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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Official Opening of the Main North's Hawkesbury River Bridge and more Scenery.

It's taken 9 months to get some more scenery done on the Main North, culminating in the "Official Opening" of the second Hawkesbury River Bridge.

About a month ago I sceniced South Gosford, opposite the Electric Car Sidings with the bridge for the Pacific Hwy crossing the 6 tracks.

I made a more permanent crossing of the "Broadwater" and installed a 2 metre Gosford Racecourse Track, albeit on the wrong side of the Main, but this is the only place to fit it.

Adding this Siding completes the "running" of the Gosford Race train from Sydney. Arriving in Gosford on Platform 3, the 46 is replaced by 1028 (until I renumber it to 3528), "stored" at the Racecourse Siding at all times as shown below, then propels the 4 FOs, 3 HKGs and the Van back across onto the Up Main then across the Broadwater into the Racecourse Siding. Operator waits some minutes for the passengers & horse to unload then hauls the train back to Gosford. Coaches and Van are marshalled with the Van at the Newcastle end, then 3 HKGs then the 4 FOs. Train is proplelled into the Racecourse Siding. Later in the Day "3528" hauls the Race Train back to Gosford Station, where "3528" is changed over with a 46 to return all the Patrons back to Sydney. 3528 returned to the Racecourse Siding. Shown in the photo is my poor 2017 crop of Sedum Autumn Joy. No lighting here yet, hence the poor photo with a flash.

18 moths ago, Allan G completed my three Central Valley Model Works Double Track Bridge kits that I'm using for my Hawkesbury River Bridge. It was suggested that we'd need to have an "Official Opening" when they're installed but I have been too slack to complete the "scene" with the appropriate scenery.  Well I've finally completed the scenery around the Bridge's Tunnel Portals.

The Bridge's southern Portal and my complete "right angle" Long Island, underneath Newcastle Station. The grade for the 2.5 m of track from the Station (elevation 13') to the Bridge (elevation 35'), is about a 1 in 30. Not a problem as it's hidden and ALL trains are hauled by the "heavy" 46 Class Electrics or 44s (North Coast trains), due to my 1965 operation.

The southern Portal with the six C38s for "load testing" at the Official Opening of the Bridge.

The Bridge's Northern Portal into Mullet Creek Tunnel with the rest of the "the Bridge scene", where the tracks on the Upper Deck, diverge left up the hill to Murrurundi and to the right, down what can be seen in the photo, on a steep grade, with just enough clearance (60mm) from the Murrurundi benchwork for the 3 track North Coast Staging .

After installing and shaping the polystyrene "landform" for the track to Murrurundi/North Coast Staging, there was "something" wrong with the way the Tunnel entrance to North Coast Staging, looked.

Overnight I agonized how to improve it. I'll add a Road Bridge over the track to Murrurundi. This needed an addition to the Fascia to make it higher and now the land needed re-modelling - more polystyrene and lots of  "scraping" the land. Now the whole scene looks much better.

When I decided to fit in a Hawkesbury River Bridge on my Main North, I did not want it mounted under Muswellbrook due to the 230 mm track separation and not "hidden" under out of the way/view. The Bridge s 2.3 metres long and is a "feature" of the Main North - it needed it's own "space".

Muswellbrook had to go. In one way this was another plus as I was having a "grade" issue, getting my 35/36 hauled trains to Murrurundi. Without Muswellbrook, I could reduce the grade a  little. BUT what to do with my Muswellbrook Oak Dairy that I spent hours kitbashing a Walters REA Kit for an Epping Seminar. It wasn't going to be packed away out of view "under" the layout, so it'll be on the "top" and at Murrurundi. Compromises have to made when building a layout.

I was now ready for my re-enactment of the 24th June 1946 "Official Opening" of the Hawkesbury River Bridge. This monumental occasion needed recording where six C38s "load tested" the bridge.

With the Main North requiring lots of scenery, I decided to keep the "scenery ball", rolling.  Below is shown the exit from Mullet Creek Tunnel as the track hugs Mullet Creek on it's way to Woy Woy Tunnel.

Looking through the cutting towards Wondabyne.

My Mullet Creek is 3.5 metres long and 200 mm below Murrurundi's Fascia but the 3 North Coast Staging tracks are jammed in between the two. With just 130 mm of height to play with I've have a very compressed Wondabyne Sandstone Quarry with the Sandstone Siding. The North Coast Staging tracks can only be seen when crouching down. Woy Woy Tunnel is in the distance.

A 46 hauled Down Pick Up is shunting the Sandstone Quarry Siding. Note the Siding does not have overhead wiring (nor does the Main at this time), so the 46 needs to keep under the wires by having consist of at least 6 Bogie Wagons.

A close up of the Wondabyne Station Down Platform with the Down Pick Up and Geoff S fishing off the Jetty in the "raw", with just a Cap. Not very pretty but you'll look good with that tan.
Note: Wondabyne is the only Station in NSW that does NOT have motor vehicle access - only boat or walking.

Some years ago I bought an Ozito 12 litre Drum Vacuum Cleaner for $35 from Bunings. It has been getting a workout the last month. It was the best $35 I ever spent. I'm surprised how many hills etc it has vacuumed up, that the motor is still going.
Remove the Top (2 Clips), empty the millions of polystyrene balls into a Garbage Bag, clean the Filter and back to sucking up "land". I added an extra Hose (never throw anything out here), making the hose about 3 metres long.
The unit is no longer available from Bunnings, buy something similar, you won't be disappointed if you're adding polystyrene scenery to your layout, see:



  1. Great work there Marcus. Looking forward to a reenactment of the "Opening and load testing of the finished scene. Brian Moss

  2. The bridge is a real feature, and scenery is extremely well executed. Inspirational modelling

  3. Marcus,

    Some great photos and a lot of progress being made. I can certainly understand why the vacuum cleaner has been working overtime.
    cheers Phil

  4. Greats scenes Marcus - the layout is really coming along in leaps & bounds...

  5. Congratulations on the opening of the Hawkesbury Bridge [ PS does that mean I can go fishing on Mullet Creek ]

  6. Excelent work Marcus, Now all that's missing is the pylons for the former bridge over the Hawkesbury!

  7. Marcus, apart from the Gosford bit that is a lot of extra scenery in 2 weeks! But then you did say you were going to do it. Well done!

    Ray P