Saturday, April 23, 2022

East Guildford Exhibition Layout Update 05/22

Hey hey, Since the last update, East Guildford has now progressed to the stage that we can have regular running sessions (including running nights held on the 4th Friday of the month) which we have done in the last two months with much success. Track work has been completed to make the full loop with the use of Simon Mead's fiddle yard (thank you Simon).

Trevor Burke and Greg Aitken have been continuing to toil away at scenery details while Neil Blinco continues to iron out any issues with track work. Neil cast up extra details such as the station chimney's, picket fences and telegraph poles and the scales were 3D printed by Christopher Maloney for the station building which look fantastic. The station fencing was completed by Doug Firth whilst the other rail side fencing was completed by Greg Aitken. Neil has also modified a set of railway crossing lights for East Street which include a flashing unit for realistic effect. The timber yard continues to grow with a sawmill built by Ray Cooper as well as detail items such as timber stacks by Doug Firth and Bill Gray.

As you can see from the following photos, plenty of testing has been done with a large variety of locomotives and wagons to ensure quality and iron out any potential problems before the layout goes on public display. Sadly the AMRA WA Annual exhibition has been cancelled for 2022 so the layout will not be displayed this year, however this has given the team more time to work on the finer details to ensure the debut is spectacular.

(All images by the author unless captioned).

Neil Blinco's Railwest Models PM710 and PMR735 double head a train to Perth through East Guildford.

Neil Blinco's Railwest Models PM710 and PMR735 double head a lengthy train to Perth through East Guildford Station.

Alison Kelly's Marbelup Models DB1588 hauls a ballast across East Street level crossing.

Alison Kelly's Marbelup Models DB1588 shunts it's ballast train into the sidings at East Guildford.

Neil Blinco's Westrail Models F44 leads a timber and sleeper train through East Guildford headed for Midland.

East Street level crossing complete with flashing lights.

East Guildford looking back towards the East Street level crossing.

The completed end curves for the layout and Simon Mead's fiddle yard. Note track being readied to be laid using the code 100 flex track to the right of scene.

Joins between the baseboards prior to ballasting.

One of the many residences on the layout cut on an angle in a low relief to fit the space provided. Model built by Neil Blinco.

Alison Kelly's Marbelup Models DB1588 hauls a ballast train through East Guildford station.

Neil Blinco's scratch-built N201 hauls a suburban set of coaches past the timber yard towards East Guildford station. The saw mill in the background was built by Ray Cooper whilst the timber stacks have been a combination of work by Doug Firth and Bill Gray.

Paul Tranter's X Class Models ADK/ADB set arrives at East Guildford station on a suburban run to Perth.

The finer details is what sets off a scene as seen here with the scales, chimney and signal cabin built into the station building by Greg Aitken and Neil Blinco.

Neil Blinco's Westland Models DM585 hauls another suburban set towards Perth at East Guildford station.

Stuart Mackay's scratch-built ASA steam railcar with AD coach attached arrives at East Guildford Station. (Image courtesy of Neil Blinco).

Alison Kelly's Railwest Models PM (yet to be numbered) rolls through East Guildford light engine towards Perth.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

East Guildford Exhibition Layout Update 04/22

Hey hey, progress on East Guildford is advancing rapidly to ready the layout for exhibition at the AMRA WA Annual Model Railway exhibition to be held on the June long weekend which will be the 4th, 5th, and 6th of June, 2022.

On Monday the 9th of January 2022, the layout was repositioned to allow the returns and yard to be added with help and thanks to members of the S scale SIG who attended the meeting.

A special thanks goes to Lynton Englund and Neil Blinco for their beautiful work on the old station masters house which is on an angle next to the road level crossing at the Midland end of the layout. The other scenery is thanks to Trevor Bourke and wiring is done by Greg Aitken.

(All images by the author unless captioned).

Looking down the platforms towards Perth.

Looking up the platforms towards Midland.

Looking back at the station master's house.

Railway level crossing in view.

A beautiful low relief house built by Neil Blinco and sceniced by Trevor Bourke.

Alison Kelly's Marbelup Models DB1588 runs light engine back to Forrestfield through East Guildford.

I apologise for the blur, I think that was Alison Kelly's arm. (Image courtesy of Bill Gray)

The S scale SIG members lend a hand repositioning the layout. (Image courtesy of Bill Gray)

The returns added and yard partly installed. (Image courtesy of Neil Blinco)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Westrail P class locomotive in Sn3.5

Hey hey, long time no post? This is just a quick update to show off the progress on Dave Luketic's Westrail P class Locomotives in S scale. As previously described these models will feature brass bodies on a cast urethane chassis with 5 pole motors (similar to those used in Auscision and SDS/Austrains locomotives) and bogies made locally to suit. Some details are yet to be finalised so price is yet to be determined but from the photos below, they do look magnificent. I plan on working on a sound project for these locos with the ESU V5 decoder and vandersound speakers but that will also be TBA. 

So far 4 bodies have been produced awaiting chassis in their original Westrail orange livery but more will be available later and in different liveries. One has already been reserved so please contact Dave if you are interested in getting your hands on one of these beauties.

All photos courtesy of Dave Luketic.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

A new layout - Lower South West: Part 3

 With the baseboards out of the way it was time to turn to the track work - or so I thought! Originally I decided that bridges / rivers / etc were all too hard and I'd just have a flat layout. On reflection I realised a layout is much more interesting with scenic features (see Adrian Gunzburg's wonderful bridge on his South West layout) so I cut into the established baseboards and put two rivers in. The first is not prototypical, as it assumes a river just north of Wonnerup that both main and branchlines have to cross. The other is a little more prototypical, in that it covers the estuary bridge that existed just before Busselton yard, although in this case it's on a slight curve due to space constraints. But more on the bridges latter...

The track is all Micro Engineering 0n30 sourced from the US. Recently the company was put up for sale - one hopes that someone takes it on. I decided on Code 83 as it's a little more forgiving than Code 70. Again, in hindsight, it would have been good to do the Nannup branch in Code 70 however the 4 month wait time for delivery prevented a change. So the whole layout is in Code 83. The sleepers have been cut down by 2mm on each end to get the right length for WAGR track, a slow task made slightly easier with a jig. Having done it I'm glad, as the track looks right now. After cutting all the web of the rail was sprayed with Tamiya Red Brown, then the whole lot sprayed with a mix of Tamiya Black and Red Brown. Following painting each length had a red and white dropper soldered to the base ready for installation.


So that the track, now the points! I've long harbored a desire to build my own points. After seeing those on Richard Stallard's Marbellup and Adrian's South West Main I was no longer satisfied with Peco or other commercial point work. For years I'd looked at the wonderful FastTrack jigs, but was deterred by the cost. With some spare money and a deep breath I placed an order for a #5 and #6 jig, with all the tools, rail, sleepers, etc needed to make 30+ points. Not a cheap exercise at around $1,000, but when you look at the per unit cost it didn't work out to be much more, and the jigs will last a lifetime. I must say - the service was excellent. They answered all my questions quickly, and once packaged only took a couple to weeks to arrive from the States. I won't go into great detail on point construction here (that's for an article in ASnM) but I will say the jigs and tools are fantastic! Worth every cent, made building points very easy, and they all turned out beautifully. 

Th points were prime coated then given the same treatment as the track. Overall I'm thrilled with how they've turned out. 

The track has been laid on 3mm cork on the mainlines and straight on the baseboards in the yards, to give the appearance of a slight height difference that was common on WAGR tracks. So far the approach has worked well. The below photo of Nannup yard shows the mainline with cork and the rest without. 

Until next time!! Cheers, Cris

Sunday, October 3, 2021

A new layout - Lower South West: Part 2

 Hi everyone,

After deciding on what to build it was time to start doing something! The first decision was whether to make the layout transportable or fixed, as this drives the baseboard design. Having seen the posts regarding East Guildford (under construction by AMRA) I thought I'd give the aluminum frame a go, with the idea that I could disassemble and move the layout if needed. 

What a disaster!

The idea was to use 25mm joiners from Bunnings, 25mm square aluminum tube, and 12mm ply for the top. After 20 lengths of tube and all the joiners arrived I started cutting things up. The only problem was the joiners - they were terrible! Whilst marketed for use with 1.6mm thick 25mm tube the joiners were made of very hard plastic and completely unforgiving. The only way I could get them in was to file all 4 faces down 1 -1.5 mm - a very time consuming task. Even then significant force was required to get them to sit in properly, resulting in several broken joiners and split tubes (yes - the plastic was that hard) that then couldn't be extracted from the tube. Argh!!!! 

Metalwork has never been my strong suit, so by this stage I was totally fed up with the process. After some more thinking and reassessment I decided to take a completely different tack. The tube went back to the supplier and Bunnings kindly reimbursed me for all the joiners I bought. 

Given the chances of the layout being moved in the next 5+ years is highly unlikely I changed to a fixed layout, built in a similar manner to house framing. This method was used by a friend of mine in NSW very successfully so I decided to go that way myself. After waiting a month or so to get the timber (serious shortage of structural timber in Australia at the moment) I started the build. Basically I made 10 frames that were then assembled in my garage, nailed together and to the floor. Then cross pieces were added to hold the baseboards and the ply laid on top. It was all a bit flimsy at first, but once everything was nailed together it became very strong. In time I will add cross pieces coming out off the top of the frames to hold lighting and a headboard. Nothing is attached to the walls - in that way it's all free standing. 

I'm very happy with how it's come together. Next month I'll cover the track laying, including some notes around the handmade points. 

Cheers, Cris

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Another South West Layout

  Hi all, following on from Cris' recent post, I thought I'd put up a first post about what I'm working on.. 

A bit of background, alot of time in my earlier years was spent riding around on HVR tours either on the train, or in the support vehicle which used to carry the steps for the passengers to have easier access to the train. As such, a great chunk of this time was on Dwellingup trips, as well as various other locations, mostly on the South West Mainline. 

My first introduction to S scale was the sight of the combined S scale layout of Serpentine and Swanview at the claremont showgrounds as a kid. I resolved even then that at some stage down the track (parden the pun) I would build my own layout with the intention of exhibiting it, if only once. Fast forward 30 odd years and after a few false starts, I'm finally making some slow progress. 

So, onto the layout then.. overall size is 5 x 1.8m with intent of expansion to 8x1.8 at exhibition (more on that later). Track plan is unashamedly "based on" Dwellingup, but I have taken a few liberties. The aim is to create something that captures the feel and the memories of my trips "up the hill", but with some modellers license invoked to give some freedom as to train ops. Like Cris, bluemetal ballast will be used, rather than gravel, under the premice that the line was retained for both heritage use & access to Boddington mine site and the GSR wheat growing areas. Flight of fancy yes, but always remember rule #1, it's my model railway hahaha. This also means therefore my chosen modelling era is basically anything post 1985, ie the things i have seen, experienced and have memories of.

Track is all Micro Engineering Code 83 with shortened sleepers, and Peco code 83 points. 

Minimum mainline Radius is 700mm on the return loops at each end.  

So far track laying is essentially complete on 3 modules, with another three to go. Module frames are all aluminum tube framed, with plywood tops and mdf girder panels for added stiffness. Currently they rest on Ikea Bookcases, but will all be lifted to approx 1200mm rail height in due course. 

View of the Station Modules

So, there it is.. Progress is slow as free time is thin on the ground but I'd like to see trains run early next year if possible, we shall see. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A new layout - Lower South West: Part 1

 Hi everyone,

As many of you know I have been living on the East Coast for many years, however I have harbored the desire to build a Western Australian layout one day. Many plans have been draw up, many ideas thrown around. The layout went from a recreation of the Wagin - Lake Grace - Newdegate branch to something much more manageable - the Lower South West. 

Any layout I build has to have a junction. Junctions add so much to a layout, both in design and operation. It give you the opportunity to have a main line and branch line, have different classes of locomotive for heavy and light lines, shunting, a loco depot, etc etc. WA had many junctions, from major (Midland, Northam, Narrogin) to minor (Amery, Goomalling, Yillimining). After much though I picked Wonnerup in the states South West. This gave me the opportunity to model Busselton (an interesting place) and the timber branch to Nannup. After many attempts the final plan came together as below. 

This layout fits nicely into my 6m x 6m garage (the cars now live outside) with enough room for a table tennis table. Wonnerup is basically as it was in the early 80s, without the compound / double slip point. I only had room for the Busselton town yard unfortunately, and one track had to go, however the general feel of the place stays the same. With Nannup the yard is right, but the line to the timber mill runs off to the side of the yard rather than the end, again due to space. 

I've decided to set the layout in the mid 1980's - with a little modellers license. The mainline has been upgraded to take 16t locos in the assumption of more mineral sands traffic and the Australind beginning to run through to Busselton. So the main will be metal ballast, but the branch will remain 11t axle load, gravel ballast. This gives me great scope to run my DA and AB locos on the main, and the X and Y class locos on the branch. So lots of loco swaps, shunting and mixed running - everything I like in a layout.

I plan to update this blog as I go, although construction is a bit stop start depending on work, uni studies and volunteer commitments. However I will post next month on the disastrous start to the construction and the new methods I used to build the baseboards. I hope to also cover the building of the points - all have been handmade using the FastTracks jigs (which are fantastic and cannot be rated highly enough). 

Cheers, Cris