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

Monday, May 25, 2020

Upgrading Newstan Mine.

Suggested in my previous Blog entry, where I did some videos for the 2020 Epping Seminar of coal trains operating on my layout "around" my very basic Newstan Mine (shown below), I really needed to upgrade the mine NOW, now that I'm getting better at doing scenery.

Using photos I have collected over the years especially for the overall layout of Newstan, a 1972 view below, I've got a much better Newstan, now. More detail to be added like completing the buildings, painting etc but there's so much to do on the Main North, this will do for now.

I visited and photographed Newstan Mine in 2005, a lot different than I what I wanted to model for my mid 60s Newstan - no over the track Loading Bins that are the "centre piece" of my Newstan.
I also visited the Lake Macquarie Library to make a copy of Brian Andrews "100 years of Northumberland/Newstan 1887 to 1987", book. Some great photos and details for my mid 60s Newstan.

My 2.0 metre long wedge shaped Newstan Mine is 350 mm wide at the "head" end, tapering down to 100 mm wide at the "throat", is jammed in between the back scene and Fassfern Bank.
The end of the Mine is hard up against the Hill for the deep Cutting at the top of Fassifern Bank, as the track goes around the peninsular, into Sulphide Junction. The high "Run of the Mine" Bin fits in against the Hill, in any event the that's the way it has to be.

I made a "close enough" Coal Preparation Plant where the coal is washed prior to being loaded into the over track Loading Bins, from leftover parts from my Walthers New Riving Mining kits.

I also purchased a Walthers Walton and Sons Lumber kit to make the Workshop. On fitting it into the available space, I should have scratch built the Workshop as I had to cut it in half.

Coal for my Newstan Mine, comes from behind the Mine and at the top of the Hill via a Conveyor, into the large "Run of the Mine" Bin.
From the bottom of the Bin with another conveyor into the top of the Coal Preparation Plant, then by conveyor into the over track Loading Bins.

This pushed the Preparation Plant further to the right toward the Mine's "throat".
I needed to add the Winder and the Workshop to this shrinking space. Something had to give.
I could not include the Office Block/Miners Facilities as per the "real" Newstan, it's all about compromises.

Installing the coal delivery conveyor to the large Bin, the hill was too high.
I had to trim the existing hill, that's easy to do with foam for the scenery base.
Added to the scenery by "planting" more trees. I also added a little more "hill/landscape" to hide the entrance to Shunting Neck.

This made operating the furthest Point, that's inside the tunnel impossible to operate by hand that has been okay for years.
I was going to take the easy option and fit fascia mounted "recessed" knobs but Operators may not have noticed the "hidden" Point.

I needed to add a Control Panel where Operators could see the track plan at the Loading Bin area of the mine area.
Due to the narrowness of the aisle here, for the Operator to easily see the route and operate the Points, the Control Panel needed to be at eye level, I mounted it in the fascia for the Upper Deck (below).

It was "recessed" so as the toggle switches would not be fouled by Operators, extra work but worth it. Note: Green LEDs ONLY illuminate for the selected route.

Over the years I've accumulated lots of Peco Point motors.
I fitted a couple of the side mounted units, making "motorizing" the points, easy, without removing the Point or drilling any holes etc.

I added a Shed for the conveyor mechanisms etc, to the Loading Bins and had to swap around the Loading "funnels" as the the "Through Road" now is the track closest to the aisle.
Sprayed the Bin with grey primer. I had to get rid of the "white" colour. I have to add the Conveyor mechanisms to the top of the Bin, later, so the grey Bin will do for now.
Fitted some of Anton's Yard Lights (not illuminated), to the Mine tracks.

Ballasting the track around the 3 Points using some of Geoff S's Weber BBQ ash, was the final part of the Newstan Upgrade. I also ballasted the main line up Fassifern Bank and Fassifern Station, using Chuck's Ballast H.O. Martins Creek ballast.

I have lots more ballasting to do on the Main North. Seeing how far a 1.0 kilo bag of ballast goes, I was worried that the 9 kilos I still had left would not be enough to  finish the layout. I was lucky to purchase 10 more kilos of Chuck's Martins Creek ballast. Thanks a lot Roz.

Below is a short video of a Garratt hauled coal train "in" the new Newstan.


  1. Looking nice Marcus, improving all the time

  2. What an amazing difference, Marcus! I am most impressed.

  3. A great makeover Marcus!
    cheers Phil

  4. the scenery master, I knew that Weber BBQ ash would come in handy one day, the layout looking good mate, well done

  5. Newstan is looking good Marcus and ballasting!

    Ray P

  6. Hi All. Thanks for the compliments. Geoff, I should have purchased a Weber as the old BBQ is shot, not only would I have made ballast, it would add a variation of what's being served up here and the Boss would certainly be happy with that. Regards Marcus

  7. Hi Marcus, I'm trying to contact you, because you are one of last known users of "DCC voltage adaptor. These can be made for about $5 - 10 from a circuit at NCE Files at Yahoo groups" (your text from Do you have some copy of materials? Yahoo groups does not exist anymore :(
    I did my own "DCC meter" (see: ), but that one can be interesting for me. Once you have some materials, that you can share with me, contact me please to my email at bottom of page
    Thank you

  8. Hi Fulda. I checked your web page, very comprehensive Meters.
    If you want details of what I've used for my Ammeter, a 6 Amp Bridge Rectifier, optional Bypass Switch and an inexpensive 5 - 10 DC Multimeter. More details and a DCC Ammeter from Rob Paisley, that I use on my layout, is at my Blog page:
    Hope this helps. If you want to contact me, email me at:
    Regards Marcus.