Sunday, August 27, 2017

August Operating Session Cancelled

On Thursday this week at work I started going downhill pretty fast.  On Friday morning, I felt like I had died and no one had told me.  So I stayed home and slept most of the day.  I was however able to get an early email out on Friday morning, issuing a cancellation notice for Saturday’s Operating Session.  As it turned out, another crew member was also crook, and a second, who had been crook was about to do a Lazarus and turn up for the session.  But given my health, I knew there was no way I’d be in a state to have the Ops Session the next day, let along be a confined space with about 8 or 9 other guys.  What’s more with the drugs I was on, I would not have been able to enjoy a cold beverage. 

So over the next 24 hours, I heard from almost everyone who had said they were coming and all advised that they were disappointed but said that I had made the correct decision.  I did get a few smart comments back that the guys could either just come over to the shed and drink my beer and run trains with me locked outside, or regretting that they now had to spend the day with their other half - shopping. 

As it turned out I did not go down to the shed yesterday or today.  But today I had sufficiently recovered to be able to attend my kids old primary school fete and I don’t feel too bad now.

I just need to work out what date to schedule the next Operating Session.  That may be next Saturday.

I also have Tuesday Nighter’s this week at my place.  Its been quite a while since it has been here and I’m sure the attendees will be able to determine what has been accomplished since their last visit.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Finishing Touches Before Operations Session

This week I spent 3 and a half days in Melbourne for a work conference.  I had a great time and actual learnt quite a bit.  It just means I have more to do when I get back to work on Monday.  I travelled down Monday afternoon and came back Thursday night.  Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to head across the river and visit Hearns Hobbies and the other model railway shop in Swanston Street.  I then heard when I got back that the hobby shop in Swanston Street is shutting down due to the premises being compulsorily taken over by the state as an access point for the new Melbourne Metro I think was the reason.  How sad! 

Due to working on the Brisbane Public Holiday on Wednesday this week in Melbourne, I swapped it for Friday.  My son also had the day off school so my time at home was put to good use - doing nothing.  I did get down to the shed in the later afternoon and I did a bit of cleaning up.  The desk for North Coast Control was cleaned and a few other surfaces around the layout were also similarly treated.  I still have plenty to do before next weekend.

On Saturday I spent quite a bit of time moving the train magnets on my North Coast Control Train Control board back to where all the trains are currently positioned in readiness for the Operations session.  I found out that I was down about 6 train magnets and a few wagon magnets, so I printed them out today and made up new magnets for all of them.  I have cut up the shunting lists and they have been placed ready for North Coast Control to read and the new timetable graphs have been positioned at both North Coast Control and the driver sign in point.

I finally got around to updating the timetable cards yesterday and adjusting the sequence number on about 60 of the cards.  This was because of adding a new train to the session, and also adjusting the times of a couple of trains, and thus it put quite a few trains out of order.  I also adjusted a few minor things on the cards and so they are all ready to go for next weekend.

I was thinking today about doing a bit more detailing to a number of my corrugated iron 500 and 1000 gallon water tanks that are scattered around the layout.  Many photos I have seen have these tanks sitting on a base.  I built some sleeper bases for them to be positioned on and then placed about 6 around the layout in various locations.  I then decided to do some work on cleaning the track.  I ran the steel train that is located in Acacia Ridge Yard track 1 all the way back to Grafton Yard and return.  I used it to spread some oil on the tracks along the way.  The train was hauled by a Lima 422 + Powerline (original) 48 power combination and it ran really well.  I then did some work on my scratchbuilt track cleaning cars that have not been run for quite some time.  One need a replacement KD coupler at one end and I also adjusted the other couplers heights.  Following this work, the track cleaning train of two track cleaning wagons was hauled by a 44 class loco and ran from Clapham Yard to South Brisbane Interstate Station.  The train was run through tracks 1, 2, 4 and 6 as the other tracks had trains positioned on them.  The train was then back tracked back to Dutton Park and then it was run to Fisherman Islands, where it run up and down tracks 1, 2 and 4 at that yard.  Track 3 has a spare ballast train positioned on it, so that stopped the train from running through that track as well.  The track cleaning train was then run back to Clapham Yard and it was then run up and back through tracks 1, 3 and 4.  Track 2 has the Railset train locate  in it, so I could only run it around either side of this train as well.

This week, I will print the two copies of the timetable cards on my four-part paper and then spent about an hour sorting them into order.  I need two copies of the cards, as the train drivers takes one copy and North Coast Control has another, so he can ensure that he relays the correct instructions to the drivers as the cards say what tracks the trains are supposed to take at each crossing loop if the trains are running to time.  This helps North Coast Control to ensure smooth running of the session.  Let's hope it runs to plan.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fencing and Trees Added Around the Layout

I had a short week this week, by having Friday off.  So what better to do than do some work on the timetable.  As I have recently added an extra train to the timetable, I had to update the sequence numbers on most of my timetable cards.  So that was accomplished before lunch.  After lunch I went down to the shed with the plan of test running my Auscision XPT again.  I ran it from Grafton Yard to South Brisbane Interstate station and return.  Well it was just one big headache.  It kept derailing. Besides with many wheels under gauge, the main issue is that when the faster power car is behind the consist, it pushes the train off the tracks at various locations around the layout.  Very annoying.  I’m not sure there is an answer to this, except by setting up the reverse trim feature in the relevant decoders to see if I can slow down the rear power car when it is pushing.  I can’t remember what decoder brands I have in the power cars.  So I think I will have to take them to the Club next month and check them out via JMRI Decoder Pro and tweak the settings.

Saturday this weekend was Club day.  But I did not feel motivated to take the XPT power cars to the Club.  There is plenty of time to tweak them next month.  I can’t get over how soon after the meeting is held and raffles are drawn, the clubroom becomes a ghost town.  It is unbelievable.  The new 'N' scale clubroom layout is starting to take shape from the ground up.  This will look very nice when the bottom deck, which will be DC – DCC switchable, is complete.

Today I went down to the shed before lunch and started to potter around.  First job was call in the fencing contractors.  I added some chain wire to some of the fences around the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  So this is now about half done.  The further I go here the harder it is to reach the posts.  So next week’s efforts will be a bit back breaking if I continue on that path.  I also added fencing to the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Again I have the hardest part to complete next weekend.  These locations have sat with no chain wire added for quite some time.  I thought that with my upcoming Operating Session in a couple of weeks and an upcoming Tuesday Nighter’s meeting in two weeks time, that I should show some progress.

I then had the arborists come in to add a few trees.  About a 100 were added I‘d guess.  But you would not know where they were positioned.  They were out in about 10 different locations around the layout.  I started at Lismore, then added a few to the Lismore Shell Oil Siding, I then added a few around the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I then added a few to under the Richmond River Bridge just south of Cassino and I then added a few between there and the Cassino platform.  I then added some At Kyogle Stock Siding, to give the cattle some cover.  I then progressed around to the Cougal Spiral.  Then Border Loop received a few, as did The Risk Crossing Loop and the perway siding between The Risk and Glenapp Loop.  The track between Fairy Hill Loop and Nammoona Ballast Siding near Ron and Marg’s B&B also got a few more trees, as did the Nammoona Ballast Siding itself.  I also broke out the various flower and weed packs that you can get from The Modeller’s Warehouse.  So about 50 individual flower/weed clumps were added to some of these locations and it did not make a dent on the layout requirements.
A few trees added to Border Loop around the fettler's camp.

Looking back in the other direction.  The rather large dead tree in the foreground seems to be the focus point of this photo.

A shot of the same area as the first photo from the opposite direction.

Cougal Spiral now has a few trees.

On the entry to Cougal Spiral a tree sits next to the Caution Sign warning trains of the track work just around the bend.

Just south of Fairy Lane, the rail crossing has a few trees near it as well.  A few weeds were also added here.

Some rather small trees have started to appear around the Kyogle Stock Siding.

At Lismore a few trees were also added along with some weeds between the tracks in the yard and the Norco Siding on the left.

Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  The fence has gone up on the outer siding.  The hard to reach inner side is still to be attacked by the fencing contractor on his next visit.

Just to the north of the previous photo, a few more trees have been added along with some weeds.

The fettler's camp at Nammoona has had some trees added along with some weeds.

Rocla Sleeper siding has had the fencing contractors visit.

This shot shows were we are up to with the fencing on the right.

The gates are also still to have some wire added, but the place is starting to get more secure.  Two new trees are also visible in this shot.

The Risk crossing loop has had some trees added on both sides of the track.

At the northern end of The Risk, the fettler's camp has had some trees added, as has the farmer's paddocks on this side of the track.

Another view of the fettler's camp and the Farmer's paddocks, just north of The Risk.

I’m off to Melbourne this week for a few days with work, so with a bit of luck, I might be able to get across to visit Hearns Hobbies and Metro Hobbies during a lunch hour.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 RMCQ Model Train and Hobby Expo

This weekend, the 5th and 6th of August was the date set down for the 2017 RMCQ Model Train and Hobby Expo.  As usual it was held at the Strathpine Community Centre at Strathpine on the north side of Brisbane.  Basically about 900 people came through the doors over the two days and hopefully they went away after seeing a good little exhibition.  I was impressed by quite a few layouts.  Many exhibited great modelling skills.  There were also some very nice non-layout exhibits.

Here is a very quick pictorial presentation of this exhibition.

The first time I've seen this layout and it was operated by two mates who operate on my layout.  This is owned by Aaron Simpson and is called Yarradale.  Apparently it is a combination of two separate locations in Victoria.  A nice representation of tire tacks along the side of a currently dried up creek.

Yarradale also has a small stockyard.

As well as a few sheds.

What is normally located at the end of a branch line, is a very nice station building and a good shed.  The derrick crane looked very nice indeed.

A better view of the station and the collection of buildings.

The next layout was Keith Trueman's Lesney Park.  This is Keith's second showing of this layout and is a very nice layout.  Here the warehouse does not have any wagons at it, but this is a very nice shunting layout.  It is also in 18.2 mm EM gauge.

Chilli Laser Engraving & Micro Buildings were also at the show.  Their laser cut buildings just go together like a glove.  But they do much, much more.  With Father's day fast approaching, they had a number of suitable items on display for Dad or Grandad.

Some nice glass ware and chopping boards at the Chilli Laser Engraving and Micro Buildings display.

The best provider of your layout greenery is Dave McPhee.  He runs Modeller's Warehouse and has everything that you ever need.

On this shot, we see Brendan, Geoff and Darren fast at it, doing some modelling.  - Sorry couldn't resist this shot.  It was actually taken about 10 minutes they got out of bed.  Sorry - arrived at the Exhibition.

Another great modeller is Kerry Rasmussen and his Resolute Mine.  Just brilliant!  O scale layout representing 15 inch gauge.

Another shot from Resolute Mine.

And another from Resolute Mine.

Another great little layout and one that shows that you do not need a large space to have a great little shunting layout, is Philden from Phil Overton.  Some nice modelling is shown on this layout.

Another shot from Philden.  This time the station building.  The layout is lit by a string of multi colour LEDs and during the operation of the layout, the LEDs change colour by a wireless remote and it does from night, to dawn to midday and dusk and back again.