Based on the now, long gone, Branch Line from Campbelltown to Camden, off the Main Southern Line South of Sydney.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

To build what first.

One of my most difficult, or not so difficult, things I will have to do on this layout, is to build without plans and dimensions, therefore I am building it based on, and not modelled on the line. I decided to tackle the Camden Goods Shed first, being a straight forward building. I thought it would not be to bad from my way of thinking.
It had an awning over the track, and the first thing I had to do was to take a measurement for the rolling stock clearance, both height and width, so they would fit under the awning. This then allowed me to get a height and width for the Goods Shed building. Similar to the length of the shed. A "End Platform Car" (FO, CCA) was close to the same length. All these measurements had to appear in proportion to each other as per the photos, and objects around it. I also understand that this shed was not built to a G1, G2 or any other type shed, we could assume it was a "one off" dimension wise. I only say this looking at it's surroundings.
Camden Goods Shed.
So, with these factors in mind, I will build similar to original as possible.
Something I didn't mention before, is that I have kept all of Camden and Campbelltown on a module of their own. This way, if the modules are separated, there will be only one track to reconnect. The Dairy at Camden is on the adjoining module to Camden, and therefore will require a scenery build up over the module join, to give access from the street for the man with the horse and cart to get your moo juice (just going back 60 years, dreaming of course). The Dairy I will cover in a future Blog.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

What if there was no structures.

I often thought of a layout with just grassed fields and bare of buildings. I can only remember seeing one layout in this matter, and that was "Arid Australia" some time ago. For memory, it came from Western Australia just for an exhibition.
When I drive along some of our highways, I sometimes see a railway line following the road, or the other way round, and think, maybe this could be for my next layout !!
But it never eventuates. We always include something into our layouts in the form of a residential or industrial area of some kind, and claim the line was there to serve that purpose. Even without any structures, the line is there so that freight can be transferred from one State or Town, to another, economically. When I was back in the working class, ships berthed in Sydney and their Interstate cargo was transferred by rail, this was to save the Shipping Company berthing fees and time spent sailing between Ports. In those days it was cheaper to transfer the freight this way, and probably still is today.
This layout being based on the "Camden Line", has a bit of both. Between Campbelltown and Narellan there were three small station halts, being, Maryfields, Kenny Hill and Curran's Hill and between Narellan and Camden three more being, Graham's Hill, Kirkham and Elderslie, which is the one I have included on this layout. This covered the passenger services, and the Milk and Coal being the freight.  
Elderslie Station.
So, with all that jargon over, I  guess my attention should now revert to doing some "scenery and structures".

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Modules complete.

With the modules completed and setup, I have now done the track laying for the whole of the Branch Line.
Module setup.
As I mentioned previously, there are many changes I have had to except, as  well as  trying to keep it a representation of the Line.
Campbelltown on the left, Camden on the right.
Narellan is across the back wall.
The cutout further down on the right is the Napean River.
Before installing the points I have removed the jumper connection under the point and inserted a slide switch which collects the power from the main rail and delivers it to the frog, which in turn feeds back to the switch rail. This now makes both switch rails alive instead of relying on the switch rail contact to the stock rail. 
Bead attached to the push pull brass wire
 from the outside edge of the module

Slide switch under the layout for the point operation.
A soft brass wire is used in styrene tube to operate the point switch rail. 
Operating the points manually, allows me to follow the train around the layout and set the points as I go. Camden and Narellan only had ground frames, and Campbelltown was the only station with a signal box.
As a retired "Railway Signalman", it gives me some "realism" to the operation of the layout, as it was in those days. I guess I can play the part of Engine Driver, Guard and Station Master, all in one operation. Yes it pays to be multi skilled in this hobby.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Plans into reality.

Having concluded as to what I wanted on this layout, I set about purchasing the timber, and brackets required to support the five modules I reckon would suffice.
My main feature is "Camden to Narellan Level Crossing" (the Old Hume Highway), then "Bow Bowing Creek to Campbelltown". 
The module construction consists of 75mm x 25mm maple frames and 5/16" Ply on top. I said I would not use ply again, as it give off a drumming sound, but the weight factor came into it, and so I decided to go with the noise.  Another factor is, I need a lot of flat surface for scenery, and it would not lend itself to open frame. I will be the only one who will have to put up with the noise anyway. I may be able to kill some of the drumming sound by gluing 50mm x 20mm timber cross braces or polystyrene under the ply where possible.
All things considered, it helps you change your way of thinking.

The wall brackets and module timbers.
The fixing of the brackets to the wall was no problem, as this purposely designed room is all steel frame, and hexagon head metal self tappers, are the "ants pants".

Train Room.
The roller door was replaced with a 1.8 meter glass sliding door
during the manufacture of the framework by the supplier.
 Cheers for now.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Planning my thoughts.

Having given some thought now, to what I want to include, which for me were the important features on the line, omitting some of the smaller station stops, I set about planning what space I would need, and if it doesn't fit, how to make it fit.
Camden being a rural town, known for it's cattle (why the milk depot) and John Macarthur, with his sheep and wool, Burragorang Valley for it's coal, I needed to consider the sidings required on the layout, not that there were many on this line.
The line past the Dairy Farmers Depot, up into Camden station was a 80° to 90° turn. This meant turning the Camden module around and having it across the entrance to my train room. This immediately became a "no no" for me because I would have to crawl under, or climb over the module.

Entering the train room, Camden will be on the right hand side wall, together with the Milk Depot, the Nepean River Bridge and Elderslie. Campbelltown on the left hand side wall, and Narellan Station and the Coal Loader would be across the back wall, and with a total width of 12'0" and having 27" curves at each end, will leave just enough in the middle for Narellan yard. It would finish up just about right. All this would give me about 45' to 50' of run, end to end.

Elderslie, was on a right hand curve travelling to Camden in reality. I will have it on a left hand curve. My reason for this is again, "space", coming out of Narellan I have a right curve into a "S" bend. To put Elderslie on the right hand bend, puts it at the end of Narellan Yard, or on the Nepean River Bridge.
To see how all this would fit, I laid the whole layout out to full scale, on butchers paper, placed it on the floor in the train room and sized my modules from there. I did my best to keep points away from module joins, and where the modules join, keep the track straight and use rail joiners, as I did with "Kamilaroi". Also owing to a physical condition I have, it means I have to keep it narrow, because I can't stretch to reach the back of the module. 
Another thought I had, is how to keep the modules supported, so that there is nothing on the floor in the way of legs that I can accidently kick my toes on while working or operating the layout. This thought took me to Bunnings where I found just the right brackets for the job. They were not cheap, but if you want them, then you have to pay the price.

My office work bench.
Cheers for now.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The start of a new Layout

This will be my third layout I have built since moving into this area fifteen years ago. My first layout was "Yass" and the "YassTown Tramway". After that layout I built "Kamilaroi" which was "Moree to Boggabri". It was sold when all the point switch blades became glued into a set position. I then decides to have a lay period of doing nothing, but due to uncontrolled boredom, I have now started on Camden.
Camden has my interest for several reasons, one, I have an interest in disused Railway Lines, and the second, I only need one or two trains to operate on this layout.
The layouts of Kamilaroi was, and Camden  is, made up of modules and reduced in size, so that there will be no problems removing and transporting them, should the occasion arise.
Camden will be made up of five modules, and the rails cut at the end of each module, and reconnected with a rail joiner, so that there will be no cutting when the modules are separated. The electrical will have two wires running the length of the layout with droppers to each section or module. The points will be operated manually via a pushrod from the outside edge of the module, and slide switches to control the polarity to the frog.
The layout will use Peco Code 75 Rail and Peco Electrofrog Points.
The layout will be DC operated with a hand held walk around transistorised controller, and this layout will also operate DCC by changing to a MRC Black Box controller.

There is very little information available on the Camden Line, so most of it will be from my pre, teenage memories. A map of the line is shown below.
I will model, hopefully, the whole of Camden Station and Yard, Elderslie Platform, Narellan Station and Coal Loader, and Campbelltown Yard and Branch Platform, omitting the Main Southern Line for obvious reasons.
Map courtesy "Byways of Steam"