Monday 26 December 2022

The Last Post

 The Last Post? Well for this year anyway. Santa has been and gone and left nothing which I am not surprised, seeing I model this obscure scale and prototype. But all is well as I feel I now have my fleet (unless someone bring out a G Class garratt) the rolling stock is way ample.

 And I can't believe another year has gone by so quick, you hear about events on the radio or TV saying so and so's eighth anniversary of their passing and you realise times flies by too quick. I started doing this new layout now around six years ago and when I look at the layout I see there is so much to do and so much has been done. The size of the layout will probably dictate that I will never finish it in my lifetime but I am having fun doing it. What I have decided to do is to concentrate on the 'portable/removable' section of the layout. When this layout was commenced, unlike the HO layout I decided to make it sectional so that one day, (hopefully) all the time effort and money sunk into this part, it can be broken apart and maybe re-used and enjoyed by someone else. If I make the effort to work on the 'fixed' section of the layout then all that effort will be for nothing when one day it will be all pulled apart. As we all climb the stairway to heaven, this is something we think of. But some don't worry about that aspect, saying when your not here your not worrying about your empire. Funny when you think of how you will leave the planet i.e. quick or slow both have their advantages and disadvantages. If you know you have a time , say 6 months, then the disposal can be handled by yourself. But if you go in an instant then some other poor bugger has to do all the work. Either way a sad time for all.

 Onto an equally frustrating topic, the other day I thought I would run a train for a while but as soon as I plugged in the power, on came the warning short circuit light. Stuff, I thought I had been carefull when doing work, not to leave any metal objects near the track. A quick visual didn't reveal the obvious, so off I went looking for the obvious which it wasn't. Unfortunately the layout is only one long section so a short at one end shuts the lot down. But what I had done was to put terminal blocks at each end of the individual baseboards underneath for that day when they will come apart. I now realise I should have wired them into a switch so all I needed to do was work my way around the layout switching off sections until I had a steady red light on the circuit breaker. This task wasn't as easy as it sounded, as I had to get right down and under the baseboards to find the terminal block. The two wires were removed and the light was still flickering. Ha it wasn't until about 45 minutes into the task when I realised even though I had removed the wires underneath, some of the tracks between the sections haven't had their rails cut yet. That was a job when removal beckons. Doh. So on and on I went around over and under looking for the obvious, to no avail. I was wondering was this thing call DC all it was cracked up to be??. I remember the old HO had sectionalised blocks that I could cut the power to from the control panel and quickly find the problem. In a light bulb moment I remembered that I once had a dodgy microswitch way down at Bega. But what one was it? I flicked them back and forwards a few times thinking that might fix it, but no. Then I came across a point and its microswitch that led into the loco shed. A few flicks and a check on the light revealed it was the problem. But before this I had to resume power to the bus by getting underneath trying to hold the wire in the hole and screwing it all up again. Then eyes let me down, no focus, go get a light and shine it up. And after each terminal block rewire, a trip back to circuit breaker to see if I still has power. Too late to cut a long story short, but after and hour and a half wasted, the short was found. I shall look there first next time it happens.

What made me write about the short topic is that I realised tonight after reading the February issue of Model Railroader, Tony Koester has experienced a similar event and we are sure we are not the only ones. He explained a few of the instances:

  • The first case was when a cardboard box sitting on the layout had four copper staples underneath the box that were shorting out the rails. He has now taped the staples.
  • On another layout, two spikes in a frog were somehow touching each other underneath the layout
  • Then there was the guy who had a spiral bound notebook that was laying across track and this produced a short as well. ( A few days for this one)
  • Another had two bare wires hanging down under the layout and were okay until a box was pushed underneath which caused the wires to touch and short out.
  • And Tony's case was when he had a level crossing and he had used carbon black for the road surface which was apparently conductive and created the short.

So these are some of the frustrating cases of non obvious short circuits that can cause great frustration in the hobby. So maybe the more shorts you get the better you become at tracing them down?

So what for next year on South Coast Rail?  One thing is for sure in that after three years the Thomson River bridge will be finished. After final adjustments and completion of the scenery on the Broadwater side, the official train comprising all the passenger rolling stock and brakevans will marshall up and run across. Maybe the Haskell NBH coaches will be ready and I will get a set of these for SCR. As earlier stated I will concentrate on the 'portable' sections and complete the scenery and there are at least a dozen structures to be made and installed. All this will be duly reported on during 2023.

So I hope you all get what you have planned for 2023 finished no matter what scale or prototype. It is a great hobby. I will just finish off with a few photos taken over this year of various parts of the layout and have a good 2023.

And the tail end shot

See you 2023