Wednesday 12 October 2022

A trio of Railway weekends


A trio of Railway weekends


At times, one needs a break from the workbench, with a chance to recharge the batteries, and learn something new. 


The Snowy Mtns Highway south of Cooma shows a landscape that looks dry, unlike the rest of NSW.  This was the view from the car coming back from Bemboka.  The clouds in the distance were an approaching cold front, which was expected to drop some snow.  From a railway viewpoint, the former railway line to Bombala is just to the west (LHS) of this picture.  

Visit to Bemboka

Rob Anderson’s new abode in Bemboka was the site of the NMRA Div 2 meeting in September.  It is a significant distance for me to travel, but Rob’s former layout in the ACT was one that I admired, and operated, so I was curious to see what he was up to. 

After car pooling via Canberra (the most direct route from Junee is via the Snowy Mountians Highway, a highway subject to snow, and the forecast was for snow), we arrived around 11am, with plenty of time for talking with members, prior to the excellent BBQ lunch.  After lunch, we were invited to inspect Rob’s new layout.

Robs new train room is around 9x6 metres – similar in size to the area I have.  Rob’s layout is  also double deck.  He had maintained his earlier layout theme – being a fictional east-coast mainline, from Melbourne VIC, to Eden NSW.  Rob had incorporated some design changes from his original layout – both staging yards were larger, and connected, and no longer had a duck-under to enter the room. 

Rob is reusing some of his original layout structures to save time

Both Melbourne, and Eden staging yards share this baseboard - which runs the entire length of the 9 metre wall.  The partition in the middle seperates both staging yards, although there is now a connection that allows continuous running.  The size of these staging yards is a massive improvement from Rob's original layout

Two helixes are used to raise and lower the main line onto, and off the upper deck.  These are symetrically placed in the room near the main entrance

Rob is experimenting with lighting.  I understand that additional lights will be installed to better illuminate the scenes

Train operations are controlled by this signal panel.  This is similar to Rob's original layout

Looking upwards to the roof construction.  Both helixes can be seen

The lighting pelmet for the upper deck is solid.

Petes Hobby Railway.

As part of the The Junee Roundhouse 75th Anniversary Celebrations, Pete Neve had arranged to have a running day on October 2nd.  As one of Pete’s volunteers, I was tasked to operate the gate, and provide commentary for members of the public who came to view the trains.  Pete has 2 operational locomotives, and track which extends from an engineshed, into his frontyard.  The track is hoped to be extended later to finish a continuous loop.  It was good day, and the weather co-operated.

1915 built Hunslet Locomotive "Torpedo". Pete saved this locomotive from a children's playground in Queensland, after it was retired from the canefields.  Fully restored by Ainsworth Engineering in Goulburn

Pete's other operational locomotive is a Ruston engine, built in 1955. Here it is passing Pete's station "Loftus".  The station is a reduced size scale model of an NSW A1 station building, constructed by Phil, and Josh Burke, another pair of Pete's volunteers.  Loftus is a dual name.  It was originally the name of the suburb Pete lived in Sydney, and the original NSW construction name for Junee

Goulburn N scale convention.

Last weekend, the Australian N scale had their first convention after Covid, and held at Goulburn, which is a small city about 2 hours from Sydney, and one hour from Canberra.    Goulburn, like Junee, is a railway town, and boasts a large roundhouse, (now a museum) which was open for Conventioneers on Friday afternoon. The weather wasn’t good, being in constant light rain.   On display were many of the locomotives assembled for the previous weekend’s “Streamliner” event.  (many of the people visiting Pete’s Hobby Railway had been to the Streamliners on the preceeding Saturday).  I hadn’t been to the Goulburn Roundhouse for decades, prior to it becoming a museum, so I was curious to what was lurking inside the sheds.

Some serious workshop machinery on display - all this clutter can give ideas for convincing engineshed modelling

Inside valve gear of a NSW B class mogul, as seen from one of the roundhouse pits

The convention itself was great.  Lots of good layouts on display, including Ross Balderson’s Newcastle 1899, which is a museum standard moving diorama.  The modelling contest had many entries, and the judging this year was done by popular vote.  As I was one of the judges in 2019 for the N scale convention held in Canberra, I do not think this particularly good, as the modellers entering the contest do not get constructive feedback.  The upside was that it is a lot simplier, and the judges get to go to all the clinics.


Around 40 entries in the competition.  The locomotive category was won by Stephen Curry with his Kitson tank locomotive (#21 on the sheet above)

The Castlemaine (Victoria) station won the popular vote for the structures section

This small Inglenook layout was the focus (pun intended) for the "Using your phone camera for layout photography" clinic.

An interesting construction technique, just using foam.

The N scale Japanese themed layout was just one of 9 layouts on display at the convention

The clinics were wide and varied – and most were not scale specific.  To me the one on use of phone cameras for model photography was useful, but the one from Ross Balderson on Streetscapes, including the talk about the Horse Manure panic of 1894, and a method to model horse dung most amusing.

I have shown Ross Balderson's "Newcastle 1899" before on this blog, but the updates keep making it better.

Newcastle Station, showing hansom cabs, and if you look closely, horse dung.  Ross described making the dung, and road in his 'streetscapes' clinic - the dirt was pumice dust as used by dentists.   It is really hard to tell this is N scale, as the level of detail, particularly the etching, is so fine.  

Newcastle Customs House.  Many of the photographs that Ross used to model his buildings had been taken from the Customs House clock tower around 1900.  Another valuable source for Ross's modelling were period photos by Ralph Snowball.

Many of the early locomotive models on show, and operating on Newcastle 1899 were made by Stephen Curry.  Here was a small display by Stephen showing the gears and motor that will be used on a locomotive he will scratchbuild

Being N scale, I didn’t think I would be tempted to buy anything.  But some DCC chips, and 3D printed in colour HO people will be used for a future blog post.  And I was also successful in selling my N scale Bachmann excursion coaches that I bought for testing the N scale Bethungra layout I built for the Junee Broadway Museum


And a bonus for me was that the cheap motel I stayed at, had an ensuite that very closely matches the dimensions of the ensuite I am proposing for my train room area.  Having pictures will assist me in describing to the builder what I am needing.

Apart from the tile colour, my motel room ensuite was about identical with the one I am proposing for my train room. The advantages for me is not only having photos to show to a builder, but having used it for 2 nights, it is workable.  Never let an opportunity pass by.

 That's it for now.  Until next time.