Site Seeing – May 25 – MRH Universal modelling sizes chart

If you have not become a reader and participant with the crew over at Model Railroad Hobbyist, now is certainly the time to do so. IN the current issue (May 2017) of their free online magazine they have great download: a universal modelling sizes chart.

Has all the major gauges in the chart in both PDF and Excel format free for download.

Go here for the download page.

Enjoy and have a great day.

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Site update – May 23 – TSE Boxcars – additional lading and operation information added

Who says that asking for help doesn’t work?

When I wrote the TSE Boxcars page, about images I took back in 2005 in Austin Texas, I had no idea about the operational nature of the cars. Thanks to Paul, who is familiar with the cars, their loads, and operations I now can share a little more information with you.

This morning (AEST) Paul wrote the following: “Those cars came in empty. We would spot six at a time Balcones Recycling and they would be loaded with waste paper. There was about 30 of these cars that were in captured service. We would send the loaded cars out on the UP. They did not come in loaded with lumber. East end lumber is now long gone, and it has been at least 40 years since they received rail service.

My thanks go out to Paul for sharing his time and knowledge with me. One of the reasons I love the Model Railway community is their willingness to share. Greatest hobby in the world? I’d like to think so.

I’ve updated the page with the information Paul has provided. Good to know finally what they were there for, and the operation cycle they used.

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Site update: 12 April 2017 – the geographically challenged edition

It’s been very busy getting back to work after the long period of ‘under-employment’ as our government describes it. My time has been totally focused on getting through the day and making the changes that will allow for eventual success down the track. Having said all that I got a lovely comment from Peter Walker who is a committee member of the Corio Club.

Peter wrote:

Andrew,
Thanks for the positive report on our 2017 exhibition. By way of feedback the exhibition hall this year was in BELMONT (not Corio). We felt this venue handled the show crowd better and, with support from City of Geelong, have now been able to book that venue again for 2018. Hope your readers don’t look for us in Corio next year?

In reply I wrote:

Thanks for the correction. I’ll make sure to update the post and publish an update to make sure to get people to the right spot next year. Keep me up to date on what’s going on for 2018. Glad to help get the word out for the show.

I don’t mind people pointing out my geographical faux pars. I navigate mostly by visuals and not by map, compass or any other known means of getting from one place to another. I’ve found that often the thrill of the journey is discovering somewhere or something you never knew was there.

Thanks to Peter for bringing my error to light. I really did enjoy the show this year. I know also how difficult it can be for a club (small or large) to find a new premisies, cover your insurance and venue costs, and still make a little something to support your club or the charity of choice. I applaud the committee for being able to pull this move off so well, and from the outside at least,  make it look so effortless.

With Peter and the Committee’s support I hope to bring you more information about the next show in January 2018.

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Site update – 20 March – Updated 12 foot home layout design page

There has been a lot of thoughtful experimentation going on at Andrew’s Trains of late. While I was ‘reasonably happy’ with my Mk 72 layout design I wasn’t joyous about it. Recently while rediscovering some of my older layout designs I came across the design for ‘Industrial Park East’, as shown below, from somewhere about 2006-7.‘. Something in this design called out to me and so I set off on a slight redesign from the Mk 72 to Mk73 version. The changes I made have allowed me to get the ‘flow’, and the look that I wanted. I know this all sounds like something ‘the Dude’ would say from the Big Lebowski at this point but if it doesn’t work for you while you’re designing it, then it sure won’t work for you once you’ve committed track to plywood.

There’s a lot more information on the what, the why and the wherefore on the additional layout design page (yes I added another one to keep it all straight in my head). If your interest is peaked and you’d like to see more click the link in the line above and head on over to read on.

Thanks for reading – now it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted in Layout Design, Medium, Modelling, Operations, Site seeing, Site Updates, Sites of interest, SuperNook, Switching, This Site, Tuning Fork, Updates, Web | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Site Seeing – March 18 – The ‘other’ Glendale freight layout edition

It’s been a while since my last post and that is thankfully due to being fully employed for the first time in two and a half years. A full-time job is a very satisfying thing. But I digress.

As I wrote in my March 6th post I’ve worked up another idea for the Glendale Freight layout. Let me say from the outset, that this is not one of my better ideas; especially after seeing Bruce Petty’s original layout. There’s merit in the ideas expressed in the design certainly – it just doesn’t have that vibe going on as Bruce’s layout does in spades. Before I go on to tear my work apart let’s take a look at a 1/12th scale model and why I find them so useful for designing a layout.

So what’s wrong with this layout idea?

  • Firstly the central theme of the design is not the freight station, it is the entrance from staging onto the layout.
  • I wanted to have the train enter through a portal of buildings, cross the street and then go about its business. It’s a pretty skimpy idea right? There’s no meat on the bones though.
  • Why this means to enter onto the layout instead of some other way? Is there some missing story about this means of entrance; did the city grow up around the freight station for example? But isn’t this supposed to be Glendale CA, right? Well, is it?

The layout is overall 8 feet long (2400mm) and each square is 12 x 12 inches (300 x 300 mm). It is 2 feet (600mm) wide. And it’s very linear.

So what would I do different now that I’ve built this mini layout?

  1. Angle the entrance onto the layout,
  2. Angle the buildings and the street to the long axis of the layout,
  3. Cluster the switches near the end of the run around, and finally
  4. I’d make a transition between the industrial area on ‘main street’ at the entrance end and the other end of the layout – making it more suburban

And having had a while to think on how I’d make those changes here’s a rough drawing of the layout that ‘could’ spring from this thought experiment.

This design has gravitas. It is the last bastion of railroading in the inner city, and the edge of the suburbs. Sure there are some strange curves, and I’d rework the industry lead and the industry back wall too. But it is much more interesting and tells much more of a story than the first layout.

This layout could be setup as is with the industries, it could be modified for a single industry layout (say an industrial workplace such as a foundry), or it could be something that I’ve not considered and that you already have swimming around in that pool of ideas in your head. As an aside, I videoed the first layout build process. If interested in seeing that video let me know in the comments and I’ll post it here over the next week or so.

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Site seeing – March 06 – Bruce Petty’s Glendale Freight house Module Redux edition

In a post on January 18, 2017 I made mention of Bruce Petty’s excellent module of the end of the Union Pacific’s Glendale Branch and the freight station located there. Bruce’s Module is 5 feet (1500mm) x 18 inches (450mm) but to my eye looks much bigger because of the great use of the space he has made. There is no crowding, no feeling of busyness, only the feeling of a warm summers afternoon in Los Angeles sometime during the 1960s or 1970s. This small scene is evocative and places you immediately in the place and time, even if that is coloured by your chosen time period.

The majority of my layout designs fit into an 8 foot space Bruce’s layout module with the addition of a 3 foot fiddle yard fits right in the space available and would make an excellent display or exhibition layout. More importantly it would fit with any time period from the late 1940s – early 1950s (when I believe that the freight house was built) through to the mid to late 1980s when I believe the freight house fell out of use.

As I said in the previous post I’ve pondered over how to use Bruce’s track plan in other ways. I’ve even worked the design up into a 1/12th scale model to see how it might work. I’ll come back to the alternative in my next post; for now let’s revisit Bruce’s excellent module.

A closer look at Bruce’s module

While this module is a part of Bruce’s larger railroad forming the end of the UP’s Glendale branch it can also stand alone as a layout in its own right. At its heart it is an Inglenook layout. Each of the freight house roads can take two 40 foot boxcars against the dock. For those of you interested in modelling this layout at a later stage it is highly likely that the Freight station never hosted more than 2 x 50 foot boxcars at any one time. If it did so then they would be placed on the right most track with the second car either unloaded directly into trucks as shown in Photo 1 above or set off spot on the left most track and switched out once a suitable space was available at the dock. Lots of switching possibilities here.

Of particular note in the photo above is the connecting piece to the rest of the layout. I like this little yet important touch. The wooden insert which allows the module to join the layout has been disguised as a typical UP/SP bridge. Very smart and ensures that the layout and the module appear to be a single whole and not something that Bruce built later on.

Operation

Operations on this layout would be pretty good too. As we’ve discussed before on the blog Inglenooks are completely prototypical and often used by railroads in tight places. Operating with a locomotive pushing in – pulling out switching focuses on the industry or industries served. The longest track on Bruce’s layout I would use as my switching storage and sorting track. The incoming train pulling outbound cars before spotting them on the long track. Cars would then be switched according to requirement on the remaining two car tracks at the docks. Any cars from those pulled needing to be spotted back at the dock could then be spotted before the locomotive crew pick up the remaining outbound cars and head back across the bridge and back to the yard. And here endeth the session.

Short, clear, easy to achieve, enjoyable and within the 30 minutes to 1 hour per day play time that a small layout should give you. Whether you use a single person (driver/engineer only) or two person (driver/engineer and conductor) crew to do the work the time taken will remain roughly the same. I prefer a two person crew simply because it makes the play time more fun when family or friends get involved.

Hope that this revisit has been of some use. If you like the blog don’t forget to Like and Subscribe. PLease comment if you are looking for more information on layout designs or on the designs I’ve previously posted. And of course take the time to visit the “further reading and resources” links below.

Further Reading and Resources

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Site update – 20 February – BTM Tram #18 photos

Over November, December and early January I documented some updates to BTM Tram Number 18 as it goes through its rebuild.  The page has a lot of interesting images of the underframe, resistor grids and the motors. Of greater interest, to me at least, was the changing out of an armature. It’s not something I’ve ever seen done before so I thought I’d document it. Head over to #18’s page and view the evolving gallery there.

The armature being lifted out of the motor housing

The armature being lifted out of the motor housing

If you have any information to share please let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.

Andrew

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Site seeing – February 19 – The small passenger layout edition

While searching for ideas recently I came across a now very old set of posts from 2001 onwards about the building of a narrow yet long passenger station layout. Onto today’s site of interest.

Site 1: Simon Martin’s Shelf Layout project

This appears to be an orphaned site, and I cannot find any information or updates beyond the 2005 update on the page. Which is a real shame as this layout is a simple, well designed and yet highly operational layout for the single operator at home or at an exhibition.

The track plan is clean and has no major needs apart from two switches and some flextrack. You could even use this to get into building your own track work. Operationally there is much to work with. Trains may arrive and depart from either platform. Heading to the fueling depot means that you need to either shunt back onto the main, then into the second platform road prior to running back into the fueling/storage road. Planning your moves here would be very worthwhile in the smooth operation of the layout.

The fueling/storage point on the bottom left of the plan gives options for storing stock on the layout without over crowding the scene. Scenically the station building hides the end of the platform roads and gives the layout a greater depth than would otherwise be the case.

I think this would be a great design to work with not only in the short-term, but for the longer term by adding all the bells and whistles (such as automated announcements, details, more scenery and upgraded ready to run models.

I’ve tried finding anything else by the blogger but have been unsuccessful. I’d love to see more of this layout and what it became. No luck however. So we’ll just have to enjoy the layout as it would have been. If you know anything about the layout, the author or have contact details for Simon, let me know in the comments.

Posted in Exhibition, Layout Design, Layouts, Liked off site, Modelling, Operations, Site seeing, Sites of interest, Small, Switching, Tuning Fork, Web | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Site seeing – February 17 – Alain Kap’s excellent exhibition layout blog

I’ve not met or talked with Alain before. But his small layout popped up on one of my regular reads, Carl Arendt’s Micro/Small layouts site, when notification went out about a page update this week. But we’ll get to all of this shortly. For now on with the site seeing.

Site 1: Alain Kap’s Exhibition Layout

The link above takes you to the Alain’s blog with a search set for his Show Layout posts. There are five articles included so far, each of which shows something new and to me interesting. The board design and build are my favourite so far. As this gives me something to think about for diorama style layouts in the future.

The layout, based on Shortliner Jack’s Box Street layout, is well worth the look as Alain takes you through the baseboard build and then through track laying and building creation. Looking forward to more of this coming in the near future. There is way more great modelling there too, and not just railways.

Site 2: Carendt.com – February update

There are four layouts featured in this update:

  1. R.I.P. Car Shop – by Alain KAP in HO standard gauge
  2. Ingly Nook – by Scott Pollard in 009 narrow gauge
  3. Piper’s Yard – by Andrew Cockburn in OO standard gauge, and
  4. Bridge Street – by David Collett also in OO standard gauge

All of which meet the criteria for small and friendly little layouts, they also are well done visually and technically. Very well worth looking at all the pictures provided in the post.

I do hope you enjoy this post. If you do, or don’t, let me know in the comments.

Posted in Layout Design, Layouts, Modelling, Operations, Site seeing, Sites of interest, Small, Switching, Web | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Site seeing – February 16 – The traction faction edition

Having grown up in a city with electric railways there is always that part of me as a modeller wanting to recreate what I remember as a kid. Watching the sparks pull away from the station and hearing the sounds of the motors change as they reached the limit of adhesion, especially on a wet day, can make me a very happy-chappy when I hear them. You can read more about the history of Sydney’s electric trains at the operator’s site “Sydney Trains“. Being an avid reader of technical stuff when I find really useful information about modelling overhead and trams, trains and trolleys I like to share. Thus onto todays site seeing journey.

Site 1: The East Penn Traction Club

This is not the only useful page on the site, it is however among the most giving pages on the site with a large range of downloads available on all areas of overhead modelling. A large proportion of you are US-based and for those interested directly in modelling trolley systems this is a treasure trove. For the rest of us a large range of highly useful documents on improving HO model performance, modelling tips and articles and a set of standards that certainly could be adapted to your need without major change can be downloaded.

Site 2: Rowntree Sidings in Detail

Image courtesy Blyth and District Model Railway Society

 

In the mood of traction action today we come to Rowntree Sidings. Based in the Tyne and Wear district in England the model features a working representation of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

The linked page discusses in detail the design and creation of the model. Although sadly there is no track plan which would have helped understand the text quite a lot. There are lots of videos available on YouTube however that give a reasonable idea on the model.

There is also, on our favourite video site, a lot of driver’s eye view videos of the Tyne and Wear Metro that are well worth the watch. Especially if you enjoy cab rides.

I hope you get some use out of today’s sites. Leave a comment if you find them of use or have some other places of interest you’d like to share.

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