Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week Ending with a Running Session

A few different things occured this week on the modelling front.  On Australia Day I spent some time in the shed in the afternoon. Although I'm way off laying track in this area, I was deciding how to make the point up for sending the standard gauge traffic into Loco Pilly, but have the dual gauge traffic head around the other fork on the main line. I was looking at a medium radius Peco point and working out if I could add an extra rail just next to the frog to make it dual gauge. I’m not sure I can scratch build one of these. I will continue to look at this and we will see if I can build one when track work eventually gets up to this area.

I set up a really old PC in the shed, that was previously used by the kids for their access to educational games for the last few years, before it was replaced by a newer one. This PC must be at least 10 years old. But from the shed I can install the wireless USB dongle in the PC and it can talk to the wireless Internet in the house. So eventually I will install a previously downloaded JMRI version and connect it to my Power Pro 5 Amp System which is right next to the PC. This PC is old enough to have a serial port on board. I was looking for a Serial cable to connect the PC to the NCE command station. But I could not find one. I thought I would have to use my Serial to USB cable that I use on my netbook to connect to the NCE Command station. However, during the week I checked ebay and found one for $3.99 posted from Hong Kong. How good was that!

I had Friday off this week to make it a really long weekend. So about 3:30pm in the arvo I decided to go to the shed. I had previously been down to Bunnings to pick up two brackets to hang the next piece of baseboard from the wall. This is where Clapham Yard will be installed. I just happened to have a piece of pine that is 240mm x 19mm x 2.4m. So I now have decided I will have 4 tracks in this yard. This will give me somewhere to store another train or two, one narrow gauge train and one or two standard gauge trains. I think I will use it to just keep my rail train off the layout proper and also move a train that I’ve had sitting in Cassino yard for about the last 6 months and not moving anytime soon. This next baseboard section was installed on Friday afternoon and joined up on the left hand side to the incline out of Acacia Ridge Yard. It will take a few months for me to install the track in this area, but I may add more baseboard between now and then, as the frame extends further north. I think I will use the technique as documented in the latest AMRM that covers photo scenery and backscene photographs. This technique will work very well along this whole line.

Saturday this week was a scheduled running day.  The weather leading up tthe day was shocking and it certainly rained quite a lot while we were running trains.  I had 8 guys turn up to run with Lefty and Son to have a gander.  The timetable started 5 hours or so into the normal timetable.  As usual trains started running late after a few hiccups.  I was North Coast Control and Brendan was the Yard Master.  On the whole trains ran prettry smoothly, except that NL1 lost a bogie heading into the helix, three wagons were playing up on the Banana Train on its way to Murwillumbah, we had a dodgie coupler on a 48 class loco (I thought I fixed that last time) and the odd derailment of a wagon or two.  We certainly got into a predicament at Lismore where we had some crosses of trains and they didn't fit into the loops.  The text on the individual timetable cards said that the cross was to be at Lismore, while the timetable graph had the cross occuring at Old Cassino.  I will need to fix that.  We also had one of our shunt trains not shunting on its progression north and when it got to Murwillumbah it was not in the correct siding when two other trains were due to arrive.  Argh!!!!!!! Some major shunting manoeuvres were undertaken to fix this us.

We had two first time timetable operators and basically the rest were normal crew.  I think we all had fun, but I get stressed when the timetable does not work as planned.  I will be making changes to the timetable this week to fix the issues identified.  The new crew handled the staff machines and the headsets pretty well. I thought I would show you some photos from the session (I went AWOL a few times from my post to get these photos).
This is the first time a train has run through to Nammoona Ballast Siding to load sheep and cattle, hence this is the first official cross at this location.

At Fairy Hill Loop, adjacent to Fairy Hill Farm, a cross occurs with the Morning Mountain Goat service over taking a down container service to Acacia Ridge.  This time the goat is a 620/720 set.

Farther north at Kyogle NL2 is awaiting the same northbound container to clear the section before proceeding towards Cassino.

A view of the landscape north of Fairy Hill Loop.  The local farm has a few cattle.  The farmer has rigged a tyre in the tree for his son to use as a swing.  Occasionally when I'm not looking, a few cattle take the jeep for a spin and smash it into the tree.  A lot of fencing needs to be complete here.

Looking over peninsulars, we can see the local empty fruit train heading north towards Acacia Ridge.  It is seen running through the Running Creek Tunnels.  It has just emerged from Border Tunnel on the right in the distance.

Some of the crew (What, who me?) - Darryl, Brendan, Darren and Paul.

What the crew were actually looking at above.  We set up a Cathode Ray Oscilloscope in the section to check the DCC signal.  It didn't look that bad - well at least to me.  Others more knowledgable may like to comment.

See ya next week!


  1. Ignore the Volt/division settings on the scope, I forgot to set it to x10 mode.

    Also it's just an Oscilloscope, not a CRO, there's no tube in these fancy new ones ;)

  2. CM, sorry I couldn't make it. Sounded like the usual hoot. GB.