SAR "Commercial Street" - LMS "Wellingford & Bakewell Bridge Railway" - GWR "Porthminster" - Port Dock Station

Friday, 22 November 2013

"Commercial Street" - 1960s South Australian Railways

Here is a unique hinged baseboard idea that many English modellers had developed many decades ago of modelling a fold up railway known as the Minories. This idea consisted of a terminus station at one end and a specially set out track design at the other end. At the Terminus Station, which usually had high surrounding walls each side of the whole station, a road bridge straddled the station platforms concealing a pair of hinges. This allowed the two baseboards to be folded over on each other for transport or storage. To make the terminus operable, a fiddle yard would then be attached at the station throat concealed under another road bridge leading into a hidden fiddle yard, which would be bolted on to the Minories. I proposed the idea that if the fiddle yard could be permanently attached to the station throat via another set of hinges, the whole layout would fold up on itself without having separate baseboards, extra sets of legs and no track alignment worries. Having tried the idea, and making use of a large warehouse building as a means of hiding the fiddle yard, and using block sections at the end of each siding, a successful scheme would allow the operator to run trains from the terminus to the fiddle yard and back without touching/handling any engines or rolling stock. Under-track magnets would be located at appropriate positions around the layout to allow hands free shunting using Kadee couplers.

An industrial theme would be appropriate for there were dozens of sidings in and around Port Adelaide and the Port Line in South Australia. Small industrial sidings were everywhere, built in and around roadways, sometimes in the roadways. Roads that ran over the railway with girder bridges or embankments with simple concrete bridges such as those at Mile End or Port Adelaide look visually interesting, and in this case used to hide the hinges on the baseboard. Small passenger stations such as Grange or Semaphore were built immediately next to a roadway and have simpleness to them. Of my own design, “Commercial Street” allows one to run Goods and Passenger trains and have the illusion that the trains have come from and go to a main destination hidden by the warehouse (the fiddle yard). Due to the shortness of the sidings and the use of small radius points, an impressive number of wagons and engines can be accommodated on the layout without being overcrowded.
The fold up layout before point levers
mounted and ready for scenery.
After scenery work.

The removable road deck held in place
by magnets.

The road deck in place.
Even on a small layout like this there is comfortable room for five locomotives, twenty wagons (mostly 4 wheelers), two brake vans and two passenger cars or a pair of railcars.
The layout stands at 1 metre high so when sitting on a standard chair the scene before you is just under eye height. This gives the operator a sense of being in the scene.
The Co-operative  and woodyard
A 930 Class shunts in an open wagon for 44 gallon drum pick ups
and an oil tank for the depot storage tank fill.
The road bridge across the face of the
warehouse to disguise the fact that
there hidden sidings.
The warehouse with on street wagon loading and unloading.

The warehouse was made from two Metcalfe Warehouse card kits, kit-bashed to obtain a very close match to the old Woodsons building in Port Adelaide.
The engineering workshops with loading gantry. Even though the building is between you and the siding, it still has that atmosphere that a modeller craves due to the quirky nature of the track and road alignment.
An Rx Class 4-6-0 shunts in two
open wagons for an outgoing
consignment to a customer!

A 500 Class shunter at the road crossing at Commercial Street pushes
in a load of cut logs into the woodyard.
Cameo scenes play a big part in creating atmosphere in such a small area. Great pleasure was had creating this piece as I strive for realism.
The hidden sidings inside
the warehouse.
The driver of the P Class 2-4-0 checks the road as he pushes into
the warehaouse sidings under the bridge.

A 700 Class pulls into Commercial Street with a local passenger.

All the locomotives and most of the rollingstock are scratchbuilt with exception of the Rx class which is a brass kit and the 930 class, a Trainorama loco with sound fitted. The layout is DC.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Progress with Porthminster

During the course of winter I had to take a break from Porthminster to build a small fold-up South Australian Railways layout for a presentation I had to give at a Convention in September. (See left hand photo at top of this page - a post on that layout will be forthcoming). Once that was out the way, I constructed the platforms at Porthminster and Penwith stations. Construction was somewhat challenging with curved platform faces and very few straight edges.
All track ware then wired to four operating panels, one at Porthminster, the branch terminus, one at the hidden sidings, one at Penwith Junction right behind the Bay roads of the branch, and one at the main goods yard at Penwith Station. The plan is to have three operators (or four if needed) to operate the layout at exhibitions. Some tricky wiring with assisting relays aided the switching of the diamond crossing and single slip at Penwith Junction, and the scissors crossing. I also installed a four speaker digital sound system to pipe steam train sounds around the layout.
Once thoroughly tested, the layout was pulled down and the modules were taken outside the house so the track could be painted. A light rust colour for the rails was first applied (at 45 degrees to the track to cover the sides of the rails) then Rail Sleeper Brown was sprayed over the top (at 90 degrees) to cover the sleepers which were over-sprayed with the Rust.
the track having been spray painted was ready for ballasting. The masking
tape around the platform faces to protect them was removed just prior to ballasting.
Some thoughts into where the point rodding would go were needed. Positioning between tracks needed to be sorted out so rows of foundations could be glued in before ballasting.
Point rodding supports glued in and painted before ballasting.
Ballasting then commenced with the layout set up again. I installed separators (20thou plasticard) between the modules to prevent them sticking together when the ballast glue was applied. The standard mix of PVA glue and water was used after applying a spray of water and detergent.
The plastic separators needed to stop the modules from being stuck together.
With all the ballasting done, the rails were cleaned up and more testing was needed to clear any faults with point motor operations or bits of ballast in frogs and checkrails. A few showed up where the blades had stuck, but were easily remedied with the application of water and some cleaning up.
Penwith Junction freshly ballasted just before gluing.
In October I attended a national convention of the British Railway Modellers Association during which there was a modelling completion. I entered the two station buildings I had scratchbuilt for Penwith Station for the Lineside Structures Trophy. Winning the trophy was a bonus and was the icing on the cake for a good weekend away! The prototype I chose was Radley Station, which fit nicely into the platform arrangement I designed for Penwith. Radley Station also had a nice covered footbridge linking the two platforms and there will be one made to fit the same arrangement in Penwith.
The Main and Island platform buildings for Penwith. The footbridge will be
placed at the near end of the buildings.
The two tunnel portals have now been painted and weathered, glued into position to allow scenery landscaping to get under way.
The Penwith Junction portal painted and weathered. Inside the entrance there is stone walling
extending about 200mm inwards. Flywire with newspaper support is ready for plastering.
 A parting scene for this post is the 517 Class hauling a couple of four wheeled coaches through the scissors. Penwith Signal Box sits in the end of the platform with the four doll bracket signal sitting proudly opposite!