Sunday, October 22, 2023

Go the mighty C's

Waiting for their next assignment.

 The long awaited C class have finally been delivered from Auscision and now form part of the backbone of the East Coast Rail fleet. In the above photo they are arranged around the turntable, something like was created by the Streamliners that surrounded the Goulburn turntable some time ago.

The C class are a very popular with the rail fraternity and have a big following. A few years ago they regularly hauled a freight No. 4190 that ran from Sandgate to Botany daily. We were able to view it locally at Cowan where up to four C class would head into the Up Relief to await a passenger service to pass. The C's dropped down into low idle and this sound was what made them likeable. Luckily they headed towards Sydney around midday and after following them towards Sydney for a while then we headed home for lunch.

A few other things have been happening around the layout, a passenger platform has been built, so I will cover that in the next update.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Diesel House (2)

 The diesel shed has been basically finished. It has been a composition of bits and pieces, a custom job to fit the space. The overall size is not large and will only fit around four smaller main line type locos such as the 44 class locomotives. There is not enough space to devote to a larger shed as this area has to also accommodate a turntable and storage around it.

The shed roof which was made from a station platform kit had to be cut down to size. The shed roof didn't have any ends with it so I fabricated ends using plain styrene and glued on some strip styrene as extra support. Evergreen angle came in handy to cover the edges from the roof to the ends. Originally the end of the kit was three tracks wide and had to be modified back to two tracks wide. It may not be a prototypical building but I think it looks the part, especially when everything around it gets completed.

Along each side at the bottom of the sides I glued a length of styrene, to give some rigidity and it also represented a concrete base to the building.

The whole building was sprayed with a grey paint which was needed to colour up the various pieces of white styrene inside the shed. Once that was done the building was given some weathering using Tamiya khaki drab diluted down with plenty of isopryl alcohol. It is better to make the first paint well diluted and then build up with later coats.

Two sections of fencing were painted white and glued outside the door entrances as a measure to prevent employees going directly onto the running track. Clearances are very tight at this spot.

So the basics of the shed are done, there is still some more enhancing such as some lights over the doorways and internal detailing. I am planning on building an elevated platform between the two roads inside the shed, another day.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Diesel House

 Amongst the many projects there are to do is the need for a diesel loco shed. This will be situated on the left hand side of the room and sit mid way down in the loco area. Room for the shed is tight and it will sit against the main line track that is next to the passenger platform.

Location of diesel shed

Pictures of diesel sheds were hard to find, so the best compromise was to just freelance the shed to look like one. While trawling through Ebay one day I came across a shed that had potential. It was reasonably cheap and one of those items 'postage free' from China. (If only items from the states were as cheap!) The kit had the usual four walls, a flat roof and floor. There were sprues that fitted suitable equivalent holes to make it all rigid. In the end none of these were used.

As other things with the layout progressed the loco shed project was put aside. Then I got the package with the parts out again. There were no instructions or photos, just the parts in a plastic bag. I was fairly straight forward anyway. I did a dry run with the parts on the layout and quickly realised that what I had on hand would only make half a shed, so another kit was ordered and turned up some time later.

So when it was time to get serious the parts were taken out of their respective bags and one seemed smaller than the other. The penny quickly dropped and I realised either I was sent an N scale kit or I had ticked the wrong box when ordering. A period of many months had elapsed and although I could have re-ordered a second HO kit I felt that using the N scale one, some interesting mods would have to be made. The other issue was that the windows would be smaller, but side by side they seemed to work out Okay.

Ex station roof
The hunt was on for a suitable roof. Worse case scenario was to manufacture a flat roof which should have been easy to make. But a visit to the Forestville Model rail exhibition led me straight to the second hand section. Getting in there on a Saturday meant a slow trip into the narrow room to look for bargains. At times you couldn't even see the tables due to a wall of bodies doing the same bargain hunting. Way down the back of the room was where there was some sort of order and the 'other than locos and rolling stock' section was. As it was two hours in after opening I didn't expect to see much suitable but then I spotted some type of european station roofing complete with the supports. When you are into scratch building you have to quickly determine if you can do something with it. So with this item I could see that the roof looked a good possibility. The were skylights in the roof which would let light into the shed. Maybe this style wouldn't work in real life but I thought it would work for me. Can't complain, it only cost $10 for the station roof.

The shed is fairly small being 400m long and 125mm wide. This covered two tracks and will provide coverage for four locos around the size of 44, 45 etc style locos. It would not give coverage for two NR type locos completely on the same track. The design is mainly to give the appearance of infrastructure to house a few locos. I am not sure what will be provided inside the shed at this stage. To match the size of the shed I had to cut down the length and width of the platform roofing. It sorta came out OK. To fit the walls onto the roof section I glued an L angle evergreen strip along the base of the roof. This also formed a gutter and tidied up the edging and made it look a lot neater. This can be seen in the roof photo above. Naturally a second section had to be added as the sections out of the bag are not long enough.

Whoops N scale
The above photo shows how the N scale sections were infilled with HO scale corrugated section to match the height of the correct HO sections. I think it gives some variety to the shed. The kit for the shed was actually for three tracks wide but the front had to be modified in width to only cover two tracks. The other issue was that the doorways had to be enlarged to HO scale.

Loco shed in its selected place.

Something missing?
The above photos shows the basics of the shed. It just requires the back section added and some more detailing, painting, weathering etc. I'll show that on the next blog update.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Ready to go

 It has been a long time since the last post and things will finally get moving on the layout this year. It was possible last year to add some locomotives and rolling stock to the fleet.

This fleet expansion will mean that some extra sidings will have to be squeezed in somewhere and they will slightly encroach on the bedroom space. Even the space behind the door will be utilised as a siding to store some rolling stock, every spot counts. So when these extra sidings get constructed the track plan for the layout will be updated. Other than the extra sidings all the track is laid and just awaiting the ballast and structures to be done.

Among the extra items purchased for the layout was the Eureka model of 3801 and the HUB set to go with it. A sound Austrains 35 class as well as an Auscision sound 48 class. The big item that is being waited on is the Auscision C class which seem to be taking forever to get here. Why does it take so long after the pilot models arrive to the actual production models being available?

And pictured above  two very nice arrivals are the Auscision 44 class that arrived today. Two in the standard indian red were obtained.

The plan now is to build the extra sidings and then start on doing the scenery and structures etc. So keep viewing and it is hoped the blog updates will be more regular this year

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Container depot

With all the track now laid on the layout it was time to re examine to see how it all works together. A purchase of 13 bogie container wagons gave a reason to incorporate sidings somewhere on the layout to create some shunting interest. Ideally both inside and outside corners are ideal for this purpose. The container sidings were laid out on the inside of the curve and were within easy reach for shunting.

Early design days

As can be seen by the above photo the outside of the curve will have a siding for cement and a private siding general goods. Having a siding that would only have capacity for 10 container wagons meant that a shunt would be required to load/unload the remaining three wagons. This is not a problem as it adds interest and a lot more shunting required.

Two sidings for containers

While the idea of shunting to unload the 13 container wagons was ideal and added interest , with a growing fleet of wagons it was considered more ideal to provide extra container wagon capacity in the actual container area. To achieve this an extra siding could be attached to the front of the existing two sidings laid.
Can we squeeze in an extra siding?
It was easy enough to attach the timber for the extra siding and the end result turned out for the better. The only downside was that the control panel only shows two sidings. This is not really a problem as the points to these sidings are hand thrown.

A wye point would lead into the third track

The new Y point in position

The third track to the container depot came off the dead end track closest to the edge of the baseboard. This was the only work around to get the extra capacity. Not 100% ideal as to shunt the inside siding this track has to be clear enough to get the required number of container wagons into the siding. Again it adds some interest to shunting. Luckily there was enough room behind the control panel to squeeze in this extra track

The third container track now in place

It was fairly straightforward to add the extra track and next job was to add some paving around the tracks. This was done by using cork sheeting which is easy to cut and takes colouring well. As a guide to cutting out the cork sheeting the top of the rails were painted and then the cork rolled over the paint as a cutting guide. Afterwards the paint can be cleaned off.

Cork sheeting is laid between and around the tracks

I think the cork works well and the sheeting was purchased from the Spotlight store. It is certainly easy to colour. I decided to go for a bitumen look rather than doing a concrete finish.

Cork in place ready for colouring

Colouring added and ballast added to inside track

Marvellous how hindsight works. In the above picture I have laid solid loading areas around tracks 1 and 2, what I should have done is have the loading areas around the inside and outside tracks and have the middle road ballasted and available for the overflow of wagons. This would have meant loading on the edge track and further loading on the inside track where the ice cream bucket is. Oh well live and learn.

Weeds are starting to grow already and two dogs turn up

AN8 has the honour of shunting the first container train

There is a lot more detail to go into this area, such as containers, lighting etc etc. That will be on another blog in the future.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Last Bit

 Well finally the last and most important bit of the puzzle has been completed. That bit is the liftout section that completes the double track around the room. It is only a short piece that lifts out across the doorway. This then allows access to the room when the layout is not in operation.

This section has a facing crossover on it which allows trains on the outer circle to crossover to the inner circle. This will be used mainly for locomotives heading towards the loco depot. At the moment it is not powered but the panel has provision for its use, the buttons already in place. It is planned to use top mount Peco point motors as it will be easier than mounting them underneath.

Liftout section in place and outer track under construction

Facing crossover in place

Cork is laid under the main line tracks mainly to provide a shoulder for the ballast. At each end of the liftout section the track has been soldered to printed circuit board to ensure a stable link between each baseboard, so far it has remained stable and still lining up despite the recent rain which hasn't effected the timber.

As can be seen in the above photos 'safety boards' have been installed along the edge of the liftout section as a definite safety requirement. A derailment or a bump or a misalignment across the join could result in the train heading towards the floor. Better to be safe than sorry.
One end of the liftout has a tapered edge that easily allows the section to be lifted out from that end.
A rather large white bolt lock has also been installed as another safety measure as can be seen. Once the bolt is secured across the unit is locked into place. Unless a smaller tight fitting replacement can be found this will have to do for now. It will be painted and blended into the scenery.
Two VR B class locos wait for the last section to be built, then trials begin.
So now the layout has been completed around the room and all that is left now is to start running a few trains. The hard part has been done.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Board Number 6

 Finally board Number 6 has been reached. This board connect to the long board 5 and is where the tracks fan out after crossing the liftout section across the door. There is also the need to lower the tracks down to zero level to match up with the level across on board number 1.

This meant the grade had to start lowering or raising dependent on direction at the end of board 5 just before coming around the 90 degree corner. This lead to some awkward carpentry but it worked out okay.

Board No 6 is secured into place

This baseboard has been made and bolted to board 5 the long straight. Towards the door it was necessary to actually screw into the timber of the doorway. This was to hold this board in place as it was to hold the liftout section across the doorway and I didn't want any extra movement. A single leg is sufficient to hold the rest up.

Boards 5 and 6 finally joined

As can be seen in the above photos I have continued to use cork under the main line but not the relief or other sidings. This also helps define the mains from the other tracks visually and they will be ballasted. Printed circuit boards have also been placed across the joints. It is proposed to solder the rails to the pc board but not cut at this stage. That will happen one day when the need for dismantling takes place.

Trial laying of the tracks

Before any track is secured down, loose lengths of track and paper points are laid out to visualise how it will all go and more importantly - fit.

It is intended to fit a coal siding on the track closest to the wall. This track veers slightly away from the main to give room for a coal loader, what it will eventually be or look like is anyones guess at this time. There is a shunting neck at the end of the loop as can be seen in the  photo above. This coal siding can be accessed from either direction so it is possible for coal trains to be run either way.

Pardon the mess but we are getting there

Peco curves points are put to good use on this layout. Straight points just wouldn't work and there is also something nice about the flowing curve using curved points. The points on the board have been all motored and controlled from a panel at the start of board 5 near the window.

With the mess gone the board start to look a lot better, don't worry it was only removed for the photo. Another job to do is the insertion of the missing sleepers, there always seem to be plenty hanging around. They also come in handy as spacers to get the tracks completely parallel. It seems a sleeper width is enough to give two tracks plenty of clearance.

So the basics are done and it just needs the liftout section to be done to complete the full circuit. Although the liftout section will be the smallest board the tolerances will be critical.

So we will let you know how it goes when it is done.