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.
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
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
|Third load trial and still managed!
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.