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.