If you take a trip to Billabong Wharf by on an old tin hare or a more modern 620/720 rail motor, you can catch a ferry to a destination further along the water.
Alternatively you could wait on the platform and admire the cobblestones while you wait for the X200 rail tractor to bring the old SHG guards van with some passenger accomodation to take you to Billabong Marina.
Realistically, this railway outpost is nothing more than a loading platform with a light post and maybe a bench. However, go down the stairs and you can reach the marina.
Here you could charter a boat or grab some of the best fish and chips in the country from Fishy McFishface.
If you look at the menu you could even buy a pint of prawns. Never heard of a pint of prawns? Neither had I until a few years ago when I was visiting one of my wife's aunts in the south of England. She took us to a pub and ordered a pint of prawns for lunch. While we were hoeing into fish and chips or bangers and mash, my wife's aunty received a pint glass full of prawns. From memory, they needed to be shelled too.
However, there is nowhere to get a beer.
This is a disgrace.
There are six, seven industries, there could be eight. I'm beginning to lose count myself. Where are all of those workers going to grab a beer? What about the sailors bringing in the goods by ship? All that time at sea can make you thirsty for a beer. Tourists need a drink too. The station master at Billabong Wharf likes a quiet ale at the end of his shift before he goes home to tend to his veggie garden and walk his dog. To do that he needs to catch a train to somewhere. That is until now.
Built between the two world wars, the lookout tower was built to assist in the defence of the small harbour at Billabong Wharf from invasion. After the war it fell out of use as a lookout tower and was eventually abandoned.
The run down tower was then turned into a pub. Now the station master has somewhere local to go for a quiet ale at the end of his shift. To stop people from accidentally tumbling out of the tower and onto the tracks some barrels will be placed as a barrier.
The view isn't too bad either, although it could do with a bit of a tidy up. The grey concrete edges are too dark and need some sorting out.
The tower began life as a Frateschi Signal Tower. It is a small kit. The walls are 2 cm long and I had hoped to be able to cut it in half but clearance problems stopped that from happening. The walls don't meet at 90 degrees but somewhere around 110 or 120 degrees. A triangle of 20 thou styrene was cut for a floor
I tried the idea of nearly flat against the backscene but sticking out a bit. However, the door would lead onto the tracks and potential disaster for my little plastic people. A roof was marked out and cut from 60 thou card. I'm not sure if the pub owner will be able to add a roof top terrace. One thing I don't think I can do is add lights inside. It's a pity but as the building sticks out only 2 cm from the side of the layout, getting the wires through what is practically 38 mm thickness of frame work is prohibitive. It could be something worth investigating though.
Plans for this week:
1. Investigate the possibilities of lights in the tower.
2. Put a couple of people in the top floor looking out and enjoying a beer. This might be more difficult than it think.
3. Glue tower to the backscene.
4. Find barrels and pain them white and glue them down.
5. Finish static grass.
6. Make a sign for the bakery.
Until next time.
P.S. The tower hides the bracket and the tree next to it hides the fact it is an extremely low relief building and the blue paint on the edge of the backscene.