Sunday, April 26, 2015

All Ballasted Out

Yesterday and today I have spent some time in the shed.  That time was spent continuing to ballasting Cassino Yard and the track from the Richmond River Bridge to the south of Cassino Station.  I am now basically out of ballast.  The three kilograms that I purchased recently has now been consumed.  I need to buy a few more kilograms at the Brisbane Model Train Show.  I am thinking about 8 kilograms at least, to finish the major sceniced areas of the layout, That includes the northern end of Cassino Yard through to Cassino Meat Works, Fairy Hill Loop through to Kyogle and then through to Kyogle Stock Siding and then to Cougal Spiral.  I also have some more work through Running Creek between Border Tunnel and the next tunnel north.  I also have the large area of Lismore and its Yard to complete.  That still leaves a number of areas that can be ballasted at a future time including Old Cassino and the various blobs either side of Lismore and of course Murwillumbah and the track past Murwillumbah where the various industry sidings are located.  That does not include the southern end of Fairy Hill Loop around the blob and of course the Nammoona Ballast Siding.  I still need a truck load of ballast to have the layout anywhere near described as ballasted.
I have also fielded a few questions of late about my next running day which should be in late June.  There is still one loose wire on a point at the southern end of Kyogle that needs its wire soldered back on and I need to still reset some trains back at their start location in the timetable as that is where the next session will start from.  I also need to print off a new set of timetable cards and clean all the track that has recently been ballasted over to remove the glue from the rail tops.

I had forgotten that there is a modelling night this Friday night at Geoff’s until I saw the discussion on a facebook group early this weekend.  So I must spend some time one night this week thinking about what I will be doing and packing everything up to take.  I should then keep the stuff together as the following weekend is the Brisbane Model Train Exhibition at the RNA showgrounds Marquee in sideshow alley.  I will be working on the Structure Building Stand.  Unfortunately my partner in crime (Jim Hutchinson) will not be attending as he will now be in Sydney.  I have sought a replacement or two from various Club Members and someone from outside the Club.  So pop by and say g'day.
Starting just north of the Richmond River bridge the new ballasting work begins.

The work continues into Cassino Station.

The Cassino Yard has been ballasted but some of the back platform road and the carriage siding have not yet been completed.  The yellow paint on the side of the rail is the clearance point for trains in that siding.

At the northern end of Cassino platform, we see a change in ballast type in the carriage siding.

Looking north from Cassino platform.

This shot shows where the branch line begins behind the fettler's shed. 

Looking back south towards the platform.

The tracks near the Cassino Signal cabin.  Again the yellow paint showing the clearance points for the train drivers.

At the southern end of the platform, the road overbridge proved slightly difficult to ballast under.
The overhead booking office has been placed next to the road in this show, along with the steps to the platform.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finishing Border Loop Ballasting and Starting on Cassino Station Area

I had Friday off and decided to head over to Aurora Hobbies at Tarragindi Road and by chance took his whole supply of Chuck’s Ballast.  He hopes to get some more for the Brisbane May show and I hope he does too.  I think I will be out of ballast again by then.  I picked up 3 x 1 kg bags.  I then went over to Austral Modelcraft and picked up some more NCE decoders for the Club.
Yesterday after soccer in the morning, I was picked up by the Geoff's Taxi service and along with Darren and Shelton, we headed to Anthony’s “Border District” layout for a running session.  It was great.  Everything ran smoothly, we had good company, a few laughs and most of all fun.  We completed 26 trains, with some trains having two may crews, and some driver only.  I was Train Control and even got to driver three trains and did a bit of other roustabout work around the layout.  I put two trains in the dirt, by running off the siding due to momentum being configured on the loco.  It was a really intense about 4 hours effort.  I up for another one next month!
Today I went down to the shed and put some of the newly purchased ballast to use.  I completed the area in Border Loop that I started a few weeks back.  I then decided to do some work on Cassino Platform and tidy that up before I ballasted Cassino Yard.  My Cassino platform was transplanted from my old Cassino layout that I originally had inside the house in a dedicated train room.  I was evicted from there when my second child came along, thus the shed was born as a compromise.  I just recycled my Cassino station platform.  However, with more space available, I just kept the old platform and added onto the back platform road by about 1-2cm and then a large extension on the northern end for a longer platform and enlarged Dock.  I can now fit a full seven car XPT in the platform.  My 620/720 set also fits quite nicely into the dock platform.  I used plaster that I poured into some formwork for the additional platform area.  It has been sitting around all white in native plaster for quite some years. 
Well today I decided that I’d use a dremel tool and try and grind the plaster down to the wood platform height.  After about 5 seconds I realised that was not going to work.  So I went through my file collection and found a three pack that I got from my Father-in-law.  There was a ripper file that took the bumpy top off the platform plaster and then I used a finer file for cleanup and smoothing of the finish.  Everything looked quite good.  I also found the tin of paint that I painted the platform with all those years ago – It had to be nearly 20 years.  You guessed it, it was rock solid.  So I threw that out and mixed up my own grey tinge for the platform finish from cheap black and white paint.  I gave the platform about three coats as the plaster was very porous.  We will see how that turns out next weekend.  When that was complete I had some lunch, watched some TV to relax and then went back down to the shed. 
I then ballasted a small amount of Cassino Yard.  From my calculations, I think I have only completed about 20% of the yard area.  I have quite a lot more to do yet.  I’m not certain that I have enough ballast to complete Cassino Yard.
While doing the ballasting I was watching the same TV show in the Shed, that I started watching in the house while having lunch.  As I was still watching that show when I had completed as much ballasting that I had wanted to do today, I sat at my workbench in the shed and started thinking about a challenge that the Tuesday Nighters group are about to embark on.  It involved making a model of a shed that Darren took some photos of and posted on facebook.  I had some laser scribed 1.5mm ply that I initially took my file to and thinned it down from the back.  Then I took the dremel to it and it seemed easier and quicker to thin down.  I have thinned this ply down to some very thin thickness, probably about 0.75mm  I think that will look very good in my small shed model that I will be building.
So the plans are more work on the platform at Cassino, more ballasting and more work on the Tuesday Nighter shed project.  I will publish some photos next week.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Doing Some Construction Modelling

Friday night a few of the Tuesday Nighters got together and headed to Brendan’s place for some BBQ snags, cold drinks and a great time.  We had all in spades!  Geoff, Darren, Peter, Grover and myself turned up at Brendan's after 6:00pm and had plenty of good company, conversation and construction.  I took along my scratch built Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I was building some square structures for the top of the three cylindrical towers on top of the base structure.  I then started off bending up some pipework out of various size styrene rod to simulate the various pipes that run up the side of the structure to and into the top towers. I have completed the piping to one of the three cylinders on the roof.  As luck would have it I ran out of styrene.  So over to Austral Modelcraft on Saturday morning to pick up three more packets of various sizes of different size styrene rod.  I plan to slowly chip away at these pipes and then once finished I will see if I can spray these all the one colour at the same time.  I can them permanently glue the silo together.
Saturday afternoon entailed a trip to the Club and I was installing the Road over Rail Bridge on the Club room layout.  So my clinic for these weekend was assembling the bridge on the layout.  So I placed the foundations on the ground (actually cut them into the trackside scenery and then glued the bents to the wooden foundations.  I then balanced the headstocks on top of the piers and then cut and installed the bridge girders above them.  I then built two more piles for the outer edges of the bridge and added the headstocks to them as well.  The deck that Tristan had laser cut for me will fit quite nicely.  I just need to trip it up and glue it onto the frame.  I just let the bridge frame to set for about 2 hours and before I went home, I just picked the whole construction up in one piece and took it home.  Today I trimmed the deck to size and sorted through my scale lumber supplies and found some pieces that will form the bridge kerbs when I continue construction in about 4 weeks time.  I stained them and now everything is set aside as I plan to work on completing construction of the bridge at this year’s May Model Railway Exhibition in Brisbane.  That will include installing the posts, railings and all the other above road pieces on the bridge.  Then it can make its way onto the Club Layout permanently.
Today I also spray painted the tin shed that attaches to the Club’s Medusa Cement Silo.  I painted this a separate colour to what the cement silos themselves will be.  I am currently uncertain what colour to paint the silos, I just know it will be different to the corrugated iron.  I visited a hobby shop of Friday morning and saw a huge range of various grey tints in spray cans.  I will just need to see if I can find a photo of this American silo and copy a colour from that.
Today I also did a bit of staining of a few pieces of road on the layout around Cassino and Murwillumbah.  I use my standard black/grey stain on balsa wood as my road colour.  I just think it comes up better than other products.  The small roads that back onto the Cassino station have been down for a couple of years, but I never painted the roads.  Well now that has been done.  I them stained a road that will be installed at the end of the Murwillumbah headshunt and will lead towards the Lismore Shell siding on the layout.  I also glued down the cork that I installed around Cassino Yard last weekend.
My search for Chuck’s Ballast in Brisbane has turned up nothing.  But it does appear that Vogler’s in Ipswich stocks it.  So I might need to make a trip over their on one of the next few weekends.  This next one is booked with a soccer trial for my son followed by a running session at Anthony’s.  Failing that I will try my luck at one of the Interstate shops at the May Model Railway Exhibition.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ballasting Border Loop

I thought I did not have enough concurrent projects on the go, so I decided to start another one.  I began ballasting Border Loop Crossing Loop yesterday.  Today I checked it out and there were just a couple of places where the ballast still had some play in it so I hit those areas with some more diluted white glue.  I think what has been done completed has come up quite good at least to my eye.  However, I ran out of the main ballast colour I was using and I still have the Border Tunnel end of the crossing loop to ballast.  So I might try and make a trip to a local hobby shop tomorrow and see if I can pick up some more Chuck’s Ballast.  I think I will have to buy a few more packets at the upcoming May Exhibition in Brisbane.
Looking North from the southern tunnel portal towards the signal box.

Looking towards the southern end of the crossing loop.

A close up view of the signal box, with the various pieces of infrastructure that make up the facilities there.
Because I had a large area to ballast, including the two tracks, the run off tracks at either end of the loop and the space between the tracks, I decided to lay some cork between the two tracks which was thinner than the cork under the tracks.  I think this has worked out quite well once covered with ballast.
This morning I decided to hit the shed for about an hour before I was told we were heading out for the arvo.  I started adding strips of cork into the area around Cassino Station between the various tracks on both sides of the platform as that area might be the next location to be ballasted if the ballast fairy comes through.  Now come to think of it, as I sit here writing this blog, it occurs to be that I have a great big 5 litre bucket full of ballast sitting under my work bench in the shed.  I might have to investigate that tomorrow as I continue down the ballasting path.  I know it will not be the same quality as Chuck's N scale Ballast, but it might be able to be used in a few places around the layout.
I also started assembling one of the bents for the road over rail bridge that will be placed on the Club layout next weekend.  Tomorrow I will assemble the second bent and maybe some other components for the top of the bridge.
The first bent assembled.
The bent sitting upon its concrete abutment.  These need to be quite high as we have a rather high clearance required at the Club given that we have some members that run double stacked American outline.