A few quick snaps …

Not much to report in terms of progress on the Border District, and hard to believe that August is less than a week away. I came across a couple of images that I somehow missed including in the most recent post.

The first image below is another angle of the recently completed scenery between the SAR yard (Naracoorte/Mt Gambier/Wolseley and points west) and Tatiara Downs. 702 can be seen heading down the hill on a westbound goods.

702 Hourigan's Hill

As well as completing all the labelling for the ABLO car card system, I also commenced labels for the signal panels throughout the layout. Below is one example, at the VR station of Nankiva. Each panel replicates the aspect on the signal shown for which the route is being set (e.g. departing the main will get a green over red, departing the loop will get a red over green). Out of focus and in the distance, the signal aspect can also be seen – depart main, which means the route is clear travel to Border Junction.

Nankiva Signal Panel

To the right on this panel are the switches and LEDs for the shunting signals – several friends have suggested that these would be better aligned with the signals on the panel and I think I am starting to agree. On some panels, turnout control is also incorporated – not at Nankiva though, where all points are still thrown by the dowel/piano wire method.


“Base” scenery … nearly there!

The recent school holidays afforded me the chance for a goodly amount of time towards all things railway modelling. There were two main goals – complete the “base” scenery on the Border District and ensure the ABLO style car card system was as operational as possible – including boxes, labelling, etc. I’m scoring myself 1.5 out of 2 for these goals – car cards are good to go, but not all base scenery was completed as the job proved even bigger than I had anticipated (not helped by having put the job off for far too long as well!).

So, time for some pictures of progress. Firstly, below we can see 702 arriving at Tatiara Downs, having just blasted upgrade and out of the tunnel under “Hourigan’s Hill”. This is the area of most significant scenic progress of late – compare this shot to the “blue hills” from a previous post! There is still a fairly large amount of work still to be done here – rock face (in the very background) ground cover, grasses, a few more trees, paint the track and sleepers, ballast …


Below is a second, slightly different view of the “base” scenery progress in this area – “Hourigan’s Hill” from another viewpoint – across the Victorian track. The Z van is trailing the westbound VR roadside goods, which is about to arrive at Nankiva. The “Bull Mallee” in the background is the work of Murray Bridge Trees and Terrain – I think it is possibly my favourite variety of Wimmera gum.


Another area to benefit from the completion of “base” scenery was Tatiara Downs – or more specifically, the industrial area to the east of the yard. This area is heavily influenced by Mt Gambier and Naracoorte and contains no less than 6 possible “destinations” for goods wagons … oil unloading, pole unloading, super(phosphate) unloading, a freight forwarding company (Charlicks?), an engineering company (Thompsons – left over from Bordertown on the previous Border District!) and a district farmers’ cooperative. Below, VR and SAR power go about shunting – the Y is on the “lead” to the industrial area.


I have long been a fan of the ABLO car card system to enhance operations – well in theory at least. My first actual, practical experience of it only came fairly recently, when operating on Geoff’s “Border Downs Railway” back in September 2011. Needless to say, I ordered car cards and waybills not long after that! Car card boxes for the Border District had been completed for some time, but lacked labelling – I was intent on using Letraset – clearly a throwback to my architecture days. Letraset doesn’t seem to exist anymore (at least, not like it once did), but a friend suggested I use a labelmaker. I’m fairly impressed with the results – thanks for the suggestion Mark! Below is  a view of the standard ABLO four compartment box structure in place at Jameston – with “set out”, “hold”, “pick up” and a spare compartment.


A similar box structure has been employed at the staging/storage sidings for each “off stage” train’s car cards. A fairly ordinary snap of this is shown below, along with the yard above being a little more empty than usual.


As well as progressing both scenery and operations, some time was spent simply running trains. While I’m growing more and more satisfied with firmly planting the Border District in 1976, below is an image of “what might be” … a late 1950s/early 1960s period shift (occasionally) for the Border District! Big Mikado 730 is preparing to depart Tatiara Downs with a goods for Naracoorte, made up of both VR and SAR loading.


And at the other end of the “why you shouldn’t specify a time period” spectrum … below we see C508 (a 1978 arrival) at the head of a westbound interstate goods in the loop at Nankiva, being overtaken by X44 at the head of the Melbourne to Mt Gambier Jet. For a few more pics, head to my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/border_district/


Travelling north …

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of travelling south (literally) to travel north (figuratively … at least from the Border District’s locale of Victoria/South Australia!) and experience an operating session on Craig Mackie’s NSWR “Cassino” layout. I’ve known Craig since way back when the Logan club was known as the Beenleigh club (such heady days – trying to run my VR “E” cars on a NSW layout …) and have admired his grand plan from the distance of his blog for some time.

The session gave me a chance to meet several other bloggers – Brendan, Paul, Greg – what a small world the internet has given us. Thanks to PK for the “lend” of a throttle for the session, and to Peter for sharing thoughts on the Flinders Ranges. It was also great to catch up with Darren Lee – both Craig and Darren would have to be two of the nicest guys modelling NSW I know. Hang on, how many other NSW modellers do I actually know? Hmmm …

Craig’s plan, and his layout, is BIG! I thought I had trouble with four stations on the Border District … sorry Craig, I am still trying to work out how many stations and locations are on Cassino … thirty-something?! Craig’s layout certainly allows you to feel like you are running a train from one place to another – with some distance in between. Unfortunately, this is one of the short comings of my Border District.

I’m not sure about all those brown NSW locos though – give me blue and gold or maroon and silver any day. It was nice, however, that I fluked the #12 Pick Up goods out of Murwillumbah with a blue “Interail” 421 on the front – as close to VR as I was going to get! However, shunting Old Cassino was too much of a challenge … seriously, what was that ballast train doing there?!

Lastly, a big thanks to Keith for getting me to and from “Cassino” in one piece and, as always, providing great company.