Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Update

This month has seen much more work on my laptop whilst sitting in my armchair following on from last moths commencement on setting up my holistic operating regime.  I won a Roco Crane on eBay, got to Chris's for an ops session and fitted some track power isolation switches in Loco LeMaistre.

Operating Regime

Well last month I indicated that planning had commenced with 1066 lines of data, after finalising the planning of session it has grown to 1210 lines - I wonder how many it will be after I get to the end of session 8?

I have completed the train graph for session 1 and during compilation I had to "move" a few trains in the schedule to ensure smooth running.  Part of the process was to physically run a few trains against the clock to check that the scheduling was within a reasonable margin of error.  Well the ones Peter R ran for me were close enough!

Special thanks must go to Derek who did a significant amount of work cross checking all my data and graphing - his explicit eye for detail uncovered things I had not gotten quite right!

Now I am trying to find a print house that does not charge me a fortune for either A0 or B0 print.

I have produces an operator plan and will need five crews and a controller.

The Session 1 Train Graph is too big to show here so if you are interested in having a look here is a link to a Pdf file.  You will need to zoom in as the print is about 900mm x 1400mm, the following 3 images will assist with interpretation.

Now I need to prepare the job cards for the 39 train movements in the session.


I have finished the data entry in Access to allow the production of the first set of waybills using mail merge in Word.  They have been printed and cut up, they are arranged in car type groups ready for adding to the car cards when the car card boxes are completed.

Roco Crane

I have had a standing search on eBay for about four years and apart from one hit from Greece with a purchase price of about 350 Euros it has drawn a blank.  Finally, one turned up in Australia with a starting bid price of $40.  The catch was "no returns or refunds" and no mention if it was working or not.  I won the auction for $56 delivered.  After following the instructions that I found on the web as none came with it I discovered that the Slewing did not work however the boom and hook worked well.

I enlisted Don's magical fingers that removed the cab and tinkered then bingo it was working as shown in the video below.

The only part missing is the boom rest on the accompanying flat car - I will just have to make one!

Ops Session at Chris's

We had our first ops session for 2018 at Chris's.  Barry, Derek, Don, Rosslyn and I joined Chris.  We had an impromptu run where Chris informed the operations about what needed to be done and we just got on with it.  All operations were by tablet or phone using JMRI and Engine Driver.

I put a short video together, so you get the idea. 

Loco LeMaistre Track Isolation

After bringing all my locos from the workshop to the layout the current draw for my booster was just too much so and during the final operating sessions in 2017 there were several overloads which was embarrassing!

I have decided that there are a few areas where more than 3 locos are stored so I have decided to isolate 7 areas which are:

  1. Diesel Shed track 1
  2. Diesel Shed track 2
  3. Diesel Shed track 3
  4. The Roundhouse (17 tracks)
  5. Arrival/Departure track 1
  6. Arrival/Departure track 2
  7. Arrival/Departure track 3

After installing the switches on the control panel Wayne and Don came over to help me identify any new rail gaps the wiring changes required under the layout.  The result was 3 new gaps at the Diesel sheds, 1 new dropper and the rest were disconnected ready to reconnected to the terminal strip.

Termination Strip

arranging the small loom

Switch terminations

The coloured head pins show dropper locations

Thanks for all the support last year and I am hoping 2018 will be a big year!

Till the end of February.....


Thursday, December 21, 2017

December Update

Merry Christmas to all my followers.

This month my has seen much work on my laptop whilst sitting in my armchair following a planning session with Wayne on setting up my holistic operating regime.  I did get to Wayne's for an ops session and Rob Paisley has a new website but that is about it....

Operating Regime

A little bit of history...  I have been manually preparing instruction sheets for each job in Word for every session since we commenced operations.  This usually takes about 10-16 hours as all car locations are logged, locos allocated and which trains will run decided - then the paperwork prepared including all car movements (switch lists) for each train....  I am hoping by implementing a holistic operating regime with about 100 trains in a cycle and the introduction of car card and waybill the overall effort for "A" session should be dramatically reduced. - That is the dream anyway, so what am I doing?  See below.

Wayne and I had a planning session and we made use of a white board - felt like being back at work....

I decided to develop an Access database to collect/store all the base data knowing that I could control data entry to valid ranges/values and then using queries create data sets for export to Excel for final manipulation.

The first task was to establish the trains list...

Then the train permanent storage locations - staging tracks


Well a track plan will help understand this along with a locations abbreviations list...

 Then we need to know the train direction/route change info

Then in each section what is the train doing?    and does it affect running time?

Looking at the list a few changes may be necessary as the fine tuning process is commenced.

Then finally we define the jobs which may be one movement (Train No.) or a combination of multiple movements.

Then Jobs the have Train No's assigned

 Putting it all together - below is the details for the Local Passenger

The next task was to calculate the running times for each of trains depending on type

Once again the local passenger was used as an example.

The far right column give the cumulative time since commencement for each train (3 trains in job) and each activity for each particular train is achieved.

I the New Year I will have a go at creating the train graphs using the 1066 lines of data produced to date.

Ops Session at Wayne's

We had our final ops session for 2017 at Wayne's.  It was an enjoyable session however one of our fellow operators had a medical incident which brought things to a premature end.  I am glad to report that following assessment at the local ED he was discharged late in the evening.

Afterwards we enjoyed a drink and we were treated to a freshly made pavlova.

Rob Paisley's Website

Rob has many good circuits and he has a new website the details of which I found on the Model Railroad Hobbyist Website - click the following link to visit Rob Paisley's new website.

If you forget this there are links on the main page of this blog and my website.

Thanks for all the support during 2017.

Till the end of January.....


Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Update

This month my wife and I visited Tasmania and rode the Ida Bay Railway, West Coast Wilderness Railway and saw some railroad activity along the way. Modelling activities took the back seat however I did get to Wayne's twice.

Ida Bay Railway

Departing Ida Bay Station the trip is a two hour (return) train journey that travels the historic 7.3 kilometre track, which was originally used to cart limestone to ships at Deep Hole. You can ride in an open or closed carriage, while you journey through the scenic bush. There's a brief stop at graveyard where your tour guide tells you about some of the history. Back on the train the trip continues to Deep Hole.  There is a break of about 15 minutes to walk around at the beach before returning.

Here is a link to the video of the ride from Deep Hole to Ida Bay.

Check out their website.

Wilderness Railway - Queenstown Explorer

West Coast Wilderness Railway Tasmania. The Queenstown Explorer a steam train running Strahan–Queenstown–Strahan including the King River Gorge, the “rack” section of the railway track, magnificent rainforest and a number of stations along the way.

6.5% grade!

Our coach

Travel from the heart of Queenstown deep into the West Coast mountains to the beginning of the iconic ABT Rack and Pinion section of track.  The first of its kind in Australia, the system enables the locomotive to traverse the steep slopes. The Rack and Pinion is a must see for all who travel to Queenstown.

Lots of places where the clearance was tight - it was all hand dug!

A section of track with the rack

The ABT cog arrangement

Locomotive pinion

The end of the rack and pinion section

Looking over the drivers shoulder....

It was a great trip but a long day 7:45am arrival and back close to 6pm.

I put together a video with some highlights...

Here is a link to their website.

Tasmanian Railway Oberservations

Travelling around Tasmania we came across some railway action that was captured in photos.  We saw lots of tracks but few trains.  Many of the tracks had been closed and the rails rusty.



Cradle Mountain to Hobart

West Coast Heritage Centre, Zeehan

We decided that we did not have time to do justice to the centre and its exhibits so these photos were taken outside.


Kaye snapped this shot from the Spirit of Tasmania just before departure for Melbourne.

An aside

Whilst taking photos in Burnie I was approached by a Tasrail employee doing the security thing...  It turns out he owns 830 Class 868.  It is in Don River Railway Museum, Devonport, it started work in Peterborough and finished in Pt Lincoln before another life in Tasmania. He sent me the photos below.

Speedometer - Arduino Based

Well I mentioned last month that I would run a clinic on building a speedometer next year and within the groups I mingle with the number required was 34!.

I ordered the bits mainly from AliExpress and have "bagged them up in sets".

I need to build one or two and take photos and write instructions as many of the recipients have never undertaken building an electronic project let alone one with a microprocessor!

Visits to Wayne's

Ops Session

We had one ops session and whilst it was warm and I was feeling a bit off colour the stress showed through my sweating...

Chris, Des & Rosslyn at Lowood Crossing

Barry & Wayne at Dunkleigh Towers

We enjoyed refreshments after the run.

Scenery Session

I introduced some of those attending to the mix used by Joe Fugate so I did part of a bank and Don had a go at a creek bed that will have pools of water and a lake.

I add some of this in varying amounts to vary base colours

Don and his work on the creek bed.

Des installed some Heki rock wall securing it with hot glue..

John worked on the platform area for the passenger station - a lot of work to get it to the correct height.

Assembly of the Peco platform fascia

We all had a great work session which was followed by a BBQ with wine!

Till the end of December.....