Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Hopes Were Dashed!

All week, I had been planning to pick up two 12mm RH Peco points from a local hobby shop on Saturday morning and then in the afternoon install these in Clapham Yard.  Well wouldn’t you know it.  The best laid plans of mice and men were obliterated when the hobby shop could not get the points from the distributor over the last two weeks.  Bugger!

Well that certainly brought about a bit of a change of plans for Saturday’s activities.  So I did not do much on Saturday afternoon.  In the morning I visited a couple of hobby shops and caught up with a couple of my running crew – Anatol and Keith at Ray’s.  I also picked up quite a few decoders for the Club.  We are also waiting for the new NCE 21 pin decoders to come in next month, as I will be stocking a few of these at the Club as well.

Anyway, with my enthusiasm kyboshed, I did wander down to the shed early today for a look around.  I decided to complete the running diagram for all the trains that do shunting at Clapham Yard, Park Road Transhipment Siding, and South Brisbane Interstate.  I started this quite a few weeks ago and the trains were just left around the track where I was up to in this solo re-enactment of these related trains from the timetable.  I did have to do some special moves, as my railset train was sitting in the middle of Clapham Yard, so I had to choose other tracks for the other trains that were either running through or dropping off wagons.  I completed this whole shunting diagram today.  I must have run about 15 trains according to the timetable today.  I did have a couple of issues.  I replaced some couplings with real KDs.  I also added a washer under one end of one of my Brisbane Limited sleeping cars.  It was derailing in Cougal Spiral heading towards Kyogle without it for some reason.  But was all good with the washer added.  I also added weight to my recently purchased buffet car.  Brendan did a very nice job building this car.  This was the first run of my new Brisbane Limited consist.  It has had some upgrades since the last timetable run.  But there are still more carriages to come for this from Auscision. 

The Brisbane Limited also has one Auscision motorail wagon on it.  The couplings that these motorail wagons have, do not uncouple or couple up.  Once connected they are good.  But they do not operate.  My Brisbane Limited needs to have these wagons shunted around and it is very annoying.  I was then going to replace the couplers with standard KDs, but the screw under the wagon, does not fit any of my phillips head screwdrivers.  When I use a very small bladed screw driver, the screw just spins and does not back out the hole.  Not Happy Jan!  Grrrrr!

I identified about 5 improvements to various timetable cards, which I will get to one night this week.  I found a check rail on one of my scratch built diverging tracks in Clapham Yard and it started to lift.  So I will need to fix that next weekend.  There is also a wire off one of the narrow gauge tracks in Clapham Yard.  I also identified that the wire actuator on one of the recently connected – hand operated points in Clapham Yard, has the wire protruding too far out of the point.  That will require a dremmel to fix next weekend.

I also identified that power does not get to track 7 in South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  There must be a cold solder joint somewhere.  Also power does not get to a point between track 7 and 8 in that same yard.  But track 8 has power.  I will investigate next weekend.

Over the last two days I have been watching the many videos on Facebook about the NSWR Diesel Era Modelling get together in Sydney yesterday.  I must admit I saw some very nice detail on the layouts so that inspired me to paint up my white metal water stand pipes.  I could only find one.  I know I have another couple around somewhere.  I must look for them.  So the one I found got a spray of etch primer, followed by a mask up and spray of white and then another mask and a spray of black.  We will see how it turned out during the week, when it is dry and I remove the masking.

I have not got around to continuing work on my Old Cassino goods shed.  That will get seen to possibly next week.  Ah, but I have an Operating Session next Sunday at Darren’s.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Finishing Off Some Jobs

I had Friday off this week, and wouldn’t you know I spent some time in the shed late morning and in the afternoon after mowing the lawn.  I pulled out my Far North Hobbies paybus kit and started to investigate where the motor assembly was binding.  I gave it a bit of an oil and while turned on its back it seemed to be running quite well.  But then at other times, it would run in one direction and then bind in the other.  Another issue is that it is not picking up power too well from the wheel wipes.  I will have to spend some more time adjusting the phosphor bronze wipes, or maybe replace with some wire.  But the bus has some issues.  Once it get running well, I will then have to include it into my operations session somewhere.  Another two or maybe four trains will have to be added, as the railbus runs from Grafton to South Brisbane Interstate and back and potentially, will also need to pay the guys on the Murwillumbah branch as well.

This weekend was my first run at Anthony’s Border District Operations Session for about 3 months.  As usual, the layout ran very well, and I enjoyed the session very much.  There is some slight stirring that occurs at these events, and it is even better when I’m not the intended target of the banter.  I even met a relatively new operator at Anthony’s at his second run.  He hails originally from Victoria, but now actually works for up here for QR.

Before I left to go to the Ops Session on Saturday, I went down to the shed for about 30 minutes to pack my carry bag for the session and made up an incinerator with a power supply for Anthony to place on his layout.  I also threw in about a half dozen tarpaulins into the bag which I gave to Anthony before the session.

Today I got down to the shed for about an hour before lunch and installed two point actuators in Clapham Yard on the 12mm points.  I picked up a length of piano wire yesterday at Austral Modelcraft on route to Anthony’s place.  Following the point work in Clapham, I cut up some balsa that I was going to use for the new road crossing i'm adding within Old Cassino Yard.  I then stained the balsa my standard grey colour to help it represent bitumen. 

This afternoon after dropping my son off at a mate’s place, I went back down to the shed and started gluing in the balsa sections across the three tracks in Old Cassino Yard.  These pieces were left with a piece of wood on top of them to allow them to set in the correct place between the tracks.  There is still some more work to be done here for the other 4 or so pieces of balsa that will go between the rails.

I also spent a good hour working on the Old Cassino good shed that is starting to come along very nicely.  I need to add the administration centre onto the side of the structure, as my next piece of work.  Then I will have to mask it up and paint it – potentially next weekend.  Once finished I will post some photos.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Some Pics from Grafton

The last stop on our way home was at Grafton Station.  There were no trains due for quite some time, but there were people around. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Boom! There Goes the Budget Again.

Yesterday I was at a local hobby shop and in a moment of weakness, I purchased two pieces of Tillig dual gauge diverging track to replace two pieces that I had built using the fast tracks jigs.  When my trains run through the scratch built pieces, they hop and jump and slightly stutter.  They were also located on the layout that were just out of reach.  I’d had had enough.  So in the interests of operability and having less issues, I purchased the Tillig track pieces and it set me back over $92.  I also purchased a set of LH 12mm points and ordered two more sets of right hand 12mm points.  More money!  So that will potentially close out my track purchases on the layout. 

Today I installed the Tillig dual gauge divergent tracks and also installed the new set of 12mm points in Clapham Yard.  I also resoldered back all the power jumpers and test ran some 12mm and 16.5mm rollingstock through the points.  Everything was fine.  While installing the second divergent track, I found a wire jumper that had come away from one rail.  This was preventing power getting to the track from Acacia Ridge on the dual gauge track through to Clapham Yard.  I had previously laid a new power bus here, but not connected up the end to the existing bus.  That is still on the to do list.  However, by resoldering this broken jumper, mysteriously, I can now run tracks between these two yards again.

I then did some work on the narrow gauge sidings at Acacia Ridge, including nailing down the track and putting a buffer on one of the three tracks.  I also extended two of them by about 75mm each, because I had some 12mm track offcuts I could use.  I then ran a 12mm train all the way from Clapham to Acacia Ridge and identified where some of my 12mm track was slightly over and under gauge.  So I re-soldered the track at the northern end which was under gauge and it now appears to be all good for operations.  The track at the southern end was over gauge, so I spiked this and I can now run 12mm trains satisfactorily until I get to the main curve before the track ascends up towards Clapham Yard.  This next section still needs more work.  I’m thinking that I might buy two lengths of dual gauge flex track and install that around this curve to prevent any future problems with my scratch built dual gauge track.  This stuff comes in small lengths - 600mm I think and it is not cheap.  Another hit to the budget.

I was coming down with a cold last weekend, and felt like I was going to die on Monday morning, so I had Monday off sick to help prevent the spread of disease at work.  After taking some cold and flu tablets I decided to do some modelling.  I had drawn up some plans for the modern goods shed that exists at Old Cassino.  I made a paper version to see how big it would be on the layout.  So I went down to the shed to place the paper version on the layout and made a few adjustments to the size of the building and then realised that I needed to move the location of the construction siding at Old Cassino to allo wthe building to fit better.  I also lengthened this siding in the hope that the ballast train will fit in it, allowing me to use the yard track at Old Cassino to have some more wagons to be loaded/unloaded in this new shed I was building.  However, the construction siding is still about 150mm too short, and I have not room left to expand it.  Maybe I’ll have to send the loco back to Cassino Loco, so I can fit the wagons in the siding, to free up another track for more shunting activities on some other trains.

The view of the modern goods shed at Old Cassino that I am building.

The western end of the shed looks like it had an extension added.

The rear of the shed is just corrugated steel.  You would have thought that I would have taken photos of the other side from the road wouldn't you?  Doh!

Anyway, the shed is coming along nicely, but I have not done any more work on it since Monday.  Maybe next weekend.  On Tuesday Night I went to Bob’s place for our Tuesday Nighters gathering.  We had a good turn out and I dropped off some goodies to Geoff and Darren, which I brought back by road from Sydney.  This was stuff that they could not take as carryon luggage on the plane.  I also received a new 1720 class loco from Geoff.  He swapped it for me up in Toowoomba the previous weekend.  Mine had an issue with one set of wheels not turning, but it is all good now.

On one afternoon during the week, I went to the shed and test ran the 1720 on DC.  Once I concluded that it worked, pulled it apart and installed a decoder and then test ran it DCC.  It went very nicely.  So it then went for a few runs up and down Clapham Yard.  I then took the fuel tank off and stuffed it full of lead.  I intend to put a lot of lead around the rest of the loco, as it is very light.  I have some very long and steep grades on the dual gauge on the layout, so every ounce is needed, if I am to get this loco hauling more than a couple of wagons up the grades.

On the subject of budget, or should I say not currently on the budget, I need to give Auscision some money by the end of June to add sound to my 48 class locos that I have on order.  I also need to budget for the just announced Railbus.  While I already have a Far North Hobbies Railbus, it does not run well.  There is binding in the nickel silver gearbox.  I should try and remedy that, and then I can get onto painting the kit and then I can run it on the layout.  If I can fix its issues, I may be able to not buy an Auscision one.  Well maybe I will still buy one.

I just hope the boss does not look at the Mastercard bill that will be turning up very soon in the mail.  I am so far in debt it is not funny.  I don’t seem to be getting on top of it.  I need to win lotto on Thursday, so hope some rich person will adopt me.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Visiting the Southern Highlands Layout

On our way to Sydney, we stopped into Glen Innes to visit Rohan Fergusson.  He had invited us to check out his re-incarnated Southern Highlands layout, which is making its debut in its current form at the Brickpit this weekend.  Rohan asked that I do not post these until the layout has been exhibited.  So I guess the moratorium is now lifted as the layout was displayed today.  I took a truck load of photos and the layout is simply brilliant.

I previously saw this layout at the Brisbane Show in 2005 in its former guise.  I have one photo of the layout from back then.

Thanks for taking the time for arranging the special viewing for us Rohan!

The layout has nice scenery, finely detailed track and many brilliant scenes.  The trees are good, the fencing looks realistic and it is just very, very nice.