Monday 17 June 2019

To the Letter etc....

As you would be aware, my narrow gauge layout has been based on a fictional railway on the far South Coast of New South Wales. Its location was carried on from my previous HO style layout, why change a good thing?
Station names on the new layout are Eden, Snug Cove, Broadwater, Pambula, Wolumla, Bega and the branch terminus of Candelo (a town put on the map by two contestants of the 2018 House Rules renovation show on TV)
Station lettering for New South Wales stations are 12" high but I found out that the equivalent Victorian lettering appears to be around 10" high. Despite my efforts to track down the official Victorian standards for the lettering, none was forth coming. So this involved a different approach to re-create some accurate lettering.
As far as I could ascertain the lettering for the narrow gauge stations was the same size as used for the Victorian main line stations, not smaller as one might think.
I am in a Facebook Modelling the Victorian Narrow Gauge pages and posted the request for any info on the VR lettering.
The Mallee shed seems wider to accommodate the wider sign. Internet photo
So the way forward was to acquire front on photos of the station signs and then import them into a CorelDraw programme and prepare suitable letters for etching. I was helped out with various signs and so piecemeal the letters were prepared. I obtained some station sign photos from Stephen Postma and in particular I would like to thank Jenny Baker who works for the Puffing Billy railway and the day she was on fire patrol duty (a small track vehicle that follows the steam train on the lookout for fires), she photographed the station names along the way. A great help.
Eventually all the letters were gathered, luckily the 'Z' was available from Menzies Creek and the letter 'Q' was available from Queenscliff. I had been having conversation with Stephen Ottaway from Stephen Johnson models regarding the production of these letters and he offered to have them etched.
Work on this project only started early this year and I thought it would be good if they could be produced and made available for the Narrow Gauge convention over the Easter period. Some tweeking of the letters was done by Stephen and they were sent off to Scotland (somewhere) to be etched. To my surprise they were done and finished in advance of the convention.
The finished product
The lettters are produced in nickel silver and the lettering is set out as shown above. They have been produced in O scale 1/48 scale. This then suits modellers of main line VR and narrow gauge layouts. 1/48 scale is used in O scale for US and VR modelling scales whereas most UK and NSW modellers use the 7mm to the foot scale. If you are interested in this excellent product contact stephen at
Some of the station boards on my layout when I finally get around to building them will be facing inwards but one station at Broadwater faces outwards. I had a go at this one first and as shown in the below photo. I used some Evergreen square styrene but the only one available ends up giving a 6" square post which I think is too chunky. I will source out something smaller.
Now he knows where he is!
I am happy how this project has ended up, and my thanks to the many who have helped along the way.
And while we are on the subject of signs, part of the preparation of having my layout on display for the Narrow Gauge convention was some housekeeping to have what was available to actually look presentable. I had often admired finished layouts that had a nice fascia on the front of the layout. I obtained many sheets of 2400 x 1200mm 3mm mdf to finish of the front. They were duly cut out, undercoated and then painted the finished colour of Malay grey and then attached to the front of the layout either by gluing direct or screwing on at places where I might need to get access to the wiring.
I thought of using stencils for the lettering for the stations but couldn't find anything suitable. A posting on the FB site by Dan Pickard showed the lettering that he used for his module was produced using vinyl stick on lettering. It looked good and following the link I obtained some lettering for the face of my layout and one sign for each station. This helps for visitors to the layout and me when I get forget full later on!

So incredible with todays technology. I prepared the project on line, paid for it and around a week later the envelope turned up with the lettering al ready to go.
Other Side of the Tracks
Another five 'Other Sides' have been added to the link above. They will all be there eventually including the ones they didn't print.
Link to 'The Other Side'