It's nearly a year since I created my Main North (mainnorth) Blog. Too much to do, installing sound decoders for others, repairs and upgrades to NCE equipment including upgrades to NCE radio (RB02 & throttles), working on the layout and actually some running of trains, to update this blog. Since I found there are a few of you watching after I visited Ray's blog, I thought I should update you with some of the progress I made in the last few months. First I had to re-new my password (forgot since it's been so long), any of you old fogies out there having the same problem. I fear going out these days as I might forget my address.
Before Christmas, I moved Sydney Staging from under Newcastle to underneath Broadmeadow Yard and included a 22 inch radius return loop. I've been able to include 4 "through" staging tracks under Broadmeadow, the longest 2900 mm, to stage my W44 Concentrate Train with a Garratt & C35.
Having a Return Loop has created a much longer "run" for each operator now. For example for the Newcastle Flyer that's staged at Newcastle, it would be run just to Sydney and "terminate". I'd have turn the loco. Now run the Flyer to Sydney then through the Return Loop and back to Newcastle, where each operator would light engine the C38 to Broadmeadow Yard, service the loco, turn it and L/E back to Newcastle, ready for the next time the Flyer needs to be run. Similar for the Northern Tablelands Express, staged at Werris Creek Station. To Sydney and now back to Werris Creek where the C36 would be turned and the van repositioned at the rear of the train.
In Febuary I modified Suphide Junction but only after I had re-read Byways of Steam 22 and realised there was something wrong with the text and what is in the track diagram, it said "Upon arrival at Sulphide Junction the ore train would cross over to the yard on the Up side of the main lines, then push back into the exchange sidings". Trouble there are was not a crossover to do this. Researched further and secured a copy of July 85 Roundhouse and found a different story. On arriving at Sulphide Junction, the wagons were propelled via a crossover to Exchange Sidings. How was I going to do this, the locos would be in the next room through Tickhole Tunnel and across the brige into Broadmeadow Yard, if I was to copy this movement. I decided to install the "crossover" in reverse and do what the Byways article suggested. When building a layout, you have only so much space and many compromises have to be made. This is one.
For an interum, I made a rough cardboard Sulphide Corporation Smelters Works, so I had somewhere to shunt to and pull out of, for the W44 and Superphosphate S wagon train. Hopefully some time in the near future I can find some time to make a better Sulphide Works, but this will do for now.
I have edited my Cards to be more specific so visitors can understand what they have to do. I'll add some maps etc, but Operating Sessions with my Card system is so much fun. To operate the Double Garratt loaded Coal train from Newstan Mine to Port Waratah, tgen back via a "sneak path" to Newstan Mine and all the BCHs marshalled under the Loading Bin, takes 45 minutes.
In the photo of Sydney Staging (right), a Sydney Fast Electric Parcel Van is getting a "road test" after installing a QSI Revolution sound decooder loaded with a U.S. GG Electric prime mover and a 620 Horn and a NSW Guard's Whistle. I've always wanted to have a Red Rattler 4 car set and now that I have "road tested" a Van, I'm investigating whether this and the 4 car set can "run" on the Main North. They could operate to the end of the photo, where I could make a "Cowan", but this could not justify purchasing them, for this short "run". Maybe a run down the Cowan Bank and into Gosford and back, may be the only "non" prototypical running on the Main North. With at least four 46s operating all trains from Gosford up the Cowan Bank, when Auscision Models release them, the Red Rattlers won't look out of place. What do you think?