Category Archives: This Site

Recovery, Delayed Posts and the flat-out best Chain-Link Fence tutorial ever!

I wrote back in December 2021 that I caught “the virus” and was hoping to be over it in short order. Yeah, well that didn’t happen.  Read on…


Recovery and Delayed Posts

What doesn’t kill you gives you a set of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a dark sense of humour” – Unknown

So, what started out as an optimistic case of COVID-19, turned into a 7-week absence from work, including 5 weeks (solid) of 24 hour-a-day coughing fits, being as weak as a kitten, and 2 plus months of continual work to get back to my fitness level. I get that everyone’s story with COVID is different. I was lucky not to have ended up at the hospital, but it was a close-run thing. Thankfully, Australia’s public health system held up and is outstanding; I had a fantastic team on my side made up of my GP, The Royal Melbourne Hospital‘s COVID triage team, Nurse-On-Call, family and friends to help out. Seems that raising a child is not the only thing that requires a village.

I’m still finding that overwhelming tiredness at the end of the day remains. Each day that goes by, thank the fates, I am still here and getting back toward normal. While my wife caught COVID, it was less aggressive with her than with me. It would have been better not to have caught it at all. I’ve now had my 3rd vaccination and hope not to catch it again. Let’s just hope that it turns more benign as time goes on and as we become used to having it in the world at large.

If you’ve been through it I hope that you are O.K. and that your family and friends likewise are on the mend.

Needless to say, posting has been delayed as life, in general, has taken priority. I hope that you will stick with me as I get back on track to work on finishing the last post in the “Operations on a Maintenance Centre Layout (Part 7 – Op till you Drop)” series. In this post, which I’ve begun working on again will take us through an op session on the layout. I aim to finish that soon.


Chain-Link Fence Tutorial

Boomer-Diaries on YouTube has been a must-watch, that I found during my time watching ‘everything’ on YouTube during my convalescence. He recently posted what I feel is the best Chain Link fence tutorial I’ve ever seen or read. I’ve linked it below. Watch and enjoy as you get a masterclass in how-to modelling, painting and dressing a great scenic item.

Once you go down this rabbit-hole though, you may be some time, to misquote Capt Robert Oates (of Scott’s doomed Antartcic expedition) as Boomer diaries has a big collection of outstnading videos on the current layout build.

Talk more to you all soon.

Andrew


Resources

This series so far:

Staying in Contact

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas?  You can do that in several ways by:

    • Commenting on this post (I read and answer each one)
    • Sending me a note using our About page (email)
    • Connecting with us on Facebook at Andrew’s Trains

Merry Christmas 2021

2021 has been a year of challenges, setbacks and the odd major problem. My family and I have worked hard to get through the year. We feel blessed to have made it to the end of another year.

We hope that Christmas finds you and your family in as good place. That you and your family are well and able to enjoy tomorrow to the fullest.

I look forward to bringing you more content, including the final post of the Metra layout series, covering the playing of the operations game soon. There are a few more similar layout ideas I want to share in the new year too.

In 2022 I’ll be completing the Evans Hollow industrial switching layout. I look forward to sharing the rest of the build with you.

I’m going to take a couple more days off before I begin the next post. The road out of COVID-19 has been harder on me and my family than we planned. I hope you’ll bear with me as I continue my recovery.

It’s our hope that you enjoy the holidays. I’ll see you in the new year. Thank you for being a part of the blog and for coming back time and again.

My family and I wish you and yours a safe, joyous and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. All the best and we’ll meet again in early 2022.

Andrew and family.

Part 4 is close: I’m hacking CC & Waybills

I had hoped to have Part 4 of the Operations on a Maintenance Centre Layout (Ops System) completed by the end of October.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to go back a few steps to make things a little simpler. And that takes time.


Hacking Car Cards & Waybills

I’ve been gaming, using a mockup of the operating system. To figure out all of the wrinkles, and the unexpected outcomes, so that you don’t have to. No gaming system is perfect, but I’d like to try and make things work as simply as possible, with the widest scope of operations for a layout like Aaron’s or any maintenance type layout: locomotive, freight or passenger, tram or trolley.

And right now I’m in the process of hacking apart the waybills side of things to make it work. I plan to have the entire post finished on November 8th. Right now the 4th part is quite long. But I’ll get there in the end.

My wife suggested that I publish the whole thing as an e-book. And that may be the best format to cover off all of the topics. I’d be interested to know what you think about that idea! She’s a smart cookie, she is!

To add a little interest, I dropped the resources from part 4 into this post. Take a moment to look around. It will help you in your understanding of the final post.

Till the next post.

Andrew


Resources

Setting Up Car Cards for Operation:

Model Railroader series – Basics of car cards and waybills for model railroad operation

The Operations on a Maintenance Centre Layout series so far:

Staying in Contact

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas?  You can do that in several ways by:

    • Commenting on this post (I read and answer each one)
    • Sending me a note using our About page (email)
    • Connecting with us on Facebook at Andrew’s Trains

Site Update – 26/03/2021

There’s a new section (Layout Design Basics) under the Articles menu. The first article there focuses on Inglenooks.


Layout design basics

I’ve added a new section on layout design basics under the ‘Articles’ menu. In the first page I’ve looked at the Inglenook. Bought about by the recent posts on the Montpelier, OH grain facility. Which is a double-ended Inglenook.

Inglenooks are a fascinating subject of study on there own, and really handy to come to terms with as a small layout designer since they can be used as a game, or in normal operating usage when switching your layout. All with the change of the number of cars on the layout.

There’s a lot of information on the page, and I’ve added links to the ultimate source of Inglenook knowledge too. Head on over to the page and check it out when you get a moment.


Resources

Staying in Contact

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas?  You can do that in several ways:

More first Mile/Last Mile? We can do that…

I posted a while ago about a flour mill, here in Melbourne, that showcases a loads-in, empties out flour milling operation. Today we’ll look at another operation, this time in Montpelier Ohio which is an empties-in/loads-out facility for grain. This is truly first/last-mile railroading at its best.

Switching the Montpelier Ohio Elevator

We’ll talk about modelling a facility using the track layout and operations featured in this post next time. For now, I’d suggest that you watch this outstanding video from YouTuber Scott Taipale. With WAER 223 an SW 1200 switcher (ex IHRC 223, ex TRRA 1223) working a unit grain train at the elevator in Montpelier Ohio.

This SW 1200 switcher was built for the Terminal RR of St Louis in 1955. Later owned by the Indiana Hi-Rail and successor Wabash Erie, it is now used exclusively by the Edon Farmers Co-Op to handle the bulk car movements you’ll note in the video.

A couple of notes on the video from Scott:

  • The line furthest right (North) used to be Wabash’s 1st district which ran from Toledo to Montpelier (now truncated, it ends 4800 feet behind/east of the camera)
  • The branch line connects to the former Wabash yard in Montpelier (now Norfolk Southern)

In my next post, we’ll look at how you can model a layout based on the track diagram and how you can fit this facility into your space and time limitations. Thanks for reading along.  and if you get the chance please like and subscribe to this blog, and to the Facebook page. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Resources

My switching first/last-mile playlist on YouTube

Previous Kensington Posts:

Scott Taipale

Staying in Contact

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas?  You can do that in several ways:

Site Update – June 14, 2020 – The “Not dead – Just Dead Tired” Edition

Life’s been more complex since the COVID-19 outbreak and being an essential worker has meant no time off and more work to stay safe. I’ve been quiet I know.


Holidays

It’s been a long few months.  And with all that has been going on in the world, I’ve had to do a lot just to cope with it all.

Working in the public transportation sector has been very stressful.  With extra cleaning and social distancing and so on I’ve been mentally shot at the end of every day. It’s exhausting to do what I do without getting sick.

All of the drivers, customer service and other staff at work have done our best to stay COVID-19 free despite the time spent in, around and with the public. So far no-one has tested positive which is a testament to the efforts we’ve all taken. In addition, I’ve taken on the role of OH&S rep for our work site adding complexity to the already complex. It is good though to be back in a leadership role and being able to assist others when they need guidance and assistance.

Days off have been about family. They’ve been doing it tough too worrying about me. So a big thanks to my wife and children. They’ve been outstanding and steadfast during the pandemic. I could not have done it without them.

My silence? It’s been me, and not you. Seriously. You do what you have to when times get tough. I’ve not forgotten about you or the mission of Andrew’s Trains though. Speaking of that…


Where to from here?

What seems like a lifetime ago (only several months) I began to change the look and feel of the site. Either moving or changing many elements here. The core of the layout design and similar works remain. They always will. That’s what I’m about. But in thinking on my mission here’s what I feel is the right place to go to next:

  1. Focusing on getting you to build your first layout (if you’ve not already done so).
    • A simple straightforward task-driven format such that over one weekend you can build a simple module (I’m going to focus on a 2′ x 4′ foot standard (or their metric equivalents) and show you how to go from idea to construction, to built and work-ready layout in a weekend.
    • That’s right, something nice and simple (like an Inglenook) that you can build on Saturday and Sunday and operate from Monday.
    • I’m looking at a multi-part short and focused video series for these using common components (for those of you in countries outside of Australia). These will be a subscriber series with a written version available for free here on Andrew’s Trains.
  2. Working with others in the same area to share thoughts and ideas.
    • I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve loved the work being done here in Australia by Luke Towan over at Boulder Creek Railroad.
    • He’s a gifted scenery artiste whose techniques I’ll be using. Scenery is not my strong point Thanks to Luke it doesn’t have to be.
  3. I’ve got a couple of changes yet to make to the site.
    • There will be an update to graphics (thanks to my son’s outstanding design and video skills).
    • The other change will be moving the posts from the front of the site to their own dedicated page, and making a static page the entry point to the site. In addition, I’ll be adding an email list option for those interested in joining.  All of this to be completed by 28 June before I head back to work.

Takeaways

  • More change is coming to Andrew’s Trains. But in a good way.
  • The focus is on basic layout building technique, using simple tools to build a layout in a weekend that you can operate from Monday.
  • There will be paid and free content. Paid content will be in-depth, and interactive for those needing more help or greater insight.
  • Free content will provide the same content but without interactivity and the deep dives into specific areas.
  • Posts will be moving to their own blog page and a new front site page will appear with access to an email list for those interested in signing up to new content.

Staying in Contact

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas?  You can do that in several ways:

Site Update – The Reader’s Write (thanks Steve Hanson) edition – January 27, 2020

Steve Hanson read through the updated Bergstrom Spur line overview recently and got in touch with more information. Being a local who’s seen the spur change since he moved to South Austin in 1981 he has more to share…


A new page added to the Spur’s section

After reading the updated Bergstrom Spur page earlier this month Steve Hanson of South Austin got in touch with some memories of his own. They included industries and additional spurs that are now long gone along the line (due to TX Highway 71 becoming a freeway in the 1980s).

Read all about them from the menu or use the resources section below to deep link straight to the page.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

January 19, 2020 – The where did the modelling go edition?

Some of you have asked where the modelling, weathering, prototype and related articles (formerly on this site) have moved to. Here’s the answer…


With the redevelopment of the Andrew’s Trains site to focus on small, easy to build, practical and operational layouts I moved the modelling articles, which are outside of my mission to bring a layout into your home this year, to my other site. That provided clarity for this site and for my modelling interests outside of layout design.

To find those old articles, and the newer ones already added, head on over to the >>modelling site here<<.

All the best

Andrew

2019 – The Year in Review

Regular readers will know that change is afoot at Andrew’s Trains. Content change, overall direction change and a focus on small railroad layout design is coming in 2020. At the start of the new year it’s time to look at the direction I’ve set to see if I’m on target.


Overall 2019 was the best year yet in regards to total views. Visitor numbers were down a little bit. But I’m expecting things to get better this year with the focus changing to better meet what you want to see.

The numbers

So at the end of 2019 here were our main numbers were:

  • Total Views: 33425
  • Total Visitors: 6431
  • For an average of 5 views per visitor

Views by Nationality (Top 10)

United States 48.37%
United Kingdom 13.82%
Australia 10.54%
Belgium 5.32%
Germany 5.13%
Canada 4.65%
Netherlands 2.50%
Czech Republic 1.80%
France 1.14%
Romania 1.00%

And a big shout out to the individuals from:

  • Costa Rica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Egypt
  • Belarus
  • Latvia
  • Colombia
  • Cameroon
  • Isle of Man
  • Cyprus

To each of you who dropped by this year: I hope you took something away of use , and I hope to see you more often in 2020.

Who referred you to Andrew’s Trains

Most people were referred through Google searches. Followed by Facebook, Pinterest, Bing, TheRailwire.net and model-railway-hobbyist.com.

The top 10 looked like this:

Google Search 30.10%
Facebook 3.44%
Pinterest 2.02%
Bing 1.84%
therailwire.net 1.79%
model-railroad-hobbyist.com 1.42%
diskuze.modely.biz 1.16%
hobsonsbaynorth.blogspot.com 0.82%
Yahoo Search 0.59%
duckduckgo.com 0.37%

Most popular sections

 

  • Small Layouts  – 2,128
  • Brett – a great small layout you can model – 731
  • Layout Designs – 477
  • Kendallville Terminal Railway Co (Kendallville, IN) – 372
  • Corio 2016 GWR Micro Layout – 361
  • Layout Ideas  – 289
  • Medium Layouts  – 250
  • Track Plan Ideas  – 211

By far the biggest items on the list in all categories are small and micro layout designs, build reports and reviews. This backs up what I’ve been seeing from the currently running survey. If you’ve not taken part in the survey would you mind helping me out and providing me with answers to some simple questions. It takes about 3 minutes of your time and will help me make this site better suited to what you want. Click here to go to the survey


What’s happening in 2020

Well…

First off all the unrelated content, that is not layout design and build related, has been removed from the site. It will be appearing on my personal site and will be available there in dribs and drabs as I get to it. Mainly this is the modelling and image gallery pages. More on that here once I get all of the pages and the content uploaded and setup the way I prefer.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

Web site redesign – continues – December 27, 2019

Content is moving around, and off-site to my other modelling related website to simplify the purpose and the mission of Andrew’s Trains.


Simplification

I’m in the process of transferring all of the modelling related content off site to my modelling related pages on my personal website. THe aim is to keep layout designs here and all other content including the modelling articles there. That will take place during the first quarter of 2020. I aim to be layout designs only by April 2020.


Where will it go?

All of the modelling content will be transferred in stages to:

https://martinfamilyweb.wordpress.com/go/modelling/trains/

It’s a work in progress. However I’ve written up an new landing page for the VR GY wagon series as well as a part 2 of the build process this couple of days off. So you can head on over there to read more about that process. More information on the build was requested by a couple of readers and I apologise for the delay in getting that completed. Life has been busy, and my time is limited. But it is getting there.

I’ll keep you advised as things change and changes to both sites rollout.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook