Saturday, 9 November 2013



Where has the time gone?...In my last blog posting I explained my reasoning behind a change in direction for me in the hobby.  I must explain at the outset that I have not indeed succumbed to some sort of life threatening illness nor have I "gone around the twist completely" as some other people ( including some family ) proffered.

While working for yourself allows some flexibility and other "perks", it does come with some other pressures that are sometimes hard to explain...even to those that are closest.  Lack of day to day interaction with human beings is one of the downsides which does mean that any issues going around in your mind are only ever shared over the nightly meal or through telephone conversations in most instances.  Another issue that came on board around 8 or 9 years ago with the advent of Laser Rail Bits was that my hobby was now becoming part of the business and vice versa.  Consequently this also started to blur the lines with home life and the hobby as well and I was finding it increasingly difficult to find enjoyment and escape in the things that mattered the most.  Again...don't get me wrong, I love all aspects of my life but I needed to take stock, make some changes and start to focus again.

As this is a model railway blog...I won't dwell on the business side of things too much other than to say that certain changes have been made that have jettisoned some unprofitable and time consuming aspects of the business that has now freed up time to concentrate more on Laser Rail Bits and has led to an overall increasing clarity on where I am and what I am doing.

On the model side of things...the decision to mothball the layout was made and a fair amount of rollingstock and structures were liquidated in haste. In hindsight, some decisions to sell some items was probably regrettable...but strangely refreshing as it now gives a blank canvas approach and recent trips to the layout room have had a feeling that the juices are starting to flow again and a return may not be too far off.  These train room visits, armed with the obligatory cup of tea have seen me run a loco or two and I have found myself playing the "what if" game inside my head about changes to trackplan, era and operations in general.   I guess my "brain explosion" of the last few months may have worked?

During these trips to the layout room I have decided that a couple of items must be omitted from the trackplan and they are the two double slips which were originally placed at the up end of  Fish River yard and the junction of the yet to be named branch.  It must be explained that these double slips were placed at a time when the layout was to be based on a double track mainline and now with the decision made ( some time ago ) to revert to a single line working...the function and space saving features of these slips is now redundant.  I personally find double slips a visual blot it will be a happy day when they are lifted and traditional points are installed.  At least I was able to master the DCC issues that arise with double slips if nothing the experience was worth it.



   The photo above shows the location of the double slips and a quick explanation should clarify the location... Tracks from left to right in the distance are...Branch, Up Main, Down Main and Flour Mill Siding. 

While behind the photographer is Fish River Station and the track leading away (bottom left) is the Fish River Yard access road.

This shot is taken from the opposite end of the yard looking in a down direction with the offending double slips visible centre left...

With the decision to revert to single line working....the Up main is now redundant and will revert to being used as a loop or master siding... The issue I need to address is that if the double slips are removed...the section of "old" up main between the two slips will be removed as well to allow for traditional points to be fitted.  This in turn will not allow the "old" up main to be used as a headshunt for the yard...and will also shorten useable length of the "old" up main as a loop.

There are many permutations to solve the issues but the "not negotiable" aspect is that the slips must go....for both smooth operability and pure aesthetics.  So with Christmas coming up and the possibility of some down time...This puzzle must be solved and a track "shutdown" planned.  Any input from you guys is of course welcome...

On the rollingstock front, I have also booked 6015 in for a strip down, repaint and weathering job and the boxes of remaining 4 wheelers will need to be aged as well...see the juices are beginning to flow!....I wonder if the airbrushes will remember me?

It has been great to actually sit down and "Blog" again and I certainly won't be leaving it this long between posts again!

6015 will soon enter "shops' to be repainted and it is coming off the branch and returning to Fish River light engine.




  1. Welcome back Rod & glad the bug has got his little teeth into you.

    I sometimes think that double main lines can be something that needs a lot of thought & planning, & the only way is to have them basically as a full circle set up with the down becoming the up at basically a reversing at each end. Work well for exh layouts for continual running with staging yards out of sight.

    When I was in Sydney I had a double slip with the idea to redirect trains from one direction to another which basically worked as if the slip took trains to/from a main line to branch & the exit on both ends to another line, I had no problems with shorts or anything on it,

    Coming to the Central Coast & I had the idea to use it again but this time to try & allow a similar working to take trains along sections leading to the two sides of the staging yards, meaning they could both arrive & depart from either yard head along the line to the slip & go across to the other track as either a down or up train. It created all the problems in the world with dead shorts as soon as I threw the points.

    What I realised was that my layout is basically one long circle, with a lot of curves etc for the runs. This meant I was creating a short all the time, the only option I found out was to have auto reversers in place & more than likely need four of them for each side of the slip, something I gave up the idea of & now just run trains via the end return loop using both yards to terminate & start new trains, they just go round the circle much simpler.

  2. G'day Rod,

    Good to see the enthusiasm returning. I find it hard to get motivated sometimes but I guess that's the thing with hobbies, you do it when you feel like it.

    Your wheel wiz is great! Turned up the other day and can't wait to put it to work.

    I will try to get to Goulburn soon and drop in.


  3. Hi Rod
    Nice to see the enthusiasm is coming back. Sometimes we get into the doldrums for a while and then some small thing can light the spark again.

    Your going to have to single line that main line bridge by the look of it and changing the double slips will give a much better look and feel to the yard. I find that the less one off or unusual things on the layout the more it gives the right NSWGR atmosphere, lets face it almost everything was minimalist, plain and even somewhat ordinary.

    Ray P

  4. Col, Ray, Linton...

    Thank you for the notes of encouragement...I think the posts that I have written say it all...Even though I planned the layout fairly extensively before laying any track...It still seems like a mish mash...although I will rectify this situation during the Christmas break ( if it does materialise )...I now like the thought that I have modelled a double track that has been rationalised to single line and now that I have seen, operated and DCCised the slips...I will be glad to see the back of them. I am not sure how they equate to a 1:1 example...but in HO they are coarse and not to my liking. If I ever do refit them somewhere else on the layout it will be restricted to a yard scenario and certainly not on a main or secondary branch...Ray as for the last part of your comment...never a truer word has been spoken ( less is more ) and I get it completely. I was going to leave the second track over the bridge and terminate it just before the tunnel and use it as either a storage or part time refuge???....Or get rid of it???....Advice please... know you are welcome anytime...

    Col, I will attempt to answer outstanding emails etc. over the coming weekend

    Thanks Again Guys

  5. Rod

    I don't know the track layout but could it be the point where double track changes to single at Fish River?

    Ray P

  6. A grand plan, read your thread and wish you well, my layout pales in comparison yet getting it right for the size was every bit as important as any. As you mention about loosing the eniitiative due to other and selling off only later to regret i did same and with starting from scratch again I found advantageous with second time having already learned from past misfortunes I was more accepting to risk taking and the end result now for me is rewarding but not yet over.

    Good Luck and I wish you well.