Wednesday, 27 April 2016

South of the border, down Mexico way ...

Last week our Friday group visited Rob McM's Mexican themed 'Pacifico' layout.  This was my second visit to see this layout in its present incarnation. I've never been to Mexico, but the layout looks about 'right' to me.

The layout has three scenic areas, and cleverly uses two helices to separate them and to add running miles. Rob and his crew use a CC&WB system to switch the layout.

Here are a few photos that I took before my phone's battery died on me. (Sadly, that's becoming a familiar story.)

There are a few more photos showing the overall design of the layout here.

The Pacifico operates as nicely as it looks in the photos.

Thanks for the invite and your hospitality, Rob.

Thanks for looking in,

Friday, 8 April 2016

First GC&SF operating session in two years

Today the GC&SF hosted its first operating session since January 2014. The session was intended to test the layout's readiness to host a 'serious' session, and I expected it to disclose any problems that may have crept in during the two years the layout has been dormant. As several of the guest operators had never seen, much less operated on the GC, I set the fast-time clock to 4:1 ratio instead of the usual 6:1. We used the timetable that I presented here.

I'm pleased (and proud) to report that apart from a minor glitch with a couple of radio throttles, everything went very well.

Everything except my photography, that is. For some reason, I had depth-of-field problems with many of the photos that I took. I'll have to check my camera settings. The following photos are the best of those that I took.

John C. (left) offered to run the yard at Pauls Valley. Bill, on his second visit to the GC, watches as John switches some cars for the local freight:

John F was press-ganged into serving as the Ardmore yard operator. Thanks John.

Rod ran the local freight from Gainesville (south staging). Here he is switching empty gondolas for loads at Dougherty:

Peter, on his first visit to the GC&SF, is running north-bound through-freight Train 38 through Dougherty:

Graham, also a first time operator on the GC&SF, ran the Pauls Valley local. I'm not sure where the train is.

It's a busy time at Pauls Valley as a tank-car train driven by Bill holds on the main track for Peter's through-freight to arrive.

Meanwhile, over at Dougherty, Rod is almost ready to return to Ardmore and Gainesville.

Having switched some cars at the Kerr-McGee refinery in Wynnewood, Bill has been waiting on the main at Ardmore for the northbound Texas Chief (driven by Peter) to arrive.

The Pauls Valley local has returned to Davis, and Graham has just finished switching the cars he brought back.

Peter again, this time with the Livestock extra, which brings a bunch of stock cars up from Texas for loading at Davis and Pauls Valley.

Thanks for coming over guys. I had a great day, and I hope you did as well. I think it was one of the best sessions I've had on the layout.


Friday, 1 April 2016

Canberra Railway Museum

Last Tuesday I got the opportunity to visit the Canberra Rail Museum. It was a quiet day, with a few guys working on some of the rolling stock, and I was fortunate enough to be given an escorted tour of their site. Here are some of the photos that I took.

The building on the platform is the visitors' centre, which is entered from the opposite side. There are normally a couple of coaches sitting at the platform, but they had been used for tourist rides over the Easter weekend and had not yet been returned to their usual resting place.

There were several locomotives and coaches sitting in a long shed opposite the platform, including "4403", a preserved NSW 44 class locomotive:

A couple of guys were working between two coaches sitting behind 4403, preparing to move one of them back to the platform.  One of them asked whether I'd like to ride in the cab while they performed the shunting. Would I??? Hell, yeah!!

Here's my driver at the controls:

Here's a short video I made:

Before leaving 4403 I took this photo of the engine.

It was actually very dark in there, and I could see almost nothing when I took the photo. I just pointed the camera and released the shutter.

Back on the ground again, I continued my tour. Sitting at the end of the shed, in a spot that made photographing it quite difficult, was Beyer-Garratt 6029 (billed as "the largest operating locomotive in the southern hemisphere.")

A little further down in the yard I found a couple of old steam engines. These photos are of 3016 (NSW C30T class), which has been beautifully restored to working condition:

There is more information about engine 3016 here.

This is engine 1210, a NSW Z12 class loco, which is being restored. It pulled the first train to arrive at Canberra:

More information on 1210 is available here.

Not far from the steam engines was a pair of (former VR) S class locos. The rear-most unit is S300 which entered service in 1957, and it's still struttin' its stuff.  S311 entered service in 1960.
These next photos are of engine 4807, a NSW 48 class diesel. The 48 class commenced service in 1959.

The museum has very recently received this NSW 86 class locomotive from Junee for restoration. It appears to have been left where vandals had easy access to it. The inside is just as messy as the outside.

The museum also has other locos (some in various stages of disrepair) as well as a large number of passenger cars of all ages (including cars from the Spirit of Progress.) But by now time was running short, so I had to end my visit without taking a closer look at those.

As usual, thanks for looking.