There was movement at the station …

… for the word has passed around, that the blog for Border District hadn’t been updated in nearly three months!

The lack of updates reflects the lack of progress, with the planned tackling of ballasting and scenery remaining a far off wish and dream … hopefully to be realised over the Christmas and New Year period. Since the last post, there have been a few additional items of motive power and rollingstock making their way onto the Border District. Below, two such “newer” arrivals can be seen … Victorian Railways’ 280HP Walkers railcar, 91RM and South Australian Railways’ 900 class English Electric diesel electric, 909. The Walkers will work VR passenger Train Number (TN) 36 to Hamilton, while the grubby looking 909 is on “Stonie” duties and will shortly head to Border Junction to shunt some HS hoppers.

956 shunts TN547

In another view, taken at the same time but from a different angle, a better view of the expanse that is Tatiara Downs can be seen. Alco 956 is at the head of SAR goods TN547 and has just shunted loading for Tatiara Downs to the yard. 956 will then couple back to her train, which can be seen in the distance on the loop road, before heading towards Border Junction and Jameston.

TD helicopter view

At the eastern end of Tatiara Downs is a small industrial district. Seen below, from left to right, is the Tatiara Downs fuel distributors’ siding (allowing tank cars form a variety of companies to be unloaded), then the stock sidings (both cattle and sheep), the local farmers’ co-operative siding, the “Top Brand Fertilisers” unloading siding and the grain loading siding, which curves around the corner, parallel to the main line. The “Bunge” VR FJ flour hopper sits on the mill siding to the extreme right – this siding accessed from behind the station’s dock platform.

TD industries

Above, a SAR 500 class diesel shunter can be seen on the stock siding. Below is another view of the industrial sidings, but with the shunter the main topic of the photo. 513 is a Strath Hobbies body on a Hollywood Foundry mechanism and is a long awaited arrival for Tatiara Downs, which was formerly shunted by a VR Y class diesel. My thanks to Don Moyses for his assistance in bringing a SAR diesel shunter to the ‘District! 513 is positioning a SAR S bogie sheep van (scratchbuilt) for loading … the actual stockyards a possibility for a 2015 arrival, with sincere thanks to Don Bishop!

513 shunts TD1

A closer view of Tatiara Downs yard can be seen below, with the re-positioned goods shed close to the layout fascia. Long time friend and VR modeller, Mark Hourigan, has offered to construct the goods shed (all 120 feet of it, based on Mount Gambier) as a building that will end “mid-structure” at the layout’s edge – quite the engineering challenge! However, if anyone can, Mark can …

TD goods shed

Further west, a number of VR and SAR locos can be seen “on shed” below at Tatiara Downs “loco”, with a blue and gold VR B class diesel in original paint scheme and condition standing front and centre. A few “tweaks” have been had in this area too, moving the coal loading plant further away from the signal gantry and creating a greater feel of “distance” here. Further to the left and out of shot is the turntable and additional locomotive storage roads.

TD loco

As if things weren’t busy enough at “TD”, SAR 907 has arrived on an early running passenger service, TN541, with additional loading for the increased holiday traffic. Both 907 and 909 are the work of a joint effort between Peter Carter (bodies and chassis machining) and Dwayne Norris (assembly, painting and weathering). The mechanisms are from Proto 1000 Erie-builts, obtained with thanks from John Hansford, and they run very well. A big nod of thanks too for Geoff Mathias, who ran “point” on coordinating the 900 project. To all involved … thanks men, much appreciated!

907 arrives TN541

Below, 907 has brought TN541 to a stand at the platform. The consist includes a Centenary Baggage, a Centenary carriage, a 700 steel car, a 750 steel car, another Centenary car, a “Long Tom” 20 ton brake (a Strath Hobbies offering, assembled and painted by Denis Kahl) and a CGP brake bringing up the rear. The usual consist for TN541 is about half this size! The early arrival of TN541 will add a complication for the crew of TN547 and loco 956, as the “pass” will be given priority to head down to Jameston first.

TD yard is full

A different view of TN541, TN547 and the yard at Tatiara Downs can be seen below. Before too long, TN541 will have departed for Border Junction and Jameston, bringing a goodly amount of holiday makers to the south east. At Jameston, 907 will be turned and, after TN547 goods arrives, lead TN542 passenger back to Adelaide, with an equal or greater number of people travelling to the “big smoke” for the festive season …

TD from the west

… and with that, a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to everyone!

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