Thursday 28 July 2016

Moving Along

Well progress has been slow but steady over the last few weeks. July has nearly gone far too quick. I am sure that over the years one's love of heat soon fades away. I remember spending many a day trying to get a tan when much younger and not thinking much of sitting in the sun for hours. Summer was always the favourite time of the year.
But as we get older those endless days of hot summer days complete with its stinking humidity are no longer welcomed. Each afternoon as I work on the layout if it is a fine day the roller door will go up and I can bathe in the warm winters rays with a seat on the end of the layout. Today I assembled a Grandt line O scale tool shed. Magic stuff, not a hint of humidity. No my preference is now winter time thank you.
When working on the layout I have chosen to start at one end and work my way down the board until I get to the transfer shed and the livestock loading point, then Eden will be complete.
Two dead end sidings are provided in the goods yard one will have a goods shed and the other just for storage. The smaller right hand side siding will be able to hold three bogie cars and the other around four. The tubing for the rods can be seen below and will eventually be covered as work progresses.
Goods yard ready for the dirt.
Another trip to the road verge out the front yielded enough dirt to spread around the goods sidings. Cheap and free. I used a wire strainer and filtered the dirt amongst the track. Prior to putting down the dirt I painted the sides of the rails and also dry brush painted some of the sleepers to give some variation. This takes away the plastic look of the original track. Then comes the spray bottle with a small amount of detergent and then the diluted PVA glue to lock it all in together.
The next photo will show the sidings which have had some "weeds" put down amongst the track. I am happy at how these sidings have turned out.
One of the hardest things to achieve in setting up a layout is working out how much space all the elements will take up. How many times have we done sketches on paper only to find out it doesn't fit in real life on the layout? When I was laying out the track for Eden I made plenty of photocopy templates for the points. At least these were actual size and I could work out if it would all fit.
Once the track layout is set then comes the fitting  in of the "other pieces" such as buildings and scenery etc. Eden was limited to the size of the former baseboards I had from South Coast Rail. So I had to squeeze in everything onto the 3.6m length. It turned out very compact and will only have the railway side of things modelled. There will be no town as there is no room to fit it. The goods yard is one of those places where I need to fit everything in. It will be divided by a level crossing in the middle. At the terminus end will be the transfer shed and at the other end will be the goods shed. I am sacrificing yard space for track space as I need to accommodate a growing wagon fleet.
There will be a goods shed (maybe not the one in the photo) and I was thinking I would maybe like a weighbridge to add some interest. I had a plan of a NSW weighbridge in imperial measurements and modelling in 1:48 or 1/4 to the foot, I reduced the size on the computer screen until it was exact scale. After printing the two sides off I cut it out and then made up a full size paper cutout. It was a bit rough but it accurately showed what its footprint would be straight away. I can squeeze the shed in OK but I have to work out how much space the actual weigh platform will take up. If it works out too squeezy then it will go in at another station. I was also able to print out the plan for a one shed loco building. Again it will fit but will be tight clearances. The beauty of reducing these plans to O scale is the ability to direct measure off the plan to construct the buildings.
Cheap as chips paper buildings
Another job that had to be completed before moving onto the scenery was to ensure there was good power contact with the points. Despite Mr Peco stating that the points are DCC ready this doesn't mean that you will have reliable electrical contact at all times with the point blades. Yes they might work straight out of the packet but when they get into a layout environment with dirt and ballast around they loose their reliability. Initially I was going to connect the end of the point rod to a slide switch at the edge of the baseboard. Mr Jim Kamilaroi also kindly sent me some screws to fit the switches. I had a problem getting the planets to align for me using this system. So I came up with another alternative. On the last remnants of SCR when rebuilding Candelo I mounted micro switches next to the throw bar of the point to switch polarity in the point. This worked well. So after having purchased now useless fifteen slide switches, I returned to Jaycar and obtained the last ten micro switches in stock. These were mounted again next to the throwbar and wired down to the point.

The switches were given a blast of spraypaint to help hide them. They need hiding underneath the bushes so to speak and I have used some foilage to hide the first one down near the loco escape road.

What micro switch?
 While working down in this corner I laid some more ballast around the engine road down from the coal stage and inspection pit. It needs some finer material spread among the ballast as most of the ballast was probably loco ash.
Loco area

 Two NA's on the loco shed track
In the above photo the two NA's are on the loco shed road. As mentioned previously, the loco shed outline can be seen by the chalk line around the loco. I won't call it tight but cosy. Achievable things in narrow gauge. The siding to the far left will be the carriage road and I was making progress on it this afternoon. It is another track that goes across the join and will need some printed circuit board on each side of the crack. I am not envisaging that it will be pulled apart any time soon but it is all part of future proofing.

Monday 4 July 2016

Around Eden

Since the last blog I have been able to move some more HO items at the Epping exhibition at Thornleigh held over the Queens Birthday weekend. With four items returned out of seventy five, I would call it fairly successful. This money can be put aside for further purchases. I also obtained a few items from an O gauge stand there. A motor bike kit was bought, once assembled it will be placed outside the station or near the mechanics workshop.
Its a different feel now when I go to an exhibition having changed scales. You know there won't be many O scale layouts there but I now spend more time in front of them than I once used to. One thing I am not missing is the constant carousel of new HO locos and carriages coming out. It was always a juggling act to justify whether I needed the new item. It is very rare now to be able to buy a single item, they come in double packs and triple packs etc. This temptation is certainly not there in the On30 scale. We are all sweating on the Haskell model of the NQR open wagon and although contrary to what I have just mentioned re the HO packs, I will obtain a few of the NQR triple packs to build up the rolling stock fleet. These will be the only commercial ready to run vehicles offered so far.
On my blog of April 10 I put up a proposed plan of the layout when it has spread to fill the whole shed. It also included a plan of Eden which is the terminus of the line and the current starting point for the layout. The plan of Eden shown has slightly changed from that published and a final revised plan is shown below:
The plan shown is laid out on two joined baseboards of 1.8m long each. The tracks have been laid across the join but connected by rail joiners so that the boards can be separated at any time. Some sections are soldered to some printed circuit board to hold the adjoing tracks aligned. These two boards formed the town of Bega on the former HO South Coast Rail. The odd shape on the bottom left hand corner was un-intentional being part of the original layout has formed a handy corner to fit in a livestock loading point.
The various sections of Eden are:
  • Livestock. This will be an edge of baseboard livestock loading/unloading facility. I have two VR NM wagons to be assembled and this is where they will operate from.
  • Transfer Shed. Based on the shed at Colac it will contain a standard gauge track set lower in the baseboard so the floor level of the S truck matches the floor level of the NQR or other wagons. At Colac the narrow gauge track was raised to match the broad gauge floor level but I cannot do this here so I have gone the reverse. I will hand lay the standard gauge track here as most of it will be covered with weeds and ballast.
  • Gantry crane. There was also a gantry crane at Colac for transferring heavy objects that couldn't be man handled across inside the shed. There is a nice ready built gantry crane on the market but at around $350 I will take my chances on building one myself. This will also give some vertical presence on the layout.
  • Eden Station. A small terminus station holding around three passenger cars. I have a  "someone else built" model of a station that I obtained from the Broadmeadow exhibition last year as well as a few other buildings. The windows need replacing and the hopeless chimney which was the end cap from a supeglue tube has been replaced with an excellent Ian Lindsay version. The building will suffice for the time being and will be replaced one day with another scratch built version.
  • Carriage siding. A siding next to the station for holding around three passenger cars or brakevan. Two different types of shunt will be required to and from this siding to the platform. Forming an outward bound train will just need the loco from the shed to hook onto the front end and propel to the platform. On the return the passenger cars will need to have the loco run around and shunt onto the rear and then propel into the siding. 
  • Loco Shed. This will be a small single scratchbuilt loco shed shoehorned in between two tracks. Clearance will be tight but will have an air of compactness around it. I have searched the files of the various forums I have joined and found the plan for a single road shed based on Colac. This shed had a curved roof. An excellent model of this shed has been built by Murray Scholz as shown on his Bogong and Geehi blog. My shed as being based in NSW will have a gable peaked roof. This a future project to be built.
  • Ash Pit. Already built as shown on my last blog entry. This was an easy build and forms part of the essential working of a steam facility.
  • Coal Stage. Already in the planning stage it will be scratchbuilt into the corner next to the ash pit. I am presuming they would have shunted a NQR to the stage and shovelled out the coal onto the stage ready for the next steam loco. 
  • Water tank. Again another structure to be scratchbuilt but luckily a piece of PVC downpipe has turned out the right diameter for the tank. I have a plan reduced to O scale and this will make building of this project so much easier.
  • Goods Shed. I have another "some one else built" goods shed which looks more freelance than having VR narrow gauge roots. It may be modified for the position or I might build a smaller version of the Gembrook goods shed. There is not a lot of room on the baseboard to put a large goods shed. I have also an Ian Lindsay goods shed which may end up here as well.
  • Mechanics workshop. Another Broadmeadow obtained building which looks plain but once some "car junk" is placed around it on the outside it should turn out OK. I bought some of the Kerroby parts such as spare tyres, car jacks etc to dress up the area.
Well that an outline of the facilities that will be provided at Eden over the next few months. Its coming along quite well. I certainly wouldn't swap winter for summer, when during the last few days I was able to open the roller door, pull up a stool and sit in the warm winter sun flowing in while doing some work on the layout. What a life!