Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

For some time, I've been trying to get hold of one of the Railscale Ashbury (CB, LCB) cars. These carriages would have to be my favourite carriage and 3 of them survived up to June 1938 so they fit my time period perfectly. Anyway, there was an etched kit produced by Railscale in the late 1980's I believe, well before I became interested in Early 20th Century NSWGR so I missed out on getting a kit. Unfortunately, it was a small run and of course, all kits were sold. I spoke with Eddie at the 2009 Liverpool exhibition and he said he only had 1 side left over so I was going to have to scratch build one if I was going to replicate No13 Cootamundra Day train. My 1924 train composition book shows a mouth watering collection of cars that formed the 9:45am departing train.

HFX    Picton, Saturdays
CX      Picton, Saturdays
LCB    Picton, Saturday excluded
BX     Goulburn, Monday
LFX    Goulburn, Monday
LFX    Goulburn
CX     Goulburn
BK     Camden, Tuesdays and Fridays

By 1937, No13 had become the Goulburn Day Train and was composed of EHO, LFX, 2 x CX and a CUB set, nowhere near as exciting but light years away from today's Explorers.
So while I don't have an exact date as to when the 1924 composition stopped running, it will be running like this for my layout. The BK unfortunately didn't make it through to Picton but you never know your luck in my Picton. The last BK in service I believe was BK 497 which was converted into a Far West Children's Car in February, 1934 which means it just scrapes in time wise.
Anyway, back to the grapevine, Elscotto was talking to Eddie about some other kits he was interested in and Eddie mentioned that a friend of his had a spare Ashbury kit that he was willing to part with. So Elscotto got the gent's contact details and passed them on to me. A few phone calls later and a trip to Peakhurst and I'm now the proud owner of 1 Railscale Ashbury Kit.....truly superb.

Here's a shot of one of the Etches

Thanks to Doug for parting with his kit and to Eddie and Elscotto for telling me about it. I also had a good chat with Doug and saw some of his very impressive models including 37 class Pacific, 39 class Northern, 58 Class 2-6-8-0 Mallet with Southern Valve gear and the T/P clase 4-8-0 Fantastic!!! I also learnt a lot from him regarding standard goods tapered boilers and DJH kits so it was a very productive afternoon.

I didn't do any painting last week as it was a bit too humid but I did do some more track laying and installed some Kadee uncouplers.....boring

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I'm going to leave the track work for a while because frankly, I'm over it for the moment. I might do 1 night a week just to keep it moving along but after today's efforts, I need a change. So I'm going to finish the weathering on the goods wagons and I thought that it's time to dust off the cobwebs from some of my passenger cars that I've got sitting in the storage cabinet. I've got a 7 car NIB set that I'd started years ago and it's in undercoat and ready for the spray gun's coat of Venetian Red and Manilla. Now, before you ask what's a NIB set doing at Picton in the '30's, there's a shot of a NIB set on its trial run after delivery from Waddingtons sitting in Picton with a green P class on the front in 1939. So it makes it into my time period....just.

Just as Mr Berg intended but with a little extra detail

I've added a basic interior

The other thing I've done is remove the end diaphragms which I'll be replacing with working ones as I want to have the set coupled with the diaphragms touching. I also dug out a GT parcels trailer that I'd finished a while back. This started off as an Iain Lindsay Kit which I modified by discarding the underframe as the original looked nothing like the prototype. There's a quite noticeable gap between the car body and the sole bar which I thought just had to be modeled or it wouldn't look right.

Scratchbuilt underframe in brass and nickel silver

Here's how it looks. It has sprung buffers and screw couplers as well

Yes, yes, I know the CPH's in Picton didn't run with a GT but I couldn't resist. Last of all is an AR Kits wooden frame BKG. This needed a bit of work also as the wooden frame version only had 1 door per grooms compartment and the planking was horizontal which meant I had to fill everything in and re-scribe the planks. I also added some underframe detail including the gas tank. I also built another one as a steel frame version which meant the groom's compartments could remain as they were but meant scratch-building a new underframe after removing  the wooden one. Here's how the wooden frame version turned out.

BKG Underframe

Groom's Compartments modified

The BKG's also have sprung buffers and screw couplers. I intend to run most of my passenger trains as permanent sets as there was only a couple of trains that dropped off or picked passenger cars at Picton so the screw couplers won't be a problem and will look much better then Kadee's. That's it for this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Summer, what a Bummer

I've said before how much I hate summer, well this summer has been particularly bad and on so many levels. All the floods and cyclones makes my little gripes pretty insignificant so I shouldn't whinge about not being able to play with my trains. But I will. The weather has made the garage uninhabitable and its only been the last week that I've been able to get out there and do anything because of the heat and humidity. I don't know about anyone else but I can't model while I'm dripping with sweat and as a result I think I'm going to have to put some air conditioning out there as I don't want to have to stop building Picton for 4 months of the year.
It was so good to be able to do some work again after such along absence and I've been able to lay some track and install 3 points and the associated point motors. Here's how it looks at the moment.

Point Motors and Wiring

Point Work

Point Work, Refuge and Mainline heading down the grade to Sydney

I hope the weather continues to get cooler and there's no Indian Summer to keep me out of the garage so I can get the track work finished and move back to building some trains again. Anyway, at least I'm doing something.


On the weekend of the 26th and 27th, The Sydney Tram Museum at Loftus held a 2 day event celebrating and commiserating the 150th anniversary of the first Tram in Sydney and the 50th anniversary of the last tram to run. The weekend was divided into pre 1930 trams on the Saturday and post 1930 trams on the Sunday. I've a bit of a "thing" for Sydney's trams and I would have liked to go both days but I could only go 1 day so Pre-1930 it had to be.
So, the family and I went out after lunch on Saturday together with my next door neighbour and his daughter. Everyone had a great time riding the trams especially yours truly, my son didn't want to leave (neither did I) as he wanted to ride the trams at night. Dinner time called so we dropped in to our favourite hamburger store, Paul's Famous Hamburgers at Tom Ugly's Bridge at Sylvania.
Tram wise, the 2 C's were running as well as the F class, J, L/P, N, P, and Coupled O's. Additionally, Ballast Tram 42s and Scrubber 134s (Ex D) got a run as well. The highlight for me was the sight of coupled O class 1111 and 805. Not since the closure of the tramway system has this sight been seen and to see it once again was fantastic. There was a big crowd on the Saturday and seeing the 2 O's with nearly full loads gives you an idea at how truly superb these vehicles were for moving large amounts of people quickly. 2 O's will handle 80 people seated each and when you add a standing crush load of around 130 each, you can see why they were so efficient. And we stupidly threw them away, a complete travesty.
It was a great day with the only downside was getting out my Canon SLR to take some shots and realising that the batteries were flat........
Luckily, my better half had her iPhone4 so I took some shots with that. I found it quite difficult to frame shots with it but at least I got some shots of the day

I had a ride in O 805 and the thing that struck me was the smell. O 1111 doesn't have any particular smell about it but 805 had this musty "old" smell about it. Whether it was the smell of electrical equipment not being used for 50 years or the smell of decades of people riding in it and then it being stored I don't know. The interior looked like it had just made it's last run before withdrawl, whatever it was it made riding in 805 something special. I hope it stays at the museum for a long time. One day, I'm going to have to model some part of the Sydney Tramway. I'm thinking O Scale and I like the possibilities of the Enfield line where it terminated at Ashfield. There was a connection to the NSWGR for the transfer of trams via the goods yard that was once there. My Grandmother used to live in Orchard Crescent which borders the goods yard and I spent many an hour sitting on the steps of the goods yard as a boy watching the trains go by. Anyway, it's something to dream about. So many things to model, so little time