Site update – January 26 (the Australia Day version)

Happy Australia Day. Don’t worry if you’re not Australian, enjoy the day with us in any case.

Site updates

I’ve added a couple of pages to the layout build area of the site:

There pretty bare at the moment but I’ll be updating them as I go forward with the appropriate details. Baseboards and Legs will include a video I hope of how to build a layout baseboard using the Kreg Pocket Screw jigs and screws. I aim to get that project underway in February.

For the moment – that’s about it. Enjoy the day.

Show report – January 23 – Corio

The Corio model railway club hold their exhibition each year on or about the Australia Day weekend at the tail end of January. This year it was on the 23rd and 24th of January at the Geelong West Town Hall. It is a very good location with plenty of parking locally and some great food and shopping close by. Close to public transport and easy to get to as well for those coming from out-of-town (like me).

As this is usually the first show I get to (unless i can get down to Warrnambool or Philip Island for their show at the beginning of January) my expectations are riding high and these are usually met on arrival.

This year however the show seemed to be a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good

When it’s good, it was very, very good.

  1. Jackson’s Creek (Gallery view)

Jackson's Creek-01

This layout is a On30 layout showcasing the narrow gauge railways of Victoria. There were others apart from Puffing Billy though they all used the same or similar equipment to deliver their service. The presentation was outstanding. Well lit, presented and displayed (although a little more action would have kept people around a little longer) this was the outstanding large layout of the show. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.

2. Murri (Gallery View)

Murri04

Based on the Victorian South West, Murri provides a very well displayed layout for big trains running through typical Victorian countryside. I particularly liked the West Coast railway set running on the Saturday morning. For such a big layout though, there was little action happening and that downgraded it from best large layout for me. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.

3. Micro Layout (Gallery View)

Tucked away in the back corner of the show, was what I consider the best layout in show.

Micro01

Well presented, with a high standard of work throughout and ideal to help get people into the business of building small and interesting layouts this unnamed layout deserved much more attention from the club than it received. There were two other Micro layouts (and they’re in the picture, but they were put in the shade by this little beauty as you can see by the presentation, and the attention of the young man in the extreme right of the photo. The more you looked into the layout box, the more you got. The track plan was very simple but the level of presentation completely overwhelmed you.

What let the presentation down though was that it was not operating, and the builder was not there. The person minding the store had no idea and could not talk to you about the layout at all. Come on Corio, you have a real gem here, and this should have been shouted from the roof tops!

The bad

When it was bad, it was awful.

Rather than point fingers and show photos let’s talk about the standard of presentation. An exhibition aims to publicly display works of art, craft or other items of interest or provide a display or demonstration of a skill.

I am not sure that simply running a train on a layout is enough though. Especially when these were at very low height; which while perfect for 4 year olds do nothing for grumpy 50 year olds to whom they are of the greatest interest.

One layout in particular was very low in both height and presentation standard with cars derailing and operators not noticing. Talk about embarrassing? It was in a dark area of the hall and had no light rig to focus attention on the layout areas. I’ve seen this layout before and by comparison it looked old, dusty and tired. And not in a good way.

The ugly

I was disappointed to note the layouts at the show that were not ready to exhibit. Among the problems were layouts still being set up an hour after the show opened, very poor lighting on many of the layouts, and what appeared to be constant derailments on one of the vendor’s layouts already mentioned.

More so was me apparently missing out on a range of layouts and vendors tucked away in a part of the hall – according to the exhibition guide – that was neither signed nor pointed out by club members. That was a real disappointment when I reviewed the day on my return home.

Takeaway

Being one of the closest non-Ballarat exhibitions the Corio show is one of my favourite exhibitions and it really starts my railway exhibition year. It’s still a 190 km round trip to see it by car but normally is well worth the effort. I’ve written an email to the club about my views and while I don’t expect a response I hope that there is a change next year – for the better.

You can find out more about the club and the next show by visiting the website at: http://www.coriomrc.org/.

Site update – January 25

Hi, my name is Andrew and I hoard model railroad stuff.

Recently while designing my new layout I worried over the shortage of turnouts on hand. I was about to beg the master of the house to allow me to get a couple more switches to get me to the end of the design. While rifling around looking for something else, what should I come across? More turnouts. These have popped up in the final layout design. In the future I aim to build my own switches and improve the look of the layout with better track work. For now though I’ll continue to use Peco code 83 turnouts and a mixture of Peco and Atlas code 83 flex track. Some of it salvaged from my earlier layout.

The layout design page is done, at least as done as I can manage for the moment. I’m sure there’ll be a tweak here and there as I get to laying out the track and the scenery. The Mk 72 design (not really but it sure felt that way) can be seen on the the layout design page along with the rationale for the design. Let me know your thoughts on the design. They always make me think about the design and inevitably make it better.

Site update – January 7

Is there no end to designing a layout? I sincerely hope not, I’m having too much fun!

I’ve added a page to the 12 foot layout modelling project for the design process. It’s been really good to check the images from a distance (and not standing at the layout board) and seeing where things could be improved. I’m going to make changes and get to the Mk III design later this week.

It’s nice to know that I’m getting closer to an ideal layout design that will keep me happy switching and let me enjoy the layout for the next few years.

Keep an eye out for updates to the page later in the week.

Industry news – Atlas buys BLMA models

I got a media release from Atlas this morning announcing that effective immediately they had acquired BLMA Models.

The email is copied in part below:

FOR RELEASE ON JANUARY 6, 2016

Atlas Model Railroad Co. Agrees to Purchase BLMA Models Inc.

HILLSIDE, New Jersey: Effective immediately, Atlas Model Railroad Co., has agreed to purchase BLMA Models Inc., of Fullerton, California. Founded in 2000, BLMA manufactures quality HO, N, and Z scale rolling stock and accessories. Upon completion of the acquisition, Atlas will own and release all current tooling, inventory, and will continue with production plans outlined by BLMA, prior to the sale.

Craig Martyn, Founder and President of BLMA Models, stated:

“What started as a hobby business 16 years ago has turned into something larger than I ever expected. The experiences, knowledge, and most importantly, the friendships gained through developing BLMA have been life changing, and I will be forever grateful to the many that supported my endeavors.

As to the changeover process Atlas stated that:

Paul Graf, Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Model Railroad Co, stated:

“BLMA’s reputation for detail and prototypical accuracy is compatible with Atlas’. The HO and N rolling stock will fit seamlessly into the Atlas Master line of product. The details and accessories are a perfect complement Atlas’ existing product line.

“We have known Craig since he first entered the market, and have had a good relationship with him and BLMA through the years. We are happy that Craig will be able to work with Atlas over the coming years as we incorporate the BLMA products into Atlas’ line, as well as bring some of BLMA’s planned new products to fruition. We plan to make the announcement of the first product from BLMA’s existing products as soon as the purchase is completed.”

On January 6th, 2016, BLMA will stop selling product direct, in preparation of shipping the inventory to Atlas. During the transition, BLMA will process open orders for pre- ordered rolling stock, though Atlas will physically fulfill the orders. These models include:

  • N scale GSC 60’ Flat Car (Run #2)
  • N scale ACF 52’ Gondola (Run #3)
  • N scale Trinity 31K Crude Oil Tank Cars
  • HO & N Trinity 5660 Covered Hoppers
  • HO & N Trinity 64’ Modern Reefers – Tropicana
  • HO & N Bx-166 60’ Box Car – BNSF

In the coming years, Craig will work as a consultant to Atlas, ensuring a smooth transition, assistance on development and help with marketing. Atlas expects to release many popular BLMA items with all-new numbers, paint schemes, and more. Furthermore, Atlas will develop and release items already scheduled internally by BLMA.

For further information, please visit www.atlasrr.com or www.BLMAmodels.com

Interesting times.

Site seeing – January 6

It’s the load ’em up and lock ’em down edition.

Site 1: Loading a boxcar with broken down loading bins

If you’ve ever wondered what a load should look like inside a boxcar (I know that this is specific to this particular load – but I am certain that I can make up some realistic looking loads using these principles) then watch the video below; it is fascinating.

No longer should you boxcar doors open with nothing inside of them. I’ve gotten some ideas out of this one for a small project.

Site seeing – January 4

I’m sure we’ve all got a an industry that we think we just cannot model. Today’s site seeing adventure amazed me on two fronts:

  1. How small an unloading facility can be for gravel/stone hoppers, and
  2. Just how much a track mobile can move when it wants to.

Site 1: Rock Hoppers being unloaded

Watch the video. Look at the modelling possibilities…

Site seeing – January 2 (the rock and rail edition)

While tooling around my favourite TV channel (YouTube) the other day I came across more videos showing the loading and unloading processes for rail served industries.

Site 1: Gravel Supply by Rail – Alberta Train

Standard General’s Windfall Gravel Pit is located along the Athabasca River Valley, north of the town of Whitecourt and near Fox Creek, Alberta. Loading is completely automated and takes place by way of a system of conveyor belts that transport gravel to a tipple that fills each car with gravel. About 100 rail cars, holding roughly 10,000 tonnes of gravel can be loaded in 4 hours at Windfall. Once the cars are fully loaded, they then make their way onto Acheson, Standard General’s new unloading facility and asphalt plant.

Offers some great modelling potential for those with an N scale or larger HO scale layout. Hope you enjoy the video.

Site seeing – January 1 (The ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears’ edition)

As a modeller, especially half a world away from the trains I model, what I find hardest to visualise is how freight car loading and unloading affects the design of a facility. One industry in particular has confounded me for some time: lumber.

Site 1: Kuiken Brothers Lumber Delivery by Rail

When I worked in Austin, TX back in the early late 1990s through late 2000 I was very close to the Vinson (Bergstrom) Lead.  A couple of mile long industrial track operated by the SP, and then the UP after the Merger our of New Braunfels yard. There was a large lumber dealer on the lead taking multiple centerbeam cars, but no boxcars that I ever saw in my time there.

Thankfully, Kuiken Brothers Lumber posted a video on YouTube back in 2011 showing exactly how the Morristown & Erie’s number 18 delivered the two cars into the facility before setting out the centerbeam and boxcar. Then they go on to show you how the boxcar is unloaded.

Take note of the appliances used to unload the cargo and the work done to unload by the work crew. Skidding the load around with the forks answered my question of how they made enough space to get into the car.

Enjoy.

Site update – January 1 – Happy New Year edition

I’ve added a new Modelling section – My 12 Foot Layout.

This will provide a Work-in-Progress report of what’s happening in the layout build process. For now there’s a front page. It provides my overall thoughts and a photo showing the proposed design (already laid out in track).

As I stated on the page there’ll be more coming in the future including:

  • Track laying,
  • Building construction,
  • Detailing,
  • Operations design, and
  • A session report or two

Looking forward to getting this underway this month.