Sunday, August 26, 2018

Work on Rocklea Sidings Continues

Last Sunday night, I got the styrene out and tried to manufacture my missing end to an NOAF(?) wagon.  I was kind of happy with what was produced.  On Monday night I popped down to the shed and tried to fathom out what could be causing the lack of electrons in the Rocklea Yard.  I found the main jumper for the yard had a cold solder joint on its pickup.  This was as I had assumed last weekend.

So on Saturday afternoon this week, I resoldered that wire and low and behold, my 1720 class loco was now running along the narrow gauge track.  To get the rest of the sidings working, I still had to add jumpers to some other tracks in the yard, and I wired up 2 jumpers yesterday and completed the task with 3 more today.  The wiring has been successful on all the narrow gauge track.  

Last Monday night, I was checking out the wiring on the point control underneath South Brisbane Interstate.  I found a spare point motor on the layout and I installed it under the new point that splits the track which leads to tracks 6-8 to track 9-10.  This was wired back to a spare connection on one Digitrax DS64 point controller that I had at South Brisbane Interstate.  This was wired up, and I also had to add a new push button to the South Brisbane Intestate control panel and wire this wire back to the South Brisbane NCE Mini Panel.  I had to re-write 3 inputs, and add a link to set of common points as now I had 5 points in the diagram that needed to be thrown for three track routes.  By default you only can have 4 commands on each input on the Mini Panel.  So the new coding was done, and the changes also made.  It was tested and it worked first time.  Amazing!

Earlier on Saturday, I went via the local hobby shop and picked up another NCE QSnap point controller.  I will use this to control the two extra points I will connect up in Rocklea Yard, and I will also move a pair of points (currently controlled by a n NCESnap-It) that allow a standard gauge train to go from track 1 in Acacia Ridge Yard to the dual gauge track.  But by moving this function to my new QSnap, this gets more utilised and I then end up with a spare Snap-It, which I am sure I will eventually use somewhere else on the layout.

Today I wired up two point motors in Rocklea Yard back to my existing NCE QSnap, and started on pre-laying wires for the next two point motors (to the just purchased NCE QSnap) when I get some more point motors.   I then cut out the troublesome piece of track in The Risk loop on the mainline, and relayed it with a new piece.  A few trains have now gone through this area and it looks like it is now running well.  I then resumed running trains on the layout, to reset the trains back to the beginning of the timetable.

I ran about 13 trains day.  One container train with lots of 80 foot containers on it was giving me trouble entering Clapham Yard.  I checked one wagon to see if was bogie swing and realised that it had a huge scale build up on the wheels.  I then checked the rest of the wagons on that train and they were just as bad as the first.  So I spent quite a bit of time, cleaning each wheel of each carriage on this train with a track rubber.  I then reran this train back into Clapham Yard and it did not give me any more trouble.  I have done this before, but it has really been a long time between drinks for this wheel cleaning service.  This is the only train that I end up having to do this process to.  I don’t know if it something wrong with the wagons and the wheels on this train?

Next week I will move into writing my session notes for the upcoming Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention.  I’ve received an email tonight from the head guru advising that they need to be completed by the end of next month.  I also have to make two dioramas.  I better get my finger out.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Getting Stuck In - Trains and Trackwork

Tuesday this week, we went to Bob’s place and got a look at his layout progress.  The scenery that has already been completed is a credit to his abilities.  His bridge across an old almost dried up creek is fabulous.  Some attendees were absolutely raving about the bridge – hey Cliff?

Wednesday this week was a public holiday in Brisbane for the EKKA.  It also happened to be my son’s school sports day.  If the student attend the sports day, they get the next two days off school.  So early in the day I went to the sports day with my son and gate crashed my niece’s marquee.  The boss and daughter came out later.  After a great day watching the kids having fun in the various events spread around the oval, we made our way home.  I mowed the lawn when I got home and then decided to head down to the shed, and completed the ballasting around Kyogle, except for two points.  

I also took Thursday off and after doing a few things in the morning, I went back to the shed and ballasted around these two remaining points in Kyogle.
A photo of Kyogle from above.

Kyogle from the aisle looking at the newly laid ballast.

So that now leaves the following places left to Ballast.  All of Murwillumbah Yard, all of Rappville Loop, a few sidings around the rear of Lismore and a few inches around some of the level crossings on the layout in Old Cassino, Cassino and Rappville.

Later in the day, I went back down and hoped that the ballasting had now dried.  I decided that I was to have my own Operating Session.  I ended up running about 15 trains.  I found some issues, with ballast in between point blades.  These issues were remedied one by one.  I realised that I needed to install an additional uncoupling magnet in Murwillumbah.  I will work on this installation over the next few weeks.  I plan on using a push pull actuator to position the uncoupler under the track in which it is work under.  I am yet to see if the magnet will work through the thickness of the baseboard.  
The reason for the uncoupler is when the X200 shunts the motorail wagon out onto the main, it needs to be disconnected, before another loco puts the wagon on the end of the train.

On Friday after seeing off a mate into retirement after lunch, I came home and went down to the shed for an hour and a half.  I found a spring missing off a KD coupler and fixed this.  I also ran about 5 more trains in the timetable.  When doing so I realised that I needed to add some weight to one of my 80’ container wagons.  I also decided that I needed to rip up a section of track about 30cm long and replace it in The Risk.  This section has a small kink in the track and the rails are lifting from the sleepers.  I will action this next weekend.
The new section of track ready to be installed.  The track at the rear is the main and has the kink in it.

Saturday was the date of the local NMRA meeting, and it was at Darren’s place.  So I went over and said G’Day to a few friends and enjoyed the sight of three more mates running Darren’s layout for the visitors.  After a fantastic lunch put on by Darren and his family, I made my way home and slipped past the boss and made my way down to the shed.  Once there I decided to glue together three NOAF/NOEF/NOHF wagons kits – I think.  I was quite impressed by two BD wagons that Darren had on his layout.  I initially thought that the three wagons I had in kit form were BD’s, but that were the ones listed above.  My only issue was I missing one end.  I intend to manufacture one out of styrene tonight.  One had has wheels fitted and is sitting in the oil siding at South Brisbane Interstate.  The second will get wheels, as soon as I can find some screws for the bogies.  I also decided to add some weight to one end of a 80’ container wagon.  I placed a small amount of lead over the front bogie, underneath  a 40’ container.

I then decided to complete some track changes in Grafton Yard.  As I was short one 3-way point, I decided to bite the bullet and rob Peter to pay Paul.  I stole a 3 way point from the rarely used yard section at Acacia Ridge and moved it to Grafton Yard so I could install 2 more sidings.  So that is now laid.  I just need to add power jumpers to those two tracks.

Today I continued on the track work agenda.  A few weeks back I installed a new Oil siding in South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  But if you look at the original yard diagram, and then look at mine, you will realise that I have one track too few.  When not anymore!  I had room to add track number 9, so I did.  I had a curve point to allow track 9 to fit into the spare space.  Now I have moved the wagons that I was storing in track 8 out.  Some spare ones went to track 9.  Others which were a breakdown train and a few guards vans went to track 7.  This means that track 8 is now free and I can use this as the track for the container train to have its containers unloaded on.
South Brisbane Interstate showing the oil siding on the far right (now track 10) and the new track to its left - track 9.

After that I continued on the trackwork agenda.  I bit the bullet again and started laying the track for Rocklea Yard.  Bit by bit it was joined up and then I worked out that I really needed a left hand point to complete the standard gauge sidings for the Limestone wagons.  I had a right hand one instead.  Damn!  I then looked at Grafton Yard, right near where I installed the 3-way point yesterday.  There was a left hand point, and I could swap it over for a right hand point with little effort, and no consequences.  So I did that.  The sidings at Acacia Ridge were changed over.  But I did have a bit of a Doh moment.  I removed the left hand point, then got distracted and put a point back into where it came out of and I thought that was easy.  I then went install the point into Rocklea, and I realised that it was the wrong hand.  I had re-installed the left hand one back into Grafton Yard.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone – I think I’m going senile.  So I removed left hand point again, this time installing the right hand point back into Grafton Yard where the left hand point was.  The left hand point was installed into Rocklea, so all the track work is now complete, except for the standard gauge point which will allow entry into the standard gauge tracks off the main line.  No shop has one of these Tillig points.  I just have to wait.  I then wired up the power to the tracks, with quite a few jumpers around the eletrofrog points.  I even installed a manual polarity (reversing) switch for the Tillig dual gauge crossover.
Rocklea Sidings.  With a few wagons already in there to assist with testing.

I then powered up the layout – and no shorts were observed.  However, when I ran a narrow gauge train into the sidings, it stopped.  I must have a dry solder joint in the jumper for one of the rails.  But given the time, I decided to call it a day and tackle that job next weekend, when I will also try and fix the kink in The Risk on the mainline.  I will get out by trusty multi-meter and try and work out what is going wrong with Rocklea.
A few wagons now reside in Clapham Yard, which makes it interesting for trains to do their things in an Operating Session.  More will eventually grace this yard.

Loco Pilly, has three locos _ a double header and single shunt loco, a CPH with its trailer and a breakdown van with stuff in it.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ballasting at Kyogle Continues

Not much time was spent on railway related activities this weekend, as my daughter had tickets to see a boy band in the city on Saturday night.  As such we stayed in town for the night just 1 block away from the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre concert by 5SOS was held.  If you don’t know who or what 5SOS are, you are too old.  My son even had a swim in the hotel outdoor pool and apparently it was quite warm in there.

Anyway, I went to the Club for our monthly meeting on Saturday morning, before coming home very early after the meeting and then catching a bus back into town to meet up with the family at the hotel.  Back at the Club, we had a good Club Meeting.  There is plenty of activity occurring at the Club with work occurring on both the HO and N scale clubroom layout, and plenty of trains circulating.

Today after getting home from the city, following a free ferry ride round the city, and a walk through two markets in the city, I went down to the shed this arvo and continued ballasting Kyogle.  Kyogle is a bit of a pain as the trackwork at this location is probably the most inaccessible of the whole layout.  Last week I was ballasting from the northern end of the location, to as far I could reach from the front of the layout.  This weekend, I was doing the southern end of the Kyogle Loop, from an access point between the Running Creek blob and the Fairy Hill Loop.  I’m not looking forward to the next section (the middle of the Kyogle Loop) as I will have to do the really hard bit which is hard to reach from each end.  I have to jump through a few hoops (almost) to get into two access hatches so I can reach the yet to be ballasted section.  Today, as I didn’t feel like doing the limbo to get into those access hatches, I just delayed it, and put it off until next weekend.

To keep busy in the shed, I made up about 26 small wooden handles and installed them onto the actuation wires on the manual push-pull wires in Glenapp Loop, The Risk Loop, Border Loop, Kyogle Loop and Fairy Hill Loop.  I will eventually paint these so everyone can see them, and they will follow the same code, so everyone knows what they will be used for. So the up end may be one colour, the down end maybe another colour and cross overs another, and access to a siding another colour again.  I will think about this and maybe discuss with some of my Tuesday Night friends this week.

This week we head over to Bob’s place on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to see his track laying progress.  I will also pick up one of his excess HWO wagons, from the 1990 period, for a very fair price.  That wagon fits my layout timeline very well.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was the RMCQ organised Pine Rivers Model Train and Hobby Exhibition.  I went on Saturday and bought a few things from the various shops present.  I also spent most of day when not shopping sitting at a modelling desk doing a few modelling jobs and selling some simple items.  I was kept company by Darryl and Dave also doing or showing off models of various types.  I sold a few HO scale clothes lines made from styrene and rolled up tarpaulins.  There were a few very nice layouts on display and a good mix of shops.  One of the things that I did purchase was 2kg of ballast, 1kg of Allandale and 1kg of Martins Creek from the Matt's Ballast range.

I had a number of very interesting conversations at the show with various mates, fellow modellers and members of the general public.  One such conversation was a bit of a shock.  I was told the latest bridge that I installed on the Murwillumbah Branch that I had previously posted photos of on the blog, was of a type not used in NSW.  I was told that NSW Railways did not use the type of truss bridge that I had installed over the Leycester Creek.  Noooooo!  I felt very deflated.  Then upon getting home, when I got onto the PC that night, I saw on Facebook, a photo by Rev. Bob Richardson of a NSW location with a 73 class heading over a bridge of the exact same Truss type that I had installed for my bridge.  That cheered me up no end.  However I did know that it was not the same model of the one located at Lismore.  Oh Well!  I still felt a hell of a lot better.

Today I went down to the shed this arvo and completed the ballasting of the Cassino Yard.  I also did about a metre total of track distance across three main roads in Kyogle.  I still have about 5 metres to go on the Main, Loop and siding at that location, and then about another 2 metres over the two private sidings on the other side of the main line.

I also started to arrange the track for Rocklea.  I still have not been able to get one piece of Tillig track that I need, but I think I have everything else.  Well I think could use another left hand medium point to be installed within the siding area but I have a right hand curve for that location.  This was identified only after I laid out the track that I picked up yesterday at the show.  Oh well, another trip to the shops next week.