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.


  1. excellent progress there David - at this pace you will have a full blown operating session by Christmas 2012.

  2. Who knows, Shelton? If we can get a soldering iron that works before the weekend we should get a lot of track laid.


  3. Great to see some progress. If your Iron is a Dicks Smith T1976 then you can order replacement tips from any DS store or ring there spare parts dept 02 9642-9100 and they will post direct + postage. There are 3 types of tips, Part no. T1976 OH0010 1.6mm , T1976 OHOO11 .8mm and T1976 OHOO12 3.2mm . Cost is about 6 bucks per tip. They should also fit the T1975 iron. Regards Darren