1. New South Wales in approximately 2005. This will allow me to use all the equipment I have collected over the last 5 years. (as increasingly appealing as back dating is, I believe I'm a little too far along, especially locomotive-wise, to change now)
2. preferably a good mix between main line running, yard shunting and online industry work
3. Someplace I have already visited and/or can visit during my next visit down under in 4 months.
4. Flat, or relatively flat terrain would be NICE (Mountainous scenery building "killed" my last 2 RR's)
Based on these wants, and after scrutinizing track charts and signal diagrams...I came up with 4 plans:
One that I am strongly leaning toward: Gunnedah
One that I like quite a bit: Parkes
One that is good, but don't think space will do it justice: Dubbo
One that I have visualized since my space was known: Ardglen
Tonights entry will cover the first 2....I'll try and post the others tomorrow.
The plans are only roughly to scale....with the squares being 1 foot and the mainline radius nominally 30".
Fits well with my requirements. In 2005 (as it appears today) , seemingly every operator in the state operated into or through Gunnedah. ARG held the Manildra Flour contract and ran these services with a great variety of Orange former GWA power. Pac Nat handled grain into Gunnedah and also from the Northwest of the state to the grain export terminals in the Newcastle area. Pac National also ran the former Freight Australia fuel services to Dubbo and coal loaded in the Gunnedah area to Kooragang Island. Add to this the Lachlan Valley cotton services to the Narrabri area and the Southern Short Haul infrastructure workings and you have all the variety my equipment roster can support.
This plan focuses one level on Gunnedah itself...which in reality has a very linear arrangement which seems to work well in the space available. It allows me to have all the basic features in their proper order, including the coal loading loop, with Narrabri staging beyond:
Heading southeast by using the helix to the lower level, you pass the only 3 "towns" between Gunnedah and Werris Creek which are Curlewis, Nea and Breeza...each of which has at least 1 grain silo to provide some rail activity. Then travel into staging which will be at a yet to be determined location...probably along the wall under Curlewis.
Additions to my equipment roster for this plan will need to be acquired as they are released by the manufacturers: Auscision AGHX grain cars for the Manildra services, and NGTY grain wagons. The long awaited 48 class locos from Train-O (or Powerline...whoever comes out with the Freight Corp blue first), 81 class locos from Austrains, and a set of Explorer passenger DMU cars that reportedly may show up some day.
All in all, I am probably best equipped to operate this plan over all others.
I had thought about Parkes when I started thinking about a new railroad, but didn't think it would lend itself to my space, due to the fact that there are lines radiating out in all directions from this western depot. But after the suggestion from Brad Hinton that I look at it, I decided that it could be done, IF I just focused on a single line.
What I ended up with was a railroad that runs from Orange/Sydney staging to Parkes and then on Northwest to Narromine with staging for Dubbo and Cobar. The lines to Broken Hill and Cootamundra will be dummies diverging from the modeled route.
Like Gunndedah, Parkes has a fairly linear layout stretching from the Grain sub-terminal on the east, through the yard and station, and loco depot before coming to Goobang Jct. on the west side. Like the Gunnedah plan, The Parkes area takes in the entire upper level with the Orange staging on the far left side of the room over my desk.
After traversing the helix, you pass through Goonumbla (Silo and container loading), Mickibri (Silos) and Peak Hill (Silos) before coming into Narromine where the line to Cobar branches off (staging) and the trip ends at staging representing Dubbo.
This plan will be basically a grain operation with branch trains coming from the Dubbo and the lower level towns and from the Cootamundra and Orange lines to the Parkes sub terminal, for reloading into trains going to export. An additional operating element will be the ore trains to/from Cobar, which will require a run-around move at Narromine to access Parkes from Cobar (as the prototype does).
Equipment wise, by not modeling the Main west to Broken Hill, or the line to Cootamundra...I don't have to by up a bunch of NR's or build myself a steel train or an Indian Pacific. But I will need more 48-class locos than I would for the Gunnedah plan..both Freight Corp/Pac Nat and Silverton versions.
If anyone is still reading after all this......As these are the 2 front runners...I would appreciate any suggestions or critiques.
Next time: 2 more plans