2019_08_22 Addendum to todays post

2019_08_22 Continues

Despite the lost time chasing non existant track problems, Al installed two more curved points, linking the third yard track as well as the shed road. We cant install that till we work out where the shed is going to sit.

 And as well we got some point motors fitted and a panel to operate them with.

 older cast servo holder

 Newer Tam Valley with micro switch for frog polarity

Tam valley mounting made from laser cut timber. It is not easy to fix underneath. The cast one much easier. 

2019_08_22 Derailment shows up track problems?

2019_08_22 Catching up.  Derailments slow us down track or Loco at fault?

Interesting week. Al came over Tuesday last and we tackled a problem with our Tillig curved points.
Our test train was a Eureka Class 50 that was able to navigate all the track on the older section of the layout, even the rough sections. We simply believed it was a good runner... so we blamed the track.

First thing to notice, is that it is all new track. I ran out of Peco Fine Scale LH curves, however I did have a LH Tillig flexible point code 83.
The troubled Peco Fine Scale code 75  point installed. Then under it a new Peco Fine Scale code 75.
And under that the already removed Tillig code 83 NMRA standards point.

 The Tillig appears sharper however the outer rails adjacent to the blades are  fitted to flexible sleepers which hold gauge as you adjust radius, need to take care the blades maintain contact with outer rails.  The rail heights matched exactly, but the heads were different. Gentle filing fixed that easily

You can over adjust the curvature of the Tillig product, however this shows the difference was minor and well within the limitations of adjustment.

So we wasted hours blaming the point only to find out the problem was the loco. What a newby mistake to make, and all my fault. "Old Timers" for sure.

So after replacing the point (I purchased new Peco and had to wait delivery from Perth which was exactly the same time it took Yankee Dabbler to deliver his package from the States.

Ok so what was wrong with the engine?

The Eureka 50 is a metal cast loco with plastic detail. The lead truck was heavy metal and had a centering spring to hold it in the middle, not to add weight to wheels.

 Pony is metal,heavy and centered.

 Removed it and found this centering spring captured by a molded pin in the hole.

 A matching spring capture hole in top of pony.

 The centering action is actually too hard and easily pushes the tiny 88 standard wheel flanges over the head of the rail.

Like this. And it was exactly the same on the much better built expensive Tillig points.

Took the spring out and ran the engine over the whole layout without further problems.

Thanks again to Al who shouldered the brunt of the work trying to fix the track problem, which never existed.  By the way Tillig, despite my ranting, you really do make great track :)

Next post deals with an Ixion Class 32 fitted with a Locksound micro decoder, which has chuff problems as well as minimum 30kph speed.


2019_08_08 laying even more track.....

2019_08_08 We got two tracks in, wired and running.

So why so long?  Well I have some restrictions.
First I want 42 inch or more radius. Most main line is 46 or 44 inch. Unfortunately most of my problems are to do with points where I am forced to use No6 which makes long coaches look stupid and close coupling almost impossible.

Then I want to guarantee electrical contact. So every point is rewired with droppers from frog outer rails linked to inner rails and droppers attached and point blades have droppers. Eliminates requirement for blades touching to carry power.
Next is every length of track is either soldered to next track or has dropper s soldered on.  And so fish plates only hold the rail, and are not relied on to carry power.
So with two of us working, one soldering and the other getting correct readii insulating where necessary and tacking it all down on underlay.
We are both fully occupied for the day.

So some pictures. Strangely enough I actually did not see the first train operate on line.  We had some short circuits and it turned out that I had not removed the shorting wires on one point. Fortunately it was a point easily removed and fixed. But it did take an hour out of our day searching for it.
The reversing AR1 was removed and replaced with a Tam Valley duo frog juicer. But I guess it was an unnecessary change and the AR1 can be used on the bottom of the helix reversing Albury trains.

 Almost all 36" but does open out to 42" in places.

The NSW goods was stalled on the first points which were laying to run anti clockwise down the back wall. When I cleared the  fault it started to move slowly into the new track work. As I was under the layout  it was out of view, but only moving slowly. 
I was connecting up all the droppers I had pulled apart chasing the fault. And as each track section got power the little train continued on its way. When I finally crawled out from underneath, I had enough time to slow the train and bring it to a stand short of the points.

I did actually see the second train derail its way around the track. It was an Auscision 8 car Daylight set, which looked tight on the curves but  derailed in the large radius curved points.
ah well I found a few places where this happened at Trentham and Bullarto as well as other places.
Have to spend a day sorting all that out, I guess.

Little train fitted nicely into No2 road

Cheers All
Al and Rod


2019_08_03 adjusting the station layout?

2019_08_03 Worried about the station layout.

So Al came over today to see how we would overcome our problems. First thing we did, was lay a board over hole in center of helix. Then used a radius stick to work out where the track would go.

As it turned out 36 inches radius was the best fit. At start and finish of loop it eased out from straight to 60" and curve to 42" to make things fit. Except for the points no track went under 36" Which was what I insisted on.

All three points are large radius to match the curves as best as possible. Two straight left hand Peco code 75 and the curved point was an adjustable code 83 Tillig. It almost perfectly matched the height of the code 75 ?? Must be something to do with the sleeper height? Code 75 metal joiners were tight on code 75 track but a little loose on the Tillig code 83.
I bought the new code 75 curved points from Perth and they did not arrive on time, hence my use of the Tillig curve and a straight large radius Peco. It works out fine. Since when does it take 45 days to mail a package from Perth to Albury? My guess is they are coming from England. If I had known that, I would have imported them myself and saved $25 and got them in 14 days max!

Anyway we got a lot of work done today, considering every individual rail has a dropper soldered on, and points get 5 soldered connections as well. I solder a dropper to each  point blade, to outer rails which link into inner rails  and last to the frog. I hope I have eliminated every possible dead spot. If I have it will be well worth the extra effort which slows us down so much.

Anyway here are some pictures, showing only a meter left to lay to complete the loop and of course have to connect up all the yard to finish.
The AR1 auto return loop controller is fitted as is the ring main to connect in the DCC. Now I can add in the droppers after I give the wires a loose twist to  eliminate interference problems.


Track along wall serves grain silo second track serves run around for silos as well as hidden reverse loop into terminus station. Curve starts off at about 50" and quickly comes back to 36" as it gets to next points.

So the Tilig point is flexible allowing slight adjusting of the radius, and it was lightly pulled around to follow the drawn 36" radius. The closer point is a Peco large radius straight LH point, which looks like it will continue as 36" before opening out to 38" at other end of yard. The yard tracks are a very reasonable length too.

Platform will be curved and will sit on left hand side to avoid right hand curve on right of picture.

This is the last bit of circcle to finish. Al dawdled last hour and a half, as I think he wants me to run first train when he is there Ha Ha.. (actually it was fighting the two points which were a bit of a bugger.

 Red and green wires are connected to AR1 reverse loop controller, which is high up on the post right of center. This is connected to the normal bus which extends to the end of the silo roads. Both point on silo side are connected to normal bus . The station track and hidden connection are all connected to AR1.

Will give these wires a slow twist to reduce command interference before connecting all droppers. The green is my black connection on reverse loop.

Rod and Al.

2019_08_01 Working on new helix (finally)

2019_08_01  Building new station.

The new station is a typical Victorian Country terminus with enough industry to make it busy.

It is supposed to be a dead end (end of line) station which was built after the branch was commissioned,  to serve a new population of WW1 veterans who were helped to settle the land after returning from Europe in 1918.
And so coal  (later briquettes) grain, fuel, animal and general goods facilities were provided.
As well a passenger service operated twice a day, morning and night. In later years a rail motor service was added during the day to allow shopping trips to the nearest large town. Really a very busy little terminus which survived the steam era unlike so many of its sister towns.

And so construction begins. I thought I could build a curved station on top of a round helix ??
However this is turning out more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

The Helix is designed to carry three tracks 46", 44" and 42" inch radii.

It seems that the branch will need a minimum radius of 36" (or less) I really do not want less. So here we are trying to fit it all in, not very well I am afraid to say.

The inside track will be the platform road with No 2 tk an arrival road, no 3 track storage and No 4 the goods shed.

No 2 track will connect back to the grain silo area which is a branch of the main along the western wall. This will form a reverse loop and will be hidden and only be used when insufficient operators are available to man the yard.

So some pictures...  (as usual)

Although not supposed to be running on BG it was the only train I had to test the new track :D

 Just need to power the points.

 Testing out ideas for the valence

I don't like the wide board to the right. I think it will look better to use the two boards?

and thus here lies the problem bringing both sides together without complicating the platform or going below 36" radius.

The silo area is branching of the main along the western wall.

Peco curved points are part of the problem. Although the sharp inner radius is actually helping here.

Outside radius 46" and that will not work.
Inside radius is roughly 36" and when fixed down should work?

Complicated join of each end..Today we will have to adjust it to make it work.

Rod and Al.


2019_07_22 Diddling about....

2019_07_22  Two days in a row tried to complete wiring of helix..distractions?

Well I bought this and it wasn't cheap. It is a very heavy 4 wheel wagon with both axles suspended on a phosphor bronze spring, which allowed it to rock front to back.
So much so that KD's simply uncoupled, and made it difficult to tow or even push around.

So I decided to fix it!

Too cold to go and get better pictures :(  But here you see the wagon sitting low on left side. Push it down on right side and it will also stay down. Not a really suitable vehicle for my purpose.

It is all glued together and is brittle, and I had to drill out the axle keeper to remove the wheels. I did it wong. I should have glued the coupling bars in first, making sure the vehicle sat flat on its 4 wheels and the coupling bars were horizontal. Once the bars were dried, I glued styrene extensions to the coupling bar long enough to fit KD's to ends and sit on two SEM trucks which supported the device exactly as high as the original two axles did, thus applying correct pressure on the sanding disk, or the polishing disk fitted to the vehicle.  I did it the hard way, but eventually got there.

Used gorilla glue as it sets hard and expands to fill all gaps. I just need to cut away excess and lightly sand before painting. Notice the coupling on left dropped. Easy enough to fix.

I used U section styrene which was two light and allowed body to sag. So I filled the U section with Gorilla glue which stiffened it up. It does not bend now.

 Just needs filing and cleaning up of the U beams where gorilla glue expanded. the wagon is now stable and exerts a solid pressure on rail. Might have to remove a weight or two, as a 442 had trouble pushing it. This is the third vehicle in my maintenance train.

I have a Roco/Atlas powered Track cleaner that power vacuums the track, washes it with solvent or polishes the rail packed away.. and as well.....

This DCC controlled scrubber fitted with spinning polishing wheels. The wheels spin in opposite directions which powers it along slowly, and it does a good job.



2019_07_20 Back from Hols and into it (intuit)

2019_07_20 Who turned the sun off...   brrrrrrrr....

I started a project which was definitely overkill and a waste of good wire!  However I used what I was overstocked with and I am sick and tired of wiring errors on the helix. This will fix it, however it is ugly, but on the other hand, it will be covered and should not be in normal view.


Some pictures

Hot glue is simple way of holding it in place, its messy though but cleans up easily. You can even adjust it by heating it up again with glue gun. Older areas have held firm for about 8 years.

NSW Locomotives returned from NARARA shops

Trainorama 32 Class

This one was bought second hand from England and had Tsunami 2 fitted and all the driver tires had fallen off.  All repaired or installed by Gerry Hopkins

Right train in wrong place. Very pleased with this one which will add to a 70's era Albury under construction (yes it is under the branch line presently being built by Al and I  :D  )

Austrains 30 Class

This little engine has a big heart and pulls better than the prototype on 2% grades.

I will make a couple of videos today so you can hear them wheel slip up the hill :)

"Al"day on Friday

Back into branch line. Thought we would pretty it up before Graeme asked us to :D

 So departs the Honeysuckle station past the turntable and heads towards the Terminal Station at end of line.

 Track roughly laid in place to see how it might look. We think a high ground extends where the track almost meets the wall. This will represent a cutting with clay verticals and then flat farmland on the edge closest to walkway.

Home departure just beyond turntable with arrival just this side Distant just in from left hand side of picture.

 The track levels just before the points which lead to a terminal station on a bend. Should be able to fit an nice working yard here with coal/ briquette yard, grain silos Fuel depot and stock race.

Trains will be able to run round the back and re enter the main. This will be disguised to represent something like a dairy or meat works or maybe both?

And so time table operations will see the reverse loop out of use. The turntable will need to be accessed at Honey Suckle which was the Terminus before line was extended to new station.
And so operations will see the shed crew take the engines back to Honeysuckle for turning and in readiness from next days operations.

The hill is slightly more than 2% gradient both sides and the climb is about 2m.  Should still manage a nice size train,

Rod and Al