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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4 thoughts on “February 2013 is done, not a post in site here …

  1. Anthony – alot of progress there, especially with the rethinking of your industries. Progress doesn’t always have to be material! I envy your noisy Y ! Will need one at “Dimboola” next time since the T’s are still being used. Good choice using a sequence for operation rather than a fast clock and well done with moving to the full NCE setup – you really cant go wrong.

  2. Ahh… So now I know who the Anthony is that Shelton mentions in his blog. I’m curious to see what you do with the blue Chux, as I considered using it (covered with wet plaster) for my scenery base because the old paper towel was just too messy. In the end I opted for plaster bandage that I bought on eBay.
    I also agree with using a sequential approach if you’re just starting out on operations. We used a sequential timetable for many years on my layout before I finally added a fast time clock. The sequential timetable allowed me to test what was possible, and to identify the bottlenecks and other complicating issues without the added burden of having to “hurry, hurry, hurry…” Once I had the sequential timetable down pat, adding the clock was very easy.

    • Ron,
      Thanks for your comments and affirmation regarding sequential operation. I enjoyed visiting your blog, hadn’t seen it before, so another “thank you” is in order. The blue Chux are cut into strips, dipped in a PVA and water mix (25:75) and placed over breakfast cereal cardboard strips (which, in turn, are supported by heavier duty “moving box” cardboard formers. With a few layers, a really lightweight but “hard” shell is formed, that can be painted. Pretty much “old school”. I’ll be sure to include a shot of the “blue hills” in my next update …

      • Thanks Anthony. I hadn’t thought of using PVA for the hard shell in this way. I still have a few more hills to build, so I will try it out.
        For covering large ‘grassy’ areas quickly, I still prefer these old school methods to cutting, shaping and carving foam.

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