Response to Austrains' announcement of a C30 tank and C30T
An Announcement from Austrains - SDS acquisition
Connecting loco and tender - Hornby Top Tips
Trainorama 830 class 847 review
Under the Portuguese Sun - Tree planting
Bachmann new GWR Earl Class review
Reconnecting with a childhood hobby
James May urges nation to 'save Hornby' as shares plunge 62%
Hornby boss quits after third profit warning in five months
Statement from Ixion Model Railways Ltd
I have decided (call it a New Year's Resolution), that this year I am going to try posting Progress Reports more frequently. They tend to be quarterly unless I feel I have a number of developments to report but this means I often end up writing quite lengthy reports which I am sure most of you loyal followers will be reluctant to read. So, I'll try shorter, sweeter and more frequent updates to see if that is easier for you to digest (assuming anyone actually does bother to read them.... ???? ).
My last Progress Report was in October (ie three months ago) which seems to have reported quite a few developments - mainly because the previous report had been 7 months earlier. This is not the best time of year for garden railway modelling, but there do seem to have been a few developments to report.
Permanent WayThe trackbed behind the old sheds has never been a high priority and so, over the past fifteen years, has been allowed to slowly deteriorate. Despite that, it was never sufficiently neglected that it caused derailments, presumably if it had I would have attended to it sooner. However, the blocks in the middle of the section had sunk over the years and so what should have been perfectly level had developed a couple of undulations.
Furthermore, the new workshop which replaced the sheds (see How I constructed the Workshop) was lower than its predecessors and so the track was now mounted on top of an embankment which, over time, would probably have led to further deterioration of the trackbed.
The old track was removed, a new retaining wall was constructed from bricks and the blocks replaced. The track was then reinstated.
The erection of the workshop also resulted in the six foot high hedge of conifers being reduced to around two feet. There was no longer a need for the rickety sheds to be hidden and the hedge prevented me having a view from the workshop of my railway and the rest of the garden. It also reduced the amount of light entering the window. With the removal of the hedge, one section of the railway now became more visible, the area around the junction of the copper mine branch (shown above).
Rolling stock Snailbeach hoppersAs mentioned in the previous progress report, the Snailbeach hopper wagons have entered service and have now all been fitted out with brake gear and weathered. The process has been written up in detail (see How I constructed a rake of Snailbeach-like hopper wagons).
It was interesting to see how I could integrate the additional traffic movements to and from the sand quarry into my usual operating sessions which aim to represent a typical day's running on the railway. I've not perfected it yet, but have decided that, whereas the copper mine usually has three trains Up and Down the line each day (because the spoil is transported as well as the ore), the sand quarry will only require one train in each direction per day. See from 4m 54s onwards....
Infrastructure FiguresThe figures purchased at the Llanfair Show mentioned in the previous Progress Report are now in the process of being painted, together with others which I have acquired over the past year.
It takes me quite a while to paint figures. I tend to do this job at intervals. I find it very time consuming, particularly as I have had ?? figures to paint. I tend to mix one blend of colours - for example blue and/or black and then paint all the bits of figures which need colours. On another occasion, I might focus on flesh colour, and so on.
Finally, I will add the fine details to the figures such as hair, facial features and shoes.
Operation Operating sessionsInterestingly, I have had very few full operating sessions this year. This is partly because when some of the spells of fine weather occurred I was not available and partly because I have been focusing on sorting out the Arduino control systems which has proven to be very time consuming (see How I control locos with Arduino and a phone app). However, a few part-sessions have been run and various individual trains have been run at intervals.
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Arduino based control systemsAs was mentioned in the previous two Progress Reports, I have been investigating Bluetooth phone app and 2.4gHz based radio control systems (see How I control locos with Arduino and a phone app). I have gained a great deal of satisfaction in getting to grips with Arduino programming and understanding the basics of interconnecting Arduino modules, I have been disappointed with the level of control which the approaches have given. I suppose I have been spoiled by using the Deltang system which is very reliable, easy to use and provides a very good level of control, especially at slow speeds. However, I am generally quite persistent and so am continuing to explore various options to see if I can overcome some of the limitations of Arduino which I have identified so far.
My next line of enquiry is to explore using a Bluetooth module in place of the phone app as a transmitter. I am hoping that the more positive features of Bluetooth can be combined with the advantages of having a handheld transmitter with a knob and switches. It's early days yet, but I will let you know of progress in my next report.
This article first appeared on riksrailway.blogspot.com
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