Sunday, January 31, 2016

Park Road Goods Shed Part 2

This week I had the week off work because I could.  With Tuesday being a public holiday, I thought I would give myself a long weekend and with the kids going back to school on Thursday I went out for a coffee and muffin with the boss after dropping the youngest at school.  So I had a good day.  Most of the other time during the week was spent continuing working on Park Road Goods Shed.  Last week I had the 8 trusses completed.  This week I spent time joining them all up so the structure was free standing.  I added the various rear wall components, I added the main beams between the trusses and then I had to make some decisions.  Do I build all the ceiling detail to provide structural strength or do I leave it out?  I decided to put it in.  I then added the roof detail.  It is amazing that initially the whole structure was very flimsy until I start putting all this extra detail on as best I could based on all the plan shots I had to work from.  The structure certainly does stiffen up and now could almost withstand a scale cyclone.
I have been waiting for some dry weather before I give the frame an undercoat.  Following that I will do a final weathering of the frame.  I have cut some BGB corrugated card for the various walls and the roof, but I have not yet painted that either.  The weather in the later part of the week has been very wet, so whenever I thought I about doing any painting it was just too wet to go outside and do it. 
This weekend has been mostly spent taking my son to a cricket trial game all yesterday morning and another trial again this afternoon.  Friday afternoon I scanned about 200 photos and on Saturday afternoon I did about 312 photos.  These were some great photos of NSW North Coast and of Queensland on the near north coast and around the Central Queensland mines.  This arvo Paul dropped in to pick up his last photo album and the tray of 312 loose photos.  Crikey!  That is a long job to scan that many photos over a few days.
So I did take a few photos of the Park Road Goods Shed to share here.
Three quarter view

Ground level view

Showing the top down view

Side view

Rear view of the end wall

Closer up shot of the rear wall

The rear of the overall shed

A semi front view of the shed

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Park Road Good Shed

This week (Monday morning) I may have received some copies of some plans which will (and did) come in handy with building one of the Park Road goods sheds.  From those plans and the measurements on them I was able to scale the plans to HO scale, so the trusty photocopier at work allowed me to scale one drawing to 54% and another to 80% and I had two HO scale plans to work from.  On Tuesday night at our fortnightly group meeting I brought along that start of one of the frames/trusses that will form one of the 8 trusses that will hold the shed together.  On Thursday night I completed that frame.
On Friday evening, I made my way to the local hobby shop (Austral Modelcraft) to collect some additional styrene that I needed to complete the other 7 frames/trusses.  Unfortunately, they only had 3 of the 5 packets I required.  Anyway this was enough to complete another 4 trusses.  On Saturday after checking another local hobby shop after hearing that they had a styrene display, I found out that they were also out of 0.080” x 0.080” styrene.  So my contingency plan, while my styrene building juices were flowing was to call on my local Styrene Hoarder/Distributer – Raymond.  He had two of the packets that I was after, so upon a quick visit and viewing Lefty and Raymond's layout for about 30 minutes I returned home to complete the next 3 trusses.  When Ray gets his next styrene shipment in, I will replace the styrene that I borrowed from Raymond.  I do have a great groups of helpful friends.
Today I started with building in the end wall frames on two of the trusses and that has now been completed.  Again I am out of two more sizes of styrene.  I am hoping that Austral Modelcraft will be open tomorrow and I will pick up a few more packets of 2”x 4” and possibly 2” x 6” to assist with this scale construction to join all the trusses together and then make the structure free standing.  The roof will hopefully give the structure some strength so it can be handled quite easily.

So for the last few days I have been "measure, measure, measure, cut, cut, cut, dab, dab, dab, place, place, place".  A very repetitive activity with a good result so far, as close to the same as the original structure was built according to the plan, except where styrene dimensions have not matched, and I have gone to the next size up.

Six of the trusses from the Park Road Goods Shed

The two outer trusses from the Park Road Good Shed.

On Friday this week, I had the pleasure of catching a lift with Bob and Arthur and travelling to Bill Dunn’s layout at Maleny.  Also there was Peter Kennedy and we had an Operating Session and some fantastic hospitality.  In this ops session, Bill normally circulates two trains around the layout on his two main lines - called the main and the suburban, and operators have to run their trains in between these uncontrolled trains.  Trains are controlled by a card system that advises what you need to do, where to start from, where to get your loco from and what type of loco, where to get your train or how to make up your train, where to pick up, and drop off if your are a good train or where to stop if you are a passenger.  Most importantly, it tell you where to go, where to wait while keeping a lookout for other trains at various home signals.  One interesting fact about Bill's layout is that all trains circulate in the same direction, except on the Branch line which is bi-directional.  As you run your train, you change points in front of your train and return those points for the main when you pass those points.  It is quite different to other sessions I have operated at other layouts and it was a great day with top class company.  The layout was pretty smicko as well.
One of the loco depots.

One of the Fuel depots - this one is Shell although it seems that a take over is in process.

More sidings

The carriage sheds.

The adjacent loco depot.

Locos need fuel.

One of the many yards.

A signal cabin with levers from an old comb.

We even have a beach.  But I did not see any topless bathers.

A grain silo.

A cement silo.

The diesel shed off the main roundhouse and turntable. The rail motor was very well.

Some of the little guys next to the big guy.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Progress at Fisherman Islands

Today I got down to the shed after lunch, just as the One Day Cricket was starting on TV – Australia vs India at the MCG.  I spent the time replacing a kaput Digitrax DS64 quad point controller (DOA – actually DOA for a second time after sending it back to the US under warranty and getting it returned as fixed – only to find it was still stuffed – I think this is where most people just swear).  A waste of $20+ in postage and a very bad taste in my mouth.  Not sure I want to continue buying this brand of kit.

Anyway I purchased a second hand one off a mate to replace my bad one and as I connected up the Peco point motors one by one to the four outputs, they all tested OK.  I then programmed the addresses into the new DS64 and then the various accessory throw commands into three different NCE Mini Panels that will control a new pair of points at Acacia Ridge Yard and the various points needed to operate Fisherman Islands dual gauge Yard.  I then connected up the wires from the control panel at the entry to Fisherman Islands to the NCE Mini Panels at Border Loop and Loco Pilly and luckily they worked.  I also wired up the wires from a new small control panel for the new crossover points at Acacia Ridge Yard to the mini panel there.  When testing Fisherman Islands Yard entry control panel, some points in some of the routes threw the wrong way, so I had to swap the way these points were configured in the NCE Mini Panel from a ‘Normal position’ to a ‘Reverse position’ when certain buttons were pressed and all was OK.

So basically the entry to Fisherman Islands is for all intents and purposes complete and ready for the next Operating Session – another job crossed off my to do list.  However, I have one dual gauge point that only throws for the straight through route and not for the diverging route.  I just need to do a bit of packing under the motor that is mounted a couple of tracks away and throws via a linkage.  So just a small amount of adjustment should get that working as well.

Yesterday I went to Anthony’s for the first Operating Session for the year on his layout.  There were 6 of us in attendance and I got to run 12 trains and perform the job of Train Control as usual.  It was pretty difficult and quite stressful at times shunting or driving my own train as well as setting points and signals for the other 3 drivers.  Also one of the cheat sheets that I use to know what track trains are supposed to take at Nankiva when crossing was removed.  So I was left to hang out to dry a little bit.  There has been a few more changes to the layout and the way the operators locate their trains cards and these have all been for the better.  The small changes that get made month after month all contribute to a better user experience.  As usual it was a great day with great company.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Building and Planning

Following Tuesday Nights get together with the crew building a new display layout for Brisbane this year (aka Project X), I was enthused into building a model of one of the Park Road Siding’s Good Sheds.  I knew I had a photo (or two) somewhere, I just needed to find them.  Well I found one in an article on the South Brisbane Shunt in the Australian Railway History.  But I thought I had more, but I could not find them.  Daren advised on Friday night that he also thought he had some photos of the Park Road shed, but he could also not find where he had put them.  Today I went down to the shed, to investigate where I could install this shed on the layout.  Unfortunately My baseboard setup for Park Road Sidings is very narrow.  

Well that is easily fixed, by adding a few inches to the baseboards.  So I did that today and relayed the track.  However, I still need to re attach the power connections to my siding No.1.  That will be a job for potentially this week sometime.

This afternoon I have spent some time scaling the various photos I have with known dimensions and estimating how big I need to make my shed.  So I have some starting estimates that I will use, until I can find some more definite figures from closer photos.  I am also just making up what was inside the shed.  Was there a platform and a ramp for forklifts?  Was there nothing in this shed?  Were there only platforms in the other sheds at this location.  My memory does not go back over 20 years when I last saw this site.  I'm also after details of what the various frames in the shed were, how they were built etc.  So if anyone has photos or details I'm happy to receive them. 

Continued construction occurred on Friday afternoon on my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I installed the roller doors at either end of the complex so that they can be left in the opened or closed position.  You just push them up and they will stay in that position.  I also finished attaching the ladders to the top of the silo.  My next task is to make a base for this model to be installed onto so it can be easy fitted and removed from the layout.  I will then be able to add the detail components to the front of the cement complex - where the various hoses were attached to empty the cement wagons.  I can then add a fence all the way around the base.  I think I will also need to add some gates and also build the site office.  But they will be tasks for other times.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Post Operating Session Tidy Up

Following last weeks Operating Session, this week was spent tidying up after the event.  I didn’t go back down to the shed until Tuesday when Paul and Dave popped in on their way home from some of the local hobby shops.  We had a family get together on the Monday so that ruled that day out.  While the guys were here we ran the XPT around the track from Grafton to Cassino and return.  Following their departure, I had some lunch and then later in the arvo I got stuck into actioning a number of tasks following the last Operating Session.  I have created a task list that has about 20 tasks on it.  Some of these tasks are not simple, and some are very costly in the terms of buying some Digital point controllers.
Firstly, to tick some of the easiest tasks off the list, I spent some time working out where best to start the next timetable from.  Upon due consideration, I wound the next timetable start time for the next session back until about 10:00am.  According to the last timetable run, we had one train that had got to its completion at about 1:00pm, We had timetable cards still in the holder that had not started at 9:00am.  Others trains were at various locations around the layout.  I then drove three trains backwards to their scheduled positions in the timetable for a 10:00am restart.  I then picked up the next few timetable cards from the holder and ran those trains to their destination as they were supposed to be completed by 10:00am and I drove another so it was where it is supposed to be at 10:00am.  At this point, I started looking at the comments that people had written on some of their timetable cards to advise issues with wagons, etc.  I actioned the three recorded issues (basically coupler heights of new wagons or wagons next to new wagons) and then made updates to the timetable with some extra text for certain trains.  I also added an extra wagon to one train.  I also swapped a wagon on another train.  I then stuck about 10 containers to various wagons, that were not already glued to their wagons. 

On the top deck of the layout at Border Loop, a southbound container is in the loop, as the Mountain Goat (620/720) arrives at Border Loop and stops at the loading ramp.

At Cassino another southbound container is in the Platform while the Gold Coast Motorail is in the back platform road.

The branch pickup, has left its loading for the meatworks in Cassino yard, and the local shunter has run it over to the meatworks siding.

The pickup goods has made its way to Old Cassino.  It has placed a number of wagons in the Norco Siding - far right and is ready to resume to its progress to Lismore to do some more work.  A stock train is in the Loop.

The Brisbane Limited has had a goods wagon added to the consist and has cleared the platform until later in the day.  Today an ARHS special (CPH/CTH) will use the platform in the meantime.  In the background the shunt train has dropped one container wagon off into track one at Park Road Sidings and collected the rest of the wagons in track 2 and is now ready to head to South Brisbane for some more shunting.

Next it was the soldering iron’s turn.  I soldered four track jumpers back on that I had found had come adrift before or during the session.  I then fixed up the staff machine at Loco Pilly that only worked in one position.  Basically the two wires at the back were under stress and had been pulled off the DPDT switch.  So these were soldered back on. 
One issue I am having is with the headsets that we use for drivers to communicate with North Coast Control.  These have the plastic around the ear pieces perishing and ending up on the heads of the drivers.  So I am looking at either trying to remove the plastic all together or buy another 10-12 headsets for the layout.  They are available for under $5 on evil bay so I might go down that path as the long term solution.  But now I am trying to remove the plastic on a couple of headsets to see if I can sufficiently remedy the issue for the short term.
On New Years Eve, I purchased a few more tubes of acrylic paint, so I could start painting some backdrops and perhaps the water for the Richmond River at Cassino.  I’m just looking for motivation for this activity to start.  Maybe sometime in the next few weeks.
However most modelling work undertaken this week involved my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I spent considerable time building various cages and safety fences to allow staff to climb from ground level to the very top of the structure.  I just need to finalise the pipework at the front of the structure, build some ground topography for the structure to sit on and give the top of the model and all the walkways a coat of paint.  I think it has come up a treat.  A separate blog post will cover this is a few weeks time.
On Saturday decided to get stuck into the point at the Southern end of The Risk.  This was relaid and realigned and I'm pretty sure it has produced a better result.  At least the manual point control works better now.  The point for this area is controlled via a wire in tube method of an old curtail rod wire that I purchased many years ago.  I cut about 2 inches of insulation off one end of wire and drilled a new hole in the fascia for the wire to come through.  I then relaid the point with the actuation wire threaded through the point.  I relaid the track and gave it a work out.  I grabbed 5 container wagons sitting in Cassino platform and moved them up one level to The Risk and ran them through the point.  One wagons kept derailing.  Upon further investigation, it appeared that the wagon had less than optimum flexibility in the bogies.  It was a very old kit that had been assembled and lead added to the centre sill.  The bogies were held in via a pushed in piece of plastic.  So maybe it was an old Callipari kit.  So I loosened the bogie plug slightly and re-ran it through the point and it ran fine.  So far, what has run through the point seems to be working well.  I did dislodge a jumper wire in doing my work.  So that will be fixed next time I fire up the soldering iron. 
The relaid point at The Risk.

I then re-inserted the dual gauge point that I forgot to install before the last running day.  But first I had to get the dremel tool out and cut two flange ways in the various tracks.  Again, what has run through this point so far seems to be happy with the geometry.

The dual gauge point at Clapham Yard is on the left.

Today I got stuck into Acacia Ridge.  I spliced a standard gauge point into track 1, so I can now branch off this track and go into the narrow gauge yard.  The third track is now dual gauge all over its entire length.  I just need to connect the point motors up to a new controller and wire in the switches on a panel to an NCE Mini Panel.

Acacia Ridge Yard.  The first two track on the right at narrow gauge.  The next one is the newly laid dual gauge track.  Next are the tracks 1 through 5, then 4 back through 1.

I have also tried to start work on building a dual gauge point using a fastracks jig.  While it looks easy when looking at the videos for a standard gauge point on their website, when looking at a dual gauge point, it is a whole lot more complicated.  Now this task has gone back onto the back burner.  Maybe that is a job for when I'm on a weeks leave in a couple of weeks time.