Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stage One of the Lower Deck Complete.....

As indicated last week we finished the lower deck under the existing layout this weekend.
Three views of the right-hand wall
We finished assembling the final baseboard section for the left hand wall including the 2” X 1” strengthening on Saturday. Raymond had spent Saturday morning cleaning up the left hand wall where this section was to go, so once assembly was completed we put it in place.

We then cut the timber required to fill the gap where the high bridge is to go.

Sunday morning was spent in assembling this section.
The back wall
We then bolted together all the separate baseboard sections except the one along the right hand side as the timber is now stored on top of this section and the plywood and MDF is stacked against it. We have already shifted the 5.4 metre lengths of 4” X 1” four times so we are going to work around the section on the right hand wall for the time being.
Two views of the right hand wall. The timber stacked on the lower deck
with the MDF and ply leaning against the deck.
Sunday afternoon the 24 February, Raymond and I had a brainstorming session to see where we should go next. We came up with some radical changes to our track plan and how we should go about things. This has led to some heavy discussion and laid open lots of problems with a few possible solutions.
Raymond in deep thought considering our options

We originally had intended to have a point-to-point layout with the option of a continuous run through including a helix near the door to The Shed. It has always been our intention to operate the layout as a point-to-point with the two terminal stations one above the other along the left hand wall. We are now considering deleting this helix altogether and finishing each terminal station with a locomotive depot including a turntable. Our MMI Rio Grande K Class locomotives are not fitted up for proper tender first running having only a dummy knuckle coupler on the front and besides they would not look right running right around the whole layout with a train tender first. The upper terminus was to have had a reversing loop above the helix and the lower terminus a turntable in the back left hand corner of The Shed. We now have ideas to put in a turntable on the top deck with a rectangular running shed for locomotives as the deck for this upper level will need to be 2 ft 6 ins wide at most as it is cantilevered from the wall. The lower deck will also have a turntable but this deck can be say five feet wide at this point so the locomotive accommodation will be a roundhouse on this level.

The two levels of the layout were to be linked by a helix at the end of the peninsula down the centre of the room. We are having a major branch line on the bottom deck and had originally planned to have a junction station along the lower deck on the right hand side of The Shed. We discussed what this would be like with an operator for this junction station, an operator for the mining branch junction which already exists on the upper deck and the mining branch itself all in the same area. We also considered that so far we have not had any “wide open” spaces around the layout with a long run between the stations.

We now thought we could make the junction station at the terminal station on the lower deck on the left hand side of The Shed. This would give us a long run on the branch line starting on the left hand side along the back wall, down the right hand side of The Shed out from the wall on the peninsula and back down the right hand side of the peninsula around the outside circumference of the helix and into the branch line terminus on the left hand side of the peninsula. This would be a distance of approximately 80 feet.

We then started considering the possibilities of eliminating the helix for the main line. What if we could have a continuous rise from the terminal on the left hand side of The Shed until we achieve the height of the upper deck on the left hand side of the peninsula down the centre of the room? We are trying to achieve a maximum gradient of 1 in 50 but we have to gain a height of 24½ inches.

It appears that the distance we think we have available will only give us a rise of 18 inches leaving us about 6 inches to go. This may require us to have a short helix of only one or two turns rather than the six or so if we built a full helix. There are a few other issues which we are pondering.

The length of the run will possibly require a passing loop say ten feet long which will have to be level. That will knock out a significant distance in our climb.

We could build the terminal station on the lower deck about two to three inches higher using risers. That would reduce the height we have to climb down to 21½ inches.

Another option might be to have a steeper gradient – say 1 in 40. Since the climb would be basically straight track with sweeping curves the frictional pull shouldn’t be as bad as a 1 in 50 grade on a continuous spiral of about 40 to 44 inch radius curves. We don’t know what the capabilities of any of our locomotive fleet are. It would be a disaster if our main line locomotives could only pull two or three passenger or freight cars just because we had too steep a gradient.

There is a lot of room for further thought and planning.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Progress Continues to be Made.....

Darren brought along to the Tuesday Nighters on Tuesday 5 February another 28 legs for our layout. This was exceptionally kind of him as he only received the order from us on Tuesday afternoon. I did not expect him to have all the legs he brought along in such a short time. Thank you Darren.

On Saturday 9 February we fitted up the legs to the second module for the right-hand side of The Shed and cut and fitted the 2 X 1 around the bottom of the legs.

We then cut the timber ready for the first module on the left-hand side of the shed and we also cut the timber for two short baseboard sections along the back wall.

We assembled the third module on Sunday 10 February after we had finished installing the two baseboard sections on the right. We fitted four of the legs but had to wait to install the final pair until after we had cleared out the section of shed wall where this module was to go.
The two baseboard sections on the right-hand side of The Shed.
The baseboard sections on the left-hand side are similar.
On Saturday, 16 February it was necessary for us to move our stock of 4 X 1 yet again, along with sundry lengths of 2 X 1. We stacked all of this on top of the two completed baseboard sections on the right-hand side of The Shed. We then moved all the plywood leaning against the left-hand wall over to leans against the baseboard sections on the right-hand side. It’s like playing chess.

We could now test fit the first module on the left-hand side and determine the location of the middle pair of legs. We had had to wait until the wall was clear so that we could ensure the centre legs did not block a power point on the wall. This sorted, we fitted the two extra legs and then installed the 2 X 1 around the bottom of the legs.

Sunday 17 February saw us assemble the two short sections along the back wall as well as fitting the legs to these and the 2 X 1 bracing around the bottoms of the legs.
An overall view showing both sides of The Shed with the first
baseboard section installed on the left. The two short sections
are along the back wall. The centre section will be suspended
 between these two three inches lower to allow for a deep river bed.
WE next cut out the 4 X 1 timber for the final baseboard section on the left-hand side. This section was assembled in the afternoon. The legs are yet to be fitted.

Before this section is installed in place we have a stack of carry boxes and other storage boxes for MMI locomotives to be moved. We intend to store all this under the baseboard sections on the right-hand side as a temporary measure. They will have to be moved again when it comes time for us to lay track and wire up that side of the layout. I think we will plan, lay and wire the track along the left-hand wall first. We can then build the intended shelf under the lower deck on that side and move and store all these boxes properly.

We received another two On30 locomotives during the past week. They are both 2-4-4-2 tender locomotives. One has a steel cab (Raymond’s) and mine has a wood cab. They were already DCC chipped but we had to plug in a Tsunami sound module ourselves. These modules are sold separately. The two locomotives working in consist sound superb. The double exhaust on each goes into and out of beat as they travel around the layout. Raymond also bought two 18 ft box cars and two 18 ft flat cars. There were actual prototypes of these vehicles but they look quite dinky when placed next to a standard 3 ft gauge box car. They don’t look out of place behind the dinky mallet however.
Raymond's steel cab 2-4-4-2
My wooden cab 2-4-4-2
The 18 ft rolling stock. Two box cars and two flat cars.
A standard narrow gauge Rio Grande box car
compared to the 18 ft box cars. 
We have plans to finish the lower deck next weekend and then look forward to starting to build the peninsula out from the right-hand wall and down the centre of the room. The upper and lower decks will be built simultaneously for this.

I am not looking forward to building the two helixes however. I can these as being a big headache. We will be seeing Darren at the next Tuesday Nighters this coming Tuesday night to see if we can order some 1.7 metre legs as well as some more 750 mm legs. The 1.7 metre legs are needed to support the upper deck (and lower deck) along with a back scene divider on the upper deck.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Following Weekend.....

The weekend of 12 – 13 January did not see much progress as SWMBO had decreed we had to clean up before a proposed family BBQ on Sunday 20 January.

My youngest daughter and son-in-law along with our two little grandsons came over and helped us fill an industrial skip bin. It is amazing what one collects.

Saturday, 19 January, Raymond and I spent cleaning up The Shed as this was where Pauline wanted our guests to eat their BBQ lunch as it was air-conditioned. We vacuumed the carpets and shifted all the timber Darren had delivered in late December off to one side of the room.

This is the timber that Darren delivered at the end of December.
We have shifted and restacked it three times so far.

The BBQ went off well on the 20 January. So now family matters had been attended to we thought we would be back into layout work the following weekend which was to be the Australia Day long weekend. Unfortunately, things did not pan out that way. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald came down the coast of Queensland with severe flooding and cyclonic winds all along the coast. Because of the strong winds blowing heavy rain into the pergola area we could not do any work on the layout. The new Drop-Saw (Son of Beast) was covered with a weatherproof protector but the wet conditions prevented us from using it. We did shift our supply of timber (yet again) to give access to the right-hand side of The Shed and managed to cut some 2” X 1” to act as spacers around the bottoms of the legs. We then installed the six legs that had been supplied by Darren and also fitted the 2” X 1”.

Saturday, 2 February dawned sunny and clear (after a ferocious overnight storm – so I am told). Raymond and I visited my father then went to Austral Modelcraft for some magazines and sundry bits and pieces. Scooter even showed up!

Saturday afternoon, Raymond measured the remaining original stock of 4” X 1” and using the Son of Beast and cut up sufficient material to make the second section of baseboard framework for the right-hand side of The Shed and the first baseboard section for the lower deck on the left-hand side. Son of Beast certainly makes short work of the sawing required and it makes such a smooth cut.

Sunday 3 February we assembled the second section of baseboard framework for the right-hand side and set it on the four remaining legs supplied by Darren. We need another two legs and some 2” X 1” around the base to maintain the legs in position.

The two sections of baseboard framework for the lower deck
installed along the right-hand side of The Shed

Another view. Two centre legs and the 2 X 1 spacers
are yet to be fitted.
We have not yet assembled the first section of framework for the left-hand side as we need to clean-up under the upper deck along that side. We intend placing this under the new baseboard framework on the right-hand side.

I feel things are starting to move along quite well but then I always think that.

It is Tuesday Nighters this Tuesday night and this week it will be at Scooters which is just up the road from us.

A Sparmax air compressor for air-brushing which I gave
Raymond for Christmas to try to encourage him to "Have a Go"
The Badger Air-Brush set that Raymond bought quite some time ago
but has never used. It contains three air-brushes - a side-feed,
top feed and bottom feed.