Thursday, November 27, 2014


Last week we had an opportunity to enjoy good company and visiting stock for 3 days.
The new catenary had only just been installed on a trial basis and the 'smoke' was taken out of the locos under some stanchions that had slipped down lower than spec.

Here we see a 38 being trialled on the mail.

Electrically the layout performed well. I have not cleaned the track in a long time, just an occasional brush to remove leaves and twigs and a scrape to remove bird poo. I put a few drops of powdered graphite on both main lines and that was it... no issues. Of course nothing will be perfect for visitors and some loose ballast jammed a point and two microswitches occasionally failed to do their job due to the points moving about. Both issues a result of a poor selection of glue in some areas to hold the ballast. Some screws inserted in the right place stopped the wandering points.

Good weather meant we were able to run late into the evening.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Traffic on line

Today sees Hunter Valley Mine's ex NSWGR 1803 and 72 shuffle a short train of assorted goods wagons past Seven Mile Mulga on their way down to the mine site.

Traffic is slowed by the construction of a full size over pass near the back fence.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A station at last.

Today under blue sky after the passing of a big black cloud the railmotor was able to deliver passengers to the new station. Still bereft of walkways or overhead bridge unfortunately for them .

The station building is an 'Old Dog'  plywood kit and the water column from their stable too.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Visiting Loco

A 49 class turned up for a run this morning on my layout.
Rohan may now have to get a train to run behind it.:>)

Apparently it wont fit the loading gauge on Bolivia.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mid-Year Update

The layout has been  progressing well. All the track is now laid.  The station sidings and relief road over near the access ramp are in and working.
The goods shed is installed sans some finer detail which can come later.
Testing has been in place to determine if radio/battery was necessary for the layout to operate to the electrical reliability standard I insist on. Result has been the removal of radio from all but one loco (only used as a banker for the access ramp). This loco has a current draw in excess of my systems capacity so it was not a hard decision to make.
I am currently using powdered graphite as a contact improver and it is working fine so far. Needed a little more than I use indoors for success. Trains seem to run fine even when the rails are covered in a heavy dew.

The track power v radio/battery decision just boils down to swapping some occasional loco wheel cleaning for charging batteries.The track has to be cleaned outdoors anyway. Given I like to just let the trains run, track power proved to be the best choice for me at the moment.
When I can use my DCC throttles, with a radio adaptor that allows me to use the decoder and batteries of my choice and comes with onboard charging from the track so the battery is more of an extended stay alive they will have won me.... no stalls/ failures to start AND no plugging locos into battery chargers and waiting, bliss!

Once the platform, station building and loading bank are built I might be able to concentrate on more rolling stock.

Thankfully I discovered that Urethane and the Australian sun are not good bedfellows before investing too much in rolling stock  made from that material. A warped set of coaches followed a previous experience with Gauge One wagons sagging. Back to wood and card for me until I move back indoors permanently.

Looking back, I could have agonised over having track that looked like NSWGR practice, building pointwork that matched only one wheel standard and counted rivets.  I would be a very long way from having an operating model railway if I had followed that path. Soon the layout will be 'complete' although  it can never be 'finished'.
Hindsight is wonderful; perhaps I could have avoided the 'flat board technology' look by gluing a 75mm layer of  styrofoam on top of the Villaboard sheet before laying the track. I think that would have provided enough glued surface to keep the foam from heading off into the neighbour's in a gale.

This is the last of the layouts on my list to build. It covers the 'O gauge layout big enough to run anything NSWGR' and the 'outdoor layout' in one swoop. When it comes time to abandon this layout and if  I am still able to build an indoor layout it is hard to say if I would continue with 7mm scale. Perhaps it will be time for a complete change of direction. An Sn3.5 layout running a variety of favourite trains or a British OO one would allow me more opportunities for doing the scenery and structures I enjoy building.... also my friends can once again bring their faulty HO equipment for me to diagnose the problem. :>)

 Bob Comerford

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The End of the Beginning

The layout has reached ‘The end of the beginning’ if I can misquote Churchill.
The loops are running, the access ramp and staging tracks have been installed and the pointwork  can be remotely controlled from the shed. This last item I felt was very necessary to recover trains in the event of a sudden shower.
Lighting has been installed to watch the trains at night as they pass by the garage window and near the crossing and ramp access to identify when trains are clear of points.

There now remains the scenicing and structures to be built. Locomotives and other rolling stock to be made. Some extra sidings are planned next to satisfy those who like to shuffle wagons about and perhaps some working signals.

The layout can accommodate British Fine and NMRA wheel standards and may be able to accommodate AMRA if it is insulated.  There is the capacity to run one dc consist as well as DCC. Battery electric will also be welcome ( I have two of my own under way).


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Train Time at last

Finally the baseboard has been finished and two circuits laid.
Thanks are due to Dale Dawson, Rohan Fergusson and Steve  Jewell. 
Track is Peco code 124 with a few lengths of code 143 and some Atlas to make up the shortfall until I get some more packs of bullhead. Out in the real world of course the rail height matters little ( just fabricate some soldered matching sections). I chose to go the bullhead route because there was little in the way of experience I could call on in regards to use of the flat bottom under our conditions. The rail fixings are more substantial with the bullhead track.

Here is a shot of  my railmotor passing a steam hauled suburban set. The carriages are not my own work, they are some Ron Fox kits I assembled. I will have to take care not to use them when it is hot. My experiences with urethane in gauge one had wagons sagging with the heat.

A long way to go but at least the trains are now running. I might even squeeze another circuit in one day for use by those with clockwork and 3 rail. It might have to be stud contact given my aversion to solid third...... but then again it's outside so maybe I could live with it.
Already I see things I would do different. Halve the size of the layout to start.