Monday, July 29, 2013

Improved running quality of Eureka Models HUB Set cars

I posted a while back on adjusting the running quality of Eureka Models HUB cars. At the time I also had to make some adjustments to several old Shinohara Code 70 points in Wollar station yard, the cars tracking well through the other Peco Code 75 and hand built points on the layout.

Since then I have had a number of derailments on a Code 100 Shinohara point in one of my staging yards.

I decided to have another look at the cars and the offending point.

I removed each bogie from the cars along with the wheel sets, this allowed the metal bearing plates to be slid out of the bogie.

The issue with the wheel sets is that the wheels need to be regauged with the back to back dimension being on or below the minimum. I had previously adjusted the back to back to the maximum possible allowed by the metal bearing plates but I felt that the back to back measurement needed to be just a little more.

I decided to centre punch the pressed cone bearing in the plate and used an adjustable automatic centre punch. Some experimentation was required to get the right amount of penetration so I started with one turn of the centre punch adjustment and ending up with two turns. If you decide to try this then you will need to determine the required adjustment on your own centre punch. Using a normal centre punch and a small hammer could give variable results.

I did one bogie at a time and adjusted the back to back of the wheel sets with my wheel and track gauge (see picture). My track and wheel gauge is a very old one produced by AMRA and is to the AMRA Standards but a NMRA gauge would also work, failing that a digital vernier calliper would give the same result.

When refitting the bogies I tightened the bogie screws and then backed them off 3/4 of a turn but noticed that the bogie didn't rock smoothly and would catch slightly. I checked and decided that there wasn't enough clearance between the bogie mounting post and the hole in the bogie. I used my number drills to find the size of the hole in the bogie then a used the next larger number drill (No. 28) to slightly expand the hole, this then allowed the bogie to rock easily.

After adjusting the bogies and wheel sets I still had occasional derailments on that old Code 100 Shinohara point in the staging yard so a careful study of the point was in order.

I found that the wheels were riding up over the check rail on the curved track of the point and this was caused by the gap between check rail and the running rail being about 1.5mm instead of 1mm.

I removed the plastic spikes holding the check rail between the check rail and the running rail, this allowed me to move the check rail towards the running rail and it was glued in place with a 1mm gap.

All running issues are now solved although wheels do drop into the frogs of the Shinohara points.

I should point out that other items of rolling stock and even locomotives have had tracking issues over the Shinohara points and I might have to replace them. I am pondering over replacement or modification as the problem is that the architecture of a Shinohara point is not the same as say, an equivalent size Peco Code 75 point, so simple replacement is not possible. Hand built points would be the best solution of course.

The lesson from all this is not to assume that all track work and points are perfect or even the same and if you are having issues with a variety of rolling stock then have a good look at your track work.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am sitting here writing this post as the sun sets on my first day of retirement.

My last day of course was yesterday and it was a strange day to say the least. Although I knew it was my last day it felt as though I was going on holidays as I cleaned up my email, files and closed off various things I was working on. Over the last 20 or so years I have always had a job with responsibilities for NSW and where I was the only person doing the work and with the knowledge, so it was natural to be preparing for my holidays by bringing the work to a state where I could have a break.

The company has advertised for my replacement and I will go back when the person is appointed and do a handover to bring the person up to speed.

Chris and I had a dinner with a small group of work mates on Wednesday night at a very nice Indian Restaurant in Harris Park called Chutneys. We had a great time with much laughter and good food.

Yesterday was  hard to describe but it was nice to see the number of people who attended the morning tea and who later came to my office to say goodbye and also an emotional thank you to those special friends who were just amazing, they know who they are.

Chris came and picked me up at 5:20pm, I wanted to put in a full working day and why not? I actually finished my last bit of work at 4:25pm and spent the last bit of time talking to one of those special friends.

Chris and I then went to one of our favourite restaurants, Indian again, Murraya, and this time in Miranda, is there a pattern there?

Afterwards at home we watched  the last two episodes of West Wing, we started it about a year ago and watched one or two episodes a week. It was good way to end my retirement with the end of such a great series.

Well, enough of the emotional stuff I will be back to trains shortly now that I have a bit more time, or so I think, we will see what retirement brings.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Modelling the Railways of NSW - 30 Convention

I attended the MRNSW 30 convention last Saturday as a paying participant which is somewhat different since I have been involved in it one way or another for virtually all its 'life'.

I  managed to see 'Prototype Operational Practices for Your Layout' by Ben Barnes and Mark Newton which gave a basic course in safe working, the use of whistles and marker lights. Ben and Mark intend to move the information to more complex aspects next year so I must make sure I get my form in early so that I get this as one of my allocations.

I also caught the 'Introduction to NSWGR Mechanical Signals' session with Dale Richards which began with the basics of each signal type (Home, Distant, Starter) and then went on to signal a loop on single track and then double track with the increasing complexity. Very clearly explained with the use of a Powerpoint presentation. Unfortunately I didn't look at the convention notes until I got home and found that I was supposed to take notes on a blank page headlined for the session, very disappointing. I hope that the Powerpoint presentation will be available on the usual DVD disc available later.

I missed seeing Rohan Fergusson's talk on 'Modelling Australian Military Equipment and its Transportation', but between sessions I did manage a quick look at the large range of models he brought with him to his presentation. Very nice Rohan!

I was programmed in for Chris Wangmann's 'Sandy Hollow - Maryvale Railway' session but had to miss it as it was the last session of the day and I was too tired having been out late on Friday night to my boss's farewell, sorry Chris, but I do have the notes.

These were the highlights for me as I managed to forget to put my form in early enough even though I new the consequences. I would have liked to see Ray Love's 'Aspects of 50 and 53 Class Steam locomotives' and Craig Mackey's 'P Class Locomotives' talks.

The Tumut layout was very nice but sorry no photos, I didn't take my camera with me. It was three sections of the full layout which is much larger. There was a document displaying the various ways that all of the sections can be put together. Model photos would have been difficult as the layout doesn't have any back scenes which would limit the sense of immersion.

Of course the usual range of commercials were there and I picked up a SDS Models 1970's BP three round dome tanker that I will be back dating to the mid-1960's. For those that are interested Eureka had the running engineering samples of the saturated and superheated NSWGR D50 Class steam locomotives. As you know, I am a friend of Ron Cunningham's but regardless of that, these are very, very nice. I went to Ron's last week and took some photos of them for AMRM and Ron's Eureka Models blog/web site and saw them running on DC, very smooth and silent. One of the D50s now has to go to QSI in the USA so that the DCC QSI board can be designed before the production run so a while to wait yet. As AMRM only required one of the photos I sent here are the two D50 versions, I hope Ron doesn't mind me releasing these photos but seriously I can't wait for these to arrive.

Eureka Models Saturated NSWGR D50 Class

Eureka Models Superheated NSWGR D50 Class

On Sunday morning Rohan Fergusson (Bolivia Blog) dropped by for a look at Bylong and a chat before heading back home to the north. Although Rohan is a diesel man I managed to get him to drive the lead C35 while I drove 5085 the banker on that infamous train which was the subject of the video in the last blog post. This time however I had removed a few wagons and we made it to the top without incident. I might have to put one or two wagons back on it, it seemed a bit too easy. Sorry, no photos, I was busy.