Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back On the Layout Front

While away with the boys last weekend, in Armidale, talk on one occasion turned to communication from the signal box to the Controller/dispatcher. I already have communication via my staff machines betwen adjacent signal boxes, but not back to the Main Control. This position will not always be filled during an operating session but when it is, this person will have the responsibility of ensuring that trains run smoothly and the flow of trains occurs. One of the options available to me for this communication was small hand held CB radio's but that will actually broadcast to the real world outside the shed. Another option was also a real phone system, but being able to install a phone at each crossing loop will certainly take up some real estate in the already narrow aisles. I must admit that I was not looking forward to pulling some old phones apart and make the required alterations to get them working in my home layout phone system.  The Logan District Model Railway Club had one of these setups in their clubrooms for their HO operating layout. They had phones at each crossing loop and a party line setup back to the Controller in a seperate room. It was fun operating on this (many years ago) when I had the opportunity to do so.

As a further simplication to the above phone method, I then thought that either the train operators could take their phones with them in the form of a cheap headset and they plug in via an RCA plug at each loop in order to talk to the Controller, or there could be a small speaker and microphone adjacent to each staff machine. The drivers just pushes a button to talk to the controller.

I will think about these options over the next few weeks. But it would really be good to finish one project before the next starts - just for once. That is not what normally occurs at my place. I am just half way through installing the staff machines, so maybe I will finish this first and then start thinking about the communication situation.

Well the envisaged running night for last night was cancelled as the daughter was off at her dance concert with the boss and I had to remain in the house while the son was pushing out z's. The girls did not get home until late so it was a smart move to cancel. Anyway, we have pushed the running session back one week, but already I have had an apology as Geoff has something else on. Damn! Geoff - Tell the wife you are sick and can't go out and after she goes out - come over. Just be back before she gets back - sounds good in theory!

So yesterday morning and this afternoon I spent some time in the shed. Some more plaster was being slapped on between Border Loop and the Risk. I plan to finish the next 'hard to get at' location next Saturday morning/afternoon so next Saturday night the running session guys will see the top deck almost completely plastered. So my planned deadline for December 2010 for the whole top deck being sceniced at a basic level may well be achieved yet. Although I am out of plaster again so I might have to nick down to Bunnings one night this week for my next 20kg bag of plaster.

On Thursday this week, PK gave me an old DSD100LC soundtraxx decoder. I already have one of these installed in a 44 Class loco. I will pay him on Monday for this, as I won some money on Lotto on Saturday. This will go into one of my new 44 Class Locos that I ordered on Saturday morning from Tom's and hopefully should turn up on Tuesday to show the Tuesday Nighters. The second loco will eventually receive an ALCO Tsunami decoder later this month when I save up some more money. I could not resist buying 2 more 44 class locos as some are on special at the moment for $150 each. I decided to cancel my intended order for about 20 Auscision Coil Steel wagons, so this made room in the budget. I think I will now only end up with 4 coil steel wagons, unless I have another win in Lotto.

This week I will try and post a few photos from our Dorrigo trip.

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