Sunday, May 27, 2018

Back to Working on the Layout

After returning from my son’s Soccer match on Saturday morning (he had a 2-0 victory), I went down to the shed and scratched my head.  Oh that is right, I need to install the track I purchased 2 weeks before at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition.  First job was to rip up the narrow gauge siding coming off road 6 in Clapham Yard and install my LH 12mm Peco point, joining up road 6 and the former road 7 siding and then relay the dead end siding section of road 7 with a nice new piece of 12mm flex track.  I still have to solder on the feeders and but this track was tested with some of my new 12mm wagons purchased 2 weeks ago.  Sweet!

The next job was to rip up the length of straight track in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard from the throat between the track 2 and track 4.  Once ripped up, I installed another 12mm narrow gauge LH Peco point with a small piece of lead track before and after the point.  The siding for track 3 was then laid again with some nice new 12mm Peco flex track.  Two of my new 12mm wagons were tested shunting back and forth in all the tracks in this yard.  Again the wire feeders need to be soldered on to Track 3 to complete the job.  But everything is working very well.

For quite some time, The dual gauge headshunt at the opposite end of Acacia Ridge Yard had just been quite precariously laid on a few pieces of wood sitting on the module between Glenapp Loop and Acacia RidgeYard.  Well I took this up and screwed in the pieces of pine for this track to sit on.  I tested some standard gauge wagons on this headshunt and they ran very smoothly.  Another job ticked off the to do list.

Today I went down to the shed just before midday.  I decided to transfer my ballast purchases from two weeks ago from their plastic bags into my honey bottles that I use to apply ballast to the track with.  These have a screw top lid, that can be adjusted for the flow to be achieved and are a handy tool for ballast laying.  After that I decided to apply a small amount of ballast to the layout.  I ballasted 90cm of track between tunnel mouths on the spiral I have between Old Cassino and Lismore.  While in this area, just a few centimetres away at the end of the headshunt at Murwillumbah, I ballasted about 60cm of track there as well.

My next task was to wonder what I could finish next.  I decided to put together the Walthers Bridge that I purchased for the river just south of Lismore.  So after about an hour or so, this too was finished.  I then gave it a light spray of grey primer from a cheap spray can.  It came up quite well.  The next conundrum was how to install it.  I decided to cut up some polystyrene foam to make the river banks at that location and next week, I think I will plaster this area and install the bridge abutments for it to sit on.  I have already made my own piece of bridge track that I’ve had sitting next to where this bridge is to go for the last half dozen years or so.  It is about time this area get completed.  It is just to the left of the entry to the shed, so having it completed would be a good bonus.

The Epic Trip Finally Ends

We finally got back home on Tuesday afternoon this week from our epic trip to Sydney and beyond to attend the 2018 Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention.  We covered 2524 km down to Sydney and back with a few side trips along the way. 

Monday morning started early with a very slow trip north through Sydney’s traffic.  First stop was a Maccas near Hornsby for some breakfast nourishment (if that is not an oxymoron), followed by some trains being captured in Newcastle at East Maitland.  After some lunch we then travelled to Taree and arrived just at the southbound XPT from Brisbane was sitting in the platform and waiting to head towards Sydney.  Next stop was Port Macquarie, and after booking into our motel (the same as we used on the way down), we visited two mid north coast modelling mates - Andrew and Ian and had a viewing of their layouts which are currently under construction.  The night ended at a pub 2 doors down from our motel.  Great 2 for 1 meals and a beer or two.  Andrew even came along for a beer as well.

Tuesday was again an early start with another stop in at the Macca at Coffs Harbour for breakfast and coffee, and then next stop was at Ballina at Hungry Jacks for more health food.  We then dropped Darren off at his place, finally got to my place around 3:40pm and then PK took Kevin home.  Thus ended the epic journey.

I’ve been back to work, had a sick kid and I still can’t shake my own cold and cough.

So hopefully I will be able to start putting together various photos over the next few weeks of the various locations visited and trains spotted and layouts which inspired us.

I'm glad the next NSW Convention is not until next year

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Trip to End All Trips

Well what a week so far.  The week started on Thursday morning when PK and Kevvie rocked up at sparrows.  Kevvie came down the back a for a quick 10 minute visit to the shed.  We then hit the road and went down to Darren’s.  Again we went down to Darren's Shed for an introduction for Kevvie to Darren’s layout.  Not 10 minutes later the adventure started.  We hit the road proper and went down south via the Lions Road. 

We were about to drive under a bridge down near the Qld/NSW Border, and we came across a crew replacing Bridge transoms. So a few photos later we were back on the road south.  Next stop was Casino.  There was a road/rail vehicle running through the platform and up towards the bridge over the Richmond River.  It was just out of view, so we went back to the car and were about to head back off, and you would never had guessed it, just as we backed out, the road/rail vehicle ran back through the platform.  So no close up photo.

Next stop on the tour was Grafton.  We ran into the Sugar Shunt and took some great photos.  Next stop was Coffs Harbour.  We worked out the northbound XPT was coming through, so we decided to head down to Boambee Creek and ended up with some more great photos.

We ended the day at Port Macquarie.  The next day we drove to Taree and after a couple of minutes, we met the southbound steelie running through the loop.  A few minutes later, a northbound cement and sugar train came through on the main.  Some more great shots were captured.  Next stop was Martins Creek Station.  Ten minutes after arrival, we met a northbound Newcastle set.  We went over and got some photos of the ballast loading facilities.  Our next stop was Patterson.  We took a few shots of the railmotors and infrastructure and then, you guessed it, we met a train again.  It was this mornings Steelie again.  It was followed by a southbound Newcastle set that we passed earlier at Martins Creek, and then a southbound XPT came through as we had a counter lunch at the local pub.

Again, another stop.  This time at Telarah.  A railcar set arrived just as we did and departed almost immediately.  We then headed to High Street Station.  Within minutes, we ran into three railcars, three loaded coalies; PacNat, Aurizon and a Fetchers train (I think).  We also saw a northbound SCT freighter and then a northbound XPT.  More great viewing.

Our viewing day ended at Hornsby Station, watching the start of peak hour before heading to our hotel.  The next day was a day organised by Marcus where we visited 6 people’s layouts, and one Club Facility.  What a great day.

The reason for the whole trip was the next day.  It was the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention on Saturday held at Loftus TAFE.  An early start ensued and after a day of spending time learning in lectures and also giving my presentation three times - (no mention of money's changing hands here between myself and various model railway businesses).  We ended up at the home of a very prominent model train person for a layout visit and enjoying a run.

Today we headed south.  Actually we headed north to go south (Sydney’s roads are very strange) and again visited 4 more layouts and 2 Club facilities.  Another great day!  While we are all now starting our way home, I will eventually share some of our photos later on during this week and next week.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition

This weekend was spent at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition, at the RNA showgrounds in Brisbane.  What a great weekend.  On Saturday Geoff helped me on the Structure Building Stand.  While today Jim Hutchinson was my partner.  Geoff was making trees and was mesmerising the public with what he was producing.  They are truly masterpieces.  You’ve got to see his layout close up with these trees on it.  It is a work of art.  Today Jim Hutchinson was showing off his architectural masterpieces.  Again the public was once again astounded by the quality of the modelling work being presented.

I started the weekend making some water stand pipes for my layout.  I was asked by Phil Overton from the layout next to me to make a clothesline for him, which I did happily.  While I was making two (it is never any good only making one model at a time), quite a few people from nearby stands came along and suggested that they would also enjoy a clothesline or two and that then turned into 9 more that miniature models being requested.  Yesterday I finished the day by making an O scale model.  I was all washed out by the end of Saturday.

Today PK, advised he wanted some N scale models for the N scale exhibition layout which was on the other side of me at the show.  Hmmm!  I was non committal, as I needed to ensure that I could get the clothesline to rotate and I also wanted to ensure I had the correct sized styrene available.  Well, I did not tell him, but I started making two N scale model clotheslines.  That turned into three, but the third was an absolute PITA.  everything seemed to go wrong with it.  Eventually it was completed and it too worked.

So I called PK over and advised him that he had to install it. A suitable house on the front of the N scale layout was selected and the clothes line installed.  Job done!  It just needs to be painted.

I did go onto to complete another N scale and HO scale clothesline before I stopped working on that line of business.  But not before another member of the public came along and wanted to take another one off my hands.

I then turned my attention to completing the 4 water stand pipes that I started the day before.  Before I left for the Exhibition this morning, I went down to the shed to pick up a few plastic sprews I had laying around, with nice round ends.  These were used to help complete the water pipes.  The nice 90 degree ends were cut off and glued to my pipe work, as they were the exact size I needed, and formed a nice curve which I could not get the styrene rod or tube to form.  The resultant water stand pipes ended up looking quite good.  At least I was impressed.  But the number completed multiplied to 6.  So six would allow me to install some in Glenapp Loop, Rappville Loop, and Fairy Hill Loop.  I think I would also need some for Kyogle, Border Loop and some more in Cassino, especially the loco area.  That is even before I consider the Murwillumbah branch.  Just when I thought I was also finished building water stand pipes.  Later this arvo I added the water inlet value and pipe work to the water stand pipes.  I think this was the piece de resistance.  

So today I made my way around the exhibition and made a purchase of 12mm track, some styrene and a couple of Uneek kits.  I also took home a bucket full of Matt's ballast.  I also picked by a 3 pack of 12mm tautliners courtesy of my sometimes morning bus driver John who was rationalising.  I spent plenty!  The track will allow me to complete Clapham Yard (narrow gauge section), and install the last narrow gauge siding in Acacia Ridge Yard.  It looks like that the last thing I need to do is pick up about a half dozen more 12mm points to be used to facilitate run-arounds in some long sidings in Acacia Ridge Yard and Fisherman Islands Yard.  That should complete the total track work on the layout.  It is likely that this still could be up to 12 months away from occurring - but could also occur in November at the upcoming Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention at which I am presenting a session at.  So if it is November, that will be 13 years of track laying.  The new 12mm wagons, have caused me to just doubled my 12mm fleet of rollingstock.  If I continue to add to the 12mm side, in about 3 or 4 years time, I might be in a position to hold, a dedicated 12mm operating session, as part of my timetable.

Speaking of conventions, this Thursday sees two car loads of people from Brisbane heading off on a big road trip to Loftus for this coming weekend's Modelling the Railways of NSW convention.  I happen to be also presenting a session at this convention as well, along with Dave Lowe the other driver.  I just hope at least one person shows up to my session.  I also hope that if it is only one person attending - I hope it is not PK!  I couldn't put up with him being that person!  Hehe - couldn't resist.

It also appears that Marcus has arranged some great visits to a few model railway layouts on the Friday and Sunday for the guys from north of the border - from Brisbane and the flyboys from Toowoomba.  What a great guy.  I hope I can still put a blog post together next Sunday!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Putting up Some Walls

On Friday this week, after finishing early, I made my way over to a plastics place at Archerfield.  I was looking at pieces of acrylic and polycarbonate to be used as walls on either side of some of my high track sections, to prevent disaster if a loco of carriage comes of the track and plummets to the ground below.  The  guy at the outlet was very helpful.  He gave me two small offcuts so I could experiment with cutting and drilling.  A full 2440 mm x 1220mm is not cheap - $150 to $160.

The first piece of polycarbonate I tried was 42cm x 20cm.  I marked out the first strip of 6cm.  I tried scoring the strip with my snap off blade knife.  It was taking quite some time to make my way though the substance.  So I thought, let’s get the Dremel out with the cut off blade and see if I can just follow the line and cut off the strip.  It seemed like the blade was melting the substance and it was resetting when the blade went past.  Anyway the molten flow was cleaned off the strip and then I drilled three mounting holes in the product with my standard drill.  First a small hole, then a larger one.  This was attached to the layout baseboard.  The strip was mounted on the raised track section between Dutton Park and Park Road Siding on the back side. 

So after installation I resumed trying to score the next strip off the remaining polycarbonate product.  This time after about 20 passes of the knife, I wanted to try and see if it would score and snap.  I started bending at one end, and I head a snap, so I worked my way down the strip, bending some more.  Eventually the whole strip was separated.  I then divided the remaining sheet in half, scored it a few times and again snapped it in two.  These strips were drilled and added to the same section of track making my way towards Park Road Siding.

After reflecting upon the work that was occurring, there was a section of track just as the trains get to the set of points at Dutton Park, that splits the traffic towards either Park Road or Fisherman Islands.  For trains heading towards Park Road, there is a bit of a swing to the right, before branching off to the left – a reverse curve as you will.  This piece of track is slightly exposed with no barrier in case of derailment.  So I found a piece of old Ssyrene type material, that was originally part of a venetian blind.  I was given this many years ago.  It fitted perfectly, so it was attached to the outside of the track.

The other piece of clear material that I picked up from the plastics shop, was a piece of acrylic, 50cm x 16cm in size.  It was marked off into three strips.  The first strip was then scribed many times, and I think this is a softer material than the polycarbonate, but I think it is less flexible and more brittle.  I was trying to use the same method as before, a few scribes, and then trying to snap off the strip.  As this was occurring, the first strip broke into two pieces.  Whoops.  So half was added at the end of the other 4 polycarbonate strips, and now the track coming around the main line from South Brisbane Interstate station passing the Park Road Sidings towards Dutton Park, is protected in case a train wants to not take this large curve.  The other half of this strip, was added on the inside of the Park Road Siding at a place between where a top of baseboard mounted point motor sits and where the existing timber laminated edging right next to the Park Road Good Shed sits.  Perfect fit.

So I went back to the remaining Acrylic sheet, and started scoring some more, to separate the last two strips.  This time, I ensured the score was quite a way through before I attempted snapping again.  These ones did split near enough to down the middle.  I started at one end, and tried to snap, and once I made the original break, I continued bit by bit, along the score mark, until the whole strip had come apart. 

Getting back to the track the splits at Dutton Park and this time the one that heads towards Fisherman’s Islands, there is big curve here.  So I fixed the two strips of acrylic to the outside of this curve.  So after this small piece of work, I am much more confident that the trains running on the exposed sections of track high up on my layout, will not be damaged should there be a derailment on these sections of track.  Any wayward rollingstock should just hit the new clear walls and remain on the track.

What started this journey was when I was over at the Club a couple of weeks ago, I was given a couple of small offcuts, some from the rubbish bin, of some polycarbonate used at the club around the layout edges.  I had previously affixed small offcuts to the inside face of the Dutton Park to Park Road raised section of track.
The raised section of track from Dutton park in the middle left, heading towards Park Road Siding on the right.
This shot shows the piece of acrylic that split in two.  It was put to good use, on either side of the baseboard around Park Road Siding.

The track to Fisherman Islands is heading to the left.  The two pieces of acrylic are seen in this shot on the outside edge of this curve.

I will probably get back down to the shed on Monday and measure up what lengths of polycarbonate I need to complete the protection of trains on very top deck of the layout.

Once the fixing of the see through walls was completed, I adjourned to the PC, and continued working on my Modelling the Railways of NSW presentation.  I made a few cosmetic changes.  I then updated my document for the Open House nomination form for the September NMRA Convention.

Today I resumed activities fine tuning the Modelling the Railways of NSW presentation.  I decided to take new photos of the ones in the current presentation, where some scenery work has progressed further.  I thought it might show the layout off in a brighter light.