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 running...so 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 required...so 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...|