Category Archives: Signalling

Layout update

Over the last couple of months, I have installed a lot of the xps foam between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen and painted the backscene and ceiling “sky” blue.

The photo above shows the foam installed for the section where the New England Highway is just below the railway corridor and follows it up the grade towards Ardglen.

The roadway was formed by cutting out tapered strips of the foam at the same gradient as the railway and gluing down, following the curves I had previously marked out using some scrap pieces of thin foam, allowing it to bend and find natural easements.

Once these were in place, extra foam was glued down to build up the embankment between the road and railway. This will be carved to shape later, as will the rest you see above the railway line.

In the photo above, this shows the future hill behind the line that leads into the ballast quarry. On the right of the photo, there will be a level crossing, and in the foreground, another low hill. I won’t install the foam here until painting and ballasting of the track is complete so access is easier.

The photo above shows the foam in place for the embankment coming around the curve into Ardglen.

Timber risers have been installed to support future foam installation for the hills in front and behind the line leading into Ardglen.

As I was installing the foam in front of the track where the ballast siding is, I nearly forgot that there will be a couple of lever frames here to operate two turnouts. So after some quick designing, some recessed boxes were built into the benchwork to house these future lever frames.

The cutout in the benchwork for the first lever frame box.
The box is constructed from 9mm ply. The base/floor is removeable to allow for the installation of the lever frame later. The large scale “throw-over ball type” lever can be seen.
The box has been painted with the same matt black as I have used on the fascia. There will be a corresponding cutout in the fascia here when it is installed later.
There will be a second lever frame here in the right hand side box.
Another lever of the same type will be installed here for the catchpoints protecting the mainline from the ballast sidings.
This is the type of single lever that will be installed at the above locations. It will be made to a similar scale to that of the Kankool signal box frame.

The next jobs planned are to carry out some more ballasting between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen where the track currently ends. I have also commenced work on some more turnouts for Ardglen with the aim to install these so I can lay more tangent track through Ardglen and through the tunnel. Carving of the scenery foam will also take place.


Kankool frame installation – Part IV …

Hi all,

Yesterday I completed the final wire-in-tube terminations from the Kankool frame.

The runs to signals 15,17 & 18 had been left until last as I had to work out how I was going to operate the three arms.

Due to the hardware that is used when terminating the tube runs, and the space it requires, I had to come up with a different method for the three arms.  A block was mounted under the spline for signals 15 & 18, but a separate one was required for signal 17.  This also made it necessary to reverse the direction of throw for signal 17 from a “pull” to a “push”, so I fabricated a small crank.

So, as mentioned, this completes all wire-in-tube runs from the frame to all turnouts and signals.

I have also constructed a timber surround for the frame to not only conceal the frame workings, but to simulate the floor of a signal box.

This needed to be made removable to allow future access to the locking bed for maintenance purposes.  The surround is removed by sliding it away from the fascia.

As this will probably be my last post for 2016, I hope everyone has a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!


Kankool frame installation – Part III(a) …

Hi all,

Whilst recently carrying out final adjustments to the wire-in-tube controls to turnouts 7, 9 and 12 at Kankool, I discovered a minor problem with the control of turnouts 7.  On the prototype, lever 7 controlled two turnouts, both labelled ‘7’.  See the diagram below.  These two turnouts operated off the same single rodding run, as they were required to operate in tandem.


My original thought was that I would be able to simulate this in model form by operating both turnouts from the one control wire from the frame.  This was done by passing the control wire from the frame through turnout 7 on the loop first, then terminate at turnout 7 on the main.  This seemed like a good idea in theory, but when it came to adjusting the throw of each turnout, I couldn’t get both to operate successfully in tandem.

So I decided to terminate the existing control wire at turnout 7 on the loop and run a separate control wire from the frame to turnout 7 on the main and to connect it to lever 7.  See the result below.

Two of the brass ferrules were soldered together to enable both control wires to terminate on the one lever.

I was now able to adjust each turnout independently from each other.


Kankool frame installation – Part III …

Hi all,

Well, the Kankool lever frame is finally fixed in its position in the layout.

Whilst I was at the Liverpool model railway exhibition in Sydney over the October long weekend, Dale Richards made some modifications to the locking bed of the frame, as we had found some errors in the interlocking.

Upon returning home, I decided it was time to permanently mount the frame and connect the levers to the wire-in-tube, especially to the turnouts, so final testing and adjustments could be done.

I found that I also needed to make some changes to the direction of travel of some of the signal runs.  Eight of the signal runs require a “pull” rather than a “push” movement to enable the signal actuators to work correctly.

So, the cranks were disconnected from these levers, and new connecting rods made.

Below is a picture of the changes made.


Below is a picture of the frame now fixed in place with the redirected signal tubing clamped to a new mounting block.  The existing horizontal runs can also be seen.

I can now do final testing and adjustments to the turnout runs.


Kankool frame installation – Part II …

Hi all,

I’ve done some more installation of the Wire-in-tube (WIT) system for points and signals at Kankool.

Some timber bases were made to fix the WIT hardware to underneath the spline at the Willow Tree end of Kankool loop.

These have been made adjustable to allow for final tweaks when the turnout throwbars are installed.

The photo below shows the mounting block for the WIT signal hardware for the two Down starters on the left hand side, as well as the mounting block for the WIT point hardware for the runaway turnout in the loop and the mainline catchpoint.

Bases for fixing of WIT hardware


The next photo shows a shot from underneath the spline of the mounting block for the Up Home Main & Loop bracket signal and the mainline turnout to the loop.

Base for fixing of WIT hardware


The next photo shows a shot above the turnout complex at the Willow Tree end.  The loop of WIT that can be seen is to connect both mainline and runaway points to a single cable (lever #7).


This now completes the WIT installation for the Willow Tree end of Kankool.  Scenery installation can now commence in this area.


Kankool frame installation – Part I …

Hi all,

I have started to install the wire-in-tube (WIT) system that will operate the signals and points at Kankool.

The system is designed and sold by Modratec in Brisbane.

I am also using 3D printed signal actuators designed by Ray Pilgrim.  Check out his Signals Branch blog.

The actuators will be mounted in a block of wood that has been attached to the side of the spline in the appropriate location.  My own signals will then be attached to the base of the actuator.

signal mount

WIT and signal actuator

WIT and signal actuator

The photo above shows a view underneath one of the WIT termination blocks.  The cable from the lever frame is on the left and another wire then connects from the brass block to the lever on the signal actuator.

The WIT cables from the points and signals all come back to a termination block at the lever frame.

WIT termination at lever frame

WIT termination at lever frame

Refer back to a post here for a view of where the lever frame will sit.  Go to the last photo.

I have also added extra cranks and linkages to the levers of the Kankool frame to convert from a vertical to horizontal movement.

extra cranks & linkages

extra cranks & linkages

I had a mate laser cut some new cranks and got some clevises cast in brass to connect them altogether.  The wire throw to the points and signals will attach to the bottom clevis.

I realised I needed to commence the WIT installation before any scenery work could start, so I have already installed cables to nearly all signals, but I have to work on the turnout throwbars before I can terminate the point cables.


Kankool frame delivered to site …

Hi all,

Yesterday, Monday 20th May, saw the delivery of the first of three lever frames for the layout, this one being for Kankool.

Kankool frame

The frame was built by Tony Kociuba from McKenzie in H.O.Lland.  It has twenty levers for twelve signals, three turnouts, four facing point locks and one spare.  The frame is fully interlocked for all possible train movements through Kankool.  It is of the cam and tappet type machine commonly used throughout NSW.

It is a superb piece of model engineering and a work of art.  The main frame and levers are made from laser cut steel, with the locking bed and other bits fabricated from brass.

You may notice that the lever number plates are just a very basic brass plate at the moment, but I have some ideas on making them better looking.

Below are a couple of shots showing the frame with all levers in the normal position, and also with levers reversed for an Up train movement on the mainline.

Kankool frame

Kankool frame

It will be a while before the turnouts and signals are connected to the frame, but at least I have it on site now so I can plan its integration into the layout fascia.


Kankool lever frame …

Hi all,

As described in the Layout Stats, all turnouts and signals at Kankool, Ardglen & Pangela will be operated from fully interlocked mechanical frames, as per the prototype.

The frames are being built by Dale Richards from McKenzies, and he has commenced construction of the Kankool frame.  He has sent me some photos of the progress so far.  Credit must go also to Tony Kociuba from McKenzies who had this frame on standby.

Kankool frame         Kankool frame

Kankool was a 20 lever frame.  The model will be 315mm long, 260mm high & 170mm deep.

I hope to integrate the frames into the front valance of the layout at each location, possibly within a recessed area for protection.

I am really looking forward to getting the Kankool frame, even though it will be a while before it is actually operational.

Cheers for now.

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