Sunday, February 28, 2016

Finishing Off Odd Jobs - Particularly Clapham Yard

I had an hour to kill yesterday after getting home from cricket and having lunch and before getting ready to head to an engagement party.  So I ventured to the shed to checking out the southern end of Clapham Yard where I was planning to do some work.  I was looking at a half made dual gauge point that I had previously installed.  This point allowed me to run standard gauge through it but not narrow gauge as there was a 150mm length of third rail missing.  I also had to cut a flangeway into one of the standard gauge diverging rails to allow the narrow gauge to diverge in the opposite direction.  So while contemplating it dawned on me that I could remove that point and replace it with a 12mm narrow gauge point and just add a third rail to the right most diverging route and everything would be completed.  Hmmm.
So this morning I went down to the Shed and actually undertook this work.  I replaced the right hand standard gauge point with a right hand narrow gauge point and cut the third rail in - makin git dual gauge in only one route.  I then cut in the southern end of my narrow gauge passing loop in Clapham Yard.  I am still thinking about adding a couple of crossovers between the three narrow gauge tracks midway along the Yard.  So while I am thinking about this I have not joined up the two ends of the new narrow gauge loop.
I tested the standard gauge routes with an 80’ container wagon that runs well through all the standard gauge tracks at the southern end of the Clapham Yard.  I then tested the narrow gauge tracks with two 12mm wagons and they also seem to work well.
The northern end of Clapham Yard.  The latest point to be installed is at the bottom left of the shot.  An empty Loco Pilly Loco shed in the top of the shot.

This shot is of the southern end of Clapham Yard.  The point at the bottom of the photo is the one recently installed making the new narrow gauge loop.  The one immediately above is the narrow gauge point that was used to replace the standard gauge point in track 3.

Following lunch I went back down the shed and installed the new labels on the staff machines for Clapham Yard – Dutton Park, Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands and Dutton Park to South Brisbane Interstate.  I then double checked the loose wire that I thought came from the Mini Panel located underneath Border Loop and sure enough – it was the common wire to the various control panels that control the point at Dutton Park.  So the trusty screw driver made short work of re-installing that. 
I then turned on the layout following the installation of the points at Clapham Yard and no shorts were detected.  I then tested the control panels that control the point at Dutton Park and they now all work.  So I did find the correct wire and reattach it in the correct place on the layout.  I then tested the various point motors via the control panels at the southern end and northern end of Clapham Yard.  Everything works well following the large amount of work that has gone on at these locations since the December Operating Session.
I still have one point to do some work on at Clapham Yard, and this is one that I plan to try and scratch build using a borrowed FastTracks jig from PK.  So the decks have now been cleared leaving just the Park Road Goods Shed to be painted and this new point construction. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

400th Blog Post

Well that is correct.  This is my 400th post on this blog.  Hopefully these posts have a benefit or give some sort of pleasure to a number of people who take the time to read these posts.  Hopefully, they also can inspire other modellers to get in there and have a go working on their own model railway empire.  It will only get built by taking the first step, and then continue to take small steps along its progress.

This Saturday I ventured over to the Border Region, after my son's cricket match in the morning, for our normal monthly operating session.  There were 6 of us in attendance.  The session was extremely smooth in operation and Anthony had implemented a number of suggested possible improvements from his last session.  I was Train Control and did not do too many incorrect things.  I'd like to think that I do less silly and incorrect things each month.  At least there was no photo evidence of me doing anything incorrectly.  I had one driver run through a set of points set against him – he blamed his eyes.  I didn't check before I gave him the road to exit the staging road onto the main to Nankiva.

There was plenty of good banter and lots of good talk and the new sets of train cards have more detail on them for the driver to understand what he needs to do with his train at the various locations along the route.  There were over 30 movements in the session.  I only saw two locos derail at points and two wagons jump the track and these occurred at extremely slow speed upon exiting the staging and I think they were fixed before anybody really knew what had happened.  It was a really good session.

It was after 3:00pm that I finally got down to the shed this afternoon and I was not there long, as I mowed the grass and washed the car from about 4:30pm.  So when I was down the shed I installed a LH narrow gauge point into Clapham Yard at the Loco Pilly end.  This is to create a narrow gauge passing loop within the yard.  I also did a very small amount of work adjusting the spacing of the tracks in the yard so they are all equally spaced.  I think I will have to add a few more jumpers to the track at this location – maybe next Sunday.  I pushed a few wagons - both narrow gauge and standard gauge through the point work at the Northern end of the yard and all seems to be operating satisfactorily. 
I also got thinking about perhaps adding some more sets of crossovers between the three narrow gauge tracks at Clapham Yard so that some shunting can occur here in the future.  But for that to occur I'd need a narrow gauge loco.  Hopefully in the next month or two my 2300 loco might turn up.  So when I actually wire up the various points that I still have to electrify at Fisherman Islands, and electrify the recently installed crossover at Acacia Ridge, and the current narrow gauge passing loop at Clapham Yard I'm currently working on, I will investigate the feasibility of adding these crossovers at Clapham Yard.  So this will just cost me lots of money, with points, point motors and point controllers and a control panel or two.
While I was thinking about re attaching the wire to the NCE Mini Panel under near Border Loop all week, I did not get around to it.
I also spent some time giving my Park Road Good Shed its first spray of a grey undercoat.  Next weekend I will touch up anywhere I missed today, and then look at some alternate colours to give it some age.

Monday, February 15, 2016

2016 Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention

A link to the first newsletter for the 2016 Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention appears below:-

2016 Modelling the Railways of Qld Convention Link

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Finished Wiring the Staff Sections and Point Indicator, but...

So this arvo I went down to the shed after lunch and in the heat got stuck into building four more power supplies to run LEDs around the layout.  Three were destined to be installed today.  The first was installed at the Fisherman Islands end of the Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands staff section and upon testing it worked first time.  What luck!  I then installed the power supply for the Clapham Yard to Dutton Park staff section at the Dutton Park end of that section.  That too worked first time when powered up.  I was on a roll!
I then turned my attention to the point indicator for the Dutton Park point that directs northbound trains to either Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate or to Fisherman Islands Yard.  So after connecting the power supply to the DCC bus, I connected the constant DC output wires up from the power supply via the switch on the point motor and then via the two LEDs on the display panel.  It did not light!  Damn!  So I assumed that I had the wires from the power supply reversed with the LEDs.  So I reversed these wires and retested.  Still no go.  Whoops!  I then confirmed I had power from my DC power supply – which I had.  I then tested the switch on the point and it appears that it did not work.  Hmmmm! So I replaced the switch with another that has previously tested as working.  I then tested the circuit and still no LEDs lit.  So I reversed the already reversed output wires back at the constant DC power supply and then upon retesting - everything was now all OK.  Winner!
Now what has occurred is that it appears that the control panels for the point at Park Road no longer work – or at least do not cause the point to change.  I had given up and that issue was a task for another weekend.  However, while writing this update I remembered that there is one wire that came off the NCE Mini Panel situated under Border Loop which at the time a few weeks ago – I had no idea where it came from.  Well it may well be the common power supply wire that will provide 5V from the NCE Mini Panel to the input for the three Dutton Park control panels.  I was wondering what that wire was for at the time and had forgotten that it had come off.  So I will test it next Saturday or Sunday and I will bet that it will fix the operation of these panels.
Next week I have Tuesday Nighter's this Tuesday at Geoff’s.  I will also be attending an Operating Session at Anthony’s on Saturday arvo.  I always look forward to these sessions.  It gives me plenty to think about comparing and contrasting operations on The Border Region and how I could modify procedures or processes at Cassino to achieve a better outcome. 

I also hear that there will be a Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention held on the 17th of September at the Wellers Hill Bowls Club from 11:00am until 6:00pm with an optional separately priced BBQ afterwards.  That will be followed by potentially some open layouts the following day.  I hear that there will be the standard Qld stream running, and there will also be a narrow gauge stream and there could also be the beginning of a NSW Outline Stream.  Maybe the NSW stream will focus on the standard gauge line within Queensland.  So keep an eye out soon for details.  You may even know some of the presenters and the various clinic presenters.  I wonder who they could be?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Signalling Branch Gets a Call Up

Tuesday this week, was our fortnightly Tuesday Nighters' Meeting.  It was also at my place.  We had 11 modellers attend and a couple of apologies.  I showed off my Park Road Goods Shed and everyone had a wander around the shed.  Two weeks before the Shed was just a single truss.  Now it is a complete frame.  I was proposing that somehow I would make the corrugated iron removable.  I thought I could sort of clip it onto the various frames.  Bob suggested that the corrugated iron just slip over the top.  Hmmmm!  Now that was a good idea.  My issue is that it would be a pity to spend all the time and effort building the structure as per the plans and then cover it all up.  So I have been thinking about how I could make the shell removable, incorporating Bob’s suggestion.  Anyway, I was advised that those that attended on Tuesday had a good time. As there was plenty of good conversation to be had. 

Friday this week we visited Geoff’s for a BBQ (snag on bread) followed by a modelling night.  There was lots of talking and lots of checking out what others are doing.  I took along my Park Road Goods Shed and was looking at fitting the corrugated iron frame so it would just slip over the sides.  So far I have the four sides assembled into a square and it is a reasonably tight fit around the structure.  I will work on the two roof sections next opportunity I get.

Today I went to the shed after lunch and decided to call up the expertise of the Signalling Branch get stuck into the re-signalling of the Clapham Yard to South Brisbane Interstate Staff section.  I have now decided to divide this section into two discrete staff sections.  The first is Clapham Yard to Dutton Park, and then Dutton Park to South Brisbane Interstate.  The reason is two fold.  The section is too long and I know it is going to cause issues with traffic in the future as more shunts occur and various light engine movements go from Loco Pilly to any number of locations.  Also it allows me to introduce another staff section from Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands. 

So today I built the second staff panel for the Dutton Park to Fisherman Islands section and laid the 4 core wire between them.  The panel at Dutton Park is wired up and I just need to build a power supply for the Fisherman Islands staff machines.

I then cut into the staff instrument wires at Dutton Park and built the panel for Dutton Park for the now divided section from Clapham Junction and South Brisbane Interstate.  I have spliced the staff machine for Dutton Park to South Brisbane Interstate in, and it is operational.  I now need to build another power supply for the Clapham Yard to Dutton Park section.

I had a search through my electronics parts and found enough slide switches and enough bi-colour LEDs also for the staff machines.  I also found 4 spare capacitors that are used within my power supplies - which run the staff instruments - one per section.  I had one spare already made up, but I will buy 4 more bridge rectifiers from Jaycar this week and make up four more power supplies.  Two are to be used for the two new staff sections, and a third is getting used for another project.  I will then have 2 spares of these little beauties.

While working at Dutton Park, I started planning another project.  At the last Operating Session, it became very obvious that I needed a method of displaying the direction of the point at Dutton Park that directs trains either to the Port or to South Brisbane.  So this display will include a power supply, a Peco switch attached to the point at Dutton Park and two LEDs that will display green on a panel high above the point that will be visible from around most of the shed.  Whatever path the point is set for will display the green LED - the other will not be lit.  This should be simple for all the drivers to use.  So if they want to travel through the point and their route is not lit with a green LED, then they just throw the point at one of the three control panels around the layout for the Dutton Park point.

So hopefully next Sunday I will have all these electronics projects completed, and the layout will be ready for another Operating Session when that gets scheduled.  Next Saturday is a right off as Kyle has cricket and I’ve got a party to attend without the kids.  The kids successfully survived their first full week back of school.  Kyle lost his cricket trial last weekend in the second last over but won on the last ball by one run yesterday.  I’m not particularly happy with what team he was selected in, but that might change for next week.  He has been a star performer last Saturday and again yesterday.  The other two stars from last Saturday moved up a team.  The school has 6 teams in Kyle’s year level and 38 cricket teams overall.  Last year they only had 33 teams and that was a record number.  The school sports administrators do an absolutely fantastic job scheduling games on fields for all the teams (all over Brisbane) and all the teams have kit bags and helpful coaches.  However, some of the poor kids are just cronic, but at least they are out exercising, and hopefully they will get better as the short season progresses.