How my railroad interests moved from the Pacific Northwest to Southern New South Wales .....with a stop over in Southern California

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Yes.....I am still here and there has been progress on the new layout!

I am currently in the middle of a job change from management back to a union job.  The downside of which will be fewer days off, but the upside is that I will have more time every day to get things accomplished. And the under construction layout has benefited lately.

Above is the framing and lower level of the 3 level peninsula. The lower and middle levels will represent the standard gauge line from Tocumwal to Narrandera, while the upper will be the Victorian broad gauge line from Tocumwal towards Seymour.

This is the peninsula from the end where you enter the room.  The end and the 2 wings attached to it will be model display cases which will hide the turn-back loops at the end, eliminating difficult areas to scenic on what is supposedly a "flat land" railroad.  To the right can be seen the 3 levels, which from top to bottom will be Shepparton, VIC; Tocumwal and Narrandera.  To the left of the photo will be a helix connecting the middle and lower levels...and further to the left (opposite the wall with the window), will be Victoria Railways staging.

In this view, Victorian staging will be behind me, the middle to lower level helix to the left and the middle to upper level helix will be in the alcove to the right rear, along with a lower level turn-back loop below it.  

Aisles are approx. 6 - 7 feet narrowing to around 3 feet where the peninsula joins the rest of the Railroad.  

Thanks to Bob Stack for shaming me into an update...more soon.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Layout Plan & Construction Begins!

My backdating has begun!  A box from Auscision arrived this week with my first four wheel wagons, a 6-pack of the ubiquitous GY wagons, they're kind of cool looking, and a little larger than I expected.  The problem is...I will need to purchase a couple dozen at least, might have to Ebay a few packs of NSW coal or container wagons.  

My Victoria Railways fleet now includes 2 Bendigo models flat-top T's, 1 Powerline high hood T, 6 GY wagons and 4 TrainO (or is it now Bob's?) Brake vans.  A modest, but solid beginning.

But where are they going to run?

To satisfy my newly grown fondness for Victorian equipment, I've come up with a plan that pretty much divides my railroad between NSWGR and VR.  Unfortunately, it will be a 3 level layout, and require 2 Helixes... thus a little more problematic in construction, but I believe it will offer a good variety of operations with the branchline action of the 2 state systems.

Since I can't (won't) actually model the 2 different gauges, my plan is for the 2 systems to be physically unconnected.  In Tocumwal, I'm debating whether to use 2 different sizes of track  (i.e. Code 100 for VR & Code 83 for NSWGR), or to just ballast the tracks a little different to make them stand apart from each other.  There is one Flour mill siding that is served by both systems which was dual gauge in reality.  I'm planning on using a gantlet track arrangement to keep the systems seperate.  It will be 4 rails instead of 3, but will be a decent representation.

Upper Level:

This level represents the Broad Gauge system north from Seymour.  Murchison East will have silos and Mooroopna and Shepparton will have yet to be determined industries.  The last modeled feature on the top level will be the Tocumwal Road / Rail lift bridge over the Murray River, just before entering the Helix down to Tocumwal.

Middle level:

Tocumwal will be the operating focal point of the railroad, being the terminus of state run railways.  The station sits between yards of the 2 railways and there are several industries served by both either on their on sidings or a dual gauge siding.  The actual yards at Tocumwal were rather lengthy with several exchange sidings where freight was transfered between the systems.  I believe I've compressed it, but have kept the flavor of this country terminal. 

Lower Level:

The lower level represents the removed in the 1980's NSWGR branch from Narrandera to Tocumwal.  Silos are present in each of the 3 modeled towns and staging will represent Junee  (may change it to Narrandera and model a little of it...haven't decided yet)

This weekend I actually started construction...starting (from top to bottom) on the Shepparton, Tocumwal and Junee shelves along the one wall of the room.

In the below photo, the alcove on the right of the photo, is the area I had designed into the room for the Helix:

That's all for now,  I would certainly be open for any information or photos that anyone might have on the modeled areas, especially the last years of operation of the NSW Narrandera to Tocumwal line.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A New Direction

One month back from our rain soaked 3 week visit to Australia...and it doesn't even feel like we went.  I made MANY new friends and reconnected with old friends....and I already can't wait to revisit.  Thanks to all who made the trip a success.  I hope I can return the favor at some point in the future.

Big news from the trip is that I have finally decided to back date, and have changed my modeling focus.  

Time spent in Victoria has given me a much greater respect for the Victoria Railway, especially in it's pre-V-Line blue and yellow glory.  Time spent chasing 1950's era EMD products has taken it's toll. 

The photo above shows the new focal point of my soon to be started railway.  Tocumwal was served until the 1980's by both the Victoria broad gauge and the New South Wales standard gauge rail systems.   The compact yard precinct had silos and stock pens served by both systems and also had facilities to transfer goods between wagons from each railway.

Also, how cool is a river lift bridge that used to be a combination Rail / Road set up complete with a gate keepers shack.

The announcement during our trip and subsequent purchase of the beautiful Bendigo Rail Models T-Class, set the design wheels in motion.  Between the T's and the "Soon to be released"  (maybe, hopefully) NSW 48-class Alcos, made Tocumwal seem like a perfect way to feed my interests.

In my next posts I will reveal my plan and outline my hopes for this new direction I've taken.    Anyone need  some modern era container and coal wagons!!