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.