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

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 and an 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 and 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.


  1. Marcus,

    That last shot of the scenery around Pages River looks excellent!! I'll have to make time for a visit at some point.



  2. Marcus

    You have been very quiet about that great Pages River scenery!

    You will have to come up with some answers on Friday night as to why you haven't mentioned it.

    I can see that I will have to come over and check it out.

    Ray P

  3. Marcus
    I see you have turned over a new page - scenery!

    Looking good