Sunday, April 29, 2012

Some Wiring and Still More Progress.....

We spent a fairly quiet Anzac Day holiday. In the afternoon, I drilled the holes through the joists on the new section for the Main Bus wires. I also cut up some 3 mm MDF board as templates for the footprints of a number of the laser-cut craftsman wood kits that we have.

Raymond had the next two days off, although he was still “on call” for work. He spent his spare time installing the Bus wires and also several more Cobalt motors on the turnouts.

He then connected the track power supply wires to the Bus wires and started wiring the Cobalt motors. These require an NCE “Switch-It” decoder but we had bought all the ones that Ray had at Austral Modelcraft. He has ordered some more in but that will take a few weeks. I am hoping we might be able to get some at the model railway show over Labour Day Weekend.

On Saturday Raymond connected the Bus wires on the new layout section with the original layout section. He made a temporary Bus wire connection across the future high bridge using some nylon electrical connector pieces either side of the gap. Unfortunately, we did not have any screws of the right gauge or length to secure these connector pieces to the baseboard framework. We needed 4 Gauge screws and the only ones we had were 12 mm long – not long enough. I went down to Bunnings at Browns Plains and bought a pack of 4 Gauge screws that were 16 mm long which we thought would be long enough but, just in case I also bought a pack that was 20 mm long as well. It was just as well as it turned out as the 16 mm screws were still not quite long enough to properly secure the electrical connector to the timber framework of the baseboard whereas the 20 mm long screws proved ideal (and we had thought they would be too long).

We now had power to the new section of the layout but not all the Cobalt turnout motors had been wired as Raymond had run out of decoders. This meant that the mining branch loop and loco shed loop for the mining branch could not yet be used as there were still five turnouts to be wired in.

K-37 No.499 meets a Porter with two Pulpwood Wagons in the new yard. Two of the MDF building "footprints" can be seen leaning against the wall. The one on the right is Aladdin's General Store from Raggs to Riches. It gives some idea of the size of the buildings in O Scale.
WE test ran a couple of trains over the wired track and tested the turnouts that had been wired up. Everything seems to be okay so far.

That was all we managed to do as I had to mow the back yard including the area between our back fence and the Uniform Gauge Railway then after lunch I had to peel vegetables and cook some roast pork for dinner as She Who Must be Obeyed was going out in the afternoon. Raymond is getting his Garden Railway live steam locos ready for the model railway show next weekend.

I was looking out the sliding glass door in front of my computer in my study and started thinking. Hard to believe I know.

I thought what if we had another Titan Shed built on the left-hand side of the yard to allow a future Garden Railway track to enter for storage sidings. What if? It doesn’t need to be as big as our current Titan Shed but say about the size of a single car garage. I will have to think on that one further.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuesday Nighters and More Progress.....

Tuesday evening 17th April the Tuesday Nighters had their get together at our house. We almost had a full house with eleven of the guys coming along to see if we had made any progress. There was the usual banter from the guys but overall they expressed approval at how much we had done. Even that “dyed in the wool” New South Wales modeller, Craig (Cassino) said some kind things.

The Tuesday Nighters settled in for an evening of discussion, fun and eating. 17/04/2012
Each of the guys settled down to discuss their latest modelling achievements/problems, read the magazines we had put out, while eating the pikelets (with jam and cream); buttered cinnamon bun, cracker biscuits with onion/bacon dip as well as some corn chips while having a cup of tea or coffee.

SHELTON's GALLERY - Shelton, one of the Tuesday Nighters took some great images which he has allowed me to share with you.
PK with a cup of coffee, Mike reading a magazine with Raymond and Brendan also seated at the table while others gather round the urn while they get a cup of tea/coffee. Image: Shelton 17/04/2012

Yours truly, Mr Grumpy - well I am not really grumpy. Staff at the Museum tell me I have an "upside down smile". Ha! Ha! Image: Shelton 17/04/2012

Raymond's 0-4-2T Porter a Bachmann loco customised by a fellow in Canada from whom Raymond had purchased it on E-Bay. Image: Shelton 17/04/2012

My K-36 No.491 stands in the original yard we had built a long time ago. Image: Shelton 17/04/2012

Darren and Craig helped me with setting out an alternative track arrangement at the eastern end of the new yard. I had planned for a through road through the mining branch engine shed and a stub siding but over the previous weekend, Raymond and I had come to the conclusion we would not be able to get it to fit. Darren and Craig proved us wrong by inserting turnouts in alternative locations. We left this trackwork in the locations temporarily so I could use it as a template over the coming weekend.
The trackwork that Dareen and Craig laid out on Tuesday night. Thanks guys this was a great help to how this end of the yard turned out.

On Saturday, 21st April after Raymond and I had visited dad we went to Austral Modelcraft where I purchased a further four turnouts for the new yard. We then went to Jaycar at Kuraby where I purchased a Duratech digital soldering station ($179) and a magnifier/light laboratory desk lamp ($119). I had been thinking of getting one of these lamps for some time so, I finally decided to “lash out” and buy one. I had been evaluating soldering stations for a few weeks so that was another major purchase. Raymond has said he will continue to use his old Dick Smith unit for soldering electrical wires to the track while the new iron will be used for wiring locomotives etc.

We spent Saturday afternoon further evaluating the track layout that Darren and Craig had put together on the previous Tuesday night. I still had a few issues with it so kept playing around with laying out the different turnouts and track sections.

Sunday morning early, before Raymond was up and about, I drew out in pencil on the plywood baseboard several different track alignments. I had set a number criteria that I was aiming for – track centres to be no less that 3¾ inches; the track should not get too close to the edge of the baseboard (preferably 2½ inches minimum) By setting the track out at the absolute minimum and then the absolute maximum I found that one of the criteria I had set myself for the track could not be met. But, by selecting the mid-point of these two extremes I met what I wanted. I redrew the track out on the plywood and rubbed/sanded out the earlier track drawings. I had to alter one of the extra plywood supports where two plywood sections came together but this was not a serious problem. Instead of having one long joining strip to strengthen the join in the baseboard I had to make two shorter pieces so as to allow the Cobalt motor and turnout wiring to be fitted where the joining piece had been.

When Raymond surfaced we discussed the layout and agreed it would work so he set about installing the track and turnouts after wiring each turnout and each section of flex-track.

We finished installing the final three turnouts and track except the two sidings into the ore processing facility. I want to think about how we should set this out first, whether one track goes into a building or one goes up onto a low trestle for unloading. At this stage the buildings may need to be scratch-built / freelanced. It remains to be seen.
The eastern end of the new yard virtually complete.

The eastern end of the yard complete except for the two industrial sidings into the mineral ore processing plant. The turnout leading to these future sidings can be seen.

The western end of the new yard. I think it looks quite impressive. Can't wait to start doing the scenery.

Raymond intends to start doing the wiring next weekend.
The wiring awaits Raymond's skills.

We feel we have achieved a good deal over the past few weeks and to finish off this weekend we have just spent a pleasant half hour running a K-37 2-8-2 backwards and forwards over the start of the new section.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Tis the Weekend after Easter.....

Work has continued on the 14th and 15th April. Raymond and I further discussed the possible relocation of the other turnout to the loco shed road for the Mining Branch. I put forward several alternative proposals but finally we have decided to scrap making the loco shed road a through track and, instead, it will be a dead-end.

We also discussed the industrial sidings at the eastern end of the yard. Originally, we had thought that two sidings serving some sort of mineral processing plant would be suitable but then I had the idea of using part of the area for an oil depot using the Raggs to Riches Dolores Conoco Oil Depot served by a single siding with still two sidings into the mineral processing plant. Smelters and such like are usually very large complexes with big buildings and we don’t have a great deal of room. The area available is about 36 inches by 12 inches. Now as mentioned in a previous post the Conoco Oil Depot is 27 inches by 11 inches. Obviously it is not going to fit in the area available and we do not have enough space to model a complete stamp mill or smelter. Since this area is at the front of the layout we could model a few buildings of a mineral processing complex with the idea that the others are “off-scene” (off the front edge of the baseboard). So, we have decided we will stick with the mineral processing plant serviced by two sidings concept.

Saturday morning, Raymond was “on call” for work so he had to stay home while I went and did my usual Saturday morning tasks, visiting my father and then Ray Nunn at Austral Modelcraft. This time, I spent some money at Austral. We needed at least six NCE Switch-It units but could only get three. Ray would order more for us. Each Switch-It can control two Cobalt turnout motors. I then went to Jaycar at Kuraby to look at soldering stations. The digital soldering station we have was supplied by Dick Smith (Model 137). Dick Smith retailers had advised us that they no longer supplied parts and hadn’t sold soldering stations for about 8 months or so. We had been trying various electronics dealers on line including one suggested to me located in Perth to source new soldering tips for our soldering station to no avail. Raymond did find a dealer in the UK who apparently has suitable tips but they will not send any products to Australia. I found a Goot (Japanese made) soldering station at Jaycar but at $299 I decided to do a bit more “window shopping” on line before I committed that much money. I then went to Bunnings and bought a new model Bosch battery drill. We already had a Bosch 18-volt battery drill purchased some five or six years ago. Like the new one it had come with two batteries so you could charge one battery while still being able to use the drill using the other. However, the early model drill had old style batteries which if you charge them incorrectly the battery will fail and we had already ruined one battery as it would not now accept a re-charge. The new drill uses Lithium-Ion batteries which are much more efficient and forgiving. It is smaller and lighter, and has a much greater torque than the original drill and even has a very strong LED light which shines onto the area you are drilling/screwing – very useful when you are working under the layout.

The new drill on the left is smaller and much lighter yet it is more powerful than the older drill on the right.

When I arrived back home, I found Raymond had installed some more of the Cobalt turnout motors and had finished installing the one over the L-Girder which had caused him so much frustration over the previous weekend.

During Saturday afternoon, Raymond had a few issues he had to sort out for his work while I did some work in The Shed on the layout.

You will have seen photographs in earlier posts of the large gap along the rear (western) wall of the shed where I intend to build a “high” trestle which will meld into the scene on the lower deck where it is intended to have the lower track crossing a river on a small trestle in a canyon like scene. It will be some time before we can get back to building the lower deck and are consequently able to build the “high” trestle for the upper track. We also need to be mindful that the air-conditioning unit is to be installed almost directly above this space and we need to allow access for the installer. However, even considering these constraints, we did not want to prevent the operation of trains around the upper level of the layout waiting for the lower level to be built.
With this in mind I built a single section of L-Girder which would bridge the 5 ft gap in this section. The L-Girder is strong enough not to need any supports other than at either end and would even carry the weight of a 5 kg MMI die-cast locomotive. This section was installed during the afternoon and everything is now ready to lay track around the back end of the shed to join up the station yards on the left-hand (Southern) and right-hand (Northern) sides of The Shed.
The 5 ft, wide gap joining the original yard along the left-hand wall with the new yard on the right-hand wall has been temporarily bridged by this L-Girder section.
The 5 ft gap where a future "high" trestle bridge will be built.
Looking along the track-bed towards the original yard on the southern side of the shed.

In between his duties for his work, Raymond installed a few more of the Cobalt turnout motors.

So far Sunday has not started well. Raymond had a sleepless night as he has been suffering for quite some time from very severe headaches caused by a nerve near his left ear. He has some special pain killers to take but they usually take a while to have any effect and in the meantime he needs to rest.

I set to and laid the track starting from the western end of the new station yard on the right-hand side (Northern) side of The Shed and had it all laid except for a short piece to connect to the original station yard on the southern side of The Shed. Raymond came in and tells me he wants to solder power supply wires to connect to the Main Bus to the track on the right-hand side of the “High” Bridge. Oh well! I said that we should have lunch and pull up the track to install the wires and relay it after lunch.
The track is now laid. Looking along the newly laid track towards the northern side of the shed.

As soon as I had had lunch and a hot cup of coffee to settle my nerves, I pulled up the track that needed power supply wiring. Raymond soldered the required wires when he came back into The Shed and I then relaid all the track again. Now to test it.

The honour of being the first locomotive to operate over the new track as far as the first turnout on the northern side of The Shed fell to D&RGW K-28 Class No.470. It ran perfectly. Raymond ran it backwards and forwards a couple of times while I took some photographs.
D&RGW K-28 No.470 is the first loco to pass over the new track.
No.470 at the current limit of track power just before entering the new yard layout.

Next, Raymond tested a Porter 0-4-2ST with some four-wheel work wagons behind. Again more photos. Raymond’s face had a broad grin – he was pleased and I was pleased too.
A Porter 0-4-2T with a string of 4-wheel work wagons tests out the new track,
The Porter 0-4-2T stands at the end of the powered track. We have yet to run the Bus wires to continue the power further.

In between all of this over the past two days we have been putting out rubbish for the City Council’s Kerbside Clean-up which is due to be collected this week. The Pergola area is starting to look less cluttered.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter comes to an end.....

This will be a fairly short post as we really only got about a half day of work completed.

Most of the morning was wasted on a shopping trip. I was waiting at Bunnings at 9:00 am Monday morning as soon as they opened – me and about 100 other people. It took me until about 11:30 am to finish getting what I needed and get back home. Meanwhile, Raymond was beavering away laying the mining branch loop and a siding for a proposed loco shed for locos servicing this branch. These locos would not be the big K Class locos but smaller 2-8-0 and
2-6-0 locos.

Raymond got most of the loop laid by the time I arrived home. I started installing the plywood so we could further extend the eastern end of the yard we were working on.

We now started to come across a few technical issues. I had designed the track so a turnout coming off the main line passing loop at the eastern end would not be fouled by the L-girder below. However, when we moved this track that extra 3/4 inch it placed that turnout squarely above the L-girder. This causes Raymond all sorts of issues in trying to install the Cobalt motor. There was to be a second turnout to join up with the mining branch further eastwards of the first turnout. We just managed to have this second turnout clear of the L-Girder that was causing us some grief. But, I had another turnout to be installed on the mining branch to lead into the proposed loco depot. It turned out that this turnout would be over the L-girder. Raymond was adamant that this track arrangement should be scrapped. So, temporarily at least, we are looking at the loco shed becoming a dead-end accessed off the western end of the mining branch loop rather than as a passing loop as I had envisaged.
The new yard from the eastern end. The mining branch loop is the track on the left, then the engine shed track (the crossover linking to this can be seen in the background). The turnout situated above the L-girder can be seen on this end of the main line loop and the main line is the right hand track.

We also had a very long discussion about some industrial sidings I had proposed at the eastern end of the yard. Originally I had thought we could have two dead-end sidings serving a smelter works (related to the mining branch). I now got an idea that we might also be able to include a siding to service the Dolores Conoco Oil Depot a laser-cut kit from Raggs to Riches that Raymond had bought some time ago. Again we found that O Scale ain’t small. This kit measurs 11 inches by 27 inches and much discussion was had about how we could locate it.
The new yard from the western end. The track in the foreground is a dead end siding that will service a warehouse building. There is a 20 mm gap between the two baseboards which will become a cess when the scenery is installed. The two tracks in the foreground will cross it on a timber culvert.

So we tossed around a lot of ideas and finally decided we needed to consider the situation more carefully during the coming week.

Overall we made some good progress on the layout over Easter. It was not as much as we had hoped but still a few large steps in the right direction. The Tuesday Nighters will be meeting at our house next week so we will have something positive to show them.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Positive Moves over Easter.....

After last weekends’ disappointments we are starting to make some positive progress over this Easter Weekend and there is still one day to go.

I bought a rather expensive ($19.95) tip for the soldering iron from Jaycar during the week. It is the right diameter and has a hollow centre but it is too long and the nut holding it into the soldering iron can’t reach the screw thread to lock it in place. Waste of money. Raymond managed to clean the old tip and re-tin it and it now works but it is still not perfect. He found a source for the tips in the UK but they will not post to Australia. We have friends living in the UK so could send some money over to them to buy the soldering tips for us and post them out. Easy!

Friday morning we started laying some track. We started with the first turnout into the yard from the back end of the shed (western end of the shed). Raymond then laid the first section of flex-track and the second turnout. He then laid the flex-track for the main line and passing loop about half way along the yard towards the end of the first sheet of plywood we had laid. Raymond had spent some time in laying a nice, easy “S” curve into the main line station track.

Raymond laying the main line loop past the proposed station area. The turnout leading to the passing loop can be seen on the left. This is the turnout at the western end.
Raymond tapping in another track pin as he lays the main line loop.
By late Friday afternoon Raymond had completed the first half of the main line and passing siding loops. He then placed his two D&RGW 0-4-0DM locos on the track.

Friday afternoon we spent in cutting to length some more 4” X 1” joists and installing them to support the second half of the station yard. We then selected the next piece of plywood and secured that in place. I then drew the track centre lines continuing the main line and passing loop to the turnouts at the eastern end of the yard. Raymond also “played around” placing his two AMS brass models of the D&RGW 0-4-0DM No.50 side by side on the main line and passing loop. Looking at these, my mind started to get a little “niggly”. There was something wrong.
Joists installed ready for the plywood to be placed and track laying on the second half of the track extension.

Saturday morning we paid our usual visit to see my father and then over to Austral Modelcraft where I bought another three turnouts and Raymond bought a couple more Chooch loads for wagons to add to those he already has. After lunch Saturday, we started work again. Raymond finished the loop and had laid the first turnout at the eastern end of the yard. It was all coming together very well and we were following the plan. It was perfect. Too perfect!

Raymond had left the two 0-4-0DM locos on the track and I looked at them again. I had “stewed” about this overnight and it was still worrying me – there was something that didn’t look right. I went back to the NMRA Standards sheet S-8 and yes it said for On3 and On30 track centres on straight track were 3 inches and that is what I had planned for and that it is what we had. I used the NMRA On30 Standards Gauge to check and yes we had the same for both tracks the gauge would meet exactly in the middle between the two tracks. That still doesn’t sound right. Raymond removed his two diesels and we placed a K-36 and K-37 2-8-2 side by side. They were close – Very close. In fact with one loco slightly lower in over all height the window shades over the cab windows were one above the other – THEY OVERLAPPED!! If you allowed for the inevitable side to side twisting motion of a long loco they would come into contact even more. Disaster – but I had designed and we had laid the track to the NMRA Standards – or had I?
This is what it looked like when the track centres were at 3 inches with a K-36 and a K-37 side by side.
Too close for comfort.
Raymond sat down with me to have look over the NMRA Standards again. “What’s this little asterix here mean?” – says Raymond. There it was in the On3/On30 Column for straight track clearances – M*.

I had looked up M* which said that M = 2 X A with the A coming from the NMRA Track Gauge. A = 1 ½ inches therefore 2 X A = 3 inches. So I was right with 3 inch track centres. Hang On!! There was some additional fine print at the end of the S-8 Standard that said if you are using K Class locomotives you need to use the appropriate Standard Gauge clearances column as they were such big locomotives. Now THAT column says the clearance should be 3 ¾ inches. It pays to read the fine print.

Raymond was not too happy with me – I can tell you. Feeling somewhat chastened I timidly suggested he take up the turnout at the eastern end and the passing loop back to the curve into the loop at the western end and we relay the track at an extra ¾ inch width to make it 3 ¾ inches track centres. While he did this, I had to cut another 2 inch wide strip of plywood as the new location would have placed the track half off the edge of the current plywood board.

Well, suffice to say by the end of Saturday afternoon we had secured the additional 2 inch wide strip of 12 mm plywood and relaid the track along the loop siding up to the first turnout at the eastern end of the yard. We will lay that turnout and the rest of the turnouts on Sunday.
Its amazing what an extra 3/4 inch will do. The K-36 and K-37 on the section of track with the loop relaid to 3 3/4 inch track centres
I wish I had an extra 3/4 inch.
The relaid passing loops have been completed and the pointwork for the eastern end of the yard is progressing.

Sunday started out fine. We finished laying the four turnouts for the main line and main line loop. I cut some more 12 mm thick ply 200 mm wide (by 2400 mm long) and installed it along the front edge of the baseboard framework. This will accommodate the mining branch loop.
The ply has been laid along the front of the baseboard framework has been secured and track centre lines marked out ready for Monday.
We had visitors for a few hours in the middle of the day so didn’t get a lot more done. Later in the afternoon, Raymond started installing the Cobalt DCC motors for the turnouts. He got two done fairly easily but the third started to cause him problems. Screw heads these days and screw driver tips are made of softer alloys than years gone by so they burr over easily. The motor we were trying to install lies directly over an L-Girder, I had designed the track layout so as to avoid these L-Girders, the joists and metal wall brackets. This turnout was on the track that we had moved out by ¾ inch and thus created the problem

I will be going to Bunnings first up tomorrow to purchase more screws to mount the Cobalt motors (hopefully better quality than those supplied with the motors – Yeahhh right!!). I will also be purchasing a couple of smaller sheets of plywood (1200 X 600), a couple more Stanley long shank Phillips Head Screwdrivers (like the old song goes – the old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be – the old Stanley screw drivers they ain’t what they used to be) and will see what soldering tips they might have. Finally, I might have a look at an electric screw driver.

Raymond was getting a bit frustrated (he talks to himself a lot when he is like that) so we called it a day. More tomorrow.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Slowly - Very slowly

Well, after making some reasonable progress for a while things slowed down almost to a standstill again. We have made some progress (if you can call it that) over the past few weeks.

This work has mainly concentrated on planning and replanning the trackwork for the second station. This is the junction for a desert valley mining branch.

We have also drawn up the location of baseboards over the rest of the layout to evaluate how much baseboard space we have for track and how much aisle space. This has been redrawn numerous times and each time it is slightly different. Aisle space is very important to us for the operators, viewing areas for visitors and general accessibility. I am still coming to terms with the sheer size of O Scale clearances and the footprint of buildings. I always had a tendency in HO Scale to try to fit in as much track as possible but now I have to drastically reduce the number of sidings and crossing loops. I am finding I have to allow the room to separate the track centres to enable wide locomotives, such as the K-37 and K-36 2-8-2s to pass each other without touching cylinder blocks or the corners of cab roofs – especially on curves. Siding length is also critical with the K Class locos measuring 400 mm in length then you have to fit in the freight wagons or passenger vehicles PLUS the clearance required where the track rejoins other trackwork at turnouts so that the rolling stock does not foul the adjacent track. A K-36 or K-37 Class loco with ten Bachmann freight cars, and a caboose occupies a track space of 2880 mm. The Bachmann freight cars are not to proper scale and are reduced in size. Ten freight cars supplied by San Juan Car Company or AMS are closer to scale and will occupy (with a K-36/K-37) and caboose about 3380 mm, so you can see they take up lots of track space.

Raymond has received some more overseas purchases. He received two more Mountain Model Import (MMI) diecast limited production locos on the 7 March. One was his second K-28 this time in D&RGW “Bumble Bee” colours No. 473 and the other his second K-27 that worked on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad No. 461. These came from EDM Models in the UK. I have an MMI K-27 coming from a second-hand E-Bay purchase that Raymond successfully bid for back in January when he missed out on a couple of others which were way overpriced. My K-27 is coming sea mail and the post office advises it will probably take about three months to get here. Other purchases that Raymond made from the same seller arrived within a few weeks but they were sent air freight as these parcels were much lighter than the 4 kg plus packaging for the

D&RGW K-28 in "Bumblebee" livery a Limited Production model made by MMI.
Rio Grande Southern K-27 No.461 another MMI Limited Producttion model that Raymond bought through EDM Models.

Further purchases included an LGB 0-4-0 Steam Tram locomotive that Raymond bought from Austral Modelcraft for his (future) Garden Railway.
The LGB Steam Tram Motor that Raymond bought from Austral Modelcraft for his (future) Garden Railway.

The manufacturer of laser cut wood kits for O Scale – Raggs to Riches – is closing down his business. Raymond has previously purchased many of his railroad structures which are based on buildings seen on the Colorado narrow gauge. Raggs has quite a number of other buildings from towns along the Colorado narrow gauge that I like very much so I have started to purchase these with the aim of getting one a month. My first purchase was called the F D Work building which was a machinery and mining store located in Telluride on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. It was one of the few buildings to have its own siding off the RGS other than into mines and smelters. This kit arrived on the 23 March.
The F D Work Building, a Raggs to Riches kit.

Raymond received another parcel this past week on the 26 March. Some months ago he had placed an order with Ixion Models for their newest model a Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST in O Scale (standard gauge). It is a brass loco painted in unlined black and looks very nice. Several of these worked in New South Wales as contractors’ locos used during construction of the New South Wales Railways. One became No.1021 of the NSWGR and was named “Cardiff.”

Raymond's O Scale (7 mm to the foot) Standard Gauge Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST by Ixion Models.
On Saturday, 31 March I bought 11 Peco Electrofrog turnouts for the track extension. Yes – things are finally moving forward again on the Silkwood Depot layout. On Saturday afternoon we installed a number of joists following the plan I had drawn out full size on the paper that Darren had supplied. Darren’s idea has proved to be a fantastic help as I was able to locate where the joists should go so as to not interfere with the installation of the Cobalt point motors, a problem we had with the first station yard we had built. The planning also allowed me to ensure no pointwork (and therefore point motors) were located directly over the L-Girders, another problem we had during the first stage.
Planning the first half of the next section of the layout which will be along the wall on the right.

Sunday, April Fools Day, we measured and cut out the first piece of 12 mm plywood for the yard on the track extension. We were then able to use the full-size paper plan to transpose the track plan onto the plywood. Easy. We finessed the location of one of the track centres to give us an extra 12 mm from the backdrop and located the first two turnouts as well as the first half of the main line and parallel passing loop through the station.
The first half of the next layout section under construction on Sunday 1st April. Just so you know it is not an April Fools' Day joke. Hey Craig.
The planning of the second half of the next stage is completed ready for installation of the joists and plywood.
Raymond prepared to solder the wires to the first Peco turnout he had modified and struck a serious problem. The soldering tip was “stuffed” and just would not melt the solder at the tip although it would melt a little further away from the tip.

So, we have come to a halt again but we have big plans to complete this yard next weekend, the four day Easter break. I will visit Jaycar during the week to see if I can pick up some tips to fit Raymond’s Dick Smith soldering iron. It was disappointing to finish the weekend this way when it looked like we would be able to start laying sometrack, but “them’s the breaks”.

I was talking to Craig on the phone this afternoon and he must have stood there like a “stunned mullet” when I told him we were laying track as the phone went silent for a minute or so. It was a major shock to his system.

Recently in this blog, I posted some images of items Raymond had purchased from Canada through E-Bay. One of these was a Climax in many pieces following problems in packing and delivery. Raymond has managed to successfully repair this loco in the past month.
The Climax following repairs carried out by Raymond. There was a photos of this loco in pieces in an earlier post on this blog after problems in the post.

It is Tuesday Nighters this Tuesday, this time at Barry’s house just a short distance from our own home, so we are ready for some friendly ribbing from the guys.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Small Amount of Progress - And Still More Stuff.....

Raymond received a home delivery early in the week commencing the 13 February. This took the form of several large cartons from Gauge One Gallery in Sydney. One carton contained a Bachmann Large Scale (read – Garden Railway) model of “James the Red Engine” of Thomas the Tank Engine fame. There were also three 6-wheel coaches for “Emily” a Stirling Single loco introduced a few years ago as a new character in the Thomas stories. It is unlikely however, that Bachmann will produce a model of “Emily”. Raymond already has two other Bachmann Large Scale models of Thomas with Annie and Clarabelle as well as Percy and two of the Troublesome Trucks.
James the Red Engine. Raymond has started collecting Bachmann's Large Scale Thomas Series because of his nephew Troy who will soon be two. Raymond and I are trying to bring Troy up in the correct way. There is the Right Way, the Wrong Way and the Rail Way - much to Troy's fathers disgust.

This is the 6-wheel Van for "Emily". The only difference from this vehicle and the two coaches is that the van has the white windows at one end. Raymond has one van and two coaches.

The other carton contained a Bachmann Garden Railway model of “Lyn” a Southern (British) Railway narrow gauge 2-4-2T from the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
"Lyn" is a 2-4-2T that worked on Southern Railway's narrow gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.

Both Raymond and I came down with some kind of virus during the week so there was no work done on the layout.

Saturday, 18 February we went to Zillmere to the AMRA Garden Railway Group. Raymond had two Garden Railway steam locos that needed certification on the boilers. The first was Raymond’s Michigan-California Lumber Company’s 2-cylinder Shay No.2 from Accucraft in 1:20.3 Scale. The second was the Accucraft Baldwin
WD 4-6-0T built for the British Army in 16 mm Scale (running on 32 mm gauge track).
Having passed its boiler pressure test, Raymond prepares his WD Baldwin 4-6-0T for its steam test.

The Baldwin British WD 4-6-0T stands on the 32 mm gauge track ready for its first test run.

Both passed their tests okay. Raymond had some fun testing his locos while I just watched the trains.
Our friend Jason, owns this beautiful Rio Grande C-19 2-8-0 made by Accucraft. It is radio-controlled.

Raymond purchased a Roundhouse live steam John Fowler 0-6-2 ex Innisfail Tramway B9 1/2 Class from Paul Blake some time ago. Now Paul has made another one for himself this time from scratch. The Queensland Government Railways owned three of these 2 ft gauge tender locomotives. Both Raymond's and Paul's locos are radio controlled.

Sunday, 19th I went to Bunnings and bought a couple of 900 X1200 mm MDF sheets 3 mm thick. I wanted these to start mapping out the trackwork on the new section of the layout using pencil, paper and the Peco pointwork photocopies as per Darren’s instructions. This is starting to work well but silly me, I only bought two sheets of MDF when I should have purchased four. At present, I can only do the left hand end of the yard. I am on leave for the rest of this week as the builder is starting work on the bathroom rebuild so I will go back to Bunnings on Monday and pick up a couple more sheets.

It is Tuesday nighters this week, so I need to be able to say “We have made some progress”.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Still More Stuff - And Some Progress

I think Raymond must have been bitten by some kind of bug. I wonder if there is a cure?

Today, Monday, I picked up two big cartons from the Post Office. The postal clerk just grinned at me as he handed them over. He handed over the first then said “Hang on, I have another”. I had to make too trips. These were more purchases by Raymond one from a manufacturer and the other an E-Bay purchase.

The first was from Accucraft in the UK. It is a 16 mm Scale live steam War Department Baldwin 4-6-0T. This is a 2ft gauge model, of one of 495 built by Baldwin in the United States for use by the British Army in France during World War 1. It is an absolutely beautiful model running on 32 mm Gauge (O Gauge) track. The locomotive is gas-fired. It would be fantastic if Accucraft produced a WD Hunslet
4-6-0T. Raymond already has several Slaters WD D Class bogie wagon kits in 16 mm Scale to run with this loco. He will absolutely have to get stuck in building his Garden Railway.
Accucraft Baldwin WD 4-6-0T. This is a butane gas fired live steam built to 16 mm Scale and runs on 32 mm gauge track.
Another view of Raymond's latest Garden Railway acquisition. The British War Dept. 4-6-0T built by Baldwin in the United States.

The other carton contained several custom built/rebuilt locomotives. One is a Bachmann Porter 0-4-2T so heavily rebuilt and weathered you would not recognise it. It is fitted with a DCC sound chip. The second locomotive is a Backwoods Miniatures Davenport diesel. Again it has a DCC chip and is heavily weathered. It did not travel well as the exhaust pipe had broken off but is repairable.
The rebuilt Bachmann Porter 0-4-2T Raymond bought on E-Bay.
A Bachmann Davenport 0-4-0DM with a Backwoods Miniatures body. The weathering and additional details are superb.

The final loco is a custom rebuilt and weathered Bachmann Climax. Unfortunately, when it was packed there was major damage done to the locomotive. The worst being one of the bogies was ripped out of its mounting bolster. Raymond has yet to assess whether it is repairable. The owner/seller should not have tried to fit (sorry “force”) it into the pre-formed Bachmann plastic box. Rather, he should have gingerly wrapped it in bubble wrap and then used Styrofoam “peanuts” (actually they are a real curse to dispose of) to fill up the Bachmann cardboard carton.
The customised Bachmann Climax as it appeared when received. Raymond has started repairing this and it now runs very well. It is another E-Bay purchase.
One of six MoW wooden 4-wheel work wagons bought on E-Bay.
Another MoW flat car
And a third. Notice the vice on the front corner. One of the many fine details on these customised models.

Raymond missed out on an E-bay auction again. This time it was an MMI K-28. He put in a maximum bid of $600 which I would have considered very fair for a second-hand loco considering there seems to be a few up for sale around E-bay and other dealers. But no, just before the auction closed his bid was gazumped by a ridiculous margin. I am convinced that some people have no idea on the true value of an item or think they are going to command a higher price if they want to resell it.

It was Tuesday Nighters week this week. Craig came around to pick me up as Raymond was working and couldn’t go. PK and Barry were also in the car. We had a great evening down at Bob’s place as we haven’t been there for quiet a while. He had made some additions to his layout since our last visit.

I spent a couple of evenings during the week making a scale drawing of the new station and yard along the right hand wall. I want to get this right so when I install the joists I don’t locate them where a Cobalt point motor will need to be positioned. We had enough problems with this on the left hand side of the shed.
Saturday morning, Raymond inspected the custom Climax he had received earlier in the week to see if it could be fixed. He partly disassembled it and managed to re-fit the bogie. Reassembled, it ran pretty well. There are still a number of detail items to be refitted, but overall he is happy with this E-Bay purchase.

I spent the morning shopping for bathroom fittings with SWMBO. An expensive morning!

Raymond test ran his Backwoods Miniatures Bachmann “dress-up” Davenport which ran well. Next he tried the Bachmann 0-4-2T that had been heavily modified. It too ran well. He tested it with a train using the six MoW 4-wheel wagons he had received. They looked good together.

I spent Saturday afternoon redrawing the yard on the right hand side and discussing with Raymond what our outcomes should be.
The track plan as modified, thanks to Craig. The right hand end has not yet been finalised.

Sunday afternoon, I installed another joist along the back wall and the plywood for the track. The first section was the short piece still required to bring the track up to the start of the 5 foot long bridge. Then I installed the plywood base for the track along the back wall on the right hand side and the curve around to the right hand wall.
The main line on the left hand side of the rear wall can now be brought up to the proposed big bridge.
Ready for track laying on the right hand side of the rear wall starting from the end of the big bridge.
The curve around from the rear wall to the station along the right hand wall is now ready for some track laying.

I will now look at using the large sheets of paper and the Peco pointwork photocopies that Darren had given us, to lay out the trackwork full size according to the “scale” plan I have drawn. This should allow us to locate the joists we need to install so as not to interfere with any point motors. It will also allow us to work out where we need to install the plywood.

Looking forward to more progress next week.