May 2015 Operating Session … continued


Carrying on from my previous post, the image above is the “reverse angle” of the same scene as shown at the end of the last blog post: double Victorian Railways S class diesels at the head of VR TN 834 (the “Overland”) thundering through Border Junction at speed as they head east, with 956 and SAR TN 186 waiting for the passage of the overnight express, prior to continuing westwards as the loaded “Paper Jet” for Adelaide. This area has been the focus of track painting and ballasting of late, along with some basic scenery, and has fast become a “favourite” location on the layout as a result. The recent efforts, combined with Don Bishop’s amazing station and structures, really does give a feel for what the finished layout should look like!


The next two images see us continue to follow the “Overland” as it travels eastwards towards Melbourne, passing through the Victorian town of Nankiva. Above, the “standard” Victorian Railways four track yard can be seen (complete with slips to keep shunting a tad challenging here!) and a possible style of station for Nankiva … built from brick and based on Terang, though there will also be some noticeably influences from the very impressive building at Serviceton. Unfortunately due to space limitations, the building will be be built with a significant degree of relief – though this should mean it doesn’t take as long! Below, the “Overland” can be seen snaking through the curve at the east end of Nankiva, the “green over red” clear normal speed aspect displayed on the signal giving indication of a clear run to Edenhope …


In my opinion, one of the greatest successes from the May session on the Border District possible went unnoticed by the crews – that being the feel and flow to both the trains and tasks for operators during the session. While “sea trials” were undertaken in 2014, the first three sessions this year have continued the theme of “operation session evolution”, which I feel have now culminated in a system that will maximise both enjoyment and engagement for there rest of the 2015 sessions. It should also mean I’m not mucking about with changing timetables and printing new cards every session!


Having headed back to Border Junction from the previous two images at Nankiva, 956 can be seen above at the head of SAR TN 186 getting the clear road and heading towards Tatiara Downs. Behind the loco (left of image) is the rail served industry of “Southern Aggregates”, taking cues from Penrice at Angaston and giving the Border District a reason to have a “Stonie” in operation. To the right of the above image is the first sign of compromise that comes with modelling … the Victorian Railways’ tracks and entrance to “Edenhope” (east end staging of the layout). Below, this compromise becomes very, very evident – with SAR Alco 956 and SAR TN 186 travelling the “Border Junction to Tatiana Downs” section and VR TN 834 (the “Overland”) nearly completing its journey on the layout in the “Nankiva to Edenhope” section. In real life, the trains should be miles and miles apart …


The image above is also a reminder that I need to get serious about adding a track plan to the blog … the most requested item from both visitors to the blog and friends alike. Below, 956 can be seen having arrived at Tatiara Downs and will travel through on the mainline (station road), heading towards Kybybolite (west end staging) and Adelaide. The station building at Tatiara Downs is based on the actual building at Bordertown. English Electric 907 can be seen in the yard at the head of SAR TN 312 Goods, which will wait for 956 to clear the section to Kybybolite before following behind with the last (twenty-sixth) sequence of the operating session.


For the four operating sessions held so far in 2015, nine people (myself included) have been involved, with a number experiencing the Border District (and in many cases, SAR and VR operation) for the first time. My sincere thanks an appreciation to the eight outstanding individuals who have helped me to continue to realise the dream that is “operation”, and provided feedback so that operations can continue to be refined and improved. Three very good mates haven’t been able to make it to a 2015 session yet, though their involvement in the layout’s development and “sea trials” have also contributed to the ongoing successes. There are many influences from other good friends too, from such far flung locations as Melbourne and Adelaide, that have also helped in the development of the Border District. Ultimately, I find this is increasingly the greatest strength of this hobby – the friendships made and grown.


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