Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Diorama Modelling

I recently came across a fantastic YouTube channel. Check out Boomer Diorama; The Immersive Model Railroad.

There are lots of fantastic tutorials on his weathering and scenery techniques as well as commentary on why he does what he does.

I’ll be definitely trying out some of his techniques.

3d printer assembled & working

Well, the printer is finally assembled and now working through some test prints.

Very pleased with it so far. Build quality is excellent, with some very complex 3D printed parts involved.

3D printer arrives

Let the 3D printing adventure begin! 😀

Spray booth

Another long time coming task completed today.

My Runway13 spray booth fitted into its own cabinet in the toilet area of the layout room. The booth itself is still removable from the cabinet. The fumes are vented out through the wall and up into the ceiling space.

Up Staging Yard changes …

Hi all,

Every so often, I open up my listing of trains I am modelling and add more information to the spread sheet where I calculate model train lengths and tonnage.

The longest trains that will run on the layout are the Up block wheat and coal, and all of these have four locos up front, with generally two of these being the bank engines.

I was always hoping to be able to run prototypical length trains, but found I had an issue with the road lengths in the Up Staging.

The original design of the Up Staging had the following standing room lengths (in mm) for trains:

5400; 4340; 4200; 3570; 3500; 3500; 2790; 2790.

Currently my four longest trains (to prototypical length & tonnage) are:

Up Wheat, Quad locos + 26 x WTY + brakevan = 5280mm

Up Wheat, Quad locos + 26 x WTY + brakevan = 5260mm

Up Coal, Quad locos + 21 x CHS + brakevan x 2 = 4910mm

Up Coal, Quad locos + 21 x CHS + brakevan = 4800mm

As can be seen, there was no way I was going to be able to fit these trains into the four longest roads.

In hindsight, I should have made the Up yards much longer than the Down yards, but instead made them roughly equal lengths.

So to accommodate the long trains, I have decided to rebuild the Up yards using 3-way turnouts in certain locations to lengthen the roads.  I will only have to build three new 3-way turnouts.

The revised Up Staging now gives me the following standing room lengths in mm:

5495; 5080; 5060; 4765; 4310; 4070; 4030; 4020.

On one of the wheat trains, I may have to drop up to two wagons, and on one of the coal trains, one wagon.  This will still give me near prototypical length trains.


staging yard changes

The drawing above shows the differences between the old and new yard design.  The majority of roads are now significantly longer than in the old design.


Regrettable change …

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay in blog updates recently but I have been busy both on the layout and around the house.  There will be a few updates in quick succession.

After much thought and discussion with Andrew over the last nine months or so, we have decided to abandon Proto-87 wheel and track standards and to adopt the NMRA Fine:HO track and wheel standards.

Ever since we built Bowen Creek, we thought that diesel locomotive conversion was going to be straightforward – just a matter of swapping out the wheelsets.  However, during the few outings of the layout, we soon realised that some form of suspension was required to keep the wheels on the rails.  Since the P87 flange depth is only around 0.3mm, the slightest bump in the track or lack of lateral movement in the axles would cause the wheels to ride up over the railhead, most frequently on curves.  These issues, we found, relate mainly to three axle (Co-Co) bogies, and the centre axle in particular.

So, most of you may not be aware, but over the last three years or so, we had been developing a suspension system for retrofitting to RTR locomotives to enable the use of P87 wheelsets.

With greatly appreciated assistance from Andrew Lee of AndIan Models, we had designed an etched suspension ‘kit’ that would have replaced the pickup plates on the locos and incorporated sprung axle boxes.

Our initial testing, on the Trainorama 47 class bogies, proved the concept worked, but over time we realised that there were major reliability issues.  On the test track, the loco would run OK in one direction, but not the other, and derailing on curves was still an issue.

We both realised that whilst Proto-87 certainly looked nice, to get the suspension to work reliably on the locomotives was going to mean far too much work, and neither of us were prepared to further invest that amount of time and finances.  We both have layouts to build and quite substantial locomotive fleets to convert!!

Also, with the release of the new Auscision 45 class, it was noticed when I pulled a bogie apart, that the design of the pickup system is totally different to that of a Trainorama locomotive, which made the conversion to P87 almost impossible in my opinion.

So with heavy hearts, we are heading down the RP25/88 wheel route.  These wheelsets comply with the NMRA Fine:HO standards, and by keeping a track gauge of 16.5mm, we can achieve a flangeway of 1mm.  There is a requirement to open out the back-to-back of existing wheelsets to a minimum of 14.8mm.  Generally this is only about an increase of 0.2 to 0.3mm from factory wheelsets.  RP25/110 wheels will also still run through these frogs with a back-to-back adjustment.

Using the information in the NMRA standards S-3.1 and S-4.1, I have come up with a single page datasheet with all the relevant measurements shown.  Click on the image to open a larger PDF.

NMRA Fine:HO Standard


I have commissioned Keiran Ryan to design and manufacture some new etched vee crossings to suit code 70 rail with a 1mm flangeway in both 1:6 and 1:8 sizes.

I have recently received the first test etches of these and they are very nice.

With some minor corrections to be done, it is hoped I will have the production versions in a month or so which will allow me to continue on with the much delayed task of turnout building, along with changing out the thirty two vee crossings in the staging yards.

The images below show the two test etches for 1:6 and 1:8 vee crossings, the 1:8 crossing assembled and removed from its fret, and the 1:6 crossing installed in a section of track to test wheel operation.






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


Cab ride …

Hi all,

Back in 2013, a mate who is a driver for Pacific National, took some video for me of a trip over the area I am modelling.


Click here.

The Layout in Google Earth – addendum

Hi all,

Things are quiet on the layout at the moment but I hope to resume work soon to commence laying of the CV track in the Temple Court section.

Meanwhile, since the inclusion of Temple Court into the plan, I have revised the Google Earth view that was originally posted here.  This has added around 0.9 miles (1.5km) to the scenicked part of the layout.  This is shown in the short yellow section west of Temple Court.  The blue section is essentially the hidden track in the helix.  This is 2.4 miles (3.9km) on the prototype.

Click the thumbnail below to see a bigger version.  It will open in a new window.


Cheers for now.

Original ‘Opera’ blog now transferred here …

Hi all,

The other week I was notified by an email from Opera that by April 2014, they are closing down all blogging sites they host.

So, I have managed to transfer all the posts from when I started the blog in November 2008 to when I started the current WordPress blog in May 2011.

The current blog now contains all the history of Liverpool Range.


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