2009 till July 5th

2009 April 26

Does this sound right? radius equals 100cm thus diameter equals 200cm. Multiply by pi  3.142 equals 628 cm. Roughly this is length of track which is needed to link the bottom level with the top level (BG)

Gradient is height climbed divided by distance travelled multiplied by 100. So 48.0 divided by 628.0 x 100.  Equals  7.64% gradient.

When I looked at the raised track bed, I near freaked out, as previous calculations must have been in error. It would seem that I am going to have to construct a double line helix to get my gradient and the helix will have to be 3200cm long !! Bugger!! That's 5 times around to maintain 1.5 % Long time since I went to school, so tell me I am wrong. please :)

Jerka, Do you remember what the gradient of the Hobson Bay Helix is? Because large trains seem to be able to climb it OK, and the diameter is a lot tighter than this one.
So it seems that one step backwards is the name of my game :( My mind does not appear to see things like it used to, sadly.

It seems another compromise is in the wind  :lol:

2009 April 26 (Continues)

So lower the top level by 10cm
I can make less of an impact if I frame the ply with 40 mm pine.
That gives me a climb opf 38cm (And reminds me that I forgot to add the 40mm in that I raised the BG yard to clear the SG under neath :(

So build the BG station at 38 cm height and turn into helix after the platform.  North of station from main line points start to raise track in yard 4cm to give clearance as it passes over SG at South end of yard, proceed to storage and silos in corner. That will mean the yard will be split level.

Helix will be 3 circuits.  SG leaves helix after 2 circuits (rises 28 cm) and crosses under BG helix
and proceeds under  BG yard and climbs another 10cm at 2.0 % to reach top level after another 450 cm.

BG climbs one more circle in helix at about 1.7 % and  gains another 10cm to reach 38 cm upper level height, crosses over SG line and enters BG station on front of board.
Ok looks like I better go out and do it  8-)

2009 May 07

Not much to report.
However the new 5 loop helix has been designed and contracted out to the local cabinet maker for construction. So the waiting game begins ;)

I have also been introduced to a couple of necessary money saving schemes.
One is making my own code 100 and Code 70 points. I will think about  using the Fast tracks system.

Fast Tracks Turnout Construction Users' Guide
There are 12 steps to building a turnout using a Fast Tracks Assembly Fixture. They are:
Step 1 – Pre-form the guardrails,
Step 2 – Pre-build the frog point,
Step 3 – Prepare and insert PC board ties into the fixture,
Step 4 – Form the stock rails,
Step 5 – Solder the stock rails in place,
Step 6 – Form the switchpoint/closure rail,
Step 7 – Solder the switchpoint/closure rail in place,
Step 8 – Solder the frog point in place,
Step 9 – Solder the guard rails in place,
Step 10 – Solder The Switchpoints To The Throwbar,
Step 11 – Cut the frog isolation gaps,
Step 12 – Wash the completed turnout.

Sounds easy :roll:

2009 May 22

Well its been a while :(
However I need to work out and make final where I am going with this railway. Too many changes and wasted time. Everything looks fine on paper, but sometimes it just does not all add up, when you build it. So whilst I figure out what to do about it, I have plenty of things to do. Like fit DCC and sound to my locomotives, and service the older ones..oh and spend money too.
Here are my latest  purchases. A Weico Walker 153, and an ALCO brass Walker 153 and trailer!
And the mess that I call my work bench these days :lol:

The Alco brass Walker 153 and trailer on left lacks the nice textures on the Weico version.
Considering the price difference, I think I would prefer the Weico version.

The Alco trailer needs lifting a bit I thought I might clear gloss it before applying the decals?
It looks taller than the Motor in this pic, however it is an illusion.

I notice it needs windows as well as lights to be fitted.

The Weico version stands a whisker taller and it is accented by the yellow roof. However not enough to be too sad about. But the golden yellow has covered the nicer royal blue, where as the Alco Walker has obviously been painted all over blue then the yellow was added. You can see it looks a bit green!

You would have to wonder how anything gets done on this work bench!
The raised test track is DCC. The lower track is jumpered up to it when I need to get closer to the job. The little box near the bottom track is jumpered to it as well, and I can static test the modules in it before mounting them into a loco. The computer to the left has my programmer loaded and allows me to static test the locomotives before putting them away DCC ready.

I have about 6 unfinished projects on the bench.
An Austrains CL in AN built up from spares found at various exhibitions in the Austrans scrap box :D
An Austrains CLP in ARG built up from a damaged unit again found in the scrap box.
Needs fibre optics to replace the ditch lights and fitted with Loksound DCC.

A Powerline G Class on a K&S mech that just will not run on DCC. They do not have fly wheels and only pick up one side per end. They are truly garbage. I will never buy one again.
I am trying to convert a SD9 chassis to take its place.

Two Austrains ANR 700 Class need Loksound decoders

A Indian Pacific NR needs the weight to be machined before fitting a speaker in the bottom of the cab.
The body has cast in grills and so no place for the sound to escape upwards. Grills need to be etched brass and open in quality engines these days.

Trainorama AN 930 fitted Soundtraxx Alco sound unit. The body is refusing to sit down by a few mills. Have not worked out how to fix it yet.


2009 May 27

Bloody Hell :o
I decided to get the helix made outside. My main reason was because the track bed had to be perfect and so did the track. You just did not want a derailment on a helix that climbed through 5 levels to maintain the 1.5% grade.
The first business I visited had a computer-cad operated cutting machine that could feed six 2400 x 1200 sheets of ply in one end and spit out all the curved segments of the helix in 15 minutes. However the programme that decides where the cuts are made to get the maximum use of the sheets of ply, was busy for at least three weeks. Estimated cost of helix. $2300 and that did not include the support brackets. It did include cutting the ends so they laminated together without reducing the gap between the levels at the joins.

Shop No2 Much the same as the first but price was $50 lower

Shop No3 Go away not wasting my time on garbage like that :lol:

Shop No4 Everything hand done, no computer and no cad etc etc

They would hand make one segment and then trace it out to maximum effect on each sheet of ply, and use a router to cut it out neatly. Will take three days to do the job, and will do both helix's because it would be cheaper than coming back in a few months to set it all up again.
Price $1300 and that included the slotted supports that maintained spacing and clearance as well as the laminated ends.
Double the work by hand and half the price of computer cad??

I guess I am still in shock! :( I really thought I could get this job done for a lot less than that
Anyway waiting for pay day so I can go collect it and set it up.

In the meantime all layout work has stopped and I created this mess in my office converting locomotives to DCC, some with sound.
So far I have completed 3 T Class, 2 Y Class, 2 X Class and still working on Two CLP. 2 x 700 class a G Class and an S Class. Two x 930 getting sound on the work track at the moment.
Sound takes the longest time. trimming the engines to run at realistic speeds, and so they can multi unit is time consuming too.
However when I finish the second 930 tomorrow, I will leave the sound for a while, and finish off as many non sound models as I can.

I seem to work better in a mess (or I just don't know how to keep it neat)
Soundtraxx sound module into an AN 930. Sounds great too.
An expensive small tipped soldering iron, makes a safer job!

The traino twins are a little shell shocked I guess :)
I just lifted the whole body off and left them sitting there!! They have not moved a muscle. Ha Ha!

Testing the lights!!
tries out low beam


Sunny white LED on high beam!! How good is that?
(Got to fix the hose bags)
Time to submerge myself under my doona.. another day perhaps :)

8th June 2009     

Sunday / Monday Long Weekend .
Its cold and its wet, but I need to get a move on

Long weekend and my helix is not built yet. So I thought what can I do?
Well the answer was simple.. Lets get some trains running :)
Whooaa!! hey hold on unless you are going to lay it on the floor, you are going to need some benck work! OK so lets build the bottom level along the East wall. When the helix finally does arrive I can run SG trains from top level loop to the bottom level via the helix.
And until the helix does arrive, I can run BG from the bottom level ballast siding (far from the camera) through the station and into the storage sidings inside the helix... so lets get cutting up the timber....

From the other end we can see it will be a long run
I need to clean up the temporary work bench, however I am loathe to pick up all the bits, as I have parts on back order to finish some of these projects.

Ok next job is to glue down the deck in the loop, then I can glue the track to the underlay, and glue it all down when I have found out where it needs to go. I am going to try white glue, as the room is dry.

I had placed the risers at 450 mm but noticed that the ply was starting to droop. So now they have been spaced 250mm apart.

Guess I am a bit tired so I will call it quits for now. Woke up early this morning with a stomach ache, been keeping a certain seat warm today, and reduced to crackers and black tea, till it improves
We will have to see what tomorrow brings, maybe have to find someone else to build my helix :( 

20009 June 10

Wednesday 10 June (another computer day it would seem) Well anyway some problems sorted...
Bit quiet yesterday. I have cut extra bearers and laid out more ply. Before I fix the cross bearers and cut the ply, I need to install the small hill out of the station on BG (closest) Then I will run the BG towards the SG at back as it heads down to the back wall. SG loop is the focal point along this section (modelled on Violet Town in memory of that accident) But I will put a ballast siding on the BG along here too.
When I have sorted out the hill and marked the track position down, I will get the jig saw to work trimming it all down and then screwing and gluing everything in place.

The missing helix!! however I should now glue and fix this lot down, as really nothing to stop me laying the BG storage roads here now.

Gee the camera makes that look a long way!
Everything just sitting in place on top of the tables.
Just past the hammer I will lift the BG about 3 inches, which should look effective. Trains will power out of the station up the rise as the track winds gently towards the SG along the wall.

Close up you can see the curved road bed entering the top shelf from below. Spent better part of two months trying to work out how to do this. Only worked it out, when I managed to throw a pair of points and come at it from a different angle :lol:
So that idea is now finished with. The new easier plan is to continue the SG on the top shelf along the extension behind the grain silos (which will be shortened) disguised behind the silos I can sharpen the curve to join the helix at the higher level(5) it will them spiral down to the second last level (2) and depart the spiral at 6 3/8" higher than baseboard and cross the BG yard on a concrete flyover a la Jacana! The SG will start to gently fall back towards baseboard level, meeting up with the BG coming off its small hill, and proceeding into the SG loop.
The top shelf BG will now proceed towards the silos and join the helix as the inside track. This creates a problem at the bottom.
After the SG leaves the helix it crosses the BG yard via a flyover and proceeds on its way. The BG on the inside stays with the helix, and departs at base board level out of a tunnel or brick arch bridge, or some other method which should come to me when I see it in actuality ;)
Also at this end the BG departs the platform and into a junction, left branch heads into the storage roads under the helix and returns to the station via them. the right hand branch enters the helix at ground level and crosses to the inside before the the SG arrives to parallel it one level up along the helix, allowing it to arrive on the top shelf on the inside where it enters the station limits. That just about fixes the problem hopefully.. Now where is that damn helix?
ah well blue sky's, full water tank and tomorrow is another day....

2009 June 18

Got sick of waiting for the helix, and so made some enquiries elsewhere :x
However before getting them done, I called in at the original factory to find that my helix is almost finished.
Hopefully will have it tomorrow! They say that they had trouble contacting me... And as I had left messages on their answering machine, rang their mobile and dropped in on three occasions to find the place locked up... one can only wonder?
In the meantime I have fixed down the loop ply and started to prepare it for the storage track.
The last few weeks has not been a complete loss however, as I managed to get another 6 locomotives converted to sound, and made arrangements to get some real Aussie sounds for the T and Y Classes :D
All good and soon might even have some track to run on

2009 5 July

 (Well its the 4th in the US of A so Happy Birthday US of A :lol: )  Sunday!

So the helix actually arrived on Friday 3 July. Fortunately my measurements were incorrect, and the mistake turned into an advantage. allowing better approaches to the helix from the upper level, and by running the storage sidings around the outside better use of the boards, and easier to hide.
Zec and I just worked out that each loop is more than 6 m. long! That means that the helix is 30 m. long! and as I will be running three lines up, or down it, over 90 m of track at $5 a m :shock: This has been a very expensive HIDDEN track!!
One track is the SG and the next is a SG storage loop. the third track is the BG single line. As the SG enters the helix one level above the base board (using only 4 levels of the helix). Only one BG track will need to use the bottom loop of the helix. This track has to cross back to the outside allowing the SG to cross over the BG yard and run along the wall again (as it does on the top level) So rather than waste the extra width I can build at least one BG storage road, and possibly 2, about 5 m. long in this section. Wait and see how it looks, I guess!

The lower level is roughly in position. When I am happy with it, I will glue the ply together and then the hard bit! I need to get the gradient near perfect, and keep it at 1.5% for one complete loop. Then I have to trim the bottoms of the uprights and glue and screw them to the ply and lay perfect track on the first level. All this sets up the rest of the helix, as the slots should line the next four levels up automatically :D I hope.

... each length of ply is rebated at the ends to allow gluing and screwing together without compromising the inside clearance. At this stage I am thinking of gluing the track directly to the ply using a rubber based carpet adhesive. The track inside the helix will not be ballasted, and eventually will be hidden anyway. This allows a full 9cm clearance which should clear double stack containers, should any USA trains be run on the layout.

The slots are loose fitting to allow for the gradient the closest the boards can come together is 9.25 cm.
I will glue and screw three pairs of vertical supports per length of ply the end ones being shared by the next board along.
Well now I just got to work up to laying some track I guess.
Cheers and its nice to see the sun again after all these weeks of rain and cloud


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