Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Saturday 25 April 2015

Works at the Junction and the Depot.

Since the Easter break, there has been some more work done to the layout, the paving of the 'junction' and the depot is now completed with tarmac and road markings.

W5 800 cars out from the depot, while SW6 870
observes the compulsory stop at the facing points of the 'junction'.
870 picks a break in traffic to pull out from the Ammo Factory,
while 800 is edging across the junction.
As you can see in the above photos, neither the concrete of the tram tracks, or the tarmac and road markings are dead flat or ruler straight, as per prototype. The tarmac is 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, cut and trimmed to size, the edges are dressed with a grey felt tipped pen, patches of 'tarmac' are glued to the 'concrete' of the tram tracks for pot hole/broken rail repairs.
The road markings/clearance lines are strips of office paper cut to a width of just over 1mm, then glued with PVA directly to the road surface.
The Depot roads received a similar treatment of tarmac, clearance lines and fouling marks.
Rollingstock lined up at the Depot.
The fouling marks are between the rails on the individual roads, no tram is to proceed past, or be berthed over them when another tram is in the area, so not to have a collision, the clearance lines are so other vehicles are aware of the potential overhang of the rollingstock. The white dusty marks on the tarmac are where the drivers have tested their sanders before entering service.
The fouling marks and clearance lines at work.

Looking out from road 2 at the Depot
along Victoria Street.
This weekend marks the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign, and in turn the observance of Anzac Day,(Australia's memorial/remembrance day).  I did a post a few years ago about this and its significance.
This year I assembled a few more people around the cenotaph at the Victoria St and Epsom Rd end of the layout.
'Lest We Forget'

 From under the wires,

Tuesday 7 April 2015

There's more than one way to skin a rabbit. (Easter)

The Easter weekend, so much to do, so little time. As with everyone else at this time of year, there is a requirement to catch up with friends and family.

Victoria Street gets a visit from the Easter guinea pig.

It started on Good Friday, drive east across town with the bride and kids to visit friends, while doing this, gladly chip in a few coins for the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal at every intersection we stop at, then south to the outlaws to drop the kids off. Then back home so the bride can do her graduate diploma assignment, with a sly trip to the local pub for a counter meal.

Easter Saturday, I wake early to a quiet house, prepare myself for a trip to the Hobson's Bay Exhibition, the bride surfaces, a quick dash down the road for real coffee and croissants, then the bride settles down for study as I head off to the exhibition.

At the Union Hall at La Trobe University, I roll up just before opening, a quick chat with a bloke from work, then it's show time. With the renovations going on at the university, the exhibition is spread across three different levels of the building, with some layouts and traders hidden in rooms the size of broom cupboards, as there was not any published floor plan of the show, it's was somewhat reminiscent of a  M C Escher's drawing of forever climbing stairs.

Given the space constraints, there were some great layouts from far a field as Adelaide and Canberra, all being of Australian prototype. This time the wallet relented and I obtained some infrastructure.

- a foam servicing cradle,
 as I am fed up of knocking off the route number boxes
 off my W's every time they need a look over.
W5 800 having a lounge on the cradle.
Bachmann Mech with NCE D13SRJ decoder.

- a rerailer, for feeding rolling stock on/off the layout.
The rerailer in rest mode acting as a buffer at the
end of road three at the depot.
- and some tram related books.

On returning home, I was inspired to give some of my fleet the once over in the new cradle and shuffle them from the racecourse to the Ammo factory and back, again and again, much to the annoyance of the bride who at the time was having writers block down stairs.  After a directive to cease and desist, I thought it would be wise to suspend services, thus weather and detail the track at the Ammo factory.

With some die cut autumn leaves, water colour paints and a flock covered foam rabbit, details were added to the module. The foam rabbit (AKA future landfill) is one of those trendy items that is covered in a faux grass like flocking, unfortunately the ears were broken off, reattached, then broken off again. Now the rabbit resembles a guinea pig. The skin has been removed from the ears and clumps of weeds now flourish along the open ballasted tracks of the module, with more foliage along the rarely used siding.
The ears of the Easter guinea pig.
The Ammo factory, now featuring bunny fluff.
W5 800, doing some 'daisy cutting' on the siding.
Weeds with a dash of autumn leaves.
Now for the fence and the overhead.
Finally the bride had enough, so back to the outlaws late on the Saturday night, for the Sunday Easter egg hunt.

On the layout front, Sunday was a write off, and Monday morning was spent at a nephew's birthday party. Eventaully we make it back home, Monday afternoon, sans bride, who stayed the night her parents to finish off her assignment minus interrupting kids, myself as 'Mr. Mum' was kept from layout duties.

So much for a holiday long weekend.

From under the thumb,

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Hooray! we are back on track.

Now that the shelving of personal injury project in the front room has been completed to the satisfaction of the domestic authorities, I can get back into working on Victoria Street.

Back running services.

The  Ammo Factory module is taking a rest at the moment while I tackle the construction of the road surface of the junction and the Depot.

My method of paving tram tracks involves the use of a lot of dense corrugated cardboard and several cereal boxes. I have tried various forms of plaster/filler in the past, but find the process extremely messy and it usually plays havoc with the electrical side of things with ordinary running results.

After pinning and glueing the bog standard code 100 track to the board, I build up the surrounding road surface with a couple of layers of dense corrugated cardboard (usually sourced from boxes of new small appliances, beer cartons while plentiful , are too corse and spongy for the task).  This is glued into place with PVA glue, the aim is to build to just under the rail head height.

In between the rails, strips of cereal boxes cut into 10mm wide strips, which are glued directly to the sleepers/ties. These strips are cut to smaller lengths (20-25mm) for the curves, which are glued in a brickwork like fashion, depending on the card three to four laminations are required to bring it up the under the rail head height.

From little things, big things grow.
The start of the road base.

The road surface for the tram tracks is made up of strips of cereal boxes that are 80mm wide, which are glued at right angles to the rails,  I draw a pencil line along the strip of card that is placed across the rails and with my fore finger I press down and run it along the rails underneath so the score the card with a mark that can be used as a cut line. The pencil line is a reminder of where you intend to glue the strip.

The first twenty foot wide slab being cast.

I score, mark, cut then glue each part of the strip as I work across the tracks, in between the rails the aim is to have a sample that is 14mm wide, so to allow for the flange ways. I like using PVA glue, because it allows the panel of strip to be 'floated' into position.

Scoring the strip parallel.
Checking for size.
Steady as she goes.
As I have not mastered the art of cutting a smooth curve with scissors, (most of my efforts look like the edge of a fifty cent piece), I knock the 'corners' off with some 240 grit wet/dry.
As with anything track related, testing while installing is a must, just in case one little install results the rollingstock going off for a wander. Here is a small gallery of the 'works in progress'.
Albert Rd and Victoria St
(Ammo Factory Junction)
waiting for the 'tarmac', 400 grit wet/dry sand paper
with office paper line markings.
The Depot, just waiting for the between the rails fit out.
While this may not be everyones cup of tea, the other reason I prefer this method, is that if there is any drama with points, track or wiring, I can apply a few drops of water, soften the PVA, then remove the affected part without resorting to a hammer and chisel.
This Easter Weekend marks the Hobsons Bay Model Railway Club Exhibition, this one exclusively exhibits layouts which are of Australian prototype, so no Thomas, British, or US, just Australian. Always a good exhibition to enjoy.
From amongst the road works at this end of the layout.