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Sunday, January 18, 2015


A Very Happy New Year to all.

Today was so hot that l spent it in the air conditioned train room and seeking some much needed inspiration from following bloggers.
It does not take long for the time to get away and "time enjoyed wasted is not wasted time".

My last post spoke of the operation session and l am pleased to say there have been more and more are planned.
In order for the sessions to have commenced, l had to sort out the dilemma with the ballast siding and with the help of Rowan from Glenn Innes and others mentioned earlier l finally settled on the present design and am happy to say it has been well received.

The track to the right of picture is the main line and then the empty road is the receiving road for the empty ballast wagons and then the loading road.
There is a siding in front of the loader that is for receiving various loading associated with operating a quarry.

Over the last few months l have not acheived much, hence the need for inspiration.

Just a quick update.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

4 years and 4 months

On the 3rd of May I had the pleasure of inviting experts in there chosen field to come and partake in the first official operating session on Wattle Flat.

I commenced construction in January 2010 and hence it is fitting to celebrate "4 years and 4 months" with a blog update.(It has taken me a month fighting with blogger to finally post this.)

The Brisbane Model Railway exhibition was held on the same weekend so the invitation for drinks and a sausage sizzle was to commence from 17.00hrs to allow everyone time to arrive after the show.

Cheers, the first official session

There was plenty of food and drinks all round and as it turned out a rather cool evening, we quickly retired to the train room and the details and trains were assigned.

I have liked the idea of a two man crew concept as it allows for one to concentrate on the throttle and driving the train and the other carrying the X2010 and preforming the shunting. The crew can then bounce ideas of each other as to how there going to perform each shunt and of course change positions on the return trip if they choose.

As I mentioned in a post from last year, I have gone away from the car card idea in favour of a modified, for my purpose, form X2010 just like the NSWGR used. I would like to thank Ray and Colin for there input and making available the type of paperwork they use. Thankyou also to Shelton and Geoff for there input.

My version is taken from the original and I just remove the bits that aren't needed in the model form.

X2010 form for train 15

The form has listed on it all the info needed for the operators along with instructions to help them.

During and after the session it was pointed out that I need to add more information in the instructions portion of the form. Point taken.

As there were 6 of us I let the fellas team up themselves, which meant Craig was stuck with me or as it turned out on his own!! Well done as he had the unfinished paperwork and had to rely on my instructions to make up his return train. I hadn't planned on getting that far through the session

Craig has the role of driver and shunter as he works No109 Goods

This job (109) arrives from Sydney (hidden staging) and shunts the various sidings at North Gulgong.

While Craig was busy with 109, Brendan and Geoff  had there hands full with No.19 . This job from western destinations via Dubbo and arrives at Goolma where it needs to reverse and then make its way to the Mill at Gollan. The first job is shunting the meat works at Goolma.

Geoff and Brendan shunt the meat works siding at Goolma

If you are a bit lost here, let us stop for a minute and take a quick history lesson.

In my version of events, North Gulgong was constructed to prevent the need for major bridge construction over the Cudgegong River when the line was built to Maryvale. After leaving the main the line makes its way to Mebul Rd ballast siding and then on to Goolma.
Goolma is a junction station where the line either heads through No.5 tunnel to Spicers Creek and on to Maryvale and Dubbo (hidden staging) or continues through the modelled portion of the layout and onto Wattle Flat.
The photo above showing the track heading to the top of the picture is staging for Maryvale Dubbo.

Geoff and Brendan shunt the mill

No. 19 has reached the end of its journey, arriving at Milling Bros sidings. Here the remainder of the train will be shunted into the various roads and exchanged for loading or empties.
Milling Bros is a private siding and the loco is not allowed within the confines of the complex so the crew will need to think about how they place their wagons to ensure they are in the right spot. The return loading and empties form No.20 .

Paul and Greg shunt Wattle Flat

No. 15 arrives at Wattle Flat with loading for the fertilizer, co-op, fuel, goods shed and loading bank.
The grain siding also needs to be cleared and empties replaced.

The session ran for just over 1 and half  hours and only 3 trains were run and at times there was only the sound of locos running while the crews thought about there next move.

As mentioned the feed back was inspirational, with plenty of laughs, great company  and the culmination of a 30 year dream has finally been realised.

To the fellas that attended, I thankyou and look forward to the next one in June.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Always good to get another opinion.......

Evening all, my previous post was as a result of getting some excellent feedback. Many thanks Shelton.

After having constructed all the formwork for the branch and feeling pretty happy with myself I commenced laying track. I too had concerns with the curving nature of the alignment so stopped work and moved onto (hence the subject of my previous post) something else while I pondered fate.

original plan without the piece of ply clamped in position

The plan was to have some hills and valleys, in which the branch deviates from the mainline through, before reaching the ballast siding and then onto the openess and remainder of the branch.

I tend to think things through for far to long which can cause periods of inactivity or I will just move onto something else.

The weather has been great of late with pleasant days and I rather enjoy being outside than in. I am currently adding an extension on the side of the shed. This 3.6m by 12m extension will give me somewhere to park the horse float, trailers and tractor but more importantly will shelter the side of the trainroom from the afternoon sun, but I digress, sorry Bill.

With this shift in layout construction times to evenings and the roadbed alignment drama I moved onto planning the station area. This is where the branchline junctions from the main. Originally this was to be a "beyond the basment" part of the layout but with further investigation it would lead to another operational aspect.

The concept now for those just tunning in is that trains come from staging into the station and then shunt the various sidings and others are made up and then take the branch, others might commence there journey and then return.

There was no point making one up in my head and I thought it would be easier to modify the prototype for my location. Below are so planning ideas.

I use paper templates and place various items around to get a feel, then leave it for a while.

Although the benchwork appears quite narrow there is enough room to allow for easy acess to rollingstock.
The results are in!!!! 

As can be seen the end result is different to the planning. Even as we speak the double slip has been removed.

Every section of track has a length of wire soldered to it and the bus, a tedious job but one that will pay off in years to come.
I only strip the bus wire and wrap the dropper around it then solder

I have had the chance to test all the trackwork in dc mode and am happy with my results. The Procab was next tested while this area of trackwork was still isolated and it too preformed well.

All the trackwork is now in place including the staging. There is now only about 3 metres of track that needs to be laid.

Ahhh why stop there, it will be a while before I get a chance to fight with Blogger again.

Yes, I came to the conclusion that there were too many curves and decided to straighten them out.

The end result with the old roadbed still inplace but track to the new alignment. The turnout leads to the ballast siding.

The golden spike ceremony is only days away. All the branch will be laid with only a few sidings to complete as customers sign up there agreements.

I can feel a few beers and a sausage sizzle coming on!!!!!!

Until next time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Generating the reasons for movement

I have been giving a lot of thought to how I plan to generate the consists of trains that arrive from staging to the main station area and are then shunted to the various industries or "made up" marshalled into a branchline train and then go about there journey.
 X2010 that travelled with the train to its destination

Having shunted trains myself 13 odd years ago to various lists and made up trains and completed X2010 forms, it is easy to make up a train that "someone else " has already generated.

 shunters receive this fax requesting wagons

We would then use lists complied by the last shift to collect the empty and in some cases reloaded wagons to form the train, in this case BW4.

shunters made lists to be done and also where wagons were in their yard

Trains that arrived were then shunted out using the details on the X2010.

computer generated X2010 and marked up ready to shunt the consist

The requirement of the X2010 seems to have changed little over time from the research I have done.
memo sent to operational staff

The above forms are from various time frames and taken from my huge collection of actual paperwork that was used in day to day train running operations.
As you can see there is plenty of paperwork in those 4 pages to generate traffic flow. It will be fairly simple to make the first list but will then become harder and harder to create variety. Or will it!!!!!

My question is, I am interested to find out what systems those of you with an operational layout use to generate train lists but also shunting lists (switch lists). I am not interested in car cards like I referred to a few blogs ago, although cards are placed on wagons for the number taker, I think I will just go with a X2010.

Anyway enough of my ramblings, your thoughts please.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Earth works are complete

Well January has passed and it has been very hot up here in sunny Queensland so I have been using my time avoiding the heat (and waiting for rain) by working on the benchwork and roadbed. 

It has been 3 years (Jan 2010) since I first cut the timber to commence construction on this 30 years in the dreaming project. Framing above the work bench showed up my lack of planning, for when I went to match the current benchwork I found that there was no commercial size timber available and I had to rip my own. 

The shot below shows the 11 x 28 and 19 x 28 glued and screwed together and bolted to the pelmet of my work bench.
The level sits on the temp bench work to check the heights

Here is the finished shot with frames in place and ready to screw the ply

Fixing the plywood was like normal although I had to be more accurate as I only had 11mm to attach the ply to in some places. This area of the layout is staging and represents heading to Newcastle or Sydney. I attached a small backdrop just to neat'in things up.
I still wanted to maintain a large curve in the staging area (min as on the layout) and this proved to eat in to the storage area so I just added a little more on the end as can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the photo below. 
Ply on and staging trackwork in the planning

The trackwork in the staging area is anything that I had trackwork wize that would make a few holding roads. The shot below (sorry for those with a crook neck) is the entry to staging. I have to clean my work bench!!!!
 Benchwork finished and trackwork taking shape

I had previously constructed the layout from right to left and after the last running (testing) session the need was expressed to me for more staging or a place to hold your train.

This prompted me to start over the workbench and give some thought as to what would be down this side of the room.
Trackwork and benchwork together can be a receipt for diaster, yes the air conditioner is still there but I am working around it 

 Yes and there you have it benchwork almost finished

 Job done, all the dozers and scrapers are gone.
The roadbed on the left is the branch snaking through the hills around to the mainline junction station on the right.

 The dozers and scrapers are gone from this end of the layout too and the perway gangs have commenced their work in the staging.

 I need to settle on a station layout that represents a prototypical design. I have found that in the 3 years of planning and construction, the "branch" has changed somewhat and really has nothing to do with Nimmitabel (as some of you have already guessed) but has still needed to follow prototypicial design.

My need to construct a branchline has and is what I have done. Trains will be "made up" from loading that has arrived from Sydney, Newcastle (staging) and then make there way on to the branch and likewise loading will return from the branch and then be marshalled into trains for destinations in the big smoke.

Well enough of my ramblings, this was only going to be a few photos for show and tell. Until next time!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas update

A very Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you have a safe and properous 2013.

Having returned from the New England Convention in November, what a great weekend and a super congrats to Warren, Kathleen and the NEMRC, I have plenty of revitalised energy for the next stage of construction.

My first step was to finish the benchwork properly so that the final decision on trackwork could start.
This took a fair bit of time with the templates to get a plan that followed standard NSWGR design but also provided some operation but most importantly, fit the space!!

The track layout is bases loosely on Gilmore with goods loop, platform road, loop road to branch and for extra effort I have added a stock siding and perway siding. 

Here is the finished scene.

With all the hard work done it was time for a good test of all my toil so far. An email was sent out advising there would be free beer and BBQ on Friday night, oh and some trackwork testing.
As it was very short notice I was pleased the drink and food did the trick as there was nearly a full house.

After the food was finished ( Rule 2 no food in the train room) I let the fellas at it. Most of the tuesday niters have radio throttles and once set up with fresh batteries (yes I know) everything ran fine.

The most common error of the evening was someone running into a point against them and as I wire all my frogs this causes a short for that part of the layout. When full operating sessions are on, I plan to have 2 man crews, 1 drives and the other takes care of points and coupling/uncoupling so I am hoping this will greatly improve. If someone knows of a better was to stop this, I would be pleased to hear it. No, dead frogs are not an option!!

It was such a great evening that I forgot to take any photos so thankyou to Brendan from for taking these great shots.

 Geoff is running around his train in the testing area

Paul has just shunted a load of wagons

Craig has shunted a string of wagons and prepares to collect the empites

The 2 shots above show how important space is between the bench. This is the tightest being only 700mm at the narrow point

The evening declared a sucess and the obvious need for more trackwork I continued with my progress and started work on the roadbed.
The plan for this area is slight rolling hills, giving the impression of the branch line making its was back to the junction and the main line.  
 Just an overview of the roadbed and trackwork so far

the 3rd last section of benchwork has been constructed. Sadly the airconditioner will remain, the trains will just have to go around it

In the last week progress has stopped!!,  for on my return home from work on a really hot day, I thought I would carry out a perway inspection (as I have done for the last 2 yrs on hot days) there were buckles everywhere thoughout the layout. Sorry no pictures as there were so many. I had to start lifting track and marking where I need to cut further expansion joints.

I am still progressing with this job and pleased to say that I have rectified half so far and no permanent damage. WHooooooooo..

On a far better note I received a call from fellow tuesday niter Paul last Friday and he came over and we had a very relaxing evening with a few beers and installing decoders in 45 class locos. Thanks mate it was a bloody great night, times sure flys when your having fun.

Which brings me to the end of my ramblings. Enjoy the festive season surrounded by the ones who bring you joy and happiness. We are only here for a short time so love, share, laugh and enjoy.

Again Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you at the next adventure.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Huge catch up!!

Yes I know it has been over 6 months since my last post and having read other blogs I felt rather guilty in not letting you know what I have been up to.

Now this is not the place to tell you all the family and yard work guff so I will cut straight to the chase.

Yes the fellas did turn up and had a great time. This shot from Craig is what he saw when first walking in.

Awaiting the scenery but ready for action

What the layout was built for, the fellas running trains..
Photo courtesy of David Mewes

Well as I mentioned all those months ago, there was plenty of work being done between the other posts and photos. The back drops in stage one area needed a lick of paint and fellow Tuesday Nighter Peter is a wizz at painting them. I am ever so thankful to Peter.
Peter working his brushes and .....

The faint back scene drying

The trains needed somewhere to terminate and as I had started this section of track work I thought I might as well add some temporary runaround facilities.
This trackwork will be permanent with the left track heading to Wattle Flat and the right heading to hidden staging.

Overview with the permanent trackwork taking shape. The hidden staging is at the top of the photo.

This is the temporary benchwork knocked up to provide a runaround for the day. Thanks again to Craig for this shot as I never took any.

There was a great attendance and I enjoyed being grilled on the changes from 12 months earlier. There were plenty of trains run with the layout being put through its paces. The discussions, food and beer flowed freely and a good time was had by all.

Times rests for know one, the next day the temporary benchwork was removed and so was that temporary peco point motor powering the hidden staging siding. The wire in tube works far better.

Temporary benchwork gone and template mapping underway.

I cheated this time and the frame work is timber legs. It was a lot quicker and this section of the layout may not last if my wife wants to move!!!!

Cutting the timber to length. With the cutting list complete the project is moved out to the workshop for assembly, including the backdrop.

My annual leave got in the way of layout work but with any good family holiday I try to sneak in some rail fanning. My first chance was Barraba and I had been keen to see what was left after only getting as far as Manilla back in 2008.  Warren told me there was nothing much left so I guess Geoff and I didn't miss much back then, and yes he was spot on.

Barraba loading ramp. Photo taken from the raise loco area and station was to the right of shot. End of the line is to the left.

Roughly 3 km sth of town is the still tact silo area.

I took plenty of photos of "what" said the good wife and "are ya FINISHED".
 It was quite a few days before I tried it again and when Rylstone appeared I stopped for a few shots.
Station looking towards Mudgee

Looking to Kandos

Where is the station Ray!!!

 I am a member of the Merriwa Society and dropped in to see the restoration progress.

A quick couple of shots in Tamworth, the siding has been removed.

By this time I think I was starting to push my luck so as the car was already packed we made our way to the coast and sunny Port Macquarie. The plan was to spend a few days at the beach.

As we got closer to Port and it had been some time since my last rail stop I thought it safe to say "Oh, do you mind if I catch up with good mate while in town."

Leaving the family with the beach and pool within walking distance I took the chance and headed over the "Liverpool Range" and spent a every enjoyable afternoon with Ian Millard. I have known Ian for over 15 yrs and it was great to catch up, see his house and check out the layout progress.

The layout is coming along nicely and the quality of construction and trackwork is a real credit to him. His blog  is one to follow.

Many thanks again Ian for an inspirational afternoon.

The rest of my holidays had nothing further to do with railways until I got home.

Back in the railway room and fully inspired I started mapping out the trackwork.

Sorry can't turn this shot over. The plan here is a goods, stock, back platform and main.

Anyway I hope this long winded catch up fills you in.

This weekend is the New England Convention held in Armidale. It will be a great weekend and I hope to catch up with fellow bloggers. Come up and say Gday!!! See ya there.