Images from October 2015 operating session

While I take my time organising some images for my previous blog post, please enjoy these images from the October 2015 operating session, provided by Brendan.

The first image shown below is taken from the edge of the fascia, alongside the changed staging area. The SAR “Big Mikado” is at the head of a passenger train (SAR TN 281 to Jameston) and is in one of the two new “long” stub ended sidings. The SAR 900 diesel in the distance is in the other long road, this train is SAR TN 161 Roadside Goods to Tatiara Downs. Even further along, an SAR 930 diesel can also just be seen at the head of the first train of the session – SAR TN 547 South East goods.


The next image, again below, is of the same loco – 730 – as it brings the return passenger working (SAR TN 282) from the previous image to a stand at Border Junction, before continuing on to Tatiara Downs, then Kybybolite (and then Naracoorte). This variety of Webb power is my favourite of all SAR engines (hence why a 720 is still running circa 1976!) and is on the Border District with thanks to Rocky Rover Models and Stuart Gamble. The difference that painted, weathered and ballasted track makes is evident here …


The third image shown below is taken at Tatiara Downs and is a great aspect of the stockyards – the work of maestro Don Bishop. On the wall behind the stockyards part of the simple diagram that shows the conceptual and schematic layout of the Border District can be seen – with plenty of destinations “beyond” the railway. This information is also on the back of each operator’s clipboard/folder. The SAR sheep and cattle vans have arrived from the previously captured SAR TN 161 Roadside Goods.


The final image, below, should contain a “spoiler alert” … this is the latest and greatest addition to the layout, again courtesy of Don Bishop. “Southern Aggregates” at Border Junction was – and still will be – the subject of a separate blog post … however, I felt Brendan’s image was just too good not to share here!


Sincere thanks to Brendan for taking and sharing the images … the host could do well to learn from the many operators who seem to be able to capture the action during an operating session …

October 2015 operating session …

Time does indeed march on … the October and ninth operating session for the year on the Border District having just been completed. I am pleased that the goal of regular, monthly operating sessions – set late last year (I’m not one for “New Year’s resolutions”) – has continued to be achieved. I am grateful to my family for allowing this continued indulgence and intrusion on our “weekends”, and also to those friends that continue to give up their time to assist me in realising the dream that is realistic and prototypical regular operation.

(This should be, and soon will be, a picture … they speak a thousand words and break up my ramblings!)

The October session again saw a “gang of four” in attendance …. Craig, Shelton, Brendan and myself. A number of apologies were received ahead of the session … including from the two most “regular” of regular operators. It is testament to both the strength and ability of the operators present that, while the regulars were most certainly missed, the session was another successful and enjoyable one. The number of “issues” were minimal and very low level – the most common (though not that numerous) occurring through dubious momentum settings on a couple of locos. Thanks muchly, men … a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon!

The biggest change from the September session, and one for which feedback and input was sought, was a major restructure and rebuild to the staging area (Edenhope for trains to/from Victorian destinations and Kybybolite for trains to/from South Australian locations). In essence, two through storage roads were removed, which allowed the previous eight fairly short stub ended roads to become ten much longer stub ended storage roads.

(This will also be a picture that will “reveal all” for the above paragraph)

There were some thoughts and planning towards adding a sub level of staging to the Border District, primarily to separate the VR and SAR staging into two distinct areas and ensure less handling of trains on and off the layout between sessions. However, the actual physical height separation between the existing layout and this proposed sub level just wasn’t enough. Hence, common sense prevailed and the “solution” that most likely would have caused more trouble and tears than it was intended to solve was quickly kyboshed. The “refurbishment” to staging, while still a significant task, was must simpler in the long run. The biggest success from this change in the most recent session – no need for operators to have to “make up” or “break up” trains in staging as a result of short sidings. Feedback received regarding the changes was positive.

To be continued …