Sunday, April 14, 2024

Signal Box Progress and Ops Session

This week started with some correspondence about my signal box from an old modelling mate.  He sent me various photos of his model.  Phil Flynn had built the model from Hawksmoor models and provided me with various measurements from his kit.  I think I have done a reasonable effort given how close my guestimates were compared to Phil’s model.  I continued working on my Kyogle Signal box.  Later in the week, I realised that I needed to build the concrete block base for the fibro signal box to sit on.  I was hoping I did not need to do that.  But again I had plenty of styrene to use to build my model.  It did come up quite good.  I have so far painted the roof of the signal box Silver to represent the galvanised iron.  I have not yet painted the guttering the maroon colour that I need to paint the model in to fit into the era I am modelling. 

On Friday I launched into my plastering task.  I left this to last.  I did most of it on Friday, but I had a bit left to do, which I completed this afternoon.  This afternoon I also gave all the stark white plaster a raw umber colour.  After this I usually work in small sections and apply various dirts, sands and dusts to the baseboard covered with a watered down white glue mixture.  After a few coats of this, I then go back to add various green and brown grasses to bring the baseboard up to a full covering and make it complete.  The next step will be possibly some fencing and a few trees for the trains to run through.  I will leave this task until my next lot of long Service Leave in early May after I attend the Rosehill Model Railway Exhibition in Sydney.

On Saturday I went to Darren’s place along with Brendan and met up with some of mountain men from Toowoomba.  This was Bill, Smithy and Steve.  Smithy kept saying something like  ‘I’m a mountain man and I like mountain (sic) wom….’.  Anyway, we had a great afternoon.  Thanks Darren.  We had a coffee, and late morning tea.  Then lunch was served, and then the brain had a workout running two train runs on Darren’s layout.  Darren has two man crews and I was teamed up with Steve, an ex-Driver.  The first train was an empty wheatie.  We started at the terminus station - Wattle Flat – after which the layout was named and swapped over three empty wheat wagons at the silo for 3 full ones.  So the full ones were put on the front of the train.  We made our way past the first crossing loop and passed Brendan coming the other way, a few toots on the train horn and then we made it to the next crossing station.  But if you are not taking the branch here, it is a bit of a pain to actually cross someone.  Here we had to again swap three more empties for three fulls in the grain siding.  This location has a facing siding for the grain silo, so we ran around the three empties using the load dock and did the same for the fulls we pulled out of the silo siding, before adding these onto the waiting train on the mainline.  We were soon underway and made our way to the mainline station.  A crew was busy shunting the yard here when we made the yard limits.  We were able to take the main line and again swap three empties for three full grain wagons in the grain siding.  That left us with a train of 9 full wheat wagons destined for export via the port.  We then had to do a swap in the yard.  This entailed leaving our fulls where the next empty grain train was already sitting in the yard, put our guards van onto the rear of the waiting empty train, and take those empties out along the branch back to Wattle Flat for tomorrow’s pickup train.  However, before we left we had to do a loco swap from a 44 class to a 45 class loco.  I might have grabbed a cold drink as I ran passenger with Driver Steve back to Wattle Flat.  On the outbound trip we again passed Brendan at the crossing loop on the branch.  Brendan’s mate was someone new to me – called Mr Nobody.  This time, Brendan was bringing in his pickup freight from the branch.  He had already set up the points for us to perform the cross when we got there.  When we got to the terminus, we had to set a few handbrakes and move the guard’s van onto the rear of the train and send the loco to the loco for servicing and go to barracks.  First thing tomorrow another crew will swap out the first three empty wagons for three now full grain wagons at the silo and the whole process starts again.

This morning I went to a Buy and Sell that I saw advertised at Birkdale.  I had planned on being there at 9:00am, but the son had a call up for an early shift for his checkout chick job, so the wife wanted to make sure he left before we did.  She also wanted to go to some markets at Thornlands, so about 20 minutes out of my way and I got to the Buy and Sell late.  It was pretty well attended.  There were lots of people that I knew there selling stuff.  There was some interesting stuff.  Someone was selling 41 packets of evergreen styrene.  Well I bought that for a good price.  I missed seeing PK at the Buy and Sell, but had a few good chats with those in attendance.

Unfortunately I am back at work tomorrow, but I only have 2 and a half weeks of work, before my next 4 week stink of long service comes around.  This time, as I said earlier in this blog, I’m off to Sydney for the Rosehill Exhibition and then I’m back into the shed and doing scenery and more work on the Kyogle station precinct.  I think I can get used to this permanent holiday stuff.

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