Wednesday 30 March 2022

Not Quite 'The End'

 The saying goes "All good things come to an end." Sadly that is the case for Billabong Marina.

In February 2019 we had a storm which flooded the train room. Not a big flood, just enough to cover the floor, ruin the carpet and most of the furniture. A month later and the main layout was covered in mould. Nasty green grey mould in places that I could see but not clean. Billabong Marina survived and it was used as a temporary train running layout while its extension was rebuilt. Then it lived under the new layout  -  there would be no place to attach it to the new layout as more space for people was required.

Mould was found in January 2022 and cleaned off. People reading this in Sydney in March 2022 would not be surprised to find the mould back. The room hasn't flooded but every bit of unpainted plywood in the room showed mould. All of the ply was bought in October 2020 to January 2021. Except for the little layout. I haven't had a good look but the old school desk it is resting on is green instead of brown.

As I'm allergic to mould, (found this out twelve months ago) its time is up.

The new layout has no space for it. It's included most of the elements of the original large layout but no spot for an add on.

However, there is a harbour area - no room for water or boats as I have crammed in as much as I can for operators - an I can put a little station in. The dairy can be a cold store. I won't need to make another crane. The fish wharf already has a new place. The harbour has a different name based on a south coast location but I like Billabong Marina so I'll change the name of the town on the layout.

I have really loved the little layout. It gave me some respite with my 15 minutes a day mantra during a really stressful period of work. I am grateful to James McInerney for asking me to write articles for the Australian Model Railway Magazine and I hope that I have encouraged others in the hobby.

If you're new to the blog, check out the older posts as the little layout developed.

It will be a while before the new Billabong Marina has scenery. But I'll keep posting things that happen every now and then. Most of the new stuff will go on my other and older blog: as the new Billabong Marina is part of the larger layout but anything for this section will be posted here.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.


Friday 3 January 2020

Still Riding Trains

December is busy with the business end of the year at work. This year there was a race to look forward to at the start of the Christmas break.

What type of race? A race around the Sydney Trains network stopping at all the stations.

Click here for the Facebook page or watch the video below.

Until next time.

Sunday 27 October 2019

A Trip to Brisbane

I flew up to Brisbane for a wedding last weekend. While I was there, I rode some trains.

Here's the video.

Until next time.

Sunday 13 October 2019

The Carlingford Line

If you live in Sydney, you have probably seen the T6 Carlingford Line on Sydney Trains maps. 

You've most likely not had a reason to use the line. There are around 1474 passenger journeys on the line daily. These figures come from Sydney Trains annual numbers for the year and was then divided by 365 for days in the year.

The line was never supported by the colonial government of the time but they were happy to have private enterprise have a go. Have a go they did and the line opened in April 1896. 

It didn't last long. It didn't even see out the end of the year.

The government paid about 1/3 of the total construction cost spent by investors - they got it at a comparable bargain.

The line was reopened on 1st August, 1901. There was lots of cheering and speeches and state and federal members arguing over which level of government should be in charge of the railways. After all of this banter, (or maybe before) all were driven to Dobinson's Hall for a banquet provided by Mrs Lockwood. This was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2nd August, 1901.

Something interesting about the article - the newspaper claimed that the line had never been opened.

It wasn't just the Carlingford Line, the Sandown line came with it. If you travelled on trains in the 90s, you might remember seeing the line on Cityrail maps. It disappeared in 2002.

In the modern age of Sydney Trains, the Carlingford Line is an anomaly. Trains are only four cars long. Some T5 trains between Leppington and Bankstown or Schofields are four car Millennium trains but others are the full 8 car trains.  And four car trains are used on the T7 Olympic Park Line as well. However, on the Carlingford Line, the platforms are only four cars long - except the racecourse platform at Rosehill, which can hold two 8 car trains.

Trains run at half hour intervals during weekdays but every 45 minutes on weekends.

I don't have a huge history with the line. I once proposed a layout based on Carlingford Station. (I built a layout based on the end of the line but added a goods yard to provide operating interest - but that's another story.)

My history began last year, in April 2018. I was taking part in the Sydney Train Race Challenge - the idea is that you have to be on trains that stop at every station in the fastest time.

I arrived at Clyde on an evening commuter train from Lidcombe. It was a cold April evening and I joined a number of commuters rushing from Platform 5 to Platform 1 for the Carlingford train.

The resting S-set seemed happy to wait for all of its passengers before it trundled across a congested Parramatta Road between the anxious cars which were shining their headlights to illuminate the delay to their urgent journeys.

To me the scene was a modern day version one of those old English branch lines that you read about - the ones where the express stops, people clamber out of one train and into the smaller and probably older train for the last and slow leg of their journey.

Here are a couple of images from that first encounter.

It wasn't the last time I rode the line but there won't be too many more. The line is scheduled to close on 5th January, 2020 to be converted into light rail as part of the Parramatta Light Rail network.

I took a trip on the line in the first week of October to film it. I figured that someone should. The S-sets are gone but the K-sets aren't too different.

If you've stuck with me this far, click on the link to the video. I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Ski Tubing

I wrote about the Ski Tube a couple of years ago. You can find the previous post here.

Every day it takes skiers from a carpark at Bullocks Flat to the resort and ski fields at Perisher in a four car train. If you want to venture to Blue Cow and ski to Guthega, you need to change to a three car train at Perisher.

From what I can gather, the platforms at all the stations can take four car trains. I saw one at Blue Cow when I was there this year. However, I don't think four car trains will always fit. At Blue Cow is the freight car. It is an old cut down guards van - so cut down that it is the chassis and bogies only. It is used to get stuff up the mountain and rubbish down the mountain.

The four car trains don't seem to fit when this wagon is in position.

The 1:42 pm service from Perisher to Blue Cow (I'm not sure what time from Bullocks Flat) brought the wagon from Bullocks Flat and the 1:42 pm from Perisher down the mountain came from Blue Cow. They both seemed to be two car services. The trains run every half hour at that time of day as well in stead of the 20 minute peak services. I'm not sure if this happens at the same time everyday. To be honest, I was there for the skiing and the trains were just an added bonus.

I still reckon it could make an excellent model.

Until next time.

Saturday 27 April 2019

More Train Adventures

I went for another trip around the Sydney Trains network on Friday. Here are some photos.

Until next time.

Monday 25 March 2019

Not Much Modelling

I went on another trip around the Sydney Trains network recently. Here are some images of the trip.

Until next time.