Category Archives: Trackwork
Well, I’m still here..!
Apologies for the lack of posts since April 2022. Here’s a brief catch up.
Bogie Ballast Plough
I completed the assembly and detailing of the Stephen Johnson Models bogie ballast plough kit.
I got it to the point where it received a primer undercoat, but that got stripped off again as I wasn’t happy with the finish. It’s currently still sitting on the workbench.
UP Staging Yard extension – Part 2
Work commenced on removing the existing turnouts at the other end of the Up staging yard to accommodate some new 3-way turnouts to complete the lengthening of these yards.
All the turnouts were removed and the PCB sleepers and rail salvaged. Two new 3-way turnouts were built.
New source of XPS foam for scenery
Ever since Bunnings ceased stocking the Knauf XPS foam sheets, I had spent time trying to source a replacement. I contacted a few suppliers but most wanted exorbitant shipping costs to Port Macquarie. I eventually found a building supply company near Canberra that could ship unlimited sheets to me for only $85. So an order of 25 sheets (2400 x 600 x 30mm) was placed just prior to Christmas. The cost per sheet came to $28, and as these were double the size of the old Knauf ones, they ended up being about $4 more expensive. I can live with that. Having replenished my stock of foam, I can now resume scenery work between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen.
Spline prep at Ardglen for future turnout controls
One of my goals for this year is to continue tracklaying through Ardglen and onto Pangela. For this to proceed, some cutting of the spline at the turnout locations was necessary.
The locations in the main area of Ardglen were quite straightforward. This involved removing a section of spline with a router down to a depth of approximately 6mm to accommodate a piece of ply. Once this was glued in position, the remaining spline underneath the ply was cut away. Extra supports either side of the cut-out are also installed where required.
However, the turnout leading from the loop extension into the ballast sidings required a bit more thinking of how to get the router in there, considering I had already laid track on the mainline.
So a plan was devised to support the router over the mainline track using some old melamine shelving that I had. This did the job well.
New motive power arrives
In the last week, Auscision Models delivered their ALCo 44 class locomotives. I had pre-ordered four of these Mark I type. Another superb model. Looking forward to weathering these beasts.
As I mentioned above, I hope to complete a lot of work on the layout this year. One of the first jobs is to complete the ceiling panel and backscene prep over Ardglen for the sky blue paint. Then I want to get back into some scenery foam installation around Ardglen and where the tunnel will start. Once a few of the turnouts for Ardglen are complete, I can also commence tracklaying through Ardglen, through the future tunnel and onto Pangela.
That’s it for this update.
More ballasting & Kankool signal box platform takes shape
The last few months has seen more progress on ballasting from Kankool through to where the main peninsular starts.
I generally work on around 2 feet worth of ballast per day.
The process starts with Pan Pastels applied to the sleepers and rail as a start on the weathering. Then glue is applied to the formation shoulder and dry ballast sprinkled on. More ballast is applied over the sleepers and brushed into position.
Then a diluted mixture of Matte Mod Podge and water is dripped onto the ballast, after liberally spraying with isopropyl alcohol to aid in penetration of the glue into the ballast.
This is left to dry for 24 hours, and the process is repeated. The line of ballast seen to the right of the track is just loose stuff that has been brushed clear of the shoulder prior to glue being applied. This will be vacuumed up later and reused.
Further to my post on April 6 showing the start of the Kankool signal box platform, more work has been completed with timbers stained and glued to the frame.
Kappler 3″ x 9″ stripwood was cut into 8 foot lengths. These were then ‘distressed’ by dragging a wire brush across the top, as well as removing the sharp edges in places with a scalpel blade. They were then stained with some Vallejo acrylic paint thinned with isopropyl alcohol. The first pass was done with burnt umber, then when dry, a black wash was applied.
Working from photos, I also had to cut small notches in the ends of a few timbers to accommodate the vertical posts for the handrails, which will be added later.
Ballasting at Kankool
I have recently started applying dirt and ballast around the turnouts at the Werris Creek end of Kankool. The picture below shows the initial application prior to gluing. The ballast tends to darken once glued, but I have been going over it again, once dry, with either pastels, grouts or dirt to lighten up again.
The section of track curving away in the upper right hand corner is the “run-off” from the loop on the falling grade. It is essentially a catchpoint protecting the main line. This short section will be modelled as overgrown with grasses and not much ballast.
Sleepers and rail have been weathered using pan pastels. The track has previously been sprayed with Krylon Camo Brown, and the pastels take to it nicely. In the picture below, you can see the difference between the weathered and non weathered section of track. You can see the difference in the rail colour at the extreme left.
More scenery work at Chilcott’s Ck
Have been doing more scenery work lately between Chilcotts Ck bridge and Kankool.
Getting some scenery dirt down and more long grass.
Over the last few weeks I have been working on applying scenery to a small diorama I initially made a few years ago. Up until now, it had just been sitting around with track ballasted but no scenery.
So out came the scenery dirt and static grasses. Still a work in progress as I am yet to finish the road. I was trialling different techniques to produce long grass. Basically, the first layer is 2mm fibres applied into Mod Podge glue. When that has dried, 3M Super 77 adhesive spray is applied over the top then a mixture of 4mm and 6mm fibres is applied over the top. Different colours are mixed together to get away from a uniform colour. Additional grass tufts, weeds etc are then added.
Well I can’t believe it’s 12 months since my last post. I just never seemed to get around to posting anything.
One of the biggest tasks undertaken was to re-glue the rails to the CV ties all the way from Kankool to Ardglen. I had discovered that the rail had started to lift in quite a few locations. I am still unsure what the cause was, but I’m putting it down to my initial glue mixture of contact cement and MEK.
I had been very apprehensive about doing it, but realised I had to just bite the bullet. Subsequently over about a six week period, I lifted 38 metres of rail, cleaned the old glue of the base and also off the CV ties, and using Pliobond straight from the tube, applied it to both rail and ties and re-laid the rail back in place. The process wasn’t too bad, as it was still all pre-curved.
During the process, I also increased the gap between lengths of rail from virtually nothing to around the thickness of a piece of paper.
The next biggest task had been to install more scenery foam nearly all the way to where Ardglen quarry is located. This was roughed in using previous techniques and is yet to be carved to shape.
More backscene board was installed, again, up to where the quarry is located.
An interesting article in this month’s (May) Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine on keeping wheels and track clean.
Go to Page 9, “Publisher’s Musings”.
Some time ago, there was a thread on the MRH Forums on this same discussion, and I purchased a graphite stick and have been using it occasionally on the short section of track between Chilcott’s Creek and Kankool. I have yet to actually “clean” the track with a track rubber or similar since the initial application of graphite, and locos run perfectly on it every time, most often with months between runs.
Tried out some weathering on the ballast today.
As mentioned previously, the glued ballast dries a bit too dark, so I’ve gone over it with some grey pan pastels. More rust colour has been re-applied to the rail and onto the ballast to get that rust stained look. Some black also applied between the rails for the oil stains that occur from bogies and traction motors.
A work in progress.
Start to ballasting
Some ballasting work this morning.
PVA glue was brushed onto the shoulders of the roadbed first so following applications of ballast wouldn’t just slide down the slope!
Using a spoon and tapping it, ballast was applied to the shoulders.
The next stage will be to apply ballast to the track and glue in position.
Preparing for ballasting
I have started back on some scenery work from Chilcott’s Ck bridge towards Kankool.
This has involved preparing the track for ballasting. I recently reshaped the roadbed profile as I wasn’t happy with how it looked. Using a grinding bit in the Dremel, I carefully ground more of an angled shoulder from the end of the sleepers down to the surrounding formation. Once this was complete, I glued some base ‘dirt’ down on the profile shoulders. I then added some colour to the sleepers and rail using Pan Pastels.
In the last photo, you can see the difference where the track has not been coloured.