Sunday, September 25, 2016

Container Flats and Ballasting

Following last weekend's overdosing on Model Railways, this weekend was much more sedate.  On Friday night I got an urge to build some 40’ container flat racks with wire cage ends.  I’m not sure of the correct name of these are, but I found a few photos on the web, particularly on blogsite by Wagonfreak.  So after lunch on Saturday I went down to the shed and grabbed a commercial 40’ container as a template for the base of my 40’ containers.  I built my container bases from a 2mm styrene sheet with 2mm evergreen styrene channel section on each side.  I also built up some gate sections from 1.2mm styrene rod and 1mm styrene rod and the cross pieces were made from 0.025" styrene rod.    As usually happens when I start building something from styrene, I ran out of 2mm Channel and 0.025" styrene rod.  So it will be off to the hobby shop next Saturday to get some off Ray.

After a while I went down to the Shed and whipped out my trusty spray can and gave two containers a base spray.  They look quite good.  I now need to identify what wagons they will be assigned to on the layout.  I did make a third container flat, but it needs the cross bracing from 0.025" styrene which I don't have enough of.
The first 40' container flat with cage wire end.

The second 40' container flat with a different cage wire end.

Not content to potter around in the shed, I decided to apply some ballast to a couple of sections of track just inside the shed door.  These were applied and spread out by my trusty soft brush.  Basically the ballast was only spread around from the road overbridge show below to just out of view to the right.  Two different colours were used to depict a freshly ballasted section on the track.
The two loops of track from Grafton Yard are seen above.  Grafton Yard is located by following the track on the bottom right another 1.5 metres around the curve, and off to the left and heading around the spiral we get to a tunnel mouth and then re-appear at the other end of Rocla Sleeper Siding and on the inner loop about 4 inches higher.

A close up view of the point into the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  Just seen in this view are the gates on the road entrance to Rocla and the gates on the rail entrance.  Yes they work!

So today, I made a cardboard shape to fit around the point motor and then applied some more ballast here.  That was followed by wetting the ballasted sections with my spray bottle and then dropping diluted aquadhere onto the ballast.  I think it came up quite well.  I don't have any photos of the after view as yet.  Following wetting and applying the glue the ballast gets a lot darker until it dries off a bit, when it does go a bit lighter, but nowhere near it is in the above shots.

I also spent some time gluing some wooden sleepers into a track crossing at the end of Cassino Platform.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention

This weekend has been spent doing activities associated with the 2016 Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention.  Yesterday the actual convention was held at the Ekibin Bowls Club.  It was a nice open and airy venue and I had a ball.  First off there was setup of the hall and presentation area 2.  This was followed by important things like help set up the demo layout, stacking drinks into the fridge along with the cheese cakes for consumption following the night's BBQ dinner.  Then there was giving help to the various demo guys and some shops by assisting to carry their stuff down to their stands.

Then registration began, and there was plenty of hellos to people I had not seen for some time and plenty of hellos to people I had not met before.  After Arthur’s introduction speech, my session was first up in presentation area 2.  I was behind the 8-ball as we were running late and my session was timetabled to run a little later than normal.  Oh - No!  We had a good turn up of attendees at the session and there was one old bugger heckler from Sydney consistently asking questions.  Hopefully I was able to get across some of my thinking and why I implemented the things I did, the way I did it.  Additionally I hoped that the attendees could get a feeling for operating a train on the layout in the second half of the presentation.

I enjoyed the lunch while talking to other attendees.  I also had the opportunity to attend other sessions during the afternoon and learn some interesting information.  So thanks to the presenters for sharing their information with us all.  I certainly learnt some things both operationally on QR practice and also picked up some more modelling tips. 

During one of the sessions I did some work on one of the modules of Gilligulgul.  I installed some fencing along the railway corridor.  I ran out of fence posts so I will have to create some more and install them next time I see the layout. 

I was lucky enough to pick up a prize in the raffle draw at the end of the day and selected a QR buffer stop donated by Queensland Scale models.  I also had another ticket drawn out later, but decided to not collect and let the masses have an opportunity to win something.

After attending the separately registered dinner which was a BBQ put on by the bowls club, we had Arthur give us a great recap of his life as a junior fireman up in Mackay during the sugar season when he was a young 18 years old.  So to the people who had a hand in organising everything, especially Arthur and committee who met on various Thursdays when I was at work - Guys and Girls – you did an awesome job.  Thank You.  See you all in 2 more years.

Today the convention sort of continued at alternate locations across the south side of Brisbane.  Various layouts were opened to Convention attendees to come and have a visit.  Funnily, the open layouts were all related to members of the Tuesday Nighters group.  Peter, Arthur, Geoff, Darren and myself.  We all had a quite a few convention attendees rock up and have an inspection of our various layouts.

I was lucky enough to conscript a couple of my normal operating crew – Shelton and Greg (Greg also bought his two mini me’s) to run some trains as I was talking and walking around showing off various features.  Darren had the same idea as he had scheduled another three guys from our operating sessions (Anthony, Mark and Brendan) to assist him.  It got quite cramped at time in various locations in Cassino, but everyone got on quite well in the cosy environment.

I also invited a mate to pop over – George from up the road to have another viewing.  Luckily Shelton took some photos of the attendees checking things out on Cassino.  At various times, we also had numerous flashes going off all around the layout as other convention attendees took advantage and snapped away, after something must have caught their eye.  Although I have been working on this layout for almost 11 years, I still think there is another 10 years left to complete the scenery.  There is lots of ballasting to do, more ground cover work to complete, then the various buildings to scratchbuild, and then more fencing and then the detailing of all the various scenes around the layout.  Did I mention trees?  I need another 1000 at least I think.  I am very blessed to have an understanding and tolerating wife, and a great groups of friends – both the Tuesday Nighters and the extended Operating Crews of the various session that we all cross over at.  Without these guys and the inspiration that they instil in me, the layout would be nowhere near as far along as it is now.

Hopefully, some guys might get some enthusiasm and desire to convert that long term plans into something physical following this weekend, and we might hear about it at the next convention.  Thanks for the weekend everyone.

Below are three photos sent over by Shelton.  Thanks Mate.
Some of the first groups of visitors.  Yes Eddie is there providing assistance in moving people around on the layout tours.

The second group of visitors.  Noel the audio guru from the Convention was among that group.

Our esteemed Secretary of the Convention seems to have found his seat while others are wandering around.

Just before the visitors arrived, Shelton was able to assist me in re-attaching a PECO Point motor to a set of points at Dutton Park and testing it out.  This point moved about 6 inches with all the track modifications last week and I never got around to moving the point motor.  Not sure if we used that point in the running that occurred  as visitors were wondering around, but thanks Shelton.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Working Back Towards Dutton Park

So it was back to a normal Friday this week, with an early mark obtained from work and I decided to bite the bullet and scratch build another dual gauge diverging track to separate narrow gauge from standard gauge at northern end of Clapham Yard, just outside Loco Pilly.  So that was finished just a few minutes into the first half of Friday's televised football match on and the test runs with bogies going through the track while it was on the kitchen table were all OK.

Saturday was a right off as I had to go the AGM at the Club.

Today was when the real action started.  I started off by building a multi-gauge test track for the Club.  It will house HO standard gauge (16.5mm), HO narrow gauge (12mm) and N scale (9mm).  It will consist of 4 rails and it will be installed in the Clubhouse and be connected to one of our two SPROGs and it will be used to test and program DCC Locos in the Club office.  So far the track has been assembled with 3 of the four rails attached.  I will get around to adding the fourth rail during the week or next week.

My next task was to get a few items out so I remember to take them next weekend.  I am doing some modelling at the Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention next Saturday.  I then turned to one of the models that I was going to take along to display next weekend.  This is my Murwillumbah Cement Silo structure.  It needed a couple of touch ups done with paint.  I followed a technique that Arthur Hayes spoke about in his modelling talks and it worked out quite well.  It was emptying a few shots from a spray can into a small cup and then using a paint brush to put that paint onto the model. 

The next task was to cut up some fencing from Tulle to be installed around the perimeter of the structure.  The tulle fencing had been spray painted grey many weeks ago now.  The various lengths had been stuck to my white board in the shed with a magnet to let them hang and dry.  Well they are truly dry after many weeks passing.  I have left one section of the cement silo's perimeter unfenced, as this will be under construction by some sub-contractors when the structure finally hits the layout.  Although I did cut the fencing to complete the final section, I rolled up the wire into a roll and left it leaning against the fence posts.

After this, I hit the shed and installed the new dual gauge piece of track that I built on Friday.  This went into just north of Clapham Yard.  I then gave it a test with both standard gauge and narrow gauge rollingstock and locos.  It appears to work, although there was short at one point, but a few slides with a file through all the sleepers seemed to fix that issue.  The only down side of this new track installation, is that the whole track from Loco Pilly to Dutton Park and around to Fisherman Islands had to be ripped up and relayed.  The reason, is that after the installation of this new piece of track, the third rail on the dual gauge has changed sides.  It was on the right hand side heading towards Dutton Park.  It is now on the left hand side.  Luckily most of these changes are quite easy to do.  I just lift up the various lengths of flex track and turn them around.  I had previously created my own lengths of flex track based on standard code 100 flex, with a length of code 83 rail soldered to one side via PC board lengths.  So four or five lengths of flex track later and the track was relayed all the way to Dutton Park.  I also had to remove power jumpers and re-attach these to the track.

The next issue was how to change the point located at Dutton Park?  I found a right hand curve point that already had a third rail already added to the left hand side of the point in my spares box.  I think I had just removed it from Clapham Yard last week or the week before.  I filed the standard gauge rail slightly so the narrow gauge track can go through it better and a quick test proved that it seemed to work well.  So that has been installed, and I just have to add another 6 inches of flex track to the left fork that heads toward Park Road Siding and that will be all fixed.  I hope to do that on Tuesday evening before my visitors come over.

I will then hopefully get around to laying the last two lengths of dual gauge track from Dutton Park towards Fisherman Islands.  Again hopefully I will get that completed by Sunday morning.  That will make the whole layout operational again.

I will have to have a bit of a clean up as my layout is the location for Tuesday Night’s get together, and it is also the destination of one of the open layouts following the Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention next Sunday afternoon.

Next week we might have some photos of the convention and the newly relayed trackwork.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Clapham Yard is Almost Complete

On Friday evening this week, I was lucky enough to get along to another great night at Simon Says Hobbies and Games.  First Friday of the month is modelling night.  Not many of us but we had a good time.  While there I was working on building a couple of small detail items to go with my Murwillumbah Cement Silo scene.  Another model railway guys, Darren was there working on some buildings.  I finished off three items during the night.  I just need to paint these and try and install on the diorama in the next few weeks. 

This weekend as usual I managed to spend some time in the shed in the afternoon of both days.  On Saturday I spent time wiring track jumper leads to the various track sections to ensure that the northern end of Clapham Yard had power.  I also added the new route to the small control panel located at the northern end of the yard, by drilling a hole for a new push button and wiring the new push button up to the common power and connecting the other pole of the button back to input #19 in the mini-panel.  I also replaced the narrow gauge diverging track at the northern end with another one and made a few adjustments to it and it now seems that the 12mm wagons all go through there with no issues.

Today I updated the NCE Mini-panel located underneath Loco Pilly with the new codings to ensure that the points at the northern end of the yard, connected to the northern control panel all throw correctly.  Upon testing the three narrow gauge buttons, they threw the wrong points – Doh!  That was quickly fixed and then I found out that one point that controlled the northern end of the yard for selecting track 1 or track 2, only threw in one direction.  So I found that the common on the point motor had come adrift.   I then fixed up the point throw for selecting track 3 or track 4 that is provided via a long linkage that was not working last weekend.  So that was realigned, tension on the screws holding the point motor base to the baseboard were loosened and after a few tests and slight adjustments, everything was tested again and it is now all working. 

I thought I would then trial a train through the northern end of the entry to Clapham Yard and everything work well except that my 12mm loco derails in the narrow gauge to standard gauge diverging track.  The 12mm wagons seem to go through OK.  Bugger!

So it seems I might have to buy a Tillig divergent track to fix that, instead of using one of the ones that I made.  That will be a bugger as the third rail is on the opposite side with the Tillig track.  I might set back up a test section with the piece of track I removed and some track at each end and test the narrow gauge loco through that section again on the work bench.  I did some fine tuning to that yesterday and it now works better than it did on the layout.  It used to derail the 12 mm wagons due to a small section of track being just about 1mm too long.  This was the reason I removed it yesterday.

There are still some sections of track on the 12mm that need some fine tuning.  These are sections where I have hand made my own 12mm track and the track is on a curve.  So my gauge widening was either too much or too little.  Sometimes I just thing it would have been easier to just use standard dual gauge flex track, but the cost was going to send me bankrupt.  So I might purchase a couple of small lengths of dual gauge track and just blend it in with my home made versions for optimal layout performance.

Only two weeks until the Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention and I will be presenting a talk on Operations on Cassino, and then following up by doing some fencing work on a module from Giligulgul during the day.