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.


  1. Bob,
    Great progress but I'm interested to know a bit more about the proportions of your diluted PVA glue mix and its ability to be used in a spray. I used a 50/50 mix also with a few drops of detergent and found that after a few uses, the spray bottle had clogged up and was virtually inoperative. have you used different proportions of water and glue.
    cheers Phil

    1. PS the Russians are at it again big time, 648 hits in a day. Maybe they're searching for Hillary's missing emails

    2. Phil,
      There are two bottles, one with water and a few drops of detergent to act as a wetting agent. Then a second bottle with a rough 50/50 water/PVA mixture. Sets solid as a rock but can be re=loosened with water in the future to reclaim track.

  2. Bob, I love the use of the micro switches particularly as they are an "above board" solution.

    1. DAvid,
      they work well on top, saves working upside down and putting the same underneath. They just need hiding when above.