Tuesday 4 March 2014

An English Interlude &

 Why I married someone from Ramsbottom!

Five months since I last posted, yikes!!!!!
Thought I would share a few photos from our Christmas trip to the UK.

Approximately 10:30 on Christmas eve 2013 at Ramsbottom Station, Lancashire UK it was all go on the East Lancashire Railway (and it a was bl###y cold 2 or 3 degrees C!) as the two Santa Specials passed at the only place on the line they could. The East Lancashire Railway http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/ operates between Bury and Rawtenstall. 

Both trains were operating in push/pull mode with diesels connected at the Bury end.
The 2-6-0 61994 (The Great Marquess) is a K4 built by the LNER in 1938 and was heading to the end of the line at Rawtenstall.
The 2-6-4 tank loco 80080 (BR Standard Class 4) was getting it easy on the rear end and being pulled back to Bury.

For those that take an interest in cricket the Ramsbottom Cricket Club http://www.ramsbottomcc.com/  is just to the left of 80080 (photo below) and over the years has employed several Australian cricketers including Ian Chappell, Michael Clarke, Brad Hodge & Alex Doolan as the club’s professional.
Well I'm sure that's enough holiday photos to send everyone off to sleep!
Now back to the NSWGR; the IDR CW mentioned in the last post it is now complete and will be included in the next post .
Until then I hope you enjoy the photos. 

Sunday 1 September 2013

The Background (Scenes) Begin


Hi everyone for only the 2nd time in 2013! Survived the bush walk in Tassie and all the tiger snakes avoided me! However, some sort of bug caught up with me in Hobart and meant I was confined to bed for the day rather than soaking up the culture at the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA), oh well I guess that is a reason to go back! Anyway enough of the travel log onto the trains. Tenterfield now has some sky blue backboards which have given the layout some depth and made trains disappear for what seems like extremely long periods of time before re-emerging.

I have also dusted off those blocks of foam that have been stored under the house for years awaiting their chance to become New England hills and gullies. It's amazing how when you collect and store them you think there is enough to model the complete Great Dividing Range but once you start cutting, shaping and gluing you run out after about 1½ hills! At least my investment from Mr Uneek several years ago has proved it's worth. The Foam Hot Wire Tool has made life a lot easier and cuts down on those snow/foam storms! However, I must admit my 1st attempt and hill (& gully) making hasn’t been too encouraging so after some discussions with the brains trust last Friday night it was back to the drawing board.

Decided to place some templates of the buildings in their intended locations to get a better feel for how high (or low) we need to make the base layer of foam before applying the plaster soaked towels etc. Next step is to do some research in AMRM on how the layout Swan’s Crossing created those granite boulders/soft rocks several years ago. I’ve also been constructing the IDR CW cattle/elephant wagon. It’s a great kit which includes a dose of character training when you cut out the flash from between the planks. Unfortunately I fell at the last hurdle and was a bit heavy handed with the gloss coat for the decals so its out with the paint stripper! But that’s for the next post. I’ll keep this one short and include a few photos.

Until next time happy modelling!

Sunday 24 March 2013

Mainline Commissioned

Hi Everyone,

Only the 1st post for the year and it's almost the end of March!

Well at least there has been a bit of progress at Tenterfield.
We can now run trains in both directions and pass at 4 locations, all mainline points and control panels are installed and operative.
Only Shell Siding to install at “Boliva” loop, the road bed is installed, only one curved point to build and a bit of cork to lay! Then I can get into the “Darwin theories” (as distinct from the Darwin Awards!) and start creating the trees and those hill things that the trains roll through.

The 1st DCC pass at Bolivia Loop.
6028 has the brakes squealing as it passes 721 in the loop.
The future Shell siding is veering off to the left 
The layout seems to handle both DC & DCC ok and with the able assistance of the regular Friday night crew we have sorted out a few dips and bumps which has reduced the chance of derailments. Hope to upgrade the NCE Powercab in the near future by adding an “SB3A” power supply which should provide a bit more walk around ability. I have also had a play with an “iphone” as a controller via Decoder Pro and have been very pleased with the results.

I have been fortunate to take delivery of a couple of the Auscision 422 class as have a few others in the group so with that and other recent arrivals there has been plenty of new locos and rolling stock trying out the steep New England grades. The 73 class have also been trialled on the Abattoir branch and appear to handle the light track and tight curves very well.

Two new arrivals are having their trail runs on the same night!

I’ve included a photo of the Molesworth St Bridge after reading the latest posting on the Bolivia blog site just to confirm the comment that the Tenterfield road bridge also has a brick foundation. However the Douglas St bridge at the southern end of Tenterfield yard has the more traditional timber piles on brick foundations. Both of these bridges have had their roadways upgraded since I took the photos several years ago.

I also want to take this opportunity to showcase the talents of one of the team who has leant a very valuable hand or two to this project from the start. Not only is "Bazza" the resident cartoonist but he can also knock out some very good scratchbuilt models. The accompanying photo of a weedkiller tanker is just one example. 

Scratchbuilt Weedkiller Tank Car
Well I guess a quick post is a good post.

Work tomorrow and then an early flight to Tassie on Tuesday for a (train free) walk in the bush over Easter.

Until next time hope you have a great Easter and enjoy your trains!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Tenterfield Tall Timber Company

Tenterfield Tall Timber Company (A Tale of 2 Shays)

The TTTC's total loco fleet sits at Tenterfield Loco Depot. No.6 sits on the Middle Road awaiting the arrival of a sound technician and a painter wouldn't be bad idea either to remove the identity of the previous owner. No.5 sits on the Fitters Road and a NSWGR 13 class is in the background on the Knock Out Road.

The area surrounding Tenterfield have been a great source of timber for many years and I understand that this was the cargo on the last freight train out of the town!

This together with a great love of any steam loco that has cylinders that are not fundamentally parallel to the railway line caused “the man with the moustache that twitches” to issue an edict that Tenterfield must have a Shay to haul timber to the mill!!!!  What mill, I haven’t got the Shell depot yet!

Next thing there was a Bachmann 80 ton 3 truck Shay and a sound decoder, all I had to do was put them together!

So the next few photos show how this was achieved. The photos are fairly self explanatory so I won't bother adding captions. These locos already have a PC board in the rear water tank (maybe it’s the only water tank!) which can be retained if you are using a non-sound decoder.

 As we were using sound decoders I decided to slice the PC board into 3 pieces.
The front part was kept as it contained the 2 & 4 pin plugs for the electrical leads from the front of the loco. The 2 pin plug is the track pick-up and the 4 pin plug is the motor and front headlight.
The back part was kept as it contained the rear headlight.

Both of these boards also contained mounted screws for securing the PC board to the body of the tender. The middle part of the PC board was removed as this is where the speaker needs to be installed.
The speaker was a ½” round Soundtraxx. I constructed a styrene box to install the speaker in, which seems to work OK.
Obviously I had to do some serious drilling in the bottom of the tender to let the sound escape. I also took the opportunity to install a sound cam to determine if this option was worth the bother.
I glued the decoder and supplied capacitor to the inside top of the water tank. Everything seems to fit in OK. You have to remember not to make the speaker box too high or it may cause some problems.

 We ended up doing 2 of these (traffic must be on the increase already). One, TTTC No.5 has worked perfectly and that included using the axle cam for sound syncing. However, I’m having a couple of teething problems with the 2nd loco, TTTC No.6.

Firstly it stops for no reason, and then goes again, which it didn't do in pre-DCC days! Initially I thought this may have been a short circuit but it doesn’t trip my NCE Power Cab so I think it is probably an open circuit or bad solder joint. I’ve re-soldered all the joints in the tender where the decoder is so I may have to look further afield. Whatever it is, its bl##dy frustrating!

The 2nd problem is that there is a clicking sounding generated when the sound is on. This may be because No.6 has a light to simulate the red glow of the firebox. That is the only difference between the 2 locos so I’m guessing there may be some magic electronics connected to this that is hidden in the main part of the loco. Hopefully the next update will have some good news on this issue.

 To all those trekking to Liverpool next weekend, remember before you hand that plastic over; “Is it a WANT or a NEED!”
Argg what the hell just do it!  

Until then enjoy your modelling.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Tenterfield Abattoir gains a rail connection

Hi Everyone,

Like many fellow blogger I’m lagging way behind in an update!

Firstly to all those fathers out there I hope you have had an enjoyable Father’s Day! Perhaps as part of my celebration of the day I’m being allowed 20 minutes away from my normal list of non-train jobs to type out this long overdue post.

Abattoir's loading ramp will be on the left hand track.
Note the lack of space behind the track which means
relief type structures will be the order of the day.

 Tenterfield moves ahead; unfortunately the scenery makeover has not yet started but we do have another industry from which to generate traffic. There was a Tancred’s abattoir at the northern end of the township and a Google search reveals it operated until 1981.  Unfortunately there isn’t much left to investigate or photograph. The track diagrams I have indicate the facility was accessed by a set of “up” facing points with an internal loop. I assume that this would have been shunted at the same time as the stockyards as these were only about 400 or 500 metres south of the abattoir and had a loop off the main line. This would have saved having to propel wagons all the way back to the yard at Tenterfield.

My version of the abattoir siding is a bit more complex. The design will allow an operator to take a train off the main line, shunt and still allow others to run mainline trains.

Entrance to the Abattoir sidings from the main
with the run around loop in the distance.
Note the vertical clearances!!

 The buildings themselves will be in relief as the complex will be on a section of the layout which is only 450mm wide and that includes the main line which is located at the front of the scene. It is also challenging because of my planning error in only allowing 300mm vertically between the 2 levels. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!! I planned the layout of Tenterfield yard in great detail but underneath it I simply allowed for out of site storage. However, as construction progressed it became very obvious that trains were not going to be seen for considerable periods of time. This resulted in a re-think of how to turn some previously hidden areas into an area where one can watch a train go by and also increase the operational interest. Yes, next time if it’s a multi level layout the top level will be 1500mm + and the lower level will be something like 1000mm so there will be a 500mm separation. I’m trying to see it as a modelling challenge rather than a disadvantage!

The track diagram may help to make sense of the photos which will also give some idea of the tight space available.

Sketch / Track Diagram of the Abattoir & Mainline
 Just waiting on some tortoise motors to arrive and then this should be operational. The final bit of track to then go in will be the passing loop half way up the climb to Bungulla. There will probably also be a goods siding and maybe this is where that Shell siding could go that I mentioned in the previous post. Those new SDS oil tanker wagons certainly would look good.

Perhaps I could also use the oil tankers at Tenterfield itself as the town had an operational power station until the 1970’s which was supplied by rail!

Until next time enjoy your trains.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Tracklaying Continues and Wayward Tankers

The final extension is pretty much on schedule. Risers have arisen and roadbed has been laid! The 1st 5 metres of track was laid this weekend, all was going well until I realised I had exhausted the supply of cork!
I’m using Railcraft / Micro Engineering Code 70 flexi track for this last section. It looks great but it certainly is a challenge when trying to bend it into shape especially when compared to Shinohara or Peco. Maybe I’m missing something so if anyone has any suggestions, please advise!

At left: 4429 is in dynamics as it eases it train down the grade from Bungulla towards the abattoir on the newest section of Tenterfield. SHELL station may one day sit on the  highest point of the layout which is above the VSX flat wagon at the rear of the train.

I’ve included a photo of the latest infrastructure acquisition; SHELL station! This mysteriously appeared recently, perhaps as a peace offering! I believe the story goes back to one Friday evening when we were test running the “Austrains” 4 wheel fuel tankers. A test run normally includes allowing a vehicle to roll down the 1 in 50 spiral from a standing start. The spiral commences at the Down end of Tenterfield Stockyards and finishes at the Up end of the Bluff River Bridge. Yes I know not exactly like the prototype but it’s the only way everything fits in the room!

4429 heads an up goods past SHELL station!

One tanker had begun the test and its rolling resistance was very minimal as it was rolling down the spiral at a speed which was not causing alarm (not too fast, not too slow). The tanker had reached the bottom of the spiral and was about a 1/3 of the way across what will become Bluff River Bridge when a regular attendee who will remain nameless (lets call him “The Man with the Moustache that Twitches”) decides to dispatch a 2nd tank car down the spiral! It wouldn’t have been so bad if he had let gravity alone propel the tanker down the grade but no - he had to apply some assistance by giving the tanker a push start! From the moment it left his hand everyone in the room knew what the outcome would be but we were all powerless to intervene. It was over in seconds; the now speeding tank car No.2 comes into contact with the now near stationary tank car No.1. The end result; tank car No. 1 on the concrete floor! I suppose it could have been worse, if I had the Bluff River Bridge in place the tanker would be in the river and I would be answering to the EPA! Tank car No.1 was assessed in the workshops and returned to service after minor repairs.

A re-creation of events as seen by our resident cartoonist is attached.

SHELL station will need to be relocated from its existing spot which will be in the middle of Bluff River Bridge! It may well be renamed Bungulla and placed at the highest point on the layout!
I may now also have to include a SHELL siding to store any wayward tankers but I will ensure it’s at the bottom of the grade and not the top just in case there is any wayward shunting!

Until next time enjoy your trains!

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Layout Construction Update

Welcome to 2012!

So far the year has started well; family and friends around, plenty of cold beer, warm weather, cricket on the big screen and some quality time in the train room.

Tenterfield yard looking south

Have managed to complete the final section of benchwork which will change Tenterfield from an end to end layout to one that will allow continuous running. This should allow me to warm up all those decoder fitted locos before programming them as recommended in the documentation!

Last Friday night was spent drawing the track plan for the final section onto cardboard which had been placed on top of the newly completed bench work. This allowed me to work out where the risers are to be installed.

The final extension with the sprial
and the south end of
Tenterfield in the background

Australia Day is a club running day and there are family duties at the Gold Coast this coming weekend so the manufacture and install of the risers may be a week or two off yet!

 I've included some photos of Tenterfield yard, the stock sidings and a couple of the final section of bench work. The straight frame section lying across the bench work will sit in it's current position but another 400mm higher and on a 1 in 50 grade. This will be between Bungulla and Bluff Rock.

Tenterfield stock yard siding looking
north towards Wallangarra
I'm consulting with the IT gurus in the family to produce a layout diagram of the Tenterfield I'm creating, hopefully in a post or two. The assistance of a consultant should ensure that it doesn't require the services of Mr Squiggle for an interpretation!

Until then enjoy Australia Day and your trains.