Thursday 24 June 2021

A pair of Model Train weekends


A pair of Model Train weekends


Over the last month or so, my hands-on modelling has taken a bit of a back seat, whilst I concentrate on other activities, many totally unrelated to model trains.  I am sure, that many of us need a break at times. 


The Steel Bridge, over the Willamette River in Oregon, is a memory of the 2015 NMRA National Convention. This bridge is unique, in that the lower deck of the lifting span can raise or lower independant of the upper deck.  Read on to find out why I am including this picture.   

This situation came to a close on the June – Queens Birthday long weekend.  The June long weekend is one that often co-incides with model train exhibitions.  Over the years I have exhibited at Morewell (Victoria) and Adelaide(South Australia), and more recently attended the Rosehill exhibition in Sydney. The Rosehill exhibition was also to coincide with the annual Australian Region NMRA convention, but Covid has managed to disrupt this idea for the last 2 years.

A Virtual Convention

Not to be defeated, an alternate virtual convention was arranged by the local NMRAx team.  This event was well publicised, and whilst I doubted I could be enticed to sit at my computer screen for 4 days, I was curious to see some of the clinics.

And, I am now a believer of the concept.  Each session was placed on a you-tube live feed – and whilst you could indeed watch it live, I found it possible to rewind to the start of the session – fast forward over the adverts, watch those sessions and layout tours that interested me, rewinding if you needed to check up on the details, and best of all if watching live, ask questions, which were answered by the presenter at the end of their session.

There were even live sessions from overseas (Britain and USA).  Particularly impressive was the operation session on Dave Abeles layout in New Jersey – where the camera was trackside, to view the parade of trains.

And I learnt things too. Some examples in no particular order

Some useful tips on fasttrack turnout assembly;

Private business cars;

Weathering Aussie locos;

3D printing;

Animation for your layout,  

And the quiz questions were a bit of competitive fun too.

All of the NMRAx clinics (not just the ones above)  have now been edited, and uploaded to you-tube forming a useful resource for all modellers, not just those in the NMRA.  Thank you to the NMRAx team

Down the coast

Last weekend, the Eurobodalla Model Railway club, a 100% affiliated club in my local Division of the NMRA (Div 2), hosted a weekend of activities in the Batemans Bay area.  It included our monthly meeting, and a selection of layout tours on both Saturday and Sunday.  As I had only seen pictures of some of the layouts, and wanting to say farewell to the Batemans Bay road bridge, I booked 2 nights accommodation, and made the 350km journey from Junee.

It was a great weekend.

Two views of the Eurobodalla Model Railway clubs sectional layout, being built by the members

Peter R's Z scale layout was also on display for the meeting. The Eurobodalla club regularly attends events, and fairs down the South Coast, and small displays such as this, promote the hobby.

Ian B is building a prototype freelance NSWGR layout on 2 decks in a purpose built building. I visited his layout on Saturday night.  Very nice trackwork,  good scenery, and great presentation. Ian tells me that he has taken around 2 years to construct so far, although he did start with parts of former layouts. His layout "footprint" is bigger than my Wagga layout, and I got some great ideas.

Bill C's layout was built into a one car garage space - consisting of an oval of track, large station, with a pair of branchlines.  He has named the stations and golf course after his grandkids. Bill had his layout open on Sunday morning.

Whilst not on the official layout tour, I wrangled a quick visit to David V's place on Sunday morning. David is building a small portable layout.  His expertise in in 3D printing, but I really wanted to view his backscenes, which have been made from David's photos using OfficeWorks poster prints. This may be the process I will use on the Wagga layout.  Great to see.

Matt S's layout is based in the wilds of British Columbia, and scenically spectacular. He encouraged us to participate in a running session on Sunday, but I was very happy to allow others that honour, and I simply just watched the trains running. The layout had taken over his 2 car garage fully. Again, like Ian's layout earlier, the presentation was excellent.

Thanks to the Eurobodalla club for organizing.


Batemans Bay bridge

As part of the upgrade of the Princess Highway, the Batemans Bay lift span bridge was recently bypassed with a modern 4 lane concrete bridge.

The new bridge opened on March 27, 2021, seen beside the old lift span bridge.  The new bridge was designed, and built by John Holland Construction group, which is a 100% Chinese owned company. John Holland also have the contract to demolish the old bridge. There is a little bit of simularity with the Portland Steel Bridge - being the high towers, the control cabin on the lifting span, and the steel girders.  This picture was sent to me

Whilst I understand that maintenance costs on an old steel structure were high, the bridge being just 2 lanes was a bottleneck, particularly when the lifting span was in operation. But the old bridge had character, and a lot in common with railway bridges of that era.  It has nothing to do with my Wagga layout, apart from it making a big impression  the first time I saw it as a kid in the 1960s

2 years ago, knowing that the bridge was to be replaced, I took some detail pictures

And more recently June 19/20th 2021

I do not know if anything of the old bridge is to be retained as a reminder of its importance in the development of the Batemans Bay area


A closing thought. Record what you can now -Take pictures, listen to the old timers, and write down notes. You never will know where your modelling journey will take you.


Tuesday 8 June 2021

Wagga Wagga Yard Crane

 Wagga Wagga Yard Crane

I have been trying to find out if the derrick yard crane in use at Wagga Wagga was unique. So far, I have not been successful in locating any information on the internet that gives a definitive answer. 

I photographed the crane from a window of the Bomen Flood train in the early 1990s. Shows the crane, and the goods shed 

The crane has 2 fixed beams, connected at the top with a pivot, supporting the weight of the swivelling crane section.  The Wagga crane was motorised.  Heavy items would be lifted from the open or flat wagons, the crane swivelled, and the item loaded onto waiting trucks.  I suspect the crane was removed in the mid 1990s when the goods shed was dismantled and relocated

Disappointingly, the above picture was the only image I had of the crane, until recently.  Max Burke, approached me with a datapack containing a copy of his field measurements, and photos of the crane in 1994.  Besides narrow gauge railways, Max has a fascination for cranes - and a few years ago, I built a couple of O scale crane models for him.

One never knows where an unrelated modelling project leads to.


Below are my scanned copies of the images and data Max supplied.  Whilst not in a form of a scale diagram, I think there is enough information to successfully build a model.

I have been fortunate to have been in contact with many people who have been great to fill in my numerous knowledge gaps, with photos, and plans.   Thank you all.

Stay warm.