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.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lead up to and at the Operations Session

Wednesday dawned with me going to the shed and running the complete narrow gauge timetable.  This is 12 trains that ply the rails from Acacia Ridge Yard through Clapham Yard and sometimes reach Fisherman Islands Yard.  So my fleet of 4 locos and 17 wagons is not enough to run the timetable.  I actually need another loco and at least 4 grain wagons and then the first phase of my narrow gauge loco and rollingstock fleet will be complete.  The second phase of rollingstock expansion will include adding more coal and grain wagons, maybe 4 or 8 more of each along with a few different wagons.

I had an issue with the new dual gauge/standard gauge point for entry into Rocklea Sidings.  While all the standard gauge trains were working, the narrow gauge trains were not travelling through the point on the mainline.  I needed to add some isolation joiners around the point, and then feed the frog from a Peco switch connected to the point motor working this point.  I found a Peco switch lying around on the layout and soldered it up.  I jerry-rigged the dual gauge point, so that the narrow gauge track and the standard gauge frog all worked from this switch.  Testing revealed that the standard gauge track in both directions was again working, as was the narrow gauge traffic on the main line.  However, but putting the switch atop the point motor, the point no longer throws to the curve position (to access the sidings) each time I push the button.  However, it does restore to the mainline correctly.  

I think in the longer term, I need to acquire two auto DCC switching frog juicers (or a similar brand) piece of kit.  One will be deployed to the point at Rocklea Sidings, and another at the Fisherman Islands dual gauge point at the farthest end of the Yard.

So while running the narrow gauge rollingstock, I adjusted the coupling heights on a number of narrow gauge wagons to more correctly match the height gauge I have.  These adjustments made the trains run better, as it stopped some uncoupling events from occurring.  At the end of t\he day I still had another 4 trains to run to complete the timetable, which is what I did on Thursday.

On Friday night, I ran my track cleaning train from Grafton all the way to Murwillumbah.  On the way to Murwillumbah, I took the mainline, and on the way back to Cassino I took the loops where I could (when there were no trains in the way).  When back at Cassino, I then went north up the mainline all the way to South Brisbane Interstate, again taking the mainline all the way.  While at South Brisbane, I ran through the first 6 tracks at that location .  The other tracks have wagons stabled in them.  The track cleaning train then ran all the way back to Dutton Park, before taking a small detour back down the branch to Fisherman Islands.  From there the train returned all the way to Grafton.  While on the way, back, I ran through all the Loops.  It was this movement that caused me to noticed the track at Cassino Meatworks had a dead section, as did the northern end of Cassino Yard.  Another issue that developed, is that the point at Dutton Park, which directs trains to either Fisherman Islands branch or South Brisbane Interstate decided to not throw towards Fisherman Islands.  At least I could climb up the back of the layout and manually change that set of points if I needed to.  The set of points on the southern entry into Clapham Yard standard gauge track 3 would also not throw, so that was added to the "to be fixed" list for after the session.  So I could feel a big whoops occurring on Saturday!

Then on Saturday morning, I had previously forgotten to move 4 of the narrow gauge trains back into place to align the narrow gauge trains with the timetable start time.  So I went down and did this.  However, I was having issues.  I could not get trains to travel over my dual gauge point at Rocklea Sidings.  My Operations Session was not going to go well.

Saturday started off with the standard BBQ snags on a piece of bread, with onions, sauce and cheese.  Total crew was 11 attendees including me.  Of course drinks were available of various persuasions to keep the attendees cool.  I had a few new runners this time.  These guys got a quick overview before the crew took their places.  The aircon was turned on.  Everyone was handed a lanyard to attach their timetable cards to, and to provide a solid backing if they needed to write any notes onto the timetable card, so I can go through and correlate the issues and fix these following the session.  Greg started the Raspberry Pi for me and set the fast clock.  But I told him the incorrect time – Oh silly me!  He soon fixed this, and then Arthur assumed the position of North Coast Control.  The headsets were handed out and initially what seemed like dis-organised chaos, soon turned into a generally organised bedlam before settling down to a more sedate operating session.  We were able to get around all the issues of dead track.  Another dead track section popped up and this is over the Richmond River bridge just south of Cassino.  This regularly occurs.

There were a number of wagon issues.  One coupler jaw snapped on a stock train.  That wagon was placed in the back platform road at Cassino.  A low coupler was identified on a shunt train from Grafton to Murwillumbah and return.  A couple of trains were positioned wrongly at the start of the session and this caused some issues with trains not being able to exit staging due to something in front of them.  But we can move trains around to fix this and we did.

During the session, we had a few cases where shorts were detected.  We all knew who was causing them.  Don’t we?  Shelton could not remember that the last 4 digits of a loco was its address.  So while trying to address 44238, accidentally sent 4423 and its ballast train that was sitting in Fisherman Islands Yard careering into Loco Pilly.  I think he was trying to replicate the BHP run away in the Pilbara region from a couple of months ago.  A couple of other issues occurred, and we all thought they were caused by Shelton.  Upon further investigations, sure enough most were.  No one was killed, although an oil train ran into a car at a level crossing just outside the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  This has happened before.  The car sits on the road overbridge and the layout must have been bumped and the car ran to the railway track.  This shot featured on a couple of Facebook posts by session attendees.  Those running the layout via the JMRI wifi connection through my Raspberry Pi mostly ran out of power in their phones before the session was due to end.  So there was less and less trains running as we headed towards afternoon tea.  That is why I prefer to use the NCE Procab-R throttles, as the power lasts for about 12 months of use.  That includes all the times I fire up the layout and test it each weekend.

I think everyone had fun.  I wore the brunt of most of the jokes, as did Shelton.  But all was in jest.  I think close to 40 trains were run.  The timetable still has another 30 trains to complete its cycle.

After the Operations Session, I think I found 5 cans of drink that PK squirrelled away around the layout, and today I got stuck into the "to do list".  I fixed the three sections of dead track, Cassino Meatworks, Cassino Yard and the bridge over the Richmond River south of Cassino.  I fixed the stock wagon with broken couplers,  I adjusted the low coupler height on the MRC wagon.  I decided to attend to an issue I have had at Cassino Yard for quite some time.  The powered points at this location, were addressed as 1, 2, something unknown and 4.  They should have been 1, 2, 3, and 4 initially and then set to 424, 423, 422 and 421 respectively.  Well this has now been fixed.  I did discover that there is another set of point somewhere on the layout set to 4.  I'm not sure where, as it was at the other end of the layout that I could hear it throwing when I was working on Cassino Yard.  I will check this out tomorrow.  I ran one train twice yesterday.  So I had to "unrun" it today.  So I ran it in reverse to put it back.  I moved another two trains that were in the wrong locations at Grafton Yard to their correct locations.  More issues will be ticked off the to do list tomorrow.

Have a happy New Year everyone.

Some of the crew getting directions.

The Brisbane Limited at Acacia Ridge.  On the right of this is the dual gauge, then two narrow gauge loops.

Yours truly up doing something at Rocklea Sidings.

Darryl going to do something to Chris maybe.  Or was it Shelton?

Glenapp Loop.  The troublesome 44238 or was that 4423 or maybe 4238?

The car ran off the bridge into the oil train.

The boys in blue out to protect the public.

Roadworks here with an ambulance coming through.

All these photos have been provided by Shelton.  Thanks Mate.

Monday, December 24, 2018

I Couldn't be Happier, and Merry Christmas

So this morning I wired up the push buttons from the Fisherman Islands East Panel to the NCE Mini Panel.  The panel was then coded up with the various point control commands for each of the tracks and upon testing all worked well.  I also adjusted the Peco point motor connected on the narrow gauge track in Fisherman Islands branching from the main track into the new loop sidings at this location at the east end of the yard, and eventually got it working very well.  So that was the first lot of tasks marked off my To Do List.

Attention then turned to standard gauge point into Rocklea Sidings.  I manufactured a piano wire throw rod and connect it to a Peco point motor a few centres away out past the narrow gauge track.  I was having some trouble with the stand gauge point throwing to the main line.  I was trying everything but nothing worked in resolving the issue.  It threw to the curve position very well to allow trains into the Sidings, but would not restore to the main line.  Then it dawned on me that the Peco point motor adaptor base that my Peco point motor was sitting on has a spring in it, as did the point itself.  I usually just use a Peco point motor mounting plate for my point motors that are not mounted below the points.  These have no spring in them and I use my own styrene throw rod made out of 2mm styrene.  So I removed the adaptor base and replaced it with a standard Peco mounting plate with my own throw rod, and no second spring and the point now threw fantastically in both directions.  I was going to use the adaptor base, as the point I had planned on putting in that location was going to be a Tillig dual gauge point which does not have a spring like the Peco brand.  This I needed the spring in the adaptor base.  Now I have Success!  I even ran a standard gauge loco 7305 back and forth over the point in both directions and over both routes and everything was smooth as.  

A bit later I went for a trip down to Jaycar for some more wire (this time 3m of quad core alarm cable) and laid it between the NCE Mini Panel and the new control panel at the entry to Fisherman Islands for all the new narrow gauge loops.  The four cores are to carry the power and the signal from the three push buttons on the new pane.  That wire has not yet been soldered up as yet, but I think that will be done early tomorrow morning when I need to get out of the wife’s hair while she is cooking a great Christmas Roast in the kitchen.

So that brings me to the real reason of this blog update.  I would like to take the time to wish all my friends and all my blog readers a very Happy, Safe and Holy Christmas.  Spend some time with the family enjoying their company and lets hope that Santa has some room in his sack for some model railway related paraphernalia.  It seems he might for me.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

More Work on the 400 Class Railmotor

This week I installed a D13SRJ decoder into the 400 Class Railmotor.  I also added pickups to the power bogie, by supergluing KD bronze centring spings to each end of power bogie and folding the side arms to rub on the wheels.  Pickup wires were then soldered to the springs and these were joined to the pickups from the other non power bogie for additional pick ups,  When I did a test by applying power to the wheels the motor ran.  So the railmotor was put on the track and given some DCC power and it started to run.  Or more correctly, the motor turned the wheels and the railmotor sort of just sat there.  I think it needs some additional weight over the bogie to help it keep its feet on the ground.  I might have to spend some time checking that the bogie is sitting squarely on all 4 wheels.  I have a feeling that it is not, and this is contributing to the wheel spin.

On Friday I visited Aurora Trains and picked up some 12mm points and track.  On Saturday I visited Austral Modelcraft and picked up some rail joiners and couple of other things.  Upon returning home, I installed the points and track at the eastern end of Fisherman Islands.  It wasn’t until today that I spliced in the points for the other end of Fisherman Islands so that trains can enter the two new run around sidings.  Sometime next year, I will add some intermediate crossovers into the narrow gauge tracks, maybe 1 or even 2 pairs of points.  These will be controlled by push pull piano wire.

I also wired up tracks jumpers to both ends of the new sidings.  This was followed by powering up the NCE QSnap which will control the 4 sets of Peco points (I only have three point motors at this point in time).  The three point motors were wired back the QSnap and the layout powered up and the point motors tested.  However upon testing, the throwing of the points from my handheld throttle, two of the points work very well, but the third, will not throw the point.  So tomorrow I will rip that point up and give it a clean in case some dirt or sawdust got into it when I was drilling holes for wires today.  I will then retest it.  I still have some more work in adding the wiring from the updated control panels for Fisherman Islands back to the NCE Mini panel, and then coding up the correct commands in the Mini Panel.

Tomorrow I will install the point motor ready to control the standard gauge track into Rocklea Sidings ready for my Operations Session next weekend.  On Christmas Day, as my present to myself, I will run trains on the layout in the morning, and I will commence various road trials of the layout.  All track will be run over by my track cleaning train.  Later in the week I will then check the headsets for communication back to North Coast Control, and the Raspberry Pi fired up and checked.