Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Inspiration has Returned

On Monday this week, I was still in Armidale after the New England Model Railway Convention. We checked out at about 8:30am and started our trip north, back to Brisbane. 
The Convoy with Geoff hauling Splitters in front and us in the rear
We got to Guyra and pulled over and took a few photos of the Station Precinct. Just as we were going, Bob from my Club and his wife pulled up with the same idea as us and went into the Station Precinct, as we left it.
The Goods Shed

Our next stop was about 3km up the road at the Guyra Stock Yards. These are located about 20 feet from the road on a slight embankment. We took a few photos and resumed our way north. While there the Toowoomba boys pulled up, again with the same idea as us.

The lower loading race

The upper loading race.  How fortunate, someone was on the access race next to where the sheep load.

The Toowoomba Guys arrive en mass.

Our next stop was at Rohan’s Bolivia layout in Glen Innes. It just looks brilliant. He has started on another similar layout next to Bolivia, which I think can either be joined up to Bolivia or separated from it. Some of the major scenic items have already been built and sections of track are laid. This will look every bit as good as Bolivia.  My travelling buddies and I must thank Rohan’s wife, for a fantastic morning tea of sandwiches, cake, tea and coffee. It was absolutely scrumptious, was much appreciated and delivered with true country hospitality.
The cattle/sheep loading races on Bolivia.

The new section.  Ssshhh!  Don't tell anyone you've seen it!

A fantastic hay shed.

This is how the layout is operated.

Again just as we were leaving Rohan’s place the next group of Queensland Modellers turned up. Upon leaving Glen Innes, we headed up the road back towards Brisbane and I took numerous snaps out the window of the car for modelling purposes.
This week my brain has been working overtime, planning what I need to accomplish before I can have my next running session. First of all on Wednesday night, I did a desk check of the latest version of the timetable, and I found out that I need to have 10 drivers at numerous times throughout the timetable to run it satisfactorily. Now that assumes that we don’t have a train or two running late, while the other trains are starting out or mid journey. This is of course on top of the North Coast Control position and the Yard Master for the two yards at Grafton and Acacia Ridge. I also like to have one person running round doing odd jobs in case something fails, like the headphone system, a staff machine in a section, or a set of points is giving some difficulty. This allows the session to continue while these issues are investigated and hopefully resolved.
On Thursday I picked up a few DS64 point controllers from a mate, and on Saturday I installed them under the layout at South Brisbane and Park Road. On Friday I installed two of the new points I picked up in Armidale into South Brisbane Yard. Saturday I also picked up my third NCE Mini Panel and installed it at South Brisbane. I also connected that to the cab bus to the new Mini Panel and the track bus to two of the DS64’s. I still need to connect the track bus to the third DS64. I also made a trip to Jaycar and picked up another two rolls of wire to allow me to connect up the two control panels at Park Road and South Brisbane, as well as some heavy bus wire to allow me to complete the wiring from South Brisbane to Dutton Park. 
I have also planned ahead and am starting work on the Staff machine panels for all the new loops from Acacia Ridge north. I am also looking at buying a few more 5mm bicolour LED’s and some additional Stereo plugs for the headsets for crews to plug into at each crossing loop or staff location. I will also have to buy the components for another two power supplies to power the staff machines. The plan was to start building the panel for the staff machines while watching the TV on Saturday night but that did not eventuate.
I am slowly gathering courage in building a couple (read two) Dual gauge points. However,I started off by doing something for the point into Loco Pilly first.  So last night I took an old standard Peco point and looked at how I can add a third rail to it for the entry into Loco Pilly.  I got some way into the task.  I will show progress next week. 
Hopefully I will post some photos of the New England Convention during the week.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 New England Convention

This weekend has seen a very successful 2012 New England Convention held at the Armidale Bowls Club and arranged by the New England Model Railway Club.
My week of modelling content started with a Tuesday night get together at Left and Son’s shed and 10 others. Six of those in attendance were heading south for the convention. I think there were a few others there who wished that they were going to the convention this weekend. My long weekend of modelling railroading started with Peter arriving early on Friday morning to pick me up. We left at 7:20am and arrived in Armidale at about 2:10pm after one pit stop for a coffee. We checked in at our hotel that backs onto the Armidale Bowls Club where the convention was being held. Talk about convenient. My room mates had arrived down about an hour earlier and they were setting up Geoff’s Splitters Swamp Creek layout at the convention. Registration was at 5:00pm, so we had a beer or two waiting and then caught up with many friends and acquaintances some whom we have not seen for 2 years, others even longer. After dinner we checked out the shops present at the convention and went shopping.
Upon retiring to our room, Peter visited and had a cup of tea, while we had mixtures of coffee, Bourbon or Rum. No sooner had he left, when what we thought were a few loonies started knowing on our door. It was only Ian and Andrew, and their mate Tom. This ended up being a great late night full of laughter and frivolity. The only loony ended up being at the pub across the road, who kept us entertained for some time.
Saturday morning dawned and we made our way next door for our five presentations for day one of the convention. I enjoyed four of the sessions and only found one to be not up to the standard expected. Following the day’s activities we went on a layout tour. Five layouts were listed and we attended four of them while there was a bit of a storm occurring. We then went back to the Bowls Club for our Convention Dinner. We hooked up with the Toowoomba guys (well those that were not allergic to pies), two guys from the New England Club on a table for dinner and a few ales. We spent all night in absolute fits of laughter, thanks to those at our table. We had a really great night. The meal was very tasty and we also had a good after dinner speaker in the form of Ray Love talking about the Great Northern Railway. Following the Dinner, we did lots of talking with various attendees and that was again a very late night.
Sunday was also a good day consisting of 5 pretty good presentations. Some sessions during the convention were heavily attended and the rooms were pretty cramped. There was also quite a few partners attending. At the end of the day, after helping Geoff (sort of) pack up his layout, we retired to the bar for a few drinks, before we made our way to a local pub for dinner. We has arranged to meet the Toowoomba guys there, as well as a few other Brisbaneites. The Toowoomba guys turned up late as they took too long to apply their makeup. There were also another 5 attendees from the Convention also there. Again a great meal, a few more drinks and a few more laughs. I’m sure the pub was pretty impressed as 19 people just blew in and ordered meals and drinks.
So after this weekend, I think I’m all refreshed and have a renewed interest in modelling and will be jumping back into the shed to do some work over the next few weeks in the lead up to the next Running Day over Christmas.
Tomorrow we are trying to visit Rohan and his Bolivia layout, on our way back home. I will try and post some photos of the Convention during the week. Thanks for the Convention Warren and crew.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Who's Going to Armidale?

Next weekend (the 17th and 18th November) is the 2012 New England Convention to be held at the Armidale Bowling Club.  By all indications attenances for this Convention will be great.  I attended this same convention two years ago and had a great time with my travelling companions and the other attendees there. I have been given a weekend pass by the Boss so I'm heading back there.  I just wanted to know who out there in blog land will also be attending this convention. I think that Warren needs to include Blog Name on the name badges so we can put names to faces as well as faces to Blogs.
This week as well as this weekend has been very slow. I don't recall doing anything Model train related all week, except catch up on reading a few Railway Digests as well as whatever UK and US magazines came around at work to read. 
Yesterday I took Kyle over to our Club for our normal meeting day as the Boss and Paige went to a fashion show to raise money for a family with some sick children. The fashion show was certainly not up Kyle’s alley. While at the Clubrooms, Kyle ran one of my trains around the Club HO layout for a while. I had a candy 80 Class running intermittently. When I tried to clean the wheels, the drive shaft came dislodged, so I had to pull it apart and put that back into allignment. By doing this, I dislodged one of the bogie power pickups. I resoldered that wire today while watching the cricket on TV. It seems to run a bit better now.
While at the Club, I reset one 44 class loco for a very special member and got it running again after it had given up the ghost. I have no idea why it would not move, it was not in a consist and we were addressing the loco with the correct address. However, the decoder reset did the business.  That is a good trick to know if you have trouble with a decoder.
Today I installed a decoder into a Life Like Us outline loco for another Club Member. I also set up the front headlight and added couplers.
This Tuesday we have our fortnightly meeting and it is being held at Lefty & Son’s place. I am looking forward to see if there has been any progress.  I'd bet there hasn't.
As mentioned earlier, I will be heading off to Armidale early on Friday morning, maybe between 7:00 and 8:00 am. I’m going with Peter, while another car has Geoff, Darren, Paul and Splitters tagging along behind. Brendan will probably do by himself.  Another Club member Bob is also attending.  It will be great to see the reprobates from DDMRC also on Friday night and catch up with other acquaintances while having a coloured lemonade, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.  I'm sure Baz will give me some stick about my blog.
While I will still be away next weekend, don’t worry, I still plan to post a blog about the convention next Sunday Night. Let’s hope we see you all at the Convention. Safe Journey to everyone attending.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Great Week in Review

This week was Tuesday Nighters at Geoff’s which I was looking forward to attending. But alas I could not attend, as the week started off with an early Tuesday morning plane trip down to Newcastle with my sister to attend the funeral of my father’s youngest brother. This was not unexpected and there was no chance I or my sister were going to miss this day. We hired a car and stayed over night at a local B&B in Raymond Terrace, which was handy as well as being very nice. So on Tuesday we went over the railway line near Maitland (actually Tarro), but do you think we saw any coal trains on the way to or from the cemetery and memorial gardens at Palmdale. No – just one railcar scooting towards Newcastle. It was absolutely great to catch up with my three remaining Aunts and a handful of cousins and their families who made the trip up from Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Taree. We had not seen any of them for over 10 years – since before my daughter was born. I think I had to answer the same question about half a dozen times. Do you still have a train set? Do I have a train set? No way – I now have a Train Empire – queue evil laugh! It is amazing what people (family) remember about you. They always remembered my train set under my parents house from well over 25 years ago.
Friday this week while at work, I received an SOS from Old Mike saying that two of his locos had stopped running and couple I render some assistance. So I made arrangements to head over to his place on Friday evening. The first loco apparently had lost its address and I just told Mike, that it was not running on long address 916, but short address 3. So I changed it back to 916 for him and it ran up and down the track OK. One down and one to go. We put the second loco on the track and it roared off in one direction. It did not matter what the throttle was saying in terms of speed or direction. It just ran in forward. Hmmmm! I checked the decoder, which was a D13SR from NCE. It looked like someone (Read Mike) had done some resoldering of the red wire from the track pickup to the decoder, where it had fallen off. His solder had breached over to where the Diode was on the decoder causing the decoder to always get power applied to the drive circuit. I scrapped this solder back with a knife so it was not bridging the gap. I tried it on the track again and it worked on address 3. I changed this to number 9, as this was what the loco number was. Mike was as happy as a pig in sh.... As I have said before – “I love it when a plan comes together”. I’m sure someone before me had said that.
Quite a productive night for Mike. Two locos which had two decoders in them which he thought were stuffed were now working OK. And to make matters even better, Mike was after a sheet of Evergreen Styrene Clapboard for a future project, which I just happened to have. So we traded on that and he was happy again.
Today was a very good day for me. It was a Buy and Sell day at our Club – which we have twice a year - May and November. We had quite a few sellers turn up (one even from Sydney with truck loads of 12mm equipment) and again quite a steady stream of buyers. I took a whole lot of unneeded stuff from my place as well as some items from one of our former Tuesday Nighters (Gentleman Jim) whom has just downsized into a Retirement Unit from his two story house. I was able to sell a good quantity of Jim’s rollingstock, but not one magazine. I had almost two hundred AMRM’s from issue about 70 to near current for sale at exceptional prices all bound in the AMRM binders. I also had a rather large collection of Model Railroaders as well. Not one magazine sold. I don’t think anyone as much as looked at any of the binders or storage boxes.
I was also able to offload about $200 of rollingstock for myself, but I also dipped into my gains to purchase a left hand point that I needed in a yard which I scavenged for use in South Brisbane Interstate’s number one platform run around road, along with four 12mm Peco and Bemo points for Acacia Ridge Yard, as well as a NSW Water Tank kit. As I was sitting at my sale table, I forgot that someone was selling a large bundle of 12mm track for $30. It was not until I saw someone walking past with it, that I knew the horse had bolted – Buggar! I could have laid the complete 12mm sidings at Acacia Ridge narrow gauge Yard with that bundle, but I was too slow. I’ll have to buy new track instead.
Next week is our Club Meeting day at the Club.  So another trip over to the other side of town.