Tag Archives: work

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 end of a work era

Since 1982 I have worked in the Telecommunications and Information Technology industry. I’ve worked as a technician, technical officer, sales representative, Helpdesk staffer, IT Manager and for the last 10 years as a specialist and consultant service delivery manager. That all comes to a close today. I move on to a new career in the public transit industry as a tram driver. In some ways I’m very sad to leave behind the people and the skills I’ve learned and nurtured for the greatest part of my working life.

The IT life is not all that glorious though. I wont miss the constant stress and never-ending drive needed to keep up and get ahead of the game. The incredibly thankless tasks that you get to do all day, and often part of the night. Not for IT staff is overtime, shift penalties, and Rostered Days off. Just that never-ending all hands to the pump work ethic, and hopefully no heart attack.

Today is a point from which to look forward, not backward. Thus begins the next 15 years of my work life. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a boy after I rode the footplate of a steam locomotive, my Uncle Col Casbolt in charge, in Sydney’s western suburbs.

NSW 32 Class Locomotive 3325 has just arrived at Richmond (27 January 1968) –
Image courtesy of ARHS NSW – click image for page

My uncle had been a suburban train driver in the Sydney suburban network for a while then. He made the move from steam to the Sparks (EMUs as shown below) not long after this ride in the southern hemisphere’s spring of 1968 as best I can recall. (I was only 4, almost 5, at the time and hadn’t started school yet!)

NSW ‘Red Rattler’ sets F1 and W3 sit quietly in the old sheds at Redfern (image courtesy of Flying_Donkey@Flickr)

While this week has been a time of a lot of last moments, from this Friday forward I begin a life of firsts for the first time in a long time.

A Yarra Trams E Class Tram # 6015 on the Route 96 @ St Kilda – one of the routes I hope to be driving in 2017-18

I’m looking forward to the hard work and study required to be a fully competent tram driver on our network. And looking forward to becoming a part of the fabric of the city’s public transit network.

W8 Class No. 1010 (built 1955) and rebuilt in 2015-16 at Bendigo Tramway Museum on the City Circle route

I am sure you’ve noticed the volume of posts has dropped away over the last 4 months,  fear not. I’ve not been publishing much yet have been busy working away on a number of smaller projects and layout designs and expect to start building a small switching layout for my son in August. So I hope you can join me in the journey for that project.

While I’ll be working odd hours, studying hard and hoping to pass all of my written and driving exams with flying colours, I do expect to have a little more time to post on the HVL. And of course I expect to have a lot more pictures of trams, with views that I’ve never been able to get before. Looking forward to sharing. Thanks for reading a long and sharing the journey.

Andrew

What I’ve been up to this week

It’s the middle of the month already, and I’ve been busy. Since October 2015 I’ve been a member of the Ballarat Tramway Museum here in town. Over the last few months I’ve worked to provide help (by training I’m a Telecoms and IT guy) and doing whatever else comes up and needs doing. In December I began training to become a Tram conductor. Having finished my training I became an Assistant Conductor, but could not work alone. I needed to pass a Railway Category 3 medical to step up from Assistant conductor to full conductor. This is the same medical needed to work on any railway or tramway here in Australia; essentially the medical for everything not a driver. Today I passed that medical, which means that as of this weekend I can go out with a driver as a fully fledged tramway conductor for the museum. Hooray for me – one item struck off my bucket list. Later this year or early next year I’ll be looking to begin training to become a tram driver.

This week I’ve done other things for the museum (which has given me much enjoyment). With upcoming beautification work we needed to upgrade the original 1972 trackwork on the museum roads. So this week two and three roads (the ones closest to the right hand side (if looking at the museum) had work done to lift rails, replace sleepers, relay trackand then back fill for safety. While a lot of it was done with the help of equipment, there’s only so much that a machine can do before you need to have a body. I was gladly one of those bodies.

I was only able to help out on Tuesday and Wednesday but boy did I learn a lot about laying track. This all thanks to our blokes and the track crew from Maldon (Victorian Goldfields Railway) for their track laying ability. Here’s a visual update of what happened on our full size layout, instead of the model, this week.

April 12

April 13