Sunday, July 27, 2014

Plenty Happening Here

On Tuesday this week 15 Tuesday Nighters came over for a look at the layout and its progress and was followed by a cuppa and bit of supper and plenty of discussion.  It was a very full turn up.  Discussion did turn to some of the bargains in the Aldi catalogue which went of sale yesterday.  I purchased the cheap compressor which came with two sprays guns.  I also purchased the Moto-Tool with the clamping base and a flexible drive shaft.  I also picked up the Mini bench grinder also with its own flexible drive shaft.  This was then given to the boss, as I said she can put it away until my birthday in just under four weeks. 
This was followed by my mate David coming over on Friday night with a couple of locos to get programmed up with a long address and he also dropped off two more locos (actually British HST’s) to have a decoder installed into.  So I am bit by bit showing David how to do all this programming so he can be self sufficient.
This morning I made up some styrene formwork so I could pour some concrete bases for the bridge. 
The styrene formwork for my bridge pier.
The wooden bridge piers for my NSW timber overbridge as per the Greg Edwards Data Sheet P5.
I poured the first one and cut it out of the styrene, and then I glued the styrene formwork back together.  As that was drying, I decided to pour a few plaster rockwork castings for around where the bridge was going to be positioned.  I then poured the second concrete base for the second bridge pier.  When it dried, I again cut that out of the styrene formwork.

This is the first cast of the plaster pier with the timber bent on top of it.

 I had to go out just after lunch for a few hours with the family and upon return went back down to the shed for another hour.  Just to make sure that the bridge was going to fit into the area that I plan to install it in, I tried assembling the bridge on the now basically dry concrete pier bases.

Here is the bridge components sitting on the layout for a trial fit.  I still need to glue all the Styrofoam on the left of the picture and build up the ground level to the right.
To respond to Rowan’s comment from last week, I have included some photos of the various trees that I have on the layout, including the few I purchased off Bob at the Buy and Seel the week before.

Looking up Fairy Lane on the layout.  A bit of work being undertaken near the level crossing.  The fencing for the B&B on the right has to be installed.  This lane will eventually become a tree lined vista.  These are the trees that I picked up at the Buy and Sell.

It looks like the sun has come out at the top of the lane around the grader while the rest of the area is under cloud cover.  In the distance can be seen the local community hall.

The same area for another angle.  Plenty of further work to be done in this scene.
Looking south towards Border Tunnel.  A variety of trees are in this photo.  Two of the latest ones I purchased off Bob are visible here.

Looking up Running Creek.  A few more weeping willows are needed for here.

Peering through the trees we see the local crossing to a small camping area where the naturalists visit in Summer.

I think we can see the locals having some fun in this photo.  However there is no water in the creek as yet.
I did eventually get around to staining up the various wooden pieces for my road overbridge for the Murwillumbah branch that I mentioned in last week’s Blog update.  But it was not until late this afternoon that I finally got around to it. So tomorrow I might glue the bridge together and install it onto the layout.
I'm on holidays this week to watch the Commonwealth Games and do a few things around the house.  I might still be able to get down the shed most days and do a bit more work.  I plan to have a running day next Saturday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Buy and Sell's Galore

I spent some time in the shed this afternoon and whilst listening to the football on the radio, I installed a few telegraph poles that I have had lying on the layout for well over a year.  These were located around the Nammoona Ballast Siding Loop and headed towards the Hotham Road level crossing on the northern outskirts of Cassino.  There were also a few more installed around Ron and Marg’s B&B just outside Fairy Hill Loop.  I also fixed up a few detail signs on the layout. 
On Tuesday night last week a group of us went to the local – Union Pacific Model Railroad Club (UPMRC) Buy and Sell.  I went halves with Darren in 14 very nice bargain priced trees made by Bob Mawson.  I planted then on Saturday.  Apparently Bob was going to have lots more on Saturday at yesterday’s AMRA club at Zillmere Open Day combined with a Sale event.  Apparently it was quite good.  But given that my son was playing soccer at the other end of the universe – Beaudesert at 10:00am and we stopped off at the Jimboomba markets on the way home and then went looking for my nephew’s new home at Flagstone at the back of beyond west of Jimboomba, there was no way I could get to Zillmere and pick up some of those great trees made by Bob.  However, today I went to the All Gauge Model Railroad Club (AGMRC) Table Sale Buy and Sell at their clubrooms.  Fancy that – three different Clubs having sales within the one week.
I have also been slowly reducing my excess rolling stock collection with one wagon here and one wagon there.  So I guess I have been having my own personal Buy and Sell also.
Yesterday afternoon/evening I spent some time cutting up pieces of scale wood as I was progressing a standard NSW road overbridge for my layout.  I have also cut up enough parts for two more bents for a bridge I will be installing on the HO Club Layout.  I have assembled the two bents for my layout and just need to assemble the bridge frame underneath the road.  I plan on doing that tonight, if I can hold my hand steady enough for the glue to dry given all the coughing I am doing.  The next task will be to stain the bents and the bridge frame.  Then I will cut up some roadway, stain it and when it is dry, I will add it to the road frame.  I have some scribed timber that I will cut up and use for the bridge planks.  It is close enough to the correct thickness - 8" instead of 9" - but who will tell.
Tuesday this week is our next Tuesday Nighters get together, this time at my place.  I have put a few of my scenery items away in the shed to make room for the hungry hoards.  I had this equipment - various coloured scatters, tree making items, ballast and coloured sands/dirts in various places around the shed as that was what I have been doing lately. I will also give the shed a quick vacuum out on Tuesday afternoon just before I get my coffee cups out of storage and give them a wash and get ready for the evening.  This morning before going to the Buy and Sell I also hosed out the pergola and housed down the outdoor furniture, as we will retire to there on Tuesday night for tea/coffee and something to eat following a tour of the layout, as we certainly will not fit in the Shed with the numbers planned for this Tuesday.  I usually get bagged for having no room in the shed a few times during the evening.  I just hope it will not be too cold!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Damn Hobos!

Today I went down to the shed determined to give a train or two a run.  I tested a few locos that I had recently removed from consists and did a few changes to their CV’s to ensure they started off at speed step 2.  After tweaking five locos, I put them back on their trains and got ready for a run.  Yesterday I purchased an Auscision WAGR louvre van off a mate, so I added that to my fruit express consist and swapped out a NSW louvre van.  There have been a few other cases of this swapping out occurring over the last few months as I’ve picked up the odd wagon here and there from mates who have bought a complete set and wanted to offload one wagon, or I have picked up a set of wagons and offloaded one from the set myself.  The replaced wagons from my various train consists have been relegated to South Brisbane Interstate Yard or to the ‘For Sale’ track – the #1 siding at Park Road Sidings.  The paper train uses #2 siding at this location so I need to keep that free.  I also removed about a dozen wagons from a dead-end siding at Grafton Yard and these went to either South Brisbane Interstate Yard or Clapham Yard for safe keeping.  I also took a few wagons out of one of the back roads at Lismore.  These wagons also went to the ‘For Sale’ Track.  I also took some ballast wagons out of one of the dead end tracks at Acacia Ridge Yard and these went to the ‘For Sale’ track as well. 
So after all this shuffling I only ran one train – the fruit express train with double 80 class locos and 16 wagons that was in Grafton Yard and it went all the way to South Brisbane.  This train is over length for all the crossing loops, except Cassino and Border Loop (if it uses the run off tracks), and Acacia Ridge Yard.  Along the way I fixed a number of issues and I now think this train is running better.  I spent some time fixing some issues with some of the newer wagons going through Peco points.  On about 9 or 10 sets of points around the layout, I installed styrene shims against the check rail.  Once these were fitted, the train ran extremely well.  It didn’t matter if it was pushed or pulled through the points it just ran well.  I also made a few minor alignment fixes in the new track work in Acacia Ridge Yard and fixed up some jumpers.  I also had to clean the track through the various scenic areas that I had been planting trees in and spraying a bit of glue about.  There were also some issues with the KD look alike couplers on the fruit train.  So I just replaced them all with real KD's, about 10 wagons in total.  When I turned the wagons over to remove the KD’s I found about four tiny spiders underneath various wagons.  I also found a baby Daddy Long Legs spider on one of my locos hitching a ride.  I have been inundated with hobos, getting free rides on my trains.  When the fruit train finally arrived at South Brisbane Interstate the local shunting loco hauled the train out of the dead end number 3 road to allow for the release of the train locos.  The shunter then pushed the train back into road 6.  The shunting loco returned to its dedicated siding and the train locos then coupled up for a trip back to Grafton Yard. 
So for something completely different I ran a timed trip back the other way.  At 16:05pm I whistled out of South Brisbane Interstate #6 road with the 2 x 80 class and 16 wagons full of fruit.  I made my way all the way to Grafton and arrived in the staging yard at 16:25.  That was a full (just over) 20 minutes real time for the run.  At a 6:1 fast clock, that is just over four hours to travel time for that distance – reasonable close to the real time for that run.  There were no crosses that occurred and all staff exchanges were done with the auto changer on the fly to save time.  This timetable move entails travelling through 9 crossing loops and four intermediate sidings.  I’ve just done a quick estimation and it may be about 160m of track distance from South Brisbane Interstate to the entry to Grafton Yard Loops.  It is another 7 or 8 metres to go around track #1 and come out the end of the return loop  ready for the departure in the next session.  In that length of layout we drop down maybe 1000mm in height between the initial starting location - South Brisbane and the finishing location at Grafton.  At one location on the top deck of the layout the track passes over itself three times at different heights while travelling through one of the Running Creek Tunnel, Border Tunnel and Kyogle.  This example just shows how much track is available on the layout and why we can get up to 12 drivers gainfully employed along the main line, on the branch or in the various yards and sidings.
Following the successful run, and knowing that the track still works after not being used for a few months, I decided to solder the main trunk and main branches of 20 trees.  These are now awaiting a treatment of ‘No More Gaps’ and then a paint, followed by adding some leaves.  Who knows, this might get done before the next running session.  I think I will try and schedule one for a few weeks time on a Saturday.   Email invitations will probably go out on Tuesday or Wednesday night this week.
Yesterday morning I dropped into Austral Modelcraft and picked up another two packets of Heki mat that I use for foliage on my various trees which already exist.  I also picked up a packet of ground foam to be used on my weeping willows.
Yesterday afternoon I met Darren and Paul at Shelton’s place and we travel together to Anthony’s place for a running session.  We met up with other VR and SAR modellers Keith and Mark.  This was a running session that went for a good couple of hours and was followed by a debrief around his dining room table having a few corn chips, peanuts and a beer or two.  This session was full on.  I was working with Shelton at Tatiara Down as Head Shunter and Yard Master.  Being the shunter I forgot to change the points on a few occasions and Shelton careered down the wrong track.  He also put a wagon in the dirt about 4 times - but I'm not a dobber.  On another occasion I used selective compression – a standard modelling term and technique, that enabled us to fit the train we were shunting into the headshunt track that was actually too short for our train.  It was absolutely mind blowing trying to make up two trains at the same time, and then getting more trains arriving which we have to tell the driver where to drop off a few wagons for on-forwarding to another destination.  On others when they terminated here and we had to break up their train up as well.  It was truly demanding work.  I certainly needed a beer by the end of the session.  I just could not concentrate on making up two trains at the same time – it was so confusing.  Which track was what train?  My brain hurts!  Anthony has certainly made some progress since the last session with a track change at Tatiara Downs which included another track in the yard.  He also added some very nice maps for some of the locations so we could find the various sidings.  For an update of that session click here
Tuesday night we went to one of our newer Tuesday Nighter’s place and visited his layout Wacol.  This layout was featured in the February 2003 issue of AMRM.  It is located in an old restored QR wagon in his yard.  It was brilliant and has been modernised so much since that issue of the magazine.  It is all been electrified.  No steamers any more.  All diesels on the freight trains and one electric loco on a 7 car silver set and lots of different 6 car electrics.  There are plenty more small detail scenes installed as well.  Did I say it was brilliant?
My place in two weeks.  I must get it ready.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Doing Some Electronics

On Saturday I went to the local MERG meeting where there was a presentation on “Introduction to Electronics”.  This was followed by a soldering session where we could put together a kit.  I purchased a LED dimmer kit to work on.  The day was attended by two fellow club members and about a half a dozen other interested people.  It was very informative and I guess the soldering session was where I gained some confidence in soldering on a small piece of strip board.  During the soldering session, I could not differentiate between two ceramic capacitors so I could not complete the kit.  I had to wait until I got home, and it was not until this afternoon that I put the items under the magnifying glass to read the writing on them to differentiate them.
So this afternoon in the shed, I finished off the soldering of this kit and installed the five jumper wire connections.  I do not have a 12 volt power supply to test the kits, so I might have to make one of those as well.  After completing the LED dimmer kit, I decided to put together a multi purpose flasher kit, which I finished.  I had previously purchase three of these as well as another LED dimmer kit in a bulk order from MERG in the UK with a couple of other club mates. 
So not much modelling related activities this week.  I just can’t get motivated to work on the Waiting Shed for Glenapp Loop.