Monday 19 March 2018

Back to the Grindstone

Despite the stinking hot weather we have recently endured, there has been no more sighting of Monty. The nice man from the National parks relocated him to a better place in the bush, so I hope he stays there.
When I made the decision to demolish the old HO layout and rebuild into On30 scale I didn't realise what a mammoth job it would be. The decision was right on a couple of fronts, I would have to clean up years of clutter in the shed, the shed would get repainted inside and the floor as well.
It is slowly progressing but it takes time to sell off the equipment and restart into a new scale. Also picking a new modelling medium, that being VR narrow gauge which is really a niche choice. You don't realise how alone you can be when you get out of mainstream modelling. I am lucky that there is sufficient models out there to be able to achieve the goal. As previously mentioned I have to blame Kieran Haskell for initially making the Puffing Billy NA. It is reasonably priced when compared with pricing of the new HO 30 class tank recently released. Ian Lindsay models offers dress up kits to further enhance the model. ILM also offers most of the VR narrow gauge models as kits. Well I now have to wind back the clock to the eighties when this was the only way to obtain NSW models via kits.
The first half of the layout has the baseboards constructed so that they are completely removable should the need happen one day. The second half which I am now working on is most of the old HO layouts baseboards which has had an adapted track design made to fit with a few modifications. It's remarkable how quickly this scale eats up the real estate. The fact that I can re-use the old baseboards will save considerable time in baseboard construction. Another aspect is that the scenery was basically complete and many hours of time were spent trying to make it look okay.
I reckon I have spent enough hours working out the final track plan for the empire and now need to get stuck into the work. Before all the track work starts I need to get stuck into repainting the ceiling and walls, hoping this will be the  last time I will need to do it. Nothing worse in having the scenery done with all the white spots over it.
One thing I can't help myself with is that tend to overbuild a layout with much more track than the average layout. I am blessed with a large shed and no way would I just go for one of those micro layouts and be satisfied. Some I have seen are that small you could go down the shed in the morning and have the layout built by lunchtime. How can you invite a few mates over and entertain them with a circular layout? Having said that I can appreciate the workmanship that goes into these layouts but how do they keep you entertained once done?
As another exercise I decided to draw up a profile and track diagram of the proposed track layout. As you can see by the profile I am definitely not a member of the 'flat earth society'. Well away from the circular track layout themes I have designed the layout to encourage operation and shunting. There is little flat track except at the stations. As the track is rolled out then I have to do load trials to see if reasonable loads can be moved around the layout. Maybe if the grades are too steep in areas then this introduces more operation in the way of assistant locos. This is also more enjoyable by way of DCC control. There is either the option to consist the locos together or the two drivers to have individual control.
To enable the diagram to be compiled, I assembled a train that was around 50cm long, and pushed it around the track (where built) and measured how high from the floor it was at that location. The end result looks like the familiar prototype 'grade chart' One thing it does is to readily identify where the grades are. Another bonus is by placing the track layout diagram directly under the profile chart. I have also indicated where the proposed infrastructure will go. The track designs for Broadwater, Pambula and Wolumla are typical VR narrow gauge designs with a crossing loop and a goods siding  accessible from each end for shunting. Some of the private sidings are readily shunted in one direction but need run round moves when shunted in the opposite direction. Ah more operation. 
The length of run works out around 54 metres from the buffer stops at Eden to the end of tracks at the branch terminus at Candelo. I am not sure how long in actual time it will take to do the whole run, let you know when it is all complete.

For this layout the lowest point above the floor is around 106cm up to a max height of around 127cm.
I have started to remove some of the HO track from the old portion of the layout. What I am hoping is that I will be able to blend the new track into the old section. This area was one of my favourites as the scenery was virtually complete and heaps of photos were taken there. The track was easily removed after the application of water and will be sold off.
I have included three photos of this area of recent work. The first will show the good old days with a garratt heading for the tunnel. The second is a solution to slow work on the tunnel clearances!!.The third shows the track section removed.
The old HO days May 2009

The problem with sizing

Ready for new track