Firstly we did some shopping on Saturday morning. We went to HobbyOne where Raymond bought some brushes, tools and paint. We then went to Bunnings where Raymond purchased a Bosch Jigsaw and then on to Ray’s at Austral Modelcraft. Where I bought the latest issue of Narrow Gauge Downunder magazine and Raymond bought some more tools. We then planned to start work on the small extension in the afternoon but there were other forces afoot. “She Who Must be Obeyed” mentioned that she was going over to my daughter and son-in-law’s place to look after the grandson for the evening and would not be home for tea. “You will have to get your own” she says and then made the rather pointed comment “Of course I could have looked after him here if there was a gate at the top of the stairs” she says. Oh well, I had purchased a gate to be installed some months back and never got around to installing it. I told Raymond the bad news so we spent Saturday afternoon installing a child-proof gate at the top of our internal stairs.
Sunday arrives and Raymond and I made it into The Shed. We installed another two of the double-track steel tubing on the left-hand side of the back wall. We then made some more L-Girder for this short piece and installed them. This time I used two of the 2 X 1 pine timber to make the front L-Girder rather than one 2 X 1 and one 4 X 1 which, if you remember caused Raymond some anguish in installing points. Although, this time there are no points destined to be installed on this section.
The start of the section "Around the Corner"
The brackets are in and the first L-Girder is in place.
While Raymond broke for lunch I picked out a piece of ply and temporarily fitted it in place. I then got a length of track and tried setting it out to the required main line curvature of 36 inch radius. When he returned we discussed how to cut the ply and set to it before we installed it on top of the 4 X 1 supports which lie on top of the L-Girders.
Raymond was disappointed as the track curved close to the back wall of the shed. While there was enough clearance for the big locos (K-36 and K-37) there was insufficient room for a mountainside to come down from the back wall and the track to pass through a cutting.
We discussed three options – 1) Relay the track so that the points leading into the passenger station were further away giving a greater distance from the track centre line to the wall. 2) Put a “retaining wall” along that section of the rear wall of the shed and paint a mountain scene on the backscene. 3) Relay the curve with a 33 inch radius instead of the 36 inch radius currently set as the main line radius 4) Leave the track as is but enter a short tunnel with a mountain over the track where it is closest to the wall and continue the 36 inch radius curve around further so as to locate the track further away from the wall.
Raymond decided that number 4 was our best option.
We then pinned down the track to the 36 inch radius curve after Raymond had soldered on the necessary dropper wires to the rail. He then connected these dropper wires to the main bus wires.
Now it was time to test the layout. Raymond first tried my K-36 which he had previously modified because of problems with the pony trucks riding up over the rail and dropping off the track. It ran reasonably well out onto the newly laid section but during the return run the pony trucks dropped off the track. We tried several times and each time we had the same problem. The route had been set for the inner curve of a Peco Electrofrog Point. We tried sending it into the outer loop where the point has 6o inch radius, the inner being 36 inch radius. That seemed reasonably fine.
My K-36 tests the new track section.
Raymond then reversed his K-37 down onto the new section and we noted that one set of pony truck wheels lifted off the track. On trying to go back the other way the lead drivers derailed even on the curve of the open track. Gauge too tight we thought but no it was fine. During this manoeuvre the K-37 had to pass the K-36 on the adjacent track and lo there was a short as the locos touched. There was much grumbling and colourful language. We had previously tried these locos side-by-side at the opposite end of this passing siding through the station and they were fine – there was plenty of room. Investigating further we found that the two passing loop come closer to each other at the far end but there was still a small amount of clearance. The problem was being caused by the K-37 being such a big loco that when coming forward around a curve it wants to go straight ahead and so sideswipes the other loco (which was sitting on a straight right at the end of a curve). We checked the curves on the two loops and found the inner one was broader than 36 inches and the outer one was slightly sharper initially than I had intended before becoming 38 inches as I had intended..
We very reluctantly will have to lift part of one passing loop and relay it giving us a greater space between the tracks.
I am concerned at the serious problems we are having with the MMI die-cast locos. They are not cheap and I feel we are having far too many problems with them. Precision Scale claim that they require a 26 inch radius curve. Frankly, we are having problems with a 36 inch radius curve I shudder to think what problems we would have if we were using 26 inch radius curves.
Raymond built two Pewter kits during this last week. One was a “Hit-and-Miss” engine and the other a ship’s steam winch. He intends putting these as loads on flat cars. He also started building a Foothill Model Works wooden gondola kit and hoped to continue with it this weekend but that was not to be.
Raymond assembling the Hit-and-Miss motor.
The ship's winch after receiving an undercoat/primer