Above photo is my Gosford complete with the Overhead. Click on the photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Murrurundi on the Main North

Adding "operations" like "banking" and "double heading" was one of the main reasons for choosing the "Main North" section of the NSWGR in the mid 60s. Murrurundi on the southern side of the Liverpool Ranges during the 60s, had a delapidated Loco Shed and a 60' Turntable. "Down" trains required assistance up the 1 in 40 climb to Ardglen at the summit of the Liverpool Ranges as these train headed north to Werris Creek and beyond. 

Discussion with one of my modeller mates Brian about Murrurundi and some photos being exchanged, prior to his visit to Sydney in March 2010, Brian provided me with a pleasant surprise when he turned up. He bought me a model of the dilapidated Engine Shed. Now I had to tidy up my Murrurundi that required some major re-building of the baseboard and pinching some of Newcastle (see layout plan) to fit in the re-located Turntable. 

For once in my life I bought something for my layout that actually got installed within a few days - a 60' motorised Turntable with 30 degree mechanical indexing. Just what I needed for Murrurundi now that the Shed was closest to the front facia, making the only location for the Turntable, behind the Shed. To turn the loco it takes 45 seconds. I'm impressed with the Frateschi $150 Turntable from Casula. I'll need another one at Willow Tree. 

The photo shows 3666 having a drink from the Parachute Water Crane. A second operator reversing 5259 out of the Shed, to perform one of it's "banker" duties for the day. A green 3635 is waiting it's turn in the Shed, while 3230 has been turned and is being serviced. A Coal Grab will be added here, soon.

With 5259 attached to the rear, both operators will "drive" the train up to Ardglen, some 40' on my layout up the grade, taking about 10 minutes at 10 MPHs. At Ardglen the "banker" (2nd operator), "disconnects and returns 5259 to Murrurundi. Depending on operational requirements, the banker may go through to Willow Tree, where banking is required for UP Goods trains. With Murrurundi Loco now operational, it is going to be busy here, as all trains including the Northern Tablelands Express (double headed), needed assistance going over the 'Range. 
Slow steam hauled Goods trains, due to the fumes and heat build up in the narrow small bore 500 metre Ardglen Tunnel, could not be double headed, they had to be banked from the rear. I'm glad as this "banking" as it creates extra fun for us, as we operate the Main North. 

Adding the above structures Muururundi has been partially sceniced but so much more to add, next a scratchbuilt Station. My excitement at having something looking a little bit like the real thing, needed me to share it with you. Thanks a lot Brian for getting me going with the Murrurundi Shed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Too much to do to update the Main North Blog

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?