Friday, November 3, 2023

Re opening the Camden Line

 Well, that thinking will never happen, in our lifetime anyway. But it has happened on the "Camden Layout" after a long spell. My first job was to clean any debry from the track, before I can accept any trains from Campbelltown, I sent my Per way crew out to certify the track was in good condition to accept a train or two. 

Per Way Inspection

Finally, after following the Per way crew from Camden to Campbelltown, and one needs to be fit to do that, and it felt like an 8-mile walk, it was certified ok to run trains. 

Unpacking from the boxes, was the slow part, putting them on the track took no time at all, but finding a parking spot was another problem. This started out a few years ago, to be a reduced size layout, one locomotive and some rolling stock. What I have now is 8 locomotives and a heap of rolling stock. 

I think the crew are inspecting the running gear. 
on the other side of the loco, they are not in the cab.

The layout was not completely idle during the lull, I just have a fascination for scenery. I also got involved in watching "YouTube" and films uploaded by photographers chasing "Pansy" which set my wheels in motion to do more scenery. I think I have enough on the layout now, and adding more, will make the layout appear too cluttered.

A Gazebo has been added.

During a trip to Sydney in September, we made a stop off at Frontline Hobbies, in Newcastle. This is where we found the Lazer Kit for the Gazebo. Just the thing for the picnic area.

And just to finish off, one of our group members decided to have a running day and as he has double track and DCC, he wanted 4 trains running on the day. So I offered my services to help with the running, 2 clockwise and 2 anti-clockwise. All went well on the day and the only problem I had was when both trains lashed up together, but as they were both moving they did not derail. The following post- mortem didn't reveal whether the 2nd train caught up to the first train, or the 1st train did a complete circle and caught up to the 2nd train. How ever no damaged was done except to my "ego".

Until next time, Cheers for now.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Curiosity got to me

When my wife and I were at the Sydney Train Show last May, I asked Joe (Casula Hobbies) if the 19 class DCC locomotive would operate on DC control. Joe told me it would, if it wasn't turned off, but the sound might be a bit scratchy at low speed. So, I have been thinking about this since May, and this week I decided to "give it a go". The video will explain all. I was supprised that all the functions work, the direction lights, red and white depending which way it's going, the whistle (using the direction switch) brake squel and more.

With this setup I can now run all my rolling stock using the one controller. Some of the variations in this sound track are because the layout has not been used for 3 months, and I didn't think to clean the track before I started. At the end of the video there is a slight sound when I turn the power down, so this might be what Joe was referring to. It is not a problem or at all noticeable.                           

Enjoy, Cheers for now.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Still more Ground Cover.

Each time I enter my train room I keep thinking to myself, something more needs to be done to the layout to make it more interesting.

I have always been of the opinion that we are modelling a railway line, and not the country side. Therefore, if I take a chain saw and cut along one side of the line, then cut the other side on the way back, pick it up, take it home, and put it on the layout, that's what I am modelling. 

A lot of time and effort can be spent getting plans, photos and measurements and other things, then find it doesn't fit, (this was me) so we modify it, and there goes our efforts.  There are times when we spend our time and effort doing things to scale at one end of the layout, and at the other end, it is out of scale and sometimes removed from the plan, just to make it fit. This is what I admire about "SCR" (each time I think about it - often) items on the layout are to scale, but the distance between station halts is well situated. The layout is a pleasure to watch trains moving, and I am sure would be a pleasure to operate. 

Camden looks bare in places and needs something to fill it, but a look at the pictures of that particular area, and that's what it was like. So, I am only doing a representation. On the layout between Bow Bowing Creek and the Hume Highway I have a family and friends gathering, this is because these two areas in real life was some 10's of Kilometers apart, but on the layout, it would be lucky if there is one "scale" Kilometer between them. Back in the 1950's my parents and friends used to go mushrooming in these paddocks along Narellan Road, just like my first photo, so I got to see many a train on this line. I inserted Elderslie just to fill the scenery. I have 3 photos of Elderslie and they each show different scenery surrounds. Camden Line is a representation of what was there 60 years ago. I felt that I only needed to have the important scenes, being Campbelltown, the starting place, Narellan, for the Coal Loader, and Camden, the end of the line. The remaining stations were just "Halts" and had no historical significance, and I didn't have room for them unless I encroached into the middle of the room.

In some scenes I have used the buildings or trees/bushes to hide the rear edge of the module. (or the chain saw cuts).

The family gathering and flying their model aeroplanes

Elderslie "Halt"

Buildings used to distract from the rear edge of the module
Till next time, cheers for now.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Time Away in the Snow Country.

Recently my wife and I have just completed time away out west. We drove to Sydney on the Saturday, Rosehill Train Show on the Sunday, then over the Mountain on the Monday. Why would anybody want to go west this time of year is beyond me. Our main reason was to visit the Bathurst Rail Museum and other museums as well. But the majority of them were closed. Must have been too cold for them to open up. 5 degrees in the middle of the day.

Layout in the Museum.

 After 3 nights in Bathurst we drove to Oberon for one night. At Oberon we wanted to have a look at what the guy's there were up to restoring the Branch Line. The museum was closed, but I found an open gate and thought I could sneak inside and take a few photos of the yard layout. In doing so, I was approached by the president and asked about our interest, he then offered us a 15 minute tour (as that's all the time he had) of the work shop. The work going on there is a real Eye Opener, and full credit to the team working at it.

Inside the workshop at Oberon.

Storage Shed and workshop Oberon.

Replaced track from the Yard to the Level Crossing.
Oberon Station and yard crane.

Next morning (Friday) we left Oberon and headed back to Sydney for "Mothers Day" with family and friends. Monday after Mothers Day we made for home, but along the way we were invited to stop off at "South Coast Rail" and inspect the "Thomson River Bridge". Bob's layout is a real "Eye Opener" and his scenery is so brilliant. There is no other way to describe it. All the way home I was thinking to myself, I should have done something similar in "O" Gauge. Well we are back home now, and much warmer weather, so it is back to where I left off with "HO".
Cheers for now.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

End of an Era

Recently I was asked if I would put a time about what period the Camden Layout would represent.   I replied:-  "At present, anytime after the 1st January 1963".

The power to the shed has been turned off, Camden has been cleared of all it's trains, and is being rested for a while, along with myself.


Monday, March 6, 2023

Pansy gets a mate.

 Recently I decided I would try DCC in the 30 class for a second time. It was suggested to me that if I bought the decoder from Newcastle, I would get the sound file installed for free. The decoder arrived, no problems, and it was installed into the loco using the existing speaker left in there from the first installation. (Because it was glued in). The fitting was completed, but there were a few problems when we ran the loco. Firstly, there was very little sound, and no matter what, I couldn't convince the guys that it was much softer than the previous installation. Another speaker, made to match the decoder was purchased and installed. No difference, and with different size speakers tried and tested there was hardly any difference at all. It was insisted that the lack of sound was because the speaker is crammed into the bunker and the sound had no way out. Secondly, the loco ran in the opposite direction to the controller. Even altering the CV made no difference. The loco was posted back to Newcastle for investigation. When it arrived I got a phone call to say the loco had some damage and parts were in the bottom of the box, but the packaging was in tact and not damaged. With these things in my mind I thought that Pansy would be a write off, so I bought another 30 class. Feeling pretty upset over this whole matter, my wife and I drove down to Newcastle to pick up the loco, untouched as I asked. While we were there, it was suggested that the sound file could be reprogramed and the volume increased by 70%. This was agreed too, and paid for, hoping for the best. Final result, no different. I was assured that the reverse running was due to crossed wiring. Back home, I removed the bunker and laid the decoder and speaker on the layout along side the loco and there was no difference to when it was in the bunker. The wiring was spot on. The loco has been repaired and put back to DC. Now I have a pair I can double head. As for the decoder, my brain keeps telling me that's where the problem was, because some of the "F" functions had been altered. 

Decoder and speaker extracted for sound test

Pansy gets some assistance for the climb ahead.

It was insisted I need hearing aids, (for this install only) as none of my other locos give me this problem, even at seven meters away. This is my second attempt, no more, and if I need hearing aids, I had better check "Specsavers" I could save $K's.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Pansy and Daisy

 Monday was video day, and I decided to just video two of the "Branch Line" Trains, being the 30 Class (Pansy) which was the main stay for this line, and a tour train (Daisy), with the 19 Class at the lead and hauling 4 so-called "Box Cars" (Austrains LFX / HCX). The Tourist train 1905 has sound and DCC, but the 3048 Tank is non sound DC.

This video runs for 8 minutes.
Cheers for now.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Protection Required.

 Something I have been wanting to do for a long time. With visits from Friends, Neighbours and Family, not realising, that when they viewed the layout at close range, they are pressing up against the front edge of the layout and bending the "Push Pull" Point wires. I gave it a lot of thought, and decided the only protection I can do, is to put a collar around each point wire. 

A trip to my local Building Supplier, I was able to purchase an offcut of 40mm PVC tubing one meter long. This I cut on my Triton Saw into 17mm lengths to produce a collar to go over the point wires. This has taken a few days out of this week, one day cutting and cleaning off the rough edges, another two days painting and drying, and today gluing them onto the layout over the wires. Centering them was easy, I just  put my forefinger and thumb inside, grabbed the bead, and if I could move the bead then the collar was centred and I had clearence.

Collars in place on Cambelltown Module.

A double collar where points are close together.

The collars after painting ready for placing.
There were 2 doubles required as can be seen.

So I guess now it is sit back and wait until it has all set.
Cheers till next time.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Can't stop now

Last week when I visited a member of our train group, and he had another member with him, they were programming and running, Casula's 19 Class Locomotives, I sort of became obsessed with it's sound and performance, and returned home pondering, "will I, or won't I".

You had better believe it, I now have Loco 1905 in my collection. After spreading the word, I wanted a passenger car to drag behind it, I was offered 3 LFX's and a HCX (Dog Box Cars), at the going price. 

"Congratulations Joe", this loco is set up with the best sound and performance I have ever heard, and I have heard quite a few in my time. If I could duplicate it into my 30 Class, then I would consider converting it over. 

So now what !!  Well I thought if this is a train that would have operated on a Branch Line somewhere, then I have a Branch Line to accomadate it. It can be Camden one day, and something else the next. To be quite honest, just running Camden back and forth, I do get a bit bored. So now I have something else to eleviate that bordem. (Maybe age has something to do with it).

Loco 1905 with the 4 Box Cars.

I have planned to do a video of a train on the layout, but my camera man is not available until January. So you have something to look forward to.

Have a enjoyable Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Until then, cheers for now. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Noise, noise and more noise

Last blog I mentiones I had an order I was waiting for. Well my wife and I packed our bags and headed off to personally pick this item up, and more, with an overnight stay at Armidale. Last week a friend and I spent a few days, installing the sound cards and speakers. We tried installing read switches in the track for the level crossing, but found the only locomotive that activated them was the 41 class. We tried installing magnets under the locomotivies but they were too low, and the magnets fouled at the points. So my only option was to install an on/off switch, same as we did for the sawmill and cattle, all at the controller operation point. I have done my best with the videos, being just me, to operate the sound and run trains together.


Hope you enjoy them, cheers.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Bit by Bit

 I have finished the split rail fence along the track and placed a few bushes. This has helped remove some bare spots and hide some bad ones. The next project I have lined up is something that I will need to explain in another blog, as I will be having help with it. At the moment, it is on order, so I can't hurry it up.

Split rail fencing.

Cheers for now, until I complete my next project, gosh, I can't wait!!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Ding Ding

 Finally everything has arrived and allowed me to proceed installing my Wig Wag Signals on the Hume Highway Level Crossing at Narellan. The only thing I have left is to assemble 700mm of 2 Rail fencing from the Level Crossing to Bow Bowing Creek, which is back towards Campbelltown, but on the other side of the line. I would also like to find some fine motor vehicle white pin striping for the Centre line along the Hume highway.

Nothing else to report on so,

Cheers for now.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Change of Scenery

My Wig Wag signals arrived last Wednesday, and I have set about preparing their location at the Hume Highway Level Crossing at Narellan. This has led to some scenery changes which I didn't think would be required so soon. 

I am waiting for some scenery ground cover, in the form of weeds with undulating heights, some 2-rail fencing, and I decided to make the picket panels at the crossing myself. I thought about buying some commercial packets, but they are such, that they don't actually fit the scene, so making them myself, they are made to fit.

Six of these panels are required to fill the scene, so while I do this blog, the glues are drying.
Tomorrow is our group running day, so nothing will get done tomorrow, but Sunday is another day!!
Cheers for now.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Wiggly Wag

 Saturday Evening I received an email from Meagan with 3 Pictures attached for my approval. Meagan wanted to make sure they were 100% before making the second one. I am so impressed with Meagan's attention to the detail, it took my breath away. The pictures are attached.

Meagan's Wig Wag 


The original Wig Wag at the Hume Highway Level Crossing.

So now all I need is to wait for a parcel delivery, then I can make some changes to the scenery at the level crossing.

Cheers for now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

How far will one go.

My wife and I have now returned from a trip to Melbourne. We drove down for the AMRA Train Show at Caulfield Racecourse. (The round trip, 2955 klms). The show itself was quite enjoyable and layouts I had not seen before. The venue was quite large and not crowded. (The outside temperature was 9°C). The layouts that I liked the most, was "Monbulk Creek 1:480 scale, and Dauntsey Lock  1:350" scale, on both the rolling stock was laser made. I apologise for the video shaking. Unfortunately due to video size I can only upload one video.

Our main reason for the visit was to meet up with "The Train Girl" who is going to make some scenery items for me. These items will be the Wig Wag signals and Railway Crossing signs for the Hume Highway Level Crossing at Narellan, and some shunters for Campbelltown. These may take a while as Meagan is making the Wig Wag signals complete and assembled, so I will just have to be patient until they arrive.

Until then, cheers for now.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

What a Day.

 Last Saturday 16th was my running day with members from the train group. It was quite a successful day with 9 members in attendance. Some got involved in the train operation. 

I am waiting for some uploads of videos taken, so I can add them to this blog.

The thing that brought most attention was the Garratt. As you can see in the 4th picture of my previous blog, the Garratt is standing in Loco outside the shed and clear of the fuel line for the Diesel Fuel storage tank. I decided to drive it to Narellan and bring back a coal train, at this time the loco tender was sitting under the overhead pipe line and when I applied power it just sat there and the sound just kept repeating "lamps, lamps, lamps". I turned the power off and reapplied it and I had no functions, but the loco ran. So I ran it in "silent mode". The sound eventually returned and all was normal. Sunday I decided to go out and rearrange the trains back to their starting positions ready for another session, "when ever that may be". When I put the Garratt back on the Loco Road, I again lost the sound. I thought it was loss of voltage in the track, but it checked out ok. The sound returned after I moved the loco away from the shed, but it started to return from "no volume" and increase to the "set volume". Conclusion, the overhead filler pipe for the diesel tank on the tower affected the sound decoder in the Tender of the Garratt. The pipe is constructed from Piano wire and is free from any power sources, so why does it do it ?? and it's only with the Garratt !!

Yesterday I had a play with a members 30 Class and gave it a touch up with some weathering power over the boiler. I was so impressed with the way it took the "new shine" off the paint that I decided to do mine, and I did mine all over. It's not over done, but it looks the part. I'm very impressed with it.

Garratt with factory weathering.

Garratt with Powder Coating

30 Class with powder coating to remove the gloss finish

Nothing else has happened on the layout, just added some "Give Way" signs to a couple of intersections, and a few more trees and bushes, but that's all.

Cheers for now.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Progress to the end.

This week I have managed to place all the Grass Tuffs to the layout. My next project is to install telegraph poles and wires, and some street signs around Camden.
Below are a few pictures of the Grass Tuffs.

Ignore those 2 locos at the bottom of the picture. 
No where else to put them

I will now prepare for my Running Day in a few weeks time.