Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Wagga Wagga station - construction starts

Wagga Wagga station – model construction starts (finally)

I have a confession to make – I have been thinking about this build for many years, and for whatever reason, I never started construction.

42201 and 42209 passing through Wagga in 1981. Wagga station building is in the "as modified" design, and colours 

Perhaps, I was hoping that I could modify an existing model kit to make it closer to Wagga’s station. The Stewart Walker range of laser cut building kits includes the impressive Tenterfield station, another Whitton design.  Would other people notice the compromises if I kit bashed the Tenterfield station? 
Or maybe, I could get a set of Wagga’s station plans to Stewart, and perhaps he would laser cut them.  Rod Young did this for his Wodonga station, (a link to Rod’s Blog pages “Comtrain goes HO! HO! HO!” is on the top RHS of my blog) and the result is excellent. 
Another option was to get the building 3D printed – this would take me a lot of time in drafting.
A further option, and the one I am currently pursuing is to fabricate the station from basic styrene shapes.  There is something rather therapeutic about sticking little bits of plastic together.
I covered the Wagga Wagga station history in a blog post last year.

Scratchbuilding in plastic
Those readers who have followed my blog may have thought that I have accumulated a lot of basic  evergreen styrene shapes, and sizes in my “stash”.  They would be correct.  It wasn’t cheap, but living in Junee, there is not a “closest hobby shop” anywhere within a 4 hr round trip, so the investment in styrene over many years is worth it.  I am now in possession packets of all basic styrene strip sizes, and many of the “special shapes” strips. Having a selection should allow me to choose the correct size of strip.  So rather than a closest hobby shop, I have a closet hobby shop!!

Where to start?
I wasn't going to attempt Wagga station until I had started with something simple.   My success with the Ladysmith toilet block, Bomen station, and the Wagga signal box were great learning projects of steadily increasing complexity.  Do I have the skills to complete Wagga station?  I won’t know until I try.

Wagga station still exists, so it can be measured.  Having some facsimile NSWGR plans also helps, although the plans (on A4 size)  lacks the fine details that will be needed for a model.  It is also of the rebuild extensions – more of that later.

As per the Bomen station, I photographed the Wagga station from many angles, and returned home, to print the images onto A4 paper. 

It was at this point last year, that I was asked to rebuild the Bethungra Loop N scale layout.

…..A year passes……

2 months ago,  I returned to Wagga station, with tape measure, and my printed A4 images.  3 hrs later, I think I have enough measurements for the station rear – the main platform being off-limits until a train is due.  Will leave the platform side for later.

Modern restored, or as it was in the 1970s?
Over its life, Wagga Wagga station building was added to – incorporating a refreshment room, and parcels office, besides other things. Many of these “enhancements” resulted in extensions to the station, which from an aesthetic viewpoint, made the rear ugly.  A heritage rebuild around 1990, “backdated” the station, removing the extensions, and restored it to its former glory.  Do I remain accurate to my 1970’s timeframe, or do I build what is currently recognisable?  The former has the advantage of fewer fine details, plus I have plans; the as built, and current heritage version can be measured.

 ? what to do ?

รจ  Start with something that was common to both time periods.  And start with something that is HARD, and challenging.  The pair of walls on either side of the station entrance is a feature that exists today, and also in the 1970s.  The classical lines and angles fits the challenging aspect.

Right Hand wall of the main entrance

Main entrance

Left Hand side of main entrance

Main wall cut from 0.040 thou styrene sheet, and basic window trim added.  9 pieces of plastic

Some architectural trim added.  44 pieces of plastic

Continue with the trim.  55 pieces of plastic

Add the side "stones".  These in reality are actually just concrete.  I had to make a compromise with the evergreen shapes.  The size I selected for the block was slightly larger than prototype, and it made the "mortar" line just a bit thin.  But the number of blocks are correct.  Number of plastic parts now up to 85 

The roof "triangle" was made from 5 lengths of very thick evergreen strip.  Some 0.010 x 0.020 plastic strip for the trim on the top of the wall blocks, and across the top.  Plastic count up to 93

More trim added.  I had to cut the triangle gusset piece into two, as I was unable to fit the single piece I cut without having too many gaps.  Plastic count up to 128.  Unfortunate parallax distortion of the image. 

I added some quarter round styrene to the eight "triangle roof supports".  Each of these supports has 4 pieces of plastic, and the Wagga station has at least 100 of these supports around the entire roof.  Not quite as detailed as the originals, but I think it will do.  Note that I have not attempted the rectangle rebates between each of the pairs of "roof supports".  I cannot cut these out.  Options would be to add a positive section of styrene, or to wait until painting, and apply a decal of the correct shape.  Plastic count is 132.

My estimation that this wall has taken over 8 hours to fabricate, over a month of elapsed time.  At that rate, the station will not get finished any time soon.   However, creating the other wall will be fairly straight forward, as the time spent to select the correct size of styrene has been done, and I have a pattern to follow
I have shown my model to a few people in the Wagga area, who are familiar with the station.  Most think I am crazy, but like the result.  Rod Smith though suggests that I use the wall as a master, and get the extra wall cast in resin.  Rod also thinks that the Riverina Rail Heritage group that he belongs to may also want a Wagga Wagga station. 
Have I selected the time period?  I am happy to take advice.  The rear of the station is the aspect that will be seen from the aisles of the layout, and an attractive station rear, particularly one that is instantly recognisable, may progress the build faster than the ugly version – despite the later being easier to build.

Until next time

Sunday, 30 August 2020

A visit to Humula

 A Visit to Humula

An ARHS tour train at Humula before heading towards Tumbarumba

Humula was the temporary terminus of the branch line from Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba from 1917 to 1921.  It is situated on Umbango Creek .  According to Wikipedia, the original name of Humula was American Yards, or American Fields, during the gold rush period, but by 1888, the name Humula was officially adopted by the Post office.
The current (2016 census) population is 124.

The Humula yard diagram shows the triangle, stocksidings, goods shed, loading dock, and signals.

The following pictures are from those that I have been sent, or found on the internet.  I apologise if I have inadvertantly published - and will take corrective action if notified. 

Humula station in approx 1965. The station neverhad an awning.  The signalbox is the next building on the platform. 

ARHS tour train in the 1960s.   I cannot sight the water tank, or goods shed that the signal diagram shows

Another ARHS tour.  The sawmill is on the hill to the left of this image

Final train movement in 1974, was a 48 class, clearing wagons.  Note the pair of water columns.  I don't know what the "bollard" was besides the 48 class.  This image, and the following kindly supplied by Rod Smith. 

48 class passes the station.

My first visit to Humula was early in the early 1980s, and there was not much then.

Looking south towards the station.  My location was the "Humula 8 mile road" level crossing.  Lattice signal mast still in position.  B&W as the colour tints in the slide were bad

Water Column, and lever frame at the south end of the platform. Of interest to me is that the lever frame was not located in the signal box.  Patterson's curse was everywhere

Sawmill site on the hillside to the SW of the station was still in operation judging by the smoke, during my 1980s visit.  My slide conversion colour balance will need some work.  

Signalbox on platform.  The station building had been removed a few years earlier. 

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to revisit Humula, and see what could be found after 46 years of no trains.  The results are below

Lineside telegraph pole still had wires attached. This pole is just south of Humula, as seen from the Downfall road

Same location as the pole, a large concrete culvert under the line.  At some stage, a farmer had fitted a corrugated iron barrier, in an attempt to stop wandering stock.  

A smaller culvert.

Perched on a hill, overlooking the station was a NSWGR water tank.  I had not expected this tank here, as the one diagram I had found showed a tank at the southern end of the station.  Although I was never able to verify that from photographs of tour trains taking water.   Unsure if the tank is being used now.  There is no evidence of any path or ground disturbance leading to the ladder.  And it is the first time I have seen a cage on a NSW water tank ladder.

Lever frame for southern end of main yard

Lever Frame for northern end of stock siding

Water tank on the hill to the south west of the station.  I am not sure if this is the original location of the tank, or if it was moved from the station yard area at some stage.  In any case, it has a commanding view. 

Lattice signal mast at southern end of yard.  Although the signal is not in the location I expected.  

Stock yard loading, and signal to the south  but still beside the stock siding. The signal diagram does not place the signal at the southern side of the stockyards, it places it on the northern side.  This area was also where the southern side of the triangle would have reattached to the line.  This picture taken from the Downfall Road

Close-up of the what remains of the stock loading ramps.

Umbango Creek was running.  This creek flows on the eastern side of the railway for a considerable distance

Humula 8 mile road bridge across Umbango Creek in Humula Village

Railway embankment - line heading towards Wagga. Picture taken from close to the picture of the road bridge

Abandoned Cottage close to the railway precinct roadway.  Unsure if the cottage had a railway connection

Another view of the cottage

Access road, that was once the road into the station.   There is not a lot left to indicate there was once a platform on the right. 

Lever frame at the northern end of the station yard

Another view of that lever frame, and structures in the background on what was once the sawmill site

Similar angle to my earlier B&W picture showing horses.  Taken from close to  the former Humula 8 mile road level crossing.  There has been much erosion in the embankment below the line, although it might have been once a stock grid.  The lever frame pictured earlier can just be made out below the tree.  Hasn't the tree grown compared to the earlier picture

Could this be part of the original sawmill?  It is in the right location

Another view of the enbankment north of the station

I found it amazing that so much of the line infrastructure could still be seen after 46 years with no trains.  Certainly, these images will definitely help when it comes to making a model.

Until next time.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Sidings beyond Docker Street

Beyond Docker Street

When I was designing my layout based on Wagga Wagga, I was interested in including as many industries as possible.   The track between Docker, and Urana street contained the following possibilities
  - Showground
        - Willis Bricks
        - Hardy’s Timber
        - Gasworks
        - LPG depot
        -Trucking yards.

In 1954, the Wagga Daily Advertiser published a photo showing the Trucking Yards, and the showground platform, and entry gates.  Whilst the showground is not being modelled, the trucking yards (sheep on the left of the picture, cattle on the right) were essentially unchanged  until removal after 1979

A not to scale sketch showing the trackplan and associated sidings
1971 Aerial view shows the actual sidings.  Quite a number of wagons can be seen - mostly bogie stock wagons, and a number of BCHs on the gasworks siding

By 1990, the trucking yards were gone, and the only evidence of the siding to the gasworks is the curved fence on Hardys timber. Willis Bricks pit looks about the same size, so I don't know if it was still operational. Hardys timber has more buildings, and the LPG depot also has a few more structures

The showground
A recent article appeared in the November 2019 Australia Railway History magazine, describing the showground siding, and operation.  This siding was well out of use by 1970, and lacking any photographic remains by 1970, I will not be including it

Willis Bricks
A siding was laid for Willis Bricks in the 1930s according to my research.  Willis Bricks was a major brickworks for Wagga, including its own small tramway system.   The 1954 Daily Advertiser photo does not show a siding, so perhaps the earlier information was in error.  In any case, I have not been able to discover if or when they used the railways to  transport their bricks, and whilst modellers licence could be used, I do not plan to include it

The 1954 Daily Advertiser image of the brick pit shows the tramway incline

Hardys Timber
A siding was used by Hardys Timber until sometime after 1970s.  There were 2 major sawmills on the Tumbarumba branch:- at Humula, and Tumbarumba that sent cut timber by rail – and I expect that one of the destinations was Hardys.  Having both the sawmills, and the receiving/retail outlet included on the one layout is a significant bonus for operation

Hardys timber in 1954 shows neatly stacked lumber.  Note The line of 4 wheel stockcars in the sidings

Gas Works
A new gasworks was established in 1964, and a point was laid off the Hardys timber siding for an extended siding.  As is common with coal gasworks, there was incoming coal wagons, and one of the byproducts of coal gas production is coke.  The gasworks was being decommissioned when I photographed it in the 1990s, but I did note 3 chutes above the then removed siding – which I assume was for the coke.   The gasworks siding was drawn in 1962s plans with a loop for a loco to run around the coal wagons.  I am not sure if this was done, as my 1970 aerial picture is not clear

Closeup of the 1971 aerial view -shows the line of BCH awaiting to be unloaded.  The LPG depot is in the bottom of this image

One of the gasworks structures, with the enlarged LPG depot in the RHS foreground
Out of use, the main retort building
The third major structure, with the gasometer in the background
The only picture I have showing the northernside of the gasworks.  This is the side that people viewing my layout will see.  This image is proudly displayed in Wagga Motors office waiting room.  It is often unusual sources that give unusual angles

LPG Depot
Opposite the gasworks, a large LPG depot was established.  This was prior to 1970.  The LPG depot seems to have its own siding – assuming that the former gasworks loop was not in use.  Most of this is speculative, as whilst I have photos of the depot, the 1970s aerial picture only hints at unloading pipework. But, I am fairly sure it did exist, as in a recent talk at the Epping club, David Lowe reported on the movement of Speed E Gas tankers thru Goulburn, as far as Wagga.

Here is the original shed as seen in the 1971 aerial image.  The other sheds in the RHS background are later additions

Trucking yards
Wagga Wagga was, and still is,  a major selling centre for sheep, and cattle.  Line side trucking yards were established, and fairly large trains could be handled, and stored on the adjacent sidings.   The saleyard complex in Wagga at the time was on Travers Street, so stock was moved to/from these yards by road.
The movement of sheep and cattle wagons will be a major focus of my model train operation.  I plan to model these trucking yards, as well as stockyards at the Bomen abattoir, and stock loading on the Tumbarumba branch at Borambola, Humula, and Tumbarumba. 
New stockyards  were built in Bomen by 1979, and the Wagga stockyards, and trucking yards were removed. 

The Pig trucking yard was closest to Urana Street

The 1971 aerial view is virtually unchanged from the 1954 Daily Advertiser photo.  The double stock race for sheep is to allow for loading on the 2 decks of the sheep vans

Whilst it is possible that stock trains could have entered the trucking sidings directly off the mainline, my only picture of a stocktrain in Wagga shows the X203 shunting engine with a number of CW wagons heading towards Docker Street.  I also have pictures of coal wagons in the Wagga sidings.  So, I am going to make assumptions – all trains with wagons for the Docker Street sidings are disassembled in the main Wagga yard, and are moved from there to the Docker street sidings by the X200 shunting engine, avoiding any timetabled mainline trains

Modelling notes. 
Wagons.  All the industries I hope to include, have specific wagons.
-        SDS Models have produced the Speed-E-Gas wagon, and I have acquired a small number for the LPG depot. 

-        Coal Wagons for the gas works are fairly common.  I made quite a number of  AR Kits coal wagons in the 1980s/90s, and recently acquired some Hi_Rail BCH wagons.

Phil Sloan photo from the 1970s shows a number of coal hoppers, and BSVs parked on the Wagga station sidings

-        Stock trains will be a feature.   I own a small fleet of Eureka,  SDS, and Columba bogie BCW cattle wagons, and a few Eureka BSV bogie sheep vans.  Plus a pack of Austrains 4 CW cattle wagons. In addition, I have also made a number of Casula, and Minimodel kits

My photo  - BSV in Wagga around 1980.

Keith Waine picture around 1967, shows X203 with a long rake of CW vans heading west towards the trucking yard sidings
Timber loads can be placed in S trucks, although I admit, I will have to do more research to find other wagon types used for sawn timber loads.  Photos would be helpful

Baseboards.  The space I have allocated between the two level crossings is around 6 metres long x 600mm wide.  I am hoping that I will be able to include the 4 industries above, although to limit the space, I will be leaving out the Pig stock races, moving the sheep, and cattle races closer to Urana Street, modifing the trackplan, and relocate the LPG depot and gasworks structure so it appears a lot sooner after Hardy’s timber.   

Aerial shots are nice, but the lineside also needs some details.  Tony McIlwain went to the nearby teachers college in Wagga in the 1960s, and has managed to fill in a lot of gaps in my knowledge with infrastructure.  I will leave you with these gems.  Happy modelling

Tony McIlwain photographed many trains around Wagga in 1962/63, and shared the images with me.  Here is a diesel hauled goods train approaching Docker Street.  The Hardys siding point is in the foreground, and the trucking sidings are in the distance

Another Tony McIlwain picture, showing a up passenger train (Sydney express?)  approaching Docker Street in 1962?

Tony McIlwain photo showing 3813 and passenger train about to cross the Urana Street crossing.  The buffer stop for the trucking yard sidings is in shot.  I think the van is an FHG, stored here whilst the stock wagons are loaded/unloaded