Monday, April 30, 2012

ANZAC Day Update

Well on Anzac Day last week, the Southern Aurora left Brisbane for Sydney.  It had arrived in Brisbane on the Monday and stabled in Clapham Yard.  Quite a few people up this way were out and about photographing and videoing this train on both days.  I too joined into this pasttime.

I headed off to the park across the road from the kids school.  This park has the Interstate Railway line going straight through it.  I parked the car in a side street and started walking to the bridge over the local landmark in the park - Sheep Station Gully.  As I was walking up to the railway line, I noticed someone standing just short of the line with their hands behind their back and a camera aroudn their neck.  They were waiting impatiently for the train.  I knew that walk.  It was Lefty.

He had walked from his house just up the road a few hundred metres, which backs onto the Railway Line to the park to get a better photo.

The Train lead by the 43 Class came through about 7 or 8 minutes early.  I took a few snaps and none are good enough to post here.

There is quite a bit of passenger rail activity on the North Coast over the next few months.  We have the Southern Spirit coming up north on Saturday 12th May and heading back down south on the 13th May. 

This will be followed by the Lachlan Valley Railway and their Steam train making trip around Casino on the 24th to 27th May.  They have other trips planned around Casino to Kyogle on 2nd and 3rd of June again to Kyogle before heading south again.

There is also a 620/720 set coming up to Brisbane in June.  I'm booked on a trip from Roma Street to Kyogle and return with a few mates from the Model Train Club.  I intend to get a few photos of the scenery and any passing trains if there are any.

I can't wait to have my first trip in a 620/720 class railmotor.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hotham Street Inprovements

On Friday I went to the kids school to cook the BBQ at the School cross country carnival. After cooking 28kgs of snags, about 10 dozen hamburger paddies, 7 dozen eggs, multiple kgs of bacon, a few packets of water logged onions, the other 4 guys and I called it a day. So I went home mid afternoon and went to the shed. The wife was still working in the tuckshop, so what else was there to do?

I decided to try and mix up some plaster rocks and attach it to the walls of the rock mountain outside my helix, just north of Cassino Meatworks Siding. Eventually this was complete. I certainly suffered some truial and tribulations undertaking this task.  But I eventually got there.  I then decided to hit the rather large rock wall with some colouring. I used my 4 standard colours and a small paint brush to smear it on. I few hits with the water spray to make it run and voila.  I then got tired of doing such a large area with a paint brish, so I got out my pippet and suck the paint out of the bottles and squeezed onto the rocks and let it run down the rack face.
The rock face around the helix.   

On Saturday I spent some time doing the scenery around Hotham Street and on the outside of Cassino Meatworks. I then decided to spread some greenery around Nammoona Ballast Siding. My next task was to spread some dirt around where the building will go for the Meatworks, and of course some cattle pens. Kyle came down to the shed and he helped me with the water spraying, the glue spraying and some sprinkling to various greens around the meatworks area. I think he was suitably impressed.
The area on the outside of the mainline has been given a basic green over.

I then decided that the next major task was to head towards Cassino with my plastering. but first I needed to put the first layer of styrofoam down. So I worked in the area between the main line and the loco area. The locos area is much lower than the mainline and I needed to have some sloped styrofoam there so I can then just add some plaster over this and smooth it all out.
The base styrofoam installed.  Plaster will be added in a few weeks.

Today I got out a few sheets of A4 paper and suck them together, so I could make a plan for the meatworks area.  I was also looking at various photos that I had of this area to help me plan what I would include in my scene.  I think there has to be a car park for some visitors to the facility to park and of course a loading platform next to the siding for the various louvre vans to unload or load their cargo.  I will also have some stock unloading ramps at the northern end of the siding for two BCW’s to unload simultaneously. Not long now until Ron’s BCW’s hit the post box! I will then sell off my Mini-Models BCW’s – anyone want some? The car park is modeller’s license but who cares.

This carpark for visitors only caters for 8 cars.  It seems that they are getting their postal delivery at this moment in time.

This view shows off where the meatworks facility will go as well as the scenery back towards Hotham Street.

I have some photos that a friend took a few years back of some scenery around the meatworks. It does help that he was a Pac Nat loco driver.
Coming up on the Meatworks Siding while heading south.  Photo by Brett Thomas.

As you can see the Meatworks is out of use. Photo by Brett Thomas.

Today I decided to add some road markings to the Hotham Street level crossing. However, I then ran out of styrene of the particular size. I weld the styrene to the stained balsa road with styrene glue. I might have to buy some more styrene at next week’s Brisbane Train Show, but I’d bet no one will be selling styrene there.  I still need to add the road through the middle of the crossing, but that is a task for another week.  A lot of detail also has to be added to the scene as well.

The road markings are in on one side of the road.  I've just used paper for the moment to simulate concrete footpaths for pedestrians.

I was then looking under my layout and I came across a section of baseboard from my old version of Cassino. It just happened to be of the Hotham Street level crossing.   So here are some photos.

A modeule from my old layout.  This shows Hotham Street.  This was a bit too wide.  Someone put their hand through the road!

It's amazing what I have around in my shed.

A reminder that I will be at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition next Saturday and Monday working on the Structure Building Stand with Jim Hutchinson. Jim will be there on Saturday and Sunday. I will be assisted on the Monday by Geoff from Splitters Swamp Creek fame. I’m pretty sure I will be working on various models for Cassino. So please come by and introduce yourself. I really don’t want to do any work, just sit back and talk.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nammoona Gets Some Attention

This week started off with a visit to Lefty and Son's on Tuesday Night.  I think there was around 9 of us there along with the two hosts.  Many members were being brain washed by David as he let them drive his On30 stock around his so far working layout.  Guys - Don't give in to the dark side!  Stay with NSWR or at least VR in Shelton's case.  Barry is already a lost cause as he models US outline.

Progress so far on their layout is great.  However, David was having trouble with some track design, so I conscripted Darren who just has the best methodology in getting David's requirements and then walking through options and massaging these into potential track layouts.  I grabbed a number of medium and large radius points, as well as some curve points from David's Desk and various lengths of track from his track bin so Darren could do his magic stuff.  I think what was created looked pretty good.  David has already written about this from his point of view on his blog.

After this was completed, I could not resist getting the large wooden spoon out.  I asked David where was his next piece of benchwork going?  Where does the central peninsula go?  David proceeded to answer.  All the time I was just reeling him in.  So I responded 'So you will not have any room for the Tuesday Nighters to sit down and talk, and eat?'  I could not resist in saying this as I get bagged everytime people come to my place.  When my layout was starting off, I had our old outdoor furniture setup in the shed - it was sheer luxury.  This space gave way to peninsulars and trackwork and scenery.

Speaking of scenery, on Saturday afternoon I mixed up a couple of batches of plaster and continued work around the Hotham Street level crossing working towards the Cassino Meat Works.  I then continued doing some more polystyrene work around the spiral I have between Lismore and Murwillumbah.  I think the next running day at my place with certain cause some surprise to the crew when they turn up.

On Sunday I was thinking of doing some more work around Nammoona Ballast Siding.  I decided to steal a large sheet of aluminium foil from the pantry when the boss was not looking and ran down to the shed.  I then cut this up into smaller areas, crinkled it up and then mixed up some very dry batches of plaster.  This was poured into the aluminium foil moulds and then I attached these to the cliff faces at the northern end of the Nammoona Ballast Siding.  I then did the same at the southern end.

Just then my daughter came into the shed.  I conscripted here into helping me paint the rock faces.  I had four jars of paint.  Raw Umber, Ray Sienna, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.  These are the $2 water based tubes that I mix up and then spread around the rock faces, and then hit them with the water spray bottle to help the paint run into teh crevices.  My Daughter was having the time of her life.  While she was painting, I was using my trusty ink pad stain with metho to paint the tunnel portals.  I just need to add a small amount of greenery, with a few vines here and there and it should look even better.  It is certainly better than the base styrofoam, and base plaster.  It all takes time!
The end result at the northern end of Nammoona Ballast Siding thanks to Paige

The southern portal of the Nammoona Ballast Siding.

Next weekend I will need to start to plan what is to happen the weekend after.  This date in May is the AMRA Brisbane's Exhibition at the Brisbane Exhibition grounds over the May Long weekend in Brisbane.  I will be there on the Saturday and Monday working with Jim Hutchinson doing structure building.  Jim works on the Saturday and Sunday, we get one of our other members to help on the Sunday and on the Monday I conscript Geoff to come along and work on some models for his layout.  So if you are going to attend the May show, come over and say hello.  Introduce yourself so we can put a face to a userid.

This weekend just gone, Geoff, Darren and Brendan took Geoff's layout - Splitters Swap Creek down to the show in Moree.  I expect that we will get an update early this week from these guys on their blogs.  I can't wait to hear how it went.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hotham Street

Last week I started working on the magnets (labels) for the trains so they can be positioned on the Train Controllers schematic diagram board and moved as the trains go from crossing loop to crossing loop.  After creating 46 of these it dawned on me that I only needed to create half this number and make then double sided.  So this week I made up another set of labels and today I glued them to the other side of the magnets.  So now I have two complete sets of magnets.  When a train gets to its destination, the magnet gets turned over and then the magnet is ready to allow the train controller to track the train from crossing loop to crossing loop back the other way.  Here are a few photos of the magnets on the board at various locations.
The schematic of Grafton Yard, with all the trains loaded in each of the tracks.  I notice that one of the magnetics if the wrong way around as it shows an even number instead of an odd number for down trains.

In Bonalbo Ballast Siding, we have the ballast train locked away and split across the two sidings.  Train number 35A is the next iteration of this train, it will run to Old Cassino.

In Border Loop, we have Train number 1A almost at its destination of Acacia Ridge Yard

Cassino is starting to get busy.  We have the local Railmotor to Border Loop (the Mountain Goat) in the Dock, with a Stock Train in the Back Platform Road awaiting clearance to go to Old Cassino, while we have another train in the Loop at Cassino ready to head north to Fairy Hill Loop.

At Lismore, the Murwillumbah cement train had previously dropped 2 cement wagons in the Storage Road.  There is also some wagons in the Loco siding.

At Murwillumbah, the cement train has made its way to the end of the Branch, and shunted its wagons into the cement siding.  The loco sits shutdown on the branch line.  The train number for its return trip sits under the magnet for the wagons in the siding.  A container train sits in the Loop at Murwillumbah awaiting its crew to return from their scheduled overnight break at the barracks.

Last monday I started the week off as I spent most of that weekend, doing more plastering.  This time I spent time working around Hotham Street.  So I was terra forming and plastering for a couple of hours on Monday and I spent some more time today as well.  Hotham Street is the level crossing on the northern exit out of Cassino.  This is where the fork line used to exist.  It branched from the main line here and ran to Old Cassino.  I will be modelling this feature, but I'm not sure if I will ever get a train to run around this section of track.  So here are some photos of this area.
This is looking south down Hotham Street.  The track in the front is the north fork to Old Cassino, with the main behind.

Contrast this with the photo I took many years ago of the real level crossing that shows the undulations in the road.

Showing the scenery between Hothan Street and the beginning of the Cassino Meatworks Siding.  In the distance is the Train Control Board.

From behind the layout looking south towards Cassino, we see the north fork branching off to the left and the main line starting to form the tracks into the Yard at Cassino

We have Tuesday Nighters this week at Lefty and Sons.  Should be good!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Totally Plastered

This long weekend I decided to do some more terra forming on the layout.  This layout is just so large, that some times I don't know where I need to start for my next project.  So I decided to try and complete a few more areas on the layout.  So on Friday I decided to do some work around the tunnel portal just north of Nammoona Ballast Siding.  I've had some styrofoam in place here for possibly years.  So I decided to cover it with plaster.
The portal and entry to Nammoona Ballast Siding 

Photo taken further around the loop.  There will be a photo/painting backdrop on the styrofoam on the inside of the siding depicting, ballast heaps, bush and a cattle loading area.

While working at Nammoona, I decided to do some work at the southern end of the loop as well.
Not much to see here

While working in that area, I decided to go down two levels of the helix and work on the tunnel portal that hides entry to the 4 and a half turn helix that takes the track from the bottom level to the top level.
The flat area above the tunnel portal at the upper left is where Nammoona Ballast Siding is located

I then decided to keep working around to the right, to give this area a basic covering of plaster.  This is where a large cliff face will be located to hide more of the helix.
The future rock face to hide the helix

While working in this area, I then moved up to the top deck.  This is where the helix comes out in the open for its final lap around the large radius curve before it heads into Fairy Hill Loop.  It was then I realised that I needed another tunnel portal to install here.  So I stole one of the ones I made last week for installation here.  This was then plastered in.
This picture shows the exit on the bottom right for the Nammoona Ballast Siding, while the one on the left, one level up is for trains heading around the visible top circuit of the helix past Ron and Margaret's B&B (where PK visits) before reaching Fairy Hill Loop

So yesterday I went back out to the shed and then cast up another tunnel portal to replace the one I borrowed the previous day.  So while surveying what else I could plaster, I found some lineside area just north of Old Cassino heading towards Lismore that needed attention.  So I raided my styrofoam collection and installed it along the edge of the rail line and facia, all the way back past Old Cassino Station.

The bottom track is heading to Lismore and forms a spiral and comes out on the next level up and goes through the next tunnel portal before passing Lismore's Shell Oil Siding.  The 44 class in on the Murwillumbah headshunt at the end of the branch line shut down.

Back at Old Cassino looking south.  The goods shed in the goods siding.  The wire point throws for Murwillumbah are seen protruding from the facia at various locations here.  Old Cassino's track work in in the foreground.

Between the Old Cassino Yard and the Construction Siding a slight bit of plastering also had to be undertaken to cover up foles in the baseboard.

Another view of the Goods Shed at Old Cassino.  The four wagons are those that need to be added to train #9 back at Grafton Yard - I must do that sometime.

Just behind Old Cassino Station, a bit more styrofoam was installed and that was plastered over today.  In the top of the photo is train number 14 that is waiting in the loop at Murwillumbah before returning to Grafton Yard.

There was a another gap in the baseboard that needed covering just above Old Cassino.  This is where the cement siding is at Murwillumbah.  The 44 Class loco in a previous photo had previously put 7 cement wagons in the siding before stabling in the headshunt until its next shift.

So the plastering was finished off today.  I may even be able to get back out to the shed tomorrow for an hour or two and do some more plastering somewhere else.  There is still plenty to more to do.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Casting Tunnel Portals

So today I went down to the shed with the intention of casting 2 tunnel portals for placement around my spiral between Lismore and Murwillumbah.  I found my two mould masters and proceeded to clean them up.

Mould Number 1

Mould Number 2

Both my moulds are of a slightly different shape.  When I cast, I just pour plaster into the mould.  I then cut up a few lengths of wire and use them as re-inforcing.

Reo to install in mould number 1

The reo to install into mould number 2

I then mixed up a batch of plaster and poured it into the moulds.

Mould number 1 drying

Mould number 2 drying off

From the rear then don't look too interesting.  however from the front you get a better perspective.

Mould number 1.  Now this looks slightly like a tunnel mouth.

This is the end result of pouring in mould number 2.

So after the pour and the removal from the mould.  I placed the two tunnel mouths on the spiral between Lismore and Murwillumbah.  I then decided to pour another tunnel mouth from each mould, which I did with the help of Kyle.  He was taking a keen interest in mixing and pouring the plaster.

I then decided to cut up a few pieces of styrofoam for the area between the two tracks in the spiral.  I plan to try and keep one track hidden from the other by putting one track in a tunnel when the other is not and vice verca.  Below is a photo of the first bit of styrofoam going gown.  The track at the right crosses over the track on the left, with the track on the right heading into Murwillumbah.

The beginning of my next terra forming project.  Boy do I have a few more of those to complete!

After this bit of work was complete, Kyle again twisted my arm into running a train.  But this time he wanted to run a steam train.  I have not run a steamer around Cassino for quite some time.  Kyle took 3642, while I followed behind with 3531.  These were light engine movements from Grafton Loco into Cassino and return.  We did have some speed trials up the parrallel tracks in Rappville Loop for a while.  My loco was faster.

Upon return back to loco, Kyle then gook my garratt for a run and back.  Another good day!

Completing my Bridges

Last weekend I started preparing the area aroung Cougal Spiral and the Dry Creek bridge for some more scenery work.  First of all I was installing formwork around the two ends of the Spiral Bridge.  This was done with balsa white glued together to allow me to pour plaster in to fill a rather large void underneath the track before it reached the piers holding up the girders.

The northern abutment across Cougal Spiral

Another view of the northern abutment of Cougal Spiral

So that was last week.  Yesterday I went down to the shed and mixed up a batch of plaster and poured it into the formwork.  Following the pour and a setting time of about 30 minutes, I removed the balsa formwork.  I then hit the abutments with my standard stain.

The southern abutment after the pour, with the formwork removed.  It was then stained.

The northern abutment poured.  The formwork has been removed and the plaster stained.

On the bottom circuit of the spiral across dry creek, The abutments were slightly raised with left over plaster from the pours above, and the bridge that I made last weekend was slid into place and the outside beam glued on.

After this work was complete I needed to work out what was the next project.  Kyle was driving his cars over a number of roads on the layout and kept asking can we run a train?  Well what do you think the answer to that question was?  Together we ran about the first 7 trains of the standard running timetable with no major incidents.