February 2013 is done, not a post in site here …

Well, the supposed reason for blogging – encouraging one to maintain progress on a layout – sees the jury still out. My last post was more than a month ago, but there has been progress on the layout in that time.

This “progress” includes:

Commencement of efforts to complete at least the “base” scenery for the entire layout. This includes no open benchwork and, at minimum, ground painted with the “mustard” colour I use as a base. There is still plenty to be done on this front, but the greatest area of “incompletion” at least now has cardboard, foam and blue Chux instead of nothing. I’m giving myself until the end of April to get this sorted and finished … (stop laughing)

Finalisation of the mainline signalling (with thanks to Bill Dick for his amazing SAR and VR signals) – including signalling panels and “logic” wiring to ensure correct and prototypical aspects are displayed. What this seemingly small task has brought to both the layout and operations cannot be said in words! I’m still pursuing some dwarf signals before I’ll declare the signalling contract “completed” – Bill has been good enough to look into possibilities for me and has even done a test signal that currently sits at Nankiva.

Review of industries and sidings at Nankiva, Tatiara Downs and Jameston. Nankiva has been simplified – the flour mill removed as it was just too crowded. Tatiara Downs becomes more and more like Mount Gambier – its inspiration. Here, a number of industries have been added (flour mill, bottle company siding, fertiliser depot) and some others moved to give a greater “Mount” feel. Jameston, based heavily on Millicent, has seen the removal of grain silos (not very Millicent, more like Frances) and the inclusion of a paper mill (think Snuggery) – which opens up some really interesting operation possibilities.

Timetable development – one of my favourite aspects of modelling and railways. A new timetable is nearly complete – based on the workings on the main south (SAR) and west (VR) line, combined with traffic to/from Mount Gambier. While I’ve nearly developed a WTT for the Border District, I’ll take a “sequence” approach to operations, rather than watching the clock.

Dipped the toe into NCE for DCC, in place of my Roco system. After plenty of thought and time, I bit the bullet and bought an NCE PowerCab. Thanks to Shelton, who gave me the opportunity to “see” NCE on his layout. A big plus has been the fact the eight throttle points on the layout for Roco “mice” work just as well with additional NCE throttles, so now a ProCab has joined the PowerCab. The improved control offered by NCE (compared to Roco) is something to behold …

Also dipped the toe into sound, with Mike Walters from DCC Sound installing Loksound decoders with his projects into both a Y and an S (thanks Mike!). Again, words really can’t describe what sound brings to the layout … the Y in particular bringing the yard at Tatiara Downs to life. I’m really looking forward to the Trainorama 830 and the DCC Sound project coming together on the Border District later this year.

So, not much progress on the blog, but plenty happening on the layout! I guess that kind of means I’ve missed the point of blogging. My excuse – the train room and the computer are too far apart …

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