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

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Willow Tree

In the early days of my Main North, I had ear marked Willow Tree on the 30 feet of track from Ardglen to Werris Ck, with the intention of adding/removing Bankers on some of my trains, but it didn’t happen due to the track being 1700mm off the floor. Without the banking operation being done, this section of track remained a single line. I added a Shunting Neck & Loading Bank for Werris Ck, operated from the doorway in the Trainroom. Note: The garage floor is 300 mm lower than the Trainroom floor. 

To get better operation of trains at Tamworth and the Werris Ck Shunting Neck/Loading Bank, I extended the Trainroom floor down the aisleway, providing an operating height of 1400 mm, shown left with me operating at the new Willow Tree. 

I installed a Step down to the floor, 2/3rds the way down the aisleway, to keep the Duck Under height at 1700 mm, making it easier for Operators to duck under the Duck Under.

Introducing the 48s to Werris Ck (a previous Blog entry), I wanted to add a 48 Banker to a double 48 hauled 1,000 ton BWH Wheat train. I replaced the Werris Ck Shunting Neck/Loading Bank with Willow Tree so I could add more of what I love doing, operating “Rear End Bankers”, to some of my UP trains, even if it was just a short “bank” around the corner into Ardglen. It’s all about operation.


I added a “scenic block” to divide Willow Tree from Werris Ck, at the doorway by adding a Hill, a road bridge and plenty of trees.

This available space was only 3 metres long, not ideal but compromises have to be made when building a layout, so it’ll do for my Willow Tree and the Bankers. The below photo from the Ardglen end shows my overall view of Willow Tree with my extras. Lots more detailing necessary.   

On the Down side of the Station, I added a Siding for a 60’ Turntable, Coal Stage and Sheep Pen with Ramp. The Middle track is the “through” road and the aisle side track is a Siding with a very compressed Good Shed, a Loading Ramp and a Wheat Shed.

Looking towards Ardglen shows the Station, the middle “Through” road and the Siding, with the severely compressed Goods Shed, Loading Bank/Crane and Wheat Shed into the available 50 mm, better than not having them. Adding a higher fascia helps with the "compression". The “old” Werris Ck Coal Mine, in the distance. 

Instead of removing the Werris Ck Coal Mine, the folks at Willow Tree now have a Mine that’ll be serviced by LCH Coal trains to/from Gunnedah (N.W. Staging) and Werris Creek.

Willow Tree will have 4 Starting Semaphores (yet to build my new brass units from Ray Pilgrim), for the middle “through” road and rear “Platform” road & a Down Home Bracket Semaphore above the Duck Under that'll show “the road” for the Points into Willow Tree.

With Werris Ck just "next door", it's Down Home Bracket signal is located at the exit of Willow Tree just before the Road Bridge, indicating to the Operator which road is selected when entering Werris Ck (Main to the Station or to the Yard). Maybe a Willow Tree UP Home will be added in the Cutting on the Werris Ck side.

When adding Willow Tree, I added Peco Point motors to all of the Points and ballasted the track with Chuck's Ballast, so the scene is "complete". With no Control Panels installed for the Points, they are operated digitally with the Index finger, that's possible when using Peco Point motors.

With the 48s now in Werris Ck, the BWH Up train stored at the Werris Ck Silos has been increased to 1,000 tons (16 BWHs & Van). Double headed 48s haul the train from the Silos, through W.C. Yard to Willow Tree, stopping at the Up Starting Semaphore as the double 48s need assistance up the 1 in 40 grade to Ardglen. A second Operator takes the banker 48 and attaches to the rear. Both Operators now "run" the train up to Ardglen, like it did in 1967, see the below 5 minute video.