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

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Borambola Water Tank - pt 1

Borambola Water Tank - construction finally begins

Like most people I know, we often get distracted, and modelling seems to get delayed - often by a lot longer than we had hoped.

An I.K.Whinney photo scanned (with permission) from the small booklet "The Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba Railway", produced by Tumba Rail and Wagga Wagga Rail Heritage.  It shows a 1965 tour train with C30Ts 3142, and 3020 stopping at Borambola's water tank

Such is the case with the Borambola Water Tank.  I purchased an elevated water tank model from the Mechanical Branch Models stand at the Rosehill exhibition.  It was the last kit that they had in stock at the exhibition, so I rather pleased that I had secured my future Borambola Water tank.

A great construction article of this model appears in the December 2018 Australian Model Railway Magazine (author Cliff Barratt), so I won't bore you by recycling Cliff's article.  I will however concentrate on other  areas.

The kit comes in a solid cardboard box.  I didn't need the alkalinity plant and tank kit that MBM also offers, but I also didn't notice the box marked tension ring, or clamped plate had not been ticked. 

Construction started over a year ago, after I printed off the instructions and placed into an A4 display book.  I built one column, but was not happy with the time it took - as my soldering needed a fair bit of cleanup before the "H" column would slide free of the jig.

One of the jigs provided for making the "H" column girders from the fret

The girder fret contains enough brass for 4 "H" columns

Jig holding the "H" column in position for soldering

It was then I discovered that my kit had too many "H" column girder frets of one size, and not enough "H" column frets of the correct size.  An email to James Dalton of Mechanical Branch explaining the problem, resulted in the missing frets being posted to me within the week.  This is excellent service, and I commend James for his quick action.   (As an aside, this is a timely reminder to check the contents of all your kits, just in case the manufacturer goes out of business prior to building the model)

It was at this point, that I was given the task of rebuilding Bethungra layout - so the water tank was put on the backburner.

And a year passes.....

In the meantime, I thought about the assembly jig issue, and came up with an alternate method, that works for me.

After removing the brass shape from the frets with a sharp knife, I polish off the "burr" with a dremel cut-off disk.  I tried to do that with a file earlier, and it caused distortions.

Then I modified the jig - by using a pair of the "H" profiles, rather than all 5 on the jig. I could hold the girder etches in position with a peg (the spring has been selected for delicate - any stronger crushes the brass), whilst I solder.  That way, I would not have to worry about any solder webs preventing the jigs from being repositioned for the next solder operation - and I was able to slowly work my way from the center of the "H" column to the next location.

Modified jig, and peg

4 completed "H" columns.  The majority of solder is on one side of the girder only, and should clean up fairly well
I have got the time down to roughly 15 minutes per girder.  There are around 30 girders, so I have a bit more time to spend.  Disappointingly, my A4 display book of instructions has managed to get lost, so I might have to reprint it again from the supplied CD unless it turns up in the next week or so.

Another distraction

Yesterday (June 28th 2020), at 4:30am, there was a derailment in Junee of a container train being shunted into the holding sidings.  By the time I got down there at 11am, the big crane from Wagga had arrived, but the wagons were still where they stopped at 4:30am.  Cause of the derailment is under investigation.

How often does this happen on your model layout?  At least you can now say we have a prototype example/  (Picture taken from the level crossing with permission from the railway employees)

The middle platform in Junee has been out of use for decades, but still manages to capture a wagon before it does any more damage to needed infrastructure

May all your trains stay on track.  Until next time

Monday, 8 June 2020

Slide scanner, and brass loco repairs

Slide Scanner

I am pleased to report, that I have finally purchased a new slide to digital scanner.  After some advice, I purchased a Plustek 8100 from TEDs camera store website on April 13th, and after 7 weeks, it arrived last week.
It took me a further 2 hrs to install the software, rapidly read through the manual, and then came the big test – results on the below picture.
LVR 5367 taking water in October 1997. The original watering facilities at Wagga were out of use by this date, hence the local fire brigade did the honours
Ready to depart

Of course, I will need to do more experimentation. It is nowhere near as fast as my cheap and cheerful scanner, but if the first scans with the Plustek 8100 are anything to go by, the quality exceeds my earlier Epson scanner, purchased in 2004, and still attached to the 2004 Dell desktop running Windows XP. 

The plustek scanner

Enough of computers.  Back to some modelling.

Brass loco repairs

Last weekend, a number of model train exhibitions, and the NMRA convention had been cancelled due to the COVID19 situation.  So, instead of spending the whole weekend up in Sydney, I thought I would use the time to restore a few brass engines I had in a sorry state. 

Bergs C30T
An ebay purchase, at a discount as the seller said it had some issues.  First of all, it didn’t run.  And second, was that the body did not sit correctly on the chassis.
Brass steam engines are generally easy to take apart, and the Bergs 30T is no exception.

The inside of the Bergs 30T.  The openframe motor uses plunger carbon brushes, and the insulation on the back of the frame is visible

The first thing that I noticed was that there was a lot of insulation for the drawbar pivot wire going to the motor. This was interfering with the body mounting, and so the second problem was an easy one.  The motor not running fault, is normally caused by a broken wire, but this was not the case.  I unscrewed the motor, and disconnected the Delrin driveshaft coupling.  Applying power directly to the motor terminals did not fix it.  I was contemplating a can motor upgrade, but I thought I would check the carbon brushes (plungers).  Well, one was worn down past the point of useful.  I fitted a replacement, and success.  Re-assembled, it looks, and runs OK.  Sure, the motor is on borrowed time, and a can motor upgrade, along with DCC is in its future 

Bergs 30T model was made by Kumata (japan) around 1980. 

The loco would look better with a bogie tender, and this is where acquisition 2 comes in.

Bergs C32

I swapped a surplus new DJH C32 kit for this one, sight unseen from a mate, who said apart from the lack of box, it was a good model.  My thinking was that an assembled model would be a quick way to get a tender, and the Bergs C30T tender could be matched with the C32, and sold on.  There were a number of C32s with 6 wheel tenders stabled at Broadmeadow in the 1950s, to allow them to turn on Maitland’s 50 foot turntable.  Well, that was my thinking.
Unfortunately, my assessment of the C32 was nowhere as positive as my mate’s.  But a deal is a deal, and brass models generally can be fixed
The model actually ran sweetly, which was nice.  But the tender buffer beam had a warp, caused by someone’s earlier attempt to resolder a buffer that must have come loose.   The ladder also was misshapen, although it was rebent back with pliers.  The loco though had more issues.  The missing cabside step, the unsoldered clack valve pipes, and the broken & missing brake hangers were cosmetic, although the front bufferbeam butchery to accommodate a #5 kadee coupler was ugly.
The buchery on the front buffer beam to accomodate the Kadee coupler was nasty

Tender rear showing a minor buckle in the LHS buffer beam

To repair the brass bodywork, the loco was disassembled.  This is when I found another fault.  The chassis frame spacer soldering had split apart in one area – which explains in part, why there was a plastic block glued to the underside of the body – “to stop the frame from flexing”.  Struth.  
The frame sitting on the "plastic block" which was glued to the underside of the body. It looks soldered in this view, but that is an illusion. The split in the spacer for the chassis frame is also just visible 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, a new section of brass plate was whittled down to fit the bufferbeam “hole” and soldered in place.  The plastic block removed, the chassis frame resoldered, and a rear cab step made from scratch and soldered. 

I cleaned up the hole as much as possible.  And cleaned off the gold paint, back to raw, untarnished brass
From underside, the scratching of the brass was more ugly.  The gold paint  is extremely heavy
A new section of brass fitted, soldered, and cleaned up.  I haven't attached the "coupling hook" that was originally there, as I may fit a kadee myself later  

I also fabricated a replacement cabside step from brass sheet, using the other one as a pattern.  My replacement does not have the bolt detail of the original lost wax casting, but that was a detail I could live without.
Shows the missing cabside step

My replacement step.  I used two different solders for this.  The steps were attached with high temp 60/40 resin core, but the step was attached to the body with low temp 144 degrees.  

Preparations for painting include stripping back the gold paint, and pickling in vinegar prior to painting with self-etch black.  
After paint stripping, the tarnish of the tender really was evident, more than the loco itself.  The models are in the small container that I used for the vinegar picking solution

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  The tender has not yet been  reassembled - it just looked better with the parts roughly placed in the right spot

Monday’s winter weather here was quite nice, and I did get the main painting done in the relative warmth of the afternoon sun. 

Dockyard VR R class.
What am I doing with a Victorian steam engine?  Why indeed?  Well, I spied this model at a Trains Planes and Automobile auction a year ago, listed as a “japanese brass loco”.  Well, I knew what it was from the shape, but one always has to factor in some leeway.  For instance, I only got a single picture, TPA offer no guarantees, and I was not able to physically attend the auction in person.  So I placed a modest bid, and was successful.

The TPA auction catalogue picture of the R class.  note the clever way the tender is hiding the running gear

A week later, the loco was delivered to me in a mess.  It had been victim of the  foam monster (the one picture on the TPA website showed the tender in front of the loco running gear, so the extent of the foam issue was hidden).  More disturbingly, it had been posted without adequate packing inside the box.  The damage was extensive.  The worst was that the tender had acted as a hammer, and noticeably depressed the smoke box cover on top of the boiler.

How not to post a loco.   If it was an ebay purchase, I could have demanded compensation, or sent the model back. It wasn't an option with TPA
Note the depression on top of the smokebox. 
More evidence of the foam damage
The loco body in the homemade cradle
The chassis was also heavily foam affected
After cleanup with no more than a toothbrush, the chassis was looking much better

Fixing the depression was an exercise in luck.  I first needed to create a hole at the bottom of the boiler (out of sight from normal viewing, so I could punch the brass back into shape.  I modified the head of a large nail to act as a panel beating tool, and slowly tapped away onto a block of wood. 
New hole made in the boiler, and the modified nail I used as the panel beating punch

Whilst not perfect, after adding some filling solder, filing, and wet-n-dry,  I hope it will be difficult to tell the repair after painting.  And yes, it will have to be R766 – the R class being standard gauged.
The smokebox depression is mostly gone after the punchwork
Boiler after some solder filling, and further clean
I hope that you all were able to spend some quality time working on your models.
Until next time