Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Thursday 21 January 2016

January Shutdown Works 2016

"Service changes apply to Victoria Street trams from Monday, 11 January 2016 to Wednesday, 20 January 2016 due to network upgrade work at The Junction.
As part of the modernisation of Melbourne's tram network, The Tramways are installing signalling equipment and repairing and renewing tram tracks and overhead at The Junction.
  • Information about The Junction upgrade including expected impacts for motorists and local residents

Service changes for tram passengers 

  • Service changes to Racecourse
  • Service changes to The Ammo Factory
  • Getting around the work zone
WheelchairPram An accessibility bus is available at The Junction between 10am and 6pm to assist customers with mobility aids, prams or the elderly.
During the work, trams and replacement buses will operate to the normal frequency. However they may not arrive at the scheduled time. The Tramways suggests that you allow extra time for your journey."

As I have done for the last two years, I attempt a fair crack of work on the layout that I have been planning for the last few months.

This time, the projects completed are,

- The illumination and positioning of all structures left of the railway bridge.
- The installation of backboards to all of the newer modules.
- The installation of a road indicator board for the three way point of the depot.
- The installation of the signalling system for trams entering and leaving the depot.
- Repairs/modification to the overhead on the rest of the layout and under the railway bridge.
- The installation of a flickering light module for the backyard incinerator.

My previous experience in industrial maintenance gives myself the opportunity to plan and strategise the approach that I take on 'major projects', unless there is an urgent reason to do some maintenance/repair, all other wish list items can wait until the 'shutdown'. 

The illumination and positioning of all structures left of the railway bridge.
Departing the Ammo Factory

From inside the Depot.
The Victorian terraces.
Outside the Depot.
The pub and the tidy overhead under the bridge.
The Servo.
Victoria Street at night looking from the Ammo Factory.
The installation of backboards to all of the newer modules.
The Ammo Factory.
The Depot.
The Junction.
Trying to colour match your previous effort to your current effort, is near impossible for most blokes as we are usually colour deficient.  
The installation or a road indicator board for the three way point of the depot.
The tidy facia that hides that madness underneath.
 A quick video of the magic.
The madness...
The best way to describe this ensemble (mad woman's hat) is, that both coat hunger wires connects to both point throw bars and the limit switches by the use of junction connections and bent up paper clips, the limit switches feed into the output terminal strip (below left), upon which is fed into the input feed board (left of centre), which in turn feeds into the diode matrix board (upper left) which drives the digital display (left on the control nobs), all old school D.C. driven.
The installation of the signalling system for trams entering and leaving the depot.
A similar mechanical system as the Depot point,
combined with a DPDT switch for depot entry/exit.
With another rats nest diode matrix.
How it works......
A tram wishing to enter the Depot, throws the car in/out switch to in, sets the points to enter the Depot, therefore sets the signals against through running and exiting the Depot.(note the tiny red 'T' light signal)
The tram waits at the repeater stop light at
the exit from the Ammo Factory.
Another stop light for trams from the 'City'.
Along with protection from trams coming from the Depot.
Now the tram has clearance to proceed into the Depot.
After the points are reset for through running and the
switch set for car out, the through service can proceed.
Repairs/modification to the overhead on the rest of the layout and under the railway bridge.
Ballarat 28 trundles under the reworked rail bridge.
The railway bridge on Victoria Street has a long history, for most of the layouts life, it was the end of the known world. I had originally wired the trolley wire under the bridge by the use of brass thumb tacks and an appalling effort of soldering copper wire to this dubious assembly, which resulted into numerous dewirements and snagged pantographs.(even though Victoria Street now runs two rail DCC)
After the Depot frame construction, upon which I utilised N scale code 80 rail for a more solid form of an interior overhead, I decided to use the same material for under the railway bridge. As the bridge had received a knock at the Caulfield exhibition (almost a year and a half ago!), I thought I would use this down time to rectify the problem. Code 80 rail plus two part epoxy, wins.
The installation of a flickering light module to the incinerator.
The innards from a flickering LED tea light candle.
Nothing too scientific here.
Just ditch the battery and install a 1K resistor in series when running from 12V.
and tada, a backyard incinerator!
from under the baseboards.
"We thank you for your patience and regret any inconvenience caused by this essential renewal work."

Monday 11 January 2016

Looking back to go forward.

As per usual at this of year, a stocktake of the previous twelve months takes place. The idea is to keep some perspective and a sense of progress.

As I look back on posts from this time last year, the main project at the time was the ever expanding empire.

Twelve months ago

I believe that the layout has reached its physical limits in size at this present time and present location, the last year has increased the layout area by at least fifty per cent, along with more operational scope and with a more cohesive narrative.  The concept of a depot has been a successful inclusion.  Operationally, the layout performs excellently, track issues and bugs have been resolved during the year.

On the technical side, the DCC control and interface with JMRI that delivers wifi capability is also at the level required/exceeded at this time.

This leads to the coming year, this year will be about finishing off the layout with details, such as lights and trolley wire, at the moment all of the structures for the layout are in the final process of being built and/or illuminated. Then Victoria Street will be complete*.

Then the further expansion of DCC conversion/improvement of operational rollingstock will be considered.

I think with this layout, I have avoided the most common error of taking on too much, too soon. It started off as a modular micro layout that has gently expanded over time. I haven't fallen into the trap of buying a shed load of wood, track and structures then slapping it together in a hurry, only to find that I hate it, pull it all up, throw most of it out, then only to repeat the process again, nor have I been seduced into the latest offerings from competing manufacturers of Austrailan prototypes, scorch a hole in the credit card, and then have boxes upon boxes of rollingstock with nothing for it to run on.

As a bloke with a missus and young kids, like most, I don't have the time or the resources to engage in the fore mentioned issues in the above paragraph, any modelling time is precious and it would be pointless to frustrate oneself in the pursuit of 'happiness', remember we all should model for relaxation, gratification and entertainment.

I started Victoria Street as a re entry into model railways/tramways for something quiet to do when my oldest child was born, as opposed to blasting out classic Australian pub rock at 140dB, that was over seven years ago, the tramway modelling and the micro layout option was due to the available real estate issued at the time. So my secret to this ongoing saga, is to think twice, do once, enjoy your work, then think twice again.

Here is something I thought would never appear on Victoria Street when I first started.

The oldest with 'her' tram, cutting notches at the ammo factory on wifi.

The eye and lippy war paint come from a monster high doll tart up kit, as I say, it is her tram.
(Mehano mech under a Manner promotional tram fitted with a NCE D13SRJ decoder with led lights)

From under the wires, in the same space as a toy hospital for reassembling dismembered Barbie dolls,

*Is a layout ever finished?