Enthusiasm reinvigorated …

Hi all,

Last weekend saw me attend the 5th bi-annual New England Convention hosted by the New England Model Railway Club in Armidale NSW.

Andrew and I drove up on Friday afternoon and upon arrival, met up with a lot of familiar faces along with some new ones.

The event was held in the Armidale Bowling Club, utilising a large function room along with another three smaller rooms for the lectures and clinics.

There were three layouts on display, but my favourite was “Bullenbung Creek” by Alan Tarrant.  I had seen this layout before, but am always impressed when I see it.

Below are a couple of pics I took.

Bullenbung Creek

Bullenbung Creek







I also took a short video to demonstrate the DCC sound from a typical branchline goods train.

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

I also had the opportunity to play with the NCE DCC system which was in use on Bullenbung Creek.  I had always planned to use the EasyDCC system, but just recently discovered a limitation in how consists are handled.  With EasyDCC, consists cannot be made or broken up from the handheld throttle, they must be done at the command station.

Some months ago, a mate showed me a photo of a triple 48 class working at Pangela (see below).  Photo courtesy of Phil Collins.


In the photo, the single 48 class (the bank engine), has detached from the train and waits in the loop.  The remaining 48’s will continue with their train.  The single 48 will run light engine back to Willow Tree or Werris Creek.

I thought this operation would be cool to replicate on the layout.  The idea is to have the three 48’s marshalled on the train in staging and when they reach Pangela, the lead engine will detach from the train and run light engine back to staging and wait for the rest of the train to also return to staging, where it will be reattached.

In replicating this operation, the detaching of the single 48 ideally should be done with the handheld throttle, but with EasyDCC, the operator would have to go to the Command station, break the consist, and then continue.  With the NCE system, this can all be done from the throttle, which will be much easier.  Admittedly, I only need to do this with this one train, but I think it will be better.

So, the upshot is, I have decided to change DCC systems.  I won’t be rushing out to buy the NCE just yet, but at least I can now plan what I need to buy in the way of hardware.

I have also been quite busy with work continuing on the scenery in Temple Court.

The base scenery with the Sculpt-it has been 95% completed, and is nearly ready to start applying dirts and static grasses.

I have also been playing around with making plaster rock castings to try and replicate the large rocky outcrop as shown below.  Photo by Mick Morahan.

More on the rock castings in a future post.

Compare the shot below with where it was up to on August 29.

Temple Court base scenery almost done

Temple Court scenery progress on August 29


Posted on Nov 21, 2014, in DCC, Miscellaneous, Pangela, Scenery, Temple Court and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi Ian
    the LRC ‘s on the train look very new.Not sure of there construction date but would guess 1976 ?
    Maybe Mr SDS could clarify.
    The L 7 logo came in in 1975

  2. Colin Hussey

    G’day Ian

    Very interesting post indeed.

    I use NCE radio as my original preferred DCC system, the reasons being fairly simple. I lived in Sydney, did not know anything about DCC (still don’t know a lot either) but the group I was involved with was around 95% NCE users, also living 15 minutes from MRRC at Blacktown was a boon as Garry is an expert in both worlds, therefore help was always at hand.

    When I moved here to the Central Coast & joined the Wednesday night group, that is purelly DCC, & runs approximately 50/50 U.S – NSW modellers but initially I thought were primarilly Easy DC users, & I considered going down that path, but then found out that again its roughly split 50/50 with NCE & CVP systems, with that I upgraded from the old entry Power Cab to a Radio Pro Cab & had Garry convert the power cab to radio as well.

    Many do not like the NCE T bone hand set primarilly owing to the size of it, also the speed dial which is a continual wheel as against the CVP which is a limited dial, maybe thats better but for me to operate in my prototypical methods, to which I primarilly use the 2 other control keys for acceleration, namely slow & fast. The slow button allows a 1 step start up & each press allows for another single step speed increase, using that to start a train then once moving & I get to around the 6 mark I then use the other step up key which increases by 4 steps which is what I like, & only when the train is moving well & speed attained do I use the speed control wheel.

    When slowing I usually only use the decrease keys under the increase ones & then move the train to a stop with the single step key, CVP cannot match that.

    Re the banker detach at Pangela. I would be very interested in knowing when the photo was taken. Reason is that the detaching of the banker at Pangella was a very rare occurence, & was something that was very much avoided where possible for various reasons not least safety as 48cl had poor engine brakes to be able to hold a train on 1:40 grade.

    Looking at the terrain the time does not seem to be in drought but likely after a drought or dry season, also likely in the 70’s as well owing to the use of the 48cl as banker, & the meat traffic on the train, which given daylight indicates its 5620 or the old 320/420 up train that started from Wallangarra/Tenterfield. Again if that is correct, then perhaps there was but one more train to assist for the bank crew & that was the other pickup 5474 that left WCK an hour after 620 & it needed assistance & engine return to WCK.

    Thing is though at that time the working of trains & the bankers in particular usually started with the bankers leaving WCK at around 1500 each afternoon, the type of engines would indicate the program that was to work that evening. It was often a 48 & 44cl coupled when wheat was on the move. At the time a fair degree of general freight still worked on the line as well as heavier grain. If doubles went out 2 crews were sent on the bankers, with the 44 leading at WT, they were split the 48 going onto the main, the 44 into Loop to MDI end.

    If a heavy wheat program was on, the first train would go ex WCK with 3x44cl following the 48cl LE. At WT the 48 went on the rear & banked as normal. The 3×44 would have 2 crews with the load a 2200 ton consist. At MDI the leading 44 would come off & go into the wheat assist working. On other occassions a more normal wheat service would start out from WCK with 3x44c as the first train but would go through to MDI with an 1800 ton 29BWH block consist on arrival at MDI the load was stowed & engines going back to WCK to work the next up service (this was the regular Saturday afternoon program arrangements).

    If the first LE was with a single 48 for the banker, the likely working could be the first train was a 2200 train that was banked at the rear & load also stowed at MDI & as above arrangements took place.

    What then took place with train working arrangements was that after the first wheatie was stowed at MDI, all subsequent wheat trains came out with either 1600 tonne loads 2×44 banked in rear from WT-Ard, & then each train would pick up stowed wheat at MDI to full load, being 2200 from MDI- PTW.

    Back to the Pangela detaching. In busy times when the 48’s were going continually to send a train to Pangella to detach the banker added near to an hour in extra time to the working therefore reducing the amount of work it could do & also considerable track occupancy time. When pushing using the BE key the banker was already past the down starter heading back to WT before the banked train had exited the tunnel. To bring train to stand, set up the brakes on the train engines, detach engines run forward & back into the loop, then LE would take the hour or a bit less only.

    Even when the assisting in the front when a horse & cart was used, it was also extremely rare to do it at Pangella as the bankers had to have a heavy drawgear engine as trailing unit in order to be attached to the train, thus the bankers always went through to MDI for detaching.

    Certainly from the modelling side of things the rare workings can be introduced & make for interesting times. So far I have only learnt the basics of DCC, sound is installed by Gerry Hopkins for me & with the smaller decoders & mobile phone speakers now being used things are very good indeed. My concentration is to get the layout finished then its the electrical side of things regarding DCC & learning it.



    Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:07:57 +0000 To: cdhussey@hotmail.com

    • Hi Col,

      Thanks again for your impeccable knowledge of train workings in this area!

      From the info I have about the photo, it was around 1980. I was actually planning to ask you the question about the photo in regards to the bank engine.

      What would have been the normal load for 2×48 and that perishables train WCK-BMD?

      So do you think I am correct in the bank engine scenario?


      • Ian

        1980 would be an OK time owing to the amount of other general freight that was on the line.

        Load for 48cl over the range was 420tonnes, will need to find & check WTT, but thats pretty close, multiply that by 3 & you get 1260tonnes. A higher load was allowed from MDI for all engines & a reason the stowing at MDI took place & other trains built up to full loads.

        The aspect with Pangela & the detaching with 48cl & no other loco’s was as I mentioned the poor braking of them, (a slight diversion & the regulations for Como bank was that full load trains with 2 & 3×48’s were not to be sent via the up loop at Sutherland unless they had a clear run out the other end as they could not hold the train on those grades).

        I do reccolect on a couple of very rare occassions detaching at Pangela but with 48/442 combo’s in order to get back to WT for the next assist. This happened when it was busy, & saved the run to MDI, cut off & wait for the train to depart & then LE back, that took well over an extra hour though from the point of running through Pangela .

        As for modelling, the Pangela detach does create another point of operations, but from my end its not something that I would do on a regular basis, & only with a good ops crew.

        The overall consideration is the actual period you are creating, eg pre WB & 81cll which makes post 83. The most interesting time I think for diesel era would be the times pre 80cl & last arrivals being the Jumbo’s & 47cl. Not sure when the 47’s first started to operate in & around the Creek though, they provided an extra flexibility with the heavy drawgear for Bank engine working.

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