Sunday, January 29, 2017

Can't be Bothered with Modelling

So school is back and I had three days off last week.  Monday I took my son to school and Tuesday my daughter.  I was the resident pack horse/chauffer.  My son also had cricket trials on Tuesday afternoon, so I had to take his cricket kit to trials where I met him.  But in between times on Monday I completed the gates for my 40' container flat that I was working on last weekend.

Yes, school cricket season is now here and I have lost all model railway enthusiasm.  Saturday I had to take my son to cricket in the arvo and today with a special activities day at the school oval with various 'A' teams playing other year levels and the 1st's playing the old boys and the 2nd's playing the teachers, we went out for a look and catch up with a few people I know.  So there has been no time for modelling this weekend.

During the week, I have walked past a few projects that are sitting on the table, I stop and look at them, and then keep walking, I just can't get motivated to do any further work on them.  I did however, get enthused by one of my mates posting his progress of his working on an LPG tank setup for the Club layout.  I asked for dimensions of the kit and he sent them through this arvo.  I will look at scratchbuilding one tank out of conduit and then come up with some sort of rounded end.  This will be added to my LPG unloading facility that I will build at Lismore.

I also did some more testing of the NCE fastclock on Thursday.  In the setup we are configuring the NCE fastclock to be master to JMRI and basically it just does not work.  I returned the borrowed raspberry-pi and micro-SD card to my JMRI subcontractor - Greg on Friday, when I went to fire up a copy of his micro-SD card in my raspberry-Pi on Saturday morning it would not work.  Doh!  You would not have guessed that I work in IT?  I’m gonna have to get his micro-SD card back to copy it again.  Bugger!  So that put a severe dent in enthusiasm.

This Friday our local hobby shop is having another modelling night.  So I intend on going and working further on my LPG unloading facility.  I will post some photos of progress next weekend.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Working on Container Flats

Last week at the club, a member asked me to make up a dozen 40’ container flats for him.  So last Thursday arvo I went over to my local hobby shop and purchased some styrene shapes.  I had quite a few flats already made up.  I purchased one packets of 2mm channel which I put on the sides of my container flat bases and various size styrene rod packets.  So today I made up five more bases from the packet of channel.  I have half made one end of one base with another 4 single ends to go.  I'm not sure if I will make double ended caged containers.  I decided to get stuck into making up a fully caged/gated flat, so started towards making the 10 side gates needed.  I have completed four and I have made up another 7 gate frames.  I just need to add in the wire uprights in each gate later tonight while watching the cricket on TV.  What I don't finish tonight I will complete over the next two days.

Basically it will take me almost 2 half packets of different sized styrene rod to make up a single 40’ gated flat.  I did not realise there was so much involved.

Yesterday Darren, Geoff, Brendan and myself were joined by Iain at Anthony’s for his first operating session of the year.  It was great.  I did not derail too many wagons while shunting Nankiva when using the single slip points.  The crew were able to put the 4 wheel wagons back on the track and continue operation without advising Control.  The biggest stack of the day was by the layout owner when his train ran through the yard against some points and end up with a few wagons in the dirt.  Once the calamity was spread over social media, the TW’s came from everywhere to get a photo of the situation.  One may even by posted here if someone sends me a photo.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I've Been Doing a Bit of Travelling

Not much has been occurring on the layout this week.  I have spent some time with pen on paper thinking about a couple of detail items to make for the layout, but no actual modelling.

Saturday this week I ventured over to the Clubrooms for our first meeting for the year.  Boy it was Hot!  By 3:30pm everyone had left so the ex-Prez and myself shut up the Clubrooms and locked the gate and left for the afternoon.  We used to have people sitting around until after 5:00pm.  Maybe the heat had something to do with it?  While at the Club I received an order for a dozen 40 foot container flats.  That will give me something to do over the next few weeks.  But first of all I will need to buy some more styrene from the local hobby shop.  I think I have about 6 already made.  I will use this opportunity to build a fully caged 40' container and see how much effort it requires to build it all from styrene rod.

Today I was met by Darren, Ken and Arthur out the front of my place at 7:30am and I drove up to Maleny to visit Bill Dunn’s layout for a running session.  We met up with Peter who was already up there and was staying for a couple of days and three other local modellers.  I had a great time.  The layout runs well and every loco has sound.  There is an immense number of powered points from various lever frames and I continue to see small scenes as I move around the layout.  I took a few mental notes and I will try and build some similar scenes on my layout.  They say imitation is the best form of flattery.  I took quite a few photos but my phone is not letting me connect to it to download them.  I will try again at work tomorrow.  Maybe I can post some later this week.

We also brought Peter back home to Brisbane with us this arvo and went through a ripper of a storm on the highway.  I then gave Peter and Ken their first look at the layout.  I think Peter started shaking his head and was worried he would not be able to sleep tonight as he would be going through the layout operation in his head.

Tuesday Nighters this week is at my place.  Hopefully it will be fine and not as hot as it has been.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

I Seem to Have Lost my Mojo Again

So following a pretty intense period of Model Railway operation, I seem to have lost my mojo.  While I have undertaken quite a few railway activities this week, when I go to the shed, I feel like walking back out again.  I just can't get motivated to do something.  maybe I have quite a few other things on my mind.

With Monday being the New Year's Day public holiday I did spend some time down the shed.  I fixed up the couple of items that caused issues with the last Operating Session.  It appears that the dual gauge track just north of Clapham Yard, had developed a bow.  One of the check rails was on one side of the bow and it then sat proud of the track.  Every loco that ran through the point heading south ran into the check rail and got caught on the proud check rail and caused a derailment.  So a few strategically placed nails to make the track section sit back down flat and trains have now resumed running through that section of track.  A similar bow developed south of Clapham Yard but not to the same extent and this was also fixed via the same method. 

A few more sections of track were ballasted.  The mainline section covering the points either side of Cassino Meatworks has been ballasted.  A few more feet of track was also completed around the Rocla Sleeper Siding leading to Rappville Loop.  While on the topic of ballasting, today I also did a bit more around Cougal Spiral in the section that I basically ripped up out of the ballast before the last Operating Session when I added some cardboard underneath the outside rail to add a bit more super-elevation to the track.  That has all been covered up now.

During the week I put my order into for a set of Auscision RUB cars.  The next night I received $27.60 in Thursday’s big lotto draw.  I don’t think this will cover the cost of RUB set but it will buy a pair of wheels in one car.  I would have liked to be part of the $55million dollar syndicate that won.  I hear that the Auscision car carriers are heading our way.  Hopefully I will be on the luck ones getting the scares motorail cars first.

Friday night this week, four of our modelling group went to Simon Says Hobbies and Games for their regular modelling night.  It was certainly a full house. I decided to start building the gas unloading facility that I will install at Lismore so my Speed-e-gas tanker can get unloaded.  I have built a base frame all from 0.040” styrene rod.  It has a lot more re-enforcing to add as well as the top pipe work.  This model has been built from photos that fellow modeller Rohan Ferguson of Bolivia fame sent me after my request for photos a few weeks back on my blog.  His photos are just amazing and hit the spot perfectly.  Thanks mate.

Yesterday I went over to Austral Modelcraft and picked up a couple of right hand medium points.  I installed these into Clapham Yard at the southern end between tracks 2 and 3.  I will pick up another set of points, when money allows, which will be installed at the other end of the yard between tracks 2 and 3.  This will allow the Railset train to have its loco run around, without venturing out of the yard and asking for a staff at either end of the yard.  All movements can now stay within the yard.  Also when there is some shunting in the Yard during the timetable, the shunt loco can also go from track 3 to track 2 and run around his train before he adds these wagons from track three onto the end of the container train that will soon take track 2 heading south.  I am also thinking about another set of crossover at the northern end of the yard between track 2 and track 1 to facilitate this shunt loco moving from track 2 back to track 1, as it picks up its next loading from track 1 left there by another container train head north.  This loading then goes to Park Road Siding and onto South Brisbane Interstate.

Last night I started building a hen house for Baker’s Farm.  I initially started building it from styrene.  When complete it just looked really crap.  I then decided to give it a go building it out of 3” x 2” scale lumber.  This looked a bit better.  Today I cut out a few lengths of Tulle to be used in various wire fencing sections around the layout, and at the same time, cut some for the hen house.  The tulle was all sprayed with grey primer.  A job over the next few weeks is to affix the tulle (aka wire fencing) to the many fence posts I have around the various oil sidings on the layout.

Also today I spent some time adding jumpers to the various sidings in Loco Pilly.  There were about 4 tracks there that were not powered if the point was not set for those tracks.  So this has been rectified and all tracks are now live all the time. 

I’ll see if I can regain my mojo over the coming weeks.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Operating Session 31st of December 2016

The second 12 hour shift of my 24 hour timetable Operating Session was successfully completed on Saturday afternoon with the help of 6 regular operators.  Boy was it hot.  Luckily the aircon was on in the shed when we went down there for an almost on time kick off at 12:48pm.

Generally we had most Trains operating very well.  I fixed the issue at The Risk from the previous session on Tuesday and I heard of no issues with location.  However, I witnessed multiple issues the trackage on both sides of Clapham Yard.  I think I might have some nails protruding just slightly above the rail height at the northern end of Clapham Yard just outside Loco Pilly.  I also identified that I needed to add a few more power droppers to Loco Pilly as some tracks have no power supply at all except through the point and that is not reliable and just not good enough.  I also identified a couple of dead end sidings in Grafton Yard that are in the same boat.

I also had issues with my current Brisbane Limited consist with the train having issues at a couple of locations.  So that will get some more attention before the next session.  I also identified one wagon with what appears to be a low coupler which caused a runaway of the last three wagons from a container train from Clapham Yard down to Acacia Ridge Yard, so that will also draw some attention tomorrow – when it is hopefully cooler in the shed.

So apart from these documented issues, and two slight additions to the timetable cards to fix up some ambiguities, the next session should be even better that what we had over the last week.

Following on from last session Darren had time to look at the Auscison Brisbane Limited cars.  We have a solution and it has been implemented.  A simple test has been run, but I think I might do a more detailed test tomorrow to see if we have fixed the running qualities of these great looking cars.

I had been having trouble with my Raspberry Pi that runs JMRI and connects to my NCE system to allow those guys who don’t have a radio ProCab to operate wirelessly via their smart phone.  Yesterday Greg brought his more powerful Raspberry Pi over and swapped it for mine.  We still had issues.  Greg also read something that one particular JMRI release caused some issues with our model WiFi adaptor.  Bugger.  That may well be the issue we are having.  Additionally, whenever we try and have the Raspberry Pi sync its time from the NCE command station, it was forcing its time of the command station instead of getting the time from the command station.  Well the Raspberry Pi continually overwrote the base station’s time.  I’m glad Greg was in charge of the system when that was occurring, as I thought that had been occurring previously.  Again, maybe there is a further update to the JMRI code that fixes this syncing of the Raspberry Pi with an NCE command station.

Shelton updated his blog with an update of my session.  Go here to read it.

I also have provided a pictorial update of the session.
Shelton's pick up freight from the Branch is heading past the Rocla Sleeper Siding and will soon by stabled in the Grafton Loops.

The banana train from Murwillumbah has arrived in the Loop.  It will pick up the wagons from the Siding and continue onto to Old Cassino to do the same.

The banana Train sitting in Lismore.

The ballast is making its way back past the Rocla Sleeper Siding and towards Grafton Loops.

The Container train handled by Anthony is about to enter Clapham Yard.

The banana Train has made it to Old Cassino and will pick up the two wagons located at the goods shed.  Also visible in this view is the wagon left behind by Shelton in the Norco Siding.  Bad ordered my foot.  He just forgot to add it on.  It was uncoupled by the magnet set into the track and Shelton did not check he had all his wagons.

My Murwillumbah Cement Silo with the now unloaded cement wagons.

The stock train has unloaded at the Kyogle Stock Siding and is now heading back to Grafton Loops for storage.

Here the Gold Coast Motorail is coming into Old Cassino for a quick station stop before head to Cassino and then onto Grafton.

Greg is the driver of the Gold Coast Motorail.

The loaded steel train is heading towards Brisbane, having just crossed a train coming in from the Branch.

The Steel train exiting the yard and heading north.

The Cement train doing a shunt three wagons at a time from the cement siding onto the main.  Once all the wagons are out on the main, the driver will push these back to the platform and then run around this train, before heading back to Grafton Loops.

The sight of Shelton's cross at Glenapp Loop.  Shelton has the container and Barry has the train heading north.  Above at Clapham Yard are the three container wagons to be sent towards Park Road and South Brisbane Interstate for unloading, while the rest of its train went to Fisherman Islands.

Barry surveying his handy work in being able to pull his train up just short of the train entering at the other end of the crossing loop.

Another cross occurring.  The branch container train heading to Murwillumbah is on the main, while the cement train is taking the yard to ensure the track is long enough for the cross to occur.

This shot of Cassino shows the mountain goat in the dock while a stock train sits in the yard awaiting its path further south to Grafton Loops.

The paper train is on the main line, while cement train is coming in from the branch.

A few seconds later the trains are further along the line in their cross.

The cement train has received the staff for the section from Cassino to Rappville and is crossing the Richmond River bridge, heading towards Grafton.

The paper train is crossing another train at Kyogle.  The Rail train is locked away in the siding.

This shot shows a triple header just about to enter Grafton Loops. 

Almost the last train of the day.  A shunt is occurring at South Brisbane Interstate.  The three containers are in the run around road in South Brisbane and the run around is occurring.  Another photographer is taking a shot from the other direction.

The locos have been released and are about to be shunted back onto the containers.  North Coast Control is having a break standing up as all other movements have been completed.

The train will be pulled forward and then shunted back into track 6 where they will be unloaded.