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jimsmodeltrains

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    http://www.jimsmodeltrains.ws

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  • Location
    New South Wales, Australia
  • Interests
    micro layouts, ho / oo scale, layout building, dcc, electronics

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  1. Scenery done so far: Have been working on a low relief building for one end of the layout. Have painted the whole layout a dirt color. Have added a rocky area / landslip roughly in the middle of the layout. I did some research and found out that Brazil has coconut palm plantations, bamboo (both wild and cultivated) and Agave plants, all of which I found models of on eBay. So I purchased some of each. This should give this layout a very different scenic look to all my other layouts which don't have any of those types of plants on them.
  2. I got the track arrangement more or less sorted out, and so as I was creating the track arrangement, I was checking clearances to see how much would fit on each switchback spur. Loco + 1 car - fits! Loco + 2 cars - fits! Once I was happy with the track arrangement I managed to build I got the track base (thin plywood) cut and laid down, and laid the track. Then the extremely simple wiring was done. This was very basic and involved 2 wires being added from the power track to the controller, and a jumper wire between the power track and one of the tracks near the corresponding track furthest from the power track to allow for power when the insulfrog Y turnouts insulate various sections when they are thrown. And voila! It was ready for a test. Track base laid. Track base painted Track laid on the track base I put all the cars and the locomotive on the track, and ran the loco back and forth, moving carriages between the yard and the various spurs. And it worked really well. So now the layout is fully operational. Loco and all 3 cars on the layout, ready for test run. Next: scenery. But that is for a future post.
  3. In many areas of life we make plans. When planning a model railroad, we make track plans, plans for scenery. But sometimes they don't work out quite as we planned. This is what happened with the HO scale Brazilian micro layout I have been working on. Before I purchased the Frateschi G22 locomotive for this layout I calculated that it would be around 6 inches long. When it arrived and I checked it's length, it was a bit over 7 inches long. I thought I had a track plan all figured out, but when the Peco short radius Y turnouts arrived, and I tested the G22 locomotive and 2 of the longest cars I purchased, I realised that that a locomotive and 2 cars wouldn't fit on all the switchback spurs. Part of this is my mis-calculation of the length of the locomotive, and possibly a second mis-calculation on mine part regarding the geometry of the Peco Y turnouts I purchased. Hmmm! What to do? I thought about it for a bit. After a bit of testing with the rollingstock and locomotive I realised that I could still have 2 cars on one of the switchback spurs, have slightly longer yard tracks, and have the other 2 switchback spurs able to hold 1 car + locomotive. This would allow for some interesting switching movements, while only limiting capacity to a locomotive and 1 car on one of the switchback spurs. As a cost cutting measure, that is, so I could use as much of my recycled track as possible (including one of the turnouts), I also flipped the track plan. This is the plan before the changes: In this plan, it was hoped that the Cold Storage and Sugar Mill & Storage switchback spurs could hold a locomotive and 2 cars. But after adjustment, and re-arranging the industries, this is the revised plan: In this plan, the yard is on the top right hand side, the Coffee & Cocoa Warehouse switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 1 car, and the Cold Storage switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 2 cars. But that will still be workable.
  4. A left over piece of MDF produced the idea for “Yet Another Micro Layout”. My youngest daughter recently acquired a new bunk bed for her room, and wanted a place to do some painting without painting on the walls of her room. My wife purchase a large piece of MDF for that purpose, and had it cut to size at the hardware store, and a 1200 x 240mm piece of MDF and a few extra pieces about 70mm deep, were left over. My wife specifically said to me “can you use these for a model railway”. Of course I can, I thought! But how to use it? I perused the various eBooks by the late Carl Arendt until I settled on an expanded and customised track plan based on the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan in the “Creating Micro Layouts” eBook. That track plan is only about 600mm x 300mm, whereas the track plan I will be using will cover 1200 x 240mm. The next thing to do was to decide on a prototype / theme. I had thought of a tram / streetcar layout like that suggested for the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan in the eBook, with the possibility of a Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) Tram layout. But in the end I settled on a Brazilian themed layout. The reason for this is that I have a limited budget, and a Melbourne Tram model was over $250 (Australian) – a huge chunk out of my model railway budget. I had previously come across the Frateschi HO scale models, made in Brazil. So I did some research about them and from what I read they seem like reasonable models, and very reasonably priced. I went onto ebay, and found a model of a Brazilian G22 Bo-Bo diesel electric locomotive with an RFFSA (Rede Ferroviária Federal, Sociedade Anônima) paint scheme which is about 7 inches long, for $99. And so I purchased it. To make the most use of available space, I purchased 2 Peco short radius Y turnouts to minimise the space for the layout. The combination of the reasonably short locomotive and Y turnouts should give me some space to also have up to 2 freight cars attached to the locomotive to able to move through the switchbacks on the layout. Not only is this the first Brazilian themed layout I have built but it is also the first one where I employed multi-use foam board (called XPS insulation board) which is very similar to extruded foam board used in the USA. Because of the use of XPS foam board, it is also likely to be the first layout that I use no nails or screws on! Photos above, top left to bottom right: XPS foam board info, the MDF left over that is the reason for the layout, the layout base from the front, the layout base from the back. Rather than the layout being a passenger switch-back between multiple tram stops like the original “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan, this layout will be a freight switching layout, with a small 2 track yard, the switch back, and various industries on the different legs of the switch back. This gives a fair amount of operational interest in a micro layout space. Because the RFFSA only operated between 1957 and 1999, and the layout will be run with an EMD G22 diesel rather than steam motive power, the era is fairly well defined to between 1967 (when the G22 was introduced) and 1999. This era is about the same as the other model layouts I have, and is purposely broad to allow for the use of more types of rollingstock. As well as the locomotive, I also purchased some Frateschi rollingstock: a reefer, covered hopper and boxcar. After testing the G22 locomotive and rollingstock on one of my other layouts, I am quite impressed with the quality and running ability of the Frateschi models I purchased. I’m particularly impressed that the locomotive and 3 cars cost less than $200 (Australian), and that the cars have metal wheels and are reasonably close coupled when connected together.
  5. Recently I added a stone / aggregate storage area next to the Team Tracks lead track which means that the Team Track lead track can now be used as another 'industry' for spotting cars. Here are some photos of the building of the storage bins, with the last one being of the finished product. The storage bins are made of coffee stirrers and craft matchsticks.
  6. Thanks Jack. I wasn't really thinking of having the plank layout I'm planning to fit in a storage box as I plan to have the 'plank' layout on top of a bookshelf most of the time but knowing that there is a box like the one you mentioned is helpful, especially if I plan to store it somewhere if we have to move house. Three of the 4 micro layouts I currently have are either stored in a box or housed in a custom built bookcase. The other one, a 4 sq foot pizza, is easy fitted in the boot (or is that trunK?) of our car.
  7. Nice looking layout. I recently came into possession of a 4x1 feet MDF 'plank',. Can you tell me what size your layout is as I was thinking of using a similar track plan on my MDF plank to what is on your layout?
  8. Here are some photos of the Pier 39 switcher operating on the layout recently. The COFC / TOFC / bulk transfer track faces the same way as the yard tracks, so there is no need to run around cars being moved to / from that track. GE44 switcher (usually the only motive power on the layout) moving some Canadian covered hoppers to the bulk transfer track. Moving a Canadian covered hopper into yard tracks. Switcher coming off the transfer table. The Team Tracks face the opposite way to the yard tracks, so to move cars between the team tracks and the yard tracks requires running around and a switchback into the team track lead track for cars being moved between them. Switcher (usually the only motive power on the layout) picking up an empty reefer to move it to the yard tracks. Switcher moving empty reefer to the team tracks lead track. Switcher pushing the reefer onto the transfer table and runaround track. Switcher running around the reefer to be able to push into the yard tracks. The aggregate transfer area is adjacent the team tracks lead track, so that track is also used for transferring aggregate between railroad cars and the aggregate transfer area. The team track lead / aggregate transfer track faces the same way as the yard tracks, so no run around of aggregate cars is required. Switcher picking up a couple of short open hoppers from the yard tracks. Switcher pushing open hoppers to the aggregate transfer area.
  9. Over the last few weeks, I have done a fair bit of work on my HO scale Pier 39 micro switching layout. Before I started this batch of changes, the track was un-ballasted, and there was very little scenery done. But now, most of the scenery is done including most of the ballasting, and some of the scenery elements help hide things like the track alignment bolt that keeps the transfer table aligned. One thing I did try, as a bit of an experiment, was to paint the Atlas point motors a medium grey color to try and make them less obvious. I’m not sure it quite had the desired effect, but at least they aren’t a very obvious shiny black any more. I am planning to add an aggregate transfer area on the team tracks lead track, as another place for hoppers and gondollas with aggregate to be spotted. I think this will add some extra operating interest.
  10. Recently I added lighting over my HO scale Box Street micro switching layout. To do this I added LED lights, a switch and power supply (in this case a 9 volt battery) under the baseboard for the Pier 39 layout which sits above it. When the room the layout it is in is darker than usual and the layout lights are on, it frames the layout rather nicely. Above: Before lighting Above: After lighting. Here are a few photos of the lighting set up: The switch that turns the lighting on and off is attached under the frame for the Pier 39 layout, which keeps it hidden from general view and doesn’t detract from the scenery on the layout. Depending on how the 9 volt battery works out, I might wire the LED lights into a 12 volt power supply.
  11. Hi Keith. The short 4 wheel English rollingstock with a Ruston & Hornsby 48DS I tried on the Petra Pizza worked ok with the newer tension lock couplings provided on new rollingstock these days. The American 4 axle open hoppers I use on the layout have bogie mounted couplers, but when I have cars with body mounted couplers they mostly work ok. Thats the rollingstock I have, which is varying brands and quality. But I do sometimes need a caboose or other body mounted car between the loco and the cars with bogie mounted couplings! Probably because of the overhang on the GP 4 axle loco and the resulting coupler angle which seem to force the bogies on the next car of the track.
  12. Hi Keith. I attached the lazy susan base under the double stacked layout configuration. There is a very slight wobble, but it's hardly noticable and so I don't think it's anything for me to worry about. I think the low amount of wobble might be attributable to the fact that the Petra Pizza on top is quite light. The frame is the heaviest part of the layout, and it's basically an 'x' under the baseboard, with 'fairly thin plywood around the edges, and light wooden blocks in the corners to fasten the outside frame to. Which is why the Petra will be on top as the baseboard on the bottom has a more traditional and heavier pine frame around the edge.
  13. Hi Neil. Had a look at the webpage at the link. Looks like a good little layout you had there. I think If I decide on a Pizza, I will probably go for a couple of short operational sidings rather than purely decorative ones. I'm not sure whether I will go for British outline yet although British outline models certainly have the advantage of being quite short and able to handle tighter curves than American models might. Your layout at the link does present some interesting ideas and possibilities.
  14. Hi Keith. I am probably leaning more towards the square foot estate than an inglenook, and it would probably be standard HO equipment (I tend towards using standard / non-modified / non-customised equipment). I might try an inglenook if I decide to go for N scale or HOn though. I haven't tested the lazy susan under the double height layout in the picture yet. The layout base is about twice the width of the diameter of the lazy susan base, and the lazy susan base is only about 5mm high. I have heard of multi-storey lazy susans being used for foods stuff and some of them could be about as high as the layout in the picture, but then the weight and 'overhang' might not have been as great as it will be for how I am planning to use it. I think it will probably be ok, but thanks for informing about a possible wobble.
  15. 400mm legs added under the Petra Pizza layout so I can add another pizza (or maybe an inglenook or something like the square foot estate but bigger) underneath. The round thing on the bottom baseboard is a lazy susan 'bearing plate', which will be added under the bottom baseboard so I can spin the layouts around for different views.
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