Thursday, November 20, 2008
Staging trains. . .
Here's a photo of the upper-level staging yard (we'll say it represents "Werris Creek") in the spare bedroom adjacent the layout area. It only needs wire drops to the power bus and it'll be ready to go (when I get around to operating the railroad, that is!).
The Werris Creek yard contains five tracks--one 7' track (long enough for 12 FWH and 2 branchline locomotive), two 6 1/2' tracks (standard length of my crossing loops), and two 6' tracks. There is room to add a 2 1/2' track accessed via a switchback if it becomes necessary (long enough to hold, I'd suppose, a 3 car DEB set). The lower level staging, representing Moree, will only require four tracks according to the working timetable. Since its' low height above the workbench will significantly cut into my work space, half of the staging yard will be removable.
As you can also tell by the photo, the workbench--hell, the entire spare bedroom--is a real mess in the wake of the staging yard construction. But that's the way it is when I build something: get the project done, and let everything fall (literally) where it may in the meantime.
The M. C. Escher Helix
What about the helix, you ask? Isn't it done yet?? Nope.
Soon after my workgroup departed after the initial work session assembling the thing, I hooked up a DC power pack to the track and hauled out a representative train to test on the grade. I'd hoped a single Train-O 49 Class would handle 10 new Auscision grain hoppers and a guard van with little slippage, but such wasn't the case. The helix, it seems, has a flat spot that runs around 24" in length and significantly increases the gradient on ether end of the flatter stretch. I cna get the 49 Class and hoppers up the grade, but it requires a real touch with the throttle. I'd hazard that a 48 Class, when it becomes available, won't do as well, given its (apparent) lighter bulk.
Why is there a flat spot in the helix? Beats the hell out of me. I've disassembled it once already, remeasured everything half-a-dozen times, scratched all the hair off my head, and rebuilt it. . . same result. I'm guessing perhaps there's some formula i'm missing for the initial vertical easements for the grade that are translating slightly upgrade and causing the climb to flatten out. Until someone can explain this to me, this is, I guess, how it will stay. It's never as easy as it originally seems to be!
Vacation Planning. . .
Got my vacation dates from work set, and Lance and I have purchased Qantas tickets to Sydney out of Dallas-Fort Worth departing April 7 next year. We'll have two weeks to look around, take photos, take notes, watch trains, load up on Aussie hobby goodies and--we hope--meet several of the fine folks who've helped us thus far with our modeling projects from afar. Maybe we'll even be able to operate a NSW-based model railroad? Or two?