Sunday, September 24, 2017

Travelled Some Miles This Weekend

I had Friday off and was checking my email and facebook feeds early in the morning when I discovered that Aurora Trains has received another shipment of Auscision according to his facebook.  I could see that my long-awaited Coil Wire carriers had arrived.  So while watching some catchup TV later that morning, after I had already spent an hour on the phone for work, I received a call from George and he advised that my models were in.  I advised I already knew that and so upon finding out that he was in the shop, I dropped everything and went over to pick them up.

Friday night I hit the road to Brendan’s for a BBQ and modelling night.  Darren and Geoff also attended.  We got to see the small amount of progress on Brendan’s new VR layout, had a very nice couple of snags on bread – true model railway food.  I spent the evening cutting up styrene for the upcoming ‘Model Railways For A Day’ Convention in three weeks.

On Saturday quite a few of the Tuesday Nighters group ventured down south to visit Greg.  Shelton cycled to my place and when then we picked up Darren and then went to Greg’s place.  Grover was already there, and we were soon joined by Arthur, Bob and Peter.  I bit later Dr Peter rolled up.  Greg and Kim put on a fantastic BBQ meal with salad etc. and a few drinks  I had a great time looking at Greg’s layout in an airconditioned 20’ x 10’ room.  The sceniced layout consisted of three loops around the room, with various passing loop, shunting areas and a very nice loco shed.  All of this is DC controlled.  No moving into the 21st century for Greg.  If it works and suits his needs why change it.

After everyone left, Shelton and I followed Greg, Grover and Darren to Glenapp Crossing Loop to visit the Glenapp Boys.  Rob and Dennis showed us around the signal cabin and were very friendly.  To our surprise, there happened to be two container flats sitting in the disabled wagon siding with loaded butter boxes on them.  Apparently there was a coupler issue, one wagon was minus its leading coupler.  So I might have taken quite a few photos.  What a great opportunity to get some photos of the Loop and the surrounding area considering that the next area that I will put some more work into is my Glenapp Loop and its back scene.  However, when I reached for my camera, the battery was flat.  So I had to revert to my iPhone to take the photos.  This area around the Loop is immaculately maintained by the Glenapp Boys and it is a credit to them.

So here are a few detail photos around the Loop.

No Doubt this was where one of the water columns was in steam era days.

The point levers into the disabled wagon siding

Someone has been very diligent doing the painting in white and yellow.

The signal levers up close

A derail down the siding at the clearance point.

Very nice point rodding.

So looking down the loop we see this shot.

Something in the perway/disabled wagons siding.

Oh Look.  It can't be towed towards Brisbane.

Let's check out the springs.  Looks like it is loaded.

Let's note the wagon code and number.

But wait, there is more.

Graffiti everywhere!

Shot of the butter box container

Very pretty

This end has a coupler.

Not wanting to waste the time, I tried to take a few scenic shots and hopefully these can be stiched together for pasting onto wall behind my Glenapp Loop.

Shot 1.

Shot 2

Shot 3

Shot 4

Shot 5

Now I had to also show this photo blown up a bit.  That shed on the side of the hill is a ripper.  I think it might have had an accident.  Who said you can't have one like it on your layout?

A great view of a shed in the distance behind Glenapp Loop. 

On Friday Night Brendan was offering an old BCW that he had started to turn into a very nice scene with doors open for locating on a farm.  I took this great little model with open arms.  I spent some time in the shed today looking at where I couple place it.  I feel there are two possible locations, the first Fairy Hill Farm, with the second being near the Cassino Meatworks siding on the opposite side of the track.  I think Fairy Hill Farm is winning.

While in the shed, I added one Auscision Coil Wire wagon to my steel train which was sitting in Grafton Yard.  This may be problematic, as I now think this is going to make this train over length.  I’m sure North Coast Control will eventually find out when the Operating Session continues sometime in November.  I just hope that it does not cross another over length train at a loop that has a slightly shorter length.  I think this adds to the atmosphere of the session.

I also put together 48 Tichy Tichy 55 US Gallon drums and painted these silver and black.  I also placed these around the layout.  Most went into an open wagon that is currently positioned in the Shell Oil Siding at Old Cassino for case loads of fuel products.  I also cut up some old material and have created a few towels to be placed near various people on the layout swimming.  

I also decided to hit about a dozen wagons with some weathering.  I will see how that turn out next weekend and may show some photos then.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


On the Saturday just gone, it was the scheduled AGM of my Model Railway Club.  As I had another event that I had promised I’d be at, I needed to fill out a proxy form for the voting of positions.  On my way to the bus stop after work on Monday, I ran into my mate Greg (from work and the train Club) whom I had arranged to meet on Thursday to hand over my Proxy form.  Greg was heading towards the railway station on his way home.  So given the chance meet, I handed over my proxy form early for presentation at the Saturday Meeting.  Thanks Mate!

Also on Saturday was the scheduled regular Operating Day at Anthony's place.  This occurs on the third Saturday of each month.  While Anthony model some Mexican railways - actually Victorian and South Australian - he does hold regular sessions where a group of like minded guys and we have an absolute ball.  Sorry I could not attend - but I appreciate the repeated invites - Thanks Mate.

On Tuesday we had our fortnightly Tuesday Nighter's meeting at Dr Peter’s place.  It turned out that I had the privilege of been stirred most of the night.  Thanks Mates!

On Wednesday at work in the morning, PK showed up and gave me an HO Preiser Figure titled ‘Girl Going her hair’ - apparently her top is open and with a magnifying glass you can see the right side of her chest (if you know what I mean).  He bought this for my layout while he was down at the N scale convention in Adelaide over the previous 7 days with some of his N scale mates.  Thanks Mate.

The reason for missing the two other Saturday events above, is this.  Saturday was the local NMRA divisional meeting at Darren’s place.  Geoff and I were asked to help Darren run various trains on his point to point layout while he greeted guests and spoke to them about his layout.  I had a lot of fun with Geoff.  After a great lunch put on my Darren’s better half with the help of his daughter, we went back into the layout room.  Geoff decided to take a train from Wattle Flat towards the layout's staging a few crossing loops away.  He asked if he could take that loco, and I said no worries.  I glanced at my NCE throttle and saw that I had the same loco dialed up on my throttle.  Hmmm!  I thought I could have some fun here.  I was standing next to another mate Bill who had come down from Toowoomba for the meeting.  I intimated to Bill I was going to have some fun and to not give it away.  As Geoff whistled out of the loop and built up speed, I just turned my throttle to zero speed step, and Geoff’s train stopped.  He started the train again a couple more times, each time I stopped it.  On about the fourth time, Geoff looked up and turned around with a quizzical look on his face.  As he turned around, he saw that I had lost it and he immediately asked ‘Are you doing something to my train?’  Quite a few people had a laugh.  Well what are mates for?  I had to get Geoff back for Tuesday Night.

During the day we also took the opportunity to bag PK who was at our Club’s AGM.  When we arrived at Darren's place we asked him if he had trained his cows (or more correctly glued them down) so that would stop climbing trees on his layout.  When PK comes to my place for an Operations Session, he invariably does something.  Quite regularly, he loads a jeep on Fairy Hill Farm up with two cows, so that can take it for a fang around the farm.  Thanks Mate!  So wanting to return the pleasure to Darren, I had previously made a couple of his cows climb a tree in a vary conspicuous place on his layout.  But we always blame PK for this as he started this flow on affect.  Thanks Mate!

So Darren, thanks for inviting me to assist with the operation of the layout for the NMRA meeting.  I had a blast.  Thanks Mate!

My Motto is if you cannot have a laugh while you are doing something, then why are you doing it in the first place?  This particularly applies to work but also hobbies.  I try and have a laugh every day at work, to make sure our workmates have a good time.  If you don’t like work, why turn up there in the first place?

I’m glad I’ve got the groups of mates that I have.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

500th Post, Watchout For The Fruitcakes, and I've Lost my Mojo Again

Believe it or not this post marks the 500th time I have logged into Blogger and put hands to the keyboard and typed a blog post.  Hopefully along the way, I have provided enjoyment and possibly some learnings to a least a couple of my followers.  With a bit of luck, there may be another 500 posts left in me, as I conservatively predict that I have almost 10 years worth more work to complete Cassino, with the future scenery, and all the detail items that I need.  I also need some more lighting installed over the top deck.

So for this weekend, I went down to the shed a couple of times, but I could not seem to get motivated to start working on any number of about a dozen different projects that need to be progressed.  I guess this mojo loss does occur from time to time, especially after I push myself to get to a milestone which passes and then leaves me lacking in motivation to push further onwards. 

On Saturday before lunchtime, I took my son to the local park for some soccer and basketball, before my state member turned up with a lunchtime BBQ to talk about the Inland Rail project.  Now that could have really been my main reason to go to the local park in the first place, so I thought my not kill two birds with the one stone.  Well isn't there just a huge lot of NIMBYs and some absolute fruitcakes who lack decent logic and reasoning skills that turn up at these types of events and just love to hear the non sensical sound of their own voice.  The local railway line has been in place since 1930 and predated everyone who has lived in this area and it seems that the current 51 trains a week is causing them some inconvenience.  Bad luck!  When the Federal Government's Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Project is complete and when in full swing by about 2035 there may be 48 trains a day some double stacked using the line.  So what!  Some of these trains will be rerouted narrow gauge trains that current come down the range from Toowoomba with coal and grain on their way to the Port of Brisbane.  I must find out how you double stack a coal or grain train.  I'm sure some of the bozos at the meeting would have known!  These trains currently travel via Rosewood, Ipswich, Corinda, Yeerongpilly, Dutton Park and the Port.  They will just bypass Rosewood to Yeerongpilly and come down from Calvert to Kagaru, to then travel to Acacia Ridge and then onto Yeerongpilly and then the port, bypassing a lot of congested suburban running.  There is also talk of a future alternate route from around my area to the port - although everyone denied that that was being considered, even though it is listed in the Inland Rail documents that I have in front of me.  Any government with a half a brain (and most only just qualify for that) will create a new transport corridor beside the current Gateway Motorway extension from Parkinson to the Port of Brisbane and bypass even more suburban inconvenience by going though the existing bushland.  I think quite a lot of the attendees must have be natural blondes and have messages written inside their glasses that they read every 5 seconds that say breath-in, breath-out! 

I just wanted to get a free sausage, listen to what crap was being said, talk to the state member - who just happens to be my ministerial boss at work.  I did get to talk to the local councilor and the state member about a few things and provided some feedback.  All Good.  I must admit that the State Member was very logical in her discussion and she is basically in favour of this nation building infrastructure.  So am I, if we ever get around to building it.

So on return from the park I did do some running of a couple of locos around some track in the shed.  I started with 1557 a Narrow Gauge QR loco and tested it around Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.  This caused me to remember that the three dead end narrow gauge tracks here had not yet been wired up as yet - damn.  The other loco I ran was an old AR Kits 45 - 4519 which I ran over the dual gauge trackage in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.  I did also find that there might be a short when a particular dual gauge point is thrown in a particular direction.  I will have to investigate that further.  Anyway I then got the drill out and drilled holes in the baseboard for jumper wires and then soldered the power bus wires between the three roads in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard and a subsequent retest of the narrow gauge trackage by 1557 showed that everything ran quite well.  So I guess I did accomplish something this weekend.

Today I went down to the shed and decided to fire up the Raspberry Pi and check it out following issues last weekend.  It did fire up, but it was very, very slow in responding to the phone I was using.  It did not repeat what occurred last weekend, where we could not enter a loco into the system.  This weekends issue I think is related to the Raspberry Pi being just overloaded with all the tasks we have now got activated in its very small memory.  I think I need to upgrade to a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B from my much, much older version.  The new model certainly has lots more grunt than my old one, as well as double (or maybe 4 times) the memory.

This Tuesday we venture over to Dr Peter’s to see what changes he has done since our last visit.  This is followed by Saturday which is our Club’s rescheduled AGM (due to most of the old Executive being at the N scale convention in Adelaide this weekend just passed).  I cannot attend the AGM, so I will have to submit my proxy, as I am heading down to Darren’s place to help his run this layout for an NMRA meeting also on this coming Saturday.

At this stage I do not know what I will try and do next Sunday.  But it is school holidays so I'm sure the boss will have a few activities arranged.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Operating Session Rundown

Saturday 2nd September was the rescheduled date for the September Operating Session.  maybe not a good choice, given that it was on the Father's Day weekend and many people had activities already scheduled on the Saturday.  Anyway 6 drivers showed up between midday and 1:00pm.  The BBQ was cooking from about 11:40am and those that wanted had a good sausage on a piece of bread.

The whistle out started just after 1:00pm.  But one of the first trains had issues, as the two trains were already in a consist when someone tried to put them in a consist and one loco locked up somehow.  So both were removed from a consist and one was taken to the programming track and it was re-programmed.  The train consist was re-created and the train was now ready to go again.  So we were underway.

The crew consisted of at least two who were first timers.  Peter and Jeff.  Most of the others were not really veterans either.

Later on a second loco on the Brisbane Limited NL1 would also not move.  So that loco was just 0-5-0’ed out and the bicentennial 8040 left to carry on alone.  This train had an issue on the first sleeper.  It derailed about 10 times on its run.  As I was the driver, I put up with it.  That was very annoying.  I will look into this next weekend.

Apart from that listed above, most trains ran quite well.  We ended up running about 26 trains.  So we only got through about a third of the timetable.

With such a reasonably small crew, we had 7 drivers, I decided to not have North Coast Control.  So Arthur was forced to test his road knowledge.  He did pretty good.  Well apart from one point when he did not read the card for the Oil Train.  The card said to leave the loco in the siding that the LPG gas tanker gets left in.  Unfortunately, he drove the loco over to the Norco Siding and left the loco there.  Unfortunately later on in the session another train drops a few wagons in the loco siding, so we had to move this one back.  Interestingly, the loco which was left out into the Norco Siding, must have had its throttle knob hit, as it was left on full speed.  My Norco Siding, doubles as a programming track on my layout and I have it actually isolated most of the time.  So the loco ran in there and stopped running.  When we tried to 0-5-0 it out to the correct place, the loco just ran off.  Given that I did not have a throttle when I was trying to relocate it, the loco just wanted to power off into the sunset until I could grab a throttle and selected the loco, thus instantly setting it to speed step 0.  I then drove the loco to the correct place.

There were about three incidents of trains running the points at Dutton Park, when they were set for the opposite direction.  That caused a short on that section of track.  

There were a few other mystery shorts and sections of track were occasionally shut down.  Eventually they came back to operation.  I have not idea who was doing what when these incidents occurred, but I am almost certain that it was because someone ran a point or something similar like someone had a bogie off the track.

We did get a couple of photo from the session, but most were taken after the session with the trains in their final resting place.

During the session, my Raspberry Pi running JMRI and my wifi connection for the various drivers went on the fritz.  No one could enter a loco number.  That was after a test I previous ran that enabled contract to trains to work properly.  Maybe it just needed to be rebooted.  I will look into this next weekend.

Today, I went down to the shed to fix up a few consisting issues.  It appears that maybe the battery in my NCE 5Amp system, has finally died.  Quite a few consists were non existent.  So I finally replaced the battery.  This is the first time I have done this since I have had the command station.  This must be close to 8 or 9 years.  Although after deleting some consists and then re-creating them, most consists were still in the system even after replacing the battery.
The banana train has made its way from Grafton and dropped wagons at Old Cassino, Limsore and Murwillumbah.

The Brisbane Limited after all its loco and sleeper issues has made its way to South Brisbane Interstate Station and left the motorail wagon and a louvre van in the platform for the shunter to reposition later.  The train loco has run around and moved the carriage set into track 3.

The branchline shunt has left 5 wagons in Cassino Yard before it continues onto towards Old Cassino, Lismore and Murwillumbah.  The five wagons here (yes 5 not 4) are then on delivered by a shunt loco to the Cassino meatworks just a kilometer down the track by a train further on in the timetable.

This is the loco in charge of the branchline shunt.  the two wagons destined for the Norco siding, have actually been left in the platform at Murwillumbah.  I might have to chastise that driver next time I see him.

The Oil train, has positioned 4 wagons in the Old Cassino Shell Oil Siding.  Behind the case store is an open wagon with a few 44 gallon drums of oil in it for offloading.

Next stop for the Oil train is Lismore Oil Siding.  Here another four wagons are left in the siding.  The loco cannot enter the siding, so some light footed maneuvers are needed to position the oil pots in the siding with the loco remaining outside the gates.

Lismore Yard is pretty busy in this shot.  Even though the five louvre vans in Storage siding No.1 should be in storage Siding No.1. and the three open wagons in Storage Siding No.1 should be in Storage Siding no. 2.  I'm wondering if I need to issue glasses (or at least free eye tests) to my crew in the future.

The Cement train was driven by me.  It was an interesting run, as I left late and had to wait for a cross at Rappville Loop to occur before I could leave Grafton Yard.  When I got to Cassino, the Oil Train was already shunting the Old Cassino Oil siding.  So I had to wait for this shunt movement to complete and the Oil train to take the Yard, when I ran through on the Main and overtook the oil Train.  Once I made it to Lismore and sunk my staff, the Oil Train could continue onto the Lismore Oil Siding and do its magic, while I was dropping Cement wagons in No. 2 Storage Siding at Lismore with the staff for the next section.

This is Old Cassino.  In the distance, the Banana Train was left two wagons at the Goods Shed.  also just visible is the wagons in the Norco siding left there by the branchline shunt train. The stock train has unloaded stock at the stock siding and is now sitting in the loop ready to head back to Grafton for stabling.

Due to some later running, and not having a camera with me, a cross between two infrastructure trains namely the Ballast Tamper and the railset train occurred at Border Loop.  But being later I missed the cross.  Here the railset train is making its way around the bottom of Cougal Spiral.

Moments earlier the Ballast Tamper which was working on the Mainline at Border Loop, as its flashing red tamping indicator lights are operating, was making its way towards The Risk.  It is just about to enter Border Tunnel.