Monday, 10 November 2014

What to do when your layout is not available.

Even though I'm not able to access, much less operate, my GC&SF layout, I'm still managing to get in a good dose of model railroading.  Rod and John still hold their regular operating sessions, and we've visited Greg's layout where he is finalising his operating system.

Brendan's D&H 4th sub - Champlain Division

Last Saturday Brendan invited the gang down for the first operating session on his D&H layout. Here's a photo of Brendan sitting at his dispatcher's desk.

The long sheet of paper that Brendan is reading from is his train graph.  The telephone handset is connected to a two-way radio, and is used to communicate with the 'town operators' (and train crews), who are similarly equipped.

If you're not familiar with Brendan's layout then I recommend that you click across to it right now and take a look.

Thanks for a great day Brendan. 

Men's Shed layout

I also spend a couple of hours each week at the local Men's Shed, where some of us are building a HO scale layout with an Australian theme. These photos show the area that is most advanced, although it still needs a lot more work:

We're using some techniques that I would never have considered using on my own layout (eg saw-dust collected from the shed's wood-working area and dyed green for ground cover, and beaded packaging foam for the sub-roadbed and scenery base), but I have to admit that the layout is already looking a lot better than I was expecting at this stage.  One of the fellows is becoming so skilled at making gum trees from twisted wire that I might commission him to build some N scale trees for my layout.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Just an update...

It has been a few months since my last post, so I thought I should provide an update just to prove I haven't abandoned this blog.

This photo shows the block as it now looks.  The building that was the GC&SF HQ and General Office is now completely gone. The Operations Department (layout) is housed in the building visible in the distant left of the block. The end wall (facing the camera) is removable so the room can be converted into a two-car garage, or to allow the GC&SF to be extended.

The GC is going to be out of action for quite some time yet, but I'm still getting plenty of train-running on the other guys' layouts, several of which are now close to hosting operating sessions.  By the time the GC is ready to host its next session I will be struggling to fit it into our calendar.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

BLI locos have arrived

Last August John C brought his BLI ALCo PA/PB/PA set over to my operating session, for show-and-tell. I was so impressed that I immediately ordered a PA/PB set from the latest production run.

I finally received the locos this week, and they are very impressive.  The 'stainless steel' looks a little too gold in colour to my eyes, and the stirrups are a bit clunky (see photo below), but otherwise these are VERY nice locos.

Here's how the pair look sitting on the siding at Wynnewood:

This crop from the previous photo shows the stirrups.  They seem to have too much paint on them.

Here's a link to a short video of the locos in action.

The batteries in my camera ran out before I finished recording, so I'll have another go at this.

Thanks for looking in.


Monday, 17 March 2014

The GC&SF to go into hibernation ...

Updates have been scarce this year, and that's likely to continue for the rest of 2014. That's because Beth and I are going to knock down our house and build a new one on the site.  The train room is a separate building at the rear of the yard, and will be left standing.  I won't be able to do any work down there however, as it will have no electricity, and the floor space between the aisles will be used to store heavy furniture (rather than move it off-site.)

I have an endless list of bench-work projects that I can tackle during this break, but our temporary accomodation has only limited opportunity for me to set up a work-space.  If I get anything done I'll post an update here.

Regards to all,

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Rod's new locos ...

We operated on Rod's layout last night, and I got to see and hear his new E8 A-B loco set from BLI:

I have a BLI PA/PB set on order.  I hope they're as nice as these units.

Sorry about the quality of the video - it didn't come out as good as I was hoping for.


Friday, 31 January 2014

Rethinking the refinery...

I finally painted my LPG/propane loading platforms grimy black, and when I positioned them to see how they'd look I got to thinking about the rest of the refinery scene.

Back in this post I included a photo that indicated that I'll be including some large storage tanks in the area behind the refinery's LPG/propane loading platforms. However, after looking at photos I'm not sure that having large bulk storage tanks is the right way to proceed.

This 1951 photo of the refinery shows a string of (unpressurised?) tank cars at a loading rack, possibly bringing in crude oil. The LPG loading platform had not yet been built.
Skip ahead several decades, and Google Earth provides us with this view of the refinery.  The original loading platform is on the right hand side, and the newer LPG loading platform is now visible on the left hand side:

Unfortunately I don't know when the second platform was built

This is a closer view of the newer platform and its surroundings:

Neither photo shows large storage tanks near the loading platforms.  I'm not sure whether those long cylindrical tanks were around in 1960, but those two huts (one of which seems to be a 40' x 100' quonset warehouse hut from WW2) might well have been. As the two tracks closest to my backdrop are for receiving inbound shipments, having a couple of warehouses nearby makes a lot of sense.  So I've been doing some experimenting with mock-ups of these buildings to see how they might fit into my scene.

So, after all that preamble, here is what I'm now considering:

What do you think? Storage tanks or sheds? Personally, I like the sheds even though I'll have to compress them a little.


Monday, 13 January 2014

10 January 2014 - first GC&SF operating session for the year

The crew got together last Friday night for the first GC&SF operating session for 2014.  We had a big crew, with everyone except Barry (who's on holidays) coming along. It was a warm night, so we sat outside for "show-and-tell" before starting the session.

From left to right:  Brendan, John F, Rod, Vic, John C, Dennis, Ron (me), Charlie, Greg, Noel, Darren and Bill.  The Sn3 scale loco on the table belongs to Bill, who has a fabulous narrow gauge layout.

All in all, the session went very well, although not without a few annoying problems most of which stemmed from oversights on my part. The guys have learnt to operate the layout very well and with minimal intervention from the roving dispatcher (that would be me).

We started the schedule with the 'afternoon' half of my operating timetable (from 3:00pm to midnight), but as things went so well, when we got to the end we kicked over to the 'morning' section (6:00am to 2:59pm). Here are some photos of the action.

In this photo, the two Johns are obviously having too much fun. But at least Vic is earning his pay:

I bet John F had another T-shirt to change into before he got home.

Vic's south-bound train has reached Ardmore, and is meeting a northbound freight operated by Charlie.  Brendan operated the yard at Ardmore using WiThrottle on his iPhone.

Errm ... there's something wrong with this, guys - these two trains aren't supposed to cross at Ardmore.

Greg and Rod ran the afternoon Gainesville/Ardmore local freight. Here they are finalising their moves at Dougherty before returning to the south:

John C (operator at Pauls Valley) and Bill are confering about a train that Bill is about to operate:

Dennis ran the Pauls Valley - Davis local, and is switching the Kerr McGee refinery at Wynnewood in this photo.  In the background, Noel is waiting for the scheduled departure time for his train (a southbound livestock extra).

Bill is driving the southbound "Ranger" at Wynnewood.

In this photo, Bill and Rod have teamed up to run the SLSF mixed local from Hugo to Ardmore.

Greg, Brendan and Darren are in the background.

Later in the evening we had completed the 'afternoon' half of my operating timetable, and as things were going so well we advanced to the 'morning' session.  One of the nice things about CC&WB operation is that you can do this with almost no preparation.

Here Darren is switching cars at Big Canyon, for the morning Ardmore local freight.

For quite some time now I've been receiving nagging emails from Vistaprint inviting me to buy some of their promotional products.  I finally cracked a few weeks back, and bought some mugs with my Gulflines emblem printed on them.  They turned out a lot nicer than I was expecting.  In this photo our two lovely models are demonstrating the mug...

Thanks for coming over guys. I had a great night, and I hope you did as well.