On a ton

Phwooaar. BMW 850Ci. It’s a 5litre V12. But it costs a fortune to fix and keep going. They sell for $40K – $70K.

To my foreign readers, being “on a ton” means you’re within a stroke of the bat, in a cricket match, to make 100 runs. Tomorrow is a big day for a century.


Damn, this Word Press is so annoying. They’ve changed the type face and size – it’s small and a bit hard to see. Why do they keep changing things?? I do not like this blog software. It’s inconsistent, changeable, hard to use. Why can’t I stay logged in, for example? I’ve complained to them and at least they answered but all I got was a suggestion that it’s my browser that’s logging me out every time I take a break. No help!


I’ve been to the Joondalup Health Campus this afternoon and at last the new multi-storey car park is finished and in operation. Thank goodness. It’s good – easy to drive into and leave. I arrived at about 1.45pm and found a space on the ground floor with little trouble. When I left at 2.45pm, there were plenty of spaces.

The interesting thing is that you don’t need to stop and take a ticket when you drive in. There are no tickets, no boom arm when you enter. It was only after I parked that I thought, “Hang on, where’s my ticket?”

The thing is, when you’re ready to leave, you have to enter your car licence plate number into the machine. You’d better be able to remember it!

When I was ready to leave I walked up to the ticket machine and asked a uniformed lady how to do it. She explained it, then, seeing me having a bit of trouble walking, offered to carry my bag and find my car and its number plate. I knew it was 1CGY but I couldn’t remember the numerals. So she walked with me, carrying my quite heavy bag, and found my car and its number. Then she walked me back a bit to a payment machine half way along the floor and entered the number plate in for me. Bingo, there’s a picture of my number plate up on the screen. What a nice woman. I am very impressed.

So I place my VISA card against the screen, ping, and it’s done. I didn’t get a receipt so I have no idea how much I paid or how long I was there for.

Anyway, I just drove out of the car park and up to the boom gates leading to the road. My number plate appeared on the big LCD screen and since it obviously matched my payment, the boom went up and I was out.

Jeez, I’m an electronics tech but this is beginning to look like magic. The only drawback is that you have to remember your number plate, and I’ll bet a lot of people have trouble with that.


I’m feeling very pleased, even a bit excited. I’ve finally found a model railway layout that I like and want to build.

As you can see, it’s the L-shape that I like, which means I’ll be able to divide it into sections so as to break it apart and move around. It’s US based, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll change it to suit any locality that I like. Since almost all the locos and rolling stock I’ve bought and collected is UK based, that will have a big influence. For the moment, I’ll call it Cripple Creek since it rolls off the tongue.

Thing I like is that it’s got long straight stretches, lots of dual track, interesting branch lines and plenty of scope for simple modifications to make it even more interesting. It lends itself to endless variations. The Black Hawk City station, for example, could be made much more complex. Something like this?

Only joking. But at the moment there’s only one platform at the Black Hawk station, and I’d want several platforms.

The next step is to scale the layout and bring it into my AnyRail software so as to make a full working drawing. Unfortunately, it’s several years since I used AnyRail and I’ve forgotten how to use it! I’m struggling with it at the moment. You might remember this:

I haven’t done any work on that for several years. Too bad, this new plan is better.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad on Facebook Marketplace for N-gauge rolling stock. I contacted the guy and drove out to Thornlie (jeez, it’s a long way!) and ended up buying ten tanker wagons from him for $15 each. Yes, $150. This is an expensive hobby. It was amazing, the guy was selling because he seems to be obsessed with upsizing. He has scores of locos and carriages for sale in N gauge but he wants to go to 1 gauge. This is enormous. N gauge is 1:148 or 2mm to the foot. 1 gauge is 32mm to the foot. He plans to build a garden railway.

Anyway. Last week I went a bit mad and bought a load of stuff from the Hattons website in the UK, all second hand stuff. I’ve bought four locos, but there are two interesting things about them.

One is that all four locos are already fitted with DCC decoders, ready to run. That means I can open them up and see how the decoders are fitted. I’ve already got several decoders that I bought about five years ago, but I’ve never got around to fitting them. Plus two of my new second hand purchases have sound already fitted. That means I’ll get all the sounds of big diesel electric locomotives – horns, engine sounds, coupler clanks and so on. I’m not interested in steam.

Better still, one of the locos is painted in BHP Billiton colours. In my mind is to make a small attempt at modelling the Pilbara and the mining company railways up north. I’ll be able to copy this BHP loco.

And finally, several months ago I bought a second hand DCC controller at last (above). This is the handheld controller that generates the DCC signal which is fed to the track. This signal carries the codes for each loco and tells it what to do. Each loco is given an address (a number from 1 to 99) and only responds to the commands from the hand controller that you send.

So all in all, I’m ready to roll. All I have to do now is make the base boards from Craftwood and 50x100mm pine beams. Whoo hoo.


I finished the last episode of The Crown on Netflix last night, that’s series four. Series five, the latest, starts on 9 November.

This is the third time through for me. What a superb show this is! It’s a triumph of television docudrama in my opinion. The acting and the way the modern actors look and sound like the royal family (as far as I or anyone knows) is just amazing. It must be very strange for the real life royals to watch themselves being dramatised like this. Frankly, Charles doesn’t come out of it looking very good.

I’ll be queuing up to see the next series. This will show the events leading up to Diana’s death. Hmmmmm.