Sunday, May 26, 2013

Decodering and Planning

This week I planned to do some decoder work, but I did not get around to it until today.  I installed a D13SRJ decoder into an Trainorama 4499 Grey Ghost Loco that I picked up at our Buy and Sell last weekend.  I then installed a D13SRJ decoder into the 80 Class Austrains loco that one of the guys from the Club gave to me to do for him, also last weekend.  I also replaced the headlights with LED’s on the 80 class.   For the 44 class I just installed a 270 ohm resistor for the rear lights and a 180 ohm resistor for the front headlights.  I tested both on the test track and they worked well.
I still do not have the N14SR decoders so I can finish the second of my 73 Class locos.  But I have moved the 73's to the work bench and I will be fixing up the lights on them this week.  I actually gave one a test run and set its long address on the layout today.
While down the shed, I ran a double 80 class consist from Rappville Loop through Cassino and out the other side to the Meatworks and back again about 4 times.  Did you know it is difficult to focus a video camera at the same time as walking around the layout and controlling the speed of the train.  The resulting video was as jumpy as anything and it was almost giving me motion sickness watching it back on my PC.  So I will not post it here.  I will see if I can get one of the kids to control the train next week and I will try again.
My attention then turned to the Richmond River crossing just south of Cassino.  I had made a couple of items that can be used in the scratch built Pratt Truss bridge and its girder sections either side of it, as well as the plaster cast bridge piers.  I will assemble all the information I have, to get my head around the relative lengths of each span and what type it will be, over the next few weeks.  I will also try and find a good photo of the Richmond River bridge that shows the number of box sections in the bridge itself.  I will see if I can then make it either to scale or slightly shorter than the prototype.
During the week, Peter from the north coast branch of the Tuesday Nighters, rang up and advised that he had a mate whom was selling a lot of track and points, among other items that would have been of interest to American modellers – buildings, rollingstock etc..  I still require track for Fisherman Islands Yard when it finally gets built so I put my hand up for this bargain.  I picked the track up tonight from Peter’s daughter’s place just about 1km away in my suburb.
One of the things that I did do this week was preparation for our Club’s 40th Birthday celebration in two weeks at our Clubrooms at Brendale.  I wrote the various bio’s for the recipients for the various awards that were ratified at last Wednesday night’s Executive meeting, which will be handed out in two weeks.  I have also ordered the various awards and plaques that will be handed out at that event.
Here are some photos of the scenery that has been put in place either side of Cassino over the last month or so.
On the entry into Cassino, we have the Bruxner Highway to the top left.  The Bonalbo Ballast Sidings are still covered by masking tape from when the base scenery was put down in this area.  At the bottom right is where the Richmond River bridge starts.

Once across the Richmond River Bidge, the track curves into Cassino.  The Barker Street walkway can be seen as the bitumen colour at top right.  The road on the other side has not yet been stained and the walkway has not yet been built.

The entry under Simpson's Parade.  The general freight sits in the loop.  The white pieces of paper mark where buildings will be located.  The overhead booking office is in position.

This photo shows the booking office up close as well as the platform (without any station building) and the location of various houses behind the railway.

The far end of Cassino Station, showing the fettler's shed and the scenery making its way around towards the Shell oil siding on the branch line to Old Cassino at top right.

Looking at the fettler's shed and the scenery on either side of the railway to the north of Cassino Platform.  The 80's in the Loop and the 48 class with a few cattle and sheep wagons making up the shunt to the loco meatworks siding, awaiting its path in the timetable.

The branch line diverging to Murwillumbah on the right is obvious in this shot.  The area behind the two disabled wagon sidings in the distance has not yet been completed, apart from an initial paint of the plaster.  The tracks are still covered by masking tape to keep them protected.

My latest decodered 44 Class loco.  This one was also slightly weathered.  A good bargain indeed.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Visitors and a Buy and Sell

This week has been busy with railway related activities. On Tuesday I had the guys over for an evening of them telling me there is no room in the shed to hold the meeting.  I still gave them tea and coffee, biscuits as well as crackers and dip.  The guys did check out the scenery that is progressing from the Bruxner Highway north towards Cassino where it branches to Murwillumbah.
On Thursday I fitted decoders to two 80 class locos for a Club member. I then wired up the LED’s that were already in the locos to the headlight functions of the decoder – along with 1K ohm resistors.
On Friday afternoon had a quick kick of the soccer ball with Kyle before I started getting items together that I wanted to sell at our Club’s Buy and Sell on Sunday. Saturday was soccer and Kyle's team drew 1-1 with one of the top teams. The little guys guys played out of their skins. It was absolutely great to watch. A quick visit to the hobby shop followed and while he had more decoders come in, no D14SR’s or N14SR’s. I ordered a few more again.  Perhaps next week or the week after.  I really want to get back to my 73 classes and get them running.
On Saturday afternoon, I had two guys from the Club make the visit across town and check out the layout. Kev and Ralph got a tour, and then ran a train from one end to the other. They ran elephant style from Grafton Yard all the way to Glenapp Loop, with Ralph running ahead and around Acacia Ridge Yard before managing a cross before Kev ran around the Acacia Ridge return loop and they both made it back to Grafton Yard. Ralph is not a DCC person and was using my radio throttle and Kev brough his powercab over, so was plugging in around the layout. The layout had not been run since the time I ran a few trains with Shelton a couple of weeks following the last Running Session. That is months ago. I had to use the track rubber around Cassino and Bonalbo Ballast Siding as I had been liberally spraying white glue around there to stick the dirt and scatter for the scenicing I had been undertaking over the last month or so. Just before the guys arrived I had almost completed the running of a train from one end to the other myself, spreading a few drops of oil around in the process. The layout did run quite well.
Today I went to the Club with Kyle and we tried to sell a few items that were excess to my needs.  I had promised him all the takings from the magazines I had and he pocketed the princely sum of $1.  We also sold a number of items that my father-in-law gave me.  I split the takings between between Kyle and his sister for on item and Kyle and myself for the other.  The kids wer rapt getting a bit of an income.  I sold a few wagons and just could not keep my hands off a 44 class loco in grey ghost livery.  It was even lightly weathered.  I do remember seeing the Grey Ghost shunting in Clapham Yard many many years ago.
So I've picked up another 80 class loco to DCC for a Club member and also one of his 44 class locos to fix as it was not running.  I have already reset the decoder and tried NCE Recovery Programming on the loco and it now seems to be working again.
Damn! Another 5 days at work now before I get another couple of days off and some time back in the shed.  I have certainly lost interest in going to work at the moment given the news that we are to be "Divested" whatever that means.  There are all sorts of rumours abounding.  We have to wait up to 3 months to see what that really means.  I'm looking towards upcoming Lotto draws to see if I can win about $500K and with that I will not have a care in the world about work. 
This week I will try and DCC my new 44 Class loco, the club members's 80 class and I will see if I can get one of my 73 class locos back working as I now have a replacement light board thanks to the great guys at Auscision.  I will also look at where my next scenicing adventure will be on the layout.  I will post some photos next week showing the recently completed scenery.  It is currently too cold to go down to the shed and get some photos now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Slow Week

So this week has been pretty slow with nothing much of note happening. The later half of the week has seen some model railway related activities with a few other things thrown in. It started on Wednesday with a couple of E-bay sales ending. Also on Wednesday, PK picked up a couple of decoders from the Club for me and he delivered them to me at work on Thursday. So Thursday night I had to decoder one of our Club mates’s Austrains DL class with an NCE D14SR decoder. It took me about 10 minutes to get the loco out of its foam box. Talk about a tight fit. Then another 5 minutes getting the couplers off so I could get the shell off the chassis. So once disassembled, it was an easy task to remove the 8 pin plug and replace it with the D14SR – my decoder of choice. So after a trip down to the shed and changing the loco’s number, followed by a quick test on the Powercab test track and all was OK.
So with Friday being a day off and I attended my daughter’s district cross country carnival. She ended up 43rd out of 95 in the 3km race for her age group. She was still third in her school, behind the two girls that beat her in her school trial. One came second and the other was 41st. So after the carnival I was the acting medi-cab driver and took one of her friends back to school with a sprained ankle in the car. My daughter and another class mate came with me for the ride. It was lucky that the sports field, where the districts were held, was just across the road and down the road about 300m from the school. So after these events were finished I packed up the E-bay items and posted them off, so with a bit of luck they should be arriving at their new homes tomorrow (Monday). I then convened to the Shed and did a bit of plaster painting on the layout. I hit the area near the Bonalbo Ballast Siding, the area near the Lismore Loco area and also near the Lismore Norco siding.
On Friday night while attending to my email on my laptop, I heard a pop and could not work out what it was, until later when I was turning off my laptop and realised that the power brick had bricked! That’s no good. I can’t power my laptop anymore until I get a new power supply. So on Sunday morning I went to Jaycar and sure enough I found a replacement. It is now working again just like a bought one.
On Saturday, it was Soccer, followed by Hobby Shop, and then Club day. My son got flogged 3-0 in soccer, all three from penalties. Two were absolute shocking decisions (in my oppinion), and the third was only marginally better. Give the referee some understanding of the rules and some discretion when applying them. Anyway off to the hobby Shop and still no decoders in – Argh! That is about 9 weeks now I’ve been waiting for some N14SR’s. So over to the Club, we had some discussions about the staging yard layout of the main Yard, how it was to be electrically controlled (the points that is) with a control panel (or two) and an NCE Mini Panel just like I do at home. We also discussed about a fly over for one junction and then devised some high level plans about the track plans and types of siding layouts on one side of one of the peninsulars. So that is starting to come along quite well. We are still just lacking about $2000 worth of track. I think we need about $1000 worth of DCC items. I think it will be a number of years before we have all the track laid on the bottom level, as we just can’t afford that sort of money, with the N scale guys within the Club, about to launch their layout extension as well. Besides this we are also looking at funding a 4 bay trailer parking shed in the back yard of our leased area. That will get the three Club trailers we have out of the Clubrooms. That will allow us to perhaps use the current trailer parking area as a workshop to do all the various timber cutting for the two layouts as they progress.
On Sunday between various family duties and getting my new laptop power supply, I went to the shed to do another strip of scenery. This was near Bonalbo Ballast Siding. I think it has come out quite well. I will await the comments from the Tuesday Night crew who will be coming around to my place this Tuesday. This week was supposed to be at Shelton’s, but he has had to swap oncall weeks with someone at work, so he can’t hold it at his place. There has been quite a bit of scenery been done since the last visit, so it will be great to get some feedback. 
I also have a couple of club members coming over next Saturday to understand various aspects of my layout and how similar techniques can be applied to the new HO Clubroom layout. This will include cab bus, power districts, mini panels with various distributed layout facia panels and a few other items that might take their fancy. Who knows we might even run a train or two. Some times it is hard to explain to people, why I have done it a particular way, and some people have only built and operated on a 6 x 4 DC only layout can’t comprehend why and how. So I will get a few guys over and show them and they can contribute to a number of people who have seen it down this way and understand why some 6 x 4 concepts will not scale. An update on this next week.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Over for Another Year

The 2013 Brisbane Model Train Show has been run and is now put to bed for another 12 months.  It was held at the Doomben Racecourse for the first time.  Exhibits were spread over three floors under and inside the main grandstand and in the next grandstand as well.  Right now, after packing and unpacking the car and carrying everything down to the shed and placing it back onto the layout, I'm pretty exhausted after concentrating for the last two days.  Our Club was very conveniently located on the ground floor along with a few other exhibits.  The numbers through the door were down on last year as it was a 2 day show compared with a three day show as with all the previous shows.  At times it was very busy around our layouts especially in the mornings.  It certainly thinned out in the afternoons.

Well I managed to do a few quick scouts of the various floors that the exhibition was in over the weekend.  It was really good to catch up with people I see year after year, with past members of our Club, mates, other modellers and just ordinary members of the public.  I purchased a few choice items like some 12mm points, styrene, copper PC board sleepers, and of course some brilliant trees from Brian at Trackside Trees.

I saw quite a lot of very nice models, especially those in the modelling competition.  No layout really took my fancy this year, except for Bellthorpe the layout next to where we were located.  It was running some every nice O scale QR models.  It was pretty deep around that layout at times too.  The number of layouts in attendance was down on previous years. 

ON my stand, doing Structure Building, I ended up making a small brick shed for my layout, a 3m x 3m with a working sliding door.  I also made a model of a Titan shed next to that building.  Both models are replicas of two structures next to Casino Station.

The photo above I took from Casino Platform many years ago of the two structures I made at this year's May show.
I was adding code 40 rail as posts to a number of old power pole cross arms that I had laying around.  I also installed insulators on 13 telegraph poles.  There were 12 insulators on each pole.  That's a lot of insulators.  The insulators were made from 1mm rod and were cut about 1.5mm long. I had people walking past and watching with the public up to 3 deep sometimes just shaking their head at what I was doing.  I think most thought I was a looney - picking up these small pieces of styrene, dipping it is glue and placing it on the cross arms of my wooden ptelegraph poles.  Well they wouldn't be far wrong!

This afternoon I got back to working on my Cassino Meatworks structure.  I finally completed the base.  I'm not sure if this was last worked on 2 years ago or if it was last year.  But it has sat languishing on the layout for quite some time.

So my modelling juices are flowing again, so I think I will be full steam ahead on three fronts over the next few weeks.  I will be completing some run around tracks in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard, and also doing some narrow gauge and dual gauge work in Clapham Yard.  I will also continue work on the buildings backing onto Cassino Station.  I will have some shots of that area next weekend.

Thanks to all those bloggers and lurkers who visited on the weekend and said hello.  I had quite a few on Saturday.  I also had quite a few current and retired loco drivers drop by and say hi.  There must not have been any trains running at The Ridge as they all seemed to be at my stand during Saturday. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

2013 Brisbane Model Train Show

At 9:00am tomorrow the doors open for the 36th Brisbane Model Train Show.  I'm on stand 17 so come by and say hi!  I'm there with my mentor Jim sitting next to me for 2 days.  Remember it is on at the Doomben Racecourse 9-5 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday.

When you talk to us, tell us if you have a blog tell us what one it is when you come by.  We always like putting faces to blogs.

I've got a few dollars available to spend on some items, but I'm not sure I'll see much i'm after.  But you never know.