Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel

Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel
Click on the above photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What's been happening at the Main North lately.

I have finally relented and joined Facebook and if you have requested that you wanted to be a Friend, don't be offended if you have not got a reply, my Inbox has been bombarded. I know I cannot be that popular (or can I be?), I have now setup my Inbox so that your messages go a Facebook Folder. Now things are back to normal in my Inbox. One day when I can get away from doing scenery, I may accept your request.

I joined Facebook after a mate suggested there are heaps of photos being posted "daily" and all I wanted was to view them to help me "replicate" the scene.

The last few days while having a Coffee breaks from layout work, I have added a Blog List and Photos to my Blog (could not get the Blogger Slideshow to work, I even posted photos to Flickr) and today I changed the way the Blog looks.

Managing a Blog and Web site is very time consuming. I am on a mission to get as much of my layout done before my Son takes me to the Simpson Dessert in early June. Perhaps when he sees the lack of progress around the house and listening to "Mum", he may leave me there.

Recently I have helped Keith an 83 year old modeller, dismantle his beautiful fully sceniced NSW HO layout in a room approximately 20' x 20' (shown below), due to a forced move into a much smaller residence, something many of us will also have to consider at some time. A few days ago he said the house was sold.


In the next few weeks I will "cut up" his layout for the Skip Bin. A very traumatic experience for Keith who with some of his model railway friends, have been meeting at his place/layout for over 40 years. As I purchased some of Keith's models and structures, hopefully Keith and Bob, (the only 2 left), can see some of "their" layout on my Main North when they visit to get their train "fix".

I missed out on the "Loco", the Mine and some other buildings, they went to the Werris Creek Museum.



Included in the Structures was a Stock Pen and the inhabitants, I needed a place for them.

At the recommendation of one of the visitors to the Main North, I needed to have a Shunting Neck for Werris Creek so this was a good opportunity to find a place for the Stock Pens. I removed Gunnedah's Black Jack Coal Mine that took me days to get it to work properly - now all amounting to nothing and replaced it with the Stock Pens and a Loading Bank, Werris Creek will now have a Coal Mine, utilizing the "old" Mine, a little "south" of the Pens/Bank.

Installing the Shunting Neck, Werris Creek Yard was "reorganized" and the Anton's 75' Turntable was moved about 12 inches (300mm). I even drilled 44 mm holes for all those Peco Point Motors I have purchased 20 years ago, onto the layout - one day maybe. Now instead of the Main line being at the front (layout aisle), it is at the "back", passing "Loco" as it turns into Werris Creek Station. I have got a great 3 deck Station building from Ray P that will do for Werris Creek till I make one, maybe.

I'll NEVER be able to build everything including doing the scenery on my large dream layout, so to "play" trains on more than a plywood junction, I'm now a "Plonker" that provides "instant" results. Along with John P's Mudgee building and Keith's models, the Main North is now reasonably "populated" and about 40% sceneced, Now the layout is ALIVE, "playing trains" is so much fun.

Thanks a LOT Keith.

If only I could be more disciplined at finishing a "project" but I seem to get easily "side tracked".

There was some unused real estate at the bottom of the stairs at the entrance to the Train Room. I have utilized this space by adding two levels, albeit a little too short for staging trains - Armidale staging 3 sidings, at the top and the Port Waratah Wheat Terminal (lower). I've located my "Library" in the area under the Wheat Terminal, making grabbing a book, easy for the "visit" to the downstairs W.C.

Adding scenery to Werris Creek and the track out to Gunnedah on the Upper Deck as it passes the Gunnedah Mill, I took the opportunity the upgrade my Workbench lighting and replaced the twin 40 watt Fluro, with two 18 Watt CFLs, I'm also a Greenie at heart, This would be "music"to my older son's ears, if I really said this.


The Main North's "Nerve Centre" with a reasonably clean Workbench. Years of time have been spent here while installing decoders, many for other modellers, making and maintaining a web site and this Blog.

One of the most important things about spending all of these hours, the area is a PART of the house. The Boss can even talk to me as I'm working on the Bench. I'm so lucky not to be "out the back" in a Shed etc and being on the ground floor, it is cool in the Summer and warm with the aid of a Heater and a couple of jumpers, in the Winter.

Again today I've been "side tracked" big time. It's now 2.30 pm and I've been at this computer since 7.30 am. Being a "one fingered" typist doesn't help. Going downstairs to do some scenery, after a cuppa. Always finding an excuse.

Last Friday the 17th April 2015, I have been retired for 3 years.

WHERE has ALL the time GONE?

In any event I've had heaps of fun mostly about my trains and that's what it's all about.

Maybe you can find a loco or two or some Rolling Stock from Keith's "FOR SALE" List at:

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/mammann/Sale

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Know Your Loads & the 2015 Epping Seminar.


Yesterday (11April15), about 80 modellers attended the 2015 Epping Seminar hosted by the NSW division of SCMRA. This year's theme was "The Goods Train - The Guards Van Era". Another great day of modelling tips, prototype information, a hot lunch and catching up with mates, acquaintances, meeting strangers etc, for a yak. The Day's program included:

The Day of The Goods Train - John Parker.
Railway Timetables and Lines - Trevor Moore.
Shunting Signals - Dale Richards.
Pickup Goods and Trip Trains - Josh Beveridge.
Tarps - Have You Load Covered - Doug Blunden.
Weathering Wagons - Aaron Denning.
Goods Wagons and Loads - Trevor Moore.
Modelling Steel Wagon Loads - Garth Wiseman.
Know Your Load - Marcus Ammann and Geoff Small.
End of the Train - The Guards Van - Trevor Moore.

Included in the fare, is a DVD of all of the day's presentations, where some will find out what they missed.

I need Aaron to weather or give me private weathering session for my locos, especially the 46s like 4623 he had on show - it looked really "life like". Great job Aaron. Aaron will be demoing his weathering methods at the Brickpit Exhibition on the 2015 June Long Weekend. Photo courtesy of Aaron.


Unfortunately I will miss the Exhibition as I'll be in the Simpson Desert with my Son and 7 other 4 wheel drivers.

Recently (the last few years), I needed to get my "loads", prototypically  correct, initially due to my "banking" operations but I realized that ALL trains are controlled by the Ruling Grade for the section of track they are running on. In most cases, the steepest grade is the Ruling Grade, see your particular Gradient Diagram.

How much of a load that can be hauled is determined by the GRADE the train is to travel over and the type of loco or locos, hauling the train. To determine the LOAD of the train, we have to know:
  • The applicable wagon's weight.
  • Whether they are empty or full.
  • The Grade of the track the train is running on.
  • The type of loco.
For this "calculation" you'll need Gradient Diagrams, Working Time Table's Load Tables (example below) and some reference for the Wagon Weights.

For my "Wagon Weights", I use Ray Pilgrim's Train Load Calculator, that can be downloaded with Ray's permission from:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3-yhMq1W_9eeUJNSXhLYmYxelE/edit

Ray's Bylong Blog has lots of "Train Load" information posted in January 2014, at:

http://bylong.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/further-information-on-train-loads-and.html

Shown below is a Load Table from the Northern Working Time Table (WTT) for Broadmeadow to Werris Creek section showing the maximum tonnage for each section for C32s, C36s and Standard Goods locos.


Using one of my "Main North" trains as an example, the 3613 hauled "through"Goods Train on the Broadmeadow to Werris Creek 156 mile section, the Ruling Grade in the 60s as explained by R. J. Booth's Murrurundi Article in Oct 81 Roundhouse is the 1 in 50 Murulla Bank restricting the Maximum Load to 385 Tons but 3613 will need assistance from Murrurundi up the 1 in 40 climb to Ardglen, as the limit is 255 tons.

Why the steeper 1 in 40 from Murrurundi to Ardglen is NOT the Ruling Grade, was due to that it was cheaper to operate 385 ton trains (C36) and assist the loco from Murrurundi up the climb to Ardglen, than to operate 255 ton trains over the whole section.

I made a video of the above 3613 hauled goods train being "banked" up to Ardglen.