Tuesday 13 September 2016

On the Level

Well the last couple of posts haven't been about the layout but I have been working on it slowly but surely. The Victorian trip is still strong in the memory and now that it is recorded on the blog I can go back in time in time and relive it again.
Barry the brush turkey is still hanging around and keeping the shed roof clear of leaves. He comes out onto our back lawn on occasions and we oblige by giving him his daily shower with the garden hose that we keep handy near the back door for hosing pests off.
We feed daily king parrots that come down to get their sunflower seeds. You have to keep your eye on the seed bowls and every now and then a sulphur crested cockatoo will try and muscle in and take over. He is a smart bird because as soon as he sees us pick up the hose he flies off. Being twice the size of the king parrots I'm sure he would eat plenty. The hose is also allocated for rainbow lorikeets who are very aggressive and will chase off the king parrots and take over. We are also feeding two little butcher birds. They come down to the back door in the morning and let go their 'feed me' cry. If its close to getting up time we oblige. They usually feed one at a time, one will sit in the tree until the other one is finished. Judging by the amount of food they are eating they will have fat kids, hope she can pass the eggs okay.
Enough of the nature lesson, onto the layout. I have been concentrating on the level crossing that splits the goods yard.
A template was made from floating timber underlay but was swapped over with thin cork sheeting to enable the colours and road surface to adhere properly.
When initially designing Eden I planned it so that there wasn't a lot of parallel tracks to the baseboard edge. The main track into the station forms a gentle S bend which works well to my eye. Although the majority of track layouts for the Victorian narrow gauge railways are based on straight lines, I still prefer to lay the tracks on curves. This may be another good reason to model freelance, you can do what you want rather than be restricted to the prototype.
The level crossing is slowly taking shape. A layer of dirt has been laid over crossing and timber inserts have been laid between the rails and coloured to match the road either side.
An NA tests the level crossing for clearances, yes the point was changed in time.
Well it was time to spread the dirt around the tracks. This is the part that starts to bring the layout alive. It was treated the same way as I do the ballasting and usually takes a day and a bit at this time of the year. It sets rock solid. You have to make sure that the throw bars to the points are clear from glue. And recheck the next day to be sure.
Viewed from the other direction a fire truck crosses over the crossing. I have also installed some Uneek split rail fencing which has turned out OK. It forms a barrier between the track and the road. The fencing on the right also forms some protection for the telegraph pole.
After a few weeks the weeds have started growing and this section is starting to come to life. No more baseboard in this area.
Viewed from the other direction. The two tracks on the right form part of the goods yard runaround. This will certainly annoy drivers trying to get from one side of the yard to the other when shunting is going on..
Morning peak hour at Eden goods yard
 A few weeks later more progress has been made with the level crossing and its surrounds. The trucks in the picture were obtained at the Broadmeadow exhibition in August. Eventually they will be weathered up.
Model train exhibitions are often a good source of obtaining second hand models. In the above photo I managed to obtain a coach and combine in burgundy colour at the recent Marklin exhibition for only $30 each, a bargain. I also obtained the NQR in the photo for $20 and three Bachmann log wagons for $25 each. I had previously obtained a few Bachmann coaches and combine but they were in canary yellow. I had planned to respray them a red colour to match the VR colour scheme, but when these new ones came along they were sold off to a mate who was also modelling On30 but American style. I intend to use these passenger cars as soon as there is somewhere on the layout to send them. I have kits to assemble authentic VR passenger cars but these may take some time to assemble.
Six hopper cars that will form the coal train for the layout wait for some where to go. The first two have been sprayed red and weathered, the other four will eventually be done the same. A few drums and timber have been put in place to make it start looking like a goods yard.
This photo shows how far the yard dirt has been laid and the weeds growing. It certainly changes the look of the boards.
A view from the end of the board looking up the yard. The run round track has been ballasted and weeded up. The cardboard in the photo represents the footprint of the transfer shed yet to be built. The bare patch will be where the O scale track will be lowered so the floor of an S truck can match the transfer platform level which will match the floor level of the NQR wagon.
The run around track fully ballasted (is dirt ballast?) and weeded. It certainly improves the look of this end of the yard.
Well that it for the progress up to date.


  1. Bob,
    Great progress! However, it looks like you'll have to invest in a weed kill wagon. The weeds are clearly taking hold.
    cheers Phil

  2. Hi Phil,
    Agree, I normally get rid of weeds outside the shed

  3. Thanks Ray,
    plenty of room in your garage for another level!!