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

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Port Waratah.

For many, essential for running trains on a layout are an originating and/or destination locations and Port Waratah is one such location on my layout.

Many years ago, I fitted a few tracks/sidings on the rear wall of the Train room and on a shelf at the Train Room entrance for a 15 foot (5m) long Port Waratah, adjacent to the southern end of Broadmeadow Yard, where the layout at the time, terminated.  

Access to Port Waratah was via a set of Points on the Rear Road through Broadmeadow Station (Yellow Circle on the Track Plan at the bottom of the page), providing a direct entry for trains from Werris Creek, Gunnedah etc.

This first Port Waratah had the Wheat Terminal at the R/H end, along with 2 sidings for the BWH Wheat train. Full and empty Non-Air Hoppers (LCHs) from Muswellbrook and Werris Creek were stowed on the Rear Sidings. At the left, a silo and few sidings representing the BHP Steel Works. 

The rear end banking procedure of down trains up to Ardglen from Murrurundi, was what my Main North was about. Now I had a location to run my full Wheat and Non Air Hopper Coal trains from Werris Creek and Gunnedah and empties back, just like the prototype. 

Later I added an Elevated Coal Stage to Broadmeadow, to access it I added a steep incline track from a facing Point on the UP Main at the southern end of the Yard that caused a few operating hassles, see below.


Gosford to Broadmeadow - for my Double Garratt Territory.

Garratts are my favourite loco. I bought a DJH AD60 kit many years ago and fitted sound to it but never got to add all the valve gear and detail to it. Instead of finishing the kit it was easier to purchase Eureka Model's Garratt, released in 2005 and now thanks heaps to Ron, it was possible for me to have a few Garratts. To this day this DJH Garratt sits un-painted beside the Broadmeadow Roundhouse. 

Garratts did not operate further north than Murrurundi on the real Main North. Due to the layout design at the time, Muswellbrook with a small mine, was 15 feet from the end of Broadmeadow but a lot of the track was out of view as it ran behind Newcastle Station and very limited action at my Muswellbrook mine, how was I going to enjoy my favourite loco. I needed a bigger model railway - common issue for model railroaders.

Gosford to Broadmeadow was “double” Garratt territory so I needed to have a long run to Gosford and include the engine changeovers from/to the 46 Electrics at Gosford. I'd get my Garratt “Heaven” but I needed to go “south”.

I added a Lift Up Bridge across the Train Room Entrance then out through the wall calling it Tickhole Tunnel then onto a peninsular in the garage after moving the ski boat outside, with Sulphide Junction with the Sulphide Works for the W44 Concentrate train,  on one side in the aisleway (opposite Broadmeadow Station) and down a 1 in 40 grade “Fassifern Bank”, on the other side with Fassifern on the garage’s rear wall, then onto Gosford above the existing Workbench.

Newstan Mine, with a minimum number of sidings due to narrowness of the available space, was added to the above peninsular between Fassifern Bank and the backboard,. For more details on Newstan Mine, see this previous Blog entry.

PERFECT, now I've got my own double Garratt territory including a double Garratt Mine. See the Track Plan a track plan below. There was no "back room" for Ourimbah initially, just a double track for Gosford. The expansion for Gosford and extending the track to Sydney, came much later. 

Operating trains to/from Gosford with Garratts and Coal trains between Newstan Mine and Port Waratah  I'm in "Garratt Heaven" on my own layout.

Expansion of Gosford eventuated and adding another peninsular (under Murrurundi), extended my Main North to to Sydney albeit up a small Cowan Bank, later changed to adding the Hawkesburry River Bridge and Station (Brooklyn), see this Blog entry for details.    

Over the years I've purchased many BCHs and LCHs (still many of Joe's kits to make), allowing me to have 4 separate Coal trains - 2 Empties and 2 Fulls for this Fassifern to Port Waratah section of the Short (Main) North, eliminating the need to add/remove Coal Loads.

Initially these Coal trains were run and stored "somehow" at the destination, made all the more difficult due to a lack of space at both Port Waratah and Newstan Mine, multiple operations became difficult and I had to reposition the trains that took time.

I looked for a solution.

The Port Waratah to Newstan Mine “Sneak Path”.

Due to 1 in 40 grade of Fassifern Bank, there's a 100 mm height difference between Newstan Mine and Sulphide Junction on the peninsular and the track to Broadmeadow including the Drop Down Bridge. 

I'll run a track from the Bridge down a grade behind the Workbench and Tickhole Tunnel to underneath Sulphide Junction that'll connect the "ends" of Port Waratah and Newstan Mine. While not prototypical it  was my solution and it was out of view. The train is stored where it came from. No storage problems now - simple.  


At the R/H end of Port Waratah, with a facing Point I added a third track to the Lift Up Bridge, then ran this track behind the double mainline behind the work bench then under Sulphide Junction (below photo),








Joining Newstan Mine's 15 feet (5m) Shunting Neck and Loading Bins (photo right). 
"Connected" with a trailing Point and adding the Shunting Neck, provided the right orientation/direction for both Empty and Full Coal trains. 




Running the Coal Trains.

The limited space/sidings at Newstan and Port Waratah, storing these 4 "complete" Coal trains is just manageable. The Full and Empty NON Air Hopper wagons and the Empty BCH wagon trains were stored at Port Waratah, while the Full BCH coal train, with one Garratt, at Newstan Mine.

On reaching the destination when running anyone of these trains, the Operator completes his task by returning the train back to it's originating location using the "hidden" Sneak Path, extending the Operators running time and more importantly the train is ready for the next Operator that saves me a lot of time. A “win win” on both accounts.

See my YouTube video for running a Full BCH Coal train. 

Fast forward to September 2020 - Upgrading my Port Waratah.

With all the activity in Port Waratah, especially with 22 BCH coal trains to/from Newstan Mine being one of the more popular train operations since extending the layout to Gosford/Sydney, shunting and operating the Points by hand, the “inclined” track to the Broadmeadow Elevated Coal Stage was IN THE WAY.

I never ran a 19 Class up to the Broadmeadow Coal Stage, so to improve the access, I removed the inclined track and “angled” the Coal Stage track, to the rear across the Port Waratah “entry” track.

I replaced the BHP Steel Works Sidings with very basic Port Waratah Loco and added a Water Tank and Signal Box, home for the Port Waratah Shunter a 50 Class.

I’ve bought many books/publications about NSW railways, in one, “Our Region, Our Railway” by Robert Mckillop and David Sheedy from ARHS NSW, discuss the Hunter and the Great Northern Railway from 1857 to 2007.

Shown left is an aerial view of the coal loading operations at Carrington Dyke in 1967. Morandoo exchange sidings and the BHP Steel Works are in the background.

The owners of Newstan Mine installed the first modern conveyor type Loader at the “Dyke”, some 10 or so tracks “back” from the waterfront, opening in 1958. Shown below is a 1957 view of the Unloader.
 



This allowed coal to be directly discharged from their BCH Coal trains to under the track then quickly moved by Conveyor Belts for loading onto ships. I needed to add this to my new Port Waratah.



A close up of the Newstan Loader complex complete with conveyors that I'm trying to model - well sort of. 

One day l hope to make one of the dockside cranes used to unload the Non Air Hoppers with my yet to use 3D Printer I have had for 3 years.


The Loading Shed in 1974. 

For the time being a cardboard box replaces the Wheat Terminal on my “new” Port Waratah until I make a styrene Shed.

I added a crude Conveyor from timber strips but will change the size to 20 x 12 mm timber, to cross the tracks to a “make believe” ship until I source a photo.

The Empty BCH Coal train replaces the BWH Wheat train that is now stored at the Werris Creek Silo complex.

Non Air Hoppers are stored in the previous two empty BCH Sidings along with many on the waterfront, waiting for my 3d Crane. 

I repositioned the Port Waratah “entry” track so as to better fit two storage Sidings against the wall behind Broadmeadow’s Turntable and Coal Stage, making Port Waratah a 10 x 15 foot “L” shape. 

These two Sidings store the S wagon Coil Steel train (to Sydney) and the Coke train from the Metropolitan Colliery (south of Sydney) that is run again to Sydney as Coal train to Pyrmont (Sydney) Power Station


I fitted Peco Point motors to all of the Points and each motor has its own Capacitor Discharge comprising of 2,200 uF capacitor and two 1Amp Diodes and operated by a 2PDT Toggle Switch (see a previous Blog entry for details).

I made a Control Panel and mounted it in the Werris Creek (Upper Deck) Fascia above Port Waratah. As with my other Control Panels, I only use Green LEDs where the LEDs are illuminated only for the selected track showing the route while all other LEDs are extinguished. Note: This needs extra wiring and the use of the second set of contacts on the DPDT Toggles Switches and possibly a relay or diodes behind the Control Panel. Note: I do NOT power the Frogs of my Points – Dead Frogs, this saves lots of time and effort. My locos do not stall but most have “Stay Alives”.


Uncoupling the Coke and S wagon Coil Steel trains, 3 feet away, I could not use my usual “Piksters” Uncoupling Tool method, I fitted two below track Electromagnet Un-couplers purchased from Bob Olde many years ago. There’s an article in Dec 1991 AMRM on how to make Bob’s Electromagnets. The magnets are operated from the Control Panel.

Track plan of the new Port Waratah and Newstan Mine including the "Sneak Path" in red and the Entry Points (circled in orange), into Port Waratah, with photos below.

Trains operated to & from Port Waratah and where staged/stored. Still looking for train numbers. Northern Exposures esp p 25 helped. Maybe some of you can help.

·         931 Double AD60 1200 ton Coal train from Newstan Mine – Newstan Mine.

·         Full Non Air Hopper 520 ton train – Port Waratah.

·         631 Coke train from Metropolitan Colliery – Sydney Staging.

·         Full BWH Wheat train from Werris Ck – Werris Ck.

·         Full RU Hopper Wheat train from West Tamworth – West Tamworth.

·        954 Empty BCH Coal train to Newstan Mine – Port Waratah.

·         Empty Non Air Hopper Coal train to Newstan Mine – Port Waratah.

·         614 S wagon Coil Steel train to Sydney – Port Waratah.

·         Full BCH Coal train to Pyrmont Power Station (Syd), previously the Coke train – Port Waratah.

The triple 48 hauled BWH Wheat train from Werris Ck and double 50 Class hauled RU Wheat train from West Tamworth, on arriving at Port Waratah, their locos are disconnected from their trains and the Port Waratah Shunter stores the Van in an appropriate Siding then "pulls" the train further into the Sneak Path then disconnects. The original locos are returned (after servicing for the 50 Class, pulls the their train forward and picks up their Van then runs back to Werris Creek/West Tamworth by the same Operator, giving him a “double” run. The Port Shunter is returned to Loco.

As can be seen, just like the real Port Waratah, my layout version is a busy place. The “run around” operation of southern trains, further complicates the model operation but all of this makes for LOTS of fun. 


The track from Broadmeadow's Elevated Coal Stage crosses to the rear backboard. All removeable for track access if necessary. 


A very compressed Port Waratah Loco, just to store the 50 Class Shunter, behind the scenery hill with the Coil Steel and Coke train Sidings.  



The 2 sidings for the Full Non Air Hoppers behind the small scenery "block" and my first attempt of adding the Conveyor.


Looking towards the "cardboard" Newstan Loader complete with 2 sidings through the Loader for the empty BCHs. The Empty Non Airs are stored behind the Coal Loader on the wharf road. 
The Lift Up Bridge's rear track is the Port Waratah end of the "Sneak Path", to Newstan Mine. 

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