Saturday, 9 February 2019

More Silos and Operations

For me the purpose of having a model railway is to operate it. I'm not in the rail industry so I don't get everything just like the real thing.

Sometimes building the layout is halted because of operations. As I've run a few operations sessions lately, progress on the scenery has slowed a lot. My plans on building a dairy are still just that. Instead, I thought that I would build some Walther's grain silos, mainly as the box was getting in the way.

The silos are on the top level the falling gradient to the middle level running behind it. The line is a bit close so the bottom of the rear silos needed to be cut away for the trains to pass behind them.

Here the building is in its location.

It still need some weathering. Below it are the carriage sidings.

I use car cards and I've needed to make a few more boxes for the cards to be stored in. I found that 3mm MDF is fantastic for this. You can cut it with a box cutter knife. I use one of those smaller ones that you get in packs of three with the blades that you snap off when they get blunt. They take about half an hour to make. One the glue dries they are painted. All of the boxes are mounted on the bottom level so to make it easier for the operators, they are colour coded. I still have a lot left to make. 

I've also had to plan which trains run, write instructions that are not too complicated but which have enough information. There are still a tonne of errors and nearly one head on. Everyone has had a great time though, even when this go bad.

One session turned bad soon after starting. The power to the track was lost. I use Digitrax and have a DB150. One of the crew was brand new. I set his train up, handed him the controller and somehow in handing it to him, I managed to switch the power off.

I didn't work this out until well after everyone had gone home. In the meantime, I had hooked up my old Zephyr but too many address had been used. I had to look up how to reset everything. We got trains running. The goods were delivered and passengers made it to their destination.

The last session led to a bit of excavation and track work. One of my locos kept derailing somewhere under the main station. It was right in a corner where access to the offending track join was impossible. On my old layout I soldered joints on curves. I had a few problems so this time I didn't. Unfortunately, joins on curves can't be avoided unless Peco decide that they should make track in 180cm lengths.

Here is the before image.

I use vinyl flooring for underlay instead of cork as you can get it cheaply by going into a carpet store and asking if they have any offcuts. 

I cut out some of the vinyl and cut an access hole in the plywood. I took out the track pins either side of the join. The join was tidied up and one of the track pins replaced. Most of what you see in the photo above will be covered up by a station building and a town.

Here is the after.

I also took the opportunity to remove a siding and realign the track into Platform 7. the siding was to be for a newspaper. I have an old Lima newsprint wagon, and a newer Powerline  newsprint van as well. However, to reach the siding is a bit of a stretch and the point was reducing the capacity of Platform 7. I'll need to think of another way to incorporate the wagons on to the layout.

The next operating session is a month away. I reckon by then I'll have more progress.

Until next time.