Saturday 28 April 2018

Side Tracked

What has become an annual event recently occurred over the weekend of 14 - 15 April when the Maitland Steam Festival was on. Usually the steam locos come from south of Sydney at Thirlmere and head up towards Maitland on the Friday prior and return the following Monday. These trains in the past were just transferred empty and missed out on potential revenue. Now you can usually join the train in Sydney and travel up to Maitland as a paying passenger. As well on the return journey you can come back from Maitland.
We only raked up three starters this year, the others coming up with excuses such as "I have to baby sit", "boring, been there done that" and other excuses.
Getting our moneys worth Kevin and I went into Central and Ross joined at Strathfield. Sydney has had an extended summer this year and Friday 13th April was no exception. Not the type of day you would want to be firing a steam loco. A different scenario years ago when firing a loco every day kept you fit, but the spasmodic running of tours these days means firing a loco is a bit of a task. Or maybe I am looking at it from my perspective. I could maybe fire out to Redfern. (1st station)
This is either for the crew or spare water for the trip!

We had a 44 class pushing us from the rear but it is just insurance in case the 36 had issues. We got plenty of looks as we steamed through the inner Sydney platforms. Ross joined us at Strathfield and then settled down for the grades up to Hornsby. An uneventful trip down to Gosford and although I have done that trip countless times I still enjoy it. Traveling along the shores of Mullet Creek you could be in the middle of nowhere, but after going through the long Woy Woy tunnel, upon exiting you come back to civilisation. Gosford was a one hour stop to feed the loco more water and the passengers. The following photo taken by Kevin shows what an Aussie can do on a stinking hot day after firing a loco from Sydney to Gosford. What do you do? Sit down on the platform, rest up against the loco and devour a meat pie complete with the tomato sauce. The photo says it all.
Pie time
Eventually we reached Maitland where all the events we to be held over the weekend. The garratt loco 6029 also made the trip up there as both the 38's seem to resisting any attempt to get them back running again. May be next year we might see the green giants back again? Return back was by local services to Hamilton and then intercity train back towards Sydney. We will see what eventuates next year.
3642 arrives at Maitland. Kevin Waid photo.
That was the 'away from the shed' activity and now a report on what's been happening to SCR. Coming along the far wall of the shed next to the Yowaka River baseboard is a board having an uphill S bend section that will connect into the Pambula baseboard. From this section onwards the baseboards will all be a permanent fixture. So basically unmovable unlike the first seven baseboards built which can be removed and hopefully end up a 'better place' and not in the skip bin.
Next baseboard under construction. Don't look at the junk underneath!

The long boards shown the direction Pambula will go
As I have said on past blogs it is a big job to remove the old layout and clean up the years of junk that seems to naturally accumulate. I am sure that's why curtains were invented to hide it all. Over the years my carpentry has not improved but knowing that it all gets covered up in the end keeps me going.
Ply sheet laid out ready for track design
The track coming off the Yakawa Bridge is at an angle and will go into an 'S' bend to climb up towards Pambula. I am a big fan of curved tracks and other than at stations most of the track will have a curve. There will be a road intersecting this board. The road climbs uphill and will cross the track also climbing uphill. This should allow for plenty of scenic scope. I have it planned out in my head but you will have to wait until I have the chance to scenic.
Changes on the run

A dry run to see how it all fits the scene
I used the 'cookie cutter' style for the baseboards. The cut out bits form the base where scenery will go. One thing I was a bit concerned with was actually constructing all the baseboards laying the track and then finding out the grade is too steep for your standard train to run. The only option is to have the baseboard built, lay the track and then do some testing. What is my benchmark train that has to be able to traverse the whole layout is an NA loco, six Bachmann coal hoppers and a brakevan. Although in regular service the NA's won't be operating the coal trains for operating variation in the future they might be called upon to to the 'coal run'.
Tracks are down
The only way to test the load was to get some track down. The 'S' bend was laid and trials found out that a coal train hauled by the NA was OK.
I am looking forward to doing the scenery on this section, plenty of greenery.
My main target is to get the baseboards all done, lay the track and then start on the scenery side of the layout, what I am looking forward to. Hopefully on the next blog there will be some details of Pambula the third station out from Eden.