Sunday, December 2, 2012

Firing on all Cylinders

This last week, it has been nose to the grindstone at work. It seems I was the only one in my team flat out. Some were just cruising while I was working on quite a number of high profile and high value contracts, bids and re-signings. They say life is not fair and that is so true.
Once I got home from work this week, there was no time to do anything except spend Tuesday night at Barry’s place with the rest of the crew for our fortnightly get together. Basically, the conversation centered around the recent New England Convention. As usual a great night. Just before we left, Barry donated a number of lengths and part lengths of peco track. These will certainly come in hand in one of my yards – potentially Fisherman Islands. Train related activities did not resurface until Friday. I came home from work mid afternoon and spent one hour in the shed working on my “Dual Gauge point” and packing my Procab-R and a few tools into a box to take to Darren’s place. At about 6:30pm Shelton and myself hopped in my car and we went down the highway to Darren’s place for a BBQ dinner and a running session on his layout. We were met by Geoff, Peter, Brendan and Paul. A great turn out. We certainly gave the layout a good shake down. I don’t think there has ever been a branch line is history that ran so many trains. Every track in every loop, siding and main line had something on it.  The BBQ was just great as was the beer.  A great idea Darren - Thanks!
Later that night while at Darren’s place, as everyone else was running trains, I decided to sit at Darren’s work bench and try it out.  Comfy chair, nice height, plenty of light.  So I took out my “dual gauge point” and did a bit of filing, a bit of super gluing, and added three check rails. I can now place a narrow gauge bogie on the point tilt the point and see the narrow gauge bogie run through the point without derailing just under its own momentum. It even runs back the other way when you tilt it back the other way. I’m quite impressed. It is certainly not perfect but I think it will work quite well. I will add a bit of 12mm track to each end and push some 12mm wagons through the point, one way and then the other and see how well they work.
The point in question.  The top left track will lead into Loco Pilly.  The right leads towards Dutton Park and the branch to either South Brisbane Interstate or Fisherman Islands.  The track to the bottom left leads to Clapham Yard.
On Saturday I was on fire! I started off by mowing the yard. Trimming some trees out the front and out the back. Then hung the washing out as well as doing the washing up as the Boss went out shopping with Paige. Then after sitting down for 5 minutes, I started cutting out the holes for all the switches and bi-colour LED’s in my staff panels. This was quickly done and all switches were installed into the panels. I had a look through my electrical box and found that I had all the bi-colour LED’s that I need to make these all work. That will save a trip to Jaycar. I then started attacking the narrow gauge yard at Acacia Ridge. I installed three sets of points, and most of the track that I was given down at the New England Convention. As this was going on I found a few lengths of HO track that I will use to lay between Dutton Park and Loco Pilly in the new few weeks. I then decided to make the power supplies that I need for the two staff sections Acacia Ridge to Clapham and Clapham to South Brisbane (including Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands). Searching through my box of electrical bits and pieces I found I already had two power supplies made up. So I put together a third from existing components as I always try and have a working spare available to swap in if one goes pear shaped during a running session. I then drilled holes in all the staff instruments to enable me to attach them to the layout. I then turned my attention to the schematic diagram for the section north of Acacia Ridge. I went fossicking for and found a sheet of tin that I will use for the Schematic extension. I then cut this up with tin snips so it will fit in the space I have available. This will be abov ethe existing panel.  I then went into the house and started drawing the track layouts for the top deck locations - Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard, Clapham Yard, Loco Pilly, Dutton Park, Fisherman Islands, Park Road and South Brisbane Interstate. I think I have these pretty well drawn out, I just need to try and get some more of the magic tape that Darren used in making my main schematic diagram. I think I will do the dual gauge track in a different colour to the existing trackage and also the narrow gauge track in a different colour again. I then did a few doodles for how Clapham Yard and Fisherman Islands could be laid out in alternate arrangements. My first option is to have four tracks at these locations and have all the tracks as dual gauge. What this means is I need to build a lot of dual gauge sets of points. Following that I watched a bit of cricket and then put up all the outside Christmas lights and gave them a test.
Not bad for an easy Saturday.
I think over the next two weekends I will try and lay the dual gauge track from Dutton Park to Loco Pilly. That means I need to solder on a third rail to a number of lengths of flex track. I have enough lengths, but I might go and buy another ten lengths of track from the local hobby shop so it is laid in nice new track. That will leave me the following couple of weekends to lay a temporary Clapham Yard before my next running day. That goes without saying I still have to get the staff machines working and the intercom plug in points for the top deck working before the running session as well. I still need to connect the bus to the top deck and lay some more bus wire from where it currently ends back to Acacia Ridge Yard.  So more importantly I need to get the track working on the top deck.  Now that reminds me of more work I need to do in wiring up two other sections of track bus to the existing NCE EB1's.  No rest for the wicked!
I will cut up the panels for the headset plug in points during this coming week.  I will then drill out the holes for the push buttons (which I already have) and then fit the stereo sockets (which I don't have).  I will purchase the stereo sockets next week, along with more wire on the way to the Club Rooms for our Annual Christmas Party and modelling competition.
Plenty of time to get all the work done before the Running Session .... Not!
The completed view of South Brisbane Interstate.  The three tracks on the far right are the ones I added last weekend.

The paper train is shunting north out onto the Main Line from Park Road Sidings.

Underneath South Brisbane are the two Digitrax DS64 which are already connected to the power bus.

Between South BRisbane Interstate and Park Road is where the new Mini Panel was located.  It is connected into the cab bus.


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