Monday, 31 August 2015

Crookwell...The Groundwork Continues

Planning and decisions continue to be made for the proposed Crookwell Layout.  Firstly is the decision to hand lay all track and utilise Fast Tracks jigs to manufacture required points.  I am hoping that the jigs will accept code 75 rail as I have an abundance of Peco rail.  I have the ability to laser up all general sleepers, point sleepers and rail fish plates and this will lower the overall cost of required accessories.  In the wash up, I feel that this layout will certainly benefit from hand laid track.

As the building of all infrastructure items moves ahead, I decided that a visit to Crookwell was in order and with the girls in tow, we took a drive out there yesterday and made a day of it.  I took an absolute plethora of shots to add to my rather extensive existing collection, but with a layout now being the focus, attention moved to the "micro" elements rather than the overall feel.  Of course all things have a habit of changing in the prototype world and Crookwell Station precinct is no different with some major modifications taking place since my last visit earlier in the year.  I am not convinced that all of the changes have improved the appeal of the place as a tourist attraction...but the area is well maintained, neat and tidy.

With the construction of the A5 station building well underway, I was also keen to measure a myriad of detail items to ensure integrity with the model is maintained.  Most important was the internal details of the waiting room as this will be a focal point due to it being on display as an open type waiting room.  The station building will be part of a small, self contained, diorama that will include the platform, facing, lamp room and toilet (C4) and some rear scenery.  This method should allow me to work on the details away from the layout and when complete the "diorama" will then be placed and blended into the surrounds.

Progress on the station is coming along...The actual colour does not present well
in the is in essence an off white colour...

Fa├žade, eaves, barge boards and finials fitted...vents will be fitted in the coming days
as well as other internals


Waiting room floor can be glimpsed as well as a start being made on the
chimney structure....Once all internals are complete, the roof trusses and assembly
will be fitted...

How Crookwell Station presents today...

I was also especially interested in studying the area immediately around the yard throat and out towards the down home signal location.  This area will also become a scenery break on the layout and the low timber trestles/bridges that carry the line over the Kiama Creek in two locations were also of interest.  Time has certainly taken it's toll on both structures but all dimensions were recorded as well as the construction methods and these two structures that flank the Harley Road level crossing will certainly be a focal point on the layout.

Looking back (up direction) towards Goulburn...
The Down Home signal can just be seen in the depths of the cutting as viewed
from Harley Road. 

Looking in the up direction with the yard entrance behind me.
Harley Road level crossing can be seen.

More to follow!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Long Time Between Drinks...

It has been some time since my last post and plenty has happened in the intervening period...

Firstly, the layout once known as Fish River has been permanently closed with all track being removed and once the river scene and bridges have been "detonated", as in true NSWGR style...little will remain of this location for rail historians to trace in years to come...

As readers will no doubt be aware, I have been at "loggerheads" with my modelling for some time and with much soul searching over that time, have arrived at what I think has been the underlying problem.  Simply put, I think I "bit off more than I could chew" with the original layout in terms of size.  With an area of 12m x 3.5m to play with and a fairly full "other" life...I could never anticipate a time when the originally planned layout would ever reach a state of completion that would satisfy me.  While I am certainly a disciple of the "it's the enjoyment of the journey... not the end" logic...I could not see it working with the present project.

I think a secondary issue may well have been the decision to model a "freelance" location rather than a prototype location that I could identify with, either extinct or still in existence.  Either way I was not really progressing on any front and as much as I knew that model railways would always be a part of my life, I needed to find a happy place rather than the regular pilgrimages to the shed, that ended in frustration some 5 minutes after arrival and a swift return to the house.

I had examined the possibility of  modelling the Crookwell Line ( a line that branched from Goulburn NSW) not long after moving down here in 2002 but at that time I had visions of a "vast empire" and the ability of  continuous that idea was shelved very early in the piece.  With my present "malaise" washing around in my head and during a regular visit to Crookwell, late last year, the idea once again surfaced and a firm decision to go ahead was made over the winter months.  It is ironic that the Australian Model Railway Magazine had an article in the latest magazine regarding Crookwell as a modelling proposition.

The attractions of such a line in model form, are many...but for me the following facts were to push it across the line.  It is on my doorstep with the line leaving Goulburn and with Crookwell ( the terminus) being only 40km by road from home, it is easily identifiable.  The yard and station environs at Crookwell are relatively intact. There is a goodly amount of research material locally available, making modelling decisions an easier proposition.  The loco requirements are fairly small in both numbers and classes that traversed the line with rolling stock also falling into a comparatively narrow type of traffic.

I have decided to model the terminus of Crookwell and at least one or two intermediate stations. Maybe "Roslyn" will come into play and depending on the period chosen will also allow the junction of the Taralga line to be either modelled as open...or after closure with the earthworks still evident. 

The basic infrastructure requirements for Crookwell station and yard are: A5 station building ( presently under construction) a C4 lamp room and toilet at the end of the platform, a G3 goods shed (under construction), a 5 ton overhead crane, 50' or 60' Sellers turntable, depending on the era modelled and I will be utilising a recently purchased Anton's 60' Sellers unit and an elevated water tank and stand (already have)  A small cattle and separate sheep loading platform and loading bank just about exhausts the requirements.

All DCC equipment, panels, wiring and Cobalt point motors can be recycled and it is more than likely I will introduce signalling and interlocking due to the minimal numbers the new layout should end up being fairly "finance neutral" which is also an attractive point in the equation.

In relation to the layout "fit", the proposed Crookwell Branch will only require 3 walls of the larger layout room and allow the duck under to be permanently removed and this also is a major benefit as my back stacks on the years.

I guess as we all get older, our wants and expectations from the hobby change and in this decision, I anticipate that every segment of the hobby I enjoy will be available in manageable and equal proportions with an achievable personal outcome being the end result.  I certainly don't harbour any regrets with my past decisions as all I know is that my hunger has returned to a level that I have not experienced for years, and even my blogging should now have a purpose...

I have included some photos of progress on the new venture...

The last remnants of the existing layout...sadly will succumb to the NSWGR wrecking crew...


Proposed location of the Crookwell terminus pretty much ready for tracklaying to commence.

Crookwell Station under construction...all laser cut basswood and acrylic base.
All components have been drawn for the next round of lasering, with the roof assembly to come next


60' Sellers Turntable which only needs some detail and weathering before being installed...