Sunday, September 6, 2015

More Fine Tuning of Things in FI and AR Yards

Thursday afternoon was a Father’s Day celebration at my son’s school, so it was an early finish with my son and I being home about 3:15pm.  So what does one do when they get home early?  I went to the shed of course.  I began by drilling a hole in the facia for the new panel meter to be fitted for Power District number 6 – Fisherman Islands.  The panel meter turned up during the week in the mail.  Once that was complete, I went to my separate test/programming track powered by either DC or my PowerCab and added a fourth rail to the track.  So I can now program in N scale, HO standard gauge and HOn3.5 gauge locos all on the same piece of track.  I have run various wagons up and down and there are no issues for the wagons I tested on the track.
This shot shows the control panel area of the layout, with all the meters. The lower meters show the current draw per power district.  They can be turned on/off by the top row of switches.  The bottom row of switches isolates each power district should the need arises.  The knife switch turns off power to the whole layout and is left off until the NCE gear is powered up.

The track on the right is the triple gauge programming/test track.  The tracks to the left of that are the return loops of Grafton Yard.
On Friday I had the day off.  So after doing a number of planned things in the morning and going out with the Boss to do some shopping, I surprisingly ended up in the shed in the arvo.  I have no idea how that happened?  One of the activities I did in the morning was go to Jaycar and picked up some more wire and a 6A 400V bridge rectifier.  So that arvo I wired in the bridge rectifier with the new panel meter.  I also wired the track bus up for Power district No.6 instead of jumpering it off another section.  So the meter was successfully wired in and upon testing with a loco, I found a few flaws in my logic with the dual gauge turnout.  When I ran a standard gauge loco through the dual gauge point there was a short.  So out with the Dremel Tool and I cut some insulation joints around the frog.  I will have to electrically attach the frog to a Peco switch run from the Peco point motor.  But at the moment, the 44 class glides through the point without powering the actual frog.

The dual gauge point is in the centre.

On Saturday my modelling activity was limited to visiting Austral Modelcraft in search for some code 83 rail – which he didn’t have any of.  I’m still waiting for an NCE Q-Snap to come in as well.  Maybe next week.
With today being Father’s Day, it gave me cause to spend some time in the shed.  The plan was to rewire Acacia Ridge Yard.  Acacia RidgeYard is basically 4 concentric return loops with a fifth track down the middle that forms a large yard available for shunting.  I have connected the return loops up to a Digitrax AR1 Auto Reverser.  My issue is that the dual gauge track to South Brisbane leaves Acacia Ridge track 1 midway through the return loop.  It is possible that I can have a train enter Acacia Ridge Yard from Glenapp at the same time as a train arrives from Clapham Yard.  That should not be an issue, as the Auto Reverser will set all the tracks to the same polarity.  However, if a train is leaving Acacia Ridge towards Glenapp Loop at the same time as a train is either entering or leaving Acacia Ridge track 1 going from/to Clapham Yard – you guessed it – I get a short.  

This is the location where the track from Clapham Yard left most from the top enters Acacia Ridge Yard.  The dual gauge is the beginning of the dual and narrow gauge yards at Acacia Ridge and the standard gauge track branching off of that joins up to Acacia Ridge Yard track 1.  This track continues around to form a return loop. The insulated joiners that split the tracks 1 to 4 into two sections can be seen in this shot in track 1 and track 2.

This issue has not bothered me before, but during a heavy operating session it is possible to get a short with concurrent entry and exit of the yard.  At least I know it is possible and I can just get one train to wait and it will resolve itself.  So today I split the 4 return loops in half electrically (by adding insulated joiners) at locations after a set of crossovers between the four tracks and after the location where the dual gauge to Clapham Yard enters Acacia Ridge Yard.  This meant that I could remove the Auto Reverser from its current location and power the first part of the four tracks and track 5 from the main power bus for power district no. 4.  I then ran the bus wire from this common point to the new location for the Auto Reverser so it can power the second half of the four return loop tracks but at the other side of the yard for just the exit side of these tracks.  What this means is that I have solved my problem with trains leaving and entering Acacia Ridge Yard.  But I can still get an issue if trains leave Acacia Ridge Yard towards Glenapp Loop while a train moves from the entry side of Acacia Ridge to the exit side of the Acacia Ridge Yard to the section controlled by the Auto Reverser.  However, not many trains use the reversing loops at Acacia Ridge any more as most traffic is now heading towards Clapham Yard, Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate Yard and as of today – Fisherman Islands Yard.  The second half of the 4 return loops at Acacia Ridge are only used to locate some extra trains that are not used in the operating session.

This is the dual gauge track from Clapham Yard, diverging into the dual gauge and the narrow gauge tracks.  The track next to the dual gauge is on Acacia Ridge Yard track 1 and has come from Clapham Yard.  Tracks 2,3 and 4 are to the left.  The dual gauge runs out just after the Eureka Sand Hopper until I get some more rail.

A higher shot showing off Acacia Ridge Yard.  In the distance, (against the wall) can be seen the track rising to Clapham Yard and next to that are the four return loops in Acacia Ridge Yard.  A spare steel train is in the exit end of track 4.

All the wires have been run to the second half (exit end) of the return loops, but I just have a few wires to solder to the track and all will be ready to give it a test next weekend.

So this week I paid off my XPT set from Auscision.  So the countdown is on for its arrival along with a narrow gauge loco from Southern Rail Models.  I have a future plan to install another link from Acacia Ridge Yard track 1 to the future dual gauge track 1.  The points below show the approximate location where this will be installed.
The three narrow gauge tracks to the right, will become two narrow gauge tracks and one dual gauge track, with a connection from Acacia Ridge Yard track 1 to Dual Gauge track 1.

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