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.



  1. Sad to hear about the mould situation Tom. Billabong Marina was a fun little layout to follow, and I enjoyed your articles in Australian Model Railway Magazine. I hope the new layout fares better should any other storms roll your way. One tip I've learned when it comes to plywood and layouts, is to never leave any timber surface bare. I live in Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast is notorious for humidity problems, so I always seal the underside of all my layouts first using some clear satin Cabbott's wood stain or something similar. All fascias are painted with water based enamel before I start working on any layout leaving the only bare timber as the layout surface which is quickly covered with scenery anyway. In the past 8 years I'm yet to experience any problems with mould on the layout. It's survived hail stones the size of golf balls coming through our windows and the rain that followed, although I do understand damage from flooding may be another thing altogether. Take care, and I look forward to the new layout's progress!

  2. Thanks Phillip. I've had a layout in the past that was hit with rain from hailstone holes in a roof but it just dried off and I carried on building it - once the roof was replaced. All timber for the current layout is painted on all sides with exterior paint before construction. (Cabbott's Indian Red) It's just the cut ends that are exposed and I'll be remedying that as much as I can soon. I've found a couple of spots in a painted surface which I have dealt with. The extended rain is causing mould to pop up everywhere at the moment.

    Philden Street Yard is amazing by the way. I've enjoyed seeing that one come together.