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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

When the paper design and practical reality don't quite meet.

My modelling friend Jim in his 2nd December update captured well the challenges and compromises of building a layout based on a real location and my own experience has been the same.

The track design for my layout evolved as a full size paper mockup in mid 2016 while doing some contract work in Sydney. The layout was around 6-7m long and 3-3.5 m wide. The focus was on Camden and Narellan with full size models of the milk factory, Nepean River Bridge and coal loader which were the key features of the area. We have a 10.5 m x 6m shed on our property and the plan was to split it longitudinally, this was not the most efficient use of the shed space and in the end a room was built across the back of the shed in real terms 5.8m x 3.2m internal space, leaving roughly 7m x 6m area to park trailers, ride ons and store gear.

The reduced size required some alterations to the existing plan. The Camden terminus to Elderslie has worked out well with the yard and Nepean River Bridge I think being pretty close to a 1/87  replica including the bend into the terminus though there is some compression between the milk factory and the bridge.

The main obstacle is Narellan originally designed with a 180 degree curve to the right heading towards Campbelltown (it veered right in the prototype) then up past Curran's Hill which was behind the coal loader on the layout to a fiddle yard. Between reasonable radius curves and sufficient aisle clearance - this being a walk around layout, the tracks to Curran's and Kenny Hill were hard up against the wall leaving no access other than to duck under the layout modules to get to these locations - not an option.

I now have had to redesign the layout at this very late stage and the 180 degree curve now veers to the left out of Narellan - creating issues with level crossing with wigwam signals and various roads. As a consequence the Narellan yard has been shortened  again having a domino affect with placement of coal loader and station. The coal loader is huge and I was not prepared to compromise by reducing its size or make a low relief model. I had allowed 5 BCH wagon lengths either side of the loading chute however this places the loading chute in the wrong position in relation to the station buildings - so at the moment I am shuffling the approach curve into Narellan and placement of points - possibly opting for a curved point to give a bit more length into the yard. I have laid a mockup track layout although a lot more experimentation and rejigging will be required to get the right fit.

A few progress shots below - A happy Christmas  and all the best for 2019 to all the blog readers

Mock up of Narellan 4103 heads up a string of empty coal trucks while assist engine 4101 waits in the loop



the Camden end of Cowpasture bridge - rail bridge now painted and transoms added when
the banks of the river are completed scenic wise and piers repainted Woodland Scenics water
will be poured 

The Narellan end of Cowpasture Bridge showing the road approach span




Monday, 19 November 2018


Experimenting with Cameras.
The bridge is progressing well with the rail bridge now painted, transoms installed and western abutment completed. Construction is in progress for the road approach span and a mock up of Narellan made - photos will be added in next post.

One of my aims was to try and create a layout that lends itself to photography and a lot of experimentation is happening at present. A few shots were taken tonight to learn more about creating extensive depth of field and playing with lighting and post processing.


3013 and 3034 bring a down mixed into Camden platform 

3013 waits in the loading bank siding while 3034 shunts a CV, steel S and S truck into the goods shed siding
3013 has just uncoupled and run around the down mixed goods

the photographer has walked back behind the train to grab this shot looking
towards the buffers and Nepean House

I am happy with these results and look forward to finishing off the detail and getting the rest of backdrop in place. There was quite a lot of dust and fluff on the locos, they will get a good brushing before the next shoot. I would like to look into simulating smoke and steam for some future shots any one have recommended products for this??

Back to the bridge work Cheers for now






Sunday, 4 November 2018

On the banks of the river (to the sound of beating drums)


3040 pulls an up mixed train across Cowpasture Bridge - as always a work in
progress with some mockup vegetation

The last couple of weeks have been spent detailing around the station and continuing with the bridge module - mainly terrain and the end abutments which required a couple of visits to Camden for photos and measurements - a quick trip to Monaro Hobbies in Canberra to stock up on scenery material, styrene and paint.

While there is still a lot of detailing to be done around the station the focus will be on finishing the road and rail bridges and approach trestles. I need to get the track work advancing towards Narellan.

The road bridge had very distinctive sectionalised hand rails with 2 staggered chains that could be folded down during floods - I have been experimenting trying to replicate these using a single strand of wire see picture below - this will be a slow process

Once the undergrowth is in place on the banks simulated water will be added using Woodlands Scenics deep water pour.

I am still debating whether to use proprietary track on the approach trestle and river bridge mainly from a convenience point of view. The downside is the sleepers are shorter than the prototype - had I thought of this earlier I would have made the rail bridge a whisker narrower to allow the sleepers to overhang the girders a bit more. I think the correct length sleepers will look better if not a little slower to fabricate - I'll make the decision once the scenery has been finished and the road bridge installed

Cheers until the next post


the simulated chains on the road bridge handrails

The photos below are  work in progress in the yard and milk factory


3034 approaches Camden station with a down passenger. The car with its distinctive
red wheel hubs appears in many of Weston Langford's photos of Camden
 parked outside the Milk depot. The white rails to the left of the loco I believe
 were to protect the points from trucks that would drive to the loading bank
- any feedback on this would be welcomed


Another work in progress 3034 with down passenger passes an MLV
in the milk siding that will be coupled to the up train



Monday, 8 October 2018

October update.

3034 about to shunt two milk wagons off to the milk factory
while the CCA is stowed safely away in the goods siding

I am in the process of making some slight changes to the blog over the next couple of weeks. This week time has been spent building paling fences between the goods shed and station as well as planting trees shrubs and vines along the fence.

All locos are running well around the yard although the brass 30s occasionally need a slight nudge. Uncoupling and coupling is still prooving to be inconsistant and more research and tweaking required.


This week I received two IDR 70 class locos which will be used to haul coal to and from Narellan. These are beautifully detailed and run very well - great work Ian


another view of 3034 hauling milk wagons - note the yard light, a detailed UNEEK model
brick loading bank, crane base and start of the stockyard ramps


Inspired by a photo taken in 1962 by John S Glastonbury and appears in Byways of Steam 21 page 82. I am currently seeking permission to put the original photo in.


A highly unlikely working 7001 and 7003 visit Camden.