Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Monday, 13 March 2017

I'm too easily distracted.

I'm currently on a spot of annual leave from work, so along with the responsibilities of the school run, I have been reliably informed of tasks around the house the require attention, this tends to stifle creativity on and around Victoria Street.

The shell of 821 still resides on blocks at the moment with the chassis hiding in the in the back of the shed, as there is no real hurry to introduce another W class to the roster.

However I have phaffed about with other (non Melbourne) distractions.


Like fitting this powered bogie from a Bachmann San Francisco cable car to this little open platform tram. (Still DC at the moment)

This one of the many static models courtesy of the Atlas release that have inundated the European market and are eagerly motorised by the model tramway community.



We need a bigger tram

Another side project is this obscure steeple cab shunter which was made by Lima. While this does not have any relevance in MMTB operations in history, this will become a per way loco that will be part of the tram depot/museum that is Westside.




A drop in ride height along with new paint, decals and some trolley poles.

A while ago I obtained two Bluerail decoders that operate on the Bluetooth frequency from an app on your smartphone or tablet. One was installed in SW6 870 and after a few teething issues (dirty wheels/track) operates quite well, the spare unit has been fitted into a translucent zippy box with a socket and four LEDs as an ad hock DC controller.


Trying to make it look tidy.



Also it plugs into the 'standard' D.C. Controller socket on Victoria Street.



The red led shows power in, the green led highlights track power going out, and the lower blue LEDs indicate direction. Both the red and green LEDs are fed by rectifying diodes regardless of the power or the polarity. The translucent lid allows the status green led on the Bluerail board to be observed.



This now allows me to operate wirelessly all my DC rollingstock* that I haven't or won't convert to DCC. 

* only one at a time!

Looking and doing everything else under the wires except finishing off 821.

Regards Glenn.

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.

Glenn.

*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.
Glenn

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.
Glenn

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.  

Glenn

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