Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wollar Station Yard Upgrade

Several months ago as part of signalling my layout I decided that I would finally do something about the non-prototypical track work at the UP end of Wollar. Way back in the mists of time (mid-1980's) I was given some Shinohara points by a friend. As money was tight I built a station yard with what I was given which led to the not quite right track work.

I recently ripped out the offending points and replaced them with some Peco code 75 points in a correct arrangement. Another reason that the points had to go was that they weren't DCC friendly at all and also caused the occasional derailment.

I won't bother you with what the track work looked like but here is the upgraded yard layout. The main line is the loop track through the station platform and the actual refuge loop is the straight track, a bit different but it was used occasionally by the NSWGR. The back platform road is the one closest to the aisle which is at the bottom of the diagram.

This diagram is the one I have mounted at the Wollar 'Signal Box' otherwise known as the Wollar control panel.

About the same time that I was rebuilding the track work I visited Train Works at Thirlmere with Chris and my youngest grandson Jesse and I took photos of the plates on the lever frame there.

As a result of this outing I decided to do some work to upgrade the control panel to at least partially replicate a signal box arrangement.

This led me to draw up small versions of the plates which I had 3D printed. I have just completed painting and installing these above the key switches of the points and signals (see below). The plates are 25mm x 10mm and it was interesting applying the brass colour to the numbers, letters and edges of the plate that were raised only 0.4mm from the plate surface. I used a gold coloured Uni-ball Signo fine gel ink roller ball pen that I found at Officeworks. If I ever re-draw them I will look at raising them higher from the surface. I had to do a bit of touching up with black paint.

The numbers on the plates are replicated on the track diagram in the photo above and will assist the Signalman at Wollar the next time that we operate the layout. When I have time I will print up a 'Pulling List' that will tell the Signalman which levers (switches) to pull (throw) to move through the various routes in the station yard. There is an area for the list to the right of the main bank of switches. The group of four switches at each end are the UP and DOWN Accepts and the three UP and DOWN Starters. The Accept switches are the two grey ones on the outer ends. The Starters are the red ones and the points are black. I actually have one switch, number 8 which is marked NOT IN USE as it doesn't control anything. This was a decision I took when I decided that I would have the bank of four switches at each end of the main bank so that it was balanced. It originally controlled one of the removed points. The two red switches on the ends of the main bank are for SHUNT AHEAD signals for each direction out of the rear platform road and are used to control leaving the sidings and moving onto the main to shunt other areas of the station yard.

The white thing hanging on the brass cup hook at the UP (left ) end of the 'Signal Box' is the staff for the Coxs Gap to Wollar section, a similar hook is at the right, the staff for this section being at the Gulgong staging yard at the moment. We use these staffs when operating. I also have 'Tickets' drawn up but we haven't used those as yet.

The Wollar sign on the layout fascia is also 3D printed along the same lines of the lever plates using the NSWGR 'font'. At the moment I have only done these letters of the font. I will eventually do signs for the other stations.

There are more signals than there are controlling switches as a number of the signals are linked to points and are controlled through JMRI and its inbuilt logic. A signal can't be thrown for a train to enter or leave unless all the points are aligned correctly. At the moment the logic is only in place at the DOWN end. The semi-automation is part of making the signalling easier and hopefully fun. The Signalman will control the entry of trains with the Home signals which are linked to the Accept switches. The Home signals are also linked into the JMRI panel logic an example of which is the Flour Mill siding at the DOWN end that has a manually operated point which if thrown to the siding will stop the Home from being cleared or change it to stop if it is at clear. The main, loop and back platform road will have occupancy detectors feeding back to JMRI as well. The Home signals are brackets which will also show which road is clear to enter.

It will probably be another month or two before I complete the rest of the signals and do the JMRI logic. The signal posts are in place and painted but no arms, servos, etc. So an operating night is a while away.

I just hope that the rebuild and 'Signal Box' go down well with the two Ramblers that often act in the role of Wollar Signalman, time will tell.

Of course the observant will notice that there isn't a signal box at Wollar, something else to build. I am working out where it will go at the moment and I am currently favouring one on the Down end of the platform.


Brad H. said...

Very nice, Ray. Looks terrific and no doubt works a treat.

Rod said...


Next time you need the plates...let's just hand it to the laser. Excavate the black and leave the brass colour...

Wish I had of known...



Both Sides Of The Border said...


They look great. Adds a lot of character to the layout.

I thinking of using the latest version of Shinohara code 70 for my layout. Should I not?


Ray P said...


Unfortunately I don't have any knowledge of current Shinohara points. A quick search on the net told me of issues with the gauge of Code 70 points and also they are not cheap. Also they are live frog and one person said that they are not DCC friendly.
I wouldn't want to deter you so suggest that you do some research before committing. Bergs Hobbies carry Shinohara so you could get some prices from them.
Micro Engineering points seemed to get a good review. I think the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown NSW has them.