Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Bit of a Layout Tour

Friday this week four of us headed over to Brendan’s to do a couple of things.  First off there was a BBQ put on by Brendan.  Our traditional modelling fare of snorkers on a piece of bread with onions, cheese and a selection of sauces was on the menu.  Off course we all brought along our own versions of poison to drink.  We then adjourned into his lounge and dining room, where Brendan has set up his under construction layout.  While in its early stages, this layout has module frames all built, a track plan almost finalised, and ideas for how to operate the points, control the trains and provide power to the lighting system as well as the track.  We spent the next almost two hours standing around, asking questions, offering alternate solutions to problems and just having a really great time discussing this nicely progressing layout.  We had planned on spending time during the night doing some modelling.  We all took some projects along, but we did not even get our stuff out.  We were having too much fun discussing the planning of this layout.  This layout is going to be a great little effort.  It is going to be different to many out on the circuit.  Although I know of a few with some similar features, this is going to be unique.  Apparently Brendan is targeting next June for its unveiling.

On Saturday three of us from the previous night (Darren, Brendan and myself), headed over to Anthony’s place for his regular operating session.  We were joined by Iain, Mark and of course the host Anthony.  Our session took the form of five operators – three Victorian and two South Australian, with the host being Train Control, Station Master at Tatiara Downs as well as head shunter at Tatiara Downs.  As usual it was a very good session.  I had four grains trains (2 out and 2 back) to various locations.  As you guessed it, they included lots of shunting.  The train timetable must have been prepared by a sadist.  When shunting Tatiara Downs grain siding.  I could only take 10 units up the siding.  Guess how long my train was?  Answer - 12 units.  When shunting Nankiva, you could only fit 4 bogie wagons under the loader.  Of course my train was 8 bogie wagons plus a van, but there were already two wagons already loaded sitting under the loader.  The run around track between road 2 and 3 at Nankiva, can only support about 8 wagons - another brain teaser.  On the weekend I enjoy relaxing doing some model railway related activities.  But these sadistic timetable guys, ensure that I have no time to relax, but I have to crank up the old grey matter to ensure that I can get the task done.  So there is absolutely no rest for the wicked.  Each four wheel wagon, has to spend 7 fast clock minutes (we were running at 4:1) under the loader at Tariara Downs, the bogie wagons have to spend 14 minutes.  I really appreciated the extra money the grain board spent at Nankiva, installing a faster loader, as you only need to wait 12 fast clock minutes there for loading each bogie wagon at this location.  So the loading process means that we must position each wagon in turn under the loader.  Some of the down time, between wagon moves) is spent thinking about what I could do to move some of the already loaded wagons out of the siding, to allow the next lot of wagons to fit into the siding, or that we have enough wagons in the run around track so the loco can push back onto the train and still fit between the cross overs.  At the end, it can push back up into the headshunt at Nankiva, to collect the first two loaded wagons and van before heading back to Portland.

I was amazed that when I completed each of my first 6 runs for the day, the time that I picked up my next timetable card, was almost exactly the time that my next train was due to run on the timetable graph.  So I guess I must have been able to handle the mental arithmetic without too many problems.

Today I went down to the shed after midday and was trying to think about what work I was going to do.  I decided to increase the length of my Gold Coast Motorail and I gave it a run from Grafton to Murwillumbah and return.  I added the Auscision motorail wagon after the loco.  I also added an Auscision Brisbane Limited Sleeper.  I have other cars to add, but they are still in various states of semi-assembly.  I had issues with a section of track between Cassino and Old Cassino.  So that received some packing to reduce a rather severe height adjustment in the track.  This track does drop down grade from Cassino to Old Cassino just like the prototype, but the current gradient was too severe just after a set of points.  That was causing some of these new additional wagons to uncouple.  I added two KD washers under the Auscision Sleeper car, and now its coupler seems to be more accurately aligned to my height gauge.  When I got to Murwillumbah, I could not get the motorail wagon to uncouple.  So I changed over the couplers on that wagon to KD #5s, and now it uncouples every time on my under track magnets.  I also had to change the coupler on my PHS power car, as a previous owner had cut off the coupler tang and thus it does not uncouple over an uncoupler magnet.  So with the new coupler fitted, all is now good.  I also cleaned the track that I ballasted last week around the Old Cassino goods shed siding.  I also took the opportunity to remove quite a number of tacks that were previously holding the track in place from my recently ballast sections of track.

Next week, I plan on ensuring all trains are in their starting places for an Operating Session in late August, and I will print out a new set of timetable cards with all my minor changes since the last session earlier this year.  I hope to also complete the 6’ x 4’ trailers that I am constructing.  A lot of these are going to end up as loads on some 40' open container flats.  I also hope to pick up my long awaited 12mm points from a hobby shop, so I can install then in Clapham Yard.  I might also get around to putting some more weight into my Wuiske 1720 loco, somehow in each end of the hood.  I have already put some weight in the fuel tank.  I also can't wait for the next issue of the AMRM magazine to arrive in the latter box.  I might know one of the authors with an article in the next issue.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Bit of Modelling

Tuesday night last week we all gathered at Peter’s place for our scheduled fortnightly meeting.  We had a good number turn out and enjoyed seeing Peter’s army trains circulate through this very nice scenery on the layout.  However, there was an incident when a chain holding a vehicle on one of the flat wagons came loose and jammed in a set of points, bringing the train to a sudden stop and bringing every wagon off the track.  However, normal services soon resumed.

I had a busy early part of the week at work,  due to a tender response due on Tuesday.  because of this, I was able to take some time off on Friday.  After taking my son to see Despicable Me 3 at the cinema in the morning, I was able to venture to the shed in the afternoon.  I completed the gluing down of the ballast at The Risk, and decided to then lay some ballast through the Kyogle Stock Siding. 

That night, was the scheduled modelling night at Simon Says Hobbies and Games.  Darren and Geoff also attended along with one other model railway modeller.  He was assembling some card buildings.  Of course there were the usual guys there doing other types of plastic models etc.  I decided that I was to try scratch build some box trailers.  My first one was about 7’ 6” x 4’ 6” in size.  My next attempt was a more standard size of 6’ x 4’.  My inspiration for these was watching Peter’s army train on Tuesday night.  He had at least two box trailers behind some army vehicles on the back of some flat wagons being towed around the layout.  They certainly looked very nice.

Yesterday was our monthly Club day.  So on the way over I stopped off at a local hobby shop, to see if my 12mm points had arrived.  You guessed it - NO!  Bugger!  Another wait for a couple of weeks more.  This morning I travelled over to the All Gauge Club at Carina for their Buy and Sell.  I had a look around, and didn’t see anything of interest apart from lots of 12mm wagon kits.  They looked pretty expensive, but they did look good.  There were some very well assembled and priced card buildings in HO and O scale, but I did not need any of these either.

So this arvo I went down to the shed again and pottered around completing a few tasks.  I was finally able to replace the KD couplers on my two Auscision motorail car carriers.  I don't care about my other car carrier wagons, but these ones on my passenger wagons get shunted around during an operating session.  Due to this, I needed good operation of the KDs.  The old ones did not move when over the uncoupling magnets.  So these have now been tested and I’m happy with the operations of these new couplers.  I also took some photos for an upcoming article for AMRM.  James asked for a couple of shots, that I will check out later tonight and send the best few down to him.  I also decided to ballast the old goods shed road at Old Cassino.  Maybe this was where a couple of the shots might have been taken.
The Kyogle Stock Siding is not very long, but can load a 5 or 6 wagon rake of stock wagons.  It is located between the Upper Richmond River at Kyogle and Cougal Spiral.

An view of The Risk crossing loop. 

I then went up stairs and resumed my construction line assembly process for another seventeen (17) of the 6’ x 4’ box trailers that I built on Friday night.  These will take some time to complete.  I hope to have the box part of the trailer completed tonight.  I'm pretty certain that they will make a good load for some of my container flats.  Some will also be towed behind cars on the layout and others left in back yards or in junk piles around some farms.  I think onw will be positioned at a house out the back of Cassino station with a load of gravel in it, as the home owner will be mixing up some concrete for his new drive way.  If they turn out well, I might have a few to sell at an up coming Buy and Sell.  Who knows, there might even be another small AMRM article in it as well.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

“The Risk”y Business of Ballasting

Yesterday I spent two hours down the shed and all I did was spread ballast around the The Risk crossing loop.  I started at the point at the Glenapp Loop end and spread ballast down until after the platform at the Risk.  This is about 3m of ballast on each of the two tracks and a small perway siding.  I still have about 300mm of track to go to get to the point at the other end of The Risk crossing loop and a further 1m before the track disappears into the first of the Running Creek tunnels before the track ends up at Border Loop.  The track is already ballasted through the Running Creek Tunnel sections.
An overview of the whole crossing loop - at The Risk.

A close up shot of the northern end of the The Risk Crossing Loop.

The middle section of the crossing loop, showing the small perway siding.

The business end of the crossing loop.  The signal box and the platform building.

Today I had the pleasure of being picked up by Shelton (Mexican modeller) and heading down to Darren’s Wattle Flat layout for an operating session.  We also had two other Mexican modellers Anthony and Jeff and special guest Ian Millard of Liverpool Range fame turn up.  We had a very good ops session.  All the trains ran well, we had great company and we could stir Shelton.  What more could a block want.  And yes we did have some coldies put on by Darren.  Us NSW Modellers were almost outnumbered by the Victorian/South Australian guys.  I was paired with Jeff at first and we ran train number 109 from staging near Gollan to North Gulgong. Here it did a huge shunt and we then took train number 110 back to staging via Gollan.

After this we had BBQ snags on bread – traditional Operating Session food in this corner of the world.  After lunch I ran the XPT from Wattle Flat to North Gulgong and return.  After that I had a passenger from North Gulgong to Wattle Flat and return.  The passage of the passenger was delayed a few times, with a ballast train shunting at Gollan and a wheatie at Wattle Flat blocking the Loop, so I needed another loco to help me run around the train after the passengers had disembarked, before the train could return to North Gulgong.

After than we had a very civilised break with some cake and then we all headed off home.  It was a great little day.

Upon return home, I went down to the shed and was able to apply glue to about half the track in The Risk.  I will hopefully get down there later this week and complete the gluing of the ballast.  I will then turn my attention to ballasting the Kyogle Stock Siding, and Glenapp Loop.  I am toying with an Operating Session in late August.  We will see how much more work I get done before then.

Just before I came up from the shed, I cut in a few small pieces of balsa roadway around Old Cassino.  This was completing something started a few week back.  I did test run a guards van through the track and everything seems to work well.
The roadway to access the rear of Old Cassino platform.

A while back, I advised that I re-routed the construction siding at Old Cassino.  Well here is a phot of how it now runs.

The Construction Siding at Old Cassino is long enough to store my complete ballast train.  However, the loco does not fit.

I have plenty of small tasks to complete, with wiring checking still to do at Clapham Yard and also if my 12mm points have arrived, these also need to be installed in Clapham.  My goods shed at Old Cassino is also stagnant.  This might be my modelling competition entry for my Club’s Christmas competition.