Sunday, 23 July 2017

23 - 7 - 2017 - The main lines are now open for business!

Hi All,

Quite a moment for the new layout - the main lines are now open for business!  

After laying in wiring last week, Derek got a loco to move, but was defeated by the forest of undriven track pins.  Geoff the Pres and I laid into these with a will (and hammers and punches) and soon the permanent way became that little bit more permanent.  The Digitrax Zephyr unit that we use on Bald Mountain is so easy to use that a couple of crocodile clips to hook the output to the bus wires had us in business minutes later.  For no particular reason, except that I am familiar with it, the Club's 3 car EMU was the first to take to the track.  And it just went, round and round, both tracks, in and out of the station loops, without even needing the track cleaning.  A credit to all the track layers involved, and the solitary wirer upper involved.

Next to try was the Cotton Belt diesel.  It promptly derailed at one of the points.  So did our Southern Pacific diesel - same spot.  So did a Hornby 4 wheel wagon.  The EMU continued to whizz through.  A close look found that one of the point blades did not quite close against the stock rail.  Geoff the Sec judiciously applied brute force, and the problem went away.  The price you pay for running fine scale wheels.  The EMU is one of LIMA's upmarket products, but it must still have some of that toy train tolerance for imperfect track.  

Having made it through the troublesome point at Stanley Creek, both diesels then decided to die at the south end of Sayer.  So, too, did our diesel railcar.  There is a succession of points at this spot, and it seems that we need a couple more droppers at the right spots.  One again, the EMU copes with the problem because it picks up power on the front bogie of the front car and the last bogie of the back car, so it bridged the gap.  

But overall - a great success, and congratulations to everyone.  

Meanwhile, back at the branchline, Rod was laying track down from Sayer towards Geoff the Sec. He, in turn, was spreading points and rails around as he visualised the first station, and Dale and Co were doing the same at Mousehole.  At the end of the day, we did something similar in the freight yard at Stanley Creek.

And now for something completely different.

Toy train shows, Model Railway Exhibitions, however you want to dress them up.  My interest in them is nil, zero, zip, zilch, so small that you could not find it with an electron microscope. 

So why have "I" been "running" our show for the past 10 years?  Or however long it is.  Stan Gittus used to run the show. Then he asked for help, and I helped.  Then Stan died, far too early, and I have been stuck with it ever since.  Of course, I don't "run" the show single handed.  In particular Judy looks after the advertisng and the programmes, and Dale looks after the catering, and almost to the last man every club member helps at some stage through the show weekend.

However, this person's tank has run dry and it is time for a change, and at the moment I see three options. 

First is that some one takes over my "running" role and I simply help at our show or have an exhibit.  Thankyou. 

Second is that we add a fourth person to the core group.  Some one who does like shows, goes to them, can look at new layouts, talk to their owners about exhibiting at our show, and line up enough exhibits to fill the hall.  I would be happy to continue to figure out where to fit things into whichever hall, and liaise with the Shire.  Thankyou. 

Third option is that we don't hold a show.  The reason that we hold a show comes up for discussion once in a while.  My take is that it raises the Club profile and attracts a new member now and again - and we run it at a profit.  The accumulation of those profits has put us on easy street with building our new layout, and with contributing to the Seniors' finances.  On a poor year we clear, say, $2000.  To raise that from subscriptions, with a membership of 20, would add $100 to the $40 that we currently charge.  To just cover what we pay the Seniors would add $60, and our reserves would inevitably dwindle.  e.g. Geoff the Sec is talking about $400 to $500 for a sign outside the hall.

I am talking here about the 2019 show and thereafter.  Over to you, good people.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

16 - 7 - 2017

Hi All,

Firstly, welcome to new member Paul.   On the very day that we enacted an environmental control process - on days that that are super cold (or super hot) we now close the big doors.  Late comers need not despair, we now have a door bell.  All it needs is for some one to give a damn, and open the door for you.

I forgot to mention in last week's notes that Dale has paid the Seniors Club fees for all of our members, so any one who wants to attend the Seniors AGM is entitled to do so, and vote.  It is to be held on this coming Friday (July 21st) after their lunch.  More than that, I do not know.  Coming Senior's events include a Birthday Bash on 8th Sept (whose Birthday?) and an Open Day on 14th Oct. - that's a Saturday.  Over our next few meetings we should decide what we might do on the open day

Yesterday?  Perhaps the major short term achievement was that the double track main line loops were closed.  That's a fair bit of track - near as you like to 3 scale km on each line, or 2 minutes for a lap at 90 kph.  Another major event was the arrival of "The BOX",  brought in by Derek and David, sagging slightly at the knees.  Those who went to Inverloch had a preview, but all I can say for now is that it is a major upgrade on the power supply system we had on the old layout. 

Need I say that the BDS (Branchline Debating Society) continued unabated, albeit with a change in membership.  I should be more careful with my tongue-in-cheek comments.  it seems there is every likelihood that Port Gary will indeed be able to unload containers.  It turns out that Paul - like George - is very interested and capable in the scenery department, and he has taken away one corner of the layout to transform it into Port Gary.  Other than that, I saw that variously coloured squiggly lines had appeared on the branchline side of the divider, and I suppose that these might become the site for railway tracks one of these days.

Tea was pretty ordinary - only Seniors packet biscuits on the menu.  Definitely one of the drawbacks of only having ten white, male etc etc. in attendance.  Geoff the Sec passed around a couple of suggestions for the sign on the back wall, and the consensus was for using the roller coaster steam train logo that has been featured on our Show promo material for a number of years, together with "Model Railway Club" and the Club web address.  This latter, if you look it up, has contact details.

As a PS to The BOX,  Derek went to the clubrooms today and, uninterrupted by the helpful hordes, installed and connected many droppers along the main line loops, and assures me that there are no shorts.  After driving home many protruding track pins, we might get our first trains running next week.  If not, it is only a couple of weeks until Derek and Greg are back, and after that it is their fault if nothing runs.

Next design and build contract is for the freight yards on the main line - suggestions welcome.

See you on the 23rd


Sunday, 9 July 2017

9 - 7 - 2017

Hi All,

For some reason, "rollicking" comes to mind as the word for yesterday's activities.

For a start, it was the school holidays and Geoff the Pres arrived with one small person as escort.  Then Rod came with an horde (they did not stand still for long enough for me to count them).  This lot were consigned to the learning curve layout and relative calm descended on the bedlam around the new layout.  Grandpa still had to duck out occasionally to give an umpires decision on fair play in the other room.  I did not see any red cards handed out.

Geoff the Sec ( having arrived independently of Dale), Rod and I dominated various sections of the infield, laying main line track.  Derek , having drilled little holes all over the place, spent most of the time on the floor poking wire up through the little holes to Trevor.  Who is Trevor?  He is the bloke who came to visit Derek for a quiet weekend.  Meanwhile, George had arrived , bringing Jane in some futile attempt to prove that he played trains on a Sunday afternoon, rather than visiting his Cowes mistress.  Sad, really!  When Grant showed up, this lead to the formation of the BDS (Branchline Debating Society) - Dale, Geoff the Pres, George and Grant - starting from a completely new Mousehole station layout, moving baseboards to new levels, cutting river valleys, designing trestle bridges, surveying for a Portland rock quarry, and generally creating the usual mixture of order and chaos in an anti-clockwise direction.  Helen and Judy threaded a circumspect route through all of this - then vanished, shortly to reappear with the news that tea was ready.  I am sure that there were 10 of us around the tea table - who have I missed?

We spoke a little about the sign that might be mounted on the back of the Hall.  I think the current sate of play is that it will simply say "Model Train Club" and have the Club's web site as a contact point.  Not finally settled.  I have received some information about PWM controllers from a fellow in WA, if any of you DC dinosaurs want to improve slow speed running without going to DCC.  George had bought a job lot of USA rolling stock that included some freight stock that is too long for his home layout.  If you are interested in acquiring 70' or 80' gondolas, oil tankers, box cars etc give him a call.  

Then it was back to hammering in track pins, slicing baseboards, or wagging tongues.  George left early, which gave Geoff the Sec an opening to join the BDS, in time to arrive at Port Gary.  When I, too, left a little early, they were in full song.  By next week I expect to learn that Port Gary has developed into a full blown container terminal fit to rival Shanghai.

Looking forward to next week


Sunday, 2 July 2017

2 - 7 - 2017

For most of us - a lazy Sunday.  Not so for Derek and Ankie, David and Joyce, who hosted us at Inverloch.  "Us" was a fairly orderly group - Geoff and Diane, Dale and Nancy, Alan and Denise, Judy and me.  Then there was the unruly contingent - Bingley (who was well received by Benny).

Derek's N gauge layout may never be finished, but it is certainly complete and not much changed since our previous visit.  But, in the other half of the shed, there is "The BOX".  I will not attempt to describe it - you will just have to wait until it arrives on the Club layout.  And then, some one other than David had to wire up David's extension.

Which is as big as many people have for a whole layout.  Three main lines, Korumburra Station, scenery, buildings, backdrops (Joyce's touch again).  Only one diesel running, too.  K and J Class locos were working the main line, a D Class tank in the yard and couple of R Classes on shed.   No ballast yet, but I did spot a newly arrived box containing an "Electronic automatic ballast laying device" or words to that effect.  The job is probably finished even as I write this.

Back to the Clubrooms next Sunday.  Plenty to do.  Just turn up and Dale will find you a job.