Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Thursday 21 December 2017

Well, that was a busy year.

I know it has been quite a while since the last post, but a fair bit has happen since. 

We have sold up our little abode in the inner west of Melbourne and obtained a good price for it and have bought a massive piece of suburbia in the south east sand belt. 

The bride will get her wish of moving back to her side of town after her tour of duty out west. 

This palatial domicile has ticked all the boxes on the original wish list, the kids will get their own rooms, the bride will get a study, I will get a decent sized shed and we all will get two bathrooms, two living areas and a massive covered outdoor entertaining space. 
This residence unlike some others we have seen doesn't require a renovation that starts with a box of matches. 

As always at this time of the year, I wish followers of the blog the best for the season, try to sensible with the food and drink, and remember it's all about the kids. As it will be our last Christmas west side this year, it is still shared with family and that is what matters.

This years Christmas card is a rework of the fifty thousand hits photo.

Seasons greetings all, from Victoria Street. 

So to the matter of the resumption of services on Victoria Street, as the layout was the first thing packed and stored, it will no doubt be the last thing to see the light of day after the relocation, which will happen in late February.
This will happen when I sort out my new man cave/shed. 

From under a soon to be different roof that will eventually have wires to run under. 


Wednesday 30 August 2017

On the home front.

The study/man cave/old layout space now looks a treat (and a lot larger), after a dash of interior acrylic called 'Royal beige 1/2 strength'.  This area has been annexed by the bride as 'her' home office. 

After the neighbours place was sold at auction at a very good price, the works around "casa del Glenno" have notched up from a leisurely 'full series' trundle to a slightly manic 'full parallel' dash. 

With all the prep work and paint going on at the moment, I have discovered that all of my children must suffer an inner ear issue, as they cannot to seem to walk straight along the hall without 'pinballing' off the newly painted walls. This has been remedied by proclaiming from now on that all the walls are made from lava. 

On an another front, my football club has missed out on the finals this year, thus freeing me up to do more with the house this September. It has been stated in the media that the Bulldogs are suffering a premiership hangover, but I am still glad to have this problem as a result of breaking a 62 year drought. 

I did recently obtain another W class tram at a good price, this is the only modelling topic on this post. 

An old photo of the first five,
Now there are six

From amongst the paint tins and colour charts. 


Sunday 16 July 2017

The early removal of services

The layout has not had a tram cut a notch since the suspension of service notice was issued. Even if I did attempt to roll one out of the shed, the layer of filth and dust on the rails at the moment would render the tram 'insulated'. 

End of an era 

These are not the greatest days of modelling, but in the end, this will only be temporary. As you can imagine, I have a list of tasks that Evil Kinevil would struggle jumping, but then he would find himself in the back of an ambulance after failing such an attempt. 

On the other hand the neighbours have finished their episode of 'grand designs' and their property goes up for auction at the end of the month, this will determine how intently we go from here. 

Over the previous weekend, one month before the original scheduled shutdown, services were suddenly suspended, rollingstock packed away, and the entire 4mm to the foot universe that is Victoria Street was placed into recess and storage.

It is only when one is required to take stock and pack it, that's when you find out that you may be a hoarder. I have found 'assets' that have been long forgotten, the bride during her stocktake has 'rediscovered' her vast collection of fabrics and yarn, therefore at this moment in time, the scores are level. 

As most of you can appreciate, photos are in short supply at the moment with all the fun and games going on.  

I'm sure I can conjure up unpublished finds and then cobble them with enough text as a retrospective, also I can use this time to assist others online and live vicariously through their layouts along with their adventures with tramway modelling. 

From the recently cleaned out study with a bewildered look of where the wires were. 


Wednesday 7 June 2017

Moves are afoot.

I have in the last few months fielded a few enquiries about exhibiting the layout from exhibition managers and followers of the blog. I thought I maybe able entertain one or two exhibitions this year, but in reality the humble abode in which the layout resides along with the bride, three kids, a jack russell terrier, one cranky budgie and myself in is somewhat becoming cramped. 

This can only eventually lead to one conclusion, possible relocation. Soon!

Our current domicile is a quaint 'worker's cottage' in the inner west of Melbourne, while this was extensively renovated nearly ten years ago with a 'study' that I annexed. It is believed no longer able to accommodate my family and all our stuff. 

Therefore, not much at the moment is happening on the layout at this point in time, yet the entire bandwidth of Internet is being utilised on searching for possible candidates.  

As with every potential move, requests are being entertained, mine include a reasonable shed/workshop and some more potential layout/man cave space, as apposed to our current arrangement. 

The kids would like individual rooms, but on most stormy nights would huddle together in the main bedroom with the bride and I, to at which point I make a statement, " why bother with a house when could have a tee-pee."

The bride would appreciate a little space for her interests too, considering she smashed her graduate diploma with high distinctions on the laptop, on her lap and on any somewhat clean level surface in our free standing post office box. She does deserve better. 

Either way, be it through my Nostradamus like thinking or the strict initial limitations placed by the bride, but the concept of a modular layout in this current location may have paid off. 

Originally I opted for a tramway layout that was modular for two basic reasons.

One, tramway layouts allow for tight radii turns and shallow base boards.

Two, as I was offered the upstairs study, the insane idea of building a permanent layout would have been foolish, doing a modular layout in the end means that I can carry it piece by piece down the stairs and with time and/or space at the other end have the whole or some small part operational in a short space of time. 

As our place now has a somewhat lived in effect, the slow burn of 'tarting/dolling' up is now underway, as of a matter of interest, the neighbouring house is currently and rapidly being 'refreshed', as a smaller two bedroom abode with a single bathroom, it will go on the market very soon. 

This in the end will decide how sooner or later we may decide to realise and relocate. 

This ongoing scenario will obviously interfere with my creativity in regards to posts and photos, as I have a week off in early August, services will need to be suspended, then that time will be used to disassemble Victoria Street and place it into storage so not to freak out/ deter potential purchasers with my gunzel collection. 

I thank those who follow the blog and understand that the pending suspension of services will hopefully be temporary.

From just over a month or so from under the wires here. 


Tuesday 2 May 2017

Episodes of Bustitution

Buses, either complement or are the nemesis of tramway operations, but they are a reality. They offer flexible route alternatives without the pork barreling and/or the expense of infrastructure in implementing a tramway.

Victoria Street now has on its roster ( or streets), six buses of four differing types and vintages. 

All buses in the collection are all 1/76 (OO) scale made or offered by mobs such as EFE, Trux, or Oxford, then a maybe a combination of all of the above. 

First cab (bus) of the rank is....

The Austerity bus.
(Oxford Bedford rework)

Loosely based on the unit that featured a timber body that was pressed ganged into service during the darkest days of WW2 before the tramway was extended from the then terminus, Maribrynong River to the government cordite/explosives factory further west over the river.  Most services 'gunned  it' from Footscray railway station with the headboard coded with 'Special E'. 

MMTB 301

This model has 'blackout' white markings on the bumper bars and mud guards. 

Now it's on an enthusiast's excursion. 

The next stop at the interchange features the Leyland Tiger TS8 half cab.(Trux)

I have three of these units in service, these entered service when the MMTB was in the process of rehabilitating  the age expired cable tramway network with electric tramways or as a replacement entirely  

These sort of buses extended the range of the then electric tramway network without the necessary outlay required for rails and overhead, yet provide a glimmer of hope in future, given patronage, of the option of expansion of tramway services. 

In most cases, these replaced late night and/or weekend services on some tram routes. Then on some cross suburban routes led to the demise of local tramways completely.  

I have also changed the headboards to reflect west suburban destinations. 

The third phase. 
The Leyland National. 

An EFE/Trux production. 

What happens when successive state governments offer a rail link to the city, yet do nothing, bustitute. 

The citizens of suburban Doncaster, north east of Melbourne, have for as long as has been recalled, have been promised a heavy railway line into the city, to this day this has not happened. 
Some Melbourne suburban rollingstock even had Doncaster East as a destination on the headboard roll in anticipation, but alas these units have retired from service and will never arrive.
Another case of promises,promises. 

Enter the mid to late 70's, tangerine is still somewhat a fashionable colour and as long the sun still shines,  rail is not heading out to Doncaster soon. 

Behold the Leyland national, barreling down the Eastern Fwy, to the city, in its own designated lane at 80km/h. 

These buses apparently due to their modular construction, led to handling and ongoing maintenance issues that in the end resulted the exclusive use on 'slow' suburban runs. 

While the run number features 'D' from the Doncaster depot the headboard has been altered for a Footscray depot run. 

Going long haul, the Denning Mono Coach. 

A Trux model. 
Introduced in the early '80s, these coaches filled the void by the closure of lesser country rail services, they also provided a rather cheap (and somewhat long and nasty) interstate transport between the state capitals as an option when airfares at the time compared to today were incredibly expensive.  

The other use for these coaches were charter services such as school excursions, country race meetings and at the the time, the rather lucrative border raids from Melbourne to the Murray River towns of New South Wales with 'sports' clubs that housed poker/fruit/slot machines. This caper ended when these horrid machines were introduced into Victoria by a state government who was at the time going a bit scruffy for revenue. 

This model in AAT livery is relevant as AAT at this time had their Melbourne depot in the inner western suburb of Spotswood.

 The nightmare scenario on Victoria Street.

As in the past tram depots have evolved into bus depots, for a variety of reasons such as the tramway has become redundant or the depot has become too small for larger trams and/or an expended fleet. 

The former Footscray tram depot in Buckley St, went from a four road yard and shed housing a collection of four wheel single truck trams to an extensive bus depot covering an entire block. 

Under the wires on its last day of trams
(Photo courtesy Trams Downunder)

After the closure of the local lines. 
(Photo courtesy Trams Downunder)

Back to back buses. 

The wheels of progress have turned again, recently the bus operator moved from Footscray to a new and larger greenfield site further out west, resulting in the Footscray site being sold off for a development featuring apartments and a retail section.  

Not under the wires but amongst the diesel fumes and oil leaks on the tarmac. 


Thursday 13 April 2017

Some more distractions

What can I say, I'll do anything than tackle outstanding work on the work bench. The annual leave/household maintenance has come and gone, then closely followed by the Easter school holiday, these scenarios are the thief of modelling time. 

While there is not any pressing issues that require attention on the layout, the rollingstock (anyone remember 821?) are trundled from one end to the other to keep the rails clean and the mechanisms moving. 

When it comes to recent achievements, I have finished the distraction that is the per way loco, introducing SEC 1. 

Nothing like a bit of imagineering. 

The other side project features an aspect of interior design with a tramway theme. Framed genuine W class tram route numbers. 

 82 (Footscray to Moonee Ponds) and 
57 (West Maribyrnong to City via North Melbourne) 

These take pride of place at the top of the stairs leading to the study/man cave with full approval of the bride.

I did manage to tidy up the study.  

From under the wires at the clean work bench looking at 821 on blocks. 


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.


*As if a layout is ever finished!