Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel

Northern Tablelands Express approaching Ardglen Tunnel
Click on the above photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Monday, July 14, 2014

Main North Video.


Since adding scenery to the Main North, I've been having too much fun running trains to do anymore scenery/layout changes. So before I make some track changes at Murrurundi and Mullet Creek that would stop me from operating, I thought I make a "walk around" video of the layout.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning how to do Scenery on the Main North. It beats doing DCC installs.


Yesterday I posted my first Blog entry in 3 years indicating there have been major changes in my life – retirement, home renovations and most importantly, changes on the Main North. If the activity on this Blog is any indication, many of you here following, thought nothing would happen, well it has and it’s also surprised me.

The renovations have been completed so I have the rest of my life to finish off the painting, landscaping and getting my new “garage/shed” in order, for the moment I’m into trains 24/7, playing, planning and working on my layout. The plywood junction is slowly being replaced with scenery.

Initially I was helped by my mate Brian from Townsville, colloquially known as the “Northern Terrorist” with the scenery on the Murrurundi to Pangela line above Gosford. After Brian returned home, I had to keep the ball rolling, with 3 more sections done. The newly sceniced areas still need the fine detail like ballast, fences, Telegraph Poles, station detail etc. to be added.

With track plan of Gosford completed, I thought I’d better attack the section of track above Gosford prior to installing the “overhead” to minimize damage to the Gosford’s overhead. While planning the scenery prior to Brian’s week at the Main North, I phoned Brian as he lived at Murrurundi in the 70s, I asked if he had a photo of the bridge over the Pages River - no was the answer but he said he’d see what he could do and that was 9.00 pm. At 10.00 am the next morning there were some photos of an NR crossing the Pages River Bridge. Brian’s brother went out and photographed it at sparrows fart.


Now I had to model the bridge. Thanks Kevin and Brian. Using my scaling method and Google Maps, I worked out the bridge should be about 100 scale feet long.
My nearly completed Pages River bridge.. 



The total mainline length of the Double Deck Main North is now 115 metres excluding the two Return Loops at Sydney and Gunnedah, so scenicing the Main North will certainly take some time but a start has been made. I have been surprised with the efforts. Wow what a difference scenery makes, when playing trains on the sceniced Main North. I wish I had started with the scenery, much earlier.

Upper Deck - Murrurundi to Pangela track looking towards Murrurundi with with the Pages River Bridge.

Lower Deck - Gosford looking south with the not yet built station platforms (Platform 1 behind the HUB Cars and Platform 2 and  the grey platform, the Loco (with Turntable) and the Electric and Car Sidings for the 46 Class Electrics and the Interurbans, respectively
  


Looking back towards Pangela that's located in the "reclaimed space",deep under the house.  


Running further north towards Werris Creek, heading towards the eastern portal of the Ardglen Tunnel. The Tunnel is only a metre long but goes through a right angle, into Ardglen Station.
A small part of Fassifern is shown in the lower L/H corner. 


Exiting the western portal of the Ardglen Tunnel. The future Ardglen Ballast Quarry will be behind the sandstone above the loco/tender. 



Ardglen. Brian made the Station about a year ago, so a better home is long overdue.
Under the two houses on the Hill and behind the large tree in the foreground is the track to the Ardglen Ballast Quarry.
The "white" Newstan Mine Bin can be just seen in the lower L/H corner. and shown below.


Top Deck - Ardglen
Lower Deck - Newstan Mine with 22 loaded BCHs under the Bin ready for the trip to Port Waratah. A second Garratt will light engine from Broadmeadow, shunts the Van onto the BCHs then couples up to the first Garratt. The coupled Garratts push the train on to the mainline. With the complete train on the Down Main the Double Garratts attack the 1 in 40 grade up Fassifern Bank. Using QSI's Heavy Load feature, in these Eureka Models Garratts, this makes a truly magnificent train operation, just like what happened in the late 60s. At Broadmeadow, the Garrattts are "run around" the train then separated. One Garratt is placed in the Yard and serviced while the other Garratt pulls the train into Port Waratah (the Back of Broadmeadow). There is no room for full BCHs so the train continues on via a Sneak Path under Sulphide Junction and back to Newstan Mine with the Garratt and the BCHs re-positioned under the Bin. This takes the operator about 45 - 60 minutes to do.


Fassifern showing the Wakefield Road overbridge.
The Newstan Mine track veers off to the right just beyond the bridge.
I need to paint the house in the foreground, white as this house is very clearly shown in many of the Fassifern photos I have seen.


An overall view of the some of the layout with

R/H lower - North Gosford with the Garratt Sidings and the Up Refuge (22 inch radius) on a curve with the change from steam to a 46 in progress.  
R/H upper - North of Pages River Bridge.
Rear Lower - Fassifern and my "home grown" Sedum Gum Trees. A future topic on the Blog.
Rear Upper - south of and up to (going north), Ardglen Tunnel.


Most trains on the Main North in the mid 60s were steam hauled. Werris Creek bound (Down) trains were assisted over the Range with a "rear end" banker connected to the train at Murrurundi. A second operator is necessary to run the Banker. Two operators working in tandem over this 25 metre section of newly sceniced track with two sound equipped Standard Goods etc, wow what fun.
To make this operation easier and overall running of locos, I "speed match" ALL of my locos to a maximum speed of 30 MPH. Using 28 Speed Step mode, the Procab's Speed display indicates the approximate MPHs of the locos. This makes "banking" a little easier with both loco's s displaying the same an approximate MPH reading.
For extra reading see my previous 30 MPH max speed matching entry in my Blog.

The Grass is made using 6.0 mm long Static Grass from MiniNatur and applied to the layout with a "home made" Grassinator from an article by Ray Pilgrim using a $14 Negative Ion Generator from Oatley Electronics here in Sydney and PVC plumbing parts. A future Blog Topic. Contact me if you want the Grassinator article. 

I have been busy on the layout for the last couple of months. Much more to do but doing scenery is lots of fun and with the results, very rewarding.


    






Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's been happening on the Main North since 2011.

I’ve been embarrassed into posting what's happened to the Main North, since October 2011 – not much, until the end of 2013.

I’m now retired. I took redundancy from Qantas in April 2012. With 7 days a week “off”, I cannot get as much done as compared to when I worked. Many retired modellers have said the same.

Mid 2012, I completed my first bit of scenery, the southern entrance to the Tickhole Tunnel, north of Sulphide Junction, complete with my “very small part” of the Cardiff Locomotive Works. Still not painted (July2014) but at least it’s somewhere to deliver goods to.


At the other end of Sulphide Junction is my yet to be painted Sulphide Smelter Works, the final destination for the W44 Concentrate Train. On arrival of the W44 at Sulphide Junction, the load is shunted into the Exchange Sidings by the C35 & AD60 then the locos are “light engine” to Broadmeadow. The operator then returns to Sulphide Junction where he shunts the wagons into the appropriate Sidings using the “Sulphide Shunter” – a Bachmann 44 Tonner with Soundtraxx Tsunami Micro sound. My first loco paint job with decals from the U.S. Now painting was big deal for me. So I think it turned out okay.



The Sulphide Smelter Works are made up from 3 Cornerstone kits, the Glacier Gravel Works, Power Station and part of a New River Mine kit.



While painting the Sulphide Shunter, I thought I’d paint my Lloyd's C30 Tank that I’d built about 15 years ago. Fitted with a Soundtraxx Micro Tsunami, MRC Speaker & a TCS KA2 Keep Alive. To fit the KA2 under the Coal Bunker, I had to “cut” in two. 


Previously the C30 stopped/stalled on the Double Slip at Fassifern and many of the Points on the layout. The Keep Alive supplies about 5 seconds of power, enough to negotiate the Dead Frogs as I make my Peco Electrofrog Points more DCC friendly. I’m too lazy to add switches/Point motors, resulting in 40 mm of dead track. My Garrats, C35s, C38s, 50s and most of my “all wheel pick up” Diesels negotiate these so I thought it easier to fit a KA2 to the C30 instead of adding switches, wiring etc.

For those that don't know what a C30 looks like, this is it with a Tsunami Micro under the Smokestack, a MRC 20 mm with the housing's back, trimmed off and glue to the Cab Roof and the cut in two KA2 under the Coal Load.  



I also started with my Newstan Mine along with the Loading Bin. Ballasting the mine roads were my first attempt at ballasting. At the same time I made my Fassifern Bank as shown.



That was it for 2012.

Just after Easter 2013, we, well my builder Son Matt, started renovating the home of the Main North, working 7 days a week for 5 months with a few breaks to see his Girlfriend in Melbourne. Along with the normal "non train" renovations that the Boss (Elley) deserved (new kitchen, bathroom, family room, deck etc.), we added a double car Carport with a new driveway and a large shed. Elley says she had to "make" a Builder to get anything done around the House. Well we know that’s not true, I’ve been building a model train “empire”.

In September 2013, Matt said he had done enough and moved to Melbourne, so "finishing off", is up to me. A phone call discussing the lack of progress around the house, Elley said to Matt "You should see what Dad has done in the Garage, he's built over the work bench and added more tracks instead of doing scenery. To top it off, he's put a work bench outside in the Carport." Matt's reply was "You've let him get away with it for years". Some mate that Son of mine, is.

With Matt gone, my thoughts were about trains again and not the house. I “resumed” a 2.0 x 3.5 metre section of the area under the house adjacent to where Gosford is to be located, used for storing junk etc. to be a part of the Gosford “build”. I also moved Matt’s junk from under the layout to another area under the house. This allowed me to add 10.0 m of track between Gosford and Fassifern on the lower deck, eliminating the rear of the Double Garratt Newstan Mine Coal train from entering Gosford as it was shunted onto the mainline at Fassifern – most un-prototypical shunting and on the upper deck 10m of track between Pangela and Ardglen.

The work bench area plus across the “duck under” entry into the other storage area, provides a severely compressed 5.0 m Gosford with and the Electric sidings on the “bend”, Gosford Station and Loco with a 75’ Turntable at the southern end and the steam engine storage sidings including Garratt sidings, at the northern end on a curve into the newly acquired above area. This “peninsular” allows for UP Goods trains to enter the UP Refuge around behind Gosford Yard. The length of both Refuge Loops, allow for the “engine change” that was necessary at Gosford in the 60s for trains up to 3.5 m long, shown below with the the latest scenery above Gosford of the Pages River Bridge and the track from Murrurundi to Pangella.



A week long surprise visit in December by Matt to finish off some projects culminated in a major improvement for the Main North, replacing the solid metal Garage Door with a Stud Wall and a Sliding 800 mm Door. My Main North was going to “sealed” from the elements, at last.

To finish off the now called “Hobby Room” on the Plans, is to get all the “workshop” tools, equipment, drawers etc. out into the new Workshop in the 8 x 5m Pergola without security. For the time being, the valuable tools & equipment are kept in the Hobby Room. Dec 2014 saw walls and two second hand Roller Doors fitted the Pergola. It's now the SHED. 

For 2014, I need to add the second main line out of Gosford and up the Cowan Bank complete with Overhead Wiring, hopefully done prior to the delivery of the Auscision 46 where I’ll need a few for the “change of Engine” at Gosford with 46s to and from Sydney, on most trains.

The SCRMA has just had April 2014 Epping Seminar on Bridges and Culverts. On preparing for my Clinic for the day, I have been motivated to add a 2.1 m Hawkesbury River Bridge to the Main North opposite Gosford, but that along with other Main North additions, they’ll be in the next blog entry, hopefully in a few days.