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Jeff's (SRman) work bench and projects - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Feb 29th, 2020 04:08 am
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SRman
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It's fine by me, Nigel. I sometimes do the same myself, for the benefit of others, not just the original poster. It all helps (I hope). 

:cheers

The 2 amp rating is a bonus on these budget priced decoders, particulrly when fitting to Heljan diesels, which can draw current quite heavily on occasions.



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 Posted: Sat Feb 29th, 2020 04:21 am
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SRman
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I got the hair dryer out today, and set the last of the Electra Railway Graphics SouthWest Trains vinyl overlays on the remaining coach of my Bratchell Models class 455/9 unit. For the first time ever, I can see all four coaches together in the same livery.

This and the Thameslink class 319/3 still have no underframe equipment fitted, but both are fully runnable on the layout. I will have to apply the closer coupling arrangements to this unit, having worked it all out on the two class 319 units already.


P_20200229_125116_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr



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 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2020 12:25 pm
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SRman
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About a week or so ago, in my layout topic, I posted pics of some new models of SBB trains I had acquired second-hand from Ellis Clark Trains. Two of the three locomotives were either DCC-ready (Roco Ae 6/6) or already equipped with a DCC decoder (Lima Re 6/6). The third was an older Roco model, also an Ae 6/6 but was not DCC ready. 

I contemplated the circuit board for some time before working out how to convert the latter to DCC. This involved cutting a few tracks to separate the light circuits, and bypassing the track feeds altogether to go straight into the decoder (red and black wires), with the brush wires (orange and grey) also going directly to the brushes. I removed various redundant components, like the capacitor between the brushes, two chokes leading to the brushes, and the two diodes feeding the light bulbs. The light bulbs were replaced with cool white LEDs (I should have used warm white, but they are easily swapped later).

I also soldered the changeover contact solid so it could not be accidentally switched to overhead pickup from the pantographs.

I soldered the LEDs and resistors to the remaining appropriate pcb tracks, with the continuous one being connected to the blue positive wire, with the new resistors in circuit to the positive legs (shortened) on the LEDs, and the remaining negative legs (also shortened) soldered separately to the yellow and white wires.

I used a 9-pin JST harness so I could try it all out with a cheap Gaugemaster decoder, before swapping it for something better. Unfortunately, I found the Gaugemaster OPTI to be on the large side for the available space and I cannot quite clip the body back on properly, yet. The main thing is, it proved my wiring and modifications were good, and it all worked as it should. More by luck than anything else, I got the lights working the correct way for the direction of travel (that would have been easy to correct if necessary, either with some CV tweaks to reverse them, or simply swapping the white and yellow wires). 

I may have to desolder the JST harness and solder a much smaller (and better quality) decoder in, but having worked it all out properly to start with, that should be a relatively quick and easy job.

The first photo shows the chassis with all the mods and rather messy wiring. The decoder is tucked on its side down the side of one bogie (restricting the swing, but allowing me to get the body on sufficiently to take the remaining photos.

This is Ae 6/6 Co-Co locomotive 11494, Schlieren, now available for service. Bear in mind that the body is not quite fully seated, so there is some light bleed at the side from the LED.

Anyway, that has been my evening's work with the soldering iron, knife, and drill.



P_20200303_234049_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


P_20200303_233952_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


P_20200303_233940_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr



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 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2020 11:00 pm
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Update: Seeing as the initial installation was a success, and I don't need to allow for a quick decoder swap if one blows up, I have now put in a TCS M1 decoder, which sits comfortably on top of one of the bogie towers, with heaps of room around it. Motor control is also much, much better with the TCS.

With the Gaugemaster decoder, I had to put a value of 15 in CV2 to get the loco moving on speed step 1. There was no such problem with the TCS decoder, and the loco inches along on speed step 1 with no extra tweaking needed.


It now really needs a good run to get the electrical pickups back to good condition - it was a little hesitant at first but after even a short run it improved considerably.


The positions of the LEDs need slight adjustment to get them in optimum positions for the light guides, but in all other respects I am very happy with the results for what was a real bargain purchase.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 12:21 am
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I would like to know where you store all of these locos?



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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 02:23 am
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Most are in Ikea Alex unit drawers, apart from those on the layout. Some rolling stock is in large tubs, if they aren't in other Alex units. I have five of the wide Alex units under the layout, plus two taller, narrower versions in the room. Even so, I am running out of space.
:hmm


P_20180820_105618_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr



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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 08:51 am
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Ah yes, that well known railway modeller's disease - far too much stock !!

Do you give it all an occasional outing Jeff or is it a bit like mine - not worth the effort of selling it on so it sits, and sits, and sits.

I've got a few DC locos that I'll never get around to chipping but I paid hard earned cash for them and, because they tell me they're not worth a bean, they can carry on "sitting" ……………….  

Maybe someone will pop them in my box when my time comes - along with my Betamax and VHS video cameras and recorders, 120 film cameras and other "black and white" era trappings ..................... :roll: :roll:



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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 12:54 pm
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Wow - I counted 24 locomotives in the bottom drawer - 5 drawers, call it 120 locomotives per cabinet. At a conservative £75 each without decoders that's £9000. And there are another 4 cabinets plus 2 taller ones. Plus the bins? £50k-£60k? Probably double that with decoders.

I got into some interesting discussions with my household content insurers when I had the "gotta have it" shiny bug a few years ago and had more locomotives than track to run them on. They treated it like jewelry, with a hefty premium (replacement value, and depreciation is high) and wanted additional security measures - lockable fireproof cabinets, additional security for the room, hidden code on each one. In the end they referred me to a specialist insurer.


I now have a strict policy, if it doesn't get used in a year it goes on the for sale list. And I book a table at the next exhibition after 18 months and sell them on. And the regular contents insurance covers what I have. Big difference between being a collector and a model railroader. Nice if you can do both, but there are hidden costs.


Nigel




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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 08:55 pm
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Petermac wrote: Ah yes, that well known railway modeller's disease - far too much stock !!

Do you give it all an occasional outing Jeff or is it a bit like mine - not worth the effort of selling it on so it sits, and sits, and sits.

I've got a few DC locos that I'll never get around to chipping but I paid hard earned cash for them and, because they tell me they're not worth a bean, they can carry on "sitting" ……………….  

Maybe someone will pop them in my box when my time comes - along with my Betamax and VHS video cameras and recorders, 120 film cameras and other "black and white" era trappings ..................... :roll: :roll:

I do have too much stock, but I do make a point of running everything at some point in time. Some stock gets more running than others, but I rotate the time periods I am representing. At present, I am slowly switching trains over from the 1960s to the 1990s.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 4th, 2020 09:00 pm
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BCDR wrote: Wow - I counted 24 locomotives in the bottom drawer - 5 drawers, call it 120 locomotives per cabinet. At a conservative £75 each without decoders that's £9000. And there are another 4 cabinets plus 2 taller ones. Plus the bins? £50k-£60k? Probably double that with decoders.

I got into some interesting discussions with my household content insurers when I had the "gotta have it" shiny bug a few years ago and had more locomotives than track to run them on. They treated it like jewelry, with a hefty premium (replacement value, and depreciation is high) and wanted additional security measures - lockable fireproof cabinets, additional security for the room, hidden code on each one. In the end they referred me to a specialist insurer.


I now have a strict policy, if it doesn't get used in a year it goes on the for sale list. And I book a table at the next exhibition after 18 months and sell them on. And the regular contents insurance covers what I have. Big difference between being a collector and a model railroader. Nice if you can do both, but there are hidden costs.


Nigel




I know there's a lot of money tied up, with full encouragement from my wife too.  :cool:

There are few flaws in your sums, though, Nigel. Only two of the Alex units are full of locos or EMU/DMUs, the rest (apart from a couple of the smaller drawers) are wagons and coaches, or materials associated with repairs or modifications, or layout building - one drawer has wheels and bogies, another has electrical items, and so on. Also, I have a fair few items bought as bargains or second-hand. On the other side of the coin, how does one value kit- or scratchbuilt items?

Edit: Also to consider are those EMUs and DMUs, which take up two, three or four spaces (five for the Brighton Belle units), but have only one motive unit equivalent to a loco. Of the Alex units like the one in the photo, the third drawer up on each of the two motive storage ones are for steam locos, four drawers on the left-hand unit are for diesels and electrics, the remaining six drawers have those aforementioned EMUs and DMUs. There are six drawers per cabinet on the ones illustrated. The other two taller but narrower cabinets have nine drawers, but allocated as mentioned above. About five of those drawers have stock in them, the rest have road vehicles, parts, electrical, wheels and bogies, seat units, miniature people to populate the layout with, and so on.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 5th, 2020 02:09 am
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Hi Jeff,

Replacement value of the equivalent is what you should be looking at, not the cost of buying.That old Lima that only cost £20 from the UK second hand on eBay 5 years ago is going to cost how much to replace today, assuming you can still get it? Probably £40-50.

Same goes for coaches and freight stock. What was £5 second hand 5 years ago is going to cost how much today? Last time I looked those coaches are approaching £50-60 new.

Kits are an issue, especially old ones no longer in production. There you have to use FMV and what they are going for, or replacement with the nearest equivalent.That K's Dean Goods picked up for £20 is going to cost how much to replace from Oxford Models? Last time I looked around £99 and that was on special.

Most of us seriously underestimate the cost of replacing items int the event of flood, fire or theft. Insurance works on replacement cost, not what you paid X number of years ago. The trade value of a 1 carat diamond is only a few thousand, set in a ring the replacement value is nearer 10-15 thousand. My wife and I had a great arrangement a few years ago (which is when I ended up with way to much stock), whatever I spent on diamonds for Christmas, birthdays and anniversary presents I got to spend the same on the model railway. The home contents policy tripled in cost. Bling is bling, whether it's on a finger or on the rails.

I keep a very simple spreadsheet that gets updated twice a year - cost of buying, cost of replacing. These days it's within the value allowed under the general insurance policy. Kits have an additional column - time to build and how much it would cost from a kit builder (locomotives only). You can essentially double or even triple the cost when this is factored in. Same goes for weathering.

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Mar 5th, 2020 02:00 pm
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All hobbies are expensive Nigel - some more so that others.

When I was but a callow youth, I was "into" classic cars - amongst others, I had a 1949 Triumph Roadster (as in the Bergerac detective series on TV).  It cost me £70 in the early 60's, several hundred pounds in restoration and today, that same car would cost me around £25 - £30,000.  Similarly, I had a Series 1 Land Rover which I used for cross-country trials.  I got it as a swap for 4 piglets (!!!) from a local farmer.  I didn't spend that much on it - replacement springs and the odd repair as a result of the trialing although I did keep it in good nick.  Again, today such a vehicle sells at £20 - £25,000 !!!

RC model boats followed the normal, massively expensive, foray into girls and when I think about what I spent on those things, it makes a model railway looks sensible.

Whilst insurance companies may well set premiums based on replacement costs, my experience is that they seldom pay out that value.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 5th, 2020 09:50 pm
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'petermac,

Insurance payouts.

They do if you have documentation on the FMV and the items were clearly listed on the insurance application. There is always the deductible of course, but that applies to any insurance claim. A good new model locomotive with DCC installed comes to around 250-350 (pounds, euros, dollars, although some of the latest steam HO models here are over 500, vintage and new brass ones in the 1000-2000 range), so 10-20 of those is a serious investment that probably exceeds the limit of a general policy. Bit like driving the vintage Landy without comprehensive and for new replacement insurance.

The NMRA over here provides contacts to specialized brokers who know about model railways. If I was elsewhere and had a big 'un with plentiful stock I would be talking to a broker to make sure the general policy covered the collection, and if not what about a clause covering the stock. Same goes for the actual layout. I read somewhere that it's an investment of about 100-300 per yard/meter. Not sure what the insurance industry thinks about garden shed or cabin layouts though.

After an adventure with a flooded basement and a big collection of stock (nowhere near Jeff's but vintage brass doesn't tolerate being under water for very long) I for one appreciate the protection that adequate insurance gives.

Jeff, sorry to go on but a large collection is a serious investment that needs adequate protection. Some of the large layouts around where I live are insured for $50k-$100k.

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Mar 5th, 2020 11:06 pm
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I have a spreadsheet that I keep adding to as I document my stock. Locomotives and motive units are all accounted for (no values put in yet, but that is coming), and coaches and wagons are slowly being documented. Values ahve to be estimates, but I like your idea of having the two columns, one for original purchase value (plus labour for kits), and the other for replacement value.

One of the reasons I have been photographing all of my models is for insurance purposes, as well as 'showing off'. Even if I have not given a price on them, I can prove they existed through the photos and videos.



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 Posted: Fri Mar 6th, 2020 02:36 pm
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Hi Jeff,

Good approach. I have the photo's of the stock linked to the spreadsheet, along with any invoices. Really should use a database, just easier to use the spreadsheet as I am in Excel all the time.

Out of interest I checked on an HO model I'm doing some work on - a Proto 2000 EMD E7A in Great Northern livery. Duel diesel engines in the prototype, so it has a custom QSI 2-speaker sound decoder (stereo) being installed. The cost of a replacement "new, old stock" from eBay is around $100 if it is available (rare one), no decoder, so figure another $120. One with the same decoder setup went for around $225 recently. Brand new from Bachmann with sound $299. It cost me $50 4 years ago, plus the decoder at $75 and $25 for the reprogramming. Purchase cost $150, replacement cost would be $225 minimum, more likely $299.

'Petermac made the comment about old dinosaurs in the storage drawers. Trawling eBay and other sites it becomes clear that old models do not necessary lose that much value, and in some cases become desirable items with a price to match. That E7A is an example of a model almost doubling in replacement price 4 years later. Mainline coal and mineral wagons are another example where the eBay price has doubled in just a few years.

Pays to keep track of what is being spent and probably more importantly how much it would cost to replace.

Nigel






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 Posted: Fri Mar 6th, 2020 11:16 pm
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I still have a few old models (not on the spreadsheet) for nostalgia reasons. Most are not worth much at all - I didn't pay much for them and eBay prices show that they are still not worth much.

I have tried to sell a few surplus models on eBay: a few sold but others did not attract any bids, even with starting prices of $AUS10. Demand is low here, and postage costs kill any chance of overseas sales. 

That means a few old models (mostly Triang) that I don't want are languishing in storage tubs, but they are very much a minority.



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 Posted: Sat Mar 7th, 2020 12:09 pm
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Hi Jeff,

The curse of modeling OO/4mm outside of the UK - not much of a market for selling on, and high postage costs are a real disincentive for buyers in the UK. 

Nigel



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I too have amassed a great number of loco's and rolling stock - and have been working on a spreadsheet to document my purchases, so someone (my beneficiary's for example), will have an idea of what the whole "collection" is worth. 
Even if, I (or they), don't get to sell it at the going rate, there's still a "pretty penny" left, as most of the stock is fairly newish and saleable. 

It's absolutely startling how much I have spent, and how much rolling stock I have, that I don't actually use! 

To date AUD $5668.40 on Locos (and some have not been listed yet) and AUD $4607.85 on rolling stock (and that's a calculated estimate) not to mention the hundreds of dollars on scenery, buildings, vehicles, track, points and point motors, DCC chips, and the like, that I haven't yet calculated on the spread sheet!!  :roll:

There's also the UNcalculated hours of work done in making base boards, laying track, installing point motors, wiring and soldering, ballasting and cleaning that we as modellers will NEVER get back, as THAT is the part we enjoy.

It's a labour of love, not money, that get's us to this point of having so much. It's just not as attractive to "outsiders" who all think its just a grand toy and something to put away in the cupboard after Christmas.

Trying to "on-sell" my surplus stock is rather daunting, as you say, we are on "the other side of the world", and postage rates are not kind these day, especially the dreaded "third party" extortionists. I suppose I should really thank them for keeping the postage rates so high, or I would've doubled my inventory by now!!  :lol:

I see rolling stock going for a pittance in the UK that I would dearly love to buy, only to see the postage starting from AUD$35.00 and upwards, which makes it very painful purchase for a AUD$5.00 item. Even scouring the sites for handbrake wheels, I find them affordable enough, until I see the postage, OR they do not post world wide at all! 

*SIGH* no wonder us kiwi's & aussies invented so much, we blardy well HAD too! ;-)

Aust Post are no too bad. I recently sent a loco to the UK for AUD$23.00 (approx GBP11.72), yet the other way is so expensive, I hesitate to buy anything now. As I said it's probably a blessing, as I do have enough to keep me busy, but I dread to think how much I'll be stuck with if I fall on hard times.  :???: :???:


  
  
 



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 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2020 10:53 pm
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Absolutely spot-on there, PC. You have hit the nail squarely on the head.

Two of the main reasons why Hatton's and Rails in particular still can get so much custom from over here are that they take off VAT and they seem to be able to send things with very reasonable postal rates.

I too have looked at things on eBay at very reasonable prices, only to find they want $AUS99 postage, or some other equally ridiculous figure.



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I have been wrestling with a couple of Hornby class 56 locos lately. The first has sound but the lights were defective, and the second had seized solid, as well as not having its lights.

Dealng with 56 127 first, I had reblown the Hornby ESU v3.5 decoder with legomanbiffo sound, a slightly cut-down project to fit it on the decoder. I had given up on the lights as I could not get a flicker from them at one end, no matter how much I tweaked the contacts or fiddled with the wiring. I decided a while ago to order a lighting kit from Jason Edmunds (Stickswipe on eBay), who is always very helpful. He offered to split or combine lighting functions for the marker lights and headlights - I chose to have headlights on with the markers. However, I wanted to separate the tail lights out so it would be more realistically able to haul trains with head/marker lights on but no tail lights. Also, I dithered for quite a long time, trying to work out how to run the wires from the lights to avoid them showing in the cabs or behind the grilles. I ended up threading them around over the doors (so they can still open) over the side grilles at the radiator end, and then down behind the bulkheads, using 3-pin plugs to allow the body to be removed without too much disturbance to the wires. I put the blue positive return wire to the centre pin to ensure I could not accidentally short the lights out - it wouldn't kill them if I connected white to yellow by accident.

I connected the head and tail lights at the #1 (radiator) end as per usual - white to head/marker lights, yellow to tail lights. For the #2 end, I resorted to soldering the yellow and white wires to the aux outputs on the 21-pin connector. The blue went to the normal connection on the PCB. To test all this out without accidentally killing the expensive sound decoder, I plugged in a much cheaper (non-sound) Hatton's 21-pin 4-function decoder and it all worked as it should, so the ESU decoder was restored to its rightful place. The first photo shows the soldered connections with the decoder removed and sitting on the speaker.


P_20200512_160954_vHDR_Auto by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


P_20200511_220757_vHDR_Auto by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


The second class 56, 56 049 in railfreight red-stripe grey, was a different proposition. It was bought second-hand many years ago and worked fine apart from the usual bugbear of dodgy lights (hence I got it quite cheaply). I went to run it a few days ago and it sat humming but not moving. On dismantling, I found that by removing the bogie tower tops, which just spring off their locating lugs, I could test the motor without the drive to the bogies, which proved the motor was fine but the bearings on the tower tops had seized solid. The whole lot was swimming in an unknown oil, some of which had congealed and completely glued the worms and bearings. I removed these and soaked them in a combination of IPA and methylated spirits for several hours, and ceaned up some of the excess oil from the bogies and gear train. On reassembly I applied a small amount of oil to the drive shafts where they slide in and out of the shafts from the motor and flywheels and to the bearings at either end of the worm drive. On test on DC power with a blanking plug in place, the motor and shafts turned smoothly enough, with a little bit of bearing shriek from the towers. I unclipped the tops again and cleaned the worms and bearings again, then put it all back together, with the same result. Not entirely right, but at least it runs smoothly enough, but with some intermittent noise. 

Turning my attention to the lights, I found they were all capable of working, but weren't contacting the pads properly. A few judicious bends in the springy contacts resulted in some promising flickers of light, so with a little further tweaking I got them all working again.

I ran the locomotive for a few hours on the rolling road, in both directions, on DC. It improved but still shrieked intermittently. Anyway, I decided it was sufficiently working to reinstall a decoder, this time upgrading slightly to a Lenz Standard+ v.2. Further running on the rolling road showed no improvements, but I chose to accept it as it is for now. Hopefully the proper modeller's oil will penetrate the bearings and shafts and quieten down properly with more running. The photo shows the locomotive before I fixed the lighting.


P_20200604_200557_vHDR_Auto by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


I have been reluctant to post too many photos recently because I am running out of space on the free Flickr site. I have to find another free hosting site or pay for an ongoing subscription. Any suggestions would be welcomed.




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