Sunday, November 27, 2011

Additional Storage for Trays

Thursday afternoon this week I headed out to Bunnings to pick up three lengths of 2.4m Aluminium angle ($1.70 each) used in plastering. Saturday I cut these up into 40cm lengths with a pair of tin snips and cleaned the edges up with a file. I then punched two holes through one of the sides of the angle about 1/2 an inch from the end in the middle of the side. This allows me to screw through the hole to fit the aluminium angle to my table frame and use the angle as shelf runners. I installed 9 shelves into my little cabinet, which is the extension of my dispatchers panel desk. I did this to get some of my storage trays out of the way and off various desks, chairs and kitchen bench top space in the shed.

The storage facility with 8 of the tray locations in use.  the bottom one is empty.  Number 7 and 8 are further apart for storing larger items

I liked how well this small table top and shelf storage area worked, that I’m thinking about installing another cabinet or two under the layout in various locations. On Saturday afternoon, I got my tray making jig out again and started putting together the first 2 of my next lot of 6 trays that have been sitting on my shed floor, again getting tripped over from time to time.  These kits which our Club sells for $2 have been sitting around for what must have been 12 months. I will see if I can get motivated to finish these off this week at night.

I had David come over to collect his first lot of decoder fitted locos. There were four wire in ones and three different plug in ones. There were three locos that I looked at, scratched my head, and gave up as a bad joke. I won’t touch them. Either there is no space available to fit a decoder, or the wheels are wired to the frame and it looks like the frame connects to one of the sides of the motor. I’ll say it again. Damn Hornby Steam locos – I hate them!  I must admit that some of then do look reasonable.

On Friday night we had a Christmas Event at School. On arrival home, the first part of the Saturday paper was already thrown in. I checked in the Weekend Shopper section as I always do. I thought, Sh!t the photo on page 1 looks familiar – Oh It’s Baker Farm’s. Apparently there was a story on Page 3. So I turned the page and there were two more photos one of the track laying crew at the southern end of Fairy Hill Loop, and the other as Lefty called it, “There was this bearded countenance leering at me over the top of a model railway” and “He almost choked on his weeties”. Mind you I had you look “counterance” up in the dictionary. I assume you know these things if you are learned like Lefty – it means ‘Face’. “How Rude!” I’d describe it as a good looking bloke showing off his radio NCE DCC with a couple of trains passing at the Northern end of Fairy Hill Loop with some details of Fairy Hill Farm also in the photo.

Today I started dabling in the shed.  I realised that I can store three more trays in an existing storage cupboard that I've had for years.  But I need another length of Plaster's angle from Bunnings.

My old storage facility where I will store three trays on runners.  I know there are four here, but one I put space between the shelves, it will only fit three.

I then started making another tray storage facility that will fit under the layout.  I will have to pull this apart and remake it as there is not enough room for the trays to slide on the runners.  Again I will need another half a dozen lengths of Plaster's angle for the runners.  I will finish this storage facility in the Christmas - New Year break.
The next item I'm making
I have a weeks holiday coming up with truck loads to do at work before I go.  I hope I can finish all the tasks I need to do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday was Bring a Model Train to Work Day

This week on Wednesday afternoon, I had the exam that I had been cramming for for the last 2 weeks.  It was an absolute nightmare.  I thought I got a reasonable mark in the first part, but I was worried about part 2.   Luckily I passed with a score of 80% averaged for both parts 1 and 2. That was a big relief as I was worried about not passing part 2. So that meant that things are about to get back to normal at work, except for the couple of tenders that I'm working on at work at the moment.  Three actually. Two I am writing and about to release and one I’m responding to. My issue is the other bozos aren't doing much of the work, particularly on the one I'm responding to. With a bit of luck we will still get over the line.

Well last Thursday I took my Powercab, a circle of track and a tsunami equipped 44 Class to work to set up for Friday – which was Bring a Model Train to Work Day. So on Thursday and Friday I ran a few trains at work and showed off the Powercab and my 44 Class.  Most were impressed and lots asked questions.  Quite a few wanted to know how fast would it go.

The 44 Class with headlight on, pulling 2 ballast wagons on the desk at work

The circle of track, the train and the powercab sitting on a spare desk.  I needed to support a section of the track so it could do the full circle.

Today I got down to the shed and pottered around. I fixed the issue with the track levels north of the Cassino Meatworks and into the tunnel in that area, as it transitions to the hidden helix. I packed the track and now there is a smooth vertical transition into the helix.  I ran my container train with the 80' wagons from Grafton yard to that point and went back and forth a few times at various speeds to give it a good test.  I then reversed that train set all the way back to Grafton Yard and the train set ran very well. I then ran the paper train from Grafton Yard to Acacia Ridge Yard and return. That ran well until a bogie came off running through Cassino. As I adjust the wagon heights with KD washers on some of my older wagons, the bite left on the screws holding the bogies in place is getting less and less. So eventually they work their way out and Bang, Scrape, Grind!  The trains gets put into emergency and the fast response crew has to make teh train usable again.  The mobile fitter gets called out, the derailed wagon in question gets jacked up (0-5-0'ed) and the bogie and bogie screw replaced.  The train can then resume its travels.  I added another 3 wagons small lourve vans to the end of this train.  This makes this train quite tight in most crossing loops and probably over length for Kyogle.  I may have to move the points at Kyogle eventually about 4"-6" if this trains ever does any crossings at this location.  As this train ran through Fairy Hill Loop, I saw that the train that was sitting in that loop - the down empty fruit express to Acacia Ridge - left over from the last running session, could also take another two wagons.  So these were also added.  I just hope that when all these trains get back to their starting location, they all fit into their originating sidings.

After the run, I also started building a small table to sit to the right of the North Coast Control desk. This is basically an extension to the desk top.  Under this small table, I intend to fit about 8 (maybe more) of my storage trays on metal runners so I can put a few things that I’m working on, out of harms way when we have a running session. the trays are the ones our Club sells for $2 to members.  The last time we cut up some we did about 120.  But they have now all gone I think.  I have stacks of them at home and still another 5 of these kits to put together.  I will pick up some aluminium angle during the week from the local Bunnings Warehouse.  I use this as draw runners.  It works very well.

Next Saturday I've opened my house to the Club so they can see how I've built my layout - the decks, the helix, the blobs, the peninsula, etc. before they launch into building the HO layout at the Club.  Hopefully a few will turn up and it will give them an idea of one way of doing this.  I expect they will go to at least one other member's home to check out how he does the work as well.
I think I will try and fit a few decoders to a few of Dave's locos during the week.  See ya next week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Southern Spirit, Decoders and Upgraded Points

Quite a mixed weekend for me this weekend.  Saturday morning started with a trip to a local park with my young apprentice to photograph the Southern Spirit.  The train was supposed to get to Acacia Ridge from Roma Street at 10:00am.  We got to the park with about 10 minutes to spare.  When I fired up the camera, there was no SD card in it!  The boss had taken it and and as usual had not returned it. Curse!

Well 10:30am had rolled around, and the apprentice was bored.  My offsider took some photos with his cheap camera and I took some photos of a few trees (using the built in camera memory) while waiting. 

The apprentice getting ready to capture the train

Where we hoped the Southern Spirit might appear

A few trees to try and replicate on the layout

So after being fed up with the constant whinging about going home, we went home with no fish.  After dropping him off at home, I then heading out to the local hobby shop to stock up on decoders for the Club, I went via boundary road overbridge for a peek into Acacia Ridge Yard.  Sure enough the Southern Spirit was still sitting on the main line there at 11:00am.

So later that day, I installed some KD's on a mate from the Club's 81 Class loco, and I also installed a drop in decoder into one of David's pommy trains.  Today, in between sessions of study, I installed three more decoders (hard wired) into some more of david's pommy locos.  After lunch and another session of study, I went down to the shed for a relaxing session of replacing the two medium radius points at the Southern end of Border Loop, with two large radius points.  This involved a bit of track modification as the points are different dimensions - funny that!

I then ran my test train No. 1 container from Grafton Yard through to Acacia Ridge (while traversing both tracks at Border Loop) and then around the return loop at Acacia Ridge and then back again.  That solved the issues at Border Loop.  I discovered another track anomoly in one of the roads in Acacia Ridge Yard tracks and that was fixed with some packing.  I have also spotted another issue at the exit of Cassino Meatworks siding and the entry into the tunnel at the start of the helix there.  That will be fixed next weekend, when I might actually have some more time on my hands as I will have completed the exam I'm studying for this week. 

Now back to the books and a few trial exams for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Posting, Chipping and Today's Buy and Sell

This weekend there has not been much train shed related activity. I have to spend the next 10 days or so studying for a test I need to undertake next Wednesday week for work. So yesterday I moved a few things down to the shed from the house and brought a few up that I was trying to sell at our Club’s Buy and Sell today. I also nicked out to the Post Office to post some items that I sold on e-bay and also pick up a roundhouse kit from Anton’s that the postie tried must have tried to deliver on Friday while the Boss was out.  This roundhouse kit looks real nice.

Yesterday Dave came over with a tub full of locos he wanted to get decoders installed into. I think 7 are just drop-in’s but I need to work out what ones will fit. There are at least another 5 or 6 locos that need to have a hardwired decoder put in. The decoder cost alone would tip Greece over the edge to bankruptcy, let along my huge installation fee. 

So back to the Anton’s kit for the roundhouse. A couple of years ago I started my own model of the Casino Roundhouse for my Cassino layout. This has sat on the layout untouched for quite some time. I need to make a sub base for the inspection pits and install the tracks leading to the roundhouse. While I was scratchbuilding this, I decided that I might get a kick along by using a kit to assist. I intend to spend some time over the Christmas – New Year period working on this item. I might even get the track in the Cassino Loco area laid properly and operational. That would allow me to store some locos and some service wagons in that area.

So today at the Buy and Sell I managed to sell a couple of items, and I have managed to acquire my two required large radius left hand points to replace two medium radius points at Border Loop.  There was quite a good selection of items for sale and a good number of purchasers.  The BBQ was doing a roaring trade as was the cold drink stand.  I must admit a few people asked if was I Craig from Craig's Shed or introduced themselves as a follower.  I have to comment on a number of very well painted and weathered NSW models on sale.  There were the fantasticly weathered 44100 and 8041 locos, that if I didn't already have those numbered locos, and if I had the dollars in my pocket I would have purchased them without a second thought.  They were first class!  They were with 10 brilliantly weathered petrol tankers that were well priced and another dozen or so standard NSW wagons - louvres, opens, etc.  They would look great on any NSW layout and would fetch top dollar on ebay.  These items are of the quality that Dean from the Rails in Scale blog and Sparksey from the Sparksey4869modeltrains blog do.

I also had a good talk to two of our Toowoomba friends, Bill and Smithy.  I invited these guys down on 27th December with the rest of their Toowoomba NSW mates, to a running day with my normal crew.

Also PK just sent me a link for a Youtube video from the Ipswich Exhibition last weekend.  There is a good looking bloke just after the 45 second mark.  PK is also visible as well - but was out of focus.

Next week in between studying, I intend to replace the two points at Border Loop.