Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Layout relocation

 All good things come to an end or is it just a change of location!

As per my last post. As per my usual process. I got up to the doing the scenery and stopped / stalled.

Then Michelle got a new car and was getting sick of getting wet or getting into a hot car. 

So the RR needed to move as the Mustang needs to stay in the garage. So the only thing to do was to move the layout.

Here are the progress pictures of the layout being disassembled and then moved into the new shed. Then the dismantle of the room within the garage.

First to go was the skirting, fascia and ceiling valance.

Then the centre wall.

Then the top level was removed

Then the helix

Then the town of Fairhaven

Then lower staging

Then the wall cladding, both internal and external.

Then the centre island and the main yard of Whtehall.

Layout completely removed.

Then the false ceiling and walls.

The layout is now is pieces in the new shed.

I now need to build shelves in the garage and then start work on rebuilding the layout..

The layout build will take a while I expect. I still need to add lighting and power to the shed.

Well that's the end of the B&H Version 4.0.

The new location will host the D&H V 4.1. I will reuse the full lower section with some minor changes.

The main yard will be single ended due to the door location. The layout will be single level with a lower staging.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Time for a change - relocation of layout

The great clash of hobbies drives change

Its been a while since I updated this blog. Since my last update I added a hobby to my already packed schedule in a 1972 Mach 1 Mustang. 

This has taken up a heap of time over the last 12 months in getting it roadworthy etc and therefore the Model Railway hobby has taken a back seat. I also struggled to get my head around a schedule / time table and car cards etc so lost a bit of interest for a while.

Adding to this Sam turned 18 this month and therefore, he is now using Michelle's 14yr old Hyundai i30 and this lead to the need to get Michelle a new car. This has then had a knock on effect in that garage space has become a premium where the Mustang MUST live in the garage to minimise rust issues for the 50yr old Mustang and Michelle wants to be able to store her new car in the garage and not get hot in the summer and her to get wet in the winter when using it.

As the railway room was built in half the garage, I have made the decision to move the layout out of the garage and reclaim the space for cars. This then lead to a search for a shed that I can install the layout. As the current layout uses 6m x 3m of the garage, I needed to find a similar size space to be able to reuse as much of the current layout as I can.

I found a solution. A moveable building / box that is insulated. This way, if we move in the future, I can just pick up the layout and building a move it.

The cost of building a garage and then fitting it out was going to be prohibitive. In terms of council, I found that moveable buildings that are not used as habitable space can be installed with out a permit as long as they don't have footings etc. The council also does not allow for containers to be installed in residential areas for longer than 3 months, so that was out of the question also.

Here is the solution.

Here is the shed being transported on a tilt tray.

The walls are fully insulated as is the roof.
While the top and bottom corners have eyelets like a container to pick it up etc, it is not a container or a converted container.

I do not want to drill holes in the steel / aluminium walls so plan on moving from a double deck to a single deck approach for the layout.
Here is a revised design for the layout.
The location of the duck under / drop bridge needs to move.

I have started to disassemble the layout by removing the fascia, signals and buildings.
Next to get the saw out and do some cutting once I have added power to the new shed.

Stay tuned..

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Schedule and waybill planning and implementation

 Time to write up some waybills

I have been procrastinating this task for a while, but finally have some thoughts about how the train schedule will work on the layout.

In order to write up the way bills I have manually created a few trains and now I need to write up the waybill for each car. I will use the 4 position waybill system with each car having its own car card that has a picture of the car plus the reporting marks on the card.

The plan is to have a mix of trains to cater for each type of operator.

The types of train will be:

Run through - does not swap out any cars, just runs from staging to staging across the layout.

A simple switching job - this type of train will run from staging, then when it reaches a specific town will switch  1 or 2 tracks and drop off or pick up a small number of cars and then continue to staging.

Complex switching job - this type of train will originate from the main yard and go out and switch a number of tracks at a few towns on the layout and the return to the main yard. There are a number of industries on the layout that will receive a car from off line, then load the car for another on line industry, then the car will then return to the main yard and then depart on the mixed freight. Some cars are captive so will run between 2 locations on the layout that are in different towns and therefore have to switch between switching jobs via the main yard.

As the simple switching job trains switch out specific tracks in 1 or 2 towns, the trains can either run or they can be skipped if I have a small crew. The run through's can also be skipped if needed.

The complex switching jobs have associated mixed freights that will run from staging to the main yard and drop off a number of cars and the continue.

Now to get on a write up these way bills.

Car cards next to each car, waiting for a waybill

A rough plan of each train and its direction, towns to stop at and types of industries to switch

A full list of all the industries on the layout. The red ones are the cars that are on line industries that will either receive or send a car to another on line industry.

The 4 way waybill. Here there are 2 waybills. They are double sided.

More progress to follow.

Friday, 27 November 2020

RF16 Shark sound install

 Ah the burble of a Baldwin

I have been planning the install of a sound decoder into the ER Models RF16 Shark for some time. I have been following a number of threads on "The RailWire" for a while and found some suggestions as to speaker enclosures and small mobile phone speakers that work well on the Loksound Micro v5.

Once all the parts arrived and with a little down time I set about the install of the speaker and sound decoder into the RF16.

As the ER Models RF16 has a reasonably solid frame, there was a little bit of milling to be done in order for fit the parts near the rear of the loco.

As the loco comes with rapido couplers and I always run the loco with its sister RF16, I cut the front coupler box from the bogie and installed a body mount medium shank microtrains coupler. At the back of the loco, I replaced the rapido coupler with a medium shank unimate on one of the pair and a short shank unimate on the other loco to get a reasonable gap between them.

Here are a few progress pictures and a short video.

The audio from the phone is not as good as the loco sounds on the layout but gives you an idea. 
The burble of the Baldwin sounds great!...

Saturday, 24 October 2020

GHQ Dozer build

 Hmm.. Missing parts.

Today, while procrastinating about developing a schedule and the card packs for the layout I came across a GHQ Bulldozer kit that I purchased many years ago and decided to build it.

All was going swimmingly well until I found that I was missing the main front blade and arms from the dozer. After a careful search of the area where I cut over the blister pack, the part, the is probably the biggest part of the whole kit is missing.. Darn it!.

I continued to build the the dozer with the parts I have and have contacted GHQ to see if a part can be sent. If not, then the dozer can be placed on a well car or flat car and be a load (once painted).

Now back to those car card packs.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Raspberry Pi - For JMRI

No not a a Raspberry Pie (the type you like to eat).

Have been watching with a keen interest the progress of the Raspberry Pi mini computer.

The Raspberry Pi is a PC on a board that are about $100. The idea is that they are small, simple, solid state and are used for what ever project you can come up with. The Raspberry Pi 4 fits into the palm of your hand and is about as powerful as your average size Laptop these days. Has 4 USB ports, built in WiFi, a wired network port, 2 x HDMI ports etc etc. Is runs a version of Linux called Raspbian. All totally Free..

I had watched a few tutorials on setting one up to run JMRI and had been sitting on the fence for a while as I had a old Laptop that I was using to run Panel Pro on the layout. The issue with the laptop is that it takes a while to start, does not have a battery and was a general pain in the neck. I found a cheap, used Raspberry Pi 4B 4Gb on ebay so thought why not.. Lets have a crack at this.

The guys at JMRI have set up a image for the Pi so that it can just be copied to a SD card for the Pi and it will auto detect the DCC system and connection to the Loconet. Too easy I thought..... and it was..

I have now got the Pi running on the layout in a way so that it does not have a screen, it boots up when the layout power is turned on as I walk in the room. The Pi then auto starts JMRI and the Panel for the layout and then runs the layout initialisation routine to set all the turnouts to a known state for the signals to work.

It is best to shutdown the the Raspberry Pi rather than just killing the power, so I have set up a turnout number that I can operate from the throttle so that it runs the shutdown routine for the Pi. Once done I can then kill the power to the layout. 

As an alternative, I also have an old iPad in the room that connects to the JMRI web server (that auto starts when the Pi starts). I have a panel that has some basic functions on it (per below) so I can enable the staging auto reverse set up so that I can just set a train running and JMRI will set for the selected clear track and then detect when the train is in the loop and auto throw the turnout so that the train can exit safely. It then waits for the train to clear the staging turnouts and a few extra blocks and then rests.

The panel also has a switch on it to shutdown the Pi so that I dont need to use the throttle. All rather nifty.. So now I can do away with the laptop and only drag it out when I need to program a loco.

The Pi has USB ports so that a keyboard, mouse and monitor can be installed if needed, but I can just remote control to it from my laptop or the iPad if needed. So no screen or keyboard is required in the RR Room.

All rather nifty really. That was a nice distraction from buildings. Now back to the buildings.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Fairhaven Glass and power station

More buildings completed

Over the last week or so I have been working on the buildings in Fairhaven.

The town of Fairhaven is dominated by the large glass factory. It also has a power station, pipe unloading facility and a Ball Metal containers. Ball metal containers was built a few months ago and I have been thinking about how to do the modern (that's modern 1970's style) glass factory. 

I finally got around to getting stuck in. After some research into glass manufacturing, I realised that the main commodity inbound is sand and the track I had allocated for the delivery was not very big. I also have a power plant that is more for town power as opposed to the glass facility. I then decided to swap the locations of the sand unloading and the coal unloading to enable more sand cars to be spotted. 

I adapted / changed / shortened a few existing buildings I picked up from Barry and John Fahey and built the power station and sand silo facility. 

The other function of the glass factory is to hide the track that is behind it that comes up from South staging. I made the buildings so that they can be picked up and moved, just in case of an issue or for track cleaning etc.

Here are the buildings about 80% complete as I need to add windows, paint and weather etc.

Most buildings with get a heap of roof details etc.

Here is an overall view of Fairhaven.

This is the sand unloading facility

This is the sodium and recycled glass unloading dock and main part of the factory

Here is the box car loading facility for completed glass products.

Main office building and the power station

Coal unloading facility attached to the power station.

I also completed the unloading dock and cover for the large power station in Plattsburgh.

The roof on the power plant is yet to be completed due to a shortage of materials. More is on order.

Will now do some running to test out the unloading and loading facilities.