Monday, 16 November 2009


My layout Winmar, based on a fictional location just north of Albury on the Main South line in New South Wales, should be delivered to our new home at the end of next week. The layout has been stored, among other things, inside a 40 foot container at Allied Pickfords. With the extremely hot weather of late, I am hoping the layout (and other things) will be ok since I am not sure if the container sits out in some open yard or whether the container is under cover in some sort of warehouse.

Anyway, I will take delivery of Winmar on Friday week and have it placed inside the garage for the time being. I am still of the mind to disassemble the layout, lift up the track, and remove most of the wiring to be used again on a new layout. I guess that the condition of the layout when it is unpacked from the container will also have a bearing on my final decision.

Notwithstanding the desire to start afresh, I still really like the layout diagram and the concept of running a branch and an industrial siding off the main body of the layout. Having a small loco depot (Winmar being a junction station) is also a plus.

Here is the layout diagram in original form (click on the image to expand it for viewing). I did make some changes to the arrangement of the track on the baseboard when I actually laid the track down. I made changes to the purple-coloured sidings behind the station, lengthening one of the double sidings and omitting the siding off to the left (still in purple). Also, S7 in the blue-grey colour was extended around as an inside curve and joins the main just short of the entrance to the traverser as a grains loop siding.

Perhaps I might consider taking out just the station "module" and seeing if I can use it within the body of the new layout, although at this stage it is not clear what the new layout will actually look like and nor what final area in the garage I will have to work in. I am also considering whether to use the twelve track traverser (the traverser moves on heavy duty rollers from a computer server stack) since this will be easy to unscrew and keep intact. Suffice to say, the original layout plan as shown in the diagram and with the traverser fiddle yard at the rear is very much likely to change in context ... or disappear all together.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Railway operation is for me

Last night I went over to Rob's place for the monthly operating session on his VR/NSWR layout. The layout uses DCC for loco control and a card operating system based on train sequences.

The experience of operating this layout has reinforced to me that I really love model railway layouts that feature a system of "prototype" operation. Now, this layout wasn't run exactly as on the prototype because it represents a railway line between towns in Victoria and the southeast coast of NSW where no real prototype line existed. But that's not the point: the layout is run as an approximation of prototype railroading with an emphasis on establishing a real purpose for the movement of particular trains and the locations on the line. This blend of operation and railway purpose is what is of greatest interest to me. It also helps to have a good bunch of people to be with during the operating session and Rob's "crew" certainly fits that category.

I am now more seriously considering that when the move to the new home takes place in a couple of weeks time, the "old" layout (Winmar) will get dismantled. I need to build a new layout based on my model railway operation-oriented preferences. My thinking at this stage favours a shelf type of layout. The design of the layout will be planned specifically for the actual size and shape of the available space in the garage of the new house. I shouldn't need to compromise the new layout because of a previously designed and built layout from many years ago; one that was constructed within the parameters of a different overall plan and housed in a different location in Sydney.

The development of Winmar did offer some operational potential with the proposed Lake Hume branch and the industrial siding leading off to the traverser (fiddle yard). However, in the new location in Canberra, a single-top baseboard that is 16' x 8' in size does not really fit conveniently within the space available, and nor does it really offer an easy path for any potential Lake Hume Branch extension in the future.

The stage is therefore set for a new layout design that reflects my current thinking and preferences. The layout will be designed specifically for the new physical space of the garage at the house we move to at the end of the month. I think we have a new beginning...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Wagga Wagga Model Railway Exhibition

Just a quick note this evening to advertise the annual Wagga Wagga Model Railway & Hobby Exhibition. The exhibition is on this weekend at the Kyeamba Smith Hall in Wagga Wagga. Although I can't make it myself to the exhibition since I will be in Sydney this weekend, I reckon the show will be worth a look. I have been to the show in the past and had a good time there.

As with all model railway exhibitions, seeing what other modellers have accomplished and checking out the commercial displays is always an interesting experience. And of course, chatting to fellow modellers and picking up the odd tip often comes in handy as well.

I hope the 2009 Wagga Wagga Model Railway & Hobby Exhibition will be a great success.