Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Good Time to Travel to Melbourne

Well I spent 4 1/2 days in Melbourne this week at a conference with 2 other people from work, and 2 ex-workmates. I think I did actually learn something and I have some things to do over the next few weeks because of attendance at the conference. The trip down started by being dropped off at Coopers Plains Railway Station for the Airtrain to Domestic Airport Station. That takes about 1 hour. Thinking it was going to cost me $21.10, I tagged on and off and it was not until I got back to work on the Friday to check my Go-Card online and I saw that I was charged $9.42. That had me complexed. But because I used a go-card - I get the 10% discount and should only pay $18.99. Now given that this is my 11th trip during the week I, get a 50% discount. So I only got charged $9.42. Absolute bargain for going to the airport! Lucky I did not have any days off during the week, as I would have been charged the full fare of $18.99. Considering it was about $100 by taxi with tolls for the trip home, as the last train had already left for the evening. Luckily I did not have the conference this week as I may not have left Brisbane as flights into and out of Melbourne have been suspended due to volcanic dust from South America.

Although it was cold, windy, rainy and there was even hail in Melbourne, I spent the whole time inside at the conference (except at night when we hit the restaurents etc.) in a short sleeve shirt.  The conference finished on Thursday afternoon, so I hightailed it over to the city from the Crown Paladium to check out the hobby shops in the city before making my way back to the airport. First stop was The Railfan Shop. They certainly have a large collection of magazines and books, but nothing that interested me. I can certainly get all my magazines from subscriptions and my local hobby shops. Next stop was the Victorian Hobby Centre in Swanston Street. This is a hobby shop. It has quite a collection of train stuff, like styrene, scenic material, trees, glues and Noch type people. I almost bought a few more packets of the Noch naughty figures for scenes for my layout, but I will leave that for another time. They certainly had a collection of Victorian locos available. Next stop was around the corner and across the road at Hearns Hobbies. Again, a large collection, lots of the foreign stuff from the UK and US and mostly Victorian outline. So back over to the hotel, picked up a travel buddy (someone had to pay for the taxi and buy the beers back at the airport while we waited for our flights) and eventually back to Brisbane.

Saturday was Club Day. I went over to the Club and after the meeting we started to mark out a grid on the floor in the HO shed extension so we can start to show where the layout will go. We have our resident retired architects working on ways to support the bottom and top decks of the layout. No sense in wasting all this talent in the club. I hope to get around to drawing a larger scale drawing of the various parts of the layout before the next meeting. I may even draw in the layout bearers and beams as I did on my layout so we can have discussions on how to support the layout.

Today I got down to the shed for about an hour. I was finally tracing Cat-5 cable from the new North Coast Control location to the area for the Grafton and Acacia Ridge Yard Controller's location. The cable goes through a central patch area next to my shed switch box. So I finally installed my switch box and soldered the two cables together. I now have end to end connectivity. I just need to extend the cable at the Yard end and build a panel, and similarly at the NCC end.

I have been enlisted by one the the Tuesday Nighters to install some decoders into 5 of his locos and at the same time put in some LED headlights. That should not be a problem, except that they are Athearn Locos and I just hate that these old locos don't have an isolated motor. I hope to get a fewdone before next Tuesday night as that is Tuesday Nighters. The next meeting is at the Mewes Residence where we will get to see if Lefty and Son have progressed since we were last there. It was great that my conference was scheduled in the week between Tuesday Night sessions. What a great piece of luck.

So I attacked the first loco this afternoon after coming up from the shed. As I removed the motor, its retaining lugs disintergrated. As I was soldering a wire to the clip at the bottom of the motor, the clip spray loose and so did the spring in the motor. Luckily that was found under my chair and everything was re-assembled and the loco tested on DC. It seems to run OK. I need to attach the decoder and headlight with Blutak and test it on DCC tomorrow. I then started on a second loco. This was pretty easy as well. It too works well on DC and I will also attach the decoder and the front and rear headlights with Blutak and test it on DCC tomorrow. While I was testing the motor, it was separated from the drive trucks. As I applied power to the wheels the motor started spinning - that was a good sign. However, the universal went 'Twang' that was not a good sign. That was a Johnny Josephson Moment.  Those outside our Club will not know about Johnny Josephson.  Johnny is small man in stature, deaf as a post from industrial deafness, the brunt of many of our jokes, but a great  happy guy and a fantastic modeller.  He has the driest sense of humour and he used to write modelling articles for our Club Magazine.  I used to read his articles when I was publishing the mag and I would just sit there, proff read his article and absolutely wet myself and just cry tears of joy and hyperventalate.  I would have to walk away and have a drink of water in case I suffered dehidration from loosing all that water, besides I could not focus on his articles as my eyes were flooded with tears.  His stories where top shelf stuff.  We were there modelling with him.  We always read his articles slowly just how Johnny would describe stories to us - slowly.  He had us mesmorised.  Johnny would be cutting off airhorns from an N scale loco shell and twang - they were destined never to be scene again.  Johnny used to scratchbuild grills outside motors in N scale.  They were just brilliant.  One of his better stories was when Johnny was making either 10 or 20 RU wagons in N scale.  He had cut out some 200 pieces of guitar strings for steps and hand rails for his string of wagons.  When he set about fitting them to the first wagon, he found out, they were all short by about 2mm.  But in his dry wit style, he said 'Well they were only short one end'.  The worst thing he did was tell us about it.  In the next issue of the magazine, he had an ad selling the short 'at one end' steps and handrails.  That cracked us up even more.  Anyway back to my story - about 1 hour later I found that missing part of the universal on the kitchen bench about 7 or 8 feet from the kitchen table. So it was reattached and all is now well.  I should be able to do at least another loco tomorrow afternoon.

We might be able to give them a run on Lefty and Son's layout on Tuesday night.  See you next week.

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