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

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Main North Derailment, Epping Seminar & Running Trains.

The Main North was derailed at the end of July 2019, re-railed months later.

At the end on July 2019, I had to changeover to the NBN that had been installed in the street some months earlier. I decided to stay with Optus to keep my web site url active, with their medium speed package and a Fetch Mighty to record "free to air" T.V. Subscribed to Netflix for the Boss. I had to get a new T.V and a digital Antenna.
The Internet kept dropping out but I was busy with family matters, until the Wireless Access Point was replaced in November.

A couple of weeks later, my Laptop died. Not ready for something new like getting a Windows 10 Laptop, this was going to be an issue, I was not "let" down.
I purchased a Lenovo Laptop and Office 365 as it included Outlook for my emails but Outlook didn't work as expected. Finally fixed by a "remote" Microsoft Technician that disabled the default "S Mode". No mention of this by the retailer.  Hours of time wasted here.

Issues with going to Windows 10 continued.

I do the service and warranty work for NCE here is Oz (via the Model Railroad Craftsman here in Sydney) and my Programmers did not work, I was buggered if I needed to program new chips. Along with "Driver" issues, when I downloaded the new software for one of the Programmers, the PICs I have to program were not in the included library. For this I got help from Mark in the U.S.
Help from Randall a local NMRA member also modelling NSW, got everything else working by the end of January including my QSI Programmer. I owe Randall heaps.

Now with my Laptop and Internet fixed, the Main North has been re-railed.

Each year I do a session at the Epping Seminar. 2020's theme was "Modelling the Prototype". I reluctantly agreed to "rehash" something I'd already done as I did not have the enthusiasm to spend time etc on something new.

This "rehash" resulted into doing videos with all the details on the screen to run the 5 following trains with the approximate Operator running time on the layout.
  • Double Garratt 1200 ton Newstan Coal train - 60 mins 
  • 50 Class R/End banked LCH Coal train up Fassifern Bank - 40 mins.
  • DEB Set Northern Tablelands Express - 30 mins.
  • Goods train rear end banked up Ardglen Bank - 40 mins.
  • The Down Glen Innes Mail - 60 mins.
Click here for a Track Diagram of the Main North 

Note: To run any of the trains on the Main North, Operators use an Operating Cards, described in a previous Blog entry. 

The 5 severely compressed videos run for a total of 28 minutes for the 40 minute session of the Seminar. The Seminar was cancelled 5 days out but I guess I'll do it in 2021.

A lot of videoing around Fassifern and Newstan Mine, suggested to me that during this COVID-19 "isolation", that many of use are having to do, I should upgrade my very basic Newstan Mine, maybe my next Blog entry.

Below a 7 minute video of the Double Garratt 1200 Ton Full Coal train from Newstan Mine to Port Waratah and back to Newstan Mine.

Below a 4.5 minute video of the 50 Class Rear End Banked Coal up Fassifern Bank.

Below a 4 minute video operating the 7 Car DEB Set Northern Tablelands Express from Armidale to Sydney and back to Armidale.


Below a 5 min video of banking up Ardglen Bank

Below an 8 min video of the Down Glen Innes Mail


  1. Nice Marcus, more signals installed I see.

    Ray P

  2. Marcus, great videos and plenty of time to watch them.

    cheers Phil

  3. Hi Marcus,
    Thanks for taking the great videos of operation on your layout. Gives us lots of inspiration.

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  5. Thanks for the update Markus - the videos are great. Look forward to your presentation in 2021!