Friday, 25 January 2013

January Progress...


Well what a month it has been & before going any further with this post I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us with the recent release of our Timber Tank Stand kit...  Since the initial release on the 3rd of this month we have now clocked up sales of ( a staggering ) 229 of these kits & it is certainly interesting when the sales split is examined.  30 sold on Ebay, 40 to a US hobby outlet, 42 sold to overseas customers, 20 to Warren at Gwydir Valley Models & the balance through direct sales.  One interesting aspect is that through email discussions with the overseas customers...the vast majority are not expats or building Aussie Layouts....Go figure.

While on the subject of the Timber Tank Stand has come to our attention that a couple of people have been confusing our kit with another supplier's offering.   To clarify our kits are supplied in a box marked plainly with Harlow Graphics Laser Rail Bits with all timber parts manufactured from Premium Basswood with the base etc being 3mm pre-machined acrylic.  We do not & will not ever contemplate utilising inferior or unsuitable materials for inclusion in any of our kits.

BTW... I am also hearing we may soon have some more choices of overhead tanks to fit on the stands????!!!!

Now on with the post...

Our latest incarnation planned for the Timber Bridge Range is approaching completion.  One of the key features we are always striving to improve upon is ease of construction while being very mindful of not compromising on the prototype in terms of scale, detail or general appearance.  Following on from the last post which talked about the girder & corbel incorporation at the deck level... we have looked at adopting the same methodology of the rest of the kit where possible & in particular the support "bents".  With the almost completed bridge sample in the attached shots we have trialled the use of  a one piece headstock, sill & pile assembly with the angle bracing being added separately.  We have also added simulated joins where appropriate  This of course means deviating from round piles in favour of square which was certainly not unknown in prototype...assembly time is certainly the winner being sped up significantly. 

So... as stated i have added some shots for perusal & as usual any comments ( good, bad or constructive ) are welcome.  It must be noted that the bridge still requires foundations, angle iron guardrail supports & nut bolt detail...I will post another instalment when these decided upon & added.

Have a Great Australia Day & Long Weekend!!! ....I just may spend some time on the layout....Yeah Right.



Sunday, 13 January 2013

Weekend Goings On...


My daughter often says to me "Build A Bridge Dad!!!..." whenever i need to get over something.  So i took her advice and made a start over the weekend.

I took advantage of the somewhat cooler day today, cranked up the lasers & commenced catching up on replenishing existing kits & also looking at the plethora of foreign one off orders i also have to complete.

In between reloading the machines with timber i decided to also take a look at a structure design that has been on my mind for some time...that being a timber road bridge with angled approaches.  While i have some photos of prototype bridges, i only have drawings of the Wauchope example & with all of this info mentally pooled there was enough info to at least  make a start on a generic example.

As i have stated my mind the magic of our latest kit rests with the one piece composite component of the column & bearer assembly & so as i perused the plans of the Wauchope road bridge it became apparent that this methodology could be adapted to this road over rail timber example which would reduce kit construction time markedly. 

The bridge in question is 5 Girders wide & if creating the components singularly this would equate to 15 individual girders... 5 each for either end wings & 5 for the central deck.  The first development drawings incorporated the girders as one piece....but upon further investigation & some laser trickery it was possible to not only machine each girder in it's entirety...but also to add the corbels as well.  I have now machined & built two samples with the decking installed & the results are promising....

Reproduced with kind permission of Greg Edwards, Datasheets.
The Datasheets drawing of the bridge in question...Of interest is that the prototype had a slight variation in length of the wings..... Again the Datasheets range is indispensible when checking details & dimensions....The hobby owes Greg a debt of gratitude.

Clicking on the photo should enlarge the image enough to peruse the girder & corbel detail.  The next few decisions with the kit will factor around height of the bents & the type of footings that are offered as there was significant variation with this type of bridge. 

Sample of  components for trial fitting...

Close up showing the simulated joins between the girders & corbels...

The components in question so far... the girders are one piece & incorporate the corbels with a laser cut line to indicate the join in components.  There is no need to add the but joint simulation where the girders join as these are hidden entirely when the deck posts are added.

The trial deck with girder assemblies installed...It may also be possible to utilise a one piece kerbing assembly as well with simulated joins as there are two each,  scale 9" x 5" laminated that are placed on either side of the decking....

I can see that with all of the incorporations that are possible... It will cut down assembly dramatically while still representing a dimensionally accurate, well detailed & durable scale example... The last thing we want to produce is a "box full of bits" type kit that upon opening takes away the inspiration to complete the kit.

Anyway that is progress to date on this kit & it will certainly be an addition to the upcoming bridge range. Both this & the flat deck bridge are being developed in unison ( and together as well!!! )....Will post progress as it occurs...

I will now need to look at double track styles before i start being labelled a "singletrackite"...

And one last thing before someone asks.....No... the layout is not getting any attention at all.



Saturday, 5 January 2013

A "PC1" On Steroids


As the mercury nudges towards 40 degrees... I found solace inside with the air-con cranked up & the cricket acting as background noise while researching some more local railwayana.  The subject of this second post for the day could also border on another Ripleys.

Picture yourself at an exhibition & you came across this cameo scene on someone's layout... Your first thoughts would probably be... has the guy gone mad!!!.  Well as is often the case with railway infrastructure sometimes fact is certainly stranger than fiction.

This scene only captured earlier this week is located next to the up main adjacent to the site of the long gone Goulburn North signal box & between the station proper & the Blackshaw Rd level crosssing which is just out of view to the right of shot.

The "buildings" are owned by the Goulburn Bowling Club & i believe are used for general storage & greenkeeping equipment.  Apart from the shemozzle of precast & weatherboard components... the origins of at least one of the items is very interesting.

The PC1 station building was ( widely believed ) salvaged from the site of Willigam on the long closed  Taralga Line.
Willigam was the first station reached on the branch,  after the Taralga Line branched from the Goulburn to Crookwell line at Roslyn.  Modifications to the original structure have taken place over the years as evidenced by the photograph.

For those interested Willigam was roughly 2 miles from Roslyn & the "station" consisted of a 120' platform with a PC1 station building for passenger accomodation located on the Up side of the line with a loop line on the down side.  There was a loading bank opposite the platform on the loop with a sleeper stage at the Taralga end of the loop.

The Taralga branch closed to traffic in May 1957 ( opened in Feb 1926 ) with the rails etc removed some time in 1959.  

The Crookwell line remained open until the last "commercial movement" to & from Crookwell from Goulburn in March 1984.

I hope this post does offer a source of inspiration for a cameo here & there that will take care of the bits & pieces we all accumulate in the modelling junk draw!!!  Certainly a great scene if modelled in low relief between the track & the backdrop.


Ripley's...Believe It Or Not...

Hi All,

Yeh i know the post titles don't get any better...but i have a Ripley's story that is hard to believe.

I love to research out rail related industries, both from the rail & the social aspect. As most of my earlier life being spent living & working in Botany... I had researched the Botany Line to death... now living in Goulburn has given me a blank canvas & a different perspective on life...Suburban Vs Rural

This infatuation with research also aids my decision making process in the model room & layout building...although the research definitely takes up the time that could be spent on the layout...hmmm an enjoyable conundrum.

When i first started frequenting Goulburn well before i moved here, one of the dominant features of the trackside infrastructure & the skyline was the old flour mill. This mill & associated site has a history to be believed & has been a cornerstone of my research for the last few years.

I guess i should begin by "siting" the mill to put this story into perspective. The mill is situated immediately adjacent to the up main around 400 metres north of Goulburn Station on the up side of the main running lines, just beyond the Blackshaw Rd Level Crossing. The rear of the plant faces the railway while the front faces Sloane St.

From a railway perspective the flour mill was served by a dead end siding that was reached by shunting movements leaving the yard travelling north via the North Shunting Neck, (which paralleled the up main ) crossing over the level crossing then a hundred metres ( approx ) further on running through a set of trailing points which served the mill...from this point the shunting neck was known as the Weighbridge Rd & over the years this road was extended to a point just beyond the Cole St overbridge.....

Mill History...

The site originally was home to a fully enclosed public swimming baths that boasted gas lighting & a smokers room in the tower that was built & opened in 1892 & was designed by Goulburn architect E.C. Manfred who was also responsible for designing a fair few local landmark buildings.

The baths & site were sold in 1906 to William Connolly who already operated the Argyle Flour Mills elsewhere in Goulburn. He set about building a modern flourmill which incorporated the baths building in the finished mill. The actual pool was just covered over with floorboards & the building put to work.

At the time, the mill was one of the largest & most modern equipped mills in the country area of NSW. The Peerless brand of flour it produced was reputedly world renown for quality & was exported to a fair few overseas countries.

The mill survived into the early 1970s when closure took effect & in the late 70s the site was sold to a local family who after making some significant changes & additions to some buildings, installed a 14 lane Ten Pin Bowling Alley & the old public baths area was converted into a roller skating rink... Yes the mill was now a leisure centre!!!

Another transformation of the mill took place in latter years where the bowling alley was dismantled & removed & the whole building including the pool area was reopened by the same family as a retail furniture business.

The furniture business relocated to new premises at the beginning of 2011 & as i write this post the whole site is laying empty & for sale. While the main buildings are heritage listed it will be interesting to see what becomes of the site & associated buildings as it looks for another chapter in it's already incredibly diverse life.

For those who are interested... Yes the pool still exists under the floorboards of the building that housed it.  I have been priveleged to have stuck my head underneath the boards & witness this remarkable feature....still very much intact.

So... where else would a public baths have been transformed into an integral part of a flour mill...then the whole site play it's part as a leisure centre & later be the home of a furniture store???

This shot is taken from the Blackshaw Rd level crossing & shows the rear of the main mill building. Of interest is the single level building at left of shot extending along the street side with the tower in the distance.  This is the building that housed the original public swimming baths & later the roller skating rink

A wider shot this time showing the newer building addition at right of shot.  This building was added to house the bowling alley, plant room & other services

A view of behind the bowling alley addition showing all of what is left of the flour mill siding alignment & infrastructure.  There is evidence of loading dock remnants & steps etc below the wire fence in the middle of the shot

I would love to acknowledge credit  for this photo...but have no idea of the photographer etc...
While this shot may be out of sequence... it is a useful comparison with the next shot...
Taken from Sloane St is an overall view of the front of the site. I believe taken in around the early 1940s
The main mill building is obvious while the building at right housed the original public baths & later a roller skating rink.  The signwritten shed & the elevator / silo complex were demolished to make way for the new addition that housed the bowling alley & carpark.

Taken from the same location as the previous shot albeit some 70 odd years later...
The entrance to the original public baths is at far left adjacent to the tower which once contained the " smokers room"
The bowling alley was housed in the long building extending from centre to right of shot.
Visible on the roof of the main mill building is the support structure for the now removed water tank...While not visible in the previous shot it was added & removed in the intervening years.