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

Friday, 6 November 2015

Virginian & Norfolk Railroad - a joint effort

My Virginian Railway project has evolved into a joint effort with long time friend Geoff Brooks and we have combined his Norfolk & Western Railroad layout with my Virginian Railway layout. We agreed on the naming of the railway as the "Virginian & Norfolk Railway" when the two layouts will be put together for exhibition display purposes. The idea is I run my Virginian Railway equipment and Geoff's N&W equipment together. This was a reality in 1959 when the Norfolk & Western took over operations of the Virginian Railway, and both examples of company rollingstock could be seen working together. So we have developed the railway plans that can be bolted together to run all the commonly seen trains of that era, including the odd diesel power. No electric sections of the Virginian will be modelled - though I would have liked that. Those triple electric loco units were impressive.
The two layouts bolted together to see its impact. At 40 feet long
and only 1'5" wide it will be challenging to get what we want.
We wanted back scene boards built into the layout to allow for the deep mountainous look of the Appalachian mountain scenery of Virginia and also the transport of the modules in a simple trailer or utility. With high back boards we can easily cover the modules with simple tarpaulins to to transport them. Each module has its own legs fitted with gas struts so they are self contained and quick and easy to erect. Metal dowels at each join ensure the modules line up each time they are assembled.
Geoff's half of the layout will include
a port for unloading of coal trains, two
small coal mines, a small engine depot,
a freight siding, a hidden passenger
train siding and a marshalling yard.
My layout will have a larger coal
mine, a lumber company siding, a fish
factory siding, a depot station,
another freight siding and
a small locomotive service point. 
My section of the layout will include some steep grades - an excuse
to use some big power locomotives to haul our trains.

Diagrams of the track plans are forthcoming and I'll post these in the near future......

Lighting and curtains complete the display

To complete the layout for display, and to match the Commercial Street display, I built the same style of pelmet lighting to match with LED strip lights. The upright supports are made from black anodized aluminium tube. This tubing is available at our local hardware stores and there are a number of plastic corners, "T" pieces and joiners available to make any sort of frame shapes. The pelmets are made from 3mm MDF with a pre-painted pine frame. The LED strip lighting is the brightest variety available and is powered by a power pack that lives under the layout.
Both Commercial Street and
Port Dock bolted together with
black curtains
From the Commercial Street end.

Press the backing paper onto the
surface then peel the paper off
slowly and carefully.
The Computer cut vinyl lettering
that arrived through the mail.

The Vinyl lettering was ordered over the web from a supplier in Australia that can do any style, size and colour. They then send it to you through the post, and is not really expensive either. Easy to apply, measure and set it on the surface, firmly press the letters on and peal off the backing paper and press again to make sure they stick well.......a nice professional touch to make the display stand out among the others at a show.
Completed installation of the vinyl lettering.

Fuel for the steeds....coal stage

The last piece of infrastructure on the layout was the coal stage. Scratchbuilt from timber and made to represent the type seen around in the 1950s. Inspiration was the ones at Adelaide Station yard. I added another 25mm of baseboard over the switching panel next to the running shed along the front to accommodate it. This small intrusion on the switch panel along the front of the layout was negligible and is still reasonably protected from straying elbows!

A piece of timber glued in to the
same level as the baseboard.
The stage constructed from timber from
the Northeastern Scale Lumber Co. range

Complete ready to stain...includes
a simple water column.
Tested for fit in position.

Using thinners, I add small amounts
of black and a rust like colour. 
The stage has been stained
and ready to install.

Heaps of coal then needed to be added
and I use lumps of Balsa-wood carved
and painted black.
Cover the black painted balsa-wood
with glue and scoop on some crushed

To simulate coal heaps, I use real crushed coal. Balsa-wood makes an easy medium to use as the base, can be carved easily and then painted with a Matt black paint. Once the paint is dry, cover the mound with PVA glue and scoop on some crushed coal.
The stage fits the scene nicely.

Completed scene.

The scene now complete with a coal and water supply.

Signal & Telegraph.....

A need for electrical (model) connection of signal cabins, telegraph and block signals was needed to complete the scene. Ducting in the form of timber boxed conduit was/is a trademark SAR feature. Connections between cabins, signals, relay boxes and also turnout motors were commonly run in these networks of ducting. 
A photo I took in 1978 of Adelaide Signal Cabin shows the ducting in use in the foreground.

Trim off the ducting supports to 5mm
with a pair of  side cutters.
Matchsticks pre-painted and glued
into a suitable size hole in the baseboard
I use prepainted matchsticks for the pillars in the ground placed 25mm apart and trimmed to 5mm high. Either balsa or stripwood was used for the box conduit at 1.5mm square section.

You can just see there is a duct fixed to the telegraph pole to left of the pictures - this is where the wires from the from the cross-arms on the pole run down through to the cabin. There were a lot of cases where there were bars of insulators mounted on the signal cabin and this ducting would not be needed because the wires ran directly from the pole to the cabin.

Sup-glue or Tarzan Grip together the ducting onto the supports. Paint in a dark grey/brown colour to finish.
Trimmed ready for the
ducting to be added.
once the duct is secured, paint
with a dark grey colour.
Telegraph wires were often run under bridges in ducting and fixed to the retaining wall and not on the ground. The ducting runs down the first pole, along the ground and up the other pole on the other side of the bridge.
This photo shows how the ducting connects the telegraph
poles either side of the bridge.

This was a common way of running the wires through narrow clearances.The bridge may be too low for the wires to clear or in this case, there was not enough room for the poles between the track and the concrete abutments.

Port Dock water fountain...

Down to details now with the station building completed. The water drinking fountain made from copper wire & styrene.

The original water drinking
fountain in the 1950s

Fountain uses some decorative beads
from a craft shop to represent the
upper dome and the lower bowl.
A small plinth was made similar to
the prototype for the fountain to sit on.

Completed water drinking fountain.

A bay cupola (behind the XK Falcon) made from card and the ablutions block behind the tower were added recently to finish off the building. Paling fence made from timber along the side of the station separates it from the street. Some figures placed to liven up the otherwise complete scene adds interest for the viewer.....
The completed station scene with the power poles added last.

Port Dock station water tank

There was a water tank attached to the old station as well so, not having any close up photos of it, I recently had confirmation it was a cast iron type. I had some cast sides available so used these & glued them around a square floor of card. The pillars are 1/8" styrene tube with the next size up tube cut for the bases and top collars. 

The underside of the tank
All the posts added and ready to paint
The pillars are 1/8" styrene tube with the next size up tube cut for the bases and top collars. Cross braces then added instead of the normal guy rods and rings. This is because a track runs underneath it so a different arrangement was needed. The water is made from 1/8th clear Acrylic, pre drilled with a hole for the filler pipe (and a corresponding hole drilled in the tank floor). The underside painted black, spacers place in and PVA glued inside the tank. The filler pipe then pushed in last. The ladder up the side I left off as its too close the edge of the layout

The water in the tank will be seen from
above so a piece of acrylic clear was
filed to size to slip into the top of the tank.
Tank now painted with water
glued in with PVA glue.

Running Shed water tank

The depot water tank for Port Dock station was further away from the depot next to the coal plant, so another compromise was made to include it in the scene. This was one of a number of round tanks around the state. Having bought some HO scale corrugated iron some thirty years ago at a swap meet, I finally have had cause to use it. 

Circular water tank made using a card base and old tin corrugated iron.
Made from tin (manufacturer unknown), it was easy to shape around a glass jar to a curved shape, then glued the pieces together around a circular piece of card as the tank base. The timber frames were assembled separately and added under the tank, then the cross braces added to hold them together, then all the pipes and ladder added last. Ladder is leftover plastic signal kit item, the yellow outlet pipe (in the centre of the tank) is a lolly-pop stick, inlet pipe is copper wire (next to ladder). Two planks across the top of the tank were for maintenance purposes.
Completed ready for painting.
The tank was placed at the rear of the shed on the layout.

The running shed comes alive....

The running shed scene is almost completed and am happy with how it has turned out. Comes to life with a few locos......

On shed are S Class left bay, K Class and an Rx Class 
All the light poles, goose-neck lamps and telegraph are now installed.
In black & white the scene feels real

Running Shed water crane...

The water crane, another one that was not so common. Some stages of construction. Copper wire, timber platform deck, plastic sleeve and black heat shrink. An etched brass wheel and solder. 
The basic mast with support bracket at the top

The black sleeve is peice
of heatshrink, The support rails
on the left is code 70 rail

A combination of materials allows this complicated little crane to be made. The timber platform was added during assembly and Supa-glued to the copper wire frames.
Ready for painting. 
Showing the copper wire used
extensively  on this piece.
Paper to a glued to a piece of wire.
Cover the paper with PVA glue
and roll up.  Then bent to shape and
added to the crane after painting.
Completed water crane....with the hose
flopped over the top during non-use.