Friday, September 17, 2021

Wollar Triple Bracket Home Signal Control

Two posts ago I installed a triple bracket signal to act as the Home for Wollar station and yard. As I had some access difficulties if I wanted to install two normal bracket signals, I opted for the triple bracket.

The post was mainly about the small sleeper built retaining wall that I needed to make and install to retain the existing scenery where the triple bracket had to go.

This time I want to show what I did about controlling the triple bracket and also how I solved the visibility issue. The triple bracket was placed on the curve leading into Wollar and as such the arms were not easily visible to determine which track was set up for the train entering the yard.

As mentioned in the earlier post I cut the triple bellcrank style mechanism away and replaced it with one of my triple linear servo mechanisms by glueing it to the underside of the existing triple bracket base.

I then set up three Tam Valley Depot Singlet II servo control boards where I could access them from the front of the layout.

I extended a LED from each Singlet II to the front of the layout fascia and mounted the LEDs in a 3D printed box that showed which track each LED related to. The LEDs are bi-colour so show red or green depending on the signal arm position.

Here is the box with LEDs in place, working and showing green for the Main line.

Note the Accessory numbers A54, A55 and A56 as well as the L, M and BP written on the Singlet IIs with a white fine point paint pen. The L stands for Loop, the M stands for Main and the BP stands for the Back Platform track. Strangely, the Back Platform track is actually at the front of the layout. It is the track that the Cassilis branch trains arrive and depart from.

At the moment the triple signals can be operated by the buttons on the Singlet II control board or by accessory commands. The intent is to use an NCE Mini-Panel to change the appropriate signal arms based on the point levers (control panel switches). There is an Accept lever (switch) that can put all triple bracket arms to Stop.

So, the points will be set first, then the Accept lever will be set to allow entry and the appropriate signal arm will change to clear. The responding LED will show Green on the indicator box on the layout fascia.

Incidentally, the gap between the inner layout frame with the Singlet IIs and the outer piece of layout frame where the indicator box is mounted can now be filled with a piece of baseboard and the scenery will be extended down from the road to the front of the layout.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Small Signal Box Build

 I have a small NSWGR signal box meant for platforms on my Signals Branch Shapeways shop. The signal box is described as a 'Cheap Platform Signal Box'and one look at it and you can see why the NSWGR accountants must have loved it.

Links are here for those who may be interested.

Cheap Platform Signal Box available in Versatile Plastic or Fine Detail Plastic.

Detail parts for the Cheap Signal Box, door, windows, telegraph wire insulators, water tank and downpipe.

I have several of these signal boxes and I chose a Shapeways Versatile Plastic version to use as the basis for a junction signal box for the coal mine branch near Wollar. Now, as this is a platform version I needed to build a supporting structure for it.

Once again, I turned to my computer and ran Sketchup to design a corrugated iron lower supporting section. As part of the build, I also designed a flat base for the signal box to sit on. Extra parts were designed as well, these being a platform and steps, bellcrank and signal wire wheels for the area between the signal box and the track. I already had a small water tank designed so this came into the build but I needed a different downpipe from the gutter to the water tank and a water tank tap as well.

The corrugated iron support structure and the base were printed in PLA on my filament printer and the other small parts listed above were printed on my resin DLP printer.

Here are a few photos of the finished signal box. Overall I am quite happy with it and it is now put in place at the junction with appropriate scenery materials blending it into the scene.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Small Retaining Wall Build

 Back again!

When I first started drawing 3D signals that were available through my Shapeways Signals Branch shop the range was initially in the sintered nylon powder previously called White Strong and Flexible and now called Versatile Plastic by Shapeways. The signal detail parts were in Fine Detail Plastic. At the time I bought enough signals to signal my BYLONG layout. It was later that I redrew the signals for the Fine Detail Plastic and then Lost Wax Brass. So, I have been building my signals but upgrading them with fine ladders and wire handrails, etc. They don't look too bad at all, at least from a normal viewing distance.

I have been working on a triple bracket lower quadrant signal for my Wollar station yard on and off for some time in between making brass NSWGR signals for other modellers and I recently decided I had better finish it.

Here are some recent signals made from my range of locally produced lost wax brass signals.

Contact me by email at if you wish to know more information about my range of signals or about ordering from my range, either signal kits or made up signals.

I cut off the existing crank-style mechanism and replaced it with a triple linear servo base as the under baseboard location of the signal was difficult to access. The linear servos were being driven by Tam Valley Singlet II servo boards that also have a DCC accessory decoder. The Singlet II boards were going to be mounted just under the front of the layout for easy access with one of the LEDs on each board being extended to the fascia. The reason for the visible LEDs was to show the position of the three arms as the actual signal could only be seen from the side. In doing this I also had to source some longer servo cables which I did through the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown NSW.

Now, the location for the signal required the removal of some scenery from a low embankment in a box shape so I decided to draw up and 3D print a three-sided retaining wall made of sleepers and rail.

I had previously drawn a long retaining wall made of sleepers and rail for my layout so I modified that to suit.

Here is the retaining wall temporarily in place after trimming the scenery to size.

And here is the final placement of the retaining wall after painting the vertical rails with an old rust colour and using black powder on the grey plastic for the wood sleepers.

A nice afternoon's work I think.

The signal has had the throw of the signal arms adjusted and set by the Tam Valley Singlet II boards and it has been screwed in place. Unfortunately though as can be seen from the last photo above, I have to remove it and glue the large painted cast-iron brackets under the bracket platform, too excited to get it in place for sure.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Recent Visitor to BYLONG

 A few weeks ago my BYLONG layout had an interesting visitor, the engineering sample of the Casula Hobbies Z19.

The model ran very smoothly and is geared down to a very respectable low top speed typical of the prototype. I didn't measure the speed but it appears to be no more than about a scale 40 mph. Slow speed running at DCC speed step one was impressive as well. The detail level is fantastic!

I have the Baldwin tender 1957 with cowcatcher and sound on order for my Cassilis branch line. The branch line is not fenced so the cowcatcher is needed. My Wombat C30T is the current branch locomotive but it doesn't have a cowcatcher, something I may have to remedy in the future.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 OK, one post all year and this one is the second, slack! The current worldwide situation seems to have changed my focus to things other than model railways. At the start of the COVID-19 problem, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get back to my layout but I have done basically nothing, not sure why. Although, I have made a number of signals for modellers and that certainly took me away from some hobby projects that I was interested in doing. I did make a start on a new project recently and I had another one on the go towards the end of last year, but they can wait until the new year for a post.

Anyway, I hope that everyone has enjoyable and safe Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Here is an older layout photo but one that I really like. Bylong station yard has a few more signals these days.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

At last, Another Post!

To say that 2020 has been an interesting year would be an understatement!

Bush fires and COVID-19 have certainly kept us occupied and focussed.

Unfortunately, I can't blame either or both for my lack of blog posts. I haven't managed to get any work done on the layout at all although I had great expectations of achieving a lot.

The reason comes down to that other 'small' interest of mine, my Signals Branch hobby business.

I really like designing 3D models and I keep having ideas about what would be fun to do.

Anyway, for an update of what I have been doing please hop over to my Signals Branch blog to find out.

Here is a teaser or two.

There are a lot more photos of other new signals and information on my Signals Branch blog.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wishing All a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Cassilis Goods is waiting for the signal so it can make the last run out along the branch before Christmas.

Best wishes from Ray and Christine