Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Friday, 15 March 2019

Easing out of the public spotlight.

I have recently had an invitation to exhibit Victoria Street early in the second half of the year, while it's nice to be invited, and I have seriously contemplated this invitation for a some time, but unfortunately I don't believe I can fulfill this obligation to my satisfaction, so therefore I'm declining. 

Compared to a few years ago, life, work and family now takes up a fair bit of my free time. The key to any exhibition is preparation, the cleaning, repairing, and fine tuning that is required to be done to hopefully enable a good outcome, along with the finding and training of crew mates together with the logistics of transport tend to thieve time from family duties. 

Last one to run in from the racecourse.

While the other final car in comes in from the 
Ammunition Factory

I also work shifts that involve working weekends, while I have the ability to trade away weekend work due to their increased penalty rates. At this stage of my life would rather enjoy my rostered weekends off engaging in family and social activities than be tied up in an exhibition. 

While preparations are one thing, the commissioning and operations along with well intended interactions with the public, as well as the wear and tear to the layout from travel and tactile punters, in the end can turn the whole epic weekend into a chore. 

I have met some wonderful people during exhibitions along with followers of the blog, but I find after the hard graft of an exhibition weekend, it results in me being more fatigued than 'actual' work. 

Then after closing and two days of operations, I have been known to lay up the layout for a month to six weeks in pieces due to being absolutely exhausted and sick of the sight of it, until I feel the need to 'putter about' again. 

Recently I had a lengthy discussion with a like minded colleague about the whole exhibition concept and about all of the involvement, we concluded it's all good if you are part of a larger group that can share roles and responsibilities over the course of the weekend, but as a stand alone independent exhibitor, you can sometimes feel like that you're on your own.

I'm at that stage in my life where I would now prefer to wander around the site for a few hours, touch base with some people, part with some cash, then enjoy my purchases at home. 

Victoria Street was never intended to be an exhibition layout. It started as a modular test track, it expanded, it had DCC installed, it expanded again, but in the end it's my little interpretation of Melbourne tramways   

I am retiring this 'old girl' from actual public consumption, but I will continue to share 'her' online.

I am always thinking and doodling of potential exhibition layouts, but that maybe later when time allows. 

For those who attended previously and were inspired, then offered continued interest and support. 

I thank you. 

Yours faithfully from under the wires. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

That time of the year again, and a milestone

The last twelve months have been somewhat tumultuous to say the least, with the relocation of the family and the layout. Yet here we are staring down another Christmas, so as per usual, here is this years Christmas card.

There is also another celebration with Victoria Street, this one in cricket parlance, one would raise their helmet and bat towards the sheds to honour the achievement. Here, I just sampled a beer and pointed to the (somewhat surprised) bride that there must be a fair few similar like minded modellers who actually look at the blog. 

Yes, there have been an odd 100,000 plus 'fares collected' on Victoria street. 

On this humble occasion, I again thank all of those who read the blog and encourage those others to post all about their trials and tribulations of their layout, along with their stories and the 'fun' of modelling.

"Little did Edna know that she was the surprise lucky punter that was the 100K fare on Victoria Street, yet she still insisted to pay her fare with five cent pieces."

All the best for the season with the usual warnings about excess and remember it's all about creating great memories for the kids. 

Merry Christmas from under a somewhat busy set of cross suburban wires. 


Monday, 12 November 2018

Now we have six

Not a lot has being going on of late, Spring has sprung in Melbourne and along with it comes a fair crack of garden work, especially now that I have this expansive green stuff called lawn that needs a regular hair cut so I don't lose the family Jack Russell amongst it.

Along with all this, the covered outdoor family area received a lick of paint, also I installed a watering system for the overhead plants that now reside in this space. The season also coincided with the AFL Grand Final, (Collingwood, the bride's team, lost to West Coast) that dovetailed into the spring racing carnival and the Melbourne Cup, which we enjoyed watching with family and friends in our newly reworked outdoor arena.

This was the long waited 'housewarming' that was needed since relocating in late February.

The N scale project has languished in the shed, but I did manage to chip my last W Class tram, this now makes it number six on the roster at Westside Depot, introducing SW6 964 MkII, my first 964 has been renumbered 907 with DCC but will be physically renumbered shortly.

Trams from Westside Depot
L-R 812, 821, 800, 907, 964 & 870

This was the tram I purchased just before the move, now it can play with its mates on the layout.

From a crowded Victoria Street under the wires,

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Sharing of knowledge and other distractions

Now that I have a bit of real estate to play with, and with the layout in the spare room, combined with all sorts of fun I get up to in the shed. I believe now that I may have it good. 

Now for some thing different..........(drum roll..........cymbal crash!!!)

Da Da Daah.....

A colleague of mine has shown interest in having something to run his reasonably contemporary collection of N scale British rollingstock on, but has little to no idea of how to go about it. 

He questioned me on how one goes through the process, the first thing I informed him of, is "that it is his railway, therefore his rules". 

The design brief consists of an oval of twin tracks with two crossovers, an elongated external branch line with passing loop, plus a few sidings all to fit on a 1400mm x 900mm baseboard that can be accommodated in the back of a smallish hatchback. 

After a recon out to the car park to measure up, along a quick sketch of a baseboard frame plan, then printing off several Peco point templates combined with a quick trip to the local big box hardware store for some timber. The concept has been conceived. 

This layout will be DCC with an option to run the odd and only one loco/consist on DC with a flick of a switch. DCC will be provided by the NCE Powercab. 

After the frame of the baseboard was completed and the roughing out of the DCC bus had been installed.  Then there was a pleasant Sunday spent in the shed laying track, sampling some party pies and beverages, listening to old school music along with the VFL grand final on the tv in the corner. Thanks for supervising Brendan

The track work/damage in the shed.

On the Monday, I tidied up some cv's and sorted out some addresses.

Then Glenno Go-Box now features a N scale programming track. 

But it's not all squinting with N scale, I did manage to 'massage' the bend module back into Victoria Street, as I believed that having the racecourse terminus straight after the gates looked somewhat pointless, as any sensible tramway operator would have terminated short of the railway and let the punters walk across the tracks. After this recent foray into N scale, Victoria Street now looks massive!

Order has been restored. 

I have also organised a pull out shelf for the decoder programming laptop and the Powercab that slides neatly into the cabinet under the gates module, thus improving my standing with the domestic authorities. win/win.

Now you see it.

Now you don't. 

Then on top of that I now believe that I have completed my collection of the Victorian Railways motive power that was on offer from Hornby era of the 1960-70's. Mass market modelling at its finest for us in the antipodes. This only happened because Victoria Street was in storage and I had nothing to do. 

You can almost smell the ozone from these  'old school' user serviceable models. 

From the eclectic collection above and beside the slightly extended wires. 


Monday, 2 July 2018

Back on track.

"Under the cloak of darkness of an early Sunday morning, after a sly reconnaissance mission during a weekday, it was decided to power up the trolley wire and it was time to knock off some oxide of the rail head. As the poor locals of Victoria Street have had to tolerate bustitution for over twelve months.

The tram, SW6 964, out of service with 'special' on the headboard, gently coasted into Victoria St from Albert Rd, then gingerly back shunted into 3 road of Westside depot. Replacement buses transferred from Footscray were laid up on roads 1 & 2. 

The next trip was out to the racecourse, with somewhat a minor delay at the gates, as the railway signal man was caught out, for he and his colleagues haven't had to throw the switch for the overhead from the 1500V railway to the 600V tramway for over a year.

It was rather quiet at racecourse terminus, there was no one there. The replacement buses had somewhat diminished the reliability of the trams, even with the bus idling there, no one was interested.
As this was the only tram service out this far today, the crew had chance to inspect the operation of the bundy clock and the track phone, together with a few cigarettes and a discussion about yesterday's football results.  

The return trip was interrupted by a slow moving freight train coasting through the gates at regulation speed, finally it passed off into the serenity of an early Sunday morning. 

The station crossover was next, it was decided to zig-zag the tram through in both directions as part or this rolling inspection. With a side trip to the milk bar to load up with some cigarettes and the Sunday Observer or maybe the Sporting Globe. 

The main reason this tramway was built is the Ammunition (Ammo') Factory, the issue is that during the bus replacement the service didn't 'cut the mustard', it was infrequent, not large enough nor offered a direct route to the station, this was especially noted during shift changes, upon which hundreds of workers would pour through the gates.
Today it was all quiet, an opportunity to use the facilities and to traverse the main terminus and the slightly overgrown siding. 

Then it was back to the depot, by this time the buses had moved on, this allowed the tram to be berthed on the top of 1 road. An inspectors car has been sent out to collect the crew, as all appears well with the route so there will overtime for some tram drivers to do some depot transport trips and bring the trams back to Westside Depot."

Finally from under the relocated wires.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Resumption of services. As if!

Forgive me followers for it has been far too long between posts. 

There are many things to be said about relocation, you have a fair idea what to keep and what to discard, you also have a similar opinion about other stuff, and then you have to prove once again that you are not a hoarder. 

It is the eternal dispute of what needs to stay, and what has to go. 

At the moment, I feel like those certain blokes who attempted to impose their ideals across Western Europe. That is, if you take on more than one onerous task at one time, more than likely it's going to end in tears. 

The layout does reside indoors, while the workshop space is out the shed. 

I have relocated the layout, but!!!

It has seems that storage and time has been somewhat unkind to reliable running.  Also at the same time, the rollingstock has somehow suffered the same issue. 

I have cleaned the tracks, cleaned the wheels on rollingstock, and still, have encountered some serious issues with reliability. 

For some reason.....

The lights on the racecourse module will not work when connected to the rest of the layout, yet will work independently in test mode. 

The 'up' track from the racecourse terminus is as dead as a door nail, yet works again when tested independently.

Rollingstock, such as all of my W class have become so unreliable, that it seems all will have to be overhauled in regards to pick ups, lights and cv adjustments.  

I'm so despondent at the moment, I'm at the stage of completely dismantling and refurbishing the layout and the rollingstock in the newly created shed space so not to upset the domestic authorities. 

But enough of the negatives...

My first win is the display case that is mounted above the layout in the inside room. Made from repurposed Bestä cabinets that originally held our kids DVDs, a few doors and a few more shelves, this has turned out a winner. 

Behold the wonder....

An elegant dust free environment.

My Melbourne and regional Victorian collection.

 In the spare room shared with the brides sewing machines

Next win, 'The shed'/modelling space has come up a treat, with some of my family and colleagues commenting that I should have had this place about twenty years ago.

A place to tinker and think, and watch footy/races on the TV. 

Plus plenty of natural light.
To complete the trifecta, now with two play/work spaces, it has come to pass that I need to have another means of programming DCC rollingstock, enter the modifications to the 'Glenno Go-Box®', now featuring a NCE-PCP (Powercab control panel), this will now allow me a chance to tinker out in the shed with JMRI and gut rollingstock in attempt to make them run better. 

All fitted with a DPDT switch so I can feed the programming rails/rollers from either DC or DCC. 

This is the state of play so far, why is it that when one has moved from one place, there is now a need to make the new place resemble the previous place?

One of life's enduring mysteries. 

Back under the wires, from the other side of town. 


Sunday, 8 April 2018

A mutual understanding.

Yes it has been quite a while since the last post, we have moved into the bigger domicile and have progressed through most of our boxes of stuff. The kids have also settled in nicely. 

The 1960's tilt door garage was cleaned out, swept and dusted, while this was initially destined to become the new home for Victoria Street, the bride had another suggestion.........

Her idea is that the layout in its usual configuration could reside in the spare room the other side of our en-suite as just a running layout, while all the "untidy"(her words) works such as painting, modelling and soldering should take place in the shed, this inside space would significantly reduce the dust experienced in the shed and I can share the inside space with her sewing hobbies.  

While this offer is proving inviting, the reality is that the wall space allocated is long enough, the right hand side return that would feature the bend and racecourse modules would foul the doorway for the en-suite, and this will not do. 

So while these matters are in play, I'm in the process of re-configuring the modules into a cohesive narrative and a functional layout. 

The best scenario and easiest solution at the moment is to remove the bend module and have the racecourse module attach directly to the gates module as an 'old school' along the wall shelf layout. The bend module would reside in the cupboard for exhibitions or could be dragged outside for photography in sunlight. 

Another option is to position the bend module between the junction and railway station modules, this would require trams running out to Ammo factory to traverse the bend before shunting at the station cross over.  This would require the layout to have a return on the left hand wall of approximately four feet, with the rest of the layout along the allocated wall. I ran this configuration at the Sunshine model railway show in 2012, at that stage minus the junction and depot. This concept will need to be negotiated. 

Something like this. (Pre DCC)

And this, one huge retail strip. 

Hopefully to be under the wires soon.