Saturday, 4 January 2020

QGX Grain Wagons

Currently I have two QGX bottom discharge grain wagons in my grain wagon fleet. Queensland Railways were many years behind other rail operator to move to this type of operations. By large, wheat from the Darling Downs was conveyed to Pinkenba. State Wheat Board had a tippler for the gondola WH and WHE wagons and very little other operations were around at this time. .  

A prototype aluminium bottom discharge wagon entered service in 1965 as the VGY class, the class consisted of one wagon # 33769. Details are; Tare 12t, the gross weight on all lines 40.6t, some “B” lines 42.6t and “S” & “A” lines 44.7t. The unit length was 2.5, the same as the WH and WHE wagons. The draw pack consisted of self-container buffers, Alliance auto couples with transition couplings, D1 drawgear class. The wagon rolled on QR 22 bogies with 850 mm wheels and had a cubic capacity of 42.2 m³. Drawing P 212 suggest this was a Com.Eng built wagon. Filling the wagon must have been a pain, five hatches760 mm dia. on top of the wagon. The WH and WHE wagons with traps would of been much easier, undo the trap on one side, pull back to other side and the whole wagon was exposed for loading.  


Willowburn May 1993
This pathed the way for the QGX wagon. The class numbers was built over many contracts.
Details are; Tare 12.2t, gross weight on all lines 40.6t, some “B” lines 42.6t and “S” & “A” lines 48.7t. The unit length was 2.5, the same as the WH and WHE wagons. The draw pack consisted of self-container buffers, National rubbers Sharon auto couples with transition couplings, D1 drawgear class. The wagon had a cubic capacity of 46.72 m³. The three fiberglass hatch gave an opening of 7 620 mm x 685mm. At first the wagons only had one walkway for loading. A second was added with later contracts in 1976, earlier wagons had the walkway added as the wagon passed through the workshops. From 1971 a modification was made to the centre hatch, wagons with modified hatch were recoded to QGX/C. The program lasted to 1979 and all wagons were coded back to QGX.
The wagons were fitted with a manually operated “Empty & Loaded” brake lever.  When the wagon was empty, the lever was set to “E” and when loaded the lever was changed to “L”.
Type “A”  Contracts details.   
# Built
33780 – 33829
QR 22
Scotts, Ipswich
33830 - 33904
QR 16 A
Scotts, Ipswich
34617 - 34666
QR 16 A
Steelweld - Wacol
36626 - 36675
QR 36
Steelweld - Wacol
1973 - 74
37220 -37259      
QR 36
Steelweld - Wacol
39131 – 39180  
QR 36
Com Eng - Salisbury
40973 - 41022
QR 16A
Vickers - Ipswich
QGX/C (Mid 1970’s Logo added to the side).
In 1976 some “QGX” wagons have been modified and re classed “QGXM” for the conveyance of malt. The modification was the provision of plastic foam seals around the hatch coaming. The wagons were also marked “BULK MALT” on the side in 12” (305 mm) block letters instead of “BULK GRAIN” as previously. The wagons so re-classified must remain in use solely for the conveyance of Bulk Malt. Bulk Malt was also carried in HJM wagons (1968 – 25849, 25887, 25777, 25883) and PF 34269 (1968) wagons between Toowoomba and Cairns.   
During their service life, fumigation outlets, protector plates over control rods were added to the wagons.

QGX 33786 as delivered to Service.

“A” end of Type “A” wagons  (2003)
“B” end of Type “A” wagons.
Roof hatches Type “A” wagons. 
Type “B” These wagons were similar, but different to the other QGX wagons in traffic..
# Built
43580 - 43659
QR 36 A
Com Eng - Salisbury
44947 - 44996
QR 36 A
Vickers - Ipswich
Details are; Tare 13t, the gross weight on all lines 40.6t, some “B” lines 42.6t and “S” & “A” lines 48.7t. These wagons were readily identified by the different ends and full length sliding doors. The wagon had a cubic capacity of 46.72 m³.
There was a reported sighting on one wagon having the “G” removed from the “Bulk Grain” on the wagon side, “BULK RAIN”.


QGX 43618 Gladstone Aug 85. J.Buckland Photo.
 A number of QGX Bulk Grain wagons were modified by the removal of buffers and transition couplings and these wagons were reclassified as QGA wagons (W/N 13/89, dated 30-03-89)  This program was completed in 1993, 455 wagons remaining.
With the introduction for higher carry capacity coal wagons in Central Queensland, many of the lighter carry capacity coal wagons were allocated other work. Coal wagons had been used in the grain traffic before in peak seasons.
VAO coal wagon being used for grain traffic.

With loaders being 3.5 metres above the ground became a WHS issue. When wagons were loaded, they were often controlled shunted on a grade or pushed by a tractor or vehicle, at times loaders were knocked to the ground.  The coal wagons had a higher carry capacity and stayed within the limits for “A” lines making them more suitable. This saw a decline in the number of QGX required with only 355 wagons in service in 1998, with the introduction of the VGH and VGK class wagons with air operated loading hatches in 2000, the numbers dropped quickly. By 2002, 36 remained in service for the Tolga to Kingaroy peanut traffic. The peanut traffic ceased in October 2003, with the last consignment of 11 wagons arriving at Kingaroy on 14th October 2003.   A few of the class can be found in Museums around the state. QGA 33885 at Capella, 33889 is in a mural with three other wagons at Clermont. QGA 44981 is part of the QR Heritage collection.    
 “A” end “B” Type Wagons.
  “B” end “B” type wagons
Roof Hatch “B” type wagons  (2003)
QGX 43825 Roma Street June 1985
Ipswich Mar 92
QGX wagons being loaded on the Downs.
This photos highlights not a big area is required for unloading, great for modellers.

The two I have on the layout are PGC kits. Brake detail came from AR Kits brake parts and Kerroby Models. Brass rod was used for the piping and brake rods.
Enjoy your modelling.






Sunday, 22 December 2019

Prototype Operations for a Small Layout.

From an early age I was fascinated by trains shunting. Living in western Queensland during the 50’s and 60’s, the train was the only way in and out of town for most people.

As a kid sitting on the fence watching I had no idea what was going on, the engine was pulling and pushing wagons, wagons were rolling down the track with a Shunter chasing it to apply the hand brake, or they would just slammed into the next wagon in the siding. At times, there would be three sets of wagons all rolling at the same time. So it is no surprise then I got a model train set, shunting was high on the “to do” list. My current layout is small by some standards, a circle of track with two stations with room to add a third one day. Having been to a number of operations sessions on larger layouts with a dozen or so blokes in attendance, the question was how was I going to put operations on my layout? I was looking for something that didn’t put guys off with heaps of paper work, yet it was the real thing. I was looking for something I could do myself or with a couple of mates. Plus, it could give non rail guys an insight into how things were done. It was to be something that did not take all day, I wanted something to do if you had an hour or so.

How did the Railways Operate. A few years back, most railways were a common carrier, they were expected to carry most things to most locations on the network. Movement of goods and freight was managed in two ways. Wagon loads and less than wagon loads, the less than wagon loads on some systems was refer to as “less than car loads”, (LCL) traffic. LCL traffic is mainly handled through the goods shed or common loading area in the station yard. Each day some stations would allocated wagons for traffic. As much as possible box wagons were used, cranky/ruff or long and bully loading was loaded into open wagons. Many stations have customers who loaded full wagon loads. Generally, wagons going to and coming from private sidings were full wagon loads.  
How did that Work?  Customers with freight to send would make contact their local station and order a wagon. The station (Station Master/Goods Clerk) would evaluate the freight and select a suitable wagon.  As much as possible, wagons on hand were used. This may have be a wagon that had arrived loaded and was unloaded the previous day. Each day all stations completed an 8 am wagon report. All wagons in the yard at 8 am were summaries. This was generally completed by the Lad Porter/Number Taker who would ride the station bike and record the status of all wagons in all sidings. Telegraph Codes were used to summarise the wagons
Tarpaulins on hand
Required for tomorrow
Empty gods trucks required 
Livestock in transit
Loaded goods truck inwards
Empty stock trucks on hand.
Loaded goods trucks outwards
Expect released today
Goods truck Departmental Load
Goods trucks in transit.

This report was sent to Head Office which included wagons required to fill orders. From reports from other stations, head office would fill the orders. A suitable shunt would then convey the wagons to the stations. The wagons were placed so the customers could load their freight.      
Paper Work. Back in the good old days before computer, there was a paper trail and documents that travelled with the freight. The customer would complete at consignment note. This showed who was sending the freight, what it was, how heavy, who was receiving the goods at the other end and who was paying the freight charges. At small stations this document was handed to the Station Master, larger yards to the Goods Shed Clerk. Freight charges were worked out and the details entered onto an invoice. The invoice travelled with the goods to it destination with the Guard. The invoice details were shown in the “Rollingstock Book” to show the wagon was booked out with a reference. Auditor would check to ensure everything was in order (no freebies).  From the invoice, wagon labels were written up and place on each end of the wagon. Number Takers and Shunter referred to the label to get the wagon on the correct train to its destination.  Once a train was made up, a “Train Wire” or “Train List” is written up and handed to the Guard with the invoices.  

Wagon Orders. 


Working Time Tables. The back pagers of the Working Time Tables details the work each train will do district by district. In some cases, how trains are to be marshalled.  Train Notices were also issued for trains with special loading or for loading that did not fit on Time Tabled trains, for example Ballast/Livestock/Seasonal Fruit, Cane, Sugar, Wheat etc. Or restriction on travel for loading outside the loading gauge.       
Types of Shunts:- Shunt Engines (Yard, Loco, Carriage, Station, Harbour). Local Shunt Trains (Suburban. Main Line)           
 Shunt Trains working on the main line were generally marshalled in “station order” with all loading for one station marshalled together, destination blocks.       

Station Order is how stations fall on a given section of the network. Brisbane to Cairns, or Sydney to Melbourne. Sydney to Broken Hill etc. 

In these sections stations will be different in various ways. Some could be a Crossing Stations with one small siding. Small towns will also have a crossing loop, plus a Goods Shed siding, a siding for loading cattle etc. The larger stations could have engine shed, coal stage, goods shed, fuel depots and various private sidings. These stations were known as depots and have traincrews which work trains to the next depot station. Using the alphabet as a section of track, the bold underline letters are depots. In the steam era, this could also mean a change of hauling locomotives is required.    

        A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K   L  M  N  O  P  Q  R   S   T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z.                 

                                City                                   Downs                                  Bush                             Outback

 Most networks have a stating location, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne etc, Thus for us its “A”

 Using the letters above we can make up Time Tables or a marshalling order for our trains on the layout. 

The letters can be replaced by towns/locations on your layout. Below is an example how the timetable works on a section of railway.
Trains 8 & 10 UP are not marshalled in any order.  Whereas Trains 10, 12, & 14 UP will be marshalled in station order. 

 Up trains run in one direction while Down trains run in the other direction.   

One of the hardest things for someone coming in to operate your layout is remembering station order. If station order is required, I add to the bottom of my instruction cards.       

There are times when I enjoy just watching a train run through the scenery. Then there are times I like to shunt, it keep the old brain ticking. Having 45 years of railway operations under my belt, I came up with two different operational systems that could be used on a small layout. One was referring to the Working Time Table were a train is made up in station order. The second was working a shunt train to a station, detaching and placing wagons, and attached wagons as per orders.
Both system can very in the length of time required to complete. It’s what you feel like doing at the time. There is not right or wrong way to do a shunt. And that goes for the prototype also, as long as the train finishes up to what’s require by the instructions. With the prototype if you didn’t use your brain you used your feet and it took longer to do...    
Both sessions can be done with one, two or three operators. It is something you can do on you own, or with mates. If there is two of you, one can drive the engine and the other works out the moves and shunts. If you have three, one drives the engine, (Driver), one works out the moves and couple/uncouple wagons (Guard) and the other can sent the points (Station Master).
One thing you learn quickly is a Station Master don’t tell a Guard how to shunt his train.
Operators like to know how well they did during a session. They often ask was that the lowest number of moves etc. To gauge performance I use a fast clock and a timetable, my answer is how did you go with the allocated time on the clock? Did you depart on time or late, how late were you getting back? The prototype worked to a Time Table with a set time to be at each station. Sometimes you didn’t use all the allocated time, other times the shunt it took longer.
System #1.
The first session requires you to make up a train using wagons in various sidings within the yard, the train is required to leave in station order, plus there is marshalling restrictions on a couple of wagons due to their loads. Due to locomotive size, not all wagons can go on the train. All up there is 18 wagons in the plan, the train is restricted to 17. One needs to be left behind, thus someone must decide what’s get left behind.   

The instruction card was made up from a train in the South Western Division Working Time Table. Going back to our example of station order, the station is H, we have loading off two trains for stations I  J  K   L  M  N  O  P  Q. My H is Toowoomba and the train is to convey loading for Roma, Amby, Mitchell, Morven, Charleville (P. The next depot station were the trains is timed to terminate) and Cunnamulla. 

Roadside (Out Of’s) is small consignment unloaded in route by Guard or Station Staff.

A card is made up for each wagon required for the train, the card is the wagon label which shows destination and other details. The other thing new operators find hard is to identify wagons, often instructions give wagon class and number. The instructions could show wagon XYZ 3234, what’s that and where is it on the layout.  I model QR and the wagon class and number is 3 inches on the prototype, less than 1 mm in H0. To assist with identification I add a photo to the card.  Later I was able to obtain some QR wagon labels, these were filled out, photo added and laminated. A small shelf is located near the control panel which allows the operator to sort out the wagons into station order. From here you locate the wagons on the layout, and plan your moves for the shunt engine. To reduce the number of moves look for wagons that fall together (Mitchell/Morven).  I generally start at the rear of the train and work towards the front.  Original Card design is shown in Issue 322 Vol. 28 (February 2017) issue of the Australian Model Railway Magazine.

After the train is made up, go for a run around the layout. After a few laps you can stated detaching from the train. The rear of the instruction card gives instructions on where wagons for each destination is to be placed. This could be achieved in various ways.  
1.    Admit train to loop and detach loading for Roma into 3 Road, Amby loading into 4 Road etc.   Or you have more time. 
2.    Detach the loading into the allowed siding in station order after 4 or 5 laps of the layout. First detach Roma loading to 3 Road, after a few more laps. Second detach Amby loading to 4 Road etc.   or     
3.    Using sample 2, add some attaches (pick- ups) could be added to the instructions.
I.e. Morven detach to 4 Road, attach P 2345 for Charleville.


Train Wires/List.

System #2.
The shunt train session is just one A5 card, the print is a size so us older blokes don’t need our glasses. The card is in 4 parts. The operation session can be made easy or harder by wagons in sidings called “Hold Backs”, in other words, wagons on hand not listed to be picked up. There is various reasons for this, they could be wagons loaded in but not unloaded, empties required for orders the following day, could be employee camp and material wagons, wagons with defects waiting repair etc. to name a few.
Shunt Card; to make it easy, and similar to the prototype operations, the card is divided into sections.  Top of the card shows train number and day.
Part “1” Is the Train Wire or List, it shows the marshalling of the train from it starting point, station “A”. All trains have a list showing all wagons on the train is order of marshalling. The list also shows destination and load. The incoming crews need to check the list to ensure the train they are taking is correct, plus it help to know what’s on the train. Train Wires/List can be written one of two ways, in order from the engine to the rear or from the rear to the engine.  
Part “2” is the Working Time Table. Departure time, time allocated to run the section, time allocated to shunt and arrive at your destination. The Time Table is used to gauge how the operators went. Often other trains passing through the station during the shunting operations will add extra moves.
Part “3” is the where the wagons needed to be placed at the station so the goods/freight can be unloaded or loaded. Sometimes due to what’s in the siding and where the wagon needs to be placed, “Hold Backs” will be putted out and replaced to get the detaching wagon into its correct position.

Part “4” is the wagons ready to be picked up or attached to the train. This could be wagons loaded for another destination or empties not required.
Instructions could be about other train to passing through the station, this could say 8 Up Rail Car 13:10 – 13:15 requires the platform. Thus the Main Line need to be left clear for the passage of the Rail Car 10 minutes before the expected arrival.  

Westgate.  Train 100 UP.  Wednesday. The Train Wire shows the following. Engine, 2 grain wagons, one open wagon loaded with grain bins, one open wagon of timber, one open wagon loaded with pipes, three box wagons of general goods/freight and a Guard’s Van.

The train has be made up by the station shunt engine, the engine working the train is attached, and crew have checked their train and are ready to go. The fast clock is set and the crew waits departure time. 12:00 comes and the train departs Westgate for Wyandra (Station “B”). 15 minutes sectional running has been allocated. Arrival at Wyandra is 12:15.  The Station Master admits the train to the loop and the fun starts.
All wagons on the train need to be placed as per the instructions. Two grain wagons and the open wagon with the grain bins are to be placed at the Grain Terminal (GT).  The open wagon of timber needs to be placed on the stop blocks in the saw mill siding. A wagon of logs has not been unload (“Hold Back”) at the log ramp. The open wagon with the pipes needs to be placed at the Side Loading Bank (SLB). Three box wagons of general goods is to be placed at the Goods Shed (GS). But, a camp wagon and material wagon located in the station dead end (SDE) is foul of (blocking) No. 4 crossover coming from the Main Line. (By the way, this is a bad practice and is not allowed in the rules). But at times it happens to allow loading.

In the siding there is a number of wagons listed to go out on the shunt. The camp and material wagons in the station dead end (SDE), has the employee travelling in his camp wagon, these two wagons are to be marshalled near the Guard’s Van. Four wagons of sleepers from the saw mill, two box wagons of general goods from the Goods Shed, and two grain wagon empty.    
I model QGR railways and have used QR wagon classifications in the instructions, but that is not necessary, the type of wagon or load type could be used. All up it a lot of fun and it replicates the real thing. The load type has been shown to assist in identifying the wagon.
Plus if you want to mix things up a bit, change the location of wagons in station “B”, this would change your shunt moves. Also, there are times when wagons need to be moved within the yard. An open wagon can come in on a train loaded with general goods and is placed at the Goods Shed, after being unloaded the Station Master receives an order to send a car. The wagon needs to be moved from the Goods Shed to the Side Loading Ramp for loading.  Another small job for the shunt train when in town. 
At first keep it simple, most locations have shunt trains going both ways (one going north, an “Up” train and one going south a “Down” train). The “Up” trains comes from the city in the early hours of the morning detaching loading and continues on to other stations. This train may also pick up one or two wagons for destinations to the north. The “Down” train arrives late afternoon picking up loaded and empty wagons for the city. Each day the loading can be different changing the shunt moves required. Local “Working Time Tables” can assist in this area.   
The same set of wagons can be used for various shunt trains.   

Shunt #1

 “A” (S)  Westgate                    “B”   Shunt Wyandra   “B”                              “A” (N) Winbin.
Start at station “A”, shunt Station “B”, and continue to the other end of Station “A”.

Shunt #2  (Return of shunt #1)

The same train can then return from Station “A” from the reverse direction to shunt Station “B” and continue back to the original starting location.  
“A” (N)  Winbin                      “B”     Shunt Wyandra    “B”                             “A” (S) Westgate.

Or you can continue from Station “A” (S), shunt Station “B” and return to Station “A” (S). The train goes back over the same track section.   Station “B” comes a station at the end of a Branch line.

Shunt # 4
This move can be used to reset Station “B” (Wyandra) for the next session.
“A” (N)                                 “B”      Shunt Wyandra     “B”                                      “A” (N)
The layout is a basic circle of track with two station, Station “A” (N) is the other end of Station “A” (S).                     
All up a lot of fun can be had preforming prototype operation on a small layout with a minimum amount of rollingstock.  From time to time I swap the wagons around and write up a new card.
Camp Wagon and Material Wagon in the Station Dead End is foul (blocking access) of No. 4 Crossover. Shunt engine needs to pick up using No. 3 Crossover.
The wagon of logs is a “Hold Back”, to be unloaded it needs to beside the log ramp, plus the wagon of timer needs to be placed behind it.
100 Up is ready to depart after waiting in the Loop for the Rail Motor Pass to arrive.

I have a second sets of four cards, the same train, two (2) different day. By end of 4th card the wagons are back where they started. 
Only part of the train is detached, the rear section stays on the train and continues to the next station.

This give three sets of wagons that can be dropped off and picked up with each passing. The train has two sets and the station being shunted have wagons in the sidings. “Hold-back” wagons on the first run can be added on the second or third run. The final shunt resets both the yard and the train for next time. 
If you have a level crossing in the station yard, instructions could include the crossing must not be block for excessive periods. In other words, the shunt can run out and back over the crossing, but you don’t leave wagons parked on the crossings. The locals will get upset.
When setting up a session make sure you have room to move. Will the siding hold the wagons being dropped off?  

Another activity that can be added, that is “TO WEIGH” wagons. Sometimes the weight of the freight consigned is not known. Logs, Coal, Grain to name a few. Special labels are added to the wagon and at the suitable location the wagon is placed on a weight bridge.

Weighbridges come in various shapes and forms, this one at Warwick is a simple project to add to the layout.  

At various locations trains are inspected by Train Examiners or the train Guard may observe a wagon with issues that require action to fix. A Repair Label is added to the label holder on the wagon.

Defects can be added changing the requirements of the operations session.

A wagon may need to be left behind to be transhipped or repaired. Some times the wagon can travel to its destination before the action is taken. At times a wagon can continue by changing its location on the train requiring some remarshalling. If the brakes are cut out, a wagon cannot be near the rear of the train. Over time this requirement has changed, earlier days there must be two braked wagons on the rear, in later years this became six wagons.

Read the instructions and develop an understanding of what’s required. What goes where.
Take a minute to think about the shunt, this could save you moves, thus time.
Check points/crossings before moving. Running into the wrong road reduces your time.
Do one thing at a time, but look for things that will fall together. 
When cutting wagons out, just leave them just clear, push them together at the end.  
Don’t rush, slow and easy will give better results in the end.  

If developing a shunt layout consider the following.
8 wheeled wagons behave better that 4 wheeled wagons.
Large radius curves give less trouble than smaller radius curves.
Don’t mix coupling types. Think about how you going uncouple the rollingstock.
Heavier wagons perform better than lighter wagons.
Make sure you have room to move.
One siding can have more than one industry / activity. Goods Shed with a Loading Bank.
Start small and add other activates at a later date.
All track need to be in comfortable reach for the operator. 
Manual point operations puts the operator on the ground in the yard and are easy to use. Panels with switches and electric points can make it harder to understand and put operators off.
Think of your feet, something soft to walk on will make it more comfortable and enjoyable.
Less is more, keep it simple.
 System 1 Cards set up in destination blocks.
 A small stand clips to the layout edge for System 2 cards.  
Small Trains can provided a lot of prototype operations on a small layout and fun.
Think out of the box, sometimes you save moves by going to the back of the train.

Operations provide another dimension to the layout which can bring much enjoyment, these two methods can be employed if you are on your own or with a couple of mates. Plus, you can enjoy the session if you only have a few minutes to spare. 

Give your railway a season to be there just like the prototype.

Have fun and enjoy it.

Arthur H.