Saturday, 29 December 2018

Some Silos and Shops

I've been working on an interior of a station building for a club up the coast. The work is going slowly but here is my latest offering at home and in the station building.

The shops were made over a series of nights at the club from styrene. The fridges are images downloaded thanks to Google images and glued onto silver boxes. The staff are pretty much the same people painted in different colours. The menus and posters were created the same way. All images were put into a Microsoft Publisher document and printed out. The shop signs across the top were created using Word Art, except for the Chick-fil-a sign which is a real franchise in the States. It's one of my mates favourite chicken outlets. When my wife and I were in an airport in the States we ordered a chicken burger each. They served them without buns. They also gave us the wrong burgers but by the time we'd figured that out I couldn't be bothered going back and complaining a second time. Despite that, the chicken was good and their advertising posters amusing, so I thought that I would stick it in the take away shops.

My next job for the club is the toilets and news agency.

On the home front, I thought that sitting in front of some aircon with the cricket and a kit was a good idea. So I finished off my grain silos for the brewery at Awdry.

I intend to put an unloading shed in front of the silos. In fact, the whole brewery site needs to be raised 9mm for clearance of the the awning. The silos are painted silver because that what Google images told me. In hindsight, I may have only seen new silos used for advertising. They are also sitting very close to the building. In realigning the track behind, I had to get rid of the annex to the side and rear of the main buildings. This has left a gap where there was no wall because it would be covered by the annex. I can't find any bits that I have saved which would fit the gap, I even thought of cutting the annex. However, the silos are big enough to cover the hole.

I need to finish off some of the paintwork around the doors and base.

Then I reckon I can get on with the dairy end of the station.

Until next time, happy new year.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Track Work

As real railways shutdown for Christmas track work, I though that I should do the same.

The first bit to sort out was the hump from Brewery Lane down the incline. It was pretty sharp so I put in a bit of packing to ease the bend. It's looking a lot better now. The packing still looks a bit shabby.

Next, I took out a point on the line to the wheat silos (or where they will be). The finished image is below. This was going to a yet to be determined industry. However, it would mean the operator would need to uncouple the wagon at Awdry and propel the wagon to the other side of the layout and past the bloke who is operating the main yard. I would need this point later.

Away from the Awdry Branch, on the lowest level, North Bega Steelworks needed some modifying. Being on the low level and down the front, this will probably be the last area finished. The steel works receives steel coils and turns them into wire coils. The steel coils are delivered into a shed and the wire is loaded in another shed. The steel coil siding needed to be lengthened by one wagon length and part of the track lowered as the wagons had a habit of running out of their imaginary shed. The same thin was happening with the wire coil wagons.

As I use vinyl flooring under my track instead of cork, this was taken away and the track replaced onto the bare boards. It's working so far.

Next to the Steelworks is the container terminal. The container wagons have the same problem of running way here too. I slipped a piece of folded card (an old waybill) under the tracks. This is working well at the moment too.

From here it was a trip with the work gang back to Awdry for the planned work on the oil depot.

The cattle siding was shortened and then lengthened at the last minute. The points in the depot were taken up and replaced as planned in the photo in the last blog post.

It was looking great... and then I put the oil tanks back in.

The middle track remained in place through the whole remodelling. All I did was to put the Peco Streamlined point in where the had been a Set Track point. It is exactly the same length as before, however, now there is less clearance for the LPG tank. This is because the Set Track points curve away more sharply. I didn't think about that. 

Am I going to change it? 

No way. It will add a bit more shunting for the operator to carry out.

You might notice the green and red dots next to the points. This is to let the operators know where the points need to be when they have finished using them. The tie bar needs to be pushed away from the red and towards the green. When I finish adding scenery I'll place something red or green next to the points. At the moment, they are training operators.

All of this was done before lunch. Hooray for me!

I hadn't tested it.

It wasn't until I sat down and started writing this post that I thought that I had better check that it all worked.

If you're still with me here, let me tell you about comprehension skills. When we read, we use different strategies to help us comprehend what we are reading. One of these strategies is predicting what a text might be about or might happen next with what we are reading.

By now you'll have predicted that there were problems. My 50 class derailed on the Y point. It was pretty consistent. I'm not sure why (no pun intended) as I have another of these points on the entry to the loco depot and the 50 class has no troubles with that point.

There was another one which I could test. Frog's Hollow has a small three siding goods yard with a Y point. The 50 class hated this one more than the one at Awdry. The solution was to remove the spring above the front bogie and see if that helped. The result was a 100% success rate through both of the Y points. I'm not sure of the rest of the points on the layout and the effect the lack of spring will have. For now it works.

The spring has been put into a small plastic bag which has been labelled, and put into a safe place, which has also been labelled.

Other stuff that I have done in the past few days had been to fix the alignment of the drop down bridge. It was held in place by two bolts. If it didn't go down well then you could give it a bit of a shove and it would come good.

However, everybody (myself included) has a habit of leaning on it and putting it out of alignment again. A third bolt into the lower end of the drawbridge seems to hold it in place more reliably.

I also took a bit of time to put some car card boxes together for Awdry as the car card had to be placed next to the wagons. I used a drop saw on 3 or 4mm MDF but the results were not that good. I found that I can use a craft knife and a steel ruler on this instead and get a cleaner edge and a lot less nasty dust. As I need to create a few more of these, they might be able to be done in cooler air condition comfort.

Until next time.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

A Couple of Operations

I offered my layout for an end of year get together. As I prefer to run trains for a reason, I set up an operating session. 

One thing that I have learned is that operating a layout slows down construction.

The session often starts with a briefing. This is generally to introduce the throttles and how to use them to select and deselect locos and to remind the operators of some certain rules and procedures.

Every train has a card. It gives the operator instructions of where to pick up their train and what type of loco that they should use. These instructions are pretty explicit. While I know what to do, as it's my layout, my operators don't. They haven't had hours running trains as I have to work out where things should go. These cards are A5 in size. I also have A5 clipboard with the map of the layout on the back. I have found that no one seems to look at this.

When the instructions are finished, these cards are put in the "Completed Trains" box and a new train card is taken from another box. These cards are put in with some sort of sequence which makes sense for a day on the railway.

I use car cards and waybills for my wagons. I downloaded an Excel file a few years ago. The file prints your car cards and has cards for locos as well. I also used the spreadsheet to create car cards for my coaching stock so that they can be tracked and located on the layout as the goods wagons are. Some carriage cars are individual cars but if they are in a fixed set, such as a HUB set then only one card is created.

The same file also produces 4 position waybills as well. This worked pretty well in the past. I have simplified it over the years. I found out though that the operators working in the main yard didn't have the same fictitious geography awareness that I had. This made it difficult when they had to make up trains.

After watching numerous YouTube clips on operations, I found an example where the waybills were colour coded depending upon which town they were being delivered to. This was a brilliant idea. Even better was that they were available to download. These were created using a Powerpoint slide. While it isn't as sophisticated as the Excel spreadsheet, everything is on one slide. After making changes, I print the sheet cut out the waybill, fold it in half and stick it into the card card.

I used this change in the waybills to do some serious planning of traffic movement of my goods rolling stock. For example: Bega has a goods shed and wagons visit it from all over the layout as well as the network. The goods shed holds four bogie vans. I wrote down the the number of vans that I though that I would need. With four position waybills, I figured that I'd need at the most 16 different vans. I managed to cut this down as the destinations of each wagon was planned across the four positions. The planning was nothing more than four columns in an exercise book. These were entered onto another page if they were going to Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra so that I didn't have too many wagons going to each off layout destination. Some of the destinations were made up. For example, I don't think that Canberra has an Oak Dairy but I needed a destination for my Oak Milk tankers. My Dairy Farmers tankers go to Bega Cheese.

This old school method is labour intensive but I reckon that I have something that works. And with each destination framed inside a colour coded box, whoever is working the yard can assemble trains more easily. This worked well so the effort in the lead up was worth it.

The idea of the operating sessions is that we don't need to get through every train in the session. Next time we just pick up where we left off. I can also run trains in between sessions as well.

The first operating session was followed up with another mate a week later. A couple of pre-sorted trains from the previous session were dispatched from the yard to on layout destinations. I used a Eureka 50 class to take a train to Awdry. I have fitted a KD to the front so that I can shunt trains here and bring them back without needing to travel around the layout to turn the loco. As I was shunting the oil depot I found that an old point that I had used was causing problems for the leading bogie. That's probably why it was still in the box. The two set track points in the oil depot were causing problems too. The 50 class doesn't like the set track points.

Below is the work that needs to be carried out to make Awdry yard more user friendly for the 50 class.

Until next time, have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Station Building Part 5

It's been a bit quiet on the layout lately. I've been working on a project for a club layout as well - so that's taken some of my 15 minutes a day up.

I've also had to tidy things up. It turns out that I'm a messy worker, no matter how hard I try to keep things in there place.

That hasn't stopped the station building progressing.

Here is the finished building. All the parts have now been glued together. It is amazing how well it all fit together before I started painting.

As it nestles up to the window frame only half of the interior could be modelled. I made this into a waiting room. A couple of Peco station seats were glued to the wall and a few people glued to the seats. This is so the building can be removed for extra work later. I put some travel posters up on the wall behind. I had printed a few for the Billabong Wharf station building. The poster just visible is a scan from a vintage travel poster style postcard from Estes Park in Colorado. I bought a few of these postcards while I was away with the idea of creating little travel posters.

It dawned on me this morning (no pun intended) that I don't need to glue figures and fixtures down onto the layout. It has been a while since I have got to this far on a layout which hasn't been portable. This means that this bloke won't forever be stuck on this seat reading his blank paper. I'm not sure about his green socks though. Don't look too closely at the photo though - I've already found a couple of spots that I need to touch up.

The logo on the sign was made using Adobe Illustrator. The organisation which I work for has given its employees access to - a website which has video tutorials on all sorts of things. I watched a couple on how to make a logo. It's a simple effort going from nothing to the logo in the space of an evening. It represents Boyd's Folly, an iconic building from the Eden area, and the waves of the coastal water. Why? I just wanted to brand my railway and give it a sense of place.

What is next?

I reckon that I will need a signal cabin on the platform. I might need to make a hedge or look at some form of fencing. I should put some lights on there too.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Station Building Part 4

Here is where I'm up to.

I used cardboard to mock up a rear wall. It looked pretty good so I cut some styrene to the right size and shapes for the doors and windows.

Next I painted the concrete awning sea mist grey (I think - it was a light grey.), the station building and interior were sprayed tan (the interior being sprayed on white styrene was  more yellow than the paint sprayed on the bricks) and the doors and windows were sprayed a dark blue as that's what the doors and windows at Dungog station are, according to Google Earth's Street View.

Today's effort was dry brushing different shades onto the brick work. It looked hideous so the airbrush came out again. I used earth and wood shades of brown and lightly sprayed them onto the building to vary the colours of the brick work.

Has it worked? I think so but I'm going to leave it a while and see what I think. If I'm not happy then it will be repainted again. Everything above is currently blue tacked together.

My man concern at the moment is that the platform bricks don't match. I'm not sure that it would be too bad if it weathered the platform bricks a bit.

Click here for the inspiration as I can see it from Google Earth.

Until next time.

Friday, 2 November 2018

The Station Building Part 3

It's been a hectic week with meetings and other commitments after work but I've been able to squeeze in a weeks worth of fifteen minutes or more.

The first thing to do was to cut out the roof of the building. I experimented on a bit of cardboard first. 

The curved ends were cut using a curve cutter. I'd purchased this years ago and finally took it out of its pack.

It seemed to fit well enough and once a couple of mistakes were sorted out the roof was cut out of, what I think was 60 thou styrene.

Once this was fitted well, I went to work on the pilasters. There were only two of these. I originally planned for three but it didn't look right. These were made but gluing three thicknesses of brick styrene together. They were also made in two parts - one for above the roof and one for below.

On the Dungog Station building, the pilasters stop a little above the windows above the roof. In hindsight, mine could have gone a bit higher. The building so far was blutacked together for the final photo.

Until next time.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Station Building Take Two

I spent a couple of days working on the disassembled Peco kits and they were looking very rough.

Time to try again.

Armed with a screen shot of Dungog station a sheet of Scalescenes brick paper, I cut out a suitable size wall and played around with windows and doors.

Next, I attacked a sheet of Slater's brick styrene sheet and came up with this:

The doors and windows are all Peco components. The glass doors had the side windows cut off. Underneath the three top windows will be an awning which will run the length of the building.

The backing of the windows and doors are about 1mm thick. I decided to make part of the building stick out 25 mm and the end with the solid doors only 5 mm from the back scene.

Between the first and the second top window is a wall. The other two windows will let in some light for the passenger section of the station. I am considering repeating the window arrangement on the rear of the building and to show some interior of the waiting area. I want to have a photo behind the station but I don't know where this will come from as yet.

The next job is to line the heads and sills of the windows give it a coat of primer and then paint the bricks.

As I like lists, so that I know what I'm doing, here are the next steps:

  1. Line the heads and sills of the windows and door frames.
  2. Create the decorative brick columns between the middle windows.
  3. Create the rear wall.
  4. Cut out the awning.
  5. Paint everything.
  6. Work out the interior.
  7. Assemble.
What could possibly go wrong? With luck, I'll be up to painting next week end.

Until next time.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Thinking About the Station Building

The platform was glued and then thoughts turned to what was going on top.

Most of the platform is 30mm deep. There is a short 220 mm section which is 50mm deep. With this in mind, I have three choices: an extreme low relief building in the middle of the platform; a low relief building at the end of the building; or a mix of both.

Before I could work that out, I had to come up with a design. A flat roof art deco style would go well. This is because even with 50mm, there would not be sufficient enough room for the pitched roof to look right.

A couple of good examples are Dungog and Cronulla stations. However, Normanhurst and Thornleigh stations also came to mind - although they don't fit the art deco idea, they have flat roofs and look as though they can be made using Peco office building kits. This is handy as I have a station made using these.

Here is Thornleigh station. I hope Laing and Simmons don't mind me ripping off their image.

On the very first Sapphire Coast Line which I started on the Central Coast, I had made a main station building for the terminus using about 3 packs of the Peco Manyways Office Buildings. It ended up looking a bit like this.

It was never finished and it had to be repaired a couple of times after the wind blew it down of the layout and the cat dragged it down onto the floor.

The similarities are the brown windows at the top of the walls. I could try and take it apart and create a single story version and put a flat awning coming out from the top. After a bit of fiddling around I came up with this. I reckon that I could make it an extreme low relief but low relief for the entrance an include some interior detail. 

At the very least, if it doesn't work, I have plenty of windows and doors and templates to work with.

Here's a view with a train in it. I reckon it might just work.

Until next time.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Back on Track

It has been about eighteen months since I last added something to this blog.

In the meantime, I have finished laying all of the track and I've been happily running trains. I even had one or two running sessions with some mates.

I've also been a little distracted by the extension, Billabong Marina. This is pretty much finished and now I need to focus on the main layout.

For the history, keep scrolling down to read the full story and fictional history of the line.

Where do you start?

Billabong Marina has taught me to start at the back and work forward as you won't damage any of your work when you do more.

With this in mind, I'm starting on the top station.

This location is a fictitious town west and up hill from Eden. It's called Awdry after a town on the last layout and ultimately after the creator of the Railway Series which I'm sure many of us grew up on in one form or another. I needed a name and this was the best one that I could think of at the time.

Here's the station.

It sits on top of the mainline behind Boydtown Yard. This view is from the oil depot. To the right where the MRC is, will be another dairy. The platform will be where the bit of timber is. Opposite the station is a small siding for a couple of cattle vans and maybe a spot for something else to unload.

In the corner is a siding for ballast wagons to be loaded. The idea was for most of this to be hidden but I couldn't hide a full train in there. I had a rethink and made the siding longer. The middle track is the mainline.

I've brought the ballast siding closer. I had thoughts about the blue metal siding in Richmond. A check in one of the Byways of Steam makes it sort of plausible. The siding will no longer be hidden and I can stick a couple of houses in the corner. Three is a little too crowded.

The line in the foreground lead to the brewery. Surely every layout needs one.

It's a Kibri Paulaner brewery kit. However, in making the ballast siding longer, I had to lose some land behind the brewery. The annex on the left had to go.

It will be replaced by Two grain bins. These are Faller kits and will be painted silver to look more like a local variety. The little building on the right might stay. There will be a lot of remote (meaning far away) shunting as this siding is not in easy reach of the operator, so I'll need to play around before I make a final decision.

These adjustments were  done over the the last couple of weeks since the October long week end.

I'm planning to spend 15 minute a day at least on the layout like I did on Billabong Marina. Click here to see the blog for this layout.

Today's effort was more than 15 minutes.

The wood for the platform was cut out. I printed some Scalescenes brick sheets for the brick work, I used the platform kit for the edging stones and tarmac. I've yet to glue the platform top to the wood but here is the result.

Not a bad start.

Until next time.