Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Research and testing

As always multi tasking on many parts of the layout. I have been fortunate to meet a couple of keen modellers who are also building the Campbelltown to Camden Railway or parts of it. We have been sharing photos, plans, ideas etc and all this has added to improving the accuracy of what we are trying to achieve. One of my friends sent me a great photo of the milk depot side of the loading bank and to my dismay it was brick when I had built it in timber. Possibly one of the advantages of the approach I have taken to the way the layout is being built, it is still possible to change things. So a new loading bank face has been built in brick and placed over the timber face.

One of the features included on the layout are grades - while I have scratch built a lot of structures in my time, layout building is reasonably new and these grades have caused some issues - particularly the transition from grade to level into the Camden station yard. My trusty Bachmann 44 toner aka USA 7923 sailed over the transition without even a wiggle however the 30 class tanks literally launched themselves skyward and came to grief. So after initial track testing mainly for electrical checking with the Bachmann, the 30 class get a prototypical train load and used to thoroughly test the trackwork and electrics before ballasting and detailing. I am in the process of reworking the track levels coming into the yard so progress at the terminus has slowed down. Many of my modelling colleagues have recommended making the grades significantly less steep than the prototype and if possible leave them out - not an easy thing to reverse now.

The Cowpasture bridge is coming together well with the basics of both the road and rail spans taking shape. As mentioned in my last post there is a road and rail trestle approach to the main bridge on the Elderlsie side. A quick trip last week up to a timber road bridge between Cathcart and Bombala has provided measurements and photos to build a reasonable replica of the road bridge approach spans.

A few photos depicting this blogs points:

Photo credit yet to be advised - original source unknown - the 3 ton crane and brick loading bank

Above the revised loading bank face below various views of the cowpasture bridge

Bridge detail is only fairly minimal and only on the viewing side

Timber road bridge over Coolumbooka River between Cathcart and Bombala  - the road approach spans  of the Cowpasture bridge will be based on this bridge.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Construction Resumes

The new room is great to work in, have laid some lino and my wife made some curtains for the window. Lots of things happening, the track work at the terminus is complete. I am still sorting out electrics and point motors. I am using the DCC concepts Omega Classic and while a great unit I have had two failures so far, chasing up warranty at present. 

The backdrops are off for painting to allow completion of scenery, ballasting and buildings around the station area. Lots of detail parts are on the way from Uneek and more trees for around the river area. Bench work has progressed in part just past Elderslie and the rail side of the Cowpasture Bridge started. This bridge has turned out to be a very large project in its own right. I have been debating whether to head back to Camden with my kayak and do some more measurements and photos however its a 1000km round trip.  I am taking the approach of capturing the look and feel of the line as its difficult to be 100% accurate and I will continue the bridge construction based on a wealth of photos available through the Camden Library courtesy of the Camden Historical Society and existing published material in various railway books and elsewhere on the net. I am also cheating in that the bridge is close to the backdrop and I am only detailing what you can see so the bridge ribs are only on the viewing side. The girders for the road bridge appear taller than the rail side and I will model this.

Bridge construction is styrene strip and right angles for all girder and bracing work, the road deck and transoms will be North Eastern timber - , the bridge is 240' long and all up about 32' wide and from the rail to the water level is about 30 feet, There is also an approach trestle on the Elderslie end of around 150' for both road and rail, the rail being from what I can estimate 11 x 14 ft openings. I will resurrect some of the old Wood N Iron jigs and build the timber components from dowel and North Eastern timbers.

The control panel has been reinstalled in the baseboard and when time permits will do a more presentable face plate.

Have encountered a few running issues during further testing - mostly mistakes on my part and have rectified. Work will continue on the terminus to finish scenery and get the backdrops painted and fitted. In parallel the benchwork will continue through Kirkham, Narellan, Currans Hill, Mount Annan, Kenny Hill and the fiddle yard.

Looking forward to the future release of the IDR models 70 class which were used in pairs in the last year of coal operations to Narellan.

At the moment I am seeking help for any photos of the boiler house at the Camden Milk depot and sawmill.

Happy modelling until next time

Aerial view of the terminus

 Backscene behind the buffers Nepean House on the right

Early phase of bridge construction, the pine blocks 
will be replaced by piers made from styrene

 relocated control panel and trusty test loco
The expansion down to Elderslie

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

the completed train room

A new structure for the layout - part 2.

The new train room is now complete, the electricians completing lights and power this morning. Some floor covering would be good and a trip to Bunnings (150km away) is scheduled as local carpet and floor covering shops are way too expensive.

There were three main aims with the train room
  1. better dust control
  2. better temperature stability
  3. a dedicated clutter free area (for now) to build and operate the railway
Even at this early stage all 3 points have been met. When the walk around layout was first designed, I envisaged a space of 6.5 -7.0m x 3.5-4.0m  would be required to provide enough space for reasonable width aisle ways and decent radius curves. The final room size is 5.832m x 3.250m and a few minor changes to the design have been required. The layout does not necessarily utilise the available space terribly efficiently and there will be wasted space behind curved sections of the layout.

I was keen to have the curve into Camden yard, its probably about 30 degrees and also the track curving out of Narellan towards Campelltown as it did in the prototype, these two features greatly impact the space efficiency.

The control panel will need to be re-installed vertically in the baseboard as it will encroach too far in the aisle way. The radius of the curves may need to be decreased slightly however one of my modelling friends who is also modelling Camden has suggested the Bergs 30 class tank locos pony trucks tend to short on tighter radius curves so I will need to build some test curves before committing to building future modules.  By dropping Maryfields from the design and finishing the layout on the Campbelltown side of Kenny Hill, I may be able to go for 30 inch radius curves which will solve any potential shorting issues.

The layout position in the room is also different from first planned and a positive outcome from this was the Nepean River bridge and approach trestle at Camden can be built to pretty much 1/87 whereas in the original design the bridge would have been shorter.

New construction work on the Nepean River, Elderslie station module and ongoing detailing of what is already built will resume in the next couple of weeks.  

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

A new structure for the layout - part 1

The Camden module shares a reasonable sized shed (10.5m x 6m x 3m) with years of accumulated things (some may say junk), kayaks, ride on mowers, trailer, cement mixer and heaps of bits and pieces. Room is always at a premium, its dusty and subject to the extremes of weather typically -2 to +40 degrees C where I live.

As the module progresses it is getting harder to move and extend and really needs its own dedicated space with much better temperature control and better dust protection. 

This year I put any further layout work on hold until I can build a train room. On our return from Europe early January my wife had a very serious fall with significant injuries. While doing my husbandly duties of taking care of her, I designed a room to fit across the back of the shed that has the internal dimensions after framing and lining taken into consideration of approximately 5.8m x 3.25m x 2.4m high.  This was followed by a quote for materials purchase and delivery.

Framing is 70mm x 35mm treated pine MTP10, bearers 140mm x 45 treated pine, wall and ceiling lining 9mm C/D grade ply in 2400mm x 1200mm sheets. Stud spacing was in multiples of 400mm to optimise the use of the ply. Cornices are maple Scotia mouldings and joins are covered with 30mm x 8mm maple strips. There is a very low mezzanine level with 3600mm x 900mm x 19mm Yellow/green tongue flooring covering the top of the bearers to free up some of the floor space.

The wiring for four double GPOs and two double fluorescent lights has been roughed in by my electrician neighbour  and will be connected when painting is finished. The framing went together pretty quickly, one of my Uncles helped out which was fantastic.  Actually bought a Ryobi Air Wave Framing nail gun from Bunnings worth every cent. Also have a Senco Brad finishing gun which was excellent for the attaching the plywood to the walls and doing skirts and architraves. The ceiling which was a little tricky as I did this solo using a combination of glue screws and brads to attach the ply to the beams.

There are R1.5 batts in the wall and R3.5 batts between the ply and yellow tongue in the ceiling. Access to the room is via a double doorway (2 x 820mm standard doors) noting that moving the layout into the room was a precision operation with little room for error.

This project while not yet completed has been much quicker to build than many of the HO scale buildings on the layout

Mitre 10 have just delivered the bulk of the materials for the project, the layout can be seen in the shed

Framing under way as well as dyna bolting to the slab, the observant people might say the sisalation is on back the front however I am trying to reflect heat out not in

Plywood panels being put up

Above and below most of the timber work completed just the cover strips on the ceiling, hanging the doors then painting to go

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Starting to look like a railway

A progress shot from tonight - work continues on the ground covers and ballasting, the goods shed is finally finished as is the fettlers shed. More shots in a few days

2001 shunts an LV steel and regular S truck into the goods shed siding

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Coming together:

The last couple of weeks have been spent starting to finish off various buildings and get a feel for how it will come together. As mentioned in previous blogs the layout is built on sloping ground and many buildings were started so the topography could be built around them so they fit in and not on the layout, however there are exceptions such as above.

The other key part of the build program is to work out colouring, ballasts, grasses, vegetation etc. Being a light branch the ballast was probably ash. The photos of Camden yard in various publications suggest its mainly soil around the tracks and is very fine and dark. My initial ballasting up past the milk siding is probably not correct and I have changed the ballast formula heading away from the crossing at the milk factory. I am also struggling with a reasonable representation of soil using fine woodland scenics turf, which is still too coarse in HO. The Woodland Scenics Asphalt has been used for Camden Valley Way/ Argyle St and this is a great product.

My Noch Grassmaster fine nozzle arrived this week and is working out well for doing more controlled patches of electrostatic grass. I am experimenting with trees, I am now on the Mark 2 version willow which I will discuss in another blog. The poplar trees were custom made by a guy in Victoria and are really effective. There was a very thick grove of trees beside the milk factory and I have purchased a heap of different Woodland scenics trees. Many of these have been thinned out reshaped and a few tints put on the foliage and the trunks painted. Many of the less expensive trees look like lolly pops, blobs of thick ground foam on sticks (see trees under power lines) these are yet to receive the reshape and paint treatment. I have found lichen covered with ground foam to be a good representation  of various climbing plants brambles blackberries etc. Sisal rope has been used for dozens maybe hundreds of grass clumps along the line and other areas of the layout.

Below are some works in progress shots over the last few weeks - Still a long way off but getting there. I am keen to get the scenery completed along the back edge of the layout so I can get the back drop on and hang a drop sheet to protect the layout as its currently in a large shed. The dedicated room has yet to be built at the back of the shed possibly after Christmas. Electrics and track testing is done before and after the scenery and is proving to work well. I have been using a Bachmann Spectrum 44 tonner to test although both 20 and 30 class locos are used in the final testing. A few problems I have found are buffer lock requiring longer couplers on some vehicles, bogies jamming against foot irons mainly on the MLVs into the milk siding and a number of wagons have steel weights which cause some very unpredictable behaviour over the under track magnets.

Until next time

looking up Camden Valley Way towards the goods yard facilities

looking from where the stockyards are across the loading bank to the station platform

Looking down Argyle st 

Looking down Camden Valley Way towards the Nepean River - this photo illustrates how some structures are built into the layout and the thick grove of trees beside the milk factory

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Track laying is now about 50% completed, the wiring of frogs and jumpers around rail joins is quite a pain but worth it for the operational reliability. Have been experimenting with vegetation, soils, ballast and as sample of how its coming together heres a shot looking from the milk factory siding down Camden Valley Way with Bergs 2nd run brass 3034, SDS BMT and Austrains CCA( yet to be weathered) with a down mixed into Camden.

 The Caltex servo still requires a couple more pumps, some vehicles and detailing.

The power poles will have wires between them using EZ line, the front pole still requires the cross arm stabilisers.

I have also been working on trees and experimenting with making willows another slow process.

Still very much a works in progress with a number of projects all happening at once

Below is a shot of the rear of the station

Below almost completed Silvermaz BD wagon

Heading back out to the shed to continue construction - happy modelling