Tuesday 6 February 2018

Movin on'

Can't believe it's now the first week in February. Why does time have to move so fast? Even so I am quite happy with my progress. I have just looked at my blog around a year ago and I was just making the baseboard on the wall side of Eden. The boards are now in place right up to Broadwater, the first crossing loop station. Included in the past year was the building of a corner baseboard that contained the trestle bridge and the scenery has been advanced fairly well.
If I started with a clean slate, that is the shed was initially empty, then I might have been further advanced. But when the old layout had to be demolished first and the shed painted etc, progress became a bit slower.
I have done some scenic work around Broadwater mainly ballasting the track and yard. I will return to this location in the future as there are items required to be built here. I need a platform for the goods shed, a station building, a livestock loading facility, a water tank and a private siding building. And not to mention trees that need assembling.
The plan is to get all the track laid, then do the basic at each location which is mainly ballasting and ground cover and then return to do the structures. I reckon that I will need at least three corrugated shelter sheds around the layout so I will construct them all at once. This also applies to the water tanks and I need at least two engine sheds. Once the track is laid then some operation can take place.
Dirt is progressed along the goods yard

Recycled scenery placed at baseboards edge.
The 'free' dirt was gathered from various locations in the suburbs, a little from each location so that the local council didn't become suspicious. The red truck was put to use by being pushed back and forth along the road to create wheel tracks in the dirt. When this was sealed the grooves made this area look more realistic.
The application of 'ballast' makes the scene more realistic
Broadwater is contained on two baseboards which can be readily detached when ready for moving. This will be as far as I go with this board until I return for more detailing, at least it looks like a station.
Trestle bridge in the background and a mixed train pulls into Broadwater.

By far the most outstanding engineering feature on any of the four Victorian narrow gauge systems without doubt has to be the Thomson River bridge. Built early last century with a mixture of second hand materials it is very impressive and calls out to be modelled. Luckily it is still in place and trains again run over it courtesy of the Walhalla Goldfields railway. I was lucky to travel over this bridge in August 2016 as part of a tour to Victoria.
I plan to make a representation of this bridge for the layout and adjoining the Broadwater baseboard will be one to contain this bridge. After a ninety degree turn coming out of Broadwater, the track then proceeds onto my version of the bridge.
Bridge baseboard looking towards Broadwater

Bridge baseboard looking opposite direction
The baseboard timbers above may look ratty but they were free from old window frames that were replaced recently. Once the scenery and fascia is in place no one will know. There was a bit of guesstimation in setting the drop down section, hopefully I can fit it in with the four concrete pylons. I am still trying to get my head around how I will build these four pylons, they are tapered upwards, have a rounded front and a flat side down stream, and capped off with a larger piece at the top. Oh well a problem to be resolved another day.
Although I am referring to the bridge as the Thomson River bridge, I have relocated it to the NSW south coast town of Broadwater. Heading northwards there is a river called the Yowaka River which joins the Pambula river to empty into Pambula Lake.
Where my version of the bridge will be
Thankfully there are still plans around that show the various subsections of the bridge. Some plans drawn to the larger scale are quite readable but unfortunately many of the dimensions are unreadable due to the resolution they were scanned at. So my bridge will be as close as I can make it. I had started out trying to draw the bridge up to enable me to take direct measurements from them. It comes hard to try and unscramble the multitude of crossmembers holding it all together. So my model will be as accurate as my skills will allow but not fully detailed as time will allow. As the model will only be viewed from the one side, I can't see any point in trying to add rivets to the hidden side. As it is I will have to live until I am 147 years old to get everything completed.
On a lucky day I was visited by a young friend Nathan who saw my drawing of the trusses in the middle of the bridge. I kept looking at photos trying to work out the best way to tackle the build when he suggested that this would be a good candidate for laser cutting. Not only did he make the trusses but the beams either side of them. Two trusses will have spacers in between and also have some rivets attached probably using Archer rivet details. This is all a new adventure as I have never made a bridge before.
Laser cut beams in rough position
As I am reckoning on this build of the bridge to take a while I have temporarily slewed the track towards the wall to enable the bridge to be constructed in the correct position. When I am ready to start the build I will outline its construction on this blog. There is a lot of scenery to be made in the future. Again this baseboard will be removable so hopefully it will live on into the future.
The piece of timber shows the path of the bridge, once built the track will be moved onto it
 So all things going well I hope to have this bridge completed this year. Before I start operation I had better provide some 'fall' protection for the bridge.
More on the bridge as progress is made, see you on the next blog.


  1. Seems to be coming along well. A Bridge in the genre of Thomson River ought to look imprssive. Where did you located drawings for it ? As you say possibly the grandest of engineering along the 2'6" lines.

  2. I bought some icey pole molds a while back as I was going to build a similar bridge as Thomson river, make them out plaster of paris or something similar. haven't done it yet but I reckon it will work as they are tapered and round on the ends, just flatten on one side. available at your local supermarket