Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A short update.

Not much to report, 821 is still up on blocks in the workshop (the workbench), then 800 decided to have an episode, so a quick trip to the Go-Box combined with some harsh reeducation and all is well.

One thing I did do is have a fidgit with the smartphone, I shot some video and then to proceeded to phaff about with an editing app to deliver this rather slick/sloppy clip, so sit back and waste about ninety seconds of your life.

From under the wires, behind the smartphone all going well.

Regards Glenn

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Rolling along

I cannot believe it's nearly four and half years ago that the empire expanded to five W class trams*, yet to have all in service at once has not yet really been achieved.

The family portrait from then.

A lot of decoders and exhibitions have trundled by, along with the extension to the running lines and an inclusion of a depot. After a summer break that did not engage the usual serious intervention*, the consideration once again looks to rollingstock.

The static W5 812 was roughly fitted with a rolling DC chassis at the time but was left like a wallflower on the shelf as the other W's were retro fitted with DCC and lights. This W5 812 was earmarked to be re-imagined as W5 795, but with a little research W5 821 was the only canvas two door W5 painted in the then new corporate green and gold of the metropolitan transit authority, this now saves me a paint job. It was also unsuccessfully fitted with trolley retrievers to the apron, another little detail to differentiate it from the rest. here is my work in progress.

Work in progress

The chassis (Bachmann Mech) with the NCE 13SRJ decoder fitted under the drop center.

W5 821 going for a trundle down Collins St in the City .

The decoder was appropriated from my SW6 870 (since fitted with Blu-rail chip) which also runs the retro fitted Bachmann mechanism that 821 operates.

As with most things, the more you adapt things, the more you learn to simplify the process. The time to prepare the LED sub assemblies with the correct wire colour, planning where to run the fibre optics for the marker lights and developing a simple method of connecting the lighting options to the decoder, all make it enjoyable.

LEDs at the ready.

Plug and play.
(Reworked 8 pin IC socket)

This foray into rollingstock is due to the fact that I believe that I have finished* the layout, as the only outstanding work required was to clad the last bay of the depot roof with corrugated iron, this has now been completed.

The depot is complete.

"We need a bigger shed"

From under the wires with the smell of hot solder.


*As if a layout is ever finished!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Something different.

How does one make a layout a little different and offer some other entertainment. A narrative requires conflict in an effort to define a hero or a villain, enter tank warfare.

These were obtained in the Christmas Day draft that is Kris Kringle at the outlaws.

One of German decent the other somewhat soviet.

While Melbourne avoided direct contact with the enemy during WW2 other than the odd surveillance aircraft sporting bright red dots as an insignia, that what followed with the associated level of domestic anti aircraft fireworks. this city managed to continue on as a hub for munitions and logistics during the great conflict.    

The latest interaction features two small remote control battle tanks of indeterminable scale. but they do offer another dimension of theatre.

These little pieces of conflict are operated on the common remote frequencies of 27Mhz and 40Mhz, their only downfall is that they tend to run at full speed, regardless of straight line speed or turning and under certain circumstances prototypically throw their tank treads thus rendering them disabled.  I may have to 'adjust' their enthusiasm.

These micro examples of warfare use the concept of infra red signals to impact the other, after a four "hits" the receiver is disabled. The entertaining part is that the delivering tank 'recoils' on firing while the victim 'twitches' on  impact.

Waiting its turn at the gates.

The visitors are taking advantage of Oktoberfest at the racecourse.

The comrades are waiting in the siding at the Ammo factory.

"Sorry sir, but our insurance does not cover damage due to international and/or domestic insurrection or conflict."

A foot note:
' on July 14, 1943, tramcar No. X1 459 possibly made tramway history-- it collided with an army tank! It was outbound on the Russell St route '*
This happened while crossing Geelong Rd along Barkly St, outside the Plough Hotel,and..then...clout!.'

*Electric Traction, Footscray memories, Vol XVII, July, 1962.

Here is my take, sister tram X1 460 has had a run in with the interloper at Victoria St & Albert Rd.

(There will be some paperwork for this....)

There is nothing a spot of weathering cannot do to improve these.
Always learning under the wires and have a happy, safe and enjoyable new year.

Regards Glenn

Friday, 9 December 2016

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

Another year rolls around and before you know, it's Christmas. Therefore as I have done in years past,
here is this years Christmas card from Victoria Street.

As always I wish all the blog followers the best for the season, the usual rules around safety, the fact the one cannot consume their weight in food and beverages and not suffer the consequences and in the end it's all about quality time with family that involves bringing joy to the little ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

From under the tinsel and the wires.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

After the epic sports hiatus.

"With the breaking of the long suffering premiership drought together with the time honoured spring racing carnival on top of the bride absolutely smashing her post graduate studies, services have resumed along Victoria Street."

Other than the odd shuffle of services along Victoria Street, I did make some headway into a drawn out project, my interpretation of MMTB freight 19.

On a mail run to Victoria Street 

The prototype 
(Photo Trams Downunder)

The prototype freight 19 started off as a single truck saloon tram, built by Brill and assembled in Australia, originally plied its trade for the then NMETL (North Melbourne Electric Tramway & Light Company). 

These trams ran services through the inner north west of Melbourne, which connected with the then cable (city) tram at Flemington Bridge to the then outer suburbs of Essendon and Ascot Vale. 

After the consolidation of all municipal tramways under the banner of the MMTB, these little trams found themselves operating on short cross suburban routes until they were retired into freight duties.

These freight duties involved the distribution of departmental mail and supplies from Preston Workshops/stores to outlying tram depots, as trams they could access deep into the sheds over pits to deposit such items as brake blocks plus other bits and pieces. 

This tram was kitbashed from the readily available Tyco/Mantua trolley, with the combination of a few strokes from some needle files, holes drilled for headlamps plus some panels from  20 thou styrene, a dash of filler with a splash of paint together with some decals, and Bob's your uncle. 

There are a few details to add, such as lifeguards,
 a decoder plus some weathering.

MMTB U 205
another reworked Tyco/Mantua trolley

the pair at the Ammo Factory

One basic model, many possibilities. 
L-R, SECV Ballarat 28, MMTB U 205
& the stock model.
Pushing freight from under the wires.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Living in a parallel universe

As one of those that models a small scale tramway, one tends to heavily invoke the modellers licence; but what if your slightly obscure view of your small empire became reality?


X1 460 (an old Footscray Tram) leads SW6 964
across the crossover heading off to the football
Victoria Street is my little microcosm of the tramways that run in the western suburbs of Melbourne, while not true to any particular part that exists due to the ever dynamic streetscape that is an inner urban environment.

I have kitbashed various buildings with verandas together with rather local signage to offer an experience of familiarity.  A combination of local and nostalgia breathes life to Victoria Street. 

This weekend stuff did happen, my little empire may have cross pollinated life as we know it, because I for my own amusement had populated the local streetscape with small copies of the 1954 premiership banner poster from the long forgone Melbourne Herald newspaper celebrating the Footscray Bulldogs grand final victory. 

The Milk Bar

The Servo

The Pub

The Signal Box at the gates.

Football (Australian rules) is much a part of Melbourne as its trams, the original suburban football grounds were/ are served by nearby tram routes, some even had spur lines or loops built nearby to handle the traffic on game day (every game then started at 2pm and finished about a quarter to five).

The club I follow are now called the Western Bulldogs, formally Footscray. The club has somewhat a tumultuous history featuring the combination of poor luck, decisions and financial management. It has survived through all these dramas, but has never been successful on the field, it has always been every one else's second favourite club. 

This weekend I got to see my beloved Western (Footscray) Bulldogs play off in the AFL grand final, their first opportunity in fifty five years, then finally win their second premiership in sixty two years. I also managed to obtain a ticket to 'the big dance'. 
time for an update

As you may guess, the entire inner western suburbs of Melbourne and beyond are at this stage painting and or decorating this region red, white and blue.

Somewhat a shade dusty under the wires in a red, white and blue neighbourhood.  


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

There is always something on the go.

Since the exhibition, the layout sat fallow in the study for over a month, still as the three disjointed modules that were placed there on the Sunday evening after the exhibition.  This is mainly due to the bride entering the final furlong of her post graduate studies, which in turn places me in the chief role of kid wrangler (3), until Melbourne Cup week (early November). 

With the modules not connected, this allowed some housekeeping to be performed between organising food relief (dinner) and emergency sessions of the UN Security Council (peacekeeping).
- some street lights at the junction were finally connected. 
- an external socket and switch installed to the front end of railway station module.
- an introduction into the realm of Bluetooth technology. 

Lights are on.

The intersection of Victoria St and Albert Rd is now illuminated by street light which improves operational safety for tram services heading to and from the Ammo Factory of a night time.

The Junction at night

A lonely wait at the Ammo Factory

The Glenno Go-Box*.

The only place that I could set up the rolling road was the open ballasted track on the Ammo Factory Module, but now I have installed the trolley wire, I no longer have the height under the wire to use it there.

Enter the solution to the problem.... 

The Glenno Go-Box* by Glenno Innovations.

"Crafted from the finest left over commemorative port wine display box, The Glenno Go-Box* will last longer than the horrendous hangover from the original contents.
It's a rolling test track, it's a servicing cradle with storage all rolled into one, but wait! It's also portable, it can run DC, DCC and also has a battery option for when you are away from the work bench.

A rolling road for DCC programming....

A servicing cradle.....
 The Glenno Go-Box* is supplied with two directional 1/4" mono jacks, with 1/4" plug on each, a battery pack, a set of powered wheel cleaning tools and a fly lead that connects to your layout, regardless if it's DC of DCC.

Battery option....
The Glenno Go-Box* is great for running in new rollingstock and/or programming DCC, as it takes up little space, ideal for those with small or micro layouts.

  Small and compact with storage....

In service mode, it stores and sorts all your service equipment in one convenient compact location.

The Glenno Go-Box*"

In reality, I have cobbled together an old grog box with a bit of flexi track glued to the outside base, wired to a pair of mono jacks that can fed by a battery pack or a fly lead from the layout, that can also power a set of Peco wheel cleaning tools, all of which can be kept inside with the rolling road under a sliding lid fashioned from an old cutting mat (as the perspex lid was re purposed for switch panels).  I have installed felt pads on one side and blocks of rubber on the other so to keep the rails side clear of the bench when in service mode.

Note; this concept is not trademarked* or patented, so feel free to plagiarise this idea for the benefit of the entire model railway community.

A switch and a 1/4" mono jack has been installed on the railway station module so to feed the Glenno Go-box, the switch throws the power from the supply(DC or DCC) to either the track or the output so not to reprogram the rest of the fleet sitting on the rails, the lead was purchased from a music shop, as used by rock guitarists for effect pedals.

The feed from the layout.

Bluerail Bluetooth Decoder.

From cutting notches to cutting edge. I have recently installed a Bluerail Bluetooth unit into
one of my fleet, SW6 870 a Cooee collectable static model retro fitted with the mechanism from a Bachmann Brill trolley.

Direct control via Bluetooth and the free app.

Not much real estate left under the drop centre.

This adaptable chip plugs directly into a 9 pin decoder socket, while larger than regular and cheaper DCC decoders, this allows myself to use a smart phone directly to control this tram without having to fire up the laptop, run JMRI, make sure the wifi is up and the USB interface is plugged in if I wish to trundle a quick service from one end to the other, without either having to punch in the car number into the tethered Powercab, all I have to do is power up the rails with either DC or DCC, open up the app and we are off.

The size comparison.

All the adjustments are made from the smartphone, also it plays sounds out of the smartphone, as it only set up with diesel and steam loco sounds at the moment, I have muted the horn, engine noise and toned down the coupler clank to substitute for the linebreaker kicking in. Break squeal and release along with the bell provide enough entertainment for me at this stage.

Motor control is smooth, but it will not tolerate any slight disruption to power supply and will shut down, it is probably less tolerant than DCC, but this is all a learning curve at the moment. The Bluerail unit also has four light outputs that can be adjusted from the smartphone.

I have bought another one which I may adapt into an adhoc Bluetooth DC controller or use as a spare if I let out the magic smoke!

So there it is, a bumper issue, and as with all road trips there were some casualties.

W5 800 looking worse for wear, minus a route number box and a lifeguard
residing at the Ammo Factory siding waiting for repairs.

Staring down into the football finals (Go Bulldogs!), then rolling straight into the spring racing carnival from under the wires.