Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Thomson River Bridge - 6

 Time hasn't stood still on South Coast Rail. I can't even blame the covid pandemic for slowing things down but that isn't the case. Even the recent days of summery heat and the following day a drop of 10 degrees hasn't stopped work.

The bridge has advanced along far enough to make the decision to cut the track from the temporary track that has been in place for a long time. It was always a temporary section on this baseboard to enable work on the bridge to take place in front. It was time to alter the woodwork to accommodate the new alignment from either side. Coming out of Broadwater the track swings around 90 degrees and then through a gentle curve line up with the bridge. This side represents the Moe side on the real bridge. And after crossing the bridge a right hand curve allows the ascent up into Pambula. There is a level crossing where many a photo has been taken as this board has been sceniced well before the bridge was to be finished.

The temporary track has been lifted

The lifting of the track behind the bridge now means that the continuous circuit will not be available until the new track is laid across the bridge. This is not really an issue  as once a train leaves the terminus at Eden there is a choice of going up to Broadwater, reversing there and either coming back to Eden or proceeding up to Bega. The other direction from Eden goes straight up to Bega and then a choice of going to the branch terminus of Candelo or onwards through Wolumla and then terminating at Pambula. So you can see that while the bridge work is going on there is still operation possible. Having said that I tend to put the energy into finishing the bridge rather than working a train, that will come later.

Down the hill and straight across

As can be seen in the above photo the track from Pambula will come down the hill with an S bend and then head straight across the bridge towards Broadwater in the distance. Initially the scenery on this board was done without knowing how it would blend in with the scenery on the bridge board. The bridge has been done to scale measuring around 1.9 metres long but the restrictive part is the width that I have to work with. When the scenery gets more advanced there may be some compensations to be made to 'squeeze ' it all in.

One thing I have purposely done on this layout is to try and not have the tracks parallel to the baseboard edging. This is evident with the bridge in the following photos. I just think it tricks the eye into following the track along. Anyway that's my style.

The Broadwater side of the bridge

Reverse view of the previous photo
Currently in the centre of the bridge is a piece of aluminium channel that is holding the bridge rigid. Part of the channel was removed to allow the truss section to be fitted. The sections either side of this are able to be glued to the full length of the channel. Once the bridge is settled down onto the piers then the top channel can be removed.

Looking up from below

Final position of the bridge, back temporary track now gone

Partial fascia to allow ground work to be formed

After this advanced with the bridge I thought I had better start trying to work out how the groundwork will fit in either side. I had some white foam (it actually was from Mr White). While the bridge might be a fairly accurate model of the real thing the landform will need to be modified to fit into the available space. I have photos I took on site some time ago and are trying to follow the real site but as the build gets further on I have the feeling mods will need to be made. The limited space will dictate this.

The two end trestle supports rest in their eventual position

The build certainly has been a slow one but it is a big project and I don't want to take too many shortcuts. As said before the plans for the bridge give a rough idea what the general outline is but the measurements are unreadable. But I am happy with what has been done so far.

Trying out for size
The last shot I couldn't resist putting a loco on a piece of track on the bridge to see how it looks. I reckon once the scenery gets done in this area it will look great. Again that will be for another day and another blog.


Saturday, 21 August 2021

B & W's

 While work continues on the layout as covid decrees, I have been taking photos all the time recording the growth of South Coast Rail in its narrow gauge format.

Some pics out of focus are deleted straight away (the beauty of digital!), some just make it into the various folders and some just turn out right. Another great feature of the digital age is the ability to instantly turn a colour photo into a black and white one. Then the photo takes on a different feel, maybe taking me back to the days when black and white was all you could afford.

I have managed to run through a selection of colour photos and converted them to black and white. No labels attached, if you have been following the blog you may know where they were taken.


Friday, 13 August 2021

Thomson River Bridge - 5

 You would actually think that my model of the Thomson River bridge would have been up and running by now knowing that I have started on it around three years ago. It probably would have been finished if that was all I was working on. But there has been a lot of other things going on both inside and outside of the shed.

I have got to the stage where I needed to concentrate on just the bridge module. On reflection I sometimes wonder why I decided to tackle the project in the first place. Although modelling the fictitious  South coast of New South Wales and the Thomson River was not in that region, I figured I need a focal point in the room. I had no plans, no photos only a few pictures in books that I was slowly acquiring. Yeah looked a challenge so the baseboards were made, long enough to accommodate a model of the bridge that works out around 1.90 metres long.

Very early days working out where the bridge will go.

 So after all these years things have been moving forward especially with some help from a few friends. Without their input the end result may not have come out well. Initially knowing that the end product would be some time off I added a temporary track around the site where the bridge would go so I would be able to have some operation around the work site.

Temporary track
The bridge is constructed on a full length of aluminium channel that provides a solid base to be able to glue the bridges side to. So the top is done, the sides finished and countless nut and bolt casting put into place. The normal viewing angle will be looking down so under normal times the underneath will not be viewed. I could have just left it at that but I thought what if photos are taken underneath looking up and the aluminium channel is visible?

So even though it was going to be a long job to fabricate underbridge detail, I felt the time devoted to it would be worth it in the end. Now to make matters worse as I have eluded to in previous posts, although I have a set of plans, they are virtually indecipherable. I only had a few shots taken under the bridge but only on the end nearest the current Thomson station. So what I have ended up with is basic supports that will look the part when and if viewed upwards. I think once it is settled into the scenery the underneath won't be visible anyway.

Underneath detail
The whole bridge was easy to flip over to allow work to be done. The full length can be seen in the above photo. It was just a matter of fabricating another channel of styrene to fit inside the aluminium one. It took a while but a small part of the brain said don't worry if it isn't a 100% job as most will never be seen once installed. Eventually I had worked my way across and installed the cross braces all done in styrene which is an easy material to work with.

Once the parts had been made for both sides it was then time for painting and weathering. First coat was a hit from Tamiya rattle can primer and then a darker grey to represent the steel work. I could have left the bridge brand new like when it first opened but I though it would look better weathered. Not having done much weathering in the past I had a go using a combination of various colours and a rust finish done with a rust paint and also by scraping some rust coloured chalk onto fresh isopryl alcohol. The end result I was happy with, so these photos might be the first and last time the underneath are viewed.

The underneath detail is complete

Rust added.

More rust

Where the bridge will join existing sceniced part of the layout

 So basically the top and bottom have been done, just a few more pieces to be glued up and then the bridge can be turned over for the last time and fixed into place. More on that next time.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Then and Now

 Well I've been plugging away at South Coast Rail since late 2015 when a decision was made to do the 'change over'. I believe it often happens to modellers but this will be my last layout, no more changes. I've tried most of the other scales and variations such as model tramways for a while and this is it.

You could say there was dead time when the old layout had to be demolished, the new one planned, research to be done, new baseboards and a new way of thinking. So after around five years of construction I looked around the room and tried to convince myself that I had come a fair way.

It does also help if you are retired and theoretically gives you 24/7 access to the shed and of course this never happens as there are always things that get in the way of life. It was a different story when still at work and the weekends were the main work times on the layout. On some late Friday and Sunday nights you would look at the watch and see the numbers had gone to a single digit, so then off to bed. Who cares what time the next day you would get up.

So as a pacifier to myself I have trawled through the hundreds of photos I have taken and made up some before and after shots to reinforce progress has definitely happened. The shots are taken in roughly the same spot so here they are.

January 2016 Eden

May 2016 arriving Eden


February 2017


April 2017


April 2017


August 2017


July 2017 - Broadwater


September 2017


October 2017


June 2018 - Pambula


December 2017
Hope you have enjoyed the journey so far, a lot more to come.