Tuesday 19 May 2015


I can't believe my last blog was in March and that was only to let it be known that I had received my 46 class locomotives. And when you look at the three blogs previous to those they  were only to announce that I had received the 48's, a 45 class and a Victorian L class.
So whats been happening on the layout? Sorry the answer is absolutely nothing. Next month I will have retired from the workforce for two years and still finding it hard to get the time to go do some modelling.
In a previous blog it was revealed that I now have all the eaves finished on the train shed so no more possum problems and it has been completely repainted all round in green which blends in with the trees and bushes. So this took a couple of weeks to do (big shed - no I am not a slow painter) and now looks a lot better.
Right now we are going through an inside the house renovation which is also gobbling up a lot of time. The floating floor and vinyl are coming up and are to be replaced with new floor tiles. So there is a lot of repainting to be done but I have done most of it now.
I must admit not having a reason/chance to get into the shed has dampened my interest a little in the hobby. You would think having waited all that time to receive these recent locos, I would be living in the shed.
To try and rekindle some interest in the hobby, I attended the Modelling the Railways of NSW convention last Saturday. One lecture I was keen to attend was a talk on erecting the overhead wiring on the Mungo Scotts layout. The two lecturers were excellent and gave a good session that had plenty of photos of how they went about making the overhead and structures.
Another excellent lecture was from Garry Glazebrook talking about his modelling of the Fassifern to Newcastle region. His presentation was very professional and accompanied with diagrams of his layout and many proposed versions up on the screen. His first layout that was situated in an attic had track filling nearly all available space but was a very workable plan. After moving to the Southern Highlands a large outside shed was erected. As many would know this area gets very cold in winter and so the shed was then well insulated to allow all year use. It was interesting on many of the versions of proposed track diagrams (all done to scale with the 3dPlanit drawing programme) that space was allocated for the wifes car. Many proposed plans had baseboards running straight across the bonnet. Eventually it was decided to leave the car outside (carport?) leaving more space to be devoted to the layout. This happens more often than you think. You suck up to the boss saying yes we will find room for the car in the shed/garage then later it becomes unworkable. At one stage Marcus Ammann actually showed the wifes car on his Main North diagram. This is not the only layout this applies to BY a LONG shot.
Don't worry guys cars were designed to be out in the weather.
It was noticeable at the convention that the attendees were down from the last one I went to. Certainly no fault of the hard work put into the convention each year by the dedicated committee team. I am not sure how or if we will ever reach the past number of attendees. When you cast your eyes over the crowd and take in their ages you wonder how many will still even be on the planet in twenty years time?
Yesterday I was invited to a running session at Marcus Ammann's Main North layout. This is the third visit and each time it gets better. Marcus like Garry above had a similar problem with a car interfering with a layout in a garage! Again some wheeling and dealing and the car was banished to the outside. The layout spreads out over a double car garage with a side extension into to adjoining rooms. The garage portion of the layout reminds me of railroading in a cave. I think the whole concept he has made is brilliant. It starts at a low level where Sydney staging is just a loop with a few staging tracks. It then extends around the garage constantly climbing finally reaching Gunnedah which is over two metres above ground level. Not much shunting goes on there unless you are a very tall person. I was assured by Marcus while driving a train to there that if I keep on going the train would go around a loop and then head back down to Werris Creek  station.
Gosford looking south towards the station. Garratt siding on the right

Gosford looking towards the platforms

Gosford - Some of the 46 class fleet waiting changeover to/from steam

An interesting station he has modelled is Gosford. It is a good representation of the station and yard and anyone familiar with the tracks there can see that they have been reproduced. Since the release of the 46 class locos by Auscision, Marcus has collected quite a few of these to operate between Sydney and Gosford. As trains arrive there from Sydney the 46 is taken off and replaced by steam just as happened up into the late 60's at Gosford. This operation takes a while to do and makes for interesting operation, all part of the model scene. Once past Gosford Ourimbah, Fassifern, Sulphide Junction and Broadmeadow Yard have been modelled. They have been selectively compressed but the general outline of the prototype has been replicated. Newcastle also lives on as a terminal station. Still plenty of work to be done there.
Sulphide Junction

Broadmeadow has a loco depot and yard and behind there near the wall are the tracks of Port Waratah. A recent squeeze in are a few tracks to represent the wheat handling at Carrington.

Broadmeadow/Port Waratah - The double track from the left comes from Sulphide Junction and the rows of 4 wheel hoppers are in Port Waratah yard.

Further on the tracks reach Murrurundi. At this location most freight trains receive a bank engine at the rear. The train I was driving had a standard goods loco exit the loco shed and come up to the rear of the train. After a couple of whistles from the banker and a long whistle from the train engine we then notched up into setting 10 on the DCC throttle and headed up towards Ardglen. As both the train engine a 36 class and the banker a 50 class were sound equipped it was great to hear the different chuff noises of the two locos. We passed through Pangela with its crossing loop and onwards to Ardglen. At a nominated spot near a tree the banker dropped off and returned back to Murrurundi ready for the next train north. Very realistic modelling and great to operate.

Murrurundi looking north - Loco depot in distance.  

Ardglen station
Werris Creek - loco depot on the left hand side. We were waiting to cross this wheat train coming in from Gunnedah.

Werris Creek turntable and coal stage.
 The train finally arrives at Werris Creek Yard. After a brief stop we head off towards Gunnedah where only tall people can shunt. (And hence no photos) The option then is to stable there or go around the balloon loop and head back down the track.
As large as the layout is it could be quite easily be operated by one person. But the day was an operating day and occupied eight operators on the day. It was a very enjoyable day and what the hobby is all about. A chance over lunch to have a gabfest and then back down to finish off operations.
I have often viewed Youtubes of american basement layouts full of guys having a great time operating. Well yesterday I had an opportunity to enjoy a similar day.

As we ramp up towards the Epping exhibition shortly at Thornleigh and I finally get all the inside painting done, I hope I will become re-energised with South Coast Rail and finally have something worthwhile to report.