Monday, January 27, 2014

Back dating the Trainorama NSWR 44 Class to 1965

As I model late 1965 I often have to modify rolling stock or locomotives to be correct for the period. An example of this is the Trainorama NSWR 44 Class diesel. I modified my first 44 several years ago and it has appeared occasionally in some of my blog posts. I recently decided that the time had come to modify two more 44s.

I have Rick Merchants small book Railway Album Number 4 which shows 4453 and 4434 on the Inter-Capital Daylight Express near Picton on 2 October 1965 so I have modelled these two along with 4462.

There aren't many changes to be made and they are easy to do. Firstly the double marker light boxes need to be removed, I accomplished this with a pair of sharp transistor nippers (side cutters) because they are ground flat on the back. The nippers left a small raised line which I carefully sliced away with a hobby knife chisel blade that I have ground down to about 2.5mm wide.

The next step was to drill two small marker light holes into the front corner of the 44, these are in line each side with the vertical straight edge at the rear of the buffer plate mounting. and fractionally above half way between the red lining and the bottom edge of the yellow whiskers. the marker lights have a circular metal surround but I haven't worked out how to do that yet. It is painted the same colour as the surrounding body work so it looks OK without it.

Once the marker light holes are drilled I used a small brush to paint some matching Indian Red that I blended from two versions that I had colour matched by Bunnings some time ago. If you want you could take the 44 class to Bunnings or some other paint shop and have them match some paint to the body on their computerised matching equipment. I had one litre of each matched but I had only 250ml matched one other time, talk nicely it could be cheaper.

After the marker lights are done the top step in the front 'cowcatcher' needs to be filled and a grab iron mounted with each side in the bottom corners of the filled step (see photos below).

Now, in the above photo of 4453 and 4434 it can be seen that they have different front horns than the Trainorama 44 however the rear horns are the same as the Trainorama 44. a close up study of 4453 shows that it appears to have an unusual two forward and one to the rear trumpet arrangement which incidentally is how the horns on the LIMA 44 class came. This three horn arrangement can be found on 400 class railmotors, 620/720 railcars and I believe 900 class DEB sets. I used a brass casting  for the 400 class that I had in my parts box. I am aware that some 44s had the same two each way horns carried by 48 and 45 classes but the photo above does not seem to show a second horn pointing rearward.

Studying the above photo again shows that 4434 has a five trumpet set of horns which was how the 44s came originally. I used a five chime brass horn casting for 4434 but not originally as I only noticed it when looking at the photo for 4453.

Here is 4453 not yet numbered showing the modifications, note the whitish number boards. I scrape away the numbers on the number boards including the black paint and then apply a whitish translucent wash of paint as I later apply numbers that I printed on clear decal paper with my laser printer, the numbers being clear to show the white underneath. The Trainorama 44 actually has two lights in the nose, one for the headlight and another below it for the painted out number boards. I replace the light globes with white LEDs (and appropriate resistors, usually 1K). I intend to do the marker lights with some white and red SMD LEDs one day (SMD - Surface Mount Device, tiny).

4434 appears above with the new five chime horns and is otherwise complete with NSW State Crest, marker lights and filled in step with grab iron. Unfortunately when I originally did 4434 I got the placement of the grab irons wrong they are just a fraction too high.

The third 44 class has been treated the same way with the markers and grab irons but I didn't take a photo as it has the twin horns as supplied by Trainorama, you have to have a win sometimes. This 44 is going to be 4462 which of course was involved in an accident resulting in two deaths several years later.

I chose the above three numbers as in late 1965 they all had the grab irons up the sides and across the nose so I didn't need to remove them and fill the holes.

Both 4434 and 4453 have been fitted with Soundtraxx Tsunami Alco 251 v12  decoders and so far the number boards on 4434 are able to be turned on an off separately to the headlight. 4453 will be lit the same and hopefully I can work out the markers given the limited function outputs of the Tsunamis.

Now, 4462 has been fitted with a QSI Titan decoder which has been updated with the Emulator software and the new ALCO 251 v12 sounds. This sounds very nice and even drops into low idle where the diesel will hunt, it also doesn't rev up when you move to notch one from idle which apparently is prototypical. The Tsunamis increase revs when you move from idle to notch one. I chose the nearest sounding horn that is available from the ones in the sound set. While not a recording of a NSW horn it is considered by some who know that it is quite adequate. Keep in mind that given the number of different horns carried by the class and the limited number of 44s still around having the correct sound for the type of horn modelled is somewhat academic.

However if you are into playing with sound files the Titan allows two User Sounds to be downloaded into the decoder with the QSI Q2 Upgrade program and the QSI programmer. Both of these User Sounds can contain a start file, a loop file and an end file so a correct horn could be done from a good recording given that it can be a bit tricky to get the looping file right without an audible click when it loops. That is, the start and end as it loops need to be seamless and must also blend with the start and end sound files.

Here is a quick video showing some of the Titan Emulator ALCO 251 v12 sounds. I was waiting for the 44 to drop into the low idle when the fan went off but by the time I got to the camera it stopped and it dropped into the low idle. I set the sound of the fan to the rear speaker below the fan on the 44 class where the sound should come from.  The Titan can be set to send various sounds to either of two speakers or any where in between them. Note that the 44 class does not have any momentum applied.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like it!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Further information on train loads and locomotive combinations

Colin Hussey has just posted more information on his Essence blog following on from his comments I published in my last post. I advise you to have a read and study the photos as it is very interesting and shows the complications the railways had to deal with when determining the train load for a section. I particularly like the additional information related to steam passenger and goods locomotives and their respective minimum hauling speeds and the effect that this had on the train load along with ruling grade and any sharp and/or reverse curves encountered in a section.

Colin is to be congratulated for his desire to impart his NSWGR knowledge gained during is working life as a driver and presumably fireman.

Thanks Colin.

Also of interest is a comment on my last post from Bob Stack of South Coast Rail which I post here:


The 10% reduction in load does exist today but is applicable to diesels only.

It is brought about when different locos have various balancing speeds on the ruling grades making certain locos try and do more work. Their maximum tractive effort can be at different speeds.

The Train Operating Conditions Manual (which I use to maintain) sets out these conditions on Pages 45 to 49 (Locomotive Operations) in the following link:

Look in TS TOC 1.

Certain combinations work successfully together and these are set out in the tables.
So in fact the real world is similar to our models in that certain model locos won't run with others straight out of the box.

A lot of other interesting stuff in the manual as well.


A quick look at page 45 2.11 Mixing Locomotive Types and Table 3 shows which diesel locomotives can be mixed to retain a full train load capacity and which when mixed together must have the train load reduced by 10%. 

It would be possible to build this information into my Train Load Calculator spreadsheet with appropriate formulae for the 10% reduction but it would start to make it not so easy to change to suit other State railways, etc. By all means, do download the spreadsheet and modify to suit your own railway or era.

A couple of interesting sections of the Train Operating Conditions Manual that I found are:

Page 56, 3.3 Holding a Stationary Train on a Grade - This will have an impact on any timetable you are using, Cox's Gap loop for instance is on a 1 in 80 grade.

Page 58, 3.7 Track Speed Signs, Table 11 - These would be useful for the modern image modeller

The steam era modeller may not get much from this manual but it can still be interesting to flick through it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Corrections and information regarding the previous Train Load post

In my previous post I made a mistake and an assumption or two that were corrected in a comment on the post by Colin Hussey a retired NSWGR driver, both steam and diesel.

The mistake was that I referred to the General Appendix and this should have been the Working Timetable. I made this mistake as the document I was looking at starts at page 7 and when I thought about it, I realised that it is a working timetable. I have now corrected my previous post.

One of the assumptions was that I assumed that the 10% reduction for two steam locomotives may have been to allow for inefficiencies between two crews, my apologies Colin, I didn't mean to throw discredit on the drivers and this has been deleted from my previous post.

Anyway, here is Colin's comment in full as it adds greatly to our knowledge:


The primary & best place to look for loads is in the Working Time Tables (WTT), these came out more frequently, showing changes to loads, & train working conditions, much more reliable & easier to keep updated.

Updated loads & conditions also came out in depot affected weekly General orders as well as the State wide Weekly notices.

The load of a double header while slightly less than that of 2 combined single engines, depended more on the added length of the train rather than the actual load itself, which took the amount of curves & train drag into account. Another point was that it was quite possible by adding an extra wagon to the load, the train was then overloaded.

The WTT gave loads, for individual sections over the length of the whole line, with general ruling grade made that making up the through load. Also found was the length limits for single & doubles, another consideration was the length of crossing loops.

Another aspect was momentum grades that allowed for more than the standard load to be taken. Heavier loads were taken from Hornsby - Broadmeadow than from Enfield to Hornsby e.g.: & IIRC (if I recall correctly), a freighter was allowed 360tons Enfield - Hornsby but 390 from Hornsby. Tumulla, Molong – Oge (Orange) & Ardglen had the same loads as those from Enfield – Hornsby.

The 75% load was maximum & no more of the full through load used for accelerated running of old fruit expresses when the train consisted of 4 wheelers, it was primarily meant for faster grade climbs hill grade in order to keep the speed up.

The best example found on the west from Lithgow to Orange, with the influx of 36cl to the area & removal of the freighters almost all through trains were listed in the WTT's as 75% loads.

The reason was to simplify/standardise rostering of engines, set loads were compiled that allowed for single running times for the goods trains, with all running to 36cl running times & loads. For freighters they worked up the grades at the same speed as a pig.

The benefit of this arrangement beyond Lithgow was that when a steam service was programmed for any load single or double header all the trains needed to be made up based only on that load & not of the engine type as it did not matter whether it was a freighter or pig or combo of the two. In these cases, the Pig led owing to operational reasons, when doubled with a freighter.

Rear end banking was not permitted on passenger trains, some notable exceptions, but not on mixed trains, empty 4 wheel stock wagons, which had to be located at the rear.

When working double headers, I would not say there was anything to do with drivers inefficiencies or crews at all, & really is a put down of the men who laboured on the engines.

Every time crews worked a double header there was always a confab between the drivers regarding the trip ahead, rarely did it mean any adjustments to the standard drivers way to drive the engine & train. If either crew needed to communicate it was done with the whistle to attract attention of the other, usually meant to slow down or crack the whip, these were known hand signals that could be seen from cab to cab. Smooth working of the train did not depend on the aspect of single or double heading but on the train composition. We felt it just as much up front as did the guard if the train had been made up badly.

When composing trains, I have worked more on the length based NSWGR form of an S truck is a single wagon, while every other wagon is listed compared to it, e.g: K is 1.2, BWH & early bogie vehicles are 2. Initially I worked on having a load of around 30 S trucks & van, with loops around 2.4 metres, but a train that long looked far too long. I changed the loops bringing back to 2mtrs in clearance which looks quite ok. This allows for train lengths of around 23 S trucks & single loco, without problems.

In modelling the adage of less is more, really comes true & your 57cl load shows that up well.


In the wagon length data of the spreadsheet I used 2 for a K truck to keep it simple, so if anyone wants to they can easily change this to 1.2, similarly any other wagon lengths can be changed/corrected.

My intention is to keep things simple to enhance my hobby to gain the flavour of the NSWGR operations without tieing myself in fully prototypical knots (still pondering on signalling).  Colin is luckier than most of us as he worked with and has an in depth understanding of the rules pertaining to the NSWGR.

Thank you Colin for clarifying these issues for us.

Now of course you also need to look at the maximum allowable speeds for various wagons which can be found in a Working Time Table and which will also have an impact on the setting up and operation of timetables for your layout.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prototypical Train Load Determination

Recently I was at a layout with an approximately 1 in 40 ruling grade and I noticed a train with two NSWGR Standard Goods locomotives on a reasonable length train and as I knew the owner/driver I asked if he felt that this was a prototypical load. The answer was that he thought that it was within the tonnage limit for the two locos. Now some time ago I built a train load calculator spreadsheet for my Bylong layout which also has 1 in 40 ruling grades so after taking note of the wagon types and how many of each type were on the train I went home. That night I loaded the Excel spreadsheet with the intention of checking the tonnage for the train but decided that I could improve it and here is the result:

NSWGR Train Load Calculator

The result of my check of the load allowed for these two standard goods locos was that the train if fully loaded was actually about 90 tons over the limit for two standard goods locos on a 1 in 40 ruling grade (590 tons). Now the interesting thing is that the train looked OK, not too long at all. Of course, it would depend on whether each wagon was loaded to capacity and I had assumed that each wagon in the train was fully loaded.

When you click on the above link you will be taken to my Google Drive ("in the cloud") location for the spreadsheet from where you will be able to download it. To download just click on the small black arrow under File or click on File and then on Download. The spreadsheet is an XLS version so you don't need Excel 2007 or later to open it.

I have protected the workings of the spreadsheet so that various formulae do not get overwritten but there is no password so just click on Unprotect Sheet if you wish to change something, but you probably shouldn't have to.

The data entry areas are highlighted in two different greens representing initial set up data and operational (working) data, e.g. how many of which wagon type, which locomotive(s) are to be assigned, etc. Data entered on the Permissible Loads sheet automatically comes in when you enter the numbers of wagons. Similarly, the motive power drop-down list for the train is linked to the locomotive types on the Permissible Load sheet. This brings in the maximum load for the motive power and the equivalent length in 4 wheel wagons.

The spreadsheet can be adjusted for different ruling grades and even locomotive and wagon types, there is no reason why this spreadsheet couldn't be used for another railway system. You will need to determine the ruling grade for your layout and apply this, not the actual ruling grade for the line you may be modelling. Of course, the maximum tonnages for each locomotive type must be obtained from a Working Time Table for an actual section of NSW trackage with a ruling grade that matches your layout ruling grade and it will then need to be entered into the initial set-up data cells.

When I set up the Permissable Loads table I generally added the single loads of two steam locomotives together when setting up the spreadsheet which is apparently not correct. I have been told that the maximum load for two steam locomotives was determined by adding the individual loads then reducing the load by about 10%. Note that from the Working Time Table, the loads for two diesels were simply doubled

The tonnage of the train can be adjusted for empty wagons, 25% full wagons, 50% full wagons, 75% full wagons, fully loaded or specific loads per wagon. Examination of a NSWGR Working Time Table will show that often the maximum number of wagons will be stated for both a 100% and a 75% loaded train.

As you can now see, the length of your train is dependent on the percentage load carried for the ruling grade of your layout as well as the number of wagons in the train as this may conflict with the minimum and maximum staging tracks or passing loops.

I have decided that since the NSWGR had information in the Working Time Table for 75% loads then it would seem likely that the target loading for a train was somewhere between 75 and 100% loading. If this is the case then this really helps our portrayal of prototypical operation on our layouts as it restricts the length of our trains to something that our model steam trains can actually haul.

Incidentally, if I used the 75% loaded column for the wagons on the double standard goods train then the load at 565 tons was 25 tons under the allowed maximum load of 590 tons.

I have always used 2 grams per HO foot measured over headstocks as my target for wagon weighting with a little modification for passenger cars. This system allows prototypical length trains to be hauled by our model steam trains sometimes with a little additional weight, but often without. Here is a spreadsheet that can be used to determine the mass of your HO wagons with a +/- 15% range.

HO Wagon and Passenger Car Mass Calculator

I should state here that when I set up a train on Bylong which will be banked from the rear it contains wagons that are sufficiently heavy to cause the train locomotive to be unable to haul it up the grades on the layout so that the banking locomotive is truly there to do its job. So, some of these wagons are over the upper limit of the weighting system but for a reason.

As an example of a typical fully loaded train here is a photo of a train headed by a D57 class that just fits into the loop at Bylong yard, not that long is it?

There you are then, a little something to think about and a useful tool if you decide to work to more prototypical length trains.