Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Operating Session - 27th December 2016


My traditional end of year Operating Session for the 27th December has come and gone.  I only had 7 visitors but we ran quite a few trains.  The day started with a BBQ and introductions, with one new attendee (a NSW modeller) and one whom hasn’t been here for a while.  As is usual now, Arthur just jumped into North Coast Control’s shoes.  I find it amazing, that this man can just come in and gets the feel of the process and has trains running on time for about 2 and a bit hours before we started to have a few trains fall behind the table.  Arthur had no clock in front of him, but he had trains running to timetable - it was just amazing.  Of course one of the reasons for falling behind the timetable, is that there are up to 10 trains running concurrently in the timetable at this point in time, but if we only have 7 drivers we are going to be pushing some running stuff up hill with a rake.

As you would expect, there were some issues.  One wagon lost its bogie.  So it was plucked from its train and the train continued.  I never did find the screw.  Another loco lost its coupler twice.  Hopefully now I have fixed it a little more permanently.  We had another loco in a double head, lose its bogie locating clip, and thus lost its drive shaft.  That loco was declared a failure.  About three trains going south through The Risk has issues with the point at the end of the loop.  The traffic office then decreed that all trains were to use the Loop and good running then resumed.  However, this caused issues for North Coast Control having a loop out of action.  I had one operator derail his train as it went through a turnout that had recently been ballasted.   Over the few days before the session, I ran four trains through that same point in the opposite direction and one in the same direction as the troublesome train.  But the operator found ballast in the frog.  After he cleaned it out, his train ran through.  Sometimes I just can’t take a trick with my testing.  The rail train was having some issues exiting Clapham Yard, as I had added some toothbrush bristles to the track to stop runaways.  But I had not trimmed them off and they were too high and it was causing the rail train to uncouple.  I must get around and fix that.

Of course there were also the usual operator errors.  As expected one person appeared at the top of the list.  I know that he ran the Mountain Goat which runs north from Cassino to Border Loop, but this operator ran it in the wrong direction.  He reversed out of the Dock platform and headed south.  Hmmmm!  We had a lost train at one point.  The ARHS special that runs south from South Brisbane Interstate and heads to Kyogle, got lost.  The driver said it was somewhere in the Running Creek area in one of the tunnels, but after a couple of minutes looking it was found in the Cougal Spiral. I'm going to have to fit GPS tracking to my trains!

Another of the drivers, has a tendency to have his train arrive at its destination and assume that he has completed his shift, when there are usually a number of shunting movements to occur.  We think he will read the timetable cards better next time.  Mind you, the timetable cards have fairly small writing on them, and if you are of the older age group and usually need glasses, then you will struggle to read the cards, so we can’t totally blame him.

So since the session has ended, I have replaced two KD look-a-like couplers with KDs.  I have fixed the wagon with the lost bogie.  The locos have been returned to service.  I also fixed up a couple of scenic areas (actually fencing) that I damaged.  To attend to the comments of one operator about the weight of a few AR Kits Banana wagons, I added some lead weight underneath the wagon on two wagons.  I also added weight to another AR Kits louvre van and a single AR Kits open wagon.  All wagons have been returned to service. 

Today I went down to the shed and decided to wind the fast clock back from its end time of 12:05pm to 11:30am for the next session that is approaching on Saturday.  I then positioned one train – the ARHS special back a crossing loop and the Mountain Goat forward a crossing loop and did some shunting at Park Road Siding.  I also expedited the steel train from Grafton Loops to Rappville Loop as its starting position for the next session.  I have a feeling that I need to look at the Brisbane Limited and its various shunt positioning moves – the fast louvre van that gets attached and the motorail wagon and that train's light engines to ensure that they are in the correct spots for the new timetable start.  My next session will be on New Year’s Eve at 12:45pm with running for 3 and a half hour session at a 4:1 fast clock, I should be able to get to the end of the timetable session before people break for afternoon tea at about 4:15 – 4:30pm.

From Tuesday’s session the following photos have been provided by Shelton – who may or may not have been the driver who drove the Mountain Goat in the wrong direction.  You know what they say “Whatever happens in the session stays in the session”, unless I can make some good reading out of it.
The ARHS Railmotor Tour from South Brisbane Interstate departing on its way to Kyogle.

This shot captures Barry running the Container train travelling from Dutton Park to Clapham Yard.  Our photographer (or TW as known by the crews) was in charge of the Rail train seen in the Main at The Risk.

First timer Dave is running the Steel train through Border Loop.

The rail train has made its way to Broder Loop and doesn't have much further to run as it only goes to Kyogle and stables.

The following photos were taken by me during the session.
The steel train making its way through Nammoona Loop at speed.

A cross is occurring at Kyogle.  in the siding is the rail train.  On the Main is my train the container to Fisherman Islands (located directly above Kyogle).  On the Loop is the fruit train.  This cross stresses the loop at Kyogle to its maximum, as both trains just fit into their respective tracks.

This shot shows that the container has started leaving north while the fruit train is heading south towards Fairy Hill Loop.

The container train has now made its way to Cougal Spiral heading away from the camera.  In a minute to two it will appear again on the top section of track heading towards Border Loop.

Two trouble makers - Darren and Shelton sitting in the naughty corner plotting some despicable act.  I'm driving the train heading around the loop from Cassino to Old Cassino taking the yard.  The loco will run around and then push 4 wagons into the Norco Siding, before resuming it way towards Murwillumbah.  After shunting the four wagons into the Norco siding the train will need to wait until Darren's train the Murwillumbah container comes down the branch towards Casino.  Shelton has just driver the Banana to Murwillumbah and stowed its four wagons in the Banana siding after dropping off at Old Cassino good shed and Lismore Siding.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas


First of all, I’d very much like to thank those readers out there in Internet land for following and reading my blog.  I’d hope that the man in the big red outfit provided you with lots of model railway goodies under the tree this morning.  I also hope that you have a great time with your family today.

This week I was still putting the finishing touches on the preparations for this Tuesday’s Operating Session.  All the trains are now at their locations.  I still have a number of light engine movements and spare locos to put in their end locations ready for the session.  Yesterday, I spent some time in the shed and completed the rails on the fencing at the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  It dawned on me during the week that the Old Cassino Shell Oil siding was also lacking some rails for some of its fencing.  That was also installed yesterday.  On Friday I received a gift in the mail.  My new SDS Models Speed-e-gas wagons arrived.  I split a pack with PK.  So I added mine to the front of the Oil Train.  During the week, I had updated the timetable card and shunt lists for this train and its return train equivalent to take into account of this extra wagon and the movement to a new siding in Lismore Yard.  The location map on the front facia at Lismore was updated to identify the Gas Siding.  Now that just means that I need to build a new industry at this location.  However, I do not have any photos of the location where the gas was unloaded at Lismore.  Anyone out there have a photo?

Last night I cut up and ordered the various timetable cards that I printed out during the week.  These cards were put into time sequence order and all the shunt lists were also put into sequence order.  I also attached some signs below all the points for Murwillumbah below where the wire-in-tube connection comes through the fascia.  This is designed to make the job easier when shunting at Murwillumbah.  I also added a sign to The Risk to help control one of the distance points at the far end of the loop. The signs say what track a push or a pull of the manual levers will take them to.  The is particularly to help the driver control access to the two three way points at Murwillumbah.  There is one at the northern end of the platform and a second at the far end of the Cement Siding and Norca Siding divergings from the main line.

Today I was still putting the finishing pieces on the layout.  I painted some yellow clearance points on a couple of sidings that did not have that already done.  I attached a wire dropper that had some off at The Risk.  I noticed that two push buttons on the Loco Pilly control panel, for sidings 5 and 6 were throwing the points for each other’s sidings.  Now that was a bit of an oversight.  The wires were swapped and retested.  All OK now.  I have also made plans to install some extra sets of points into Clapham Yard to provide run around facilities for some standard gauge shunt trains without the loco having to go all the way out onto the mainline and requesting a staff from North Coast Control.  But will be for the next session in possibly January.

I’ve also had a really good cooked roast meal with family and am now happy to just fall asleep.

I hope to get a number of photos from Tuesday’s Operating Session and post them here on Wednesday.  Enjoy the rest of the Christmas Holiday break.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

That Was the Wrong Decision or I Shouldn’t Have Done That!


This weekend, with my Operating Session fast approaching, I decided to start relocating my trains back to their start positions for the start of the timetable session.  Everything was going smoothly, when upon relocating my NL1 – Brisbane Limited, I made the decision to start swapping out a number of Lima sleepers for the much better looking Auscsion Brisbane Limited sleeper coaches.  After all - that is why I purchased the Brisbane Limited add on pack.  I had my trusty train consist list and decided to start with just a single LAN and a DAN coach from my recent purchases.  My train had left South Brisbane Interstate platform and had made its way to Park Road, when I decided to swap out the two sleepers.  The train made its way successfully down the long incline from Dutton Park, past Loco Pilly, through Clapham Yard and then through Acacia Ridge Yard.  It was all OK until I got to Glenapp Loop.  I had my first derailment.  I thought the bogies may have been too tight.  Upon further investigation, the wheels were all out of gauge.  That was fixed and the train made it through Glenapp, and then at The Risk, it derailed again on the southern point.  The train then made it to Running Creek and then it just kept derailing again.  I got it past there and then it made it to Cougal Spiral and then derailed again in about 4 places.  After traversing through Cougal Spiral, it derailed on the Upper Richmond Creek Bridge at Kyogle.  It then had issues just past Fairy Hill Loop outside Ron and Marg’s B&B.  At that point I decided to swap the two Auscision coaches out and put the old Lima ones back in.  The Lima ones never had issues.

Upon further investigation, it seems that the bogies do not have any torsional movement.  The coaches have huge pins from the body, through the bogies and this prevents the torsional movement of the bogie as the train traverses the track.  For the record, my track has no flat sections in it.  Everywhere there is a grade of 0.5% or up to 2%.  I have lots of curves, hopefully none less than 900mm radius on the mainline.  Where possible there is slight super-elevation.  So where ever there is change in cant and gradient on the track, the new sleepers derail. 

So now the Brisbane Limited is back with old Lima coaches while I do some work to the new Auscision coaches. Apart from that serious issue, I ran all the other trains except from 4 trains back to their start positions and no other issues were uncovered.  The track ran well after a long time of no running.  I will run the last 4 trains early this week if I shout myself an early mark.  I have decided to make a number of wording changes to some of my timetable cards as some of the rollingstock is replaced and upgraded with newer wagons.  I have lengthened one small train by another wagon.  I have activated another siding on the layout.  I suppose it was stupid to have it if I didn't use it.

So a huge number of hours was lost this weekend just trying to work out what the issues were with the passenger train.  Were they track related, gauge related, were there kinks in the track, were there sharp changes in gradient etc.?  There was one certain area that was the result of a less than steady change in gradient.  This will be improved over the next week before the next Operating Session.  But all my other wagons in all the other trains were able to get through these sections of track.  So I think this all comes back to a bad design of bogie pin in the Auscision coaches.  Hopefully the RUB cars will not be the same design.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I think I Peaked Too Early


Two weeks ago I admitted to an epic fail in my modelling for the week.  Well that was nothing compared to this week just completed.  I had plans to do about half a dozen jobs small jobs.  I spent the last week down the coast with the family and while I did take a selection of things to work on for the week, I did not do a thing except draw up some plans for some models that I will soon be making.  I also watched the cricket on TV for three day/nights, and went to beach, the pool, played cricket in the backyard of the unit and on the beach, went for some walks on the beach and played Frisbee on the beach.  I also went to the various shopping centres around the coast that we always visit.  There was no time left for modelling.

Well yesterday was our Club’s annual Christmas Party and we had our annual modelling competition.  There was only three entries in the competition, usually there are close to twenty.  That was very poor form!  Alas even with those great odds, I did not win either the best model or the most popular but there is always next year.  I did have a bit of feedback that there was two votes in it, but I’m not sure what category that was for.

On the way back from the coast yesterday morning, after unpacking the car, I popped into the local hobby shop on my way to the Club.  I picked up the wanted styrene for my fencing continuation.  Today I got down to the shed, cracked out the styrene and gave it a paint.  Wouldn’t you know it!  I have now run out of grey etch primer.  Well I think that will be a trip to the local auto shop next weekend for a few tins of spray paint.  After the fencing rails that I did paint before the paint ran out had dried, I added them to the Rocla Sleeper Siding and now this area is complete apart from the wire mesh to be added to the fence.  I then used up all my remaining styrene to complete the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  I have about 7 or 8 lengths of fencing rails left to add to the posts to complete the fencing.  However, I only have 6 lengths of styrene rails ready to paint but no paint.  So I might need to try and source another packet of styrene before I can complete that task.  Yes I still have the wire mesh to add to this area as well.  Yes I need some paint to paint the various lengths of tulle that I use for my fencing, so everything is conspiring against my desire to complete these modelling tasks.  Certainly that will be completed over the Christmas Holidays. 

I’m also just started to plan for the Operating Sessions over the Christmas New Year break.  So some work to complete tonight and next weekend for that.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fencing Contractors Return


I started a few days of holiday on Friday and was able to spend some time in the shed on Friday afternoon.  As the headline of this post says, the fencing contractors have returned.  For quite some time, I have had some 0.025” lengths of styrene rod painted grey to be used as rails on the various industrial fences around the layout.  I thought I had quite a few painted up ready.  However, once I started putting three per length of fencing, the top rail, the middle rail and the bottom rail, they were quickly used up.  Luckily I had another packet of Evergreen styrene so I quickly gave them a coat of grey primer and allowed them to dry as I was fitting the previously prepared grey rails.

I use my trusty Revell Contacta Professional styrene glue, which I apply to about 3 or 4 posts at a time where the rail will be positioned.  I then push the rail to the posts where the glue is and allow the rails to set.  I then apply more glue to the next two posts and then fix the rail, and then continue along the posts until I run out of rail length to work with.  I then try to butt joint the next piece of rail to the just ended piece.  Again I apply glue to the next 3 or 4 posts and join this rail to these posts.  I then apply glue to the next 2 posts and push the rail onto these posts to fix it in place.  Again I repeat this procedure over until I run out of rail length.  Then the process continues for the next rail length.

My downside is that I again ran out of 0.025” styrene rod.  I think I will need another 1.5 packets to complete the Rocla Siding and then I will need another 3 packets (at least) for the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  That will be the next project on the layout.  I will have to try and pick up a few more packets at my local hobby shop next weekend, on my way over to the Club for our annual Christmas Party and modelling competition.  My entry in the modelling competition this year is my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  After this showing I will affix the silo permanently to the layout. 
The front gates to the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  The road is not very distinguishable from the surrounding ground.

The track entry to the Rocla Sleeper Siding

Another shot of this location. 

Looking further into the Rocla Sleeper complex.  Quite a bit of work is required to build various items inside this industry.

Looking back the other way into Rocla Sleeper Siding Complex.

The fencing continues most of the way towards the rear gates

The rear of the complex.  More fencing to be completed here once I get some more styrene.

On Friday night I went to the Simon Says Hobbies and Games and their monthly modelling night.  I was joined by a few regulars, one being fellow Tuesday Nighter Geoff.  My main tasks for this evening was to check out an old Weissman kit for animated pecking hens.  I purchased this kit about 18 months ago and it has just sat on the layout.  I thought I better get it out of its packet and determine how I make it work.  This will be installed into the Baker’s Farm scene on the left hand side as you enter the shed and it will also need a hen house to be built.  I will try and do that this week during the night sometime.

This brings back a funny story from last Sunday when as I went to pick up the morning paper out the front of our place, my front garden was being decimated by three rogue chooks.  They had my bark everywhere, and had spent the night on my bench seat out the front on my verandah.  Eventually we worked out where they came from and they were returned.  They did not leave any eggs though.

The next task for Friday night was glue the roof on of my Glenapp Waiting Shed.  This has sat half-finished on the layout for a few years.  I also have plans to try and build its accompanying waiting shed over the next week as well.  I also added the ridge capping by adding a length of 0.040” styrene to the high point of the roof and a length either side of 0.040” x 0.010” styrene strip to either side of the rod.

This task was followed by an experiment of staining up a large number of sleepers in a bright new wood colour.  I had a small container of paint pigment that I added to a small pill cup.  I then squirted in some Isocol and mixed it together.  The balsawood sleepers were then submerged into the mixture for a few seconds and then removed and left to dry.  The resulting colour looked quite good.  These will be added to various locations around the layout to supplement the many black and grey sleepers that I have already deployed lineside on the layout.  I also plan to paint some of the sleepers under the track this same stain colour to give the impression that the sleeper has already been replaced by the local fettlers.  I also think I will also deploy a few stacks of sleepers to the various fettler sites around the layout. 

All these little detail items help add character to the layout and don’t cost much money and don’t take much time to create.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Epic Fail!

I did not get around to completing a huge number of tasks that I had set myself for completion this week - so I give myself a big fail.  The week started off with our fortnightly Tuesday Nighter’s meeting at Peter’s place.  My next foray into Model Railways was today.  I had a wedding to go to yesterday so that event bit into my spare time over the weekend.  On Thursday I was able to go to a vendor presentation at work for a number of hours, and I was lucky enough to sit next to a fellow Model Railway enthusiast.  If I was to suffer through a few hours of presentations, I might as well do it with someone like minded.

This morning when I did get down to the shed for a couple of hours, I was able to check out last week’s ballasting.  My straight ballasting sections were very well set.  My dirt based ballast sections needed another flooding of diluted white glue.  Once this was done, I was able to lay another 1m of ballast within the Rocla Sleeper Siding, and I was able to complete the Lismore Shell Oil Siding with dirt based ballast and also complete another 50cm of dirt based ballast in the Lismore Loco Siding.  So this is all I got around to doing on the layout this week.
The bottom track is where the ballasting starts and also where Grafton Yard begins.  The scene also shows the second loop around the spiral and Rocla Sleeper Siding above.  A couple of the famous Kerrie Hayes Jacaranda trees are visible in this photo.

A close up shot of the tracks around the upper spiral.  The Main line in on the left and Rocla Sleeper Siding inside that.  Yes the gates into the siding operate manually.

The southern end of the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  The track exits the tunnel and there is still about 30cm of track to be ballasted here.  The next section of track, has just been laid but not glued down.  You can tell by the slightly lighter ballast colour.


The track just south of Lismore Station.  This area is again blooming with Jacaranda trees made by Kerrie.

A closer up shot showing the Lismore Loco Siding on the left.  This is mostly dirt with very few pieces of rock ballast used here.  The mainline is in the middle and is yet to be ballasted.  The track on the right is the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  The industrial fence is yet to be finished around the Oil Siding and the two road entry gates are yet to be fitted.  Again all gates will be manually operable.

The southern end of the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Again working gates and the start of ballasting at this location as well.

This arvo I was invited over to Shelton’s place to run some Victorian Blue and Gold era trains on his layout.  I ran quite a few trains and at times struggled to comply with all the rules that are not documented and not articulated until after I have breached them.  Also with varying degrees of momentum on some locos and the inability to stop them in anything resembling like a realistic distance, the session is quite stressful and mentally challenging.  The ballistic speed on the Powercab throttle has been adjusted and it takes about 20 turns of the centre dial thumb wheel to go from a speed step of about 60 to speed step 0.  I did not try and see if his Option key has been set to speed step zero, which I think it is set by default of most NCE Procab throttles.  This method of control of using the thumb wheel is almost unusable.  Like most layouts that I visit, it takes time to get to know what locations are in what direction and what track is what.  But this session was certainly enjoyable, but I think it could be more enjoyable with another crew member, and even two crew members.  This timetable of Shelton’s will no doubt be tweaked and improved for the next running.  An overview of the first part of the Operating Session is located here :-  http://vrwv.blogspot.com.au/2016/11/this-afternoon.html.

I have made up a to do list for my activities for next week.  Let’s see how good I am at trying to stick to what I need to do this time.

With my next Operating Session approaching, I should try and find some time, to give the complete layout a run and fine tune the bits of track that I have adjusted since the last mid-year Operating Session.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finishing Some Things Off

I think I will end the year off by trying to complete a few projects that I have on the go.  Today I went down the shed to see what I could do.  First off was laying about 4 to 5 metres of ballast.  The first area was about 1m of ballasting for the main line from the end of Grafton Yard just past the Grafton Loco area to where the ballast currently ends near the overbridge to Baker’s Farm.  I then went to the next level up on the spiral, and did another meter on the Main Line outside Rocla Sleeper Siding back towards the exit from the tunnel at the other end of Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I then laid just over a meter of ballast inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  This will be mostly dirt based ballast with a very small amount of rock included.  So I glued only the first 300mm and still have the next 800mm unglued.  I still have about 2 meters inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding and the Main Line her towards the Tunnel.  But that is a job for another time.  I then got motivated to do some more ballasting near the level crossing just south of Lismore Station.  This section of track is about 500mm long, and includes another 400mm of track into the loco siding and again about another 400mm of track into the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Both the Loco siding and the Oil Siding will be basically dirt based ballast with very little rock ballast in the mix.

I will check how well the ballast dried later during the week and may give all the areas another soaking of watered down white glue.

I also spent some more time trying to affix the roof to my FAM coach.  The plan is make it removable.  I have now super glued three nuts to the roof of the FAM and it appears that the bolts that comer up from the under the floor do screw into the nuts.  I will let the super glue cure and give everything a final try mid week.  I will then look at fitting the end diaphrams and the windows to the coach.  Then I will need to fit couplers and decal the coach.  It can then be allocated to one of my passenger trains.  That reminds me that I need to adjust the train consists of both my passenger trains as I have my Brisbane Limited sleepers from Auscision to take for a trial run and then put into service permanently.

I am also looking at fitting the railings to the industrial fencing around the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  Following this, the chain wire will also be fitted.  I will also add some signs to the front of the complex and then add some sort of buildings and a travelling crane to the worksite.

Next on the list of things to finish is some more detail to Baker’s Farm.  This is located on the left as you enter the shed and is on the road to the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I painted up some more white metal post and rail fencing today and will fit that next Sunday.  There a few things to fit in the farm.  There is some more fencing down the other end of the farm and the hen house will need to be built and chickens fitted.  There are also some internal fences to be added to the farm and a few fruit frees and maybe some vegetable gardens.  I purchased some crows and pigs while down at Armidale, so I think it is likely that these will also get a run somewhere in the farm.

I am also trying to work up some courage and get out my No More Gaps again to resume work on another batch of trees.  I have about 40 trees I have at the armature stage and need to be thickened up with No More Gaps.  They will then be painted and sometime over the Christmas Holidays I will glue leaves on these trees.  I have about 20 that are weeping willows that a few of my creeks around the layout need to be decorated with.

I am also thinking that I need to put a few puddles around the layout – next to some roads, in the middle of a field, etc.  I may also put some water in a couple of swampy areas near Bonalbo Ballast Siding and between Richmond River Bridge and Cassino Station.  These are relatively small projects but I’m sure the guys attending my next Operating Session in December will certainly be impressed by this progress.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 New England Model Railway Convention


I have just spent 2 days at the New England Model Railway Convention in Armidale.  It has been a very nice time.  I had the pleasure of travelling down with Darren, Geoff and Brendan and rooming with them for 3 days.  The Convention was well attended.  I think that it had more attendees this time, compared to last convention 2 years ago.  To be honest, when I saw the program, I was looking at some sessions and thinking “I’ve heard that before”, “That does not really float my boat”, “There are no prototype sessions”.  That did not deter me from registering, as there are other reasons to attend.  I get to see some really great models.  There are the hobby shops that come along to the event and have some great items for sale.  There are the demonstration guys showing off some sort of skill.  I knew that there were some ‘subject matter experts’ attending.  So I could talk to them about various facets of their processes or techniques in their special discipline.

As usual we left Brisbane early Friday morning and after a couple of pit stops we arrived at Armidale just before 4:00pm.  There were quite a few fellow modellers staying in our motel.  Friday night registration was a time to say ‘G’day’ to quite a few old friends and have a nose around.

So over Saturday and Sunday, I attended 8 presentations.  I must admit, that I was very impressed with all 8.  I got quite a lot out of some sessions that I made an initial assumption, that they would not ‘float my boat’.  So I guess we should not be quick to jump to conclusions.  I took copious amounts of notes and I have been inspired to try new things, and implement some of the topics covered this weekend.

I captured quite a few photos of various models, display layouts and scenes on the layout tour.  I also had many great conversations.  But, I really had some great laughs on Friday night around the table over dinner and drinks afterwards, and again at the formal Saturday Night Dinner.  Did we have some laughs.  We had three mates gate crash our unit for breakfast on Saturday morning.  That was funny.  I also look forward to apparently a few dozen people attending the Whitebull tonight for dinner.  A few more laughs I dare say.

So for the first time in quite a few weekends I am presenting some photos on the blog – this time from the last few days.
The best piece of modelling I think I have ever seen.  The transformer on Rohan Fergusson's Ashford Mungindi Extension.

The grain outloader on the same module.  This model took out best structure at the convention.  It deserved it.

A great example of weathering a fuel tank.  This model was by Steve Pettit.

A example of the toilet block built using my AMRM article quite a few years ago.  This always makes me smile.

I do love Fuel Depots.  This is just nice.  I hope to have a couple of my layout eventually.

I am trying to make these exact bridge pillars for my Upper Richmond River crossing at Kyogle.

A fantastic model of the Railway Hotel built by Rohan Fergusson.

Another shot of the same hotel.

Any another.

To finish off, this is a shot of two of my room mates taking a shot of a 'Pop-up Layout'.  This is actually a flat pack layout, that unfolds into this incredible presentation.  It was built by Michael Flack.  We were just blown away.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Buy and Sell Bargains


Today quite a few people went to the Buy and Sell at the RMCQ Clubrooms at Brendale.  At 8:30am, 30 minutes before seller check in, there was a queue up of sellers wanting to register.   That eventually sorted itself out and tables were claimed.  I was impressed with the amount of very good NSW outline stuff for sale.  There were some very good bargains.  I also sold some stuff and my little helper took 10% of my sales when I was there and 100% of my sales when I wasn't on my table.  He did pretty well out of it.  I did also charge him 10% of the table costs as well.  he almost ended up with more money in his pocket than me!

Earlier in the week, Geoff posted on some Facebook groups about the Buy and Sell and I spotted in a photo, one of the items he was selling which was a fork lift.  I immediately emailed Geoff for confirmation and made a claim on that item.  I picked it up today.  Upon looking at Darren’s sale items today, I saw a half assembled AMRI platform building going for $5.  Whoosh!  That was the sound of me snapping that one up.  That will go with my two other already assembled kits and I will be doing some cutting and shunting of the various pieces together from the three kits to help create a model of the Cassino platform building.  That, I think, will be next year’s major modelling project.  I also picked up a very nicely assembled Shell three dome Tanker also from Darren's table.  Bargain!  I also purchased a grass tree from Dave at the Modeller's Warehouse.  These look really good and are a new range in his store.

Last week a mate snaffled up a kit for the Stephen Johnson Models 400 class railmotor and the 500 class trailer, at the AMRA Buy and Sell.  Well these two items were for resale today at our Buy and Sell for an uplift of 100% on what he bought it for last week.  I am the lucky new owner of the 400 Class railmotor, only paying 50% more.  These items are as scares as hen's teeth and when they become available they go for prices a lot more than what I picked mine up for.

So once home, I assembled the fork lift.  I have put the AMRI kit on the bench until the Christmas holidays.  I also took the 400 Class railmotor kit apart and have given it a once over.  I think the bogies/wheels will give me some grief but I think I should be able to assemble the kit fairly easily also over the Christmas Holidays.  The Shell tanker has already replaced a Lifelike single dome tanker wagon on the oil train sitting in Lismore Shell Oil Siding. 

This week I spent some time completing the sign boards for the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  They just needed a structure to attach them to the Silo by.  I painted the frames yesterday and I attached them this arvo.  I also spray painted the FAM sleeping car a nice silver.  I then sprayed the underneath a nice matt black.  It looks pretty good.  Today after not selling two of my old Lima IP cars, which were in the midst of some semi-rebuilds, I did a small amount of work to both cars.  I had a DAM sleeper that I had added a styrene infill to a single window according to a AMRM article.  The styrene was previously left white.  So today – I painted that silver.  Now it is just like a bought one!  I then took my old Dining car, which I was making into a lounge car (I think),  This car I had cut up and rebuilt, and sprayed it silver.  This car still has some work to do on it.  Hmmm!  Both coaches may make reappearances on the layout within some passenger consists in the near future.  Time will tell.

Of course next Friday is our road trip to Armidale and the New England Model Railway Convention.  It will be great to catch up with everyone again.  Drinks in our room on Friday and Saturday night after the Bowls Club closes!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Easing Myself Back Into It

On early Saturday morning I went over to the AMRA Queensland clubrooms as they were holding a Buy and Sell table sales event.  I met up with about 6 guys from the Club also in attendance.  Of course there were many other guys that I had a natter with as well.  The event seemed well represented with sellers and they were supported by what looked like a good amount of buyers while I was there.  I ended up not buying anything, but I was tempted by quite a few items.  I need to save up my money for next Sunday which will be the RMCQ Buy and Sell event at our clubrooms which starts at 10:00am.  I also have the Armidale Convention the following weekend where I have a few items in my sights to purchase.  While over at Zillmere, I also had a walk around the AMRA Clubroom Layout as I had not seen it for many a year.

When I returned home, I got back into some modelling activities.  I folded up another 10 blacks tarps.  I then spray painted four tarps a yellow colour and folded them up.  I then did another 6 tarps in yellow today.  These have also been folded up.

I made up another 3 of my 40’ container flat bases and the have drilled holes for the locating of the end wire cages.  I finished off the cages today.  I then gave them a spray paint.  So some of these are ready to be viewed and potentially sold at next weekend’s Buy and Sell.

I also cut up some small pieces of styrene and painted them blue, so I could add a sign that was created in Photoshop for my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  The sign has been glued with white glue to the blue styrene sheet to form a blue border around the sign.  These are yet to be added to the model.  I first have to make a sort of frame that will attach to the round silos of the structure. 

I then got around to installed some of the detail items on the rail side of the structure.  This included many types of hoses.  These have been glued down to the model's base.

I then turned my attention to working out how I will take my model down to the Armidale Convention in two weeks time.  I found a plastic storage container in the kids play room today and it had nothing in it.  I checked the measurements and you would not believe it.  It fitted perfectly.  I then cut up some pieces of foam and then chocked the model in place, so it will not flip around in the storage container.  I just now have to hope that everything that I and my passengers need to take down to Armidale will fit into my car.

Did I mention that there is a Buy and Sell next Sunday 6th of November at the RMCQ Clubrooms at Buckley Park, Terrence Road Brendale.  Sellers register from 9:00am, buyers let in from 10:00am.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I've Been Overseas


It seems activities are continuing to get in my way of modelling.  So I have no model railway activity to report except for the continued construction of a few more tarpaulins.  I created 8 on Thursday night and 10 more this afternoon.  I've also been working on putting some screws into a FAM coach to attach the base to the roof.  So maybe next week I'll get around to giving it a good wash and then the first undercoat before giving it a nice silver colour.

However, the main reason for the lack of model railway activity was that I went overseas this last weekend.  This weekend started with a day of work on Friday and the kids also had a day off school.  The boss didn't get a day off as she still had to all the jobs she does at home - but this time overseas. We all headed over to Cleveland to catch the Stradbroke Island Ferries barge for a nearly 55 minute trip over to North Stradbroke Island.  This was our first trip to Straddie, and the reason for the trip was for Mick and Melissa’s wedding on Saturday arvo/night.  Mick is my youngest nephew on my side of the family.  On Friday afternoon, I ran into a niece (Mick's sister) at the local convenience store, and that night I caught up with my sister and her husband and her two daughter’s, their husbands and their families for a couple of drinks and a chin wag at their unit.

This is the second trip overseas for the kids.  The previous time was Ireland, Scotland and England about 4 years ago.  This one cost a lot less and was really a fleeting visit.

Saturday I ran into a family friend and his wife and daughter while at the beach at Point Lookout also over to attend the wedding, and in the arvo we all gathered for a great event.  The reception was held in a marquee on Home Beach.  This was a great event with 5 out of my 6 nieces and nephews, but all 6 of their families in attendance, as well as my brother-in-law (Mick's dad) and his wife.  The evening kicked on until after midnight.  That was too late for me, as the boss had already gone home to help look after the younger great nieces and nephews and my kids back at the unit.  The reception started at 4:30pm and I left at about 11:20pm.  Boy there are some very bad people in my family, and they hang around with some even baderer people - and they have done this for many years.  I keep running into these same bad people at their family functions.  Well I guess that they are not all that bad.  But now I have seen them all drink out of their shoes.  Did I mention that the reception was actually on the beach!  I’m sure that they had sand in those drinks.  But it must have happened after midnight and it is on Facebook, so it did happen.  I am tasting that sand now just thinking about it.  There was no way I'd drink from my shoes that I was wearing.  Especially the ones that I wear to work.  They have holes in the bottom and I know I have walked through some disgusting things and that has entered the shoe from below especially in the rain!  No way!

Anyway we caught up again today for a short time and some of the boys were drinking mineral water and just plain old water.  Wusses is all I can say!  One could not remember how he got home this morning.  He was heard to say "We drove didn't we as the car is back at the unit?"  He had no idea.  Maybe it was something in his shoe?  My sister drove her husband and myself back home last night so that accounted for the car getting home.  The rest of the nieces and nephews and their partners had to walk over a kilometer back home around 1:00am.  I'm sure they all regret it now, but they had some great fun last night. We could not stay long this arvo's post event catchup, as we were booked on the 2:00pm barge back.  We had another great trip back on the ferry, it was just so calm on the 45 minute trip back across the bay on the Big Red Cat.

We had a really great place to stay on the island with views to the water.  But we had no phone reception in the unit and thus my daughter could not use our wifi dongle to do her school assignment.  Well I think it will be a late night coming up tonight for her.

So hopefully more trains this week and this weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ops Sessions and Exhibition


This weekend was quite busy in the world of Model Railways.  It started off with a touch of spray painting 6 of my 40’ container flats on Saturday morning.  I then cut up 6 tarpaulins and dipped them in my ink wash and let them dry.  Once dry I then proceeded to fold them up for use as load on various wagons on the layout. 

At just on midday – Grover and Darren came over and we headed off to HobbyOne and Austral Modelcraft for a hobby shop fix and a look around.  Then we headed over to Anthony’s place for his usual 3rd weekend of the month Operating Session.  There we met Brendan and Iain and of Course Anthony.  It was a really good session.  I ventured down to the Jameston branch and truly enjoyed myself down there running 8 trains there and another out on the mainline to help someone else out.  But I think I got the good part of the timetable and didn’t have too many hard shunts.  I did come a cropper a couple of times.  Once I left the branch and left my guard's van back at Jameson - a very big whoops.  The second issue, which was not my fault, was when Iain and I think with the help of Grover, uncoupled my train as it was heading through Tatiara Downs.  I was on the other side of the layout behind the backscene, and when it came back into its resting place in the staging yard - the train control identified it was a bit short.  Then all the laughing eventuated on the other side of the layout.  This was the last train of the day and it was keeping everyone from after session drinks.

Today I headed down to Beenleigh and attended the Logan City Model Train Show.  Who should I see there, but Darren and Grover again.  Well I caught up with 4 club members there, quite a few other exhibitor friends and a few shop proprietors.  I again had a blast.  I was very impressed with Gary and Dennis’s QR layout.  It is a real ripper.  I picked up a few things – some more ballast and another of the Wuiske backdrops before they run out.

When I came home, I cut up and stained another 8 tarpaulins and then turned my attention to - how to attach the roof of my FAM to its chassis.  So I am trying to glue some posts to the roof so I can then screw into these from below the model.  I have drilled the three holes in the base and attached one post to the roof at this time.  Two more posts to do next week.  Then I can give the model a good wash and then undercoat it and then spray it silver.

I think I will also make a few more 40' foot container flats this week.  I will try and seel some at out Club Buy and Sell in about three weeks.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

For Thinking and Planning Than Modelling


The last week started off with the public holiday Monday spent modelling at the kitchen table.  Ah, the life!   I produced a few more models of the 40’ container flats with a wire cage end.  After this, my modelling efforts turned to checking out the Hanovale Models FAM fit.  The kit has all the components extremely straight and true, but I did have to clean up a bit of flash, particularly in every window opening – that that is not an issue.  In preparation I drilled out the relevant holes in the body for wire handrails, screws for bogie attachment and also joining the base to the roof.  I washed all the kit components in warm soapy water and allowed them to dry on a flat surface.  The rest of the week was totally free of modelling except Friday night.  This was spent down at the local hobby shop – Simon Says at their now traditional first Friday of the month Modelling night.  I was joined by Darren and Geoff and we set about modelling with an absolute huge turnout of modellers - the biggest yet.  I put together another three models of 40’ containers with wire cage ends.  After that my modelling attention again turned to my FAM kiy.  I started gluing the two sides to the base and adding the two ends.

With yesterday spent over at the Club chatting with everyone, it was not until today that I did any more modelling.  I left it until after the Great Race had completed.  I had to grind about 2-3mm off the end of the roof to allow it to fit.  But by doing this and trying to lever out the sides to get a tight fit, I made the sides come adrift from the base - Damn!  I think I will need to go over the carriage joins with some epoxy glue or get a better brand of super glue.

So now the kit has been reglued and is drying.  The roof has been added and is just sitting in the frame to keep the sides the correct distance apart.

So next weekend I envisage that this kit will be cleaned up, washed again and a base spray coat of paint will be applied.  That might be followed by a spray of silver paint if I can find any at home.  While painting, I will try and paint up the rest of my fleet of 40’ container wagons. 

I have asked the boss to keep a few tea bags aside for me and I plan to disassemble these and then cut them out into the size of tarpaulin.  It looks like I can get 2 tarps out of a tea bag.  My tarps I'm modelling will be 24’ x 16’.  But who will know their size as most will be folded up.  I plan to drop these into my standard stain mix and allow to dry.  I will fold some up for locating on my new container flats (and tie them down), while others will be installed folded up in some open wagons already on the layout.  I will also see if I can hide some loads under the tarps on a couple of my new 40’ container flats.  That is one of the advantages of this hobby.  You can try lots of things, if they do not turn out, you try something else.  I already have a few tarps rolled up and left lying in Lismore Yard near one of the sidings.

During the week, after looking at some other blogs out there (you buggers have got a lot to answer for) I decided to commit to buying a Speed-e-gas tanker from SDS.  This wagons will be added to either my oil train from Grafton to Lismore with an extra wagon of speed-e-gas added and the train continuing from the oil siding at Lismore to another siding that I will activate at Lismore behind the station.  Alternatively, I will add the wagon to the Murwillumbah Shunt train.  However, this train is already too long to fit into the back platform road at Cassino on its way around the layout.  Maybe I can add the speed-e-gas wagon to the front of the train?  So anyway a few decisions need to be made.  Either way more changes to the timetables are required.

I also saw a photo of the SDS guards van.  Damn the four letter coding van looks very nice.  Maybe I will add it to one of the trains operating around the top deck of the layout from Acacia Ridge to Clapham Yard to Park Road Sidings and then South Brisbane Interstate and back again.  My wife will cut me in half if she knows how much I am going into debt for these wagons as well as the RUB set that I have not yet ordered with some add on wagons - $1000.  Then there is the realisation that after looking through various Brisbane Limited consists last week, that I needed another three passenger cars to make up my true Brisbane Limited set after the RUB cars are released by Auscision.  I think I can purchase some of Bergs HUB cars to add to my train – BH, SBH and BHA.  Again that is another $200 that I had not budgeted for.  As Dr Smith once said is an old sci-fi series ‘Lost in space’ – ‘Oh the pain, the pain!”.

I’m still looking for a small Lotto win, to pay off my model railway debts!  Maybe next week.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

No Time This Weekend

On Thursday morning I received a phone call at work from the boss.  My Auscision package of Brisbane Limited Sleepers had arrived.  So that arvo I took them out of the package and found a little surprise in it.  Included in the package was an old issue of Australian Railways Illustrated magazine from 2015.  That was a very nice surprise.  Thanks guys!  Anyway, I took the wagons out of the box, and placed them on the track at Acacia Ridge Yard.  I pushed them up and down the track through some crossovers and everything ran well.  I was very happy indeed.

The only issue with this was that I have now had my interest raised into creating an accurate model of the Brisbane Limited.  I still have yet to place my order of the RUB cars from Auscision, which I will do in December when I build up some more monetary credit with the boss.  I knew I had recorded the various consists variations over the years of the Brisbane Limited.  Do you think I could find where I had recorded it?  Not on your nelly!  Anyway eventually on Friday afternoon, after scanning through 24 Railway Digest magazines (I had already gone through about 36 of them the night before), I found the recorded consists of the Expo Express, Gold Coast Motorrail, and the Brisbane Limited.  So I am somewhat relieved.

So on Friday night, I was thinking that I did have a kit for a FAM sleeper stored away in the shed.  I was thinking that I might need to get it out, give it a check out and get into building this over the next few weeks.

On Saturday I went to the local hobby shop to buy some styrene required to complete a couple of outstanding jobs.  Today I have used some 2mm channel to help build 3 more 40' container bases.  But my time is up for the day.  I'm no delivering my daughter to a concert and picking her up duty.  Of course she will be lining up at 4:00pm, The Rugby League Grant Final is on after 6:00pm and I need to pick her up by 10:00pm.  So no time left to post this weekend at my usual time, so this is why I'm getting in early.

I must also thank Arthur, whom sent me a few shots of the Brisbane Limited last night.  These photos showed the train in the ranges south of Brisbane.  These have confirmed to me what end the doors of the sleepers are located.  Arthur was also buying supplies at the local hobby shop yesterday when I ran into him.

I envision that this week I will be completing the current 4 of my 40' container flats, and getting the FAM kit out and cleaning it up ready for building.  I will also be working out if there are any other carriages I need for my Brisbane Limited, that I either do not already have, or are not in the future Auscision RUB set.