Can’t see the forest for the trees …

Formalities first … I have managed to update my blog before the end of the month (five days before, no less). I’m seeing this as an achievement … some might suggest my expectations aren’t high enough!

I commented to a friend just recently that significant layout progress and/or modelling seems to happen four times a year – aligned with school holidays.¬†As said holidays are still four weeks away, and my previous post was during the last holidays, there is little new to report. I continue to enjoy having made the change to NCE for DCC. I’ve fiddled a little more with my SAR weatherboard station, but not really that much. I’ve fixed (or am attempting to) a few issues with the signalling. My two sound-equipped locos seem to do the most work (surprise?!), but my Trainorama S has developed the same “clunking” that several of the 930s have … oh dear. Below, S315 can be seen (and heard) working hard as it brings the thrice-weekly westbound “Adelaide Daylight” upgrade into Nankiva.

S315 on the Adelaide Daylight

My Powerline T has seen a new lease of life – several modelling friends have, over several years, attempted to help me “fix” this loco … to say its running qualities were ordinary would be an understatement. There have been limited degrees of success, one step forward, two steps back, etc. However, T357 (with a new Mashima motor and LokPilot decoder) now, at last, seems to operate satisfactorily. Below, T357 can be seen shunting at Tatiara Downs, having arrived with a small goods. X45’s nose is also visible as it prepares to depart east on a Jet.

T357 shunts at Tatiara Downs 1

The biggest accomplishment since the last post though is the addition of some “greening” … trees! The good folk at “Murray Bridge Trees and Terrain” have been an absolute pleasure to deal with, and have assisted in helping to get that “South East SA / Western Victoria” look. I was first taken by their trees as seen on Peter Knife’s “Minnipa” layout. Below, 956 in the short lived 1976 livery arrives at Jameston on a roadside goods.

956 arrives at Jameston

Most of the trees have been “planted” at Jameston … and the change is quite dramatic. I really need to get myself into gear and paint the track, ballast and add basic ground cover here – I have the Noch Grassmaster sitting in a box, having waited nearly a year to be used. Below, RX207 can been sitting at Jameston, having just come of the turntable. The tree behind 207’s tender is one of two “large” trees received from MBT&T.

RX207 at Jameston

I hope that, before the next holidays, I will be able to progress the largest “incomplete” scenic area by enclosing the tunnels under what is to become known as “Hourigan’s Hill”. An overview of this area can be seen in the background below – apologies for the poor lighting. Evident in this image also is the “Chux” method of providing landform – cloth strips soaked in a PVA/water mix.

965 rolls through the blue hills