Saturday 25 February 2017

Load Trials

Load trials, more on that a bit later. To get to the point of conducting a load trial recently I have fitted the baseboard top to the section containing the coal unloader and curved point to the siding near Eden.
The baseboard top was rescued from the old layout from Bega and moved to near Eden, not even a far distance in the real world. The baseboards that run along the wall of the garage have been made to have a slight climb up towards the next crossing loop station currently to be known as Greigs Flat. This rise in the track adds topographical interest and also a grade to make the locos actually work up this section.
At the far end of the first baseboard the rise is only slight climbing up about 20mm. This is enough to add a bit of variation in levels and start the climb up.

Although in real life some of the curves on the real VR narrow gauge are sharp, I have so far decided that I will use a fairly broad curve. One reason is that I had a leftover 30" track gauge from the HO days will can still be used on the On30 track being 16.5mm wide track, very handy. It also looks good at the moment this broad curve coming out of Eden. It certainly looks very messy on the board at the moment but it is the first stage of beautification (I hope) I could have painted this board with some brown paint but why waste that time?
The above photo shows the far end of the first baseboard and the track that will go into the coal unloader. There is no grade on this track and it is a level siding. In chalk can be seen the road which will come up from the coal hopper and cross over the line before running into the wall. One of the things I am not looking forward to is the building of structures for the layout. For this particular board I will need to build an unloader for the coal wagons. This will probably be just a hole under the track. This will lead to a conveyor to take the coal up to the hopper and the hopper itself. At this stage I have no idea what the end product will look like so I am open to any suggestions. 
The rise of 20mm on this board only starts half way along, then crosses over to the next baseboard. All these baseboards will be wing nutted together to enable removal at some time in the future. I am not giving too much consideration to the eventual weight of these boards, so if I find a bit of timber in the shed that will do the job at hand I will use it. If its too heavy at the time of removal I'll just rope in another guy to help. It would be more critical weight wise if the layout was going to and from exhibitions.
The above photo shows a train and some hoppers on the coal unloading siding, the grey plastic will be where the drop chute will be for the coal. The office and car adds some perspective to the overall scene.
The same photo from the opposite direction. The raised coal siding is clearly seen here and add some dimensional interest I hope. Snug Cove shelter  will be in the foreground. It will be small enough to be hopefully  made in an hour or so. Reminds me of those articles that use to be in the Model Railroader, can't remember the exact name something like "Dollar Models" Anyone remember? I'll make a couple when I do this one so the can be spread around the layout.
The long and winding road
Today I cut out the baseboard top for the next section. Murphys law it started raining today and is scheduled for the rest of the week. So that stuffed the idea of taking the board outside to cut it. Have you tried cutting board on an angle? Not easy for me anyway. There was nowhere in the shed that I could lay down the 2.4m x 1.2m board. After trying out a jig saw, various blunt handsaws and after spending fifteen minutes looking for another mini hand circular saw I had it was finally cut out. (What do mean a straight line Kimosabe?) The end product was not a pretty sight and was duly placed up against the wall with the nice side facing the aisle.
This brings the above photo to make some sense out of the title for this blog entry "Load Trials"
As explained earlier I want to have grades on the layout. So far I consider what has been planned is not a very steep grade and the only way to prove this is to carry out some load trials. So I got a few lengths of track together and laid them up the grade ready for the trials.
In my previous work life I was lucky enough to be employed in the section where the locomotive testing was carried out for the New South Wales rail system. There are certainly huge differences between testing a model and the real thing. In real life trains have to be tested under the worst case scenarios that being ruling grades and under wet conditions. Most of the testing for New South Wales is carried out on Cowan Bank near the north of Sydney on a 1 in 40 grade. Although not the steepest grade in NSW it is particularly notorious for its speed restricted approach at Hawkesbury River and sharp curves. Chuck in a few flange lubricators and a thunderstorm = recipe for disaster! Many a freight train have stalled in this section. The smartest thing the railways did in this section between Hawkesbury River and Cowan was to institute bi-directional working over both roads, although it has only been in place fairly recently. 
When testing these locos to simulate wet weather conditions a 100 litre water tank is strapped to the loco and piping worked down to be under the leading wheels. As soon as the loco hits the grade the water is turned on by the tester.
Well thank goodness we don't have to go to this extent on the models. Today I tried NA8 on the grade to see how it would handle a load. This particular loco was the first one I had sound fitted to and the weight that was supposed to be in the steam dome was replaced by the capacitors, so it is the lightest NA of the three. Using this logic if this one can handle a load then the other two NA's should be able to.
The first load trial
The first load was NA8 and six wagons behind. Although the grade is slight it had no trouble hauling this load.

So I added a few more wagons and the load was built up to 9 wagons and carriages. Again no troubles and up the grade she went. The last two carriages are both Bachmann that are lit and have wipers on the wheels which adds a bit of friction to overcome.
Third load trial and still managed!
Well the above photo shows the limit of the load testing. After adding two more Bachmann coal hoppers poor old NA8 was starting to show a few signs of struggling at the top of the grade. When the layout is running I don't intend to run trains this long (Unless double headed or I come into possession of a G class Garrat) It seems to defeat the purpose of modelling narrow gauge if the trains are getting too long. This was a good test for the loco and surprised me how well it actually went.
Although this setup looks a bit crude it proved that these loads can be hauled. I didn't want to get all the track bed cut out and finalised and then find out it was too steep. I am not sure if there will be steeper grades at other places on the layout, time will tell, but for now all good and a successful days testing.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Explanation of Sidings

In one of the photos on the last post, there was a photo showing a curved turnout going back towards Eden. This siding was an afterthought from one of the sessions perched up on the bar stool and looking too long.
The original intention was to place a car repair building between the track and the edge of the baseboard. I had already started to collect any junk I could think of that you might find around such a place. There were the usual 44 gallon drums, a car jack, tools etc. I even purchased an O scale motorbike kit from Kerroby. I suppose if I get lazy I could just paint all the parts and leave them scattered around the front of the works pretending they were being worked on. Yes I know this work would normally take place inside, but you would never see it all.
So while this idea of a workshop was going to work okay, I thought that this could become an industry and a siding built. Now there was no way a siding could be built from Eden yard to serve it, so after a while and twisting some code 75 track into shape I reckoned that I could fit a curved siding into this area. I don't think a workshop would be served by a siding so I will have to think a bit more as to what can go here. Maybe a dairy siding, time will tell.
I worked out that I could fit a siding coming off the main line around the corner opposite Snug Cove platform. Unfortunately Peco don't make a curved turnout so I will have to build one. Many moons ago when I was modelling N scale I had scratchbuilt many turnout using code 55 rail. I had the weathered rail and sleepers sent out from the USA from Railcraft. This was before I had the room for a layout so I just used to build turnouts and more turnouts.
Santa Fe N scale layout early 80's

Other entry into town
I had to assemble the layout on the ground outside as this was the only area large enough to do it. The layout never got finished from this stage and was sold. So I have built a few points in the past I just hope I can remember how to do it., I suppose its just like riding a bike, you never forget.
This is another view of the siding where the buffer stops will be right up against the road so that two wagons can be accomodated on the straight. The white line in the photo is the point rodding which will be hidden under the building.
This view is from inside the operating area for Eden and soon the HO track silhouettes will disappear under some O scale buildings.
Now just around the corner from this siding will be the one for the coal unloading. It might seem a strange commodity for narrow gauge, especially the Victorian system, but having obtained a modelling licence recently its a goer.
I have six Bachmann coal hoppers which will form a service from the coal mine to Eden where they will be unloaded. I am slowly realising how much space O scale takes up over HO. So when structures are put in they will have to fit on a small footprint.
Mock up for coal unloading siding
The above photo shows the main components for the coal unloader, don't worry it will look better later. You can see the workshops has been temporarily recycled. I needed a destination for the coal to go to, preferably the longest distance from the coal mine. I was going to have a wharf in this area with an unloader that would end up on a ship. But lack of space has canned that idea. So I will have an unloader where the coal from the wagons will go up a conveyor to the hopper and into trucks that will go under for loading then proceed out, over the level crossing and then off to a  (coal) power station. Yes this was well and truly before any protesters were born. Thank goodness for that. Anyway to pacify them I have a wind turbine up one end of the layout. Oh hang on no its just what we call a fan!!.
So that's where we are up to at the moment, a few more inside the house jobs and I will get stuck into it.
Any way sorry gotto go, there's a big storm coming over Sydney and I have to get ready and go to the State Theatre to see the Hollies in concert tonight.