Sunday, July 10, 2016

Firing On All Cylinders

I had Friday off work.  What better place to spend the time but in the shed?  I started off by making 12 on/off signs on the label maker so I can put these on my various control panels.  Each Control panel has a master on/off switch to isolate the panel from the various NCE Mini Panels that they are connected to.  It became apparent at my last Operating Session that someone was turning them off.  Hopefully this will allow self-diagnosis by the operator to occur, instead of these points don’t work.  I had a realisation that someone had turned 4 of the panels off at various time during the session.  This had never happened at previous Operations Sessions that I could remember.

I then installed two more uncoupling magnets on the layout.  These were in the Cassino Meatworks siding at the northern end and also in the Lismore Shell oil Siding also in the northern end.  Positioning these magnets here allow uncoupling of the loco to occur.  The loco can then run around the train left in the siding, and couple back up to the other end of the train while the train in loaded/unloaded before its next turn in the operating timetable.

I then got my plaster out.  I added a small amount of plaster to the end of the Cassino Platform.  Originally I had a flat end to the platform.  Reviewing a few photos that have been appearing on Facebook recently, revealed that the platform had a slopped end.  So I made up some formwork, mixed up a thick batch of plaster and poured it at the end of the platform.  The formwork was removed after the plaster had set enough.  The same photo also revealed that there was a set of steps also at the end of the dock platform.  So I made a set of these out of pieces of 2mm styrene.

With the plaster I had left over I spread a bit over a section of Kyogle, where I had not added a small 3 inch section over some Styrofoam.  I then made up a very running mixture and added some around my road overbridge on the Murwillumbah branch north of Lismore.

I then decided to realign the good shed siding at Old Cassino.  I had previously placed half a building up against the back drop here, but the siding was a good couple of inches away.  So I ripped up the track and the cork underneath and relayed the siding.

I then went wondering the layout looking at the trains.  I adjusted two wagons on the paper train by the addition of a KD washer.  I added a missing KD spring to one wagon that kept coming adrift on the same train.  Funny that I thought there might be a spring missing on this wagon.  I was right.  I then found two trains in South Brisbane Interstate station in the wrong tracks.  The Brisbane Limited express was in track 3, and not in track 4.  Also the locos were at the terminal end of the train instead of Sydney end.  Someone did not read the timetable card well.  Upon further contemplation, I will now create a shunt list for this train, as there are additional movements that are required for this train, as I had added a louvre van to the front of the train heading north and south.  So this van will need to be moved from the front, to the yard and the later before departure to the front of the now reversed train.  Similarly for the motorail wagon.  It will need to go from the front of the train on arrival to the yard, and then back to the front of the train for departure.  The second train was number 53 Shunt – from Clapham Yard to Park Road Siding.  Apparently this train ran straight through Park Road Siding after dropping off a single container wagon there and ran into South Brisbane Interstate yard.  This is number 55 Shunt’s job from Park Road to South Brisbane Yard and it has to do some movement of wagons.  Someone did not read the card for #53 shunt, and because they did not the card for #55 shunt, it ended up in the wrong track too.

There were some reports on my current motorail wagons.  So I changed out some wheels for smaller diameter ones to lower the couplers.  Only Slightly but we will see how that effects the train.

My Bachmann tamper wagon was running very slowly.  So I gave it a test.  It was running slowly.  It needs some more wait above the power bogie.  I have two tampers, and both do the same.  This has been left for future fine tuning.

Finally for Friday, I was trying to re-create a reported issue with the Ballast train parked in the Bonalbo Ballast Siding.  Apparently it had issues with a low coupler hitting some sleepers between the rails.  I ran the train in the reported section back and forth and I could not find any issues, so the train was locked away back into the siding.  I also investigated an issue with the set of points at the northern end of The Risk Loop.  So a small amount of filing and everything is now working well.  So I think all crossed off all the track issues reported except for some at Clapham Yard and Loco Pilly, but I will get around to them maybe next week.

On Friday night, I decided to build some 12’ high barbed wire gates that will be located on the various private sidings on the layout.  I made these out of styrene – 1.6mm rod, which I bent, cut and glued.  I completed 6 gates on Friday night and had another two almost complete that were just missing their cross bracing.

Today I resumed a visit to the shed after lunch.  I finished the last two almost complete gates, and the made another 4 complete gates.  I think I need a few more yet for the various sidings on the layout.  These were all painted grey primer and ended up looking quite good.  I had previously made some plans to pull out about 20 fence posts around the Rocla Siding that were made from piano wire.  There are about 30 other posts at this location made from 2mm styrene rod.  I made up another 21 posts from 2mm styrene and painted these today.  These new posts were installed at the Rocla Siding.  I then installed two gates on the road entry to Rocla Siding and so far one gate on the northern entry to the siding at this location.  The second gate was still drying.

I then moved about 5 fence posts at the northern end of the Lismore Shell oil siding.  I built up the ground underneath the fencing so the gates cleared the track when they swing.  So that called for another small batch of fairly thick plaster to cover the cork I laid underneath to help build up the land.  The two gates were installed here and work quite well – opening and closing. 

I then went over to the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding.  I installed the fence posts that I had removed from Rocla Siding at this location.  I now have a boom gate on the road entry to the industry and one opening gate on the track entry.  The other gate was already super glued open.  I will have to work on trying to unglue this gate so both are working.  I fixed up a short length of fencing that I had previously recycled from another section of layout many years ago.  That section was added to the rear of the oil siding and now this location is at lock up stage – except that there is no wire on any of the new fencing as yet – at all locations.

So I think my tulle will be getting cut up into strips next weekend and then spray painted grey.  It will then be super glued to the various fences around the layout.

To complete the days efforts, I cut up some mound shapes that were white glued into the area on the northern end of Nammoona Ballast Siding.  Eventually these will be shaped better and then covered in ballast to resemble ballast piles for loading onto ballast trains should a train be routed to this location.

I still have some work to do following the Operating Session as well as some changes to the timetable for the extra shunting movements for the Brisbane Limited.  No rest for the wicked!

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