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    Perth, Western Australia

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  1. I know nothing about the Toyota CVT system, but one arrangement which I can see being, at least, possible in the model scales is that adopted by the GWK car company in the early C20th. Basically, the motor drives a large, smooth faced flywheel. A shaft running at right angles across the flywheel carries a wheel with a high friction rim. This bears against the face of the flywheel and so is driven. If you move this wheel across the face of the flywheel you can vary the effective gear ratio between the motor shaft and the driven shaft. With the driven wheel near the centre of the flywheel you get a low (numerically high) ratio, rising as you move the driven wheel towards the flywheel's rim. Very simple in principle, efficient (no belt losses) and doubles as a right-angle drive, which most models need to incorporate anyway. I don't know if it could be made compact enough to be useful, but it doesn't feel impossible.
  2. I suspect a number of reasons combined to ensure the Hornby offering's demise. Expense. Not, in itself a killer, when you look at what folk are willing to pay for other, top grade r-t-r, but a bit more serious when combined with... Incompatibility. It didn't work with anything else, so you needed a dedicated layout, temporary or permanent, on which to run, bringing in the issue of... Space. A Gresley Pacific with loads of haulage capacity and not very precise control needs a big roundy-roundy, or a very long end-to-end to make it worthwhile. How many people have enough room to dedicate to any layout, let alone a secondary novelty? A big loop in the garden would work for some, but garden layouts involving electricity are a fair bit of faff if they're going to be reliable enough to be fun. So I'd see the system as being great if you're willing and able to commit the necessary resources to it as a standalone, but less so as part of a "proper" model railway. Presumably there weren't enough buyers in that position. I do wish I'd had the foresight to lay down a few sets when the last were discounted though.
  3. Found it. Or, at least, the same idea. http://3railfun.blogspot.com/2016/03/more-fun-with-non-derailing-turnouts.html?m=1
  4. It's certainly made me seriously consider it as a theme for an unlikely to ever happen 0-27 Timesaver :D.
  5. I've seen video online of an entertaining automatic arrangement for Brian's X-crossing oval layout. It used the anti-derailing feature of Marx electric turnouts rather than Lionel ones, but I gather that both work similarly. A better explanation will probably emerge if you go trawling for US 3-rail material on the net, but the basic principle is this. The anti-derailing turnouts automatically switch themselves to the correct direction for a train approaching in a trailing direction. The trick is to wire both turnouts at each end of the oval together so that as each is switched by the approaching train it also switches the other at the same end to the opposite route. For example, a train approaches turnout 1 along the straight side of the oval. Turnout 1 automatically switches to its straight through position, simultaneously switching Turnout 2, at the same end of the oval, to its diverging route off towards the X-crossing and the diverging route of Turnout 3 at the other end of the oval. Turnout 3 will automatically set to its diverging route as the train reaches it, setting its opposite number, Turnout 4, to its straight route, back towards Turnout 2, which sets straight, and sets Turnout 1 diverging. And so on. The train circulates indefinitely, automatically taking every route available in a seemingly random (I'm pretty sure there is a repeating pattern there, but it takes a while) sequence. Not exactly prototypical, but these are, when all is said and done, toys.
  6. Most steel vehicle floors, subjected to loads and impacts, also sag significantly between supports. Check out the next flatbed truck you see for a real world example. This also results in, eg, bright scoured lines on the high lines where a vehicle is unloaded by bucket or grab.
  7. Based on the state of most Ebay, and other 2nd hand offerings, being dropped seems to be the first thing to happen to most r-t-r stock of any kind.
  8. And yet, if you want a recognisably pre-WW1 GWR locomotive, r-t-r, Hornby's caricatures remain pretty much the only game in town apart from City of Truro. A wider range to modern standards would be great, but noone seems to be falling over themselves to stump up the capital needed to provide one.
  9. Errrr....well, yes. "Always" was perhaps a bit of a stretch. "Since large scale industrialisation" would have been better, which, would correspond fairly closely to the widespread use of rail to transport it from producer to end user.
  10. It will, but given the very limited angular movement and negligible load, possibly not fast enough to cause a problem. Would depend on the amount of use the layout gets, of course. One simple option would be to drill the clearance hole in the sector plate oversize and either glue or force fit a sleeve of K&S brass tube in to provide a bearing surface against the screw.
  11. Well, Lima did one (sort of) but I suspect that's not really the sort of thing you're asking about .
  12. Having had some professional involvement with the vast salt harvesting operations in North-Western Australia, the vast majority (possibly all) of their production goes to chemical feedstock for variety of processes. Salty though we western humans like our grub, I suspect that this has always been the case for salt producers.
  13. Another issue with coal stockpiles is their tendency to spontaneously catch fire if left for long enough in sufficient bulk (actually rather more complex than time and size, but probably not relevant here), although I doubt if it would be too much of a problem for a facility of the sort of scale described.
  14. Very nice. I actually don't mind the windows as that blurry, smeary look is very reminiscent of how bus and train windows appear on a chilly, damp English autumn morning. As for the wheels being loose on the track, that's probably a result of Dapol's ancient moulds, producing wheelsets that weren't that good when Airfix (or was the Railbus Kitmaster?) tooled them more than 50 years ago. As a non-railway chap, you may be unfamiliar with the history of H0 and 00 gauges. However, the short version is that 00, as used by the majority of modellers of UK prototypes in this sort of size range, uses 1:76 scale but runs on 1:87 scale (ie H0) track. The reasons for this and history behind it are lengthy and complex, and would fill a book by themselves. A good summary can be found here. The practical result, though, is that the vast majority of 00 models run quite happily on H0 scale track and, indeed, the major "00" track systems from UK manufacturers are actually H0 scale, insofar as the word "scale" can be applied to them.
  15. It's not that I don't care. It's more that there are things I would prefer to do with my (finite and seemingly diminishing) modelling time and budget than spend weeks cutting wobbly rows of supposedly identical windows in styrene sheet, sticking plasticard doilies to themselves and adding to the profits of Messrs Swann-Morton. Would anyone care to estimate how many reasonably accurate cuts would be required to scratchbuild the sides and ends of a modest rake of, say, five panelled coaches? Because I make it several thousand. Deciding to forego that in favour of something I, personally, enjoy more isn't laziness, it's sensible allocation of resources. Similarly, I'm quite capable (and rather enjoy) building brass kits to a standard acceptable to me. However, it still takes time and more money than I can currently devote to modelling. Again, it's not that I don't care, it's that there are other things about which I care more.
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