Sunday, July 28, 2019

I Think I Made My First Point Very Well

This week I had not been to the shed until late this morning.  While I was planning to try and check the scratch built points electrically before I installed then in the layout, I was too lazy to wire them up.  So I bit the bullet and installed one of the dual gauge points in the northern lead into Acacia Ridge Yard.  I trimmed the rails so it matched the size of the point I was replacing and basically it slipped right into the space provided.  I installed a double pole double throw electrical switch in the baseboard to actuate the point by an omega spring made from a paper clip.  I used the switch to control the polarity to the frog of the dual gauge point.  After installation I turned the layout power on and there were no shorts.  I ran my 45 class, an AR Kits loco that I installed a decoder in about 10 years ago numbered 4519 which was sitting in the standard gauge siding where this dual gauge point connects to.  The loco was driven out of the standard gauge siding and it ran well out onto the mainline.  I then switched the point via the electrical switch and omega spring and the 45 class ran well back through on the mainline.  I then ran the 45 class back the other way and then back into the siding and the standard gauge trains have never run so smoothly through this set of points.  Next test was a 1720 12mm class loco.  1741 was then run through the point backwards and forwards and it ran well through the point as well.  I then took my new wheat wagons for a run, hauled by the 1720 class loco.  They also ran through the point pretty well.  I could not have hoped for a better result.

I decided to push my luck and started removing the other point I was to replace with a new scratch built dual gauge point into Rocklea Sidings for the standard gauge trains.  That was easy and I then cut the dual gauge point for this location to the correct size and installed it.  The standard gauge entry into the Rocklea Sidings seemed to work pretty well.  I then made another omega spring from another paperclip and connected that up to the original point motor.  I then pushed some 12mm wagons that were sitting in Rocklea Sidings through the mainline trackage of the new point and they also seemed to work.  So it seems that the trains pushed through this set of points seem to work quite well.  But I ran out of time to fire up the DCC system and see if there was any shorts with the new point and if powered locos will travel through the points.  I think I will now leave that task until Friday this week. 

All in all a positive result for the few hours I spent in the shed today.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I Have Some Points to Make

This week on Tuesday night we visited Lefty and Son’s place just up the road in the next Suburb.  There was about 8 or 9 of us there if my memory serves me correctly.  PK was supposed to attend, but his car suffered a fit just outside the PA hospital.  Apparently the good folk from the RACQ got him and his old almost 25 year old car home, and an auto electrician was able to do some sort of transplant surgery on the old Camry and the damn thing might still have another 20 years of life left in it.  That is probably how long it will take for him to get around to installing his Clothesline in the back yard, so he can then insulate and line his shed, as a prelude to building his HO and N scale empires inside.

So Lefty has been given some offers of help to install some wall brackets that will allow a roof to be provided to his top deck on the layout.  This will assist in keeping dust and other particulates from the layout and provide a base to mount his overhead LED lights onto.  We await his call to arms to provide assistance.

PK was going to drop off his Fast Tracks dual gauge jig on Tuesday night, so his non-show was jeopardising me building some dual gauge points this weekend.  But PK did come to the rescue when he rocked up at work for a coffee early on Thursday and handed over his fast Tracks jig, so my plans could go ahead.

I was able to sneak over to Austral Modelcraft on Saturday morning before soccer and picked up two lengths of code 83 rail so I could spend this afternoon in the shed making two dual gauge points.  I had already cut the PC board sleepers last weekend.  So today was just cutting the insulation joints on the PC board sleepers between the two rails, then slowly measuring, cutting to length and grinding the various shapes of the rail lengths in the points.  These were then soldered up and various pairs of HO and HOn3 1/2 bogies were run through them.  Once complete I installed a throw bar.  The points seem to work.  Hopefully I will get around to looking at installing this set of points into the entry to Rocklea Sidings next weekend.

So after completing the first sets of points, I then thought about starting the second.  A quick scan of my supply of PC board sleeper strip material revealed that I had one length left in the packet hanging on my workbench.  That was not going to be enough.  I then went to the location where I left my last few point building projects and found another length of PC board strip along with another half a length.  Well that was just enough.

So the PC board sleepers were cut off, the rails cut to lengths, and eventually everything was soldered up and this point also seems to work.  Although the actuating throw bar was giving me some trouble, it has been added and this one set of points also seems to work.  This set of points is due to the lead into Acacia Ridge yard from the Clapham Yard end.  It provides a small HO loco storage siding at this location.

My first task next weekend, will be to put both of these points on a small test track and ensure that they are correctly electrically isolated, before I put them on the layout.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Still Stuffing Round with Rocklea Sidings

I had Friday off work this week and spent some time in the afternoon down the shed.  I ripped up the dual gauge track between Clapham Yard and Rocklea Sidings with the intention of relaying this section.  I had a narrow gauge curve point in this section to allow narrow gauge trains to gain entry to Rocklea Sidings.  This narrow gauge curve point had a third rail laid on the outside to form the standard gauge track in this section.  This was always causing some issues.  The reason was that the third rail on the outside was not exactly 16.5mm from the far rail on the inside of narrow gauge point.

So after lunch I ripped up the track and then took to the baseboard with a Dremel with a sanding disk in it.  This was to take a bit of a bulge out of the baseboard at this location and ensure a smooth base to work from.  This had the desired effect.  I then stole one of the points allocated to Fisherman Islands Yard for a narrow gauge cross over and installed that point in the track narrow gauge main line at Clapham Yard that merges with the standard gauge track from Clapham Yard to form the dual gauge via a Tillig gauge splitter piece of track.  I had to add about an inch onto the baseboard at this location first to allo wteh extra track to co exists with the dual track mainline.  So it made a longer narrow gauge lead into the Rocklea Sidings but this now runs very well.  The dual gauge main line track also runs better until it gets to the current dual gauge point that splits off the standard gauge into the Rocklea Sidings Complex.  I have not reconnected the point motor for the standard gauge sidings so I cannot run trains through it.  I did however, relocate the point motor from the old narrow gauge curve point, by extending the three wires to the Peco point motor to the new location of the point motor.  This relocated point and point motor now works very well.

I am once again contemplating scratch building two new dual gauge points for two locations on the layout to replace two others currently in use.  One is a bastardised Peco HO point, that I ran the third narrow gauge rail through.  I feel I can now build a better version of this point.  I think I will need to purchase a couple of lengths of code 83 rail this coming weekend and have to borrow PK’s dual gauge Fast Tracks point jig.  I’ve had one of his jigs for months, but I need it to use it to build one of these points, and I will need to borrow the other jig to build one point of the other hand, with the third rail on the other side of the point.

Let’s see how I go over the next two weeks or so working on that task.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Trip from Toowoomba to Fisherman Islands

I was extremely fortunate to be offered a cab ride last Monday from Toowoomba to Fisherman Islands on an Aurizon coalie.  It all started at my place when I was picked up and transported to Willowburn Yard to sign in and do a breathalyser test.  Of course I registered 0.00% so I could take my place in the car out to the Harlaxton Ballast Quarry with the crew for a change over.  My crew were great.  They even knew some of the old folks that I know from QR, QR National and Aurizon.

We had a slow trip down the range not exceeding 20km/h, passing many empties on the way back up to the mine.  Our first crossing loop was Rangeview reached at 12:01pm.  At Springbluff we crossed out first empty 9616 with 2305 + 2346 in charge at about 12:42pm.  There were lots of people on the platform, maybe due to school holidays.

We then crossed 2348 + 2350 on 9618 at 1:48pm through Lockyer.  This was followed by 2328 + 2313 on 9620 at 2:00pm at Helidon.  At Helidon the detector told us that we were 692m in length and had 44 Vehicles (of course two were the locos).  

At Gatton we passed 2388 + 2333 on 9624.  We were held outside Ipswich awaiting for an electric to get in front of us, and we passed 2306 + 23?? at Booval.

There was a cattle train in the cattle siding at Dinmore hauled by 2365 + 2390.  We had green lights all the way from Ipswich until arrival at the Fuel loading point at Fisherman Islands at 5:16pm.  We left provisioning at 5:46pm and basically my day was then complete. Our train was lead by 2320 and wouldn't you know it, I never got the other 2300's number. 

What a day!  We passed many electrics once we got into the suburban area.  A couple of places you could just look at the track and see that there was a bit of a wobble coming up and then sure enough as we went over that section, we got a good shake.  I got to see some unusual QR signal aspects, and could listen to the various announcements over the radio.  Some were quite interesting when we were in the Brisbane suburban area.

Thank you to those that helped to arrange the days events.  I had an absolute blast.

I think this is leaving Rangeview Loop.

About to enter Springbluff

Through Springbluff platform.

Murphy's Creek and an old water tank.

Cross just short of Lockyer

Another cross near Helidon

Our crew change point.

Through a Tunnel.  There were many.

Entering Brisbane Traffic Control territory.

The NGR homebase.

The signal that we had to wait for outside Ipswich.  Ipswich Railway Workshops are off to the left.

Bundamba and the branch is coming in from the right.

Dinmore passing a cattle train and an electric.


Wacol - just for Bob.

Another shot of Wacol.

And another shot of Wacol.

Just west of Darra.  This is advising us that we are taking the freight bypass track.

Just short of the Springfield junction and our destination is the freight bypass track.

Through Darra on that bypass track.

You are about to loose the overhead if you are an electric.

Corinda, my old stomping ground from 30 years ago.

About to cross over to the main.

Crossing over to the main.

Tennyson just before Yeerongpilly.

Joining the dual gauge at Yeerongpilly.

Up over the flyover at Dutton Park and Park Road

Through Coorparoo.  Another famous layout.