Sunday, March 26, 2017

Clapham and Building

I went to a local Buy and Sell this week on Tuesday evening.  The main aim was to pick up a large radius Peco Y point for Clapham Yard.  Unfortunately there was none there and the person who thought he had one and was going to bring one, could not find his stash.  Well that was a bit of a bummer. 

So when Saturday rocked around, I had no point to install on the layout.  But I decided to do some work on the modelling desk (aka kitchen table).  I had previously made up 8 x 40 foot long container flats.  So I got stuck into 5 of them and added cage ends to the container flats.  I then painted 6 of these with my trusty grey primer.  So they are now in the box of container flats to be sold to mates.

I also made up another base for another 40 foot long container flat, but this time with a thicker base.  This new flat is currently lacking a deck, but it does have a frame.  This one will have folding ends when I get around to making them.

So in the lead up to earth hour last night, I decided to make two models of a 20’ container flat will have a generator set on it to power a string of refrigerated containers.  The container flats were easy to make, and then I needed to make a structure that looked sort of similar to a gen set.  It is so difficult to make a rectangular prism to form the base of the gen set.  After cutting all the pieces, I assembled it and let the glue dry.  Mine was out of square.  Hopefully no one will know.

So this arvo, I filed the now dry rectangular box so that the various styrene joins were not too visible.  I then added lots of little bumps and protrusions to make it look like it is not exactly square and also that those bumps were supposed to be there, as either access hatches or some form of intake.  I then decided to make another 20’ container flat that had a checker plate floor.  I then added an exhaust stack to the gen sets and then gave them a spray of yellow oxide paint.  The idea of these 20’ gen sets came about from something I have seen on one of the facebook groups by another Australian outline modeller that had built three very nice models.  His effort was fantastic and it certainly urged me into building a couple as well.  So I thought I can do that as well.  So I have.

This morning I popped over to my mate Dave’s place and picked up one of his Y points.  I actually picked up a Left hand point and a Y just in case the left hand fitted better, but, my first impression was correct, and the Y point was better to fit the geometry in Clapham Yard.  So just before lunch time today, I cut the track and spliced in the Y point and gave a test run of a couple of carriages over the various track work around the point and everything ran well.  So I can now move on.  However, I did not get around into getting back to testing my Brisbane Limited set again.  Maybe next week.

Ideally all I need to acquire to complete Clapham Yard is about 4 x 12 mm points and some 1mm steel piano wire.  The wire will be used to thread through the baseboard and actuate all the manual points that I have now installed in Clapham Yard.  I will also make some labels above the push-pull actuators on the facia and that yard will then be totally finished.  Then I think that will conclude all trackwork activity on Cassino.  That is about 11 years in the making.
The newly installed 'Y' point in Clapham Yard is the one on the left.  This allows run around movement especially for the Rail Set train that is just visible in the second track from the left.

The two gen set 20 foot container flats after being painted.  The checker plate 20 foot container flat is in front.  A bit of weathering with some powders will create some colour variations and the gen sets will be ready to join a train.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

If it Could... it Did...

With this weekend having the third Saturday of the month, that meant that we had Anthony’s Operating Session in the afternoon scheduled for Saturday, but I had to provide my apology due to cricket being on and supposedly scheduled from 2:30 – 5:30pm in the arvo.  We also had cricket break-up scheduled from 4:30pm until 7:30pm.

Also on Saturday morning and into the afternoon, we had the local NMRA meeting just up the road at Arthur’s place.  Again I could not attend due to cricket. 

However, our game was scheduled for 11:15 – 2:15pm.  But early in the morning our game along with about 7 others were called off due to a wet outfields, or water on the pitch.  So I decided to take my son to the first XI game down the road as they were crowned Undefeated Premiers before the game, but this game also got abandoned at 11:00am due to a wet spot in the outfield, near slips and the bowlers run ups.  So we just went to our Spirit of Cricket Awards in the arvo and we stayed there until about 7:00pm.

Apparently the school came away with at least 6 premierships out of 12 in the interschool aggregate, but may have still finished second overall.  Damn!  My son’s team, while undefeated throughout the year, may have only finished second and may not have achieved their Premiership either.  I find that hard to believe, as they were playing the only other undefeated team on Saturday, before being washed out, so I would have thought they would have received a shared Premiership.  But official status will be advised during the week. 

So Saturday was a day of things going wrong.  Today, I had plans of doing lots of wiring for Clapham Yard.  So after a morning down pour and having some lunch, I went down to the shed and started working on the various track jumpers in Clapham Yard.  I had finished that when I applied the Multimeter to the track and I got a direct connection through both rails. Hmmm.  That can’t be correct.  So I turned on the power to the layout and power district 5 was showing a short.  Bugger!  So off came all the wires I had just connected.  Still a short!  So I move a few trains around in case some were sitting across a set of points causing a short.  No difference.  There was another wire I had soldered to my dual gauge separation track in the headshunt and of course I assumed that this piece of track could not be causing the short.  Well I was wrong.  I unwired it and Voila – the short disappeared.  So everything else was reconnected.  I then got out my trusty file and went over each PC board sleeper and ensured that each isolation file mark, was filed the whole way through the copper cladding.  I then re-checked the piece of track for continuity across the rails and everything was now good.  So I then wired it back up and everything ran well in the standard gauge yard.

I decided to run my narrow gauge loco for the first time in a very long time.  It was very reluctant to run.  It had to be pushed in a few areas, and then I discovered that again there was a whole track without a jumper.    However, it ended up being that an existing jumper had pulled away from the track when I was doing some track cleaning.  So that was reattached and then the narrow gauge yard was working well.  This included going through the dual gauge separation track and all the point work.

The next task is for Tuesday night, to pick up a large radius Y and then install it and then get some 1mm steel rod, for point actuation of the cross over points in Clapham Yard via the old fashioned push-pull method.  Then I can mark Clapham Yard off my to do list.

That will allow me to move onto creating about 10 power supplies to run off the DCC bus for various lights around the layout.

Just before I exited the shed for the day, I checked the RDH carriage that I had put the windows in last weekend and everything looked good.  So I reattached the base to the shell and re screwed it together.  The car had been added to me Brisbane Limited set currently sitting in Clapham Yard.  Next weekend will involve a run of this set over the layouts again.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Marking Time and More Planning

On Friday night the complete compliment of our modelling group (Darren, Geoff, Brendan, Grover and myself) turned up at Simon’s for his scheduled modelling night.  We were joined by 5 others and Simon himself for a great evening.  A couple of other guys came in for a short period and left again.  I was again working on more 40’ Container flats, but this time, it included a number with a thicker container base.  I also picked up a Bergs model RDH in Tuscan livery from Brendan on Friday night as well.  I thought it was a very nice model and will look good on my passenger trains.

With an 8:00am Saturday morning cricket game on, as well as being on the other side of town, I made great use of that situation, as I just continued onto the Club for the meeting after the game.  That meant that the boss also had to travel over to the cricket game to pick up the young cricketer when we finished.  Next Saturday will be interesting as that will be the last game of the season and a game between two undefeated teams for the premiership.  Apparently there are 9 teams out of the school’s 34 cricket teams that are still in with a chance of a premiership.  There are three in my son’s age group, the 7A’s, 7B’s and 7C’s.  I’m not sure if the other year 7 teams - Green, Gold and White teams even compete for premierships.  But that is a great effort.  The 1st XI has already sealed their premiership due to other results.  

So on Saturday while at the Club after the meeting, the IT literate brains trust were sitting around one of our new meeting area tables having a chinwag.  That was very relaxing, discussing the issues with JMRI’s decoder pro and how these perceived issues are affecting my Operating Sessions.  My issues relate to the Fast Clock not taking information from the NCE base station if you set that up as the master.  A few weeks back I posted on the JMRI forum on Yahoo and no one responded, and as far as I know, no one is looking into the code in question.

While at the Club I did see that work is progressing on the track laying on the top deck of the HO layout.  Both standard gauge and narrow gauge track is being laid.  I did see a diamond crossing that allows both 12mm and 16.5mm track to cross wired up incorrectly.  Someone at the Club did mention that they were experiencing shorts in that section of track so they disconnected it.  I just shake my head sometimes.  I swear that sometimes it is the blind leading the blind.  I wish people would ask someone, instead of just doing something and not knowing what they were doing.  Enough of a rant!

On Sunday morning I ventured over to the UPMRC (Union Pacific Model Railroad Club) for their open day. I knew they had some table sales happening there, and while I didn’t buy anything, the NSW modeller would not have been disappointed, as there were some absolute bargains - e.g. a weathered NPRY $22.  I was on the lookout for a PECO large radius Y point.  But my second hand seller mate who was selling stuff at the event did not have any with him.  He thought he had one at home, so he will bring one to the Tuesday week Buy and Sell night.  That will be good, as I can then work on the last standard gauge point for Clapham Yard.  At this time, it will also allow me to concentrate on adding all the required droppers into the Yard so trains can run between all the tracks without running into a dead section.

While at the UPMRC today, their open day attracted quite a few people and they gave up their gold coin for the privilege of seeing some trains running.  The things that interested me where the strings of multi-colour LED’s around the edge of the layout room controlled by a remote.  The colours that they ran were red and blue, but I was told they also use a yellow colour as well.  This colour LED worked quite well, when the layout room lights were turned off, and with a very well illuminated layout, with locos, passenger cars, various street lights, yard lights, building lights, flashing advertising signs, etc. all generating background lighting, it was very affective.

Also being used for the session by the operators, was a PABX system.  This allowed drivers to phone up the dispatcher for permission to move to the next section of track, or for the dispatcher to call a loop and wait for someone to pick up the phone.  If the despatcher is busy talking to someone, you can’t call.  But you will know if he in on the phone or not as the light on your phone will tell you.  This seemed to be working very well.  I would very much like to go down this path in the future on Cassino.  I would love to replace the current headset set up, which has a push to talk feature.  That will make the drivers jobs so much easier, as they don’t have to carry their headset around from location to location, or it won’t matter, as occasionally, drivers walk off with it still plugged in and it rips the headphones off their head when they reach the end of the cord length.

Also being used on the UPMRC layout, was a small LED monitor screen that was connected up to 4 video cameras.  That was used by the dispatcher so see what was occurring at four locations on the layout.  I’m not sure I could use something like that, but I do occasionally (and more often many visitors lose a train on the layout), so that might allow quicker finding of the said lost train.

This arvo, I spent some time in the shed and also got the aquadhere out and used this to attached the windows to the recently purchased RDH carriage.  This car will be able to run on both my Brisbane Limited set or my Gold Coast Motorail set.  So that will be a good addition to my fleet.  That reminds me that I must go back and complete my FAM sleeping car, which will also be able to be added to both the Brisbane Limited consist or the Gold Coast Motorail consist.

Last weekend the list of presenters for the 34th Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention to be held on the 20th May this year came out.  I know that Darren and Geoff have already booked their accommodation and registered.  I booked accommodation for 5 at the same motel, with 3 of us (PK, David and myself) driving down leaving Brisbane on Thursday and John flying down from Toowoomba on Friday, and Darryl driving up from Nowra from work and bunking with us for the two nights.  I also hear that the Toowoomba guys have also booked two rooms at the same hotel - someone should really tell them that they have  booked the double bed rooms and not the two bed rooms. Hehehehe!  Now given that we might end up having 11 hard core NSW modelling guys from Queensland in attendance at this event, you may not want to stay at the same motel as us.  We might be a bit loud at night.  We had a ball last year, Thai food, pizza, great drinks, great company and plenty of laughs.  This year I’ll bring a carton with me for the trip down and back, Darryl has already said he’ll have a couple of bottles from a local vineyard.  All we need now is some invitations to attend some local layouts or Clubs on the Friday and/or Saturday nights (maybe even Sunday morning) for a quick operating or photographic session from our mates down in Sydney, as we will have three cars for us all to get around with this year.  So let the challenge begin if you are game!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Clapham Yard Upgrade Continues

On Tuesday this week, we ventured over to Arthur’s place and took a look at his excellently sceniced QR/NSWGR dual gauge layout.  It truly is a masterpiece.  The layout has been on the receiving end of some fencing along the railway right of way over the last few weeks and it does look nice.  The contractors are still in the process of finishing off the job.  There was also a clothes line installed complete with washing and a young lass swinging on it.  I hope the parents don't see this or all hell with break out. 

I picked up a LH curve point from Shelton to allow the installation of a set of crossovers at the northern end of Clapham Yard between track 2 and track 3.  This will allow the running round of the Railset train in track 2 without it having to get access via North Coast Control to the staff machines at each end of the Clapham Yard – namely Clapham Yard to Dutton Park and Clapham Yard to Acacia Ridge.  Darren Lee also picked up a couple of second hand points from Shelton.

On Saturday morning I went down to the shed to spend a couple of hours working on the southern end of Clapham Yard before we went down the road for my son’s afternoon cricket match.  For those interested we got the opposition all out for 88 after having them 8 for 38.  I think they reversed their batting order.  My son took a good catch, almost ran someone out and took the last wicket for bowling figures of 0.1 overs and 1-0.  We then got the runs in the 15th over with the score ending up at 3/90, when the coach pull the pin.  My son top scored with 17 retired.  This team is a little ripper.

Anyway while down at the shed I spliced in one of my large radius Y points and stole a narrow gauge LH point from somewhere else on the layout and I had the dual gauge head shunt in place.  I still had to relocate the dual gauge diverging track about 2-3 feet further down the mainline back towards Acacia Ridge Yard.  But when this was completed I was pondering if I would replace the Y point located on track 4 that I just installed with a double slip point and then move the Y point to track 3, I may be able to have an extra track having access to the headshunt – namely track 3.  Again this will keep a loco away from having to take a staff to move around with the yard.

After Tuesday night, I knew that Shelton had a couple of spare double slips.  I’ve also had  a few of these previously but had sold them at various Buy and Sells.  I thought where would I use one on the layout now so I sold them?  Anyway I left a voice mail for Shelton and sent him an email asking if I could drop buy after cricket and borrow a double slip to see if would fit geometrically into where I was pondering. 

So after cricket I detoured via Shelton’s house and picked up his double slip.  So when back home, I was straight back down to the shed and ripped up the large radius Y point I just installed that morning and spliced the double slip in, and moved the large radius Y to track 3.  Hmmm!  It looked pretty good.  I ran my railset train through the various tracks and it had no issues.  So we will call it a success and I just need to score a few 12mm sets of points and another large radius Y and I think I will be done remodelling Clapham Yard.

Today I went down to the shed and reattached the point motors and track power feeds that I removed yesterday.  I also installed one of the points required for the crossover between track 2 and track 3 at the northern end of Clapham Yard.  I am still one large radius Y point down in order to complete the cross over.

I then fired up the layout and ran a 44 class loco through the various standard gauge tracks.  Whoops!  I have lots of insulated joiner around my electrofrog points, and I have no power feeds.  It looks like that is next weekend's job before I can finally complete this task.
The before shot of the northern end of Clapham Yard.  The railset train is visible in this shot.

The after shot when the curve point has been installed at the northern end of Clapham Yard.

The before shot of the southern end of Clapham Yard. 

The after shot of the final rearrangement of the track work at the southern end of the yard. 

This is before view of Clapham Yard.  The southern crossover is shown here as well as some narrow gauge QR wagons.

This shot shows where I may have temporarily borrowed a LH narrow gauge point from so I can complete the lead into the yard for the narrow gauge trains.