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Layout update

Over the last couple of months, I have installed a lot of the xps foam between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen and painted the backscene and ceiling “sky” blue.

The photo above shows the foam installed for the section where the New England Highway is just below the railway corridor and follows it up the grade towards Ardglen.

The roadway was formed by cutting out tapered strips of the foam at the same gradient as the railway and gluing down, following the curves I had previously marked out using some scrap pieces of thin foam, allowing it to bend and find natural easements.

Once these were in place, extra foam was glued down to build up the embankment between the road and railway. This will be carved to shape later, as will the rest you see above the railway line.

In the photo above, this shows the future hill behind the line that leads into the ballast quarry. On the right of the photo, there will be a level crossing, and in the foreground, another low hill. I won’t install the foam here until painting and ballasting of the track is complete so access is easier.

The photo above shows the foam in place for the embankment coming around the curve into Ardglen.

Timber risers have been installed to support future foam installation for the hills in front and behind the line leading into Ardglen.

As I was installing the foam in front of the track where the ballast siding is, I nearly forgot that there will be a couple of lever frames here to operate two turnouts. So after some quick designing, some recessed boxes were built into the benchwork to house these future lever frames.

The cutout in the benchwork for the first lever frame box.
The box is constructed from 9mm ply. The base/floor is removeable to allow for the installation of the lever frame later. The large scale “throw-over ball type” lever can be seen.
The box has been painted with the same matt black as I have used on the fascia. There will be a corresponding cutout in the fascia here when it is installed later.
There will be a second lever frame here in the right hand side box.
Another lever of the same type will be installed here for the catchpoints protecting the mainline from the ballast sidings.
This is the type of single lever that will be installed at the above locations. It will be made to a similar scale to that of the Kankool signal box frame.

The next jobs planned are to carry out some more ballasting between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen where the track currently ends. I have also commenced work on some more turnouts for Ardglen with the aim to install these so I can lay more tangent track through Ardglen and through the tunnel. Carving of the scenery foam will also take place.


Well, I’m still here..!

Hi all,

Apologies for the lack of posts since April 2022. Here’s a brief catch up.

Bogie Ballast Plough

I completed the assembly and detailing of the Stephen Johnson Models bogie ballast plough kit.

I got it to the point where it received a primer undercoat, but that got stripped off again as I wasn’t happy with the finish. It’s currently still sitting on the workbench.

UP Staging Yard extension – Part 2

Work commenced on removing the existing turnouts at the other end of the Up staging yard to accommodate some new 3-way turnouts to complete the lengthening of these yards.

All the turnouts were removed and the PCB sleepers and rail salvaged. Two new 3-way turnouts were built.

New source of XPS foam for scenery

Ever since Bunnings ceased stocking the Knauf XPS foam sheets, I had spent time trying to source a replacement. I contacted a few suppliers but most wanted exorbitant shipping costs to Port Macquarie. I eventually found a building supply company near Canberra that could ship unlimited sheets to me for only $85. So an order of 25 sheets (2400 x 600 x 30mm) was placed just prior to Christmas. The cost per sheet came to $28, and as these were double the size of the old Knauf ones, they ended up being about $4 more expensive. I can live with that. Having replenished my stock of foam, I can now resume scenery work between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen.

Spline prep at Ardglen for future turnout controls

One of my goals for this year is to continue tracklaying through Ardglen and onto Pangela. For this to proceed, some cutting of the spline at the turnout locations was necessary.

The locations in the main area of Ardglen were quite straightforward. This involved removing a section of spline with a router down to a depth of approximately 6mm to accommodate a piece of ply. Once this was glued in position, the remaining spline underneath the ply was cut away. Extra supports either side of the cut-out are also installed where required.

However, the turnout leading from the loop extension into the ballast sidings required a bit more thinking of how to get the router in there, considering I had already laid track on the mainline.

So a plan was devised to support the router over the mainline track using some old melamine shelving that I had. This did the job well.

New motive power arrives

In the last week, Auscision Models delivered their ALCo 44 class locomotives. I had pre-ordered four of these Mark I type. Another superb model. Looking forward to weathering these beasts.

As I mentioned above, I hope to complete a lot of work on the layout this year. One of the first jobs is to complete the ceiling panel and backscene prep over Ardglen for the sky blue paint. Then I want to get back into some scenery foam installation around Ardglen and where the tunnel will start. Once a few of the turnouts for Ardglen are complete, I can also commence tracklaying through Ardglen, through the future tunnel and onto Pangela.

That’s it for this update.


Re-laying track

Well I can’t believe it’s 12 months since my last post. I just never seemed to get around to posting anything.

One of the biggest tasks undertaken was to re-glue the rails to the CV ties all the way from Kankool to Ardglen. I had discovered that the rail had started to lift in quite a few locations. I am still unsure what the cause was, but I’m putting it down to my initial glue mixture of contact cement and MEK.

I had been very apprehensive about doing it, but realised I had to just bite the bullet. Subsequently over about a six week period, I lifted 38 metres of rail, cleaned the old glue of the base and also off the CV ties, and using Pliobond straight from the tube, applied it to both rail and ties and re-laid the rail back in place. The process wasn’t too bad, as it was still all pre-curved.

During the process, I also increased the gap between lengths of rail from virtually nothing to around the thickness of a piece of paper.

The next biggest task had been to install more scenery foam nearly all the way to where Ardglen quarry is located. This was roughed in using previous techniques and is yet to be carved to shape.

More backscene board was installed, again, up to where the quarry is located.

Foam shaping

Getting rid of the sharp edges. Starting to look like an embankment.

More foam and trees

Work continues on foam installation in the area between the main peninsula and Ardglen.

As mentioned in a previous post, the track will be on quite a high embankment here with the New England Highway skirting around below.

I have also recently been purchasing and stocking up on seafoam “trees”. I have been able to successfully source them from Hattons Model Railways (…/Gaugemaste…/StockDetail.aspx). They are the Gaugemaster brand GM195. I can get two boxes shipped here for around $60. There are literally dozens of “trees” in each box with a variety of sizes. Have a look at this video by Luke Towan as he describes how to make very realistic gum trees from the seafoam.

I also recently made the tree drying rack Luke uses in the video, and today I prepared some trees for straightening. Every month or so I get another two boxes shipped over and stockpile them.

Fascia installation continues

Work continues on more fascia installation on the other side of the main peninsula.

As before, I temporarily clamp a piece of masonite in place to get the curve required, then foam is cut to the curve and laid down. MDF backscene has also been installed.

This section will be on quite an embankment with more high hills behind. There will also be another section of the New England Highway here as shown in the picture of a reference photo.

More fascia installed

Over the last few months I have been busy installing fascia from Kankool to the main peninsula.

This also involved more foam installation in the foreground and shaping this in preparation for the fascia. I also finalised the location of the New England Highway near Kankool that was mentioned in a previous post.

I have glued the cork down but that’s as far as I’ll go with this for a while until I start on the scenery. The unpainted section of fascia was installed this afternoon.

The feel of the highway

One of the many features I have wanted to model on the layout is how the railway wound around the hills between Kankool and Ardglen with the New England Highway just below.

This feature will be done in at least two spots on the layout with the first being just after leaving Kankool.

Here can be seen some cork temporarily pinned in position to get the feel for it.

Terrain shaping

Shaping of the foam has commenced using hot wire tools and surform tools. It’s starting to look like a cutting around a hill!

More roughing in

More roughing in of foam continues back towards Kankool. Getting to the point now of being able to start shaping the foam.

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