Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Wagga Wagga Station Building - introduction

Wagga Wagga Station Building – introduction

As I was growing up in Wagga in the 1960s, the Wagga station became very familiar, as most of the trips to visit the relatives in Sydney, and Melbourne, involved train travel. 
It was only later that I thought I could design a model railway based on Wagga, and later still that I became aware of the history. This process is still occurring.

A tinted postcard view of the then NEW station

The NSW Railways finally reached “South Wagga Wagga” in 1879.  A substantial building was designed by John Whitton (the NSW Railway Chief Engineer at the time), and  constructed to serve this growing town.  The station was built by Charles Hardy, the same contractor who had constructed the North Wagga Wagga (later Bomen) station.  Whether the station was ready for the first train is still being investigated by the Wagga Wagga Rail heritage group.

As built, and as restored to Heritage condition. (Image from the internet)

The station included a railway refreshment room after 1917, in addition to the standard station facilities.  There was no accommodation, although a number of hotels were situated within walking distance, close to the station.
A strange brass plate imbedded in one of the walls advising of the 80th anniversary of train running.  However, there is no opening plate visible, which adds credence to the station not being opened on the first day of train operation

Over the years, the station has been modified with “additions”, and internal changes to the room layouts, and purpose.  But compared to the current heritage layout, the earlier additions made the station look awkward, and less visually attractive.  My layout will display the roadside view to the aisle, and gives me a dilemma. Whilst it may not be correct to the 1970s timeframe, I prefer to build something that is pleasing to the eye.  The added bonus is that the details of the station can be photographed, and measured.  The downside is that there is a lot more lacework with the heritage station style, and I don’t have the current interior plans.

Image from the NSW railway archives - supplied to me by Bob Stack, shows the post 1917 modifications
My photograph from the early 1980s shows the additions added earlier.  I must also add that the colours are uninspiring
An image from 1954 - during the Queens visit.  The bunting would have been interesting to see in colour 

I am indebted to Bob Stack, as he has provided me with plans of the station to fit the 1970s timeframe.  A earlier (1879)  set of plans in the end papers of the book “The Greatest Public Work” by Robert Lee

The station was repainted in 2018, and the roadway rearranged yet again.  I have yet to meet anyone who prefers this colour scheme over the previous heritage red

Construction of the station will take some time.  All of the window and doors are surrounded by shaped plaster/concrete, which is going to be tricky to emulate in miniature.  The options are

1-    construct from scratch – customwood, brass or plastic could be used.
2-      Use 3D printing.  Most home printers would not give the nice curves, although a rough 3D print could be sanded smooth.  Better printing, such as through Shapeways FUD would leave me with a sizeable hole in the wallet
3-      Laser cut thin layers of card, plastic, or wood, and laminate these into a 3D shape
4-      Cast duplicates in resin, using a scratchbuilt pattern created in step 1, molded in rubber.

The refreshment room end

The Parcel Office end



Many NSW stations had Palm Trees. The seeds were brought back by WWI veterans after the war, and planted, I don't know if this tree was one of those, but it is a feature of the station that needs to be modelled.

By 2017, the sidings on the right were not only disused, but actually disconnected from the main line.

At this stage, I am not sure how many differing types of window and door surrounds are needed.  I am hoping that I will have this answer during the measuring phase. 

Then comes the iron lace work.  It  may be possible to print the designs on acetate, although etching a  brass sheet will give a far better result.  Fortunately, this stage is not integral to the main station construction, so I will have time to ponder.

Some of the above techniques are new to me, so I do not anticipate the Wagga Wagga station will be a fast build.   The next step is the photographing, and measuring phase – similar to my Bomen Station build. 

I’ll get back to finishing the Wagga Signal box shortly.
Happy Modelling


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