Shunting #185 …

185 arrived

Last week’s post ended with the arrival of SAR train number 185, the down “Paper” goods, at Jameston (as seen above). #185 brings loaded soda ash, loaded pulp paper and empty vans for loading with paper products to the Apcel Paper Mill. As well as shunting these three commodities, the train engine (Goodwin Alco 956) and driver are required to make up SAR train number 186 – the return (up) “Paper” goods to Adelaide. This train conveys loaded paper products in vans and empty open wagons (that bring in soda ash and pulp paper).

Shunting at Jameston can be somewhat of a challenge – there is a simple three road yard and industries located at both ends of the station, as well as a small loco depot. Train numbers 185 and 186 look to be fairly easy shunts, as only one industry, the Apcel paper Mill, is “worked”. Of course, there are plenty of “ways” to shunt though, so feel free to follow along as one such solution is offered. First move is to collect those empty open wagons for #186, making room to position the loads from 1#85. Leaving #185 in Road 2, loco 956 heads to the soda ash siding is first (below):

Empty soda ash

Having collected two empty OBf wagons, 956 then moves to the pulp paper unloading siding to collect two empty bogie opens (below):

Empty pulp paper

Empty wagons are always positioned at the rear of the train, so 956 can now commence forming train number 186. The four empty wagons are pulled clear of both the mill and train number 185 (below):

Empty shunt

Having used the eastern headshunt, 956 pushes the empty wagons down Road 1 in the yard (below):

Empty Road 1

With both the soda ash and pulp paper unloading locations (or “spots”) now clear, 956 can position the loaded wagons from train number 185. First, the four loaded wagons are brought forward from their train as a group (below):

Loads shunt

The loaded wagons are then pushed back into the Apcel Paper Mill. 956 delivers the pulp paper wagons, today two SAR “O” bogie wagon wagon variants, to their “spot” first (below):

Loads pulp paper

956 then positions the two soda ash wagons, both four wheeled SAR OBf opens, at their unloading point before pulling forward to focus on the next task – swapping the empty and loaded vans (below):

Loads soda ash

The next “move” in this shunt involves moving the guard’s van (or “goods brake” in SAR speak) from the end of #185 to the end of #186. Fortunately, the track arrangement at Jameston makes this task a simple one. 956 moves the remaining wagons in #185 (vans and the goods brake) forward, uncoupling the goods brake before the mill crossover (below):

GB positioned

956 can take advantage of the space in the mill sidings and pushes the empty wagons to a temporary location – these empty vans cannot yet be “spotted” as the loaded vans have yet to be removed from the mill (below):

Empty vans moved

With space created, loco 956 can now return to Road 2 and collect the goods brake. The next move will be to attach the goods brake (often abbreviated to “GB”) to the end of the empty open wagons already in Road 1 (below):

Collect GB

This task completed, 956 can draw the four empty wagons and goods brake (the beginnings of train number 186) forward into the eastern headshunt … (below):

GB and empties pulled forward

… before pushing this consist back through the yard and into the Apcel Mill, collecting the loaded paper vans (below):

Push back collect loaded vans

956 and crew have now completed the formation of train number 186. The entire consist is drawn forward out of the mill and into the main yard (below):

186 pulled forward

However, 956 still needs to “spot” the empty vans from #185, currently sitting in a temporary location in the Apcel Mill. To do this, 956 first pushes #186 down the yard (but remaining within yard limits – below):

186 positioned

This task completed, 956 can return to the mill and collect the empty vans from the temporary spot … (below):

Empty vans collected

… before positioning them in their loading spot, recently vacated by the vans pulled out for train number 186 (below):

Empty vans positioned

956 now returns to train number 186 and pulls it back up into the yard, clear of the Road 1 points, so that the loco can run around and attach to the front of the train (below). The work breaking down #185 and making up #186 is nearly done:

Nearly there

If the crew is satisfied with the accommodations of the “B” end (blunt) cab, then simply running around the train via Road 1 can now take place. However, a slightly fussy crew are on hand today, and with time available loco 956 is moved to the turntable at the eastern end of the yard (below):

956 on tunrtable

With the loco turned and the slightly larger and more comfortable offerings of the “A’ end cab available, 956 can now run around her train (below):

956 running around

Reaching the western end of the yard, 956 waits for the points to be reversed (below), allowing the loco to push back onto the train:

956 to push back

956 and crew can now “do the brakes”, ahead of train number 186’s departure to Adelaide. For the driver, doing the brakes will actually be ensuring all wagon cards for all vehicles are in order – these cards having helped orchestrate the shunting moves above. Eighteen wagons in total were involved in breaking up one train and making another in what is just one of the four goods train workings that serve Jameston in a day.

186 to depart

A trip on SAR #185

With the (near) completion of the revised Paper Mill at Jameston, and the end of the Summer holidays here in sight, I thought it might be worth a trip on SAR’s train number 185 – the Adelaide to Jameston “Paper” fast goods. This train conveys loaded soda ash and paper pulp wagons for the Apcel Mill at Jameston, along with empty louvre vans for loading with finished paper products. Below, we see #185 in the capable hands of Goodwin-Alco 956 (in the experimental “bloody nose” paint job – the only 930 class engine to wear the scheme) as it arrives in Road 1 at Tatiara Downs. The loco area, which gets very busy with the interchange of SAR and VR power, can be seen in the right foreground.



Train number 185 is one of the few workings on the Border District that doesn’t have any “work” to do at Tatiara Downs, with all loading handled at Jameston. Several other South Australian and Victorian goods trains start and finish their journeys at Tatiara Downs, the “main” station on the Border District. Below, as 956 brings #185 along Road 1, sister Alco 965 can be seen in Road 2 at the head of SAR train number 312, the Tatiara Downs to Tailem Bend roadside goods. Train #312 has picked up loading from Tatiara Downs, with a good amount of wagons coming from Victorian origins too.



While Tatiara Downs caters for a significant amount of South Australian and Victorian goods transfer, there are also a range of industries that keep both the SAR and VR busy. Below (in the distance, from left to right), the local Farmers’ Co-operative, Top  Brand Fertilisers siding, flour mill and silo lead can all be seen, as 956 receives a “green over red” signal indication and powers #185 out of Tatiara Downs, towards Border Junction.



Border Junction isn’t far from Tatiara Downs – the locations taking inspiration from Mt Gambier and Mt Gambier Junction. Below, 956 gets a chance to (briefly) stretch the legs on the run to Border Junction. The track in the cutting in the foreground is the VR main from Nankiva to Edenhope (VR “staging”) – and in reality is miles away! This is also one of the few areas on the Border DIstrict that has seen some “scenic” treatment. It certainly makes a difference …



Border Junction is the smallest of the four “modelled” locations on the Border District, and also represents where the Jameston branch leaves the mainline (that continues across the Victorian border to Nankiva and all points east). Below, 956 can be seen swinging #185 off the main and past the modest platform at Border Junction. Behind the open wagons is the siding that serves “Southern Aggregates”, Border Junction’s only industry.



Border Junction is built “above and behind” the open staging yard that serves to extend the Border District into both the SAR and VR systems. Below, 956 can be seen descending the Jameston branch, while the mainline to Nankiva continues to rise slightly to the right. The roofs of the “Overland” (the overnight express passenger train connecting Melboure and Adelaide) passenger carriages can be seen in the right foreground, occupying Road 1 of the staging yard. The “Overland” features in each of the Border District’s operating sessions.



Jameston takes its inspiration from Millicent, Snuggery and Kingston, all in South Australia’s South East. The name was chosen for two reasons: (1) elements of the actual trackplan at Jamestown in South Australia’s north were used here (interestingly, Jamestown was only ever narrow or standard gauge, never broad gauge), and (2) my former Border District layout was centred around Serviceton, which was named after James Service. Below, 956 slows #185 across a level crossing and past the Apcel Paper Mill – with two empty open wagons waiting for collection. The “high” ground to the left serves the turntable roads for the loco depot at Tatiara Downs.



Jameston is served by four goods trains and three passenger services a day, Monday to Saturday. Below, 956 has nearly reached the end of its journey as it brings #185 into Road 2.  The Apcel Paper Mill contributes to more than a third of all loadings in and out of Jameston and can be seen in the right background, now served by four tracks with capacity for more than twenty bogie wagons. The left background sees the broad gauge-narrow gauge transfer area.



However, 956’s work is only just beginning – shunting off loaded open wagons and empty louvre vans, as well as collecting loaded vans and empty open wagons. Shunting here is supposed to emulate the “Millicent” and “Snuggery” Goods trains in SA’s South East, circa 1970s. 956 will soon break down #185 and make up #186 – the return “Paper” fast goods to Adelaide. While this is a “fun” job, it also has its challenges and so is probably a good topic for another post …

Apcel Mill answers?

With thanks to those friends who gave input via comments and email, a possible revised Apcel Mill that allows for plenty of track but also some structure/s appears to be not too far away. Below is an image of the revisions, as viewed from outside Jameston station (well, if hovering above the station in a helicopter, perhaps …):

Revised Mill from track


As I detailed in my reply to Mark’s comment, the solution was staring me in the face all the time – simply shorten the back/furthest road and make the parallel “open wagon” road became a “van” road. These two roads could then disappear into a large shed, giving the hint of the structure/mill continuing well beyond what is modelled. Compare the image below to those from the previous post:

Revised Mill closeup


The soda ash unloading remains on the back road (which, with the revisions give greater logic for the two diverging points at the Mill’s entry). The question now … what to use the remainder of this road for? More van loading, another open wagon unloading site (given one was lost by the changes to accommodate a structure), or perhaps a new traffic source, such as flyash? The revised layout with the soda ash siding in the right foreground can be seen below:

Revised Mill Soda Ash


The revised Apcel Mill layout easily accommodates 10 bogie vans in the “mocked up” images – equal to 24 four wheelers, as was the case in the “proposed” Mill from the previous post. The only “loss” is of 1 bogie open wagon “spot” – but there is still plenty of space on the two furthest roads, as can be seen in the above image. Below, the ability to include structure that will say “Mill” is clearly evident:

Revised Mill shed

As the images above and below show, two of the four roads in the Mill “disappear” into the structure (heavily mocked up at present!) that suggest many, many more vans might be lurking inside! The “pruning” of the back road also provides for some interesting possibilities in terms of buildings, etc.:

Revised Mill vans


I’m fairly certain the points and tracks from both this revision and the original proposal will happen – keen observers will note that the trackage is the same.  I still welcome comments and input – those received so far have helped the Mill to get to where it is now! Much appreciated everyone – now it is time to buy some more track …

Apcel Mill questions …

The addition of the Apcel Paper Mill at Jameston (based on the Apcel and Cellulose mills at Snuggery) introduced a whole range of operating possibilities to the Border District … and ensured Jameston’s transition towards a “Millicent” style location was cemented. In my initial planning, Jameston was to have a wheat silo and be a little more “Murraylands” like. However, given there are already two silos elsewhere on the layout, the desire for a different traffic source was pursued. The silo road then became a mill siding, which then grew to two tracks … as can be seen below (tracks furthest to the right):

Paper Mill from track

As I researched more about the actual mills at Snuggery though, I realised my simple two sidings at Jameston were probably not nearly enough … these were BUSY places in the 1970s! Both locations had 4 or more LONG tracks, and there was waste paper and pulp paper as inward products, toilet rolls and finished paper outwards – to both Adelaide AND Melbourne. Have a look at the image below – there are 4 bogie wagons (=8 four wheelers) worth of open wagons and 7 bogie vans for paper (=17 four wheelers) in the two sidings. This is less than what I’d like and the place is already “chock-a-block”:

Paper Mill overview

There really isn’t another location anywhere on the layout that would be suitable for the Paper Mill. So I started to play around with a few point templates and pieces of spare track to see what else could be added to the mill area to enhance capacity and increase operations potential. As always, good friend and fellow VR modeller Mark provided some “why not like this” input – much appreciated! Below is the image of the results thus far … the revised “Apcel Paper Mill” with some modifications, replicating the image above for comparison:

Proposed Mill overview

Two more tracks (and two more points) provide more than double the existing capacity of the mill’s sidings. The first positive gained – a small soda ash unloading facility could be provided for on one of the new tracks (see image below) – making for a nice little “scene” and bringing in an additional traffic – in those great looking OBfs, no less:

Proposed Mill Soda Ash

Next positive – the ability to add a track that wasn’t parallel to the others. In the triangular area between the two tracks, I’d see stacks of cardboard and waste paper and some small buildings associated with the mill – another great scene. This arrangement could also see the “open wagons” traffic split into two – pulp paper on one road (closest to camera – with the SAR SGMX in yellow and OX in grey) and waste paper on the other (furthest – with the SAR SGX and VR ELX). See below:

Proposed Mill waste paper

The third positive – more than doubling the amount of track space for vans. This is possibly the biggest factor – with WVXs, BLXs, VLXs and M vans all coming (soon), and plenty of vans already on the roster – there cannot (I repeat, CANNOT) be too much track for vans! Consider the image below, with 10 bogie vans (=24 four wheelers) stowed across two tracks – with space for more:

Proposed Mill closeup

With these three positives, you might wonder why the title of this blog post? Well, there are negatives too (of course) …

Negative 1 – the original mill set-out allowed for 10000mm of length and 75mm depth from track to backscene for a low relief structure/s, but the new arrangement means almost all this 75mm has been taken (the 1000mm length is still there!). How then to add buildings to this scene now … in complete low relief? Or do I simply “hide” the two van tracks inside a big shed? This would make shunting a REAL challenge …

Negative 2 – I’d like “space” between tracks for stacks of paper and loading/unloading – not possible with the current proposed arrangement. Should I remove the “middle” road from the above image – doing away with storage for 6+ bogie vans? Or keep it in and have it as a road for storing empty vans on, perhaps putting a roof over the furthest track only, trying to tie it in to the mill?

I’ve got no issue with the amount of track possibly at the mill in the revised proposal – this is necessary when operations are the aim of the game. I also think that the open wagon area and soda ash area would give plenty of context to the model. Feel free to share your thoughts via a comment as at this stage, as I’m not rushing out to buy two more points and a bit more flextrack … yet!