2013 April 28

2013 April 28 Sunday  started sunny and ended cold ;)

Things have ground down to a slow crawl.  I have spent most of my free time drawing up the Wodonga Area yards and Station, and am very happy with the results.
The yards have nearly exhausted my stocks of track and so I spent Saturday ringing around trying to buy 40 medium electrofrog points and a code 75 electrofrog three way point.  The Aussie suppliers were evasive about stock, promising that the wholesalers did have stock and they would have it by Wednesday, and I would have it definitely by Friday. Making allowances for exaggeration, it was not difficult to extend delivery at least another 10 days, but only if stock was in Australia.
The cost was $970 plus postage which was estimated at $43.
So again, I turned to our friends e-Hattons, where I was able to use voice chat to talk with somebody live, and organised the exact same order (No, it had 6 packs of rail adaptors) for $521 Australian and $27 Fedex 4 day delivery.  Now as a direct comparison it makes interesting conversation. We all have long suspected that Australian wholesalers are ripping the local railway modellers off.
If e-Hattons can retail at $521 after buying from Peco Wholesalers at perhaps $410?
and Australian wholesalers buy from Peco at the very same price that English wholesalers do, say $310, plus add a small premium for sea container shipping to Australia, over road delivery in the UK. why is it that a discounted retail price offered by 4 of the largest shops in Australia almost doubles the e-Hattons price?

Now I know my local Hobby Shop owner is an honest man, and he has shown me the wholesale prices he must pay for his Peco product, and in every case the dollars he pays for stock surpasses the retail price I just paid for stock in Britain.  So it appears to me that the two legal agents that Peco have granted sole distribution rights to in Australia are a pack of thieves (I wont use the common description for them) but I do hope their yacht runs aground in the Mediterranean Sea this winter and if it rolls on its side great!!

How young blokes entering our great hobby, manage today is beyond me. The prices being charged are making some very rich people and putting a lot of strain on our resources to make them so.

So next job is to lay as much track as I can, and as it is almost completely marked out on the baseboards, lay what I can, and await the e-Hattons order


2013 April 20

2013 April 20 
Nice day for doing nothing, and anyway the Bike Race has closed all the roads out of here for 6 hours.

Ok.. time to plan the track so I can get started on the coal siding. The temporary curve allows me to measure the straight section. I have 24 feet by 1 foot 1-1/2 inches to work with.

The bench work already cleaned down and extra supports added underneath, the enlarged signal diagram shows me how it was in 1978 (Thank you Mark Bau)

So here I am inside burning the midnight oil, and trying to work out how much I can cram into 13-1/2 inches!  Just reviewing the photo, I notice the photo of Matt Kilby on the table. Guess he is grinning at my pathetic attempt at drawing in scale :)  Our Matt was heading in the right direction to becoming one of Australia's best Architects when a brain tumour struck him down and he was at rest earlier this year.  With work on the dome at Chadstone, David Syme and Bankok International Airport already credited to him.

I had to remove one road from the SG, another from the Bogie Exchange. The BG last two storage roads and I am wondering if I should actually add another foot to the width! Although that will interfere with the top level. What I might do is add a few inches on the edge to enable me to model the fuel depot and the Super Siding. At the moment I have moved the Super siding down into the space in picture 1, created by the temporary curve that will switch the track back towards Wanganella. This was done to create a loop for the SG trains and will probably not be used by the BG trains which will terminate at Wodonga / Coal Sidings .

So just to show that even when actual solid building does not happen, in the background their is still much to do.  (And you guys thought I did not plan anything :(  )



2013 April 15

2013 April 15 A cold Monday

Am sitting in my caravan parked out the back of Tony's place. Had a pleasant few days and heading home in the morning. Caravan behaved very well and so did the Rover.

I finished up buying two VR stations and a great looking farm shed, as well as a Silver DRC from Train Builder. I also got a ZP 6 wheel van in Pass Red and a matching T van with Pass bogies, TP ?

A few other things, including code 83 track to finish off the bridge track pieces.

Had an interesting meeting with some of the Hobsons Bay members and came away a lot happier than before. I managed to point my camera at a couple of nice trains, unfortunately after viewing the video once, I cannot now find two of them.  Most disappointed if I lost the stuff :(


2013 April 8

2013 April 8        A warm Monday

Spent the day working on my Caravan, prior to a trip down South for up to 10 days. Going to check on a few trains on the way The noisy 1:1 version.

On Saturday Graeme* Schulz came over and we talked about modifying the supports to the upper level branch line. So when I return to home about April 17, I will fix the supports up and remove the ugly angle supports. In this shot I have cleaned off the new bench tops ready for work when I return.

Those of you who have been with me from the start of this journey will recognise the trestle temporary work bench from the early days. I screwed it back together because I have several projects on the go, and they are more likely to get finished, if I don't hide them away in boxes :)

Here is one of the thinner longer brackets. I was going to remove them and weld thick angle in place that would be strong enough to support the top deck without the angle bracket. This would have been a difficult job, but Graeme* suggested that I simply remove the bracket and weld the angle to the bracket maintaining the the right angle. Drill out the holes for the mounting screws and simply replace it back onto the upright using the same heavy screws. Plaster over the top, and the bracket will disappear.

The wider station end is mounted on heavier brackets over top of the plaster. In this case I will cut around the bracket with the renovator, remove it and weld the angle on the upper horizontal surface. Re drill the holes remove the cut away plaster and remount the bracket minus the angle support, using the same attaching screws. Again all welding done on the bench, plaster over the bracket, and job is done.

Get your head around that one ;)

* Graeme or Graham? Only saw two choices, bet you I got it wrong :(


2013 April 4

2013 April 4   A warm Friday (after a week of distractions)

A little bit of cleaning up, after sculpting the bank so that I could work out  how the embankment would fit. Need to take some more 3 ply away to keep the ground height below the wingwall, taking into consideration the steep slope.  Only using the VR Models wing Walls as a guide. I have a sheet of model aircraft thin 3 ply and I will use that to create new walls. I think the two outer wings can simply be made taller and placed in the position indicated.
The two inner wings might be better made taller as well, but cut off shorter and then placed at the same angles already used on the outer wings. The new wings can then be joined with a high brick retaining wall which will give plenty of room for the old stock crossing that runs beside the creek. Their is an abattoir on the furthest side to the left, with holding paddocks directly opposite the road bridge. They would walk the stock down from the rail stock pens to the right of picture and cross under rail and road and into the holding paddock.

Almost time to straighten the road bed, fix the underlay and glue down the track :)

This is getting to a stage where I can try my hand at scenery. I have my new grass machine, and lots of static grass and a real excitement about building scenery again, after a big gap of 20 years. Well it will be interesting!



2013 April 1

2013 April 1     Ah! a tool? or an  April fool? now that is a question :D

So 42213 now has windows and the lights were prepared and glued it to a blacked out windscreen which was then wired and installed into the body, both ends.  An AT1000 non Turbo 645 V 16 sound chip was installed and insulated from frame. a small soundtraxx mega base speaker was fitted into a custom enclosure and mounted into the frame. I now do have a problem finding a spot for the capacitor. It bulges the body where I thought it would fit. Looks like I pull it apart one more time before I can try and sort the body out.  The body does fit apart from that. Another problem is the marker lights. I am unsure just how I should drill them out. I think I will use a 1mm drill after pushing a sharp stylus into the lens to start the drill off. Then Fibre optics back to two LED's one forward one reverse, both off or on??

As you can see the two bridges are now almost the identical length, however I have another problem. The VR models deck girder bridge has 4 piers supporting it. Every pair of bridges I have seen on the North East have equally spaced piers. I guess this makes good sense in flooding times, as the creek bed is less obstructed. The pictures show that the deck bridges can be longer between the piers, however they have 4 girder supports the same as the open deck versions.

So the track is glued to the base and needs ballast to finish it off and I have found out how high the piers need to be. All I need do now is build the pier bases and paint them.
Today  I also body filled the metal abutments and piers and sanded them smooth. I then repainted all the bridge fittings in aged concrete. However I did leave the ballast tray in new concrete to simulate the new trays that were sometimes fitted in the 70's, to replace the red gum original trays as they rotted out.

Does not look too bad if I do say so myself  :)