Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Bridge Works - now for a lot more.

Went down to the shed before lunch today and installed the water pipe to enable the good people of Cassino to get fresh water.  The pipe runs across the Richmond River Bridge.  I then cleaned the track and then got down to running a few test trains across the bridge.  First a single loco, then a double header and finally a triple header.  The layout has not been run for a number of months and with all the work being undertaken around the river crossing, there was quite a bit of plaster dust that had settled on the track and caused it to be slightly intermittent in a few places.

So after lunch I went back down to the shed as promised to run a few trains for the blog.  To keep me company, I had the TV on to watch the Bulls beat NSW in the one day final as well as switching back to forward to the V8's down at the Gold Coast.

Well in the first video, my son run the train while I captured the footage. 

I then bit the bullet and started to re-position all the trains for the start of a next operating session for the layout that will occur after Christmas this year.  I guess that means that I have about 8 weeks to get everything in shape.  While running a few trains from one end to the layout to the other, I also took some more video of a few more trains traveling across the bridge.  The next was a ballast from Old Cassino heading back to Grafton Loops:-

This was followed by a container triple header container train heading to Clapham Yard.

While I was positioning the trains, I was making notes of items that need to be fixed prior to the next session.  There is still quite a lot more work to do at Clapham Yard.  I removed a set of points and never replaced them.  I will also need to install about a half dozen point motors at the Northern end of the Loop and create the panel to control them.  This will allow the semi-automated control of trains through the Loop as well as into Loco Pilly.  It seems that some of my point motor addresses has gone awry.  While throwing some points for Acacia Ridge Yard associated with the arrival of trains into the Yard, points in Clapham Yard were firing.  Whoops!  I will have to review the point motor addresses set here.

I will also be putting out feelers for the running crew for the next session. I will see on what day I can get the greatest numbers of attendees.  It will either be the 27th, 28th or 29th of December.

Next Sunday is the RMCQ Buy and Sell at the RMCQ Clubrooms starting at 11:00am.  There will be plenty of NSW stuff for sale.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Running Session – Station Master at Tatiara Downs

Today Shelton and I went to Anthony’s layout – The Border District.  This layout is based on the Victorian and South Australian Border region in around 1976.  We were joined by Mark another VR Modeller for the running session.  So today I was the odd man out.  I got the job as being the Station Master at Tatiara Downs.  I had to co-ordinate with Train Control for access to the mainline should a shunt engine need to do that, or to go from one side of the station to the other, as well as ensure that  any crosses that occurred went smoothly.  It was quite common for one or both of the trains in the cross to also need to drop off and/or pick up loading at the loop as well.  The station is signalled with two position lights.  There are also a third aspect that allows shunt movement, either to the headshunts at either end of the station or out onto the mainline.  I had at least 7 trains through the station while I was there, as well as one train each leaving from the dock platform or the yard.  There were two locomotive change over jobs as well, with swapping of SAR and VR motive power occurring.  At times it was quite full on and without the help of Train Control I could not have done it very well.  All wagons have wagon cards that advise where the wagon needs to be placed, or sent to.
During the Operating Session apparently some dodgy loco driver actually let a light engine movement to the loco get out of control and he collided with a parked T class and sent the T class careering into the turntable pit.  That person certainly needs to smarten up his act.  Later on in the session another driver went through a set a points that were not set for him and ended up derailing a GY (I think) wagon.  I think this railway needs to ensure that better qualified drivers are employed for future operating sessions.
It was a great day with great people.  Thanks Anthony for the invite.  I had a great time.  I think I actually learnt something.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Richmond River has been Bridged

As I have been doing quite often of late, I made my way over to the local hobby shop in the hope of buying a few things.  I needed some styrene tube so I could manufacture the water pipe that will run across the Richmond River bridge.  No doubt this supplies the other side of Casino across the Richmond River from the water treatment plant.  I plan to have my pipe removable as my river crossing is removable in three sections - the girder section to the south, the Pratt Truss in the middle and through girder to the north.  I inserted some 1.6mm rod into one end of my purchased styrene 3.2mm tube and glued the rod in place.  I can now thread all the 3.2mm lengths of tube together (elephant style) to go across the bridge opening.  I have now sprayed the water pipes silver.  I really need to weather them up as I have pictures to the real ones and they are not really silver.  They are a dirty colour.
The water pipe I am modelling is visible in the centre right of this photo of the Richmond River Bridge from the northern bank. I took this photo about 8 and a half years ago.
While at the hobby shop I splashed out and purchased a length of Micro Engineering bridge track in code 70 profile.  I had planned on laying my own code 70 weathered rail across the bridge on my own stained up sleepers, but I didn’t think I had enough sleepers left.  I think I will save them for a few small bridges in other locations on the layout. 
So when I got home from the hobby shop, I trial fitted the bridge track across the Pratt Truss base.  I had to cut the sleeper webbing in a few places, so I could slide the sleepers back and forward so I could make the track fit properly.  The bridge has a few raised sections that needed to take the place of a sleeper, so I needed to push the sleepers out of the way.  I used aquadhere to join the track to the bridge and left it over night to dry with a weight on it to keep it flat. 
Today I fitted the pratt truss bridge across the opening.  I also laid some weathered code 70 rail across my through truss girder bridge.  I now have the structure across the Richmond River complete.  I think everything is basically level.  I might have to pack the bridge in a corner or two.  I have run a container wagon and two eureka cattle and sheep wagons across the opening and I currently have no issues.  There might be a few small bits of fine tuning to do before I run a track rubber across the opening to remove any glue residue and can then run my first powered train, before I run a triple header across – with my fingers crossed. 
Today I also started installing the guard rails across the bridge.  Again these will be in three separate lengths similar to the bridge sections so I can remove the various sections if required.  I need to remove the bridge sections at least once in the future when I take the bridge to our Annual Modelling Competition at our Clubrooms in December.
There are no photos of my work this weekend.  I might film the first powered crossing of the Richmond River next weekend and put it up on the Blog.
Late this morning I headed out to the Buy and Sell run by one of the model railway clubs on the southside of Brisbane.  I met up with Darren, Paul and Geoff, as well as a quite a few other people who said G’day to me.  I didn’t buy anything, but I saw Darren and Paul carting away handfuls of good bargains.
Next Saturday I hope to install the water pipe permanently and following that, head over to Shelton’s so we can both make our way to Anthony’s place for a running session of Victorian and South Australian outline rolling stock.  I might have to charge the batteries in my Procab-R in case Anthony has installed radio since his last running session.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Bridge Work

Well what has happened in the last week?  I received a phone call on Friday night from a Club member asking how my decodering up of his locos was going.  Whoops!  I forgot to do the last two of his six locos - I could not get motivated.  So after I hung up the phone I installed the decoder into one of his Jumbos and on Saturday morning before I left for the Club, I did the last loco also a Jumbo.  So in total I decodered up 2 x 80's, 2 x 421's and 2 x 442's. 
On my way to the Club via the local hobby shop I picked up my Central Valley kit of webbed girders so I could progress my bridge over the Richmond River. During the week, I was lucky enough to convince the boss to pick up two spray cans of grey primer from one of the local cheap $2 shops, although the tins of spray paint where about $4.  I think Supercheap Auto had similar cans on special this weekend for cheaper.  I realised the need for spray paint during the week when I thought I might be able to spray paint my girder bridge one night after I came home from work, but I had no grey primer available.  So I was able to sweet talk the boss into picking some up for me.
Yesterday at the Club and we spent lots of time talking about the progress of the Clubrooms layout.  Maybe I should take a few photos of the Clubroom HO layouts progress at the November meeting and post them here on that weekends Blog.
So this morning while watching Bathurst and cheering for Ford, I glued 6 webbed girders together and then cut them to length for installation on the bridge.  I then added the angled girders in between glimpses at the TV.  When that was complete I then went down to the shed and painted the small girder bridge grey.  Once that was dry I glued on the sleepers and set it aside to dry again.

Here is the finished product.
The completed bridge in place on the layout.
My efforts then turned to the Pratt Truss bridge. 
The bridge ready to paint.

I followed the old adage - Divide and Conquer.  So I then separated the Pratt Truss bridge into its two pieces, the bottom and the top.  I then painted both.  The top was pretty easy. 
The completed top half of the bridge.

The bottom proved troublesome.  As I spray painted it, there was bubbling of the styrene occurring in a couple of places.  On closer inspection there was a plastic type cover on the styrene that was not  previously visible. So I tried to scape that away and repaint the affected areas.  I then found three other places where there was a plastic type cover.  So again these were removed and the styrene touched up again.
The eventually completed bottom half of the bridge.

The two halves were then reassembled.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.

I then took the bridge over to the Richmond River opening and put in place to admire my work.
In place across the Richmond River opening.

Now the driver's eye view.

Looking from the northern side of the River.

So I've had some great progress, but still more to do.  I have some sleepers to add across the bridge next weekend and then also try and add the rail across the bridge.  However, I will have to permanently fix the two main bridge piers to the base of the layout with some sort of glue before the bridge is finally placed into position.

But the bridge will need to remain removable as I need to take it to the Club in December.  I still need to make a few minor adjustments to how the bridge will sit height wise.  I also need to add the water pipe that runs across the bridge to make it accurate. With a bit of luck I will be able to run a test train across the bridge again next week. 

Tuesday Nighters this week is at Lefty and Son's.  I wonder what they have done since we were last there.  Will we be in for a surprise?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bridge Work Continues

I had Friday day off to do a few things with the family and eventually got down to the shed on Friday afternoon.  I did a bit of plastering and set the girder piers in plaster to the correct height across the River opening.  I then took two lengths of code 70 rail and used some PC board sleepers to keep then at the correct track gauge.  I still have to cut the gaps on both the top and bottom of the PC board before I permanently fix this to the bridge.  Before this I will stain up some bridge transoms and glue these to the bridge after it is finally painted.  This task is still a few weeks away.
On Saturday morning I added a bit of plaster to the northern face of the embankment of the Richmond River.  I then got a out my trusty paints and painted the white plaster on both sides of the bridge a base colour. I then hit the various piers with my trusty grey stain that I use on all my plaster and wooden items.  So the two main bridge piers and the four smaller piers on the southern side were all stained up.  I'm now out of stain so I will have to make up another batch for when I do the bridge transoms.

The overall view of the river crossing.

A drivers view as he approaches the bridge.

A closer up view as the driver is about to cross the main span.

Many years back I started on scratch building the northern span of this bridge from styrene.  It has been sitting in a half finished state for years.  Every time I pick it up, the bridge just feels too flimsy.  So I have now been turned off using this version of the bridge and will make another one. 

The half finished scratch built flimsy bridge section for the northern end.

I went looking around the shed to see what I had.  I came across two bridge girders that I had purchased at a buy and sell, again some time ago, that I think I will use in my next version of the bridge.  I will use some rectangular styrene shapes and some 'I' beam that I will scavenge from the original bridge.  I'm just short of the rectangular shapes.  Hopefully I will pick these up during the week at the hobby shop in town.

The trial fit of the bridge girders for the northern ends bridge.  You can also see my code 70 track with a couple of PC board sleepers keeping it in gauge.
My long awaited for Central Valley kit arrived on Friday at the local hobby shop but has not been unpacked as yet.  I will hopefully pick the kit up next Saturday.  That will enable me to spend some time next Sunday putting together some extra cross girders together.  I have six of them now but need another six to complete the bridge.  This will allow me to resume building the bridge so it can be completed before our Club's December meeting the date of our annual Christmas modelling competition.  So after girder fitting, it will be painting, adding a few detail plates where the various girders join and then add the screws to join the top and bottom structures.  This will be followed by fitting the stained bridge transoms.  Still plenty of work to do yet.