Sunday, May 19, 2019

Where Did That Week Go?

Another week has come and gone, but I feel that it just flew past and I did absolutely nothing.  But on reflection, I did quite a bit of modelling.  I think I started the week off by painting 7 of the 20’ container flats that I constructed at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition 2 weeks ago.  I then on Friday afternoon/evening constructed 5 generator sets for the 20’ container flats.  

Early on Saturday morning I was able to visit a local hobby shop and pick up a length of 12mm flex for Acacia Ridge Yard and two lengths of Tillig Dual gauge flex track, also for Acacia Ridge Yard.   I ran into Grover and his daughter at the Hobby Shop.  The rest of the day was spent watching many soccer games and rugby games including the First XI and First XV games of my son's school.  I had a great time.  However, before I left in the morning, I spray painted the generator sets.  Later on in the evening I glued the now dry generator sets to the container flats.  I think later this week I will continue constructing the last few container flats, and then I’ll jump into building another 5 generator sets.

This morning was an early start as I ventured over to our Club for the semi annual Buy and Sell.  There were about 30 tables of sellers and quite a consistent stream of buyers.  I actually sold some stuff and made enough money to pay for a few items that tickled my fancy.  I even had some cash left over.  That generally does not happen that often.  At least I know that there are two people that read my blog.  One was my mate Shelton.  He was the smart aleck who posted about me building a fourth level.  Ho, Ho, Ho that was so funny - Not!  It must have been funny for a VR modeller, so we will excuse him for that.  So at the Buy and Sell, another comedian came up (Hey Mark) and mentioned am I going home to build the fourth level?  Well I suppose, he did not know much better, as he was an American N scale modeller – mind you a good one at that.  So that must be both of the people that read the blog.

When I finally got home and unpacked, I ventured down to the shed and the first thing was to distribute my newly purchased loot around the layout. Next was to get motivated to lay some new narrow gauge and dual gauge track in Acacia Ridge Yard.  So this is actually the third level not the fourth.  The fourth level already exists as it is the track at Rocklea Sidings and around to Clapham Yard.  As always happens there was a change of plans.  I realised that if I redeployed a couple of 12mm points, I could add another 12mm siding in Acacia Ridge Yard and also make another 2 narrow gauge run around sidings within the Yard.  So I robbed these points from Fisherman Islands.  So that means that I need to buy some more points to allow completion of Fisherman Islands Yard, but I will delay that until our model railway exhibition in August, when I save up some more money for track.  This new plan will allow me to store a couple more 12mm wagons around the layout.  I must also get back onto the task of scratchbuilding my 12mm grain wagons.

So I have some tasks scheduled for this week, and some more track laying for Acacia Ridge Yard next Saturday.  Then I will have to spend some time, probably all of Sunday and the following weekend completing the wiring of this new track.

Another brainwave I had at the Buy and Sell, was to potentially keep about 4 old style NSW grain wagons that I was trying to sell today.  I may consider keeping them to be part of a local shunt train from Grafton to South Brisbane Interstate, or maybe even Clapham Yard.  There was, and still is, a rather large Grain Silo facility on the western side of Clapham Yard.  I assume that many years ago, train loads of grain were delivered by new railways to this facility.  I guess someone will confirm this to me.  I could use one of the dual gauge sidings in Clapham Yard for the grain wagon spotting location.  

This Tuesday is also Tuesday Nighters, and the crew are visiting my place.  So early Tuesday afternoon, I need to come home early and just do a quick tidy up of the shed, and get the tea and coffee gear out.  We should then get an update from Darren about the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention held yesterday in Sydney.  I’m looking forward to Tuesday.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Early Disillusionment followed by Modelling Success and the Layout Progress

Following a successful weekend of model railway activities at the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition last Saturday and Sunday, I was poised for a great Monday public holiday being spent in the shed continuing down the model railway path.  My enthusiasm was soon tempered when I found out that I did not have enough rail joiners both metal and insulated to allow installation of my newly purchased points in Fisherman Islands Yard.  I was further disillusioned when taking my daughter for an early morning driving lesson and I noticed that the local hardware was closed due to the public holiday.  Bugger!  Well that certainly smacked me in the face and deflated my enthusiasm quite severely.  However, I decided that on Monday evening I was to break out the styrene and commence making some QR grain wagons that could be fitted with a tarpaulin – or three – let’s not be too greedy.  So by Monday night, I had three styrene boxes with a base created, that were going to form the basis for the tarpaulin covered grain wagons.

On Tuesday evening, I shot out to Bunnings and purchased the ply sheet I needed for the extended baseboard for Acacia Ridge narrow gauge yard.  This was followed by a get together with most of the Tuesday Nighter boys at Peter’s Place where we again discussed the previous weekend's model railway exhibition and solved plenty of the world's problems - as we normally do.

Over the rest of the week I cut out some underfloor centre sills for the grain wagons, and on Friday and Saturday nights I constructed the wagon doors on both sides of the three wagons.  Yesterday on the way to my son’s Club Soccer game, I stopped off at Austral Modelcraft and picked up some metal and plastic rail joiners and a packet of 0.020” x 0.040” styrene that I needed to complete the last pair of doors on the last grain wagon.  This morning, I cut up many small pieces of 0.010” x 0.030” styrene while waiting for the boss to be ready to head out to the Mother-in-law’s place, I started affixing the bottom part of the styrene that will look like the press fitted shape in each of the wagon panel sides provided to add strength to the wagon side panels.  I am only doing the bottom part of this shape for two reasons.  The first is that the wagon will have a strategically fitted tarpaulin that will cover up top half of the ‘X’ pressed shape in the panel side.  The second reason is that the whole ‘X’ shape is too hard and fiddly to accurately make in styrene.  Maybe it could be 3D printed in bulk for each wagon though?  Maybe there is an opportunity out there for someone to mass produce some 3D printed pressed ‘X’s for QR wagon sides to be glued to QR wagon sides – Who knows?  I am most impressed with how the scratch built grain wagons are coming together.

Anyway this afternoon, I made my way down to the shed and cut out the ply shape for the extended narrow gauge yard for Acacia Ridge Yard.  The track has been just placed about where each siding will go and it now looks like quite good.  The next issue is that I think I need a couple more lengths of Tillig dual gauge flex track and maybe one more length of 12mm flex to complete the track.  I think I will not bother making any more curved sections of dual gauge track like I had previously done - I will just buy it this time.  I had some done testing and it looks like track 1 will easily take a 12 wagon coal train with two locos, and track 2 will take a 12 wagon grain train with two locos on the end.  It also appears that the run around points at the far end of Acacia Ridge narrow gauge Yard will easily be accessible from the operating aisle at the Clapham Yard end of Acacia Ridge.  Most of the new baseboard has been screwed together and fixed to the layout frame.  

Next Friday afternoon I might be able to pick up a couple of lengths of Tillig track at Aurora Trains which will allow me to continue on the track laying activities in Acacia Ridge Yard and Fisherman Islands Yard on next Sunday.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

2019 Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition

The Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition has found its way back to the May long weekend in Brisbane at the Brisbane Exhibition grounds.  However, it on now only a 2 day show.  For quite a number of years, the show had moved to the second weekend in May in lieu of the long weekend, as they had moved venues.  It had been held at Doomben Racecourse and the Big Marquee at the RNA showgrounds.  But we are now back at both the show grounds and the original weekend - the long weekend in Brisbane.  The exhibition hall had a flat concrete floor, the toilets were inside, the aisles were wide enough and the attendance to look at some great exhibits was good.  Access was also good.

I went in early on Friday and took two tables, 3 chairs and a few boxes of stuff and was back out inside 30 minutes.  I had other things to do.  Andrew Matt dropped in from Townsville, in the afternoon and had a more in depth tour of Cassino than occurred at his previous visit.  His last visit was when the layout was an open layout at a previous Modelling the Railways of Qld Convention about 3 years back, if I remember correctly.  This time Andrew got a private tour of each location with a few scenery features pointed out.  We also went through the electricals.  He picked up an NCE radio throttle and ran the Brisbane Limited from Grafton Yard to South Brisbane Interstate Station.  Along the way, he set points and took and returned staffs for the various sections travelled through.  At South Brisbane he ran around his train and then cut off the motor rail wagon and his express fruit wagon from the passenger consist.  The trains locos then hauled the passenger consist into track 4.  The train locos then ran to Park Road Siding.  Normally in the normal timetable, the locos would run all the way to Loco Pilly.  The shunt loco (7304) at South Brisbane then travelled to the end of the platform and pushed the motorail wagon to the end of the track and the fruit wagon was moved to track 5 and then the loco moved back to the Loco siding at South Brisbane where it started from.  A few minutes later, the shunt loco went back to the end of the platform road, but this time via road two and collected the motor rail wagon.  It then added the motorail wagon to the front of the express fruit wagon in track 5 and then moved both to the front of the passenger consist in track 4.  The 73 class shunt loco moved back to the Loco siding.  The train locos then ventured back from Park Road Sidings and joined onto the train in track 4.  They then moved the train back into the platform road and then departed south towards Grafton Yard where they terminated.  Soon after Andrew left to go watching trains down at Acacia Ridge in 1:1 scale.  Just as I was writing this, I forgot that the consist needed to be reversed at Grafton Yard.  I forgot!  It is difficult to get good help sometimes.  I will seriously chastise myself tomorrow when I fix up this issue.

On Saturday morning I picked up my partner in crime – Arthur Hayes MMR and we inhabited the Structure Building Stand (No. 52 in the program) under the NMRA banner.  OMG!  We did not stop talking all day and did very little actual work.  People asked questions and we caught up with lots of old friends.  We had quite a few enquiries about the NMRA and also just modelling in general.  I was dry as a dead dingo's ....  Today, was just a little bit less busy.  But we did exactly the same as yesterday.  Now my Mastercard is currently in shock. The wife will be when she see how much is on it when the bill comes in too.  Maybe I may have purchased another 1720 class loco and of course an ESU chip for it – no not sound as I’m not made of money.  I may have purchased another 8 sets of 12mm points and three lengths of 12mm flex track, so I can now complete Fisherman Islands Yard along with another extra dead end siding – maybe a loco siding, and two intermediate cross overs.  The rest of the points are for Acacia Ridge Yard and an idea of adding a head shunt and making the four narrow gauge tracks all connect at the other end - thus allowing run around movements.  So all my track for the layout should now be purchased.  I think I have said that statement before.  But I'm much closer to being correct this time.  I just have to lay it now – maybe tomorrow.

I did have the aim today of starting to collecting wagons for my narrow gauge grain train.  So I now have a 1720 class loco.  Ideally, I would like double headed 2300 class locos, but as I said before – I am not made of money.  I did pick up a PGC HWE grain wagon.  I was after some QGA (I think) grain wagons also sold by PGC, but they did not have any when I visited the stand today.  My partner in crime Arthur, was scratch building some 12mm wheat wagons at our display stand.  So I will probably go down that path as well.  I also hope to pick up maybe 1 or 2 packs of Southern Rail Models ready to run grain wagons with lids when they do their next run of these wagons.  Now one of the down sides of sitting next to one of the two most knowledgeable QR person walking on this earth, and by the way, the other one visited our stand yesterday hey – Arthur (also called Arthur) is that you learns lots of stuff.  Some of it you just don't want to hear!  Now Fisherman Islands is a bottom discharge grain handling facility.  However, some of the wagons that I will be building the HWE kit and similar ones that Arthur is scratch building – they are tippler wagons.  Arthur, just knows how to drive that stake right into your heart.  Oh well!  In my Fisherman Islands time period, it had both.  Tongue is now extended out of mouth and various sounds like Thhhhffffttttt are being emitted.  Refer Rule Number 1.  It is my layout and I will do as I want to.  

I also picked up some other items, like ballast from Matt’s Ballast, few Road Rager Ford cars at a nice price, and a HO medium point for Acacia Ridge Yard to replace one I stole to put somewhere else some months ago.  Now, I do have one dream.  My dream is to install a set of point sin Fisherman Islands Yard and create a return loop directly above Cougal Spiral - following the layouts support posts and having the track come back onto Fisherman Islands Yard again.  So I have not done much thinking about this, like if it would be 12mm, 16.5mm or both.  We will see maybe next May what develops.  I should have paid off my debt by then and be out of the wheel chair after the boss finds out what I spent.

I was most impressed with a couple of layouts at the  Brisbane show.  Walloon a QR 12mm layout from the Love family and an S scale  shunting layout.  I must admit I did not get enough time to see everything at the show.   So the venue is great.  Pack up was a bit of a pain, only because I had tones of rubbish with me.  Arthur and I took all the gear out the front of the hall and then across the road to a loading zone.  And in less then 2 minutes I drove up, we packed the car and we were off home.  I was home by around 5:00pm.

Bring on tomorrow when I start to install the new trackage.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Long Weekend

On Thursday I went down to the Shed after the ANZAC Day March on TV had completed and tried to replace some wheels in my Trainorama 44 Class Locos.  I worked out how to pull apart the first two 44 Class locos and replaced 6 wheels across both of these locos.  In the end this was quite a quick process using a small set of plyers and a flat bladed screw driver.  These two upgraded 44 class locos now sound like a normal loco without the thump-thump-thump as they make their way around the track.  Before I tested them, I turned on the track power, and you guessed it, another short but this time in Power district number 5.  That is Clapham Yard until South Brisbane Interstate.  A quick inspection of the three yards in that section, Clapham, South Brisbane Interstate and then Park Road Siding, revealed that the locos on the paper train were on the set of points in the siding and the layout start up point threw the points to track 2 and this caused a short.  A manual change of that point, and everything is back to normal.  These track shorts are just doing my head in.  I also moved the locos of the paper train back off the sets of points to prevent further issues on the next start up.

I also found a bad power connector in track 10 in Grafton Yard and fixed that pretty quick as well.

On Friday I started getting my items together for next weekend’s Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition – Saturday and Sunday only.  I did a bit more of this yesterday afternoon.  Today I went down to the shed and did even more scratching around.  My tools are basically packed and I will have a few of my excess wagons for sale behind my stand.  I will also have a few samples of wagon loads for sale as well as a few small detail items.  Over next weekend I will be putting together a few small detail items to be made out of styrene.  These will also be available to exhibition attendees if they ask.

While in the shed today, I thought I would try and test my theory about extending the length of three narrow gauge sidings in Acacia Ridge Yard.  Well upon first thoughts, it may well be possible.  I will just need about three lengths of flex track and three sets of 12mm points, a Left Hand set and two Right Hand sets.  First of all I need to do some baseboard changes.  That will require a visit to Bunnings but that could be Monday week on the long weekend up here.   I finally got around to running the last train in last weekend’s timetable.  It was here that I figured one of my Jumbos headlights were not operating properly.  I put it on the programming track and read back the settings of CV21 and CV22.  They were correct, but the loco was definitely not responding to the commands I had configured by these CV’s.  So I re-wrote them and tested again and the loco was not setting these correctly.  Very interesting.  

I have made up my shopping list for next weekend and I am also considering ordering a DEB set from Auscision.  I am not aware of one being in service on the North Coast, but I believe there was at least on that ran an ARHS tour at one time.  So maybe.  I could then alternate my ARHS CPH Tour with a DEB set.  I could also run the DEB set on my mountain goat service.  Just when I think I am nearing the end of my track purchases, I find reasons to buy more.  However, I do need more locations to store more wagons – particularly narrow gauge ones.  These extra points will also allow me to run around some of the trains in the narrow gauge yards.

If you are attending the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition next weekend, stop by the Structure Building Stand and say hello.  This year my partner in crime is Arthur Hayes MMR and he will have some absolutely brilliant narrow gauge wagons on display with scratch built loads – much, much better than my unique loads.  You will be in absolute awe.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Operating Session Wrap-Up

So I got down to the shed today and did a bit of work late this morning and some more mid-afternoon.  These visits were after a trip to the park with my son to shoot the soccer ball (morning) and before a driving lesson with my daughter (afternoon).  So the first thing I did down there was fix up the control panel wiring in Acacia Ridge Yard.  There were actually a few of wires off – actually 3.  The reason is that when people push the buttons, they push the back of the panel into the wood framing behind, so I think this causes the wires to rub against the framing and eventually come loose.  I will have to put some form of buffer in there next weekend to spare the wires in the longer term.  While on the subject of Acacia Ridge Yard, I added about 4 sets of tooth brush bristles to some of the narrow gauge sidings to stop any run away of wagons when there is no loco on the train.

I also cut up some lead flashing to be used as added weights in 9 of my QR narrow gauge louvre wagons.  I had a comment from one of the crew on Saturday that the narrow gauge wagons jump when they go over the existing tooth brush bristles.  He said they were too light.  So this added weight should hopefully solve this problem.  I did test run the wagons by pushing them at speed through some of the sidings and no issues were identified.  Although, there is one set of toothbrush bristles in track 4 of Clapham Yard (the dual gauge track) that needs to be trimmed a bit, as all my wagons jump when going over this obstacle.  While doing the weighting, I also added some weight to the first two wagons on my steel train.  I have two wagons, with two scratch built butter boxes as a load.  Made from styrene these are very light.  The first wagon, is a kitbashed lima 4 wheel wagon, that has been turned into a 45 foot bogie wagon with Gloucester bogies fitted.  The second wagon is an Auscision container flat.  So when the super glue holding the this new added weight dries, I will test these wagons out again – most likely Thursday now.

So in between the two sessions in the shed, I visited Bunnings with my your apprentice and picked up a set of cheap circlip plyers so assist with upcoming maintenance on my Trainorama 44 Class locos.  I also picked up another litre of white glue and a blow mould table for modelling that will be used at the upcoming Brisbane Miniature Train Show on the May long weekend.  I then went to Jaycar for some electrical tape.  I have a plan to enhance my many small control panels that are scattered around the layout.  I intend to use the electrical tape as pin striping on the panels.

I think Anzac day will be when I run the last train from the timetable, and fix up where my narrow gauge rollingstock is currently located, as the wagons are currently scattered in slightly unusual places.  They are in the correct yards, just not the correct sidings.

On the layout fascia at some of the crossing loops, is a sign that says what is the name of the next crossing loop in each direction.  I have now relocated a few of these, so they are directly above or below the staff machine for that loop.  The signs were previously offset somewhere on the fascia underneath the crossing loop – there was no logic.  Hopefully this slight move will assist with loco crew getting to know their way around the layout better.

Tomorrow I will make a change to a couple of the timetable cards following the session.  There were some issues with instruction identified.  I am also making an instruction sheet for me, to remind me when I start a session to do a number of tasks.  Like some of the ones that I forgot to do before this session last Saturday.  Must have been old age.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Under Pressure

Yesterday was the latest Operating Session on Cassino.  Prior to the session, the tea and coffee had been set out, the milk put in the fridge, and the coffee cups, sugar and tea spoons put on the bench.  The crew headsets were put out, as well as the timetable lanyards.  At about 11:00am, the Raspberry Pi was fired up, and the fast clock set to 14:30  so it could roll forward until about 15:00 which was when the first train was ready to move in the timetable.  The fastclock was then paused in readiness for the session starting.  I turned on all the overhead LED lights as a trial via my remote control handset and everything seemed ready.  I then put in four new batteries into my radio powercab throttle.  I grabbed a couple of beers and fired up the BBQ at about 11:30am.  The boss had sliced up some onions and got the grated cheese out along with a couple of loaves of bread, the sauce and the napkins.  Everything was ready by midday and soon after the crew started rolling up.  At just before 1:00pm, we went down to the shed, I fired up the layout power, and an almighty screech was heard.  By turning off the power districts separately, we narrowed it down to being emitted from power district 1.  This is the Grafton Yard to Cassino section.  Oh no!  I had trains running earlier in the morning.  Nothing seemed to be shorting out, although a couple of trains were crawling out of Grafton Yard.  No doubt someone had touched their throttles while they were waiting.  

The sound seemed to be coming from the NCE Powerpro command station.  But only when power district No. 1 was turned on.  But I’d look under the layout, and the power to the power district circuit breaker had not tripped.  It then occurred to me that somehow the old CRT monitor connected to the Raspberry Pi was causing some sort of interference with the DCC command station.  So I powered off the monitor and the power could then be turned on in Power district No. 1 without an ear piercing screech.  By this time the fast clock had run through to 15:30.  Some of the trains were running, but nothing was running in power district no. 1.  So I put the fast clock back to 14:50 and the session got off to a very bad start.  I forgot the address of my new railbus.  Did you know it was hard to move when you don’t know the address of a loco.  However, it was written on the timetable card - but who looks at that?  Later on the Ballast Tamper also had issues moving.  I have since worked out that the wire had come off a pushbutton in Acacia Ridge control panel and the points to exit track 4 could not be thrown.  That will be fixed tomorrow.

Eventually things settled down, but we had the general issues of a few derailments the same wagons multiple times.  We had some uncouplings.  I also found a high coupler on a narrow gauge loco.  We had a point motor fail.  This was the point motor for Dutton Park that directs trains to either Fisherman Islands or South Brisbane Interstate.  However, the point motor came back into life later in the session.  So by my own thoughts, the layout did not run well today.  We had some locos basically stalling on some of the grades inside the helix and on the hidden spiral between Old Cassino and Lismore.  One loco was declared a failure at Murwillumbah and its replacement was also swapped out for a spare 45 class that was 0-5-0’ed in to take its place.  Again the layout wifi on the raspberry Pi was very slow and non-responsive from time to time.  Again – a reason why I prefer NCE radio throttles – however one must watch the batteries that they put in the back of these!

During the session, the back of my radio Powercab throttle was wet.  At first someone thought that they might have had wet hands.  But later we found out, that a battery (a brand new battery) was leaking.  That is the second time that this throttle has had batteries in it that leaked.  I suppose not bad for over 10 years of use.  I have had quite a few batteries in it during that time.  So the battery compartment was cleaned out and the throttle consigned to a throttle holder for the rest of the session.

So today we had Shelton on North Coast Control.  I think by all reports he did a good job.  This meant that the normal North Coast Control - Arthur, was gathering some route knowledge on the layout.  he also did a good job.  We actually had two first time Operating Session attendees, and someone for their second appearance.  Another person had not been to many, and the other crew members have been to quite a few – old hands you might say.

So today I started fixing things up.  My stuffed 44100 that had to be 0-5-0'ed will get new wheels tomorrow on the workbench.  I ran the ballast tamper from Acacia Ridge Yard to Old Cassino construction siding.  I also rearranged a couple of trains in Grafton Loops so they were in the correct tracks facing the correct way.  One cement wagon lost a bogie yesterday,  We found the screw and two KD washers in the headshunt at Murwillumbah, but the wagon did not derail until it got to Lismore I think.  So today I replaced the screws on both bogies and this should be good for a few more years.

Some of the issues from the session were caused by me not removing about 4 timetable cards from the card holder.  I had both NL4 and NL4A in the sequence.  The difference is that NL4A also has a fast goods KLY attached for the trip to and from Murwillumbah.  I also had cards 38A and 38B in the sequence.  The ballast train can go in either of two directions in the timetable, the A route, or the B route.  I should have removed the A route card.  I also forgot to remove two Cassino Meatworks shunt cards.  This train has not run for years.  Maybe I need to delete the cards.  Another issue was that in between Operating Sessions, I had been working the Steel train.  The only issue was that it was sitting at Acacia Ridge Yard when it should have been in Grafton Loops.  The Steel Shunt at Acacia Ridge Yard, had not been to Rocklea Sidings to unload and then return to Acacia Ridge Yard.  So a few issues, but nothing life threatening.

Looks like George Chapman took a truck load of photos and placed them on his Aurora Trains Facebook page.  Check them out if you are interested.  Also he has some bargains on there from time to time as well.

Today just happens to be the 600 post on this blog.  

Some of the photos that I took late in the session.
The Cement train at Murwillumbah.  The loco is running around in the loop.

The loco is now attached.  The goods shed in the background was one that I cut in half and placed one half at Murwillumbah for the banana growers federation shed, and the other half is the goods shed at Old Cassino.

The cement train has reached Lismore and three more wagons from the storage siding are added to the end of the train by the train loco.

Getting closer.  Ease Up!
Now almost back at Grafton, as the train is crossing the Richmond River at Cassino.
The Shunt train is assembling its train at Clapham Yard.  Some of these wagons have come from South Brisbane Interstate, others from Rocklea Sidings and some just sit here in Clapham Yard before returning south.

Clapham Yard can get busy with containers heading north from the train to Fisherman Islands being dropped off so they can go to Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate (on track 1) while on track 3 the 80 Class has three containers that have come from Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate and will be added to the south bound container from Fisherman Islands in a few minutes time.  There are also narrow gauge wagons on track 7.

The northbound Steelie heading across the Upper Richmond River at Kyogle.

The steelie now in Queensland exiting the Border Tunnel heading north.

The Steelie going through one of the various Running Creek crossings.

A stock train from Kyogle Stock siding heading south.

Mark, like a startled deer in the car headlights caught out with two cans of beer on the layout.  he is running the Container train just leaving Lismore heading to Murwillumbah.

Duncan, the other track No. 1.

Someone mentioned beer at the end of the session, and they pulled up stumps early (particularly North Coast Control - the one on the left) with one train left to run.  Sometimes it is hard to get good help.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Preparation for Saturday's Operations Session

I went down to the shed this afternoon to turn everything on and run the track cleaning train all the way around the layout and to visit most sidings as well.  I fired up the track power and you guessed it.  I was getting a short.  It was in power District number 4.  That is the section of track from Cougal Spiral just north of Kyogle through to Acacia Ridge Yard until just short of Rocklea Sidings.  Well that was a disappointment!  So I isolated that section and ran my track cleaning train all the way up to Kyogle and them jumped into problem solving mode.  I quick glance at all the track work revealed nothing.  The last time I was in the shed, I had that section of track operational as I was testing my narrow gauge 2300 class loco.  So I knew the problem had to be relatively simple.  I then started looking under the layout at all the wire from the power district track bus ensuring that the two wires in the bus, had not come together at any of the points which had track power jumpers up to the track soldered to them.  Nothing was evident.  My next thought was to get out my multimeter and measure the resistance at various points along the track to determine if I could find the point of least resistance.  But as I got to the farthest end of Acacia Ridge Yard on my visual inspection of track, I started checking out my parked Steel train that was in siding no.2 of the reversing loop.  Well I looked at one wagon, it had a set of wheels directly on the joiner that separates the section that is the beginning of the auto reversing section on the return loop at that point.  Well I moved the wagon about 3mm so it was no longer on that section of track spanning the auto reverser and turned track power on.  My layout ammeter was no longer spiking up to 3 and half Amps.  That short had now gone.  

I guess there may not be many power feeds in that section and the track is getting the power feed along through the joiners in the track.  I single wheel on that join at track power up time was not enough to trigger the auto reverser.  I can drive trains through that section and the auto reverser operates every time.  Maybe this one wheel was not suitable to act as a trigger.  Well, eventually I completed the track cleaning activities all the way from Grafton Yard to Cassino and then out along the Murwillumbah branch.  I then backed up to Cassino and proceeded to Dutton Park and took the Fisherman Islands Branch, before again back tracking to Dutton Park, and then travelling through to South Brisbane Interstate Station and Yard.  The track cleaning train then ran back along the main line until it made it to its siding in Grafton Loco.

The fridge has been stacked with some more soft drinks and ales.  The outdoor setting and pergola were cleaned.  The timetable cards are ready and the updated train graph has been installed with the latest trains included.  So tomorrow the only things to do is to get the tea/coffee, milk, suger and coffee cups out, turn on the layout lights and fire up the Raspberry Pi for wifi access for the poor people who cannot afford an NCE radio throttle – which is my preferred way to operate the layout.  The BBQ will be cleaned and then fired up for tomorrow’s snags for lunch.

I have about 9 coming over, but 2 will be late starters.  We have about 36 or so trains to run and I may pull a couple from the timetable.  The Fastclock will start at just before 15:00, so we have about 10 hours to get through.  

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tidying up Loose Ends

This week started when we all gathered outside Shelton’s place for the appointed hour to arrive before invading him.  Guess what?  He has changed his layout AGAIN!  However, the changes looks quite good.  The scenery continues to evolve, the trees multiply and the lit signals look very nice.  He has done a very good job of a dry creek bed.  A few suggestions were offered and maybe some might be accepted.  The operation of the signals which includes two setup for automatic operation, with these going from red to green and back to red as the train passes, looks very nice.

Just before I went to Shelton’s place, I visited my shed, and installed my ESU sound decoder back into my 2300 loco that I received back from Rocket in the post earlier that day.  I gave it a bit of a run and it seemed to work, although it was stuttering rather severely.  Maybe a combination of dirty track and dirty wheels.  So both were cleaned and the pickups on the Loco oiled in the same manner that I did to the Railbus, which fixed its running issues.

I was sick on Wednesday so went down to the shed in the afternoon.  I installed a snubber under the Acacia Ridge Yard feeders and another at the far end of South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  I will see how this works with the layout.  Sometimes we get some slow response in those areas.  I also did some minor work on a dual gauge point that I scratch built in the lead into Acacia Ridge Dual gauge yard.  This point, allows me to hide a standard gauge loco in this location when I need to do some shunting in the yard.  Basically I used a cutting disk to open up the flangeways.

I have also doing some work on the narrow gauge timetable.  I was desk checking the various trains and what they were dropping off where and who was picking those wagons up to ensure that everything got back to its original position on the layout.  It was then, that I realised that one of my 1720 class narrow gauge locos was in the wrong place.  So I had to add a local light engine movement from Clapham Yard to Acacia Ridge Yard.  I am thinking of moving a couple of trains starting locations.  So these timetable cards were updated.  The timetable has these trains entering and leaving from dead end tracks.  So towards the end of the timetable, I will add two movements inside Acacia Ridge Yard to allow the reversing of the loco on the coal and grains trains.  The length of these trains starting locations will limit these trains to 8 wagons maximum unless I do some more work in Acacia Ridge Yard.  That might allow me to take then to 10 or even 12 wagons.  I might look at this in the future.  Lengthening these trains will take quite a bit of saving of my hobby budget to accomplish.  The financial controller is starting to tighten her grip on my finances.  

Thursday I had a scheduled day off work, and in the afternoon I cut out the centre section of more than three dozen give way signs.  I broke about a third of them in the process.  So I had to glue then back together.  I then painted the resultant triangles red ready to affix to the various sign posts.  I will then package them up for a couple of mates and then have a couple for the May Show to sell off.  I also returned about 4 locos to the layout that had been in a travel box which I took to the Club last month.  Now I just need to remember where I took the locos from.

On Friday I updated the timetable spreadsheet and printed out two new copies for next weekend.  One for the North Coast Controller and one for the operators to take from.  I was very lucky that some weeks back now, Darren provided me some new reams sheets of A4 4 part paper that I use for the timetable cards.  So Friday night these were torn along the perforations and assembled into train sequence order.

Saturday was Club meeting day.  So I went to the other side of town and we had the smallest ever assembly of members that I have ever seen in the current Clubrooms.  However, I got to have a good talk to PK and Greg, as well as a few others.  Today I got down to the shed in the arvo.  My first task was to reset the decoder in the 2300 loco.  Well that did not fix its whoas.  Basically, with the sound off it runs reasonable well.  However, Function 6 – the brake does not work at all.  And some sounds continue to appear from the loco even with the sound off.  With sound on, it is a very stuttered runner.  The sound ship is getting very hot.  I think the one I got back from Rocket is an absolute dud.  I think I will drop him a line next week, and see if it can be fixed up at the May show in Brisbane.  I will be working with Arthur on the Structure Building Stand.

By the way, I just clicked over 400,000 hits yesterday.  I am also about 2 posts short of 600 posts.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Very Little Progress

The weekend started with a night down at my local hobby shop.  Simon Says Hobbies and Games hosts a modelling night on the first Friday of the month.  Geoff, Darren and Brendan were also there along with many others.  Various activities were undertaken by those present and the numbers attending were very good.  I was working on cutting out the "Give Way" triangles for some railway crossing signs that I am making.  I did a bit of gluing of the last eight of so of my crossbuck ‘Railway Crossing’ signs to code 40 rail posts and then cut out about 36 or so "Give Way" triangles.  I still need to cut the centre out of these triangles and paint them red.  They can then be glued to my couple of dozen posts, for my layout and few mate’s layouts.  I might have a few spares available at this year's May Show for a dollar or two.

On Saturday I attended a morning working bee for my son's soccer club, so following that the only thing in the afternoon I did was assemble a drop saw I picked up at Aldi the previous Thursday.  I intend to use it to cut a few lengths of timber when the need arises.  Not bad for $59.  Although it did take some time to screw it all together and I think it gave me a sore back.

Today I jumped in the car and went to the All Gauge Club’s Buy and Sell at the Carina PCYC building.  This looked suitably well attended by both sellers and purchasers.  After doing the rounds for a couple of times, and having a quick chat with lots of people, I finally found something to purchase.  I picked up a set of Tichy Train Group’s fettler’s handcar and trailer set which contained 6 pairs of the vehicles for $12.  That will make a very good addition to the layout, spread around all my fettler sheds.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Relaxing Weekend

Basically this weekend I did very little related to model trains at my place.  The weekend started soccer trials with my son, and then when we got home, it was time to visit Darren’s on Saturday and had a bit of a run on his layout.  This was Darren's turn to host the Tuesday Sighters on a Saturday.  Darren has now painted his fascia a nice dark green colour and helps make some items on his fascia really stand out.  Darren has also been doing some more scenery detailing on his layout.  He has sceniced a very nice section of railway right of way about 150cm long with fences either side, and cattle paddocks outside that.  Inside the fences, the grasses seem longer and there is also a little bit more greener.  It is just perfect.  A few suggestions were provided to further enhance the scene with some bee hives and some sort of abandoned farm machinery.  Just brilliant!  Darren with the help of his wife and daughter provided a fantastic lunch.  I think quite a few of us would have been quite content to just sit on a comfy chair and nod off to sleep after lunch.

Today the only thing I did was do down the shed for about 20 minutes and paint up about 11 tea bag tarpaulins in a nice yellow oxide colour and allow them to dry.  These are destined for use on some VR GY wagons on a mate’s layout.  I think they will turn out pretty good.

This week on Tuesday a few of us ventured over to David’s place for our usual Tuesday Nighters meeting.  David was running a Loco around the layout for all those present to see.  Proof that trains do indeed run.  I can’t wait until the last little bit of track arrives from OS and he installs it.  That will create some fantastic point work outside his Manchester station and will mean that trains can go on any route and get to every bit of track work.  That will be a great milestone.  He will then probably start running real trains on the layout.  That is locos and carriages, both passenger and goods, to shake the layout down and find any issues.   I’m sure the next major phase will be eletrofying the points with point motors and then that will then lead to the creation of some new control panels.  David does some very fine work when he builds his control panels.  That probably leads to me get involved and programming up the NCE Mini Panels with the codes to set his various routes at each of his major junctions.

My next week will involve planning for a Friday night at Simon’s Hobby Shop and attending his modelling night, and then on Saturday starting to get ready for an upcoming Operating Session around Easter.  I may even continue working on a couple of scratch built tarped QR open wagons for completion before Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Finishing the New Point Control

My plan for Friday night were cancelled very early on Friday morning when Geoff, our host, called in sick.  Oh well, I watched some Bronco’s brilliance instead.  When I came home from work I picked up a roll of wire from Jaycar.  On Saturday I completed laying the wire from the point motor in Fisherman Islands Yard to its controlling NCE QSnap.  I then used the push buttons on the control panel to test it and the point was not initially throwing.  I re-aligned the motor in regards to the point and everything was then working well.  Next job was to move a wire from Input 22 to Input 23 on the South Brisbane interstate NCE Mini panel.  I then coded up the command to throw point 1631 in the first step for Input 23.  I also recoded step 2 for Input 21 to reverse point 1631, and for step 3 to link to Input 22.  I then had to install the shorting jumper on the NCE Snap-It that was under the point for track 9/10 in South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  I set this point to address 1631.  I then removed the shorting jumper, and used the South Brisbane Interstate Panel to toggle between track 9 and 10 and you guessed it.  It went in reverse.  So I had to swap the two wires on the point motor and all was good.  It then dawned on my soon after that when I set Input 23 in the mini panel, I forgot to set the other points in the lead up to track 10, which is the track into the Oil siding.  So I need to set a few more points and then also get this input to link to Input 22 to throw the common points from the mainline into track 10.  Doh!  Late on Sunday I added a throwing of point 1644 to normal and then linked to Input 22.  A quick test and everything is perfect.

So back to Friday, and I then moved down to Clapham Yard and cut a small section out of the fascia so I could mount the new point motor.  The cut out was about 2.5cm wide.  I installed the point motor and then wired three wires in parallel from the other point motor that this point motor is to operate in unison with.  A test by pushing the button for either track 5 or 6 at the southern end panel of Clapham Yard soon revealed that the new point motor operated in the opposite direction to the original.  So a quick swap of the two actuating wires on the new point motor and another test revealed that everything was now working correctly.  Yee hah!

I then did a quick run of my Southern Rail Models 2300 loco with sound.  This was sitting in Acacia Ridge Yard with 4 coal wagons behind it.  I ran it out to the dual gauge point at the entry to Acacia Ridge Yard and back again about a half dozen times.  I then went through a different track in the run around tracks.  This loco sounds quite good - maybe still a bit loud.

Today my mate David arranged a visit to his place to help him wire up his layout before Tuesday Nighters this week.  Basically, I connected the two wires from the power supply to the NCE 4 pin plug going to the PowerPro, with the other two wires going to a distribution panel to then go to his 4 NCE EB1 circuit breakers.  I set all the circuit breakers to 2.5 Amps.  I then wired the distribution panel to the inputs to the EB1s.  This was followed by the EB1 outputs to the main track bus to the various sections of layout in the shed.  I powered the PowerPro on and it came on and three of the EB1’s lit up.  The fourth started flashing.  That was not good, so I disconnected it.  Even though David had promised that he would clean the track, it was covered in gunk.  So after cleaning, the first loco ran from the main yard to Hammersmith and onto the first of the return loops controlled by AR-1 auto reversing controllers.  The loco ran straight through and out the other side.  We then tried to run it around in the other direction via the second AR-1.  It also worked well.

David had advised that his London track was the source of the short.  So we disconnected its main track feed, and reconnected the EB1 and there was still a short.  While David went and got some beers (it was hot), I was going to humour myself, and disconnect his middle section of his layout and then reconnected the EB1 and mysteriously the previously shorting EB1 can back on line.  So I then reconnect David’s London track bus and the EB1’s stayed on.  Sometimes it is hard to get good help!  So we narrowed down the short, to another section of track.  So I could not see where the short was coming from.  So now with the London section also available, we tested that also around one of his two reversing loops.  Again success.  The next job was to clean the track in the section where the short was coning from, and I removed one passenger car from the track.  I then tried to reconnect the disconnect power bus and mysteriously now, the short had gone.  I was very confused.  However, we now had track running very well in the middle section.  That just leaves his lift up bridge which is not yet wired.  So we will certainly have some discussions on Tuesday Night.

Before I ventured over to David's, I shot down to the shed for half an hour and did some programming on the main to about 5 double/triple header loco combinations on the layout.  While I’d been running operations for years, I have never worried, (actually I was too lazy to open a manual) about setting up the headlights correctly on the locos in consists.  So I disabled F0F and F0R in CV22 in all my consist locos.  I also turned off F1 and F2 in all the locos as well, except my sound locos.  This is in CV21.  I tested all locos, and everything worked as expected.  So now when the driver turns on the headlight of the train, only the headlight will come on and not all the locos in the consist.  I also set up F1 and F2 to be the cab lights in the No. 1 End and No. 2 End respectively.  So a driver can turn on the cab lights when stopping at a crossing loop, so the loco crew can see their way around the cab when making their way to the steps to exit the loco and exchange the staffs.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Point Motor Refits

Saturday involved a trip to Anthony’s place to run some Victorian trains.  This was the second Operating Session in a row that I have attended.  last session I was Victorian Railways Driver 2.  This session I was the VR1 driver 1.  Nine people were in attendance and it was quite cosy within the confines of the train room, but it was a fantastic day.  I dropped off a couple of coil loads for Anthony install in his Coil steel wagons and I also delivered a dozen tarps of various colours to detail his layout.  My next plan is to make some larger tarps for Anthony’s (and possibly some of the other VR/SAR modellers’) GY and similar wagons.  The order has been made for some green ones, so they will be available for the next session I attend or at the Brisbane May Model Railway Exhibition - which ever comes around first.

Tuesday this week, we visited Cliff’s place for our Tuesday Nighter's get together.  While there Shelton gave me three Peco point motors to try out, as I needed three more to complete some outstanding tasks on the layout.  I eventually got down to the shed on Sunday afternoon, following lunch and a morning driving lesson for the daughter.  I then started to install the point motors.  The first one is for the Fisherman Islands Yard on the narrow gauge track.  I have run two wires from the NCE QSnap located under the northern end of the Yard to the point at the southern end of the yard.  However I have run out of yellow wire for the common connection.  Next weekend will feature a trip to Jaycar to buy another roll of wire.  The second point motor is for track 10 at South Brisbane Interstate and will allow trains to get to the Oil Siding.  I got a bit further with this one.  I have run three wires from the point motor to the NCE Snap-it that I had spare.  The NCE Snap-it was installed under the baseboard very close to the point,  I also ran two wires from the Snap-it to the track bus.  I have also installed an extra push button in the South Brisbane Interstate panel and run a wire to a spare connection in the NCE Mini Panel located at South Brisbane.  Just before I wrote this update, I looked at the code in the mini panel and found out that the location I connected the wire from the control panel to, already has some code in there to throw some points via a 'Link' command.  I just need to move the wire to the next connection.  The code in the Mini Panel will require a slight adjustment for the new siding, and I think it will mean that the code in the Mini Panel for track 9 will have to be recoded to ensure that the new point will throw the correct way.  I will make these changes to the code next weekend.

The third point motor is destined to be installed into a track in the narrow gauge section of Clapham Yard.  This will ensure that the dead end siding on one of the tracks is not left selected (it was previously a manual connection via a push-pull rod) if someone was doing some shunting when a train is supposed to head south out of the yard towards Rocklea Siding or Acacia Ridge Yard.  It gets a bit embarrassing when a freight train heads straight into some train stop blocks in the siding instead of out onto the mainline.  If the train goes through the stop blocks, it is long way down and it might get quite expensive.

During the week I have been thinking about doing some more work on the scratch built 12mm open wagons, but I have not gone down that path this week at all.  Slight lack of motivation.

I think I will be scheduling my next Operating Session around Easter.  I have not consulted the boss yet, or looked at the calendar to see what else is occurring.  That will give me some time, to fix up there last few enhancements (point motors) and then give the layout a once over with a test run on both NSW and QR gauges and then clean the track a bit following this wet weather of late.  Not a simple task when you have so much track to clean.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Trying to Tarp Over it

On Friday night, I had to venture over to my daughter’s school to pick her up after a minibus trip for the School leaders to another school on the northside for International Women’s Day.  So while I was waiting for her to arrive back at school, I continued what I was doing in the shed after I came home from work.  I was folding up HO scale tarpaulins made from tea bags with cotton ties.  I must have done about a dozen before I left home, and had done another half dozen or so before the minibus arrived back at school.

Saturday this week was Club meeting day.  So I left early and went via Aurora Trains and picked up a Wuiske Models HJS kit in 12mm to put together over the next few weeks.  There didn’t seem to be the usual number of guys at the Club.  But I did have a good natter to quite a few.  While at the Club I was also folding up the last 6 of my cut up HO scale tarpaulins.   While at the clubrooms, I pulled out my HO Scale Auscision Paybus and put it on the track and gave it a run around the layout. It ran like a trouper.  I am still swearing by the remedy of putting a drop of Wahl Oil on the axles of each of the 4 wheels.  This solution has made mine stop hesitating on straight track let alone curve track or point work on my layout and the Clubrooms layout.  Just like a bought one.

While I do have an ever increasing list of projects either thought about, or even started, I still continue to add to the list.  My next project, of which I did do some work on last night, was to make a few HO scale 12mm open wagons and install a fake load under a tarpaulin.  These wagons will have a tarpaulin covering up all the wagon side and end detail and people will not know it will just be a styrene box.  Shhhhh!  I tried cutting up a couple of wagons from 0.75mm styrene last night.  I might even get around to building the basic box this week.  I do have a few spare bogies, of which I am certain they will be incorrect for this type of wagon – but most will not know.  I just won’t show them to Arthur, who will most certainly be able to advise that the wrong bogies have been fitted.  The added benefit of having a tarp over the top, means that I can put a piece of sheet lead in the wagon to weight it, and ensure that it keeps on the track.  There have been some very good Blog Updates this week by the No 1. QR Modeller going around - Arthur.  Head on over there via my Blog List.

Tuesday Nighter’s this week is at Cliff’s place and I will be picking up Shelton on the way.  That will be another great evening of discussion and banter.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Maybe I Should Have Measured That?

Friday this week was a modelling night at Simon Says Hobbies and Games.  I turned up and ran into Darren and a few regulars.  Also there doing some figure modelling, were at least three guys that actually had model railways.  I started off by cutting out about 20 Railway Crossing signs in two different sizes.  I had previously printed these out at home and I just had to cut around the printed words.  Next up was cutting up and then folding up about 21 or so tarpaulins.  These are destined to replenish my supply of tarps that I sell for $0.50 at various hobby shows that I attend.  I must have enough tarp material to make another 40 tarps, but I might get the wife to save a few more tea bags for me so I can do some more in alternate colours.

Next task was back on the railway crossing signs.  I cut some styrene strip (0.060” x 0.010”) and glued it to the smaller versions of the signs.  I also cut up about 10 lengths of code 40 rail, which the signs will be super=glued to.  I still have not started my triangular give way signs.  I just can’t find the time for that.  Something else always pops up.

On Saturday, I was chauffeured to Aurora Trains by my daughter on a driving lesson and I picked up two SDS container flats with milk containers on them – pack 12 with an NQIX and a NZMF.  These have already been added to the Branch Line shunt train.  This will allow two more wagons, and three containers to be delivered to Murwillumbah from Grafton Yard.  My thinking as of Saturday afternoon was that I might see if I can arrange for a train to bring these two extra wagons from maybe Kyogle to Cassino and then get attached to the shunt train before it gets delivered to Murwillumbah.  I will see what sort of paths are available in the timetable using the train graph.

I then sat at the modelling desk and watched a bit of motor racing.  At this point, I painted up some white metal items, distance signs and some tools.  These were left to dry overnight.  I also cut up another 4 tarpaulins.  These tarps are destined for the layout.  I am thinking of installing these at a couple of my fettler camps.  I will prop these up on tent poles and tie them down with cotton, so provide some shade to the hardworking teams that keep my track running.

On Saturday evening I did a desk check of the timetable graph and it looks like I can get a light engine from Loco Pilly all the way south to Kyogle to pick up some Milk tankers, and then it can weave its way between northbound traffic and place the milk wagons into the yard at Cassino.  It will then meat the shunt from Grafton before it heads onto the branch towards Murwillumbah.  However, it looks very dodgy if I will be able to get the wagons off the return shunt from the Yard at Cassino back to Kyogle and the Loco back to Loco Pilly before the next day in the timetable.  That has thrown a spanner into the mix.

Another thing, is that I decided to run my now elongated Number 11 shunt train from Grafton Yard to Murwillumbah this afternoon to test the running properties of the new wagons and see how it would go.  First issue was, it was sitting in Grafton Yard with the loco on the wrong end.  That was easily fixed with a quick run around manoeuvre.  The train departed Grafton Yard and as soon as it got to Rappville Loop, the next issue was spotted.  The train was longer than the loop.  Not a real issue, as long as no other overlength trains are coming the other way when this train needs to run.  When we got to the back platform road of Cassino, the train was just able to fit in, as long as the train remained foul of the southern main line, until the loading to be dropped off, could be removed and placed into the yard for onforwarding to the Cassino Meatworks.  After the loco was reattached to the train in the back platform road, and headed off to Old Cassino, the next major issue was that the train which needs to drop 5 wagons off in the Dairy Siding, no longer fits in the Yard at Old Cassino, to permit a loco run around move, before the push back of the five wagons into the Dairy Siding.  Well at that point, the option of increasing the length of the No. 11 Shunt train by the two new wagons has been put back on the back burner.  The shunt train was sent back to Grafton in disgrace and the thinking cap has been put on to look at alternate movements.  I have now removed those two additional wagons and sent them up to Kyogle to sit in the dairy siding at that location until I figure things out.

One solution might be to drop the shunt loading for Old Cassino at Cassino, along with the Cassino Meatworks traffic and another light engine from Cassino Loco can come out and shunt these wagons to Old Cassino, when a path exists.  I’m pretty sure that this can be achieved in the timetable.  But I still have to look at how everything gets re-established on the return journey.  All this to give my operating crews some interesting jobs, and also make my North Coast Control rip his hair out.  One of the benefits of this movement is that currently no locos are stored at Cassino Loco and this will add a whole new area of operation to the layout.  It will probably force me to get the turntable working and also get all the roads at this location operable.

I also went to my mate Dave’s place early this arvo, and helped him wire up two return loops on his layout.  We also completed wiring up another two at the other end of his basic dual track dog bone layout.  He might have trains running (or at least partially) when our Tuesday Nighter’s group visits in about 3 weeks.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Loads of Stuff

During the last week, I have felt pretty awful at time.  I could not shake my cough.  However, after visiting the doctors yesterday and getting a prescription, I now magically, almost instantaneously feel fantastic.  Yesterday morning I visited a few hobby shops and picked up some styrene tube.  This was used to make some pipe loads.  I have made 14 x 12mm diameter loads.  I also completed making another 8 x 20mm diameter loads, to go with my 8 x 20mm diameter loads I made last week.  I also managed to get to Bunnings on Friday afternoon after a frozen coke with my son at HJ's (and I probably shouldn't have) and found what I thought was (and was marked as) 6mm conduit (it was advertised as that).  When I got home and compared it to my 20mm conduit, it was basically the same size.  I have however, made another 4 x pipe pieces out of this conduit.  All the pipes have been painted and are now ready to place in various wagons on the layout, or to give to some mates.  I also made up some wooden pole loads for delivery to the Veneer factory at Kyogle.  I have no idea what loads went into and out of this location, so now I can only guess. I have also pulled one wagon off my spare steel train, and it is possibly going to be placed on a siding somewhere around the layout.  This wagon has a number of steel pipes as its loads.

I am very interested in the SDS milk tanker wagons released this weekend.  I want a few to supplement my milk traffic, which runs to Kyogle, Old Cassino, Lismore and Murwillumbah.  These locations were served by various Norco Factories or processing plants.  Again I do not know what wagons actually serviced these locations.  I also have quite a few milk tanks from various kits I have purchased when at previous Conventions along with a number of scratch built tanks I am trying to assemble.  I have been slack and I must get back onto completing these loads.  Maybe I will work on them between now and the May model railway exhibition in Brisbane, in May this year.  That will give me something to complete at my modelling stand.

On Tuesday afternoon this week, I was also working on a few more detail items.  I have scratchbuilt 8 railway crossing - give way signs.  I have printed the Railway Crossing text and glued that to the signs, I just need to make a few triangular give way signs out of 0.005” or 0.010” styrene and paint them up and superglue these to the 0.040” rail post.  Again another task for next weekend.  There may be a modelling night next Friday at the local hobby shop, so depending upon family responsibilities, I might be able to attend and complete that task there.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

I Wasn’t the Only Thing That Was Sick – and How to Overcome the Illness

Monday this week, the postie arrived with my Pay Railbus model.  However with an afternoon event at my son’s school followed by a Doctor’s appointment to get some drugs to make me better, I did not get to the Shed to test the model.  Tuesday was not much better, with an appointment to watch my daughter get sworn in at the School Captain at her school.  So It was later in the arvo that I could finally get down to the shed.  So the model came out of the packaging and I placed it on the track and applied power and hit F8.  The sound was very nice.  I can figure out that F0 is the headlight, F1 is the marker lights and F2 is the horn, and of course F8 turns the sound/on/off.  But that is the limit to my ability to decipher what function does what.  A few of the other functions produce a few clangs and bangs, but the model lacked a function list in the box.

So I gave the model some herbs and it just kept spluttering and stalling and re-starting after a bit of a push.  That did not look good.  After spending truck loads on a very nice model, to have it not run well, was a total disappointment.  I had this very sick feeling in the guts.  However, I just wondered if the model was just having a dry connection from the wheels to the wire pickups.  So I turned it up side down and gave it four drops of Wahl Oil to the four wheels to help with conductivity.  I then left the loco on the track and I went away even sicker.

On Wednesday while I was convalescing at home, I decided to go visit George at Aurora Trains.  He had some nice posts on his Facebook page about some new stuff arriving.  Hmmmm!  Turned to Mmmmm when I saw some of his new items.  I also picked up a bargain in his bargain bin.  A HO scale water truck for $5.  You could not get better value.  I was talking to George and he was already talking to many owners of the Auscision Rail Paybus and all were unhappy with its running properties.  He was suggesting than an ESU keep alive be fitted.  The small one of these is about $70 and the larger version is about $110 if my memory serves me, and most of the time it doesn’t.  Then if you were not going to fit it yourself, then you might need to pay someone another $50 or so dollar to do the dirty deed done dirt cheap.  Look at that – I’m a comedian.

Anyway, after coming home from work early on Thursday, I went down to the shed and turned the power on to the layout and ran the Rail Paybus from Acacia Ridge Yard to South Brisbane Interstate Platform.  From here, it ran back to Acacia Ridge yard and then all the way back to Cassino – to the back platform road or the carriage siding, where it will spend most of its time on the layout.  It then ran back to Grafton Yard, before I felt sorry for the little bugger and carried it back to Cassino’s back platform road for stable.  Well now I am impressed.  From being a very sick little puppy, it now is a reasonably good runner.  It is now almost categorised as a good runner.  All I did was oil the wheel assemblies on the model.  Sure the model had a few splutters, but that was on dead sections of track and points.  So I think it is just dry joints in the electrical pickup that gave me the first bad impression.  

I’m still not happy with the ‘out-of-the-box’ acceleration and deceleration rates.  Because of this slow speed running, and long time to get up speed, the model will stall on all my insulfrog points.  I had plans to put the model on the programming track and see what these figures are and adjust them to something reasonable, but time escaped me this weekend.

So the model has miraculously risen from the dead in my books.  More testing will be undertaken.

Yesterday I attended my first operating session at Anthony's place since late 2017.  It was great to be back.  Following re-accreditation I was the 2nd VR operator.  I had some great trains.  The layout ran very well, although Anthony was not happy with one of his new wagons, possibly causing a few shorts.  I had a great time.

Today I went to the shed again and decided that I was going to make some large concrete pipes for loads in my QR WHO wagons, and I may also put some in an NOCY or two.  So I cut up some 20mm conduit and then used my grinding wheel to put a lip on one end.  I then gave the first 8 an undercoat of grey, before they will get a concrete colour next weekend.  I've cut up another 8 sections of pipe, but 4 are slightly too long - but only on one end.  So they will be made load ready next weekend.