I suppose model railways can fall into two main categories: Prototype or freelance.
When we choose 'prototype' we then endeavour to model that locality or location as close to the real thing as possible. This doesn't always work out as sometimes (usually) the space available does not allow a true to scale model to be built. This goes under the heading of selective compression. To model say Goulburn, Cootamundra or Junee to their full scale length would need a very large shed.
So to get around this we can reduce the length of yards, reduce the number of sidings and even leave some features out but the model bears some resemblance of its intended location.
This can be another reason why modelling branch lines can make a better choice as they can make a 'better fit' model.
Another enjoyable part of the hobby picking a real place is the background research required to make the model as close to the original as can be. This then requires further research depending on the era you are modelling. If I was modelling Orange as it now stands, I certainly would not need as much track and points if I was modelling it back around the 1950's. Darren from Gunnedah and Beyond has touched on this issue on some of his earlier blog pages.
The second category 'freelance' is where South Coast Rail fits in. I think in my first ever blog post I may of mentioned that the Illawarra section of the line down towards Bomaderry appealed to me. I have always thought a layout based on Bombo, Kiama, Gerringong, Berry and Bomaderry would be ideal. My shed was large enough to fit it all in but I didn't want to be restricted in being chained to operating like the prototype and I also preferred the continuous style of layout.
So keeping in the South Coast region, the next best thing was to pull out a road map of New South Wales and pick out a few towns that were recognisable. This lead to me saying Bodalla, Batemans Bay, Narooma and Bega yes you'll do. It was that simple. I now had complete flexibility in station and yard design as we all know there ain't no railway there now and never will be. I now have a justification in running the Bega Mail and operating my sleeping cars. Something I would have felt guilty doing if I modelled north of Bomaderry.
Another famous ficticional line amongst bloggers is Bylong Ray has also chosen to be completely free of prototype design. (Although I believe now there is an actual Bylong crossing loop been built on the Ulan line.)
South Coast Rail is a single line layout with four crossing loop stations. A fifth crossing loop station at Kameruka can be brought into use when a lifting flap is raised to join the track at Bega with the branch.
I also wanted a branch line as I enjoy this type of operation knowing I can only go to the end and then have to come back to the junction. (Many happy returns!) This was also a good place to put a coal mine as it would mean more operation/shunting. Again the road map came out and as this branch was to come off at Bega, a quick look found the towns of Kameruka and Candelo as suitable branch stations. One thing that wasn't available when I originally developed the stations for the layout in 1999 was Google Earth. From 2005 we were able to fly over landscapes and get a first hand look at what was down there. This is also a great tool for modellers of any location.
Another great app that is provided on Google Earth is the 'street view' option. Using this I was able to tour up and down the streets of Candelo without travelling the 485 kilometres to see it in the flesh. There are many old buildings typical of country towns that would look great on the layout, but the lack of room at Candelo on my layout will prevent this from happening.
Having picked out the two stations of Candelo and Kameruka, I rather belated decided to check the internet to get some background on these places.
- Bugger all there. A fly over on Google Earth shows a few houses. Although the internet calls it a village nothing was recognisable from the air.
- The only mentionables are the Kameruka Homestead and the Holy Trinity Church. It can't be a village if it hasn't got a pub there.
- On a gallery for one web site out of 36 photos there is only one of cows that made the area famous. At least they are all looking at the camera. (Did the photographer say 'Cheese'?
- The residents should think themselves lucky as I will be providing them with a station and a yard. It will also have an oil siding, milk and fruit packing shed. (An industry introduced by me.)
- The name Kameruka in Aboriginal speak means 'wait until I return' This name probably originated when in the early days a train from Candelo heading for the Bega show was full and the guard was heard yelling out 'Kameruka, Kameruka' (Yes they were picked up later by a return special and got there for the second race)
- There were two theories on how Candelo got its name (1) Candelo was a staging post for wagons and many drivers would arrive at Candelo after dark. As the river crossing was dangerous they would call for a light to show them the best place to cross the river. The common call was "candle o!" and (2) It was named after a town called Candelo in Northern Italy.
- I chose Candelo as opposed to Tantawangalo as I felt it would fit on the station nameboard better and is easier to pronounce.
- It is actually a town with shops (and a hotel).
- One web site shows agriculture, forestry and fishing as local industries. Not sure about the fishing bit.
So thats a bit of the background to the Candelo branch. Sorry for the lack of photos. I don't have any cow photos to support my modelling.
Don't you think picking Bodalla, Kameruka and Bega for station names is a bit Krafty?