Sunday, 12 July 2015

A More Detailed Track Plan

Finally dreams, ideas and concepts have started to morph into an actual track plan thanks to the great work on the Anyrail design program by Jacques Molineux.

As the plan is viewed from top to bottom, north/south staging is now under the new branchline terminus of Yarrowee which up until recently was only going to be part of staging.

Departing north staging and Yarrowee to the right we curved into Farrar the main NSW yard in the region. From here the line, now more of a branchline, curves again and heads down to Campaspe to the NSW and VR dual gauge yard.

The VR mainline departs to the right and around to Loddon where the branchline to Coliban drops down into a reversing loop beneath the horseshoe curve. Another sweeping curve takes the mainline past the Murray Goulburn complex and into another sweeping curve and into Tambo. Departing to the left of Tambo the main line drops down into south Staging.

Still lots of tweaking to do, but the concept of Both Sides of the Border continues to develop.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Basic Track Plan

Finally after a lot of chopping and changing and scribbling and rubbing out, Both Sides Of The Border has a basic track plan.

It's only hand drawn so until I can convince someone to do it in Corel Draw for me it will have to do.

Both the NSW and the VR start at the double ended staging yard know as North/South Staging. Looking at the plan the NSW departs from the right hand end of North/South Staging around a curve and into Farrar along the rear wall of the garage. There also a parallel branch from Yarrowee into Farrar from North/South Staging. 

The line then curves onto the side wall and runs through flat open country, then through another curve and across in front of the roller door. This is the location of the combined NSW/VR yard of Campaspe. There will be no dual gauge track and the two yards will be separated by an island platform though a hidden connection will be provided to allow for continuous running.

The now the VR only line curves out of Campaspe down the other side wall and crosses over the Murry River into Victoria. The line then curves into the middle of the room and into Loddon yard. There is a junction here at the Up end with a branch to Coliban.

The line the curves out of Loddon and  flows around a large horse shoe curve and into Tambo. Departing Tambo two more curves takes the line into the south end (Bendigo-Melbourne) of the combined North/South Staging Yard.

I hope in conjunction with the plan this all makes sense.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Bench Work Begins

Since my O scale days I've had several failed attempts at building bench work. In the past I've either made it too light or too heavy or out of materials that could not stand up to the job.

 Failed attempt number 1 - too light weight

Failed attempt number 2 - too heavy

After trying to attach L girder frames to light weight shelving from Bunnings, or building it so heavy it could of supported the weight of a jumbo jet, I was just about to give up on the idea when a search of the internet revealed Red Back Storage Systems ( in Bendigo Victoria.

As my layout room must still function as a garage, shelving was needed to store items of varying levels of usefulness. I'd long played around with the idea of combining my layout with a shelving system, but had not really been able to make it work as seen in the photos above. A visit to a show room in Oakleigh allowed me have a look at the Red Back system first hand and I was quickly convinced that I could make it work. I must point out the Red Back system is not cheap, but it is built like a battleship and very flexible in the configurations you can come up with. Also this shelving was likely to be around to see me off from planet earth so I feel it was a good investment.

The Red Back system is made up of solid end frames, longitudinal support beams and shelving, as well as various storage cabinets and other items to create a professional looking setup. The system goes together using a simple tab and slot design to lock it all in place. The guys running the show are extremely helpful and don't mind doing some customising as I requested to get the system to fit exactly along one wall of my garage. They also deliver to your door.

My first attempt at attaching bench work to the Red Back system did not go according to plan. I tried to use another shelving system from Bunnings which I had seen used in model railroad magazines with some success, but in my case I could not get it too work. Due to the method of manufacture there were too many variables in the finished product to get the accuracy I needed.

Partial failed attempt number 3 - too inaccurate

 The second attempt has turned out much better. In fact almost perfect. Basically I've created a modified L girders which are attached to the Red Back system which then support the base boards of 12mm ply. Verticals supports are part of the design along with a top as the train room as I have said must still function as a garage and I want to protect the layout from dust and dirt and whatever else enters as soon as the roller door is opened. I guess you can say I've gone for the museum diorama look which not only protects the layout, but controls the viewing as well.

Successful attempt number 4 - just right

Early test of the open box concept

Construction advances

With the final success of this mixing of steel and timber I have pushed on with the first stage bench work for the NSW Farrar yard.

Farrar NSW

As can be seen in the photo above the layout is basically an opened fronted box that will enable maximum protection of each scene with drop down curtains fitted for when not in use. I have been using MDF for the back drop (6mm) and ceiling (3mm), but have since decided to experiment with 5mm foam board to save weight and save having to seal the timber. As the foam board will not be supporting anything other than a photographic back drop and don't see the sense in needed heavier timber to do the job.

One of my favorite model railroading authors, Pelle Soeborg, has successfully created a superb layout depicting modern Union Pacific operations in California, but further to this he as also created an excellent operating environment.

Pelle Soeborg's Daneville Subdivsion

While Pelle's layout was still under construction when taken, this photo above has been a great source of inspiration to me and is similar to the final effect I want to achieve.

Keeping My Operator's Feet Happy

Since I'm planning to invite blokes over to operate my layout, I do have to provide some creature comforts whether it be heating, cooling, food or beverages. I also have to make sure that their feet will be looked after as they will be spending a lot of time standing. As a result I plan to carpet my concrete garage floor in an effort to make standing a bit less painful on aging legs.

A visit to a second hand carpet warehouse in Croydon earlier this year allowed me to purchase a large number of carpet tiles removed from an office at about $1.50 a tile. This is good value and the fact that they are tiles will allow for replacements should any be damaged during construction or should one of my operators spill his beer, sorry, coffee. It is also a lot cheaper that buying new carpet.

The carpet warehouse I visited had a number of different patterns available in varying condition from almost new to down right disgusting. Fortunately my purchase coincided with the steam clearning of the carpet in our home so I was able to get all tiles cleaned as well for free.

So it's just a matter now of sorting the good from the not so good and laying the best tiles in the visible areas and the not so good ones under the layout.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Roller Door Insualtion Installed

As of yesterday the temperature in my new train room dropped considerably with the full installation of my roller door insulation material.

The insulation is made up of a sheet of basically flat bubble wrap covered in aluminium foil on both sides and fitted with foam backing strips to help create an air gap. The material comes in rolls cut to size by order. The installation process is straight forward as I found out.

Basically you clean the door down, mark out where the strips of foam backing run down the door, apply the Liquid Nails provided to the top of the ridges of the door, let it cure for 5 minutes and then attach the insulation material. Aluminium tape is provided to secure the insulation at the top to ensure it stays in place while the glue sets up.

The messy part. Applying Liquid Nails of the door.

This process is repeated across the door until it is entirely covered. Aluminium tape is then used to close the gaps between insulation panels and the bottom of each panel is trimmed and attached to the bottom of the door with tape. You then need to use a cloth to rub over the material along the lines of foam backing for about 10 minutes to ensure it is well bedded into the glue.

First insulation panel in place.

Both Friday and Saturday hit 36 degrees here in Melbourne so I had perfect weather for testing the effectiveness of the insulation as my garage door faces north and is exposed to the full force of the sun for most of the day in summer.

The end result was a dramatic reduction in radiant heat entering the garage and while not completely 100% perfect, it certainly made the room much room pleasant to be in. In combination with an air conditioner I imagine the train room would be perfect even on the hottest of days.

All insulation panels in place, but the bottom edge still needs to be trimmed.
All that needs to be done now is some adjustment to the roller door to allow it to take up the thickness of the insulation material, some more silicone to close up some gaps around the door frame and between the plasterboard walls and exposed brick, a junk clean out and the bench work can begin.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Roller Door Insulation Arrives

When I got back from shopping this morning a large cardboard box mailed from Queensland was waiting for me on our front porch. My new roller door insulating blanket had arrived.

Some quick work with a sharp knife and the contents were revealed.

Two rolls of insulating blanket, a strip of aluminium tape, several tubes of Liquid Nails, a caulking gun and a trimming knife. Oh, and some very basic instructions.
Now for the fun part. Getting everything attached to the roller door. Thankfully the owner of the company is attached to his mobile phone 24/7 and said to me to call him anytime with any questions. I better put his number on speed dial.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Preparing The Train Room

For the last 15 and a bit years the home of all my model railway dreams has been my two car brick garage. Unfortunately that's exactly all its ever been. A brick lined room with a tin roof and a roller door that was an oven in summer and a refrigerator in winter. Let's not forget all the dirt, dust and leaves that constantly entered under and above the roller door and the never ending battle with spiders and them crapping over everything and I think you get the general idea. Basically my garage was a junk room. A dumping ground for all the things that couldn't fit in the house and my large collection of books, magazine, trains, abandoned benchwork attempts and just about everything else I'd hoarded over the last decade and a half.

Not exactly the ideal environment for constructing a scale and detailed model railway in.

So with the sale of my O scale collection the highest of priority was the full insulating, lining, lighting and painting of my garage (the first 3 to be done professionally). Also on the advice of Adrian Guzburg, I had sixteen wall sockets installed along with LED lighting which can be dimmed if required. Four very exhausting coats of paint later by me and I no longer had a dark cavern to build my layout in.

This just left the garage door to be conquered. As I wasn't keen to spend up to another 3 grand on a sectional door and 7 grand for an insulated one, a bit of surfing on the internet revealed that I could both seal all the gaps around and insulate the existing door for just over a grand. The search turned up Clearseal in Toronto NSW with a clever set of brushes designed to keep out dust, dirt and leaves to fire rated levels if you require. The brushes are very easy to install and only took a few hours basically on my own.

Vertical side brush.

Bottom door brush with rubber strip behind.

Top door brush that sits on the lintel when in the closed position.
Since these wonderful brushes have been installed the garage has been a much cleaner place to be and will be a much nicer home to build my layout in.
As of yet my roller door insulating blanket has not arrived from Queensland so I'll let you know when it does and how it works out. The garage still gets very warm as the door faces north and cops the full force of the sun on hot days so plenty of heat is still radiating into the room making it uncomfortable.