Sunday, October 16, 2016

It Works

Here's a little clip of 5096 running a test train through Thirlmere.

So, as you can see, things are actually working on the Loop Line or Top Deck of the layout. Not without some issues, mind you, but mostly trouble free. I've got to work on a couple of points where the loco stalls at low speed but overall, I'm pretty happy given this is my first real layout.

I'm also learning about DCC at a rapid pace given the issues I had last week with an EPROM upgrade on my NCE PowerCab that totally screwed over the QSI decoder in the 50 class. Many attempts to reset using CV commands and DCC Magic Wand resets all led to nought until a conversation with Marcus Ammann led to taking the tender body off to find the reed switch (it had moved to under the coal space rather than where it was supposed to be under the water filler) and then do a DC reset. Bingo!! Chip reset to default again.

So, I've been having a bit of fun driving some trains from the bottom deck and up the helix through Thirlmere to Hill Top and beyond but I better stop and continue with the wiring for the bottom deck.

Getting closer!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wiring Update

Well it looks like the Russians have taken an interest in the goings on at Picton....the hit counter has gone berserk!!

Anyway, activity continues at a methodical pace with the track laid on the helix and all the top deck wired now for power. All connections have been soldered so its been an effort to get this completed. I have 2 droppers for every section of track as recommended to me by the 3 Amigos, Bob G, Es D and Ian T. There are a lot of droppers to solder to the bus but I don't want to be going back to fix bad power feeds in the future.

About to enter Picton Tunnel

I've also been working on the control panels for Thirlmere and Hill Top. They are made from 3mm MDF using DCC Concepts DPDT switches and LED's along with some push buttons to activate the electro-magnetic uncouplers.

Hill Top and Thirlmere Control Panels

Rear View

Next tasks will be to mount the panels and connect the point motors to the DPDT switches and then run the Control Bus. Then to the bottom deck.

I recently splashed out and bought myself a Eureka Saturated D50.

There's a bit of work to be done to bring it back to 1930's condition such as removing the buffer beam hand rail and step. Aside from the wheel splasher errors, I'm also not happy with the coal load in the tender so that will need to be fixed as well. Apart from that, it's a pretty good model and I'm happy with it and it should look a lot better once it's weathered and has some crew to grace the footplate.

So for now though, it's back to the wiring........................

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Closer Still

We're almost at the finish line with just the track to be laid on the helix now. I had a lot of fun with building the helix as one half was supported on threaded rod from the bench work underneath with the other half suspended from the bench work above on the top deck. This was due to having the storage yard running below the helix.

Eventually, the helix will be under a mountain so none of this will be visible. I still have to even out the grade so that its a consistent rise from the bottom to the top so this will be this week's task along with laying the track. I was a bit short on flex track so I ordered some from Gywdir Valley Models which should arrive during the week ready for laying.

I also finished off the lift out section as well with some modifications to the original back scene. I decided to cut this down to the same size as the front valance as it didn't quite work as originally configured.

I also had to put a slight 'S' in the track so I could maintain the 36" (~900mm) minimum radius curves.

So the plan for this week is to finish off the the helix grade and lay the track followed by installing some LED lights for the lower deck lighting. I'd bought some LED strips previously from eBay and have just ordered some power supplies which I'm hoping will arrive soon.

Then, it's on to the wiring and then......Operation!! If there's not too much trouble shooting that is.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Getting Closer

We're getting closer to the finish now and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel....sorry, I couldn't help that. I've finished most of the track work with just the lift out section and the helix to go before there is a complete, continuous mainline. 

Picton Yard

Down Main with Ash pit

Picton Station dock and Per-way Siding

Loopline Junction

I also still have to the loco depot and turntable for Picton and the turntable roads for the storage yards but they can wait for the time being. I've built the track and ash pits for Picton shed but ran out of nut / bolt / washer castings for the ash pits so I'll be on the phone to Brunel Hobbies tomorrow to order some more. Then I can complete that part of the loco depot roads and following that, the lift out section and the helix.

Then, the wiring will commence. Exciting times indeed!!

Cheers for now.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

First Post of the Year

Well, it didn't take too long for the first post. Now that the holiday season is over, I've had a bit of time and was able to finish off the Down Main Ash Pit. I'm pretty happy with the result for such a simple scratch build job. It's basically a box built from laminated .60" styrene with some styrene strip added for the steps. The longitudinal wood beams are Redheads 90mm long matches stained with diluted Tyre Black. The NBW castings are Tichy Group 4.5" bolts which i had lying around in the spare parts box. I also added some Chucks Ballast ash in the bottom of the pit where some lazy labourer hasn't done his job.

I've started on the other 4 pits I need which are 2 x 40' in front of the Engine shed and 2 x 80' for inside the Engine shed. The plans I have of the Engine shed show only 1 x 40' pit inside the shed but all the photo's i have of inside the shed show long pits running nearly the entire length of the shed. So, I'm guessing that they're around 80' as the shed itself is approximately 106' in length. Also, one of the roads has a wheel drop so I'll put that in as well. You probably won't be able to see it unless you take a peek in the windows but at least we'll know its there.

That's it for now.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Last Post for the Year

Postings for this year (and the last for that matter) have been a bit on the slim side. I can't believe its been 2 years of making, painting and laying track but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Top deck is done with a big chunk of the lower deck laid and all the track made and ready to be laid. Rest assured, work has been progressing with the results looking like this.

Picton Yard Sydney end

Picton Yard

More of the same

I've even been able to do some non-track related modelling. Well I guess it really is related as I've been building  the 60ft ash pit that was on the down main near the Engine Shed. I have to build this before I can lay the track for the down main.

60ft Ash Pit

I'm tossing up whether I put a baffle plate half way along as I've seen photo's of ash pits on mainlines and some appear to have this baffle plate installed. Anyway, still a bit to go with the pit as I'll have to install some NBW castings to represent the rail fasteners once I attach the rail as well as some heavy weathering and putting in some ash remnants.

So that's it for this year, hopefully next will be more timely and have wider subject matter post wise than the last 2.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and I hope your New Year is a prosperous and successful one.

See you all in the New Year.


Sunday, July 19, 2015


I was able to get on the power tools recently so I finished the lift out section for the bottom deck. I'm not going to show you the first attempt as that would show how useless I am but the second attempt was much better and now just needs some paint to finish it off.

Nice and lite too

While the tools were out, I finished off the last pieces of ply for the station yard of Picton in preparation for the track to be laid. I still have to fix the ply to the bench work but that will be the last thing I do as I prefer to mount the points and then fix the point motors off the bench. I laid the points out to start getting a feel of how it will look.

Picton goods day

I was going to start wiring the top deck but then realised that if I did this and wired the helix, it would make things difficult when laying the track for the bottom deck storage yards. So I dismantled the helix temporarily while I lay the track for the storage yard.

Storage Yard....Goulburn or Sydney?

A little while back, I went down to Thirlmere to meet up with Standard Goods Fan and take some measurements of one of the archbar bogies that is used as a  workshop bogie. Eventually, I want to make a master and cast some for my various wagons (E, BBW etc) that will need these bogies which are unavailable commercially. I'll let you know when you can place your orders, hehe.

One of many photos

Archbar Detail

Standard Goods Fan was a great host and took me on a tour of the workshops and showed me what remains of the H dump truck.

Not much left I'm afraid

There's little left but you can see the main components like the tilting mechanism and other metal components. When you see what some preservation groups have done with wagon restorations, you realise that the H truck can be brought back from the brink, it just takes money, people and time.

And lastly, you can't go to the museum without a ride on a steam train and a visit to the footplate.

The Driver's View


That's it for now.