Tag Archives: Updates

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

Site Update – Redesign underway

Hello regular visitors. If you’ve not visited recently you’ll note that I’ve redesigned the menu structure, as a start to a major redesign of the site…


Change is in the air

We’re moving from the country back into the city, I’m looking at new opportunities and trying to understand the future for this site. While I’d like to put more time into Andrew’s Trains, I need to make sure that I’m feeding, clothing and ensuring the emotional and financial survival of my family first.

My goal was to have grown Andrew’s Trains well beyond where it is at the moment. Over the last month I’ve put a lot of research into the site’s numbers to see whether it is time to put Andrew’ Trains on the back burner and work on other ventures. My time is a finite and highly valuable resource and I simply cannot afford to spend it here when the returns just aren’t coming.


Survey

To see how invested you are in the Andrew’s Trains concept I’ve created a quick survey (available here https://survey.fm/E327EDAC92673EDA). If you’re interested in Andrew’s Trains take the survey and let me know what I need to do to make this information channel a better value to you.

The Andrew’s Trains channel won’t go away. But the level of work to post and update won’t be there while I move onto other things. Let me know what you like or don’t like through the survey.


Menu Changes

I’ve simplified the menu structure to make less upper level items, and deeper menu options underneath. Everything is still there, grouped logically under either:

  • Articles
  • Galleries, or
  • Layout Designs

If you are looking for something in any of these categories please choose one of the three and drill down to what you are looking for.


Resources

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

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Yeah. It’s been a while. Don’t worry, it’s me, not you.

So what’s been happening on the layout of late? Not a whole lot to be frank. We’re in the middle of packing prior to a move back to Melbourne (Vic not FLA). As a result I’ve been clearing, cleaning and packing, books, models, tools and so on, while still trying to fit in holiday time and work.

I’ve not been completely idle; just short of available time to write and blog and post stuff. I’ve yet to complete Part 3 – building trestles – but it’s close. For now I’d love to give you a quick update on where I’m up to: putting down cork and track laying.

As shown in previous posts the track outline, feed points, frog wiring and so on is drawn on the foam prior to lifting all of the track and prepping for cork to go down. A couple of weeks ago I got the mainline, and the spur into scrappy’s completed one day. Then sanded the entirety of the laid cork to get it smooth.

Here’s an overview of what that looks like to date:

Click on the image to go full size. The spur into Scrappy (lower right) had two separate heights of cork laid. The higher one for the mainline and the thinner one for the spur itself. They were then sanded (power) to blend them in so that the spur drops from the mainline to the spur height and on the end of the spur I sanded it right down to the foam height as I want to have the track disappear into the scenery here.

You’ll note that I’ve dug the trenches in the foam for the wire-in-tube switching for the turnouts. These will be operated by double pole – double throw switches from beyond the end of the baseboard. These will be wired from under the board and will switch frog polarity also. Some more images of this below:

I’ll sign off for now. I’m expecting an enforced period of recovery later in the week, where I hope to get more work done on the layout. I aim to be at running status before we move in late november so I’d better get my tail in gear.

Later gator

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Wanted to share some photos of the new layout build. I’ve been preparing, and where I needed to, buying wiring materials to complete the major wiring. More…


The layout – as built

Here are some more images of the layout build as it stands at the moment. You’ll note that the layout is freestanding, resting on trestles (hand built with simple woodworking tools in my garage – more on that later in another post).

I’ve included the final trackplan; it’s important for me to point out that you can plan forever on screen, but while ever you don’t take the plan to the baseboard I really cannot see what I have and what I need to do to make the layout visually appealing (well at least that’s how it is for me).


Track laying

When I begin to lay out the track I print out the track plan, and using a grid marked out on the plan and layout board, begin to match up the plan to the layout.

Then I mark up the top of the layout surface (in this case 2″ blue foam) using a pencil to mark the outside of the ties. This enables me to positively place the cork where I need it to be once the track is removed, drill holes for feeds and frogs, and although not shown in these photos mark out the sub-terrain ‘rod in tube’ locations from the tie bar to the front fascia of the layout.

These markings allow me to dig out the foam before installing the cork, drill the holes in the fascia and install the tubes in place using hot glue. There’ll be a post on that too in the not too distant future for those that may not know about this switch operating method.

 


Wrap up

That’s it for this post.

I’m finding that time to write posts is really short at the moment – work is an all consuming animal as we live 120 Km from where I work – so I’m adding 4 travel hours a day to what is an already 9-10 hour day. Looking forward to moving back into Melbourne later in the year which will give me a lot of time back in my life.

I have three weeks of holiday coming up in 1 week batches over the next 6 weeks – looking forward to that and to getting more photos and posts out to you all.

Next week I’ll be working broken shifts and will be working on posts covering these topics:

  1. Layout Build Part 3 post on building Trestles,
  2. Track laying,
  3. Switching infrastructure (rod in tube), and
  4. Wiring.

I hope that you’ll ask any questions that you have either here through the comments, or on the facebook page.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the

Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

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

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.

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: December 31 2015

I’ve added some photos to the Galleries section at last.

From the Main menu choose:

All have recent photos uploaded from earlier this month. There’ll be more coming in 2016 as I find and update my content of both trains, trams and modelling as I go through all the old HVL site data.

Updating Athearn Blue Box Railbox XAF 10 cars

 Part 1 – No plan survives first contact with the enemyThe basic blue box car

It has been some time since I’ve had the funds or the time really to do much of anything in the modelling realm.

I’ve simply not had the funds to bring a lot of the work I’ve had underway forward to completion. Thanks to the Taxman and a payout due to being laid off, I’ve been able to order some extra parts to complete most of my Railbox cars.

The most important of all the parts has been a set of Microscale decals.

I ordered these from Microscale in the US and very quickly in the post I received 3 packets of Microscale (87-1291) HO scale RBOX & ABOX decals. Microscale’s service was fast and excellent after ordering directly from their website. They decal two cars of each type and come with all the car data you need for the cars.

RBOX_Microscale_Decals

I have a lot of these cars to re-work; at last count I believe about there were 10 in total. I have enough to cover 6 cars for now. With my layout that I’m building (currently set in 1978) there’s latitude for the Hunter Valley to have bought some similar per diem boxcars. These cars I’ll complete last as I have to produce or manufacture my own decals for them.

Updating the Athearn Blue Box model

The Athearn model is, except for the roof pattern used, correct for the XAF10 series cars. The kit does not have the detail that modern-day kits come with as standard, but they were only $7.50 when I bought them and even after the upgrade process will top out in real dollar terms at less than I can buy the newer models for now. To keep the costs down I’m making most of the add-on parts. To be fair I love scratch building. It has always been my favourite part of the hobby.

Let me say this before the rivet counters jump in: I know that the roof panels on these cars are wrong, I can live with that. At the height above the floor the new layout will be, they really won’t be all that obvious,even if they may be easy to see.

When money is tight these simple upgrades make all the difference. What other issues remain I can live with. There are some issues though that I just cannot live with. In order of descending importance they are:

  • Trucks – I replace these on all of my Blue-Box cars. In this case they’ll be the 70 ton roller bearing trucks (fully equalised) by Kadee. I love these trucks, and with proper weighting they run like a dream floating along and bending to the poor track of the HVL (we are a ribbon in the weeds kind of Shortline you know). At around A$15.00 per pair they are not cheap, but they work so well I’ll eventually fit them on my entire fleet as I can afford to.
  • The body side the grab irons just irk the hell out of me; moulded onto the body side and just begging to be milled and replaced with brass wire – the image below shows the experimental car with these.modifications. While the grab-irons on this model look over sized I am certain that once they’re painted they’ll stand out a lot less. If they don’t then I’ve since sourced some really fine brass, and if they aren’t fine enough I can always get some fine copper wire, tin it and then fit them for prototypical accuracy

Modified_Bluebox_Boxcar

  • The stirrups on the car ends are OK, but I can do better using brass wire, brass strip or as shown in the image above good old-fashioned staples (which have proven to look great but will need to be drilled, glued and then have NBW castings glued through them and into the body to stay on – every one of them has been knocked off  – even with careful handling and using the best super glue)
  • Updated Kadee knuckle couplers (I prefer the #58 which have a much finer head casting). From these I’ll  be removing the magnetic glad hand as I do all of my uncoupling with a skewer, and because I’ll be adding air hoses and glad hands (these magnetic units which look really great as you can see in the YouTube video below. They are now available from P.W.R.S. at: http://www.pacific-western-rail.com)

Remember how I said no plan survives first contact?

If I were a purist, or a glutton for punishment, I could rework the car ends. There is much that could be done by milling the ends and cleaning everything up and starting again. I just can’t be bothered. The ends are good enough, and because they’ll be in between other cars, and generally not focused on I’m not going to worry.

The coupler box used on the model is wider that the real one used on the real car, but again, this is between the cars during normal operation and really, I just don’t think it matters. I’ll live with it.

In part 2 I’ll provide a historical context to the build, and then in part 3 I’ll move on to reworking the basic car into something better for your railroad, and mine.