

One thing I noticed today in the timetable is that two trains were scheduled to follow after each over and were actually two consecutive timetable cards in the timetable.  So I did a bit of a change and merged these two into a single train.  So I adjusted the timetable cards later this afternoon.  This is very similar to what I did over the last few weeks following good feedback from Anthony on the last running day.  So late this afternoon I actually completed adjusting the timetable cards sequence and everything will be ready for when the next lot of timetable cards are printed out, sometime later this year.

I also ordered a truck load of 44 class replacement gears during the week, and they will appear early next week.  So I know the first two locos that I will fix on my layout – 44100 and 4468, both in a bad way with wheels out of gauge and a huge clicking sound coming from them.  I have another couple of 44s also exhibiting some clicking but not as bad as these two.  Maybe 4498 will be close behind the first two locos.  I also noticed that one of my 48 class locos (an old powerline) has absolutely no traction whatsover.  I was pulling 5 wagons - mostly Camco ones.  I think its old traction tyres have gone hard after maybe being dipped in Wahl oil.  I will have to look at that next weekend.  I also have a section of track in Cassino Down Yard that has lost power.  It seems to get its power from a point blade and if I hold the point blade against the stock rail, trains move in that section.  So I must not have a power jumper from the actual track bus on that section.  Another job for next weekend to investigate and fix up.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

AKFX Wagons and Scratching Round Here and There


So during the last week, there has been a rather large collection of photos shown on some facebook sites of NSW and other state’s wagons at Kyogle and Acacia Ridge in particular and some of these had some AKFX wagons loaded with rail.  Well, I did some digging and found out that the AKFX started out as an SAR SGMX (4 letter code) wagon.  It also appears that this wagon is very similar to the WAGR WOAX.  I have 2 WOAX wagons in traffic and I could use them as a template for making one, or two or maybe three AKFX wagons which I started building on New Year’s Eve late afternoon.  

I was going great guns until I worked out on Tuesday afternoon that I needed some 0.030” x 0.030” styrene to help construct the end bulkheads.  Well I thought that there would be no shops open selling styrene on New Year’s Day, so I went to the next best thing – Raymond!  Of course he had some.  Lefty dropped a packet into my letter box at 7:00am in the Wednesday morning when he went to the local shops for the paper, and probably a nice cream bun for morning tea.

Upon a second look at the model, and some of the photos that had been posted, I thought that 0.020” x 0.030” styrene would make better end wagon ribs, so I jumped into using that size styrene which I also had.  I did this on New Years Eve (Tuesday night) before I saw an email response from Raymond.  

Early on New Year’s Day we went to Ikea for breakfast along with every other person in Brisbane.  My main aim was to check out some low stools to sit on for the shed, slide in wire baskets for my storage trays, some low steps to help see the top level of the layout, and maybe anything else that I could use the Shed.  The current wire baskets they are selling do not match the size that I have already got in use.  Who changes these things?  Anyway when I got home, I decided to cut up some 3mm MDF and make a shelf in my storage tray holder.  I cut these up and then decided to put another piece of 3mm MDF on the top of these trays.  Now I can store something on top as well.  I will eventually get around to gluing these in place to stop them from moving, but that is a task for another day.

So on New Year’s Day, I completed the second AKFX wagon.  Both wagons run pretty well on the tracks.  So late on New Year’s Day, I put the first wagon through the paint shops.  I had some green paint, so I gave it an all over covering.  On late Saturday afternoon I hit the green with my Frosted Glass and it came back from being like a toy to a more like a weathered model.  I then hit the wagon with some Yellow Oxide, Indian Red and Matt Black from my $2.50 can supply and the wagon has come up a treat.  These colours were painted from about 700mm away from the model and the wagon has received a very light dusting and it looks like a nicely weathered model.  So I started work on running the second wagon through the paint shop on Saturday afternoon.  It has received it’s green base coat.  But that is as far as it got.  I will complete the third AKFX wagon at an upcoming modelling night.

On Saturday morning, I did a round of the hobby shops.  I picked up some styrene from Austral Modelcraft and two lengths of 12mm track from Aurora Trains.  So when I got home, the two lengths of track were installed in Clapham Yard tracks 7S and 8S giving a 900mm long sidings, and the existing track from those sidings has been consolidated into Clapham Yard track 6S, giving about a 550mm long siding.  So all have now been lengthened and are now ready for use.  I will get around to adding some toothbrush bristles to these tracks to ensure that wagons don't run away when left there.

After lunch I decided to start running a few trains.  First was the narrow gauge shunt from Clapham Yard to Acacia Ridge Yard.  One of my new wagons, had had its couplers raised by the addition of some metal washers above the bogies, as is coupler height was too low.  The next train was the steel shunt from Rocklea Sidings back to Acacia Ridge Yard followed by an engine run around.  I did some maintenance on a set of points that had previously given me trouble in track three at Acacia Ridge Yard.  I added a power jumper to one rail and soldered a fishplate to ensure power was not a problem with this set of points.  I then added some check rails to one rail on a curve in two locations using some code 83 rail I had lying around.  This was super glued into position.  One length of checkrail was about 30mm long and the other was about 50mm long.  Running the shunt loco back and forth through this location produced no issues.  I then added loads to the ballast train that I was to run next.  But I pulled up stumps as it was quite hot in the shed and the cricket was back on TV.  I will resume running trains in the timetable next weekend.

On Sunday My plan was to make a small stool out of some 90mm x 45mm pine I had laying around in the shed.  I layered two lengths on top of each other and then put some 12mm ply on top to stand on.  So these create steps that are just under 200mm high.  Just like a bought one and at no cost.  The first step is about 650mm long.  The next two are about 430-450mm long each.  I've given then a quick test and are OK to use.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December Operations Session Wrap


This week I’ve done a few tasks in preparation for this yesterday’s Operations Session.  The last Ops session was in April this year.  A very big break.  On Monday evening I cut up the various timetable cards that I printed.    On Christmas eve, I cut up the various shunt lists for the standard gauge trains.  I also went through the timetable cards and removed the unnecessary ones, i.e. the 'A' version of the ballast train, the afternoon Cassino Meatworks shunt, the 'A' version of the Gold Coast Motorrail and its return train and the extra narrow gauge trains.

On Christmas afternoon after the boss cooked a very nice dinner for the family, I added couplings to 6 narrow gauge wagons, and bogies to two of these wagons.  I added containers to three container flats, and also slipped a container into a FJS wagon.  I have no idea if these wagons ever carried a container, but the container slipped into the wagon, so I thought I’d try it.  I forgot to find out on Saturday when Arthur, Mr QR prototype and loads, was present.  I don't know if it is prototypical or not.  I had to adjust the bogie bolster height to ensure that the couplers were the correct height on two wagons.  

On Christmas night when I superglued two tarps to two HWE grain wagons.  I then also started applying tie down ropes to another tarp – this time for a HJS wagon.  This reminds me I still have the other side to complete.  On Thursday morning I spent 2 hours in the shed and ran my cleaning car train over all the mainline trackage from Grafton Yard to Cassino and through to South Brisbane Interstate.  Then I went back to Dutton Park and then went for a trip to Fisherman Islands.  From there we back tracked to Cassino again and then went for a trip along the branch line to Murwillumbah.  Then back to Grafton Yard.  I went out on the mainline and came back via all the loops.  While at South Brisbane Interstate I went up and down all the vacant sidings.  I found one cold solder joint that prevented trains from running in track 4.  That was fixed and everything was good again.  I also went up and down all the tracks in Cassino, Old Cassino, Lismore, and Murwillumbah.

I had planned that on Friday I was going to test the narrow gauge with the running of my largest narrow gauge train ever.  This was to positioned all the 12mm wagons in their start locations.  I never did the running.  I just carried the wagons to their start locations.  I thought I would just suck it and see on Saturday.   I did however, double check the standard gauge wagons and ensured that the wagons were in their correct order on the various trains – well except for the oil train.  That came back to haunt us on Saturday.

Saturday rolled around and 10 crew and myself turned up to run some trains.  I was expecting a larger gathering.  So again it was organised chaos.  Trains broke away.  Some locos were DOA.  Some just stopped after a bit of a short.  I resurecte dthem on teh programming track with my Powercab.  My steel train kept parting between the second and third wagons.  This train has run for years.  It caused all sorts of delays as it was late starting and got later.  That train was attended to last last night after the session.  That train also had an AOOX wagon causing issues.  I also adjusted that wagion today - and ran that from Grafton Yard to Acacia Ridge and back again as a test.  

Yesterday we ran about 31 trains to completion in the session and there are at least three on the layout awaiting completion.  We ran the fast clock for about 12 hours from 00:40 am and some trains are only at their locations they were supposed to be at 9:00am – or close to it.  So we are just over about a third of the way through the session.  But that was because of the issues, and most I caused.  I only drove one train after it was so troublesome.  I then just roved around attending to issues as they arose.

Most of the issues were ones that I was causing and holding up mainline traffic.  So there was a lot of single file of trains around various incidents.  Arthur did a great job at North Coast Control.  We had everyone enjoying themselves, I had feedback on about 8 trains on the timetable cards.  So these have all been addressed, either last night or today.  That is the reason we have timetable cards, so crew can write on them about the issues they encountered and then I can fix them up.  Issues could be about track, the timetable card, headsets, staff machines or the train.

The session caused me to have some issues with three narrow gauge dead end sidings being too short.  But only on one end!  Also two narrow gauge loops were also too short.  I will address the length of the three dead end sidings, and then adjust what wagons run to the narrow gauge loops.  But 14 of my narrow gauge wagons did not exist at the last session.  They were all scratch built since then.  I only had one issue with a coupler spring missing on one of the wagons.  I knew about that before the session, but I could not find the wagon in the lead up to the session.  Luckily someone did and that is also now fixed.

Today I had a visit from model railway royalty.  Bob Gallagher popped in for a tour.  He was up here on holidays.  We spent a couple of hours talking and walking around the layout.

I will spend a bit of time in the shed over the next few days and next weekend, and who knows, I might run a few trains by myself to progress the timetable.  I can even run multiple trains at the same time, but no more than two.  I can now concentrate on some scenic progress on the layout before the next operations session.

Thanks for turning up guys and Happy New Year to all my followers.
This shot by PK, shows some work at the level crossing on Fairy Lane.

Another shot by PK.  He was running the rail paybus heading towards South Brisbane Interstate.  It is seen here passing Nammoona Ballast Siding, which also leads cattle.

The rail paybus was again captured by PK (and driven by him as well) as it passes Ron and Marg's B&B near Fairy Hill Crossing Loop.  Apparently PK regularly stay at the B&B and rents the particular room with a view of the railway track.  You can see him through the window getting up to no good.  
Most of the Crew in this shot.  Three were missing, Arthur in North Coast Control, Mark shunting Clapham Yard behind me and who knows were Darren was.

A shunt train has arrived at Clapham Yard 48 class.  It will drop some wagons off and then head to South Brisbane Interstate with the last two wagons.  The car carriers stay in Clapham Yard, while the three loaded limestone hopper wagons at the rear of the train are shunted by a 73 Class loco back to Rocklea Siding for swapping three empty wagons at that location.

Darren is captured here running a train through Clapham Yard.  He might be driving the Brisbane Limited on track 2 through the yard.  There are three container wagons on each of track 1 and track 3 with a shunt loco ready to add the wagons on track 3 to the end of the next south bound container train on track 2 which will arrive after the Limited passes Dutton Park and frees the staff section.  The shunt loco will then take the three container wagons on track 1 to Park Road and South Brisbane Interstate.  There is also the shunt train still on track 4.  The narrow gauge yard also has some train activity visible as well.

Here the Brisbane Limited has teh staff for the section Clapham Yard to Dutton park and is heading towards South Brisbane.  The narrow gauge shunt is doing its work.  This photo shows that I might need some toothbrush bristles in the track to stop the wagons from running away while the loco is detached and wagons are run around.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Narrow Gauge Timetable Updates Complete


This week things have been more back to normal than last week.  Over the last few days I have had access to a whole lot more equipment as I had been down at Coolangatta for 10 days holidaying with the family.  But I did do some modelling, I just can't take everything down there.  No paints, and I forgot to take the couplers for the wagons with me.  

When I got home, I did check the headsets I purchased last week and there is no individual volume control on them.  What do you expect for $5 each?  I am still to plug then in and test them with my setup.  But I foresee no problems.

This week I have been spending plenty of time on the planning of the narrow gauge components of the Operations Session timetable.  This included desk checking a new timetable with various wagons moving between different sidings to create some activity.  I believe I have made plenty of progress and I think it is now suitable to give it a try during an Operations Session.  The timetable cards for all the narrow gauge trains have been adjusted with extra wording and a lot more wagons have been conscripted into service.  There is still plenty of room for more wagons to be added at a future date.  I could be opening up myself for lots of issues, if the wagons are too light, but they seem OK with tests done so far.

I also did some more follow up work on my latest narrow gauge wagons.  I visited Aurora Trains on Friday and picked up 6 sets of narrow gauge bogies for my latest creations.  These are going under the last few wagons I have scratch built.  I can remember back to when I had about 12 or 13 narrow gauge wagons total and I could have 2 or maybe 3 narrow gauge trains.  I needed to get some mates to bring a coal or grain train over and the barrow gauge track was hopeless when those trains ran.  Mine ran OK however.  This narrow gauge empire sensis now has ballooned to about 39 wagons when this last lot of wagons are complete.  This is thanks to about 15 of these being scratch built over the last year or so.

These latest bunch of scratch built wagons have now been painted and seem to run up and down the track and through the scratch built point work quite well.  I have one more HWA wagon to add external ribbing to before painting and before adding couplers.  The other 4 wagons that I built during the last week and a bit, all still need couplers to be added, but are all painted, and almost ready for use on the layout.  Maybe this last task will be completed on Christmas eve while watching TV.  I need these wagons for an upcoming Operations Session the following weekend.  I feel that last HWA wagon that I built, has ribs that are too large.  The next one will use slightly smaller strips of styrene for the ribs in the various locations on the wagon.

The timetable graphs have also been adjusted with the 4 sets of new train paths that exist between Acacia Ridge and Fisherman Islands.  These could be narrow gauge or standard gauge trains.  I have also added the Rocklea Sidings location to the train graph.  However, there is not yet any changes to the timetable cards to separately mention this location on the timetable cards.  However with Rocklea Sidings on the graph, the train controller will see what the various shunt trains - 2 narrow gauge and 2 standard gauge - need to do, with the trains reversing on the mainline to access the Sidings.

I am considering switching the timetable cards from perforated A4 (giving 4 x A6) cards to maybe going back to some perforated A4 (giving 2 x A5) cards in the future as my eyes seem to be starting to fail me more and more.  Then the timetable cards can be a lot bigger and there will be plenty of space to add new locations - such as sidings and wayside halts if required in the future.

I'm back to work tomorrow for 2 days before being on leave for another week.  When on leave again, it will be around to track cleaning and locomotive and train testing for 3 days before the Operations Session.  I hope to have plenty of photos from that session in next weekend’s Blog update.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Making QR Wagons


On Thursday I finally sat down and set out my modelling projects.  The family decided to go shopping so I sat at the kitchen table and studied the various plans of various QR wagons that Arthur previously provided.  First up, I decided to make two PCFC wagons.  These will carry a single 20’ container each.  The next wagon was a PCL, also a single slotter container wagon.  This wagon has a large open frame in the middle of the wagon.  But if you put a container on this wagon, you won’t see that I did not include the slot.  I just made it out of single piece of styrene.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell Arthur.  Next was a HWA wagon.  This version was a steel rib sided wagon.  I only got to building the box without ribs and bogie bolster and then I pulled up stumps and decided to do some timetable planning.  It was not until today that I got back to the rids on this wagon.  These were made out of strip styrene.  I’m quite happy with how the wagon turned out.

On Friday while out shopping at Big W, my son saw that they had a clearance of plug in headsets.  They were $5 each.  They only had two on display, so I grabbed them very quickly.  I then went to their service counter and asked if they had any others out the back.  The guy came back and said yep, how many do you want?  He said they had about 30.  I said I’ll take 10.  So hopefully these will replace and supplement my existing headsets.  The existing ones are losing the foam around the earpieces.  These old ones, leave black headset stuff on the ears of those wearing them.  As yet I haven’t checked to determine if they come with an inbuilt volume control like the old ones had, but hopefully they do.  

On Thursday I also spent some time working on the narrow gauge timetable.  The one thing I worked out is that with my ever expanding QR menagerie of wagons, I need to record what wagons I have so I can work out where they can be stored and where they can go to.  I think I have the minimum number of locos required for the QR timetable, but I could get some more, and then run some double headers.

While looking at the timetable I think I have found four spaces in the timetable that I can add four narrow gauge trains to.  In each of the spaces, I can either add an up or down train.  So I could have a timetable A and B options, where some days the train can travel from Fisherman Islands to Acacia Ridge Yard in the first instance and back again later, or it could run in the opposite direction.  Later on in the next 2 spaces, the same can occur.  I could use one of the pairs of slots for another coal train, but with only 4 wagons in my first train, I can build that up quite a lot before I need to add another complete train.  I have made some changes to the timetable cards.  As I now can run around all the trains in Acacia Ridge Yard, instead of having dead end sidings, I can add the run around instructions.  I can then remove two shunt trains from within Acacia Ridge Yard that repositions the locos from the previous dead end sidings to the other end of the coal and grain trains.

So there will be more activity here over the next week or so.

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.