Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Trip to Toowoomba

Yesterday I popped over to Lefty’s place and assisted him with the ballasting of his small diorama for a Museum Exhibit that he is making.  Following that I went around to Shelton’s and joined Anthony there for their Running Session.  We ran trains for just under two hours, while discussing various aspects of the layout and possible suggestions.  The session was completed with some very nice scones cooked by Shelton’s wife.  
Early this morning I picked up Lefty at about 7:25am and we headed off to Toowoomba.  We arrived at spot on 9:00am. The DDMRC were having their annual exhibition and Darren, Geoff and Grover were running Darren’s More layout and doing modelling demonstrations.  We had some very good chats, I was told to ‘move on’ at least three time by Smithy – the DDMRC President – who is one funny bugger.  While there talking to Darren and Geoff, Bazz comes up and shows off his two NSW water tanks.  Below are pictures of his round model.  These are just brilliant.  I offered to let him put the model on my layout at Murwillumbah but I think he kept not hearing me when I suggested that.  This is a brilliant model.  So is his standard square water tank which I did not photograph.
Bazza's water tank.

The various steps in the brick courses under the actual water tank at the top.  Just brilliant!

I think I might have to try and make one for Murwillumbah.  Chalk up another entry onto the ever lengthening 'To Do List'
I had plenty of great conversations with stacks of modelling mates while walking around the exhibition.  Also in attendance were my Club with the HO and N scale exhibition layouts and the Tall Timber’s Tramway also exhibited by club members and also members of the Gosford Club.  I also had a talk to the man with many hats - aka Rohan and complimented him on his great modelling work on his new layout - refer to his Blog Boliva.
This week has been quite full of modelling related activities.  We went around to my mate David’s place on Tuesday Night this week and we had 10 in attendance.  I shouted myself a half day on Friday and went to the shed and did a bit of train running - just completing the last few trains in the timetable so everything is ready for the next session on the 27th.  I ran the Track Tamper from Border Loop back to Old Cassino where it is now stabled in the Construction Siding.  I then ran the Container train from Clapham Yard (after running around with the triple headed engines) but it didn’t get far.  Just out of Acacia Ridge Yard, it pulled a KD from a wagon.  So I glued it back in and soon after a second came out.  I was closely examining the wagons and decided that there were two wagons that suffered from low KD tangs.  So while bending one of them up the second coupler came off from a wagon.  So I decided to leave that train there on the single track main line between Acacia Ridge Yard and Clapham Yard and let the glue dry thoroughly.  So I then ran the rail train from Kyogle Siding (again after running around the loco) back towards its destination of Clapham Yard.  However, while entering Acacia Ridge Yard - the light bulb went on.  However, some Einstein (that would be me) had left a Container train parked on the single track main line north of Acacia Ridge Yard.  So I had to leave the rail train on track one at Acacia Ridge Yard until I can move the Container train back through track two on its way to Grafton Yard.  Next task was to take the paper train from Grafton Yard to Park Road Siding.  But when I got to Kyogle I put the train to bed, as again – There was a bit of a deadlock occurring at Acacia Ridge Yard – I was thinking I might have to chastise the instigator of that mess (Oh that’s right – it was me again - so I just let him off with a warning).
So this arvo after getting back from Toowoomba, and mowing the grass, I went back down to the shed and spliced in a set of crossovers between track 5 and track 4 within Acacia Ridge Yard.  This meant that I had to move about 5 tracks that fanned out of track 5 in Acacia Ridge Yard.  I still want to replace one RH point with a three way point and then I will have 12 tracks emanating from track 5.  This will be a great little layout within a layout for various shunting activities.
This is a photo of the Acacia Ridge Yard area with the (at this time) 11 dead end tracks.  I moved the five left most dead end tracks to the left to allow for a cross over to be fitted and another track to the right of those last 5 tracks.

The end result with now 12 dead end tracks (sort of) in Acacia Ridge Yard.  You can see the cross over onto track 4 from track 5.  I'm still waiting on a three way point to complete the last siding.  Also at the top of the photo is the container train in two parts on the Main Line from Acacia Ridge Yard to Clapham Yard and at the bottom of the photo is the blocked rail train on track 1.  Below that is Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.
I then started to lay some more track in Fisherman Islands.  Right now, I have the three Standard Gauge lines laid all the way to the point where they will fan out from the lead into the Fisherman Islands.  I think I need a narrow gauge point and I can get the whole track for the standard gauge yard complete from Dutton Park all the way to the terminus at Fisherman Islands.  I still have to power that section, and cut holes in the baseboard for the point motors and install the DS64’s to control the points.  Yes I will also need a small control panel at each end of the yard and also a staff machine to splice into the Clapham to South Brisbane Section.  I might have to slit this section in the future at Dutton Park - forming Clapham Yard to Dutton Park, and Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands, and Dutton Park to South Brisbane Interstate.
This is the head shunt end at the extremities of Fisherman's Islands.  I just need to install some dual gauge track for the head shunt, and the narrow gauge track and the dual gauge track to the left of the three standard gauge tracks you can see off into the distance.
I have added a couple of shots of the work on the layout undertaken over the last couple of weeks.
Cassino Station with ballasting completed.  I will have to start the station building soon, complete all the houses behind the platform and some detail around the back platform road.
The other end of Cassino Platform.  This shot also shows where the houses behind the railway line will go.  They have a piece of paper identifying the house location. 

The three way point that I spliced into the track at the northern end of Murwillumbah.  The track to the right in a small siding behind the platform.  I will store a loco here to help with shunting the Motorail wagons off the Gold Coast Motorail.
This show shows Fairy Lane where the cattle grids have been installed along with 100mm of ballasting on either end of the road crossing.  I will also need to run some fencing up to the grids.  Those lazy coppers has fallen over on duty again.
This shot shows Grafton Yard loops.  On the right of the loops are dead end tracks 8,9,10,11 and 12 which are used to store a number of small trains in the running session.  Track 13 has an old tank wagon and a CPH on it.  It is not used in the timetable.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting Stuck In Again!

On the way back from my son's Soccer game on Saturday morning I stopped in at Austral Modelcraft and picked up a number of decoders for the Club Shop and while there picked up a few 12mm points, lengths of 12mm flex and two lengths of code 83 rail.  I also picked up a length of 1.2mm piano wire to be used to manually operate a point.  Upon visiting the shed in the arvo, I laid the points and flex and worked out where my home made dual gauge flex made from standard HO flex with a third rail soldered to one side by PC board sleepers.  What I did forget to get was some atlas metal rail joiners and some insulated types.  Whoops! 
So I’ll be back there next Saturday to pick them up.  I might also pick up some more lengths of code 83 rail which I think I’ll need another 5 or 6 lengths of to complete the dual gauge track in Fisherman Islands.  The rail joiners will allow me to lay most of the standard gauge track in Fisherman Islands.  I then have to buy a few more right hand curve points and a dual gauge point, a few lengths of 12mm flex and that should allow me to complete the track at Fisherman Islands.
Today I went down to the shed just before lunch and decided to attack the list of tasks that need completion before the next running session.  First task was to install the cattle grid around Fairy Lane level crossing.  I picked up a great model from Austral Modelcraft last year but never got around to installing it.  So now it is installed and I even ballast about 100mm of track either side of the level crossing.  I tested a few wagons through the section and everything seems to work well.  I then went around to Murwillumbah with the aim of working there, but got distracted by Cassino.  I decided to lay the last approximate 1.2m of ballast around the back platform road at Cassino and the carriage siding.  That was quickly accomplished, both the ballast laying and the glue application.
So now I could concentrate of Murwillumbah.  I've been putting off doing a number of jobs in Murwillumbah for some time.  So drilled two holes in the facia and rerouted one of the point actuators on the new 3-way point at the northern end of the platform.  The previous actuator was not at right angles and was intermittent in throwing the point correctly.  I then installed the second actuator for the point next to it.  It was not too bad trying to insert the wire up through the point from under the layout.  I then tested the container train I had at Murwillumbah running through the 3-way point and it kept derailing on the route to the Loop line.  So I took the point up.  I then swapped the 3-way point at Murwillumbah with the last one I purchased and installed in Grafton Loco.  That was quickly done, actuators re-connected at Murwillumbah and it worked just like a bought one.  Now it was time to install the two remaining uncoupling magnets in Murwillumbah Yard.  One is at the northern end of the Loop line and the other is located in the motorail siding.  Speaking of Motorail!  Auscision has finally announced the upcoming release of motorail wagons.  I will be getting 2 of the wagons for the North Coast Motorail train and perhaps 3 or 4 for general Clapham bound freight use. Of course the Auscision XPT will be handling the Brisbane bound train.  I think I will arrange a few packets of Motorail wagons with the Tuesday Nighters so we can get a few each.  I am of course after 4 letter codes only.
On Friday night a few of us visited Darren’s place for a BBQ, and some modelling.  I just turned up for a talk and perhaps a run if the others were interested, but that did not eventuate.  We all had a great time.  I had to head off  just before 10:oopm while the others slept in the train room.  Darren had an SDS Shell tanker for sale, so I bought that off of him.  He bought that off Grover at the May show.  Grover wanted some more Caltex wagons.  I picked up one of these at the May show.  So I will sell my Caltex tanker to him.  Also we are going to swap another one of my Caltex tankers for his Ampol tanker.  High finance and a rather complicated circular transaction.
Next week, I will consider installing Snubbers on a few of my power district bus lines.  I will then have a small test run of the layout and run the last half a dozen trains back to their starting points in the timetable.  Following all trains being back in their sidings, I will print off a new set of timetable cards for the running session.  I think I have made all the improvements to the cards from the last session.  I also have a plan to do a bit of terra forming work around the headshunt at Murwillumbah.  I will be building up the scenery for a road that crosses the headshunt and actually leads towards the Shell Siding at Lismore.  Maybe that will also occur.  I will also have to stock the fridge and ensure there are a few snags available for the BBQ.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What to do?

What to do?  Saturday the 16th of May was a popular weekend for scheduling model railway related activities.  First of all there was the Modelling the Railways of NSW convention down at Loftus which I have not attended for 10 years.  This comes down to cost.  I really want to head down there very soon.  Additionally one of the Tuesday Nighters was having a train get together at his place followed by a BBQ lunch.  He lives just down the road from Woop Woop, so he believes that it is better to travel to his place during daylight hours instead of having Bunyips attack you if you travel there at night. So Greg scheduled a running session at his place.  Additionally being the third Saturday of the month, Anthony was having a running session on the Border District.  But given that my son had an early morning soccer game, and my daughter had an Open Day at her school and she (a red head) was doing some Bollywood dancing - I also had to go there.  So it turned out, I could not do any of the above railway activities, but when I finally got home just before 2:00pm, I did get to the shed in the afternoon. 
So when I did get there, I did a quick reconnaissance and identified what I was going to sell at our Club Buy and Sell today.  I packed the car with all the items and following the packing, I started to do some work on the layout.  I started the install of a number of points in Acacia Ridge Dead End Yard that allows me to have 11 dead end sidings at this location.  The Dead End Yard is located in the middle of my four monstrous return loops that constitute the Acacia Ridge Yard.  Each track can hold at least 3 maybe 4 full trains.  So Track 5 is the access track and head shunt for the dead end yard.  I was one set of points short on completing the dead end yard - which I picked up today at our Buy and Sell.  So when I get bored with running trains on the layout, I can do some shunting in these dead end sidings.  Currently most of my excess wagons – those not required in the timetable, are positioned in these dead end sidings.  So I can conceivably swap one steel train for another.  One ballast train for another and a train full of container wagons for another in the timetable, as all these types of trains are now sitting in these dead end sidings.
I also swapped out a 12mm point in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard and the geometry is now perfect.  I picked up a 12mm curve point last weekend from one of the Queensland Shops.  I still need at least one, 12mm LH point, and possibly three and about 6 or maybe 9 lengths of 12mm track to complete Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.  I think that over the next 12 months this will be completed.  Over the next few months my Southern Models 2300 class loco will also arrive.  I just need a read to run 1720 loco or two.  I wonder which of the manufacturers will announce this model and when?
Following this work, I then did a bit of track work on Grafton Loco.  I purchased a three way point the previous weekend, and with another left hand curve point, I can fit another siding operational for loco storage in Grafton Loco.  I had previously taken a three way point out and used it in Murwillumbah Yard.  Grafton Loco sidings consist of now 15 dead end tracks located just before the Grafton return loops.  Each of the dead end tracks can house at least 2 locos.  I actually have a few wagons in these tracks (way and works related etc.), and a couple of steam locos with most of the tracks empty.
Today started early as I went via my mate David’s house and picked him up along with a load of his goods to sell, and we made our way to the Club’s Buy and Sell event.  Check in was at 9:00am with the sale starting at 10:00am.  I picked up another 8 sets of points, that have already been put to good use on the layout this arvo.
I sold a few wagons and came away with a good return.  Upon returning home, I unpacked the car, and went to the shed.  I completed the trackwork for Acacia Ridge Dead End Yard and shunted a few small consists by hand at this location. 
My attention then turned to Fisherman Islands.  I started assembling track for the Standard Gauge sidings at this location starting at the dead end and working backwards.  I need to purchase another three narrow gauge (aka 12mm) points and a huge amount of 12mm track and I can lay most of the sidings at this location, up to where the track fans out from the entry track.  I think I might need to buy a complete box of 12mm track to get this and the Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard laid.  I think Aurora Trains had a box on special.  I might have to visit them next week.
This Fisherman Islands Yard will need to be controlled by peco point machines and a schematic panel as it is located too high to manually throw the points.  I think I will need another NCE Mini Panel, some Digitrax DS64's (maybe 3) point controllers and a control panel with quite a few push buttons on it. 

 I have a Running Session scheduled for about 5 weeks time.  So I am drawing up a list of things to do before the running session.  So that will take up the bulk of my activities before that date.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition

I at now back home, with the car unpacked a full weekend of model train related activity.  I spent a couple of hours in setup on Friday and a full weekend at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition, now back at its rightful home - the Brisbane Exhibition grounds.  Well I had a ball.  Plenty of laughs, some great conversations, I think we gave lots of pleasure to people, potentially got them interested in our hobby and I even completed two of the three projects I set out to achieve this weekend.

Firstly on Saturday while working with my offsider - Geoff from Splitters Swamp Creek fame, I completed the road over rail bridge for the Club HO Clubroom Layout.  Geoff was mesmerising people with his tree building activity.

Following completion of the bridge I added some bracing to a number of bents that will form part of a viaduct also on the Club HO Clubroom layout.

Today I had a new offsider assisting me on our stand.  It was Tristan from our Club and he was supported by his parents also getting into the act.  Tristan is the owner of a magic laser cutting machine and with this, he scribed the deck for my bridge above.  He also does name badges, signs, and various building kits in HO and N scale.  Some of these are remarkable.

So accompanied by Tristan I spent today building the cream shed that Darren (one of the Tuesday Nighters) challenged a few of us to build some weeks back.  I understand that Darren will show his off on Tuesday Night, as will mine be.  I was quite happy with how my shed turned out, but if I did it again - and I might, I'd build the roof frame slightly differently.  Mine is not 100% complete yet, as I need to stain some of the wood and actually add corrugated iron roof and the bargeboards.

Finally today I did a small amount of work on the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  It looks like I will have to concentrate this work on the next modelling night that our group has.

While at the show, I spent quite a bit of time, speaking to various exhibitors, shop owners, other bloggers, blog lurkers, fellow modellers, friends from work, and the general public.  But a lot of the time, was spend unloading money from my wallet.  Damn I'm in trouble with the boss.  I had to restock the wallet with cash this morning and it is bone dry again tonight.  Luckily this show only occurs once a year.

Now there is a Buy and Sell at our Clubrooms next Sunday starting at 10:00am I believe.  So I will try and offload some of the excess items in my collection to help pay off some debts.  See you next week.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tidying Up

Today I went down to the shed and cleaned the track around Cassino and its Yard following the recent ballasting that occurred.  I did a check of the ballast and all seems to have stuck quite fast to the baseboard.  So I decided to turn on my NCE DCC system and see if it still works and that I had not caused any issues while ballasting.  I ran a test train from Grafton Yard around to Cassino.  I then proceeded to run the train back and forwards through all the roads to ensure there were no issues.  The train was 42104 and it was hauling a mainline container train with numerous 80’ container wagons and another lot of smaller container wagons interspersed in the consist.  As I was backing up through Cassino platform so I could then run through the Loop line, and as an 80’ container wagon was on the river side of the Cassino overbridge, I could see a bogie become stationary and the train was moving over it.  I hit the anchors and inspected the wagon.  The two KD washer were just next to the bogie, but the bogie screw was found after a search of the track about 10 feet away down near the Cassino signal box.  I replaced the bogie screw with a longer screw and hopefully that fixes the problem.  Next I ran this container train through the two yard lines.  On the one nearer the platform, the 3rd and 4th container wagons were getting coupler lock and derailing.  So I noted this issue down and then tried the train through the 2nd Yard Track.  That ran OK.  I had a slight issue with the point blades on a couple of points not closing completely, so I just cleaned the inside of the stock rail and everything seemed to work so much better.  
I then ran that train back to Grafton and then proceeded to search my collection of KD's for some long shanks.  I found some as well as a couple of packets of KD's that I did not know that I had in the KD draw.  So I replaced the KD's on the two 80' container wagons identified earlier and then checked the coupler tangs.  One had to be adjusted up and then I thought I would also add a long KD’s to the first wagon on the train behind the loco.  That completed, I then thought I would then move to the next item on the layout fix up list.  I had a point motor on the Kyogle Loop line into the Veneer Siding that was not working.  I assumed a broken connection.  I lifted the track and the point in question and found that one control wire had come adrift.  So that was soldered back on, replaced the track and then I tested that point from the control panels and everything was now good.  I also tested the siding before the Veneer Siding and that also was not working.  It was then I remembered that one of the wires had come adrift on the control panel some time earlier.  So that was also soldered on, and the test was again successful.
I then thought about doing some work on Murwillumbah.  I had wanted to replace a left hand curve point at the northern end of the platform where the Mainline and Loop line converge, with a three way point to enable me to install a loco siding behind the platform at the northern end of the station.  So after quite a bit of effort, as this area is at the extent of my reach, it was finally completed.  Now I just need to implement some point control for that new point (Mainline to Storage Siding) and re-install the wire actuator for the Mainline to Loop Line point.  The existing point control is now in the wrong plain to control it properly.  That is a job for maybe a couple of weeks time.  I pushed a train back and forwards through the various tracks in this location and everything seemed to work pretty well.  I think I will stay focused in this area for a couple of weeks as I need to install some more uncoupling magnets particularly in the Loop Line.  Instead of putting a magnet in between the rails, I am thinking of having a hinged magnet that flips up from underneath the track to activate the KD couplers.  This technique is implemented on Anthony's Border District Layout that we have running sessions on and it works quite well.
I will spend some time this week packing everything I need for next weekend at the Brisbane Model Train Show.  I will be on the Structure Building stand.  I also plan to create a shopping list of items to get from the vast number of shops that will be in attendance.  So if you are attending the Exhibition, come by and say G’day.  I will be there on Saturday with Geoff from 'Splitters Swamp' fame and on Sunday with some other mates from our Train Club.  See you next week.