Last nights Ops Session

Another Friday ops night

     Had most of the crew around last night for the regular monthly operating session on the SFRSD.
I usually send out a bulletin that is the official notice to all the guys that the night is on. Actually there are a few of us that hold sessions through out the year so at the beginning of each year we send out a calendar so we can all fit in with one another.
    Last weeks bulletin was number 92 so there have been the odd one or two over the years sent to the guys.
    Not all the guys could make last nights session so we just had the just nine of us.
    After show and tell (which can take up to half an hour on some nights) the session swung into action with the fast clock set to 4 to 1 and starting at 6.45 am. This gives the yard masters at Augusta and Flynn plus the crew for the first two trains time to acquire their locos and hook up the pre-staged trains #1 and 2.
     Train #1 is a loaded grain train that departs Augusta at 7.10 am headed for Flynn while train #2 and empty grain leaves Flynn at 7.30 am. These two meet at Red Rock if the dispatcher is doing his job (I took the first session) and Greg J took the next.
     Here are a few snaps from the night.

Brendan was in charge of Flynn Yard while Ron works beside him.
John likes to look after the Augusta Yard. Here he is studying the car cards for the next train.
Here's Greg at the dispatchers desk. Brendan and Ron are at Flynn.
Dennis, Vic and Noel are at Winfield. Just caught Vic at a bad time.
And here's Darren patiently waiting for his train
I got to run the mixed freight from Augusta to Flynn and so added the track geometry car  for its first run.
     I want to thank all my crew for helping to make all of my operating sessions so much fun this and previous years.
Catch you next time.


Custom Painting Part 4

The next step
     After getting all the decals on, sealed with Solvaset and washed clean I asked Graham if he would let me have a go at weathering his loco. I was happy that he said yes as I could see that these Alco locos on the FNM were not that well cared for so weathering number 614 should hopefully come out looking like it was earning its keep once added to his fleet.
     My first task was to give the shell a wash to remove any decal setting solution. I did this in some luke warm water with just a hint of washing liquid in the water to help remove any contaminants. I let it air dry for a while and then the fun began. (Fortunately we had some warm weather so it did not take long for it to dry).
    The next step was to make the paint look like it had faded under the hot Mexican sun so I set about spraying the body, handrails and the fuel tank with a mix of Tamiya flat white mixed with a very small amount of Tamiya Red / Brown. This gave me a very light buff colour as a base on which to start the weathering.
     I took a very small amount of metal silver and dry brushed the trucks after I had given them a brush of flat black. This gave them a bit of highlight and made them look a little more worn around the edges.   
     Once the body and other items had dried (and that took no time at all) I gave them a spray of Testors Dullcote straight from the rattle can to seal the paint ready for the next step.
    I grabbed my bottle of Tamiya Panel Line Black and using about a 1/2 inch wide flat brush gave the whole body, fuel tank and walkways a wash only taking paint from the top of the bottle so it was not stirred and not too dark. Once this dried I took out some burnt umber oil paint mixed a dab with odourless thinners and added just a hint along the top of the body, on the nose and in the grills toward the back on the top also. I added a small amount on the fuel tank and on the trucks. I let all of this dry for quiet a while. Once dry I hit the top and sides of the body with some Pan Pastel Burnt Sienna pastels. I rubbed this in with a Pan Pastel applicator to get an even coat as this helped dull down the body even more. Another spray of DullCote and that was the body done.

    I'm rather happy the way Alco number 614 has turned out now Graham has to add a decoder (hopefully a loksound) and put it all back together and get it to earn its keep on his RR.

    My images are off a bit however here they are for what they are worth.

These top two images show the decaling finished

Sprayed with my mix of flat white and red/brown

And how the body looks after a bit of work
   The cab is not sitting as it should as the windows need fitting since they were removed to assist in painting without having to clean them.
   Once Graham has completed all of the assembly hopefully I can grab an image to show how it looks completely assembled.

Well that's it for today now onto decaling number two an Alco C424.
Thanks for popping in.



Custom Painting Part 3

Decalling the Alcos

     Graham the owner of the 4 Alco's that I painted way back in May this year has been a very busy man. Lots to do let-alone do much modeling so I offered to do the decalling on the 4 of them.
     So after we finished up one of our regular Friday get togethers I left Grahams place with several small plastic boxes containing 4 chassis, 4 sets of Alco body parts and 4 sets of Microscale decals in my hand.
     Graham had purchased 4 sets of Microscale 60-4081 FNM Locomotives National Railways of Mexico 1991+ decals and having used MS decals before I knew that they would be good to apply.    
     So job one was to try and find some decent coloured images of a FNM Alco 628. That was not that easy as they are far and few between. Having said that I did find one that was sort of ok to use at least as a basis of what was needed.
     Man what a job, the decal stripes that separate the two blues are just so fine and to top it off they meet at the back and even go up and across the tip of the nose of the loco. Fortunately Micro Scale provides a good number of stripes on the decal sheet just in case. Carefully cutting between the stripes was a necessity so a new #11 blade and a nice straight metal rule was used to get that done. I use an old glass plate from the kitchen (note to self go get a nice piece of flat glass) on which to cut out all of my decals. This gives a nice crisp edge.
    I started on the left hand side with the first stripe letting it dry on the body and then giving it a coat of Solvaset. I have owned this bottle for about 20 years and thankfully it still has some life in it, not much left but still going strong.
   I rushed a bit adding the Solvaset before the decal had completely dried so they did move a bit which did cause some bad words. Still over the past 3 days working on an off waiting for each application to dry the first loco is done. The weather has helped as it is 30C (90 F) outside so a nice temp inside in which to work but also get the decals to dry quickly.

   Here are just a few shots of work in progress and completed prior to weathering.

The locos will get a wash before the coat of dullcoat is applied

The 2 images above show the completed decalling after a wash and following a spray of Dullcoat
     I tried to get some shots outside however the wind was kinda strong and was going to blow the lot over the next doors fence. So these will have to suffice for this post. 
     I think I might have a break from decalling for a while and tackle the weathering on Alco # 614 next. So we will see what it looks like on the next post if all goes well.
Thanks for coming by.


Next BDL install

The turnout block detection
     Currently all of the turnouts on the SFRSD are included in the mainline detected blocks through each of the towns excluding the arrival turnouts at Augusta and Flynn.
     This was done for expediency as we wanted to get the panel up and running for the N Scale convention now over 18 months ago. In fact it is two years ago this month that all of the detection work was being carried out to get to the first phase of ABS.
     This worked very well however in some instances it is difficult for the dispatcher to see exactly where the train is stopped as the main line and turnouts all show red. The train might very well be stationary at the signal but the dispatcher cannot see that on the panel.
     After discussing with the panel pro master along with the wiring crew it was agreed that this could be an easy fix. There are several open connections on the BDL that serves Guthrie that can be hooked up without any outlaying of funds and only one more BDL would be required to complete Red Rock, Ponca City, Hackney, Winfield and Udall.
      So after my fun and finance minister approved a grant for a new BDL off went the order.
     The BDL arrived a week or so ago and so I asked a good friend John C if he would be willing to wire up the 4th BDL. John had done the first 3 so it was good to have them all wired the same. The BDL was wired and delivered on Saturday so I set to and mounted it under the peninsular where the towns of Ponca City and Hackney reside, this afternoon. This also allows me to continue the loco net cable from the last SE8C that also resides at this location. This is the only BDL mounted so far away from the On Guard Circuit Breakers and done for a reason. It will only require the power and earth cables to be run and not each block wire as was done with the other three. Another lesson learnt.

     So here is the fourth BDL168 #10 ready for the power, earth and block wires to be installed.

    We all learnt many years ago that there are terminal blocks and there are terminal blocks. The ones we used are from Altronics and are by far the best we have come across. They have a metal strip below the clamping screw so you get a much better outcome with the wire being held nice and firm and not coming loose as the standard screw only blocks.
   Who said DCC only need 2 wires LOL
So once the lads are free to help we can get underway.
Thanks for taking the time to drop by.