Sunday, January 14, 2018

Grafton Yard Rethink

There was no railway activity early this week.  Friday this week I went to see Star Wars with my son, and in the late afternoon, received some visitors to the shed.  Jeff from my running crew brought along his father – Ian - up from Victoria and another fairly local Operating Session provider Duncan Cabassi.  Duncan runs a blog that I follow, called the UP / BNSF Joint Division - see my list.

Not having my wifi micro-SD card available for my Raspberry Pi based JMRI, as Greg was taking a backup of the saved config and other guru type stuff, I was limited to two Procab-R’s for a short operating run.  I gave Ian and Duncan a geographic tour of the layout, and then Jeff and Ian each ran a train.  Jeff ran the Murwillumbah Shunt train starting from Grafton Yard and dropping wagons off at Cassino, Old Cassino, Lismore and Murwillumbah.  While Ian took the Container train from Fisherman Islands, picking up another three 80’ container wagons at Clapham Yard and then travelling south to Grafton Yard.

While running the Shunt, Jeff advised that the loco does not fit through the new goods shed at Old Cassino.  What?  He said he ran it a few Operating Sessions ago and had issues.  Well Jeff did not write a note on my timetable card, so I couldn't follow up after the session on the 27 December and fix this.  I originally did not believe him when he told me on Friday.  But sure enough he was correct and I was left with egg on my face.  So today I went down to the shed at about 11:00am and put some cork under the shed, and raised it up.  The track at this location was laid on cork, and the shed sits in between the tracks in the yard but not on cork.  A bit of a blunder there from me.  But easily fixed.  The cork has been glued down, and eventually ballast will be added around this location and everything will blend in.

Another thing I did was paint a small baseboard, that I will use to build the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding on.  This will allow removal from the layout.  I can then spend some time adding detail to the various bit and pieces in this area when I’m up in the house.  It will have at least 4 oil tanks, and may even have large fifth tank.  It also has a case shed.  I would really like to install the various pipes that runs between the various tanks on this removable baseboard for some added detail.

I also spent quite a bit of time considering some track re-arrangements to Grafton Yard.  I was thinking of adding a few more points so that the single ended tracks could be reached by both the inbound and outbound routes into the yard.  At the moment, all the single ended tracks can only be reached by a train backing in through the outbound tracks.  But after some considerable time, I talked my self out of any changes here.  However, I did decide that I would investigate making track 8 which is currently two dead end tracks , one on the inbound end and one on the outbound end, that don’t meet, into another single circular return loop.  This means that trains do not have to back into track 8 any more after a session.  But the train will just run through and stop.  I also thought of making a slight change at the outbound end of the track 8, by adding a set of points so that trains can leave by the ladder that takes trains from the return loop tracks - track 1 through track 7.  Previously you had to leave via the lead from all the other single ended tracks.  This will allow me to create a small section of track about 90cm long, that will house a couple of special trains.  Maybe my NSW railbus, when I get one from Auscision or eventually get my Far North Models version operational - it currently has a bit of a bind in the mechanism.  I could also locate a small steam special on this new piece of track.  I do have a single unused dead end track – track 13, that I could also stage a short 90cm train on.

I am considering that a future project for Cassino will be that all the crossing loops and the sidings on the mainline will be converted to power operation of the loops.  These could well be controlled via a JMRI panel on a tablet.  The North Coast Controller may well set the track that someone enters into a crossing loop into.  That would prevent most head-ons inside a crossing loop.  But this is a multi year project that needs to be planned.  It requires more thinking.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy New Year

Well it has been hot in the shed this last week.  Monday I have no memory of what I did during the day.  I think I did go down to the shed.  I did a bit of maintenance on my layout voltmeter.  It had some loose wires on it.  These were re-soldered.  I did plan on getting under the layout this weekend and trace some wires, as my master voltmeter that measures the output from the command station, via a master on/off switch, has not been working for a few months.  I had verified online via the web what the electrical schematic should look like and knew what I needed to do.  I was going to work out where a hanging wire was supposed to connect back to and solder it up.  But I just could not get motivated this weekend to action.  Well I guess there is next weekend, or maybe next Friday.  I need to be home next weekend to baby sit my son, as my daughter and the boss are going to a concert in the arvo with some friends.

Early in the week I did create a very short to do list for the layout for three things to do this week, and after having an early day on Wednesday, as I had the worst headache from about 7:15am in the morning, I finally called it a day at about 2:30pm, following two meetings that I need to attend in the arvo.  At about 5:30pm that afternoon after a couple of Panadols had kicked in and removed my headache, I ticked off the first two actions on that To Do list.  I also did a couple of other tasks.

Yesterday, I did have plan to go to a hobby shop and buy a set of point for Border Loop, when the wife distracted me, by saying go check out new some new cars – they are having a sale.  So after checking out two car yards in the morning, and then taking the boss back in the afternoon, and checking out a third car yard next to the first one we were actually looking at a car in, we actually bought a new ford.  So next Thursday my old XR6 will be replaced by a new Ford.  If I win lotto next Thursday night, I might be back there on Friday getting a new Ford Mustang as well.  While we were buying our car, two couples were each picking up new Ford Mustangs.  Hmmmmm!

Today I went down to the shed for a short period in the afternoon during the Lunch break in the cricket, but it was too hot.  However, I did paint up about eleven tarpaulin tea bags and have set them aside to dry in the shed.  Next week, these will be cut up into two tarpaulins each.  These tarpaulins are destined for my mates who model VR and SAR outlines. 

After that I did check out my timetable from the last operating session.  The next timetable card to pick up is for a 7:20am departure.  We already have a number of trains that are due to arrive at their destination at around 11:00am already completed.  So over the next few weeks, there are about 15 trains that I will need to move about (with some help from some other operators) so the timetable can be reset for an 11:00am restart when I next host an operating session.

Let’s hope that the new year brings us all lots of enthusiasm and we can all continue work on our home or Club layouts, or that special model.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Update From Last Operating Session of the Year on 30th December 2017

On Friday night 29th December, the night before the last Operating Session of the 2017 year, I did some work to cut up and stained about 20 more legs for my goods loading platform for South Brisbane Interstate station.  On Saturday morning, before the session I glued these legs onto the platform.  I also cut up and painted some tie down straps along the end of the wooden platforms, as per a photo I have of the real platform at South Brisbane Interstate Station.
The unloading platform in place at South Brisbane Interstate Station between the platform road and track 3.  The locos off the Brisbane Limited have run forward to run around their train before heading back to Loco Pilly for refuelling.

Saturday dawned and we had another crew gathering turn up for a 1:00pm start.  This time we had two more Victorian modellers.  We had David Head from Melbourne put in an appearance.  It has been a few years since he has been in attendance at one of my Operations Sessions.  PK piked as he said he had to shampoo his beard or some other type of lame excuse.  I think he couldn’t be in the same room as a group of modelling gurus.  Or maybe he was digging the hole for his clothes line?  Maybe we will never know.
Some of the crew - David, Shelton and Greg

We delayed the start of the session by a few minutes as my JMRI bitch was working overtime to get JMRI working properly.  Now I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Greg for persevering with my Pi problems.  Greg loaded a whole new version of JMRI onto the micro-SD card and low and behold, once connected we never had any of our previous issues that we had on the last few versions of JMRI running on my Raspberry Pi connected system.  Greg started with a particular base that someone advertised as being a complete version.  No doubt there was some driver issue or some sort of incompatibility that had crept its way into the previous version that Greg had been maintaining for Raspberry Pi that seemed to work when he connected his Raspberry Pi to his Powercab system, but materialised when connected to my serially connected 5 Amp NCE setup.  Woo Hoo!

The only little inconvenience with this version is that the fast clock with the JMRI set as the master, gets slightly out of sync between the Android engine driver throttles and the NCE procabs.  Now we just need to try and work out if wi-throttles have the ability to show the fast clock time (no one who attends my sessions is rich enough to has an iPhone) and everyone can determine if they are on time or late, running early according to the timetable cards that we run the layout by.  So during the session the two fast clocks drifted slightly apart with the NCE base station loosing time compared to JMRI’s master clock time.  I would have thought that if you made the JMRI system the master, it would have kept the NCE system in sync – that is why you make it the master.  Oh well there is always next time for some more tweaks, and more experimentation.

Saturday’s session was our first timetable Operation to officially include some narrow gauge trains.  I gave the honour to Darryl to run the first narrow gauge timetabled train.  Well considering he brought over all his 12mm rollingstock that honour should have gone to him.  Anyway maybe Darryl should have done some more rigorous testing of some of his wagons a bit before coming over.  Some Southern Rail Models locos had very low cow catchers.  They were almost dragging along the rails.  They kept hitting joins in the track, particularly when there was change in gradient in the layout and that occurs regularly on my layout.  So the cow catchers would get stuck on the join.  Some couplers of wagons had low hanging tangs, and coupler heights did not match the locos.  Lots of issues.  I’d bet that many of the 12mm wagons also had wheels that were out of gauge.  Now not all issues were related to Darryl.  The long section of dual gauge straight track between Acacia Ridge Yard and Clapham Yard has some slight wobbles in it. These wobbles, cause many derailments of the 12mm rollingstock.  So bit by bit, I will attempt to address these and try things out before next time.
The first narrow gauge Wheat Train from Acacia Ridge to Fisherman Islands departs towards Clapham Yard.

Later on in the session, an oil and general goods narrow gauge train is heading towards Fisherman Islands as well.

Well the session was almost over for some before it even started.  It was like an Emergency ward at my place.  Geoff hit his head getting into the car to come over, he had drawn blood from a scratch on his head, complained that he almost saw stars and had a very bad headache.  I know some people will do anything to avoid an Operations Session (like PK was perming his beard today), and then Dave had a hypo (low blood sugar) attack.  We were lucky that Dr Peter was in attendance and those people can expect a bill during the coming week.  Maybe another sound equipped Loco there for you Dr Peter?
This shot shows one of the standard gauge trains heading through the Running Creek tunnels early in the morning.

After Geoff went home with a headache, we had someone take (maybe steal) the mantle that has belonged to him for many a year.  Let me describe Geoff’s previous title.  He was the train stealer.  When he was given the timetable card for the cement train to Murwillumbah, he took the Gold Coast Motorail.  I’m sure blind Freddy could have spotted the difference.  So we kept reminding him of that event.  We now have a new train stealer.  It is our much loved, layout changing, Victorian Modelling mate - Shelton.  You do need thick skin to attend an Operations Session at my place.  Maybe that is why PK bailed?  When Shelton’s timetable card says that his train is a stock train and that the loco number was 8010 on the front, why would someone find another stock train on another track and cross out the 8010 loco number on his timetable card and re-write the timetable card with 4894, then proceed to take 4894 which was meant to go to Kyogle Stock Siding later in the session, but instead Shelton took it to Old Cassino.  Sometimes it is hard to get good drivers.  I know QR currently has a driver shortage – Shelton – Do not apply for any vacancy.  If you do, don’t put me down as your referee – or you will get my standard ‘You would be lucky to have him working for you’ response.

Anyway, the session ran reasonably well except for the 12mm side of things.  I saw three timetable cards with notes, but I can disregard one as someone could not find 8010 on a stock train – did I mention that?  However, that card did note that a wagon had an issue going over a roadway with a low coupler.  So this was addressed and has been double checked.  We had at least two issues, with people entering the same passing loop from different ends at the same time.  That causes a problem or two.  Someone has to back up and re-enter the Loop.  It is also difficult to take the Loop, if you are 2 foot along the Main before you get there to throw the point for the Loop!  I found one rather new timetable card, that the driver could not understand what to do, so I will adjust the card tomorrow to clarify things.  There was the occasional break away of a train.  But I really think these occur when the layout gets bumped at a particular time, as I cannot replicate these issues when I try to reproduce them.  I noticed some issues with drivers being a bit too enthusiastic in removing their headsets from the plug in points and the plug in point almost bending at 45 degrees.  I might have to brace some plug in point a bit more.  That was the cause when some of the plug in points ceased operating, as wires came off the back.  I think I really need a PABX installed, but that will reduce walkway space, and I don’t have a few hundred dollars to replace my headsets that are probably almost nearing end of life anyway. 
Now that is 8010 on a stock train.

Gee I must have an understanding and fabulous wife!  She doesn’t see me for a few days over this holiday period as I’m down the shed working on things, but she prepares afternoon tea for our two Operations Sessions crews over the last week and also the previous Tuesday Nighters.  I think she is a keeper.

There has been some suggestions made about the 12mm tracks at Acacia Ridge, and I have already actioned some work on that on Sunday (new year's eve) afternoon.  I have almost fixed up the ballast train timetable card mis-read from yesterday’s session.  The biggest repair that needs to be made following Saturday’s session is that a point at the southern end of Border Loop is stuffed and needs to be replaced.  That is a bit of a bugger, as the point is ballasted in.  So I will need to visit Ray’s shop next weekend and see if he has a replacement point.  So in the meantime, Border Loop has been booked out of use as a crossing loop, so the layout is still operable.  The point has been clipped for the Main Line.  Superglue was used to try and stabilise the point and seems to be working.
The one ballast wagon left at Nammoona Ballast Siding during the session.

The rest of the train was positioned at Fairy Hill Loop.

What should have happened, the ballast train should have loaded at Nammoona Ballast Siding.

The single ballast wagon that does not fit into the Nammoona Ballast siding, has to bide its time at Fairy Hill Loop, until the rest of the train is loaded, then it heads back and gets loaded in a short period of free time between other trains.  It then progresses around the layout dumping ballast at various locations.

The troublesome point on the southern entry to Border Loop.  It has been clipped to lie for the Main.

I also addressed an issue at Clapham Yard where a narrow gauge train of grain wagons was hitting a steel piano wire actuator that was sticking up about an inch above the peco actuator connected to the point motor which was set off to the side of the track.  So the steel actuation wire was trimmed off today.  Also a few of the narrow gauge points in Clapham Yard that are manually actuated via a steel piano wire from the facia also had their actuating wire up thought the middle of the point trimmed off lower, as the Southern Rail Models locos kept hitting the steel wire.  My narrow gauge locos do not have that problem.

There were some clean up activities undertaken following the session.  The errant stock train at Old Cassino was returned to Grafton Loops and replaced by the correct stock train (located in the next staging track powered by 8010).  No one will ever know about this event!  While conducting this move, it became apparent that the Oil train which was to leave 3 oil pots and an open wagon at the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding only had 3 oil wagons there, and the Lismore Shell Oil Siding had an extra open wagon in residence.  So I did a bit of a shunt to move the open wagon (loaded with oil drums and cases back to Old Cassino siding which had a case store.  Also one of the Shell tankers that was due to be placed in at Old Cassino was at Lismore.  So I 0-5-0’ed that wagon back to its proper location.  Again no one will ever know about this mix-up.  Also the Loco 44100 from the Cement train to Murwillumbah was also parked in the Norco Siding instead of the headshunt, so this was amended as well.
The fixed up Oil train in Lismore's Shell Oil Siding.

The correct contents of the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Operations Session from 27th December

We had 8 crew and an apprentice turn up for the Operations Session for Wednesday 27th December.  We almost had more Victorian modellers in attendance than NSW modellers.  I might have to start imposing sanctions on Victorian Modellers if they keep multiplying.  It didn’t start well when Greg declared JMRI a failure and we had to resort to Procabs and Procab-Rs only.  Arthur diligently sat in the North Coast Controller’s chair for 3 hours and had trains running smoothly.  Well we ran 37 trains to completion.  It seemed that towards the end of the session, the crew just sat down as the clock neared the end of the session, not wanting to start a train and leave it out on the layout just before a break for crib. I was the only person operating, with the rest just watching me, and Arthur directing.

Now there were about 7 issues registered from the session.  One 80’ container wagon lost a coupling.  So the 0-5-0 hand of god removed the troublesome wagon (for later fixing) and operations continued.  The North Coast Motorail was listed twice as having bad couplers (mismatched coupler heights) - once traveling to Murwillumbah and once travel from Murwillumbah.  I’ve gone and checked things out on Thursday and everything lines up?  I gave it a run and it works OK now.  Maybe someone adjusted something during the session.  I super glued the coupling back on the wagon and returned the wagon to the train.  I fixed up a loco with dirty wheels, and took a file to two pieces of track that were slightly out of height alignment.  So that was not a bad result from the Operations Session.  However, when the session completed, there were still 12 trains to run.

So on Thursday afternoon, I ran 5 trains and advanced the fast clock from 6:30pm in the timetable until 8:00pm.  I also slewed the last 40 cm of number three track in South Brisbane Interstate Yard by about 4-5mm and now the new wooden unloading platform that I made during the Christmas break sits on the other side of trains in the station platform at South Brisbane Interstate and between track 3 on the other side.  I still need to add a few more legs to the modelling platform and add some more detail to the deck, but for all intents and purposes, it is all complete.

On Friday I had 4 people over, Lefty (and Son would have also been over if he didn’t work all night doing oncall), Arthur, Marty (NMRA Div 1 super) and Shelton.  Well wouldn’t you know it – two more Victorian Modellers. We took the timetable from 8:00pm up until midnight.  Had a coffee or cold drink and had a bit of a chat.  So that meant that the timetable had been completed successfully.  Apparently Lefty advised that he did not know the various locations were and where the various control panels are for each location.  But that is natural for people with very little experience on the layout.

On Friday arvo I ripped up two sweeping dual gauge curves that I had laid between Acacia Ridge Yard and Clapham Yard.  These were laid with my own scratch built dual gauge track.  It was HO flex track on which I soldered up a third rail of code 83 to make it dual gauge. On Wednesday morning I placed an order with Queensland Scale Models for some lengths of Tillig dual gauge track.  What service – it turned up on Friday morning.  So the new dual gauge track was substituted for the home made dual gauge that kept causing my 12mm trains to derail around the bend, as I could not keep it in gauge.  It worked on some other areas on the layout, but not at these two locations.  I then ran my narrow gauge train between Clapham and Acacia Ridge and back.  I also found one narrow gauge siding at Acacia Ridge that was not wired, so out came the drill and the soldering iron and voila – that is now fixed.
Just after Christmas 2017, and looky here.  Santa has turned up for an Operations Session.

At Border Loop, a ballast train waits for another train to overtake.

This scene shows a photo from the web, that I have tried to replicate in my scene at Border Loop.
Here is the freight train to South Brisbane Interstate coming through on the main at Border Loop.

Further north, the freight train has made it to Acacia Ridge Yard.

Some activity on Fairy Lane, an ambulance is passing a scene of some roadwork.

Just nearby Fairy Hill Loop, a triple loco set powers a long container north towards Fisherman Islands.  It is passing Ron and Marg's B&B.

Looks like PK is staying a night in the bedroom and Lefty is trying to work out what PK is doing.  maybe Lefty is taking notes.

At Acacia Ridge Yard, two trains from the Ops Session are visible.  The Ballast Tamper on track 5 and the ARHS sponsored CPH with trailer doing a run from South Brisbane Interstate Platform to Kyogle platform and return.  It is captured here heading back to South Brisbane.
Oh Look, a stock train lead by 4894.  It is here at Nammoona.  Remember this fact for a future up coming post.

The Stock Train at Nammoona from another angle.

On the facia of the layout are a collection of Tea Bag Tarpaulins before they were cut down to HO size.  These ones are being made in Victorian and SAR colours for my modelling mates.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone

This week we had 11 guys visit Cassino on Tuesday Nighter for our fortnightly meeting.  We met in a rather hot shed, where the guys wandered around to see what had changed since their last visit.  This was actually Cliff’s first visit to the Shed.  He was blown away by what was there.  We found out the Cliff was a former copper stationed at Casino many years ago, and he could associate with some of the scenes.  It is a small world isn't it.

Saturday I went over to the Club to assist with the fixing of a short occurring on a diamond crossing from Tillig that handles the crossing of 12mm and 16.5mm track.  When I got there the guys had advised that they had figured out how to wire the piece of track.  When they described their method, I agreed with them that they had it correct.  A bit later we tried to run a train through the track and it did not work.  I think they better start from scratch and disconnect all the wires from where they are currently connected.  They need to then connect one wire at a time and check with a multimeter.  Sometimes it is hard to get good help.

The main reason for venturing over to the other side of the universe - sorry town, was to attend a running session at Mark's Place.  His layout is called Arden Street.  It is very nice and is coming along very well.  It is heavily geared towards operation.  It has a card system where you draw some cards and then make up various trains based on the cards up to a maximum wagon length.  It is certainly a tester for the brain, both in the creation of the train list and putting the train together and then shunting that train and bringing back any returns.  While it was reasonably warm in the train room, I think most of the sweat that I produced was from the brain working overtime to solve the shunting puzzles created for each operation.  

Today I went down to the shed and run a narrow gauge train from Acacia Ridge to Clapham and around Clapham yard to test out the track.  I have two operations sessions scheduled for this coming week.  Next Saturday will have my first narrow gauge trains running.  That could be a problem, as some of the dual gauge track that I scratch built around two very large curves are causing some issues.  We will see.

I also ran my track cleaning train from Clapham Yard to Acacia Ridge and back, then all around Clapham Yard, then back all the way back to Grafton.  It gave me no issues at all, so the track seemed to be rather clean.  It must be the Wahl oil I have a been using lately, although I did give it another coating.

Everything is currently set for Wednesday's first Operations Session.

I will leave you with some photos of yesterday's successful Operating Session with Mark and Anthony at Arden Street.
Five industries are situated along this stretch of track.  This is where most of the current shunting takes place.  The track work is about to be slightly changed here.

I need one of these gantry cranes for Rockla Sleeper Siding.  This has given me some ideas on how to build one.

The loco depot after which the layout is named.

The two other operators.  Layout owner Mark on the right and fellow Mexican modeller Anthony on the left.

This time Anthony turned around for a look.   He is busy writing up the next shunt for the me the pilot to take around the layout.

This is the originating yard where all trains are made up from.  Apparently it is about to be widened by another maybe 2 or 3 tracks.

The industries are taking shape.

Some shunting taking place at the local flour mill.  There is also the possibility that the layout will be extended off to the left out through the door, with another yard on wheels located around the corner so some mainline trains can enter and leave the layout.  This will simulate locations farther west.

The harvester company has a lot of wagons in its siding.  It is possible that the trackwork here may be slightly tweaked.

The diagram of the Yard.

Looking out to the main line (if you call it that) from the yard.  There are even two NSWGR wagons on the layout - providing steel plate to the harvester company.

These buildings are going to look great when the are completed.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you enjoy some relaxing time off work, and spend it with those people that mean the most to you.  Tell them how much they mean to you and just have a great time.  Stay safe if you are travelling.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Santa Has Come Early

After a fantastic week away from work on holidays down the coast with the family the previous week, my mood suddenly took turn to horrific, when I had to go back to work, and stuff-up after stuff-up was uncovered when I got back to work.  I just think I am surrounded by turkeys and they are not the edible types.  Well it truly was a bad week back at work.  Anyway, I left early on Friday and a group of us ventured over to Brendan’s for a BBQ and a modelling night.  In attendance were Geoff, Darren, Grover, Anthony and of course myself and Brendan.  Dinner was great.  Besides BBQ snags, we also had some kebabs and a bit of a salad.  We again spent quite a bit of time just talking, looking at Brendan’s progress on his VR layout and did I mention talking.  Oh of course we may have a coldie or two or three while we were talking.  The night ended up why Brendan producing a mango cheese cake (made by his better half) and we had a great time demolishing most of that.  And no we did not get to any modelling.  

To put a big U turn on my week, later in the evening, Brendan presented all of those in attendance with a Christmas gift.  Wow.  Totally unexpected and out of the blue.  I received a KLY wagon and a NSW North Coast DVD.  Damn Brilliant.  Thanks for the present Santa Brendan.

Saturday started off with a mow of the grass as it was starting to look pretty overgrown after not being touched for two weeks.  This was followed by a trip to a local Umart to pick up my new Raspberry Pi and a power supply.  Next up was a trip east to my next appointment for a stop off at a burger bar over near Anthony’s place where 6 of his Operating Crew gathered for a Christmas Lunch.  About 50 minutes later, 5 or the 6 were back at Anthony’s for his regular Operating Session.  Luckily I was admitted, because I left my radio throttles at home.  Oops!  Sorry I won’t do that again.

The Operating Session at Anthony’s was another great one.  I won’t admit to doing a ‘Craig’ with my first train = np one noticed anyway.  I also will not admit to not swapping over the loco cards on another of my trains when I did an engine swap at Tatiara Downs.  But I slipped back and quietly returned the cards to their correct place without anyone knowing.  However, I did see the owner driving his loco down the grain loading siding, way past the outloader, in contravention of his operating rules. 

When the session ended, we always sit down and have a chat.  Anthony then produced a bottle of wine each for his Christmas crew.  A very nice gesture indeed.  Thanks Santa Anthony.

Today after cleaning the pergola and the outdoor setting for next Tuesday night’s gathering at my place, I went down to the shed and wired up my new Raspberry Pi that I picked up on Saturday.  It fired up in seconds.  I changed the settings, rebooted and I was away.  However, I still have issues with my wifi devices not responding when I tell them to do something.  Well it is starting to look a lot like it is the wifi dongle.  Damn.  I may be able to swap mine for another as a trial, to determine if that is actually the cause.  I have an upcoming operating session, so I might have to seek some assistance to remove the external wifi dongle and use the internal wifi in the new Raspberry Pi.  There is more than one way to skin a cat.  However, I don’t know how to do this type of work.  So the Pi will now be packed back up and wrapped up and put under the tree for another week.

As said previously Tuesday is the last get together for our Tuesday Nighter’s group before Christmas and indeed New Year, but Santa will not be present unlike the two other events mentioned above.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 RMCQ Christmas Party

Well another club event has been run and boy was it a very nice day yesterday at the Club.

In the lead up to Saturday, I spent the last week down the coast with the family and was able to relax going to the beach each day and having fantastic weather.  I did not get up to much modelling activity but I did relax by doing a bit of reading and a bit of tennis with my son.  There was cricket on TV for the first 5 days and I could not get motivated until Thursday, when I decided to try and decal my FAM coach.  I knew that the decals I was going to use were old, and I had heard many stories about people using old decals, and thought that was not going to happen to me.  Well I was very wrong.  The decals just disintegrated in water after 3-4 seconds.  That was a bit of a shame.  I texted the boss who was out shopping asking her to pick up some clear nail polish (you can never have too much of that stuff).  Upon her return I coated the next lots of decals with the clear nail polish and allowed then to dry.  So on Friday I then tried re-decaling the FAM coach and low and behold, the decals did not disintegrate.  I did have trouble separating the decal film from the backing paper, but eventually with a little persuasion the decals came away and they were able to be positioned on the coach.  However, I then had the decal resting on something when I turned the coach over and that stuffed up the decal.  That is a newbie issue that I just slapped myself for.  So my coach went from being a pristine coach to a dilapidated coach with the decaling half coming off the wagon.  Oh well – I could model that.

My next task was to complete about a dozen 6’ x 4’ box trailers.  Basically all I had to do was fit the axle and the wheel hubs to each wagon.  So after an hour or so, that was complete.  However, my plan to paint the trailers a nice new silver colour down the coast, came to a thundering halt.  It was blowing a gale on Friday afternoon, I was going to do it over at the beach so that was not possible and I certainly was not going to do it in the unit we were staying in.  So on Saturday morning, after getting home from the coast, I went down to the shed and set up a base to paint on, and then I spray the collection of trailers.  I then let then dry and after about 40 minutes, I placed a selection of 20' x 10' sheets of concrete reo into my 40’ container flat and added 8 of my 6’ x 4’ trailers to the load.

It was then time to head over to the Christmas Party.  As I said earlier, it was a very nice day.  No traffic on the way to the Clubrooms.  Not too hot, and there was a nice breeze blowing.  There were about 8 tables set up in the Club meeting area, with table cloths and Christmas decorations on each table.  I added my donations to the various Christmas Hampers and purchased my non winning tickets for the various drawers to be undertaken later. 

We had a very nice sit down lunch of cold meats and various torts.  A fantastic feast to end a year.  Thanks must go to the organisers of the food and setup of the Clubrooms.

I had three of the Auscision Coil Wire Wagons to sell, and the first person I spoke to about buying some, said “Yep, I’ll take three”.  Well that was easy.  I unloaded my modelling competition entries onto a table and that became the modelling comp table.  Of course I had a cold drink in one hand while I was doing this job.  I then went around and started to advise members, that there was a model of PK on the modelling table.  I just wanted to get a few laughs.  Everyone did!

I must admit that our Club member Greg, certainly put in in preparing the Club Modelling competition for the Annual Christmas Party and I was totally disillusioned that only Greg and myself put in entries.  I thought it was really poor form by the other members.  I know people are busy, but the members must have worked on something during the year.  I know that there are some fantastic modellers in the Club, so my goal now is to try and convert a club full of plonkers into about 10 to 15 people each putting in an entry in next year’s modelling competition.

Well on that subject, this year with so few entries, everything rolled up into two categories.  These were Dioramas, and the People’s Choice.  Greg did a really good effort on his oil depot diorama and I thought that my model of PK’s shed might cause enough of a stir to get the popular vote by our members.  How wrong was I.  It turned out that I won both trophies with my Chicken Coop entry.  I was very happy, but I bit embarrassed that I had 5 out of the 6 entries on display.

So my attention now turns to planning for my Operating Sessions that are scheduled for the week after Christmas.  I will need to clean the track, ensure the timetable cards are ready, the trains are in the right spots for when we start the session and the food and drinks are ready.  I might also have to clear the desk used by North Coast Control and update the train magnets in case the controller wants to use them to track the trains on the day.

I have also been doing some more work on planning for my presentation at next year’s Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention presentation.  I will create two identical base boards over the Christmas break to start things rolling.
My 40' Container Flat with a load of concrete reo mesh sheets and 8 of my 6' x 4' box trailers

My FAM coach with had windows added and while hard to see, had venetian blinds added to the insides of all windows 

A rail side view of my scratch built Old Cassino goods shed.

A view of the road side of the Old Cassino goods shed.

PK's Shed with his clothes line.  PK's neighbour's dog is hanging from the clothes line after grabbing onto an old skipping rope.  PK is the guy drinking with a huge white Santa type beard sitting on the ground.  The Other guy is his neighbour.
Greg's Oil Depot.  It had working gates.
A view of the whole diorama of the oil depot.

Greg's enhanced kit turned into a diorama.  It will eventually be installed on the Club Layout.

A shot from another side.

The oil depot on the layout.

Another view from the layout.

Yet another view from the layout.

And another.  There are also cracks in the bitumen base that the oil depot has laid.  Even some weeds growing behind the shed.

One More!

The Chicken Coop.  The hen house (obscured by the apple tree in this shot) has a ramp up to the pen house for the chickens to walk up, and the door on the pen door does actually pivot/swing back and forth.  The chicken are all over the place with some inside and some outside the pen.