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.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Brain had Some Ideas

I went down to the shed in the later arvo on Thursday and started to look at my Cassino Cab Company Diorama.  I placed it on the layout in its final position and it dawned on me that it was quite a bit further away from the road (its access point), than it is supposed to be in order for it to be able to fit between the wall and the track.  But due to its width, it can’t get any closer to the access road.  Then it dawned on me, that if I moved the road entry point, one fence panel closer to the track, I could potentially cut an angled slither off the back of the diorama and it will be able to be located closer to the road.  So I removed one fence post, move the gate posts over one panel and then cut the slither off the back of the diorama with a Dremel tool and cut off disk.  After that I glued the bitumened roads down and loaded weights on top and allowed the glue to dry.  

While I was removing the various cars that had been stacked up upon the Cassino Cab Company Diorama, I got the idea that I could put a car, or perhaps part of one into the Richmond River underneath the rail bridge at Cassino.  I already have a rubber ducky with a couple of divers about to fall back off the inflatable and go scuba diving at this location.  So now, I think they will be Emergency Services personnel about to try and recover a body or two from my partly submerged car, or at the very least determine if there are anyone inside the partly submerged wreck.  So I took an old plastic car, and took a Dremel cut-off disk to it and sliced it in half and sanded the base smooth so it can be placed on the water and it looks like it is disappearing into the river after some sort of accident.

My next trip to the shed was not until today.  I went to the Train Club on Saturday and had a good time talking and just walking around.  Anyway today I removed the weights on the diorama and placed it into position next to the road backing onto the railway line on the west side of Cassino.  I then mixed up about a half dozen batches of plaster and poured them around the cab company premises and sculptured the plaster into the required heights.  This also covered the polystyrene base at this location.  I also added a couple of the mixes to near the Murwillumbah Cement works for the rear exit road from the complex.  I then got out the paint and painted these two areas with a base colour so that it is not white.  

The next task was to cut up some styrene to help make some Railway Crossing signs for the layout's various road ways.  As well, I’ve had a request from one of my regular attendees and he wants some so why not just make a batch of them.  I’ve used code 40 rail for the post and I have superglued some styrene to the post.  Tonight I will print out some RAIL WAY CROSSING words that can then be cut up and glued to the styrene on the post.  We will see how they look next weekend.

I have received an update from the postman and my delivery of my Auscision Rail Paybus is now due tomorrow sometime, in lieu of Tuesday.  Just my luck, my wife has to drive my daughter to school tomorrow as she has to be there early for a swimming carnival.  I just know that the postman will arrive at that exact time she is away.  So I assume then that I will still get it on Tuesday this week, when I have to go to the post office to collect it myself.

Late this arvo I have also been working on my 400 Class Railmotor.  I have raised the non power bogie slightly by putting a styrene washer on the bogie mount point and it seems to have had some positive impact on the ability of the railmotor to run better.  I had an idea that it was not exactly level when resting on the track, thus the power bogie which is lacking a bit of weight, is just skidding on the track.  I will apply some more lead weight maybe next weekend.  Maybe Auscision will bring that railmotor out next, but after their (according to them) less than successful Rail Paybus project, maybe they won't go down that path.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Weekly Update

Monday, as you all know, was a Public Holiday.  So early in the morning after mowing the grass and washing the pergola furniture and hosing it out for Tuesday night’s visitors, I made my way down to the shed before it got too hot.  I decided to run my steel train sequence.  This consists of 6 trains.  The first train from where I was in the timetable, was the loaded steelie going from Grafton Yard track 2 to the yard in Cassino opposite the station.  The train fits in this location.  From here the train continues further north and makes its way all the way through Fairy Hill Loop, Kyogle, Border Loop, The Risk and Glenapp before it pauses in Acacia Ridge Yard track 2 so that it can now drop off the last 6 wagons.  From here the train continues about 5 metres around the return loop at Acacia Ridge Yard and terminates.  The loads of steel on the tilt tray wagons are removed and placed in the steel load box.  The steel shunt train takes the already empty 6 wagons that are in Acacia Ridge Yard track 3 and pushes them onto the rear of the terminated steel train in track 2.  The loco the makes its way back along track two and attached to the loaded 6 wagons at the beginning of track 2.  It then moves via the crossover from track 2 to track 3 and terminates in Acacia Ridge Yard track 3.  In a few minutes the now empty steel train at the departure end of Acacia Ridge Yard track 2, travels all the way south to Grafton Yard taking the second track at this location as well.  When this has been completed, the loaded steel shunt train hauled by a sound equipped Auscision 48 Class loco travels out of Acacia Ridge Yard onto the dual gauge and heads towards Clapham Yard.  Just before Clapham Yard, it reaches Rocklea Siding.  At this location, after the set of points is set to allow the train to shunt back into the siding, it does this movement into the steel siding at this location.  The loads are then removed from each of the wagons here, and transferred to the empty steel train in Grafton Yard, wagon by wagon.  The now unloaded steel train in the Rocklea Siding makes its way out onto the mainline and waits for the points to be reset back to the mainline.  At this point, it then shunts back all the way to Acacia Ridge Yard into track 3.  The loco detaches, and then runs forward using one set of mid-yard crossovers, out onto track 2, then makes its way to the other end of Acacia Ridge Yard, here it reverses and takes the another set of mid yard crossovers from track 2 to track 3 and then re-couples up to the now empty 6 steel wagons.  These wagons remain here in track 3 until the cycle of the 6 steel trains starts all over again, and these wagons are added to the end of the empty steel train when it comes back into Acacia Ridge yard from Grafton Yard.

After doing all this work, I forgot to test all the tooth brush bristles that I had installed the previous day.

On Tuesday Afternoon, in preparation for Tuesday Nighters, I tested all the tooth brush bristles that I installed on the previous weekend.  They all worked very well.  About 9 guys came over and after they had a walk around the Shed, I decided to run my steel train sequence from Grafton Yard to Acacia Ridge Yard for their amusement.  It was a very good night.

As the weekend rolled around and with Friday night being a modelling session at the local Hobby Shop, I could not motivate myself to attend.  I think Darren and Geoff went, but I could not align the planets.  On Saturday, I did not get to the shed at all.  However today, I did get down there for about 40 minutes.  I reset the timetable backwards in time for three trains.  One of my container trains was sitting at Border Loop, but I backed it all the way back to Cassino.  The Railbus that was at Cassino moved around to Old Cassino to help pay the branchline staff.  The Brisbane Limited moved out of track 3 at South Brisbane Interstate and into the platform, before then heading south and is now sitting at Clapham Yard track 2 waiting for a cross.  So what does this all mean?  Well, it means that the fast clock time, is now at set to 3:05 PM.  From my childhood, I know that the Brisbane Limited actually went through Yeerongpilly at about 3:30 – 3:35pm, so my version of timetable history is about 30 minutes out of sink – at least for this train.

I am thinking about what can be the next piece of work I will undertake on the layout.  I am currently looking at the baseboard between the disabled wagons sidings and the area across the track from the Coal Stage.  This is about a 3’ x 1‘ area that is currently unsceniced with basic polystyrene as a base.  I will install my model of the Cassino Cab Company headquarters at this location, and do a bit of scenery around the outside.  However, at the moment, all I can do is look at it and not jump into doing any work on it.  Maybe next week, the juices will be flowing again.

I am looking around all my spare wagons trying to work out what wagons are suitable for positioning in the sidings located at Kyogle.  I am also thinking that I might be looking at running a train from Cassino to Kyogle to position and remove these trains during the timetable session.

I see that according to the Auscision website that the sound version of the NSWGR Paybus will be sent out next week.  Hopefully, I will have it in my hands before Friday.  That way I can give it a run next weekend.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Slow Weekend – for More Than One Reason

This weekend Darren had invited a few over to his place for running trains and/or modelling afternoon /evening on the Saturday.  However, late on Friday afternoon, I received an SOS  text message that I had a call up for an early game of cricket on Saturday morning.  This is an old boys game that apparently has been going for 39 years.  It started as the Class of 80 vs Class of 81.  There has been some ring-ins over time, but this was my first call up as a member of the Class of 81.  I caught up with some guys I had not seen for some time (40 years in one case), and others I had not seen for a couple of years, and most – somewhere in between.  Any way I was second change bowler and my two overs cost 0-6.  I had not picked up a ball since the cricket season last year when I used to bowl to my son in the nets.  I was even asked to roll my arm over in the nets at his training sessions a couple of times.  However, he is not playing this year, so yesterday I found some muscles I did not know I had.  Luckily, this was a gentlemen's version of the game, no sundries allows, and no overthrows.  Anyway, my team got the older guys all out for 63.  

When we batted, I also was number 4.  One of our openers retired after a few overs and he had already pummelled 28 with a 6 and about 4 fours.  I ended up with an ondrive four off the first ball and I ended up 16 not out, when my batting partner scored the winning runs with a 4.  We were only about 3 wickets down, with two batsmen retired.  What a great day.

Anyway off home, and I still gave my daughter a 30 minute driving lesson before rocketing off to Darren’s place.  I did not feel like modelling.  Maybe because I was spasming all over from running around in the heat of the day, stress muscles I did not know I had.  I did however have a great afternoon, watching the others working diligently on their models.  This was a learning experience.  One thing I learnt was that they all have and use some tools that I do not have.  So I enjoyed studying them as they were working.  So I was just chillaxing, with a cold drink in my hand.  A fantastic meal was provided by Darren’s wife Kath and then it was time to return home and let the aches and pains get worse overnight.

Today I went to the traditional Old Boys Game.  I saw the last 6 wickets fall for the 1st XI.  When they were all out, I left.  As I did not know anyone in the 1st XI team, I did not stay around and watch them receive their caps.  But I did follow the scores on twitter throughout the afternoon and the Old Boys eventually won.

After lunch I visited the shed and installed about 15 lots of tooth brush bristles (weeds) in various sidings at Rocklea Siding and Clapham Yard.  These emerge from the ground and provide some resistance against the KD coupler tangs and the axles on the wheels and eventually any rolling wagons without an engine in the sidings will come to a rest there if the siding is on any sort of a slope.  I will test these tomorrow when the glue dries.  I then looked at two CCX wagons that I had and they are being considered to be added to the rollingstock register.  I installed some lead into the centre sill underneath the wagon and think I will use these wagons on my steel train.  I will make it an extra wagon longer and have one wagon on the train and one in the Rocklea Steel Sidings and they will get swapped over each operating session.

Tomorrow, I will do some trying up in the shed and pergola, as well as mow the yard for Tuesday's visitors.  If I can do those tasks early, I might run some trains in the afternoon.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Repositioning Wagons and Fixing a Few Small Issues

This week started with us gathering at Arthur’s place on Tuesday Night, for our first get together for the year.  It was a somewhat special night.  The following Thursday was Lefty’s 70th Birthday and the Sunday (today) was Arthur’s 70th Birthday.  How special was that?!  We even had a cake and sang Happy Birthday.  Happy birthday to our two septuagenarians.

On Saturday after lunch I went to the shed and started to re-run the timetable I ran with Darren and Shelton two weeks before.  Just as I was about to run the third train of the day, I realised that the train was in the wrong order.  So I had to go back to the timetable card at the end of the previous session and add some words to re-marshall the train so it is ready to leave in the following session.  Another update to the timetable cards was for the Southbound Steel train.  I have now identified this train as overlength heading south and I will also do so heading north.  It only occurs every second session, as there are different wagons added/removed and these put one of the south/northbound pairs over length for four of the loops.  These are Kyogle, The Risk and Border Loop as well as Fairy Hill Loop.  It still fits in all the other crossing loops by just an inch or two.  I think this will add to the operational mayhem that occurs on the layout at the event I call an Operations Session.  But at least the driver of the train will know he might have issues at those crossing loops.  That just means that he has to run by on those loops while the other trains stay in the other track.  Border Loop crossing Loop is an interesting one.  It had two run-offs at each end on the Loop and a train can run into one of these run-offs and set back into the other, thus allowing for an over length train to be put away.

I did have fun doing the various shunts yesterday and today.  Of the 16 movements, I ran 13 on Saturday before I pulled up stumps and took my daughter for a driving lesson.  The last few positioning moves were finished this morning before lunch.  After lunch I then started back over positioning the four trains in their timetable position as at about 2:30pm on the fast clock so it can be resumed at an as yet unknown date in the future.  This positioning meant that I have just one train on the layout in transit and quite a few left to complete the Operations Session.

I did read somewhere on Facebook, that someone had received their NSWGR Pay-Bus from Auscision Models.  Mine has not yet turned up, so I will be hanging out for this over the next week or two.

I was planning an Operations Session next weekend, but my daughter now has something on Saturday, I have the traditional Old Boys vs 1st XI at my son's school that I go an watch on the Sunday and I thought I might just vegetate on the Monday.  But who knows?  If I had 6 to 8 willing participants I might be persuaded into holding an Operations Session on the Monday.

Just to amuse PK, following his comment last week, I was doing some work on the layout on Friday Afternoon, and yes, I gave myself another boot from the track while I laying my sweaty arm across the layout.  I guess some never learn.

While doing the various train movements yesterday and today, I was also loading and unloading my steel trains.  Previously I made some tools to speed up the process.
This is the unloading tool I made from 0.100" styrene square strip.  This fits through the two layers of Auscision wire coils and allows them to be lifted off 4 coils at a time.

The loaded Steel Train is inside the steel siding at Rocklea Sidings.  Various sidings and wagons are visible.  The next track to the Steel siding, is a narrow gauge track for new wagon delivery.  Next is are two standard gauge track, the first is the new wagon track, it has a Sleeper wagon built by Comeng and two new coal wagons.  Next is the unloading track for the limestone wagons, but also has two open wagons in for repair at the end.  Next are two narrow gauge tracks, with a couple of WHO wagons, one with wire and the other with two cars for delivery.

This is how the Coil Steel Wire unloading tool is used.  It just slides into 2 slots and through the two levels of wire coils in those slots.  My version of the unloading tool does two slots at once.

Here we are unloading 8 coils (2 slots) at a time.  Five unloading movements is all it takes to unload the wires coils.

The 8 coils are then lifted off the wagons as it is unloaded.  These are normally then stored in my Steel train load container.

As I was running everything at the same time, I then moved those coils straight to the empty wire coil wagon in Grafton Yard and the coils were re-loaded into that wagon, 8 at a time.  Magic!

The steel train is then unloaded, and eventually goes back to Acacia Ridge Yard, to be added to the empty steel train in track 2 at Acacia Ridge Yard, heading "UP to Sydney", which happens to be down from the top level to the bottom level on my layout.

This photo shows the work I did a few weeks back in Cassino Yard.  Here the Disabled Wagons Siding has a few Trailer Rail wagons (scratch built) sitting in the siding.  I just remembered that I accidentally glued the point for the two sidings shut.  I will work on that next weekend.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


I left work far later than I had hoped on Friday.  There was some planning being undertaken related to some Saturday work I was doing, Project Managing the migration of some UNIX servers from old IBM Power 6 kit to newer Power9 kit for a customer.  This included a Database upgrade as well.  I'm not a project Manager either.  Anyway, I also had my car in for a service, so caught a train from Central to Moorooka.  I noticed a guy sitting on the other side of the carriage to me.  When I got off at Moorooka, picked up my car and then went to Aurora Trains to pick up some Tillig track, that guy who was sitting opposite me on the train was there at Aurora Trains.  Small world isn’t it.

So I picked up my Tillig point, went home, and eventually spent some time in the shed, installing this point just outside Rocklea Sidings.  The point that came out, was stripped of its narrow gauge track and it was temporarily placed on Grafton Yard track 1 to allow for a small dead end siding at this location for storage of my Rail Bus, or 400 Class rail motor and another short train that may eventuate in the future.

Saturday was an early start for work at 5:30am, but by 10:30-ish I was able to get down to the shed for a short period and splice the point into Grafton Yard Track 1 and lay the new sidings, and then while I had the Dremel out, I had to cut one dual gauge piece of track on the mainline south of Rocklea Siding to connect up the new Tillig Track.

Testing ensued.  I then spent some time trying to work out the best way to ensure that the point motor on this point threw each time successfully.  After some swapping of components, it all seemed OK - or was it?

Today I got down to the shed after lunch and I then had to wire up the new siding off of track 1 in Grafton Yard.  Another 10 minutes work and voila.  That was the easy part of my tasks for today.
The short dead end track off Track 1 in Grafton Yard.  The railbus and 400 Class Railmotor will reside here initially.  I may store the second of my Track Tampers in this siding as well.

While trying to attach the point throw rod to the Tillig point, I twisted the actuation bar on the Tillig point and broke one of the point blades from connecting to the throw rod.   I very big Whoops after just spending $92 on the dual gauge point.  At that point in time, I swapped throw bars to one that came out towards where the point motor was and not on the other side of the point like when the point out of the box. 

After some thinking, I drilled a hole in the throw bar and bent up a thin piece of #32 gauge wire into an 'L' shape.  I tinned the wire and fed it through the hole in the throw bar and then tried to solder it to the curve point blade.  Well it seems to work.  What I didn't say, is that I did all this work with the track power on.  At least three times I was trying to install the wire into the point rod, and I got a few rather sever boots from the 5Amp system.  I was sweating and I was resting my hand across both rails in the siding.  Those boots caused me to jump, and I kept throwing the 'L' shaped connect in the air.  I then had to find it.  I had to make another and that one went for a fling as well.  I eventually found one, installed it and soldered it successfully.  The point motor throws the point straight and curve and standard gauge trains run in both directions over both routes on the point.  Narrow gauge trains also run in the straight route through the point in both directions.  All these are a hell of lot more smoother than occurred during my Operating Session a few weeks back.  You would not even know there was a point there now.  The Tillig point is even powered correctly via the switch atop the Peco point motor.  So it is almost like a bought one.

So despite me stuffing up the new point, it looks like it has been salvaged.  I also adjusted the first standard gauge point in Rocklea Sidings and it now throws in both directions very easily.  It was struggling in one direction. 
The troublesome Tillig point letting standard gauge traffic into Rocklea Sidings. 

A wider shot shows the narrow gauge entry as well as the standard gauge entry.

At this stage I have no idea what I will be going next weekend.  Maybe I might run another short Operations Session with the same 16 trains as the last mini session with all my problems now fixed.

Although I just remembered that one track in Rocklea Siding needs it track feeder fixed up.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Mini Operations Session with Shelton and Darren

On Saturday I went to the local hobby shop to check on the delivery of my dual gauge Tillig point and it is still not here.  I assume that the delivery has been lost in the Christmas mail somewhere.  So I went home empty handed.  Later on that day I went down to the Shed, and decided to install a small shelf under the layout near Grafton Loops, that will hold the containers for Coal Loads, Ballast Loads, Sleeper Loads and Steel Loads.  So that was completed and everything loaded onto the shelf with labelled containers.

Next up I spliced in the two cross over points between tracks 2 and 3 in Acacia Ridge Yard.  This is to allow me to run around the steel train for its shunt to Rocklea Siding and return.  Once installed, I needed to add a couple of power jumpers to the tracks and all is fine with the work performed.

So today at about 1:15pm, I shut the shed door, turned on the layout lights and the air conditioner as I had Shelton and Darren pop over for a mini Operations Session.  This was 16 trains being run today.  Well I have confirmed that I really need that Tillig point for Rocklea Sidings as most of the trains on the mainline stall and need to be helped along and this point is in an awkward position to get to, particularly if I am running my own train at the other end of the layout.  I found that while shunting the Limestone siding in Rocklea, that one of the tracks did not have power.  So a soldering iron fixed that up.  With the various new wagons added to the roster, allowing for empties to be added to a train after loaded wagons have been detached, I found out that some of these wagons needed some attention with the bogies, the coupler heights etc.  So this is the whole purpose of this mini Ops Session.  One steel slab wagon has had its bogies swapped out.  Others have had the bogies lowered or raised to standardise the coupler heights.  I also was able to be given direction from the crews about adding some more detailed text to a number of timetable cards.  We also had some fun, with many crosses being made when we were running these trains.  Additionally we had to look ahead on the train line, as we had trains come from different directions wanting to cross, but with two intermediate loops with others trains stabled from the main timetable, this caused some problems.  We had a shunt trains heading south from South Brisbane Interstate, after picking up loading from Clapham Yard, and the train got put away on the main at Glenapp Loop.  At The Risk Loop we had a ballast train in the Loop, and at Border Loop, we had an overlength Container train in the Loop with its tail up one of the run offs.  The other run off had the 620/720 set to form the Mountain Goat.  Coming the other way was a loaded steel train.  But we got over this cross. 

This was the first session where we actually unloaded the steel wagons in the Rocklea Sidings, and then loaded them again when the empty steel train got to Grafton Loops for staging.  This provided a bit of a long time to unload and reload the Auscision wire carrying wagons.  For unloading, we used a large magnet that fitted above the two wire coils in a bay and lifted then off the wagon and allows them to be placed in the steel storage box.  Loading was done with a piece of styrene two coils at a time.  Following the session, I made up 4 wire loaders out of 0.100” styrene square strip.  This now allows each bay of the wagon to be loaded separately, 4 coils at a time.  It works great and has greatly improved efficiency of loading/unloading process for the train crew.  I made four of these unloaders, as I’m sure some of my mates might want one for their layouts.  It only takes about 2 minutes to make one.

On the subject of those steel slab wagons, I think the two bogie steel slab carrying wagons were scratch built by the late Mike Boyde.  Mike gave me a number of his wagons over the last few months before he moved from Regents park to Toowoomba.  That is another reason to try and add them to the timetable.  Back about 20 years ago, his enthusiasm to build items out of styrene was un matched.  We made some great models back them striving for more and more detail on them.

Thanks to the guys that came over today and helped out.  I now have to update the timetable cards with all the notes we have now made and maybe reset the timetable back a few hours, so that the remaining number of trains can be comfortably fitted into the next Operations Session slot scheduled for sometime around Australia Day.  But I will need to buy another carton or two before then, as the fridge is almost empty.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

I Need to Learn to Count

On Monday I set about going some more work on the “To-Do List” that I set myself following the last Operations Session on the previous Saturday.  I fixed up the point at Dutton Park.  It now throws in both directions.  I then went to the point at the southern entry to Clapham Yard that I thought was giving me some issues.  I had originally identified that I could not access track three from the mainline as the point I was looking at was not throwing.  However, the point that was not throwing was for entry into track 4, and I was never pushing the button for track 4.  That is why it was not throwing.  So when I pushed that button, it threw as it should have.  Maybe I need to learn to count to 4 from my current maximum of 3.  I also fixed up a power jumper for Rocklea Sidings.

Now wanting something to do, I decided to continue my work around Cassino Yard.  There are two disabled wagon sidings branching off the headshunt at the northern end of the yard.  These have been covered by masking tape for years.  So off came the masking tape, and I cleaned up the area, and then covered them with ballast and a brown coloured tile grout to simulate dirt.  This was spread with a fine brush and then covered with diluted PVA glue and allowed to set.

So while this was drying, I was having a think about how I could link five of my trains together.  I run a steel train from Acacia Ridge in the early hours of the morning to Grafton Yard (Train no. 8), where it sits in a siding until later in the timetable and comes back in two moves.  The first move (Train no. 7) is from Grafton Yard to Cassino in the Yard for a period of time.  From there, when a northbound path is available, it moves from Cassino Yard all the way to Acacia Ridge Yard (Train no. 7A).  I also have a steel shunt train that runs from Acacia Ridge Yard that departs a couple of hours after the mainline steel train has left south at the beginning of the Operations Session.  This shunt (Train no. 65) goes from Acacia Ridge Yard to Rocklea Sidings, where it backs into the steel siding at this location.  After a couple of hours, it then comes out onto the mainline and propels the train backwards towards Acacia Ridge Yard (Train no. 66).  These two shunts are totally independent to the other mainline steel trains.

So my thinking is that when the mainline loaded steel train arrives at Acacia Ridge Yard very late in the timetable sequence, it uncouples the last 5 wagons and leaves then on track 2 within Acacia Ridge Yard.  The steel train will then travel further around the loop at Acacia Ridge Yard to the end of track 1 ready for its departure at the beginning of the next timetable session.  After this has occurred, the 48 class loco that runs the shunt from Acacia Ridge Yard to Rocklea Sidings and back again, will form Train no. 70, and push its now empty train onto the end of the steel train on track 1 in Acacia Ridge Yard, and then come back and collect to 5 wagons left by the steel train on track 2.  It will then move these wagons to track 3 in Acacia Ridge Yard for the next session.  This way, I am swapping wagon from the steel train to the shunt and back over the session, and free up track 2 for other crossing movements in the timetable.  Also the drivers of the various trains will have to unload the steel train while in Rocklea Sidings (Train no. 65) and will then load the steel train when it arrives in Grafton Yard (Train no. 8) before it heads north again with a new load of steel to repeat the process.

In order to facilitate these movements, I think I need to add two sets of points between Acacia Ridge Track 2 and Track 3 on the inward side of Acacia Ridge Yard to allow the 48 class shunt loco to easily get to the rear of the empty steel wagons that have just come from Rocklea Sidings, so they can be pushed onto the rear of the southbound empty Steel train for very early in the next timetable session.  The loco can then come back onto the just left full wagons, and move them to Track 3 ready to take them to the siding.  I just happen to have these two points needed in my pile of spares.  These might be installed next weekend following a visit to a hobby shop.

My plan for next weekend (probably Sunday now, as the boss is going out and I won't be doing much in the shed) is to also run a mini timetable with myself, and maybe one or two others (any takers for a beer or two and a run?), running 5 x railbus movements, 6 x steel train movements and 5 x other shunt trains from Grafton to South Brisbane Interstate with a shunt to and from Rocklea Sidings for Limestone traffic.  I have to fit this in between taking my daughter for a driving lesson which have now started while she has finished school for the year.  I can’t wait until later in the year when she gets some experience under her belt, and she can comfortably drive me to the train shop and back on a Saturday morning.  That will be the life.  No sooner will these lessons be finished, when I will have to start it over again but this time for my son.