Monday, December 29, 2008

Layout Details

Layout Details.

HO Scale.


Time Frame

two periods allowing me to model steams /diesel transition and Mid era diesels

  • late 1950's -early 1960's

  • late 1970's

But I do have models which are post 1980 (let alone non NSW models) but I don't intend to run those during 'operating sessions'

Layout Size

9m * 4.5m (29' * 15') approx - not as good as it seems because of the sloping attic roof

Dual level connected by a 3 turn helix with about a 1/48 grade.

  • Lower level is a folded dogbone giving a double track main line with two stations and staging yards either end (one set of staging yards is complete, the other is currently just a single line)

  • Upper level single track with representations of Portland,Mudgee and either Gulgong or Dunedoo (this may change). The stations in between Portland and Mudgee are representing by a staging yard. I chose Portland because of the cement works (hey I work for the company - what do you expect :-) and the exchange siding workings - should be rather neat, Mudgee because of the fabulous station building let alone the fact that most trains either terminated there or at the least had an engine change, Gulgong or Dunedoo because they represent the area a little bit further up the line.


  • Peco code 75 flex track

  • Scratchbuilt points (mainly No. 6 for the main line and No. 5 for the yard areas). Points will be controlled by scratchbuilt slow motion point motors. Rail is MicroEngineering code 70, using the rail soldered to PCB sleepers method of point construction.


  • Lower level is 'L' girder construction using mainly 75 * 25 (3 *1) or 50 * 25 (2 *1) timber

  • Upper level is a cantilevered tabletop construction, I used 75 *25 (3 * 1) maple(meranti?) as I thought it might be stronger than pine. Seems to work OK so far - it's been up for about 6 - 7 years and only 1 cantilevered support has had the glue let go, but I have had to use a threaded rod to support the upper level roughly in the middle of each section - I intend to disguise this using Ray Pilgrim's tree method.

  • Benchtops are 12mm 5ply and the track is laid on 3mm cork roadbed.

DCC using EasyDCC by CVP and wireless (Radio) throttles. I selected this after trying a number of different system on a few layouts as it is the one that felt most comfortable to me, it was also the only one which had a decent radio throttle at the time.

The lower level does allow for straight 'DC' control via double pole double throw switches

Track Plans

The plans show the current state of the layout, however the layout is not yet 'runnable' as I still have to make & install most of the pointmotors for the lower level - I hope to have this finalised by Feb/Mar - not sure what year though.

Took me a little while to produce the track plans as I have not used a CAD package before (I used XTrkCad), so a bit of a learning curve was involved - not perfect but good enough to see what I am trying to achieve - guess the time could have been better used in progressing the layout but I enjoyed myself while watching the cricket.

Lower Level

Upper Level

Well, thats it for now -

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Story so far

After watching a few friends blogspots I figured out I may as well have a go at making one for my layout, so here it is.

This post is just a brief introduction, I'll have to take some photos & publish them next, and then draw the plans of the layout as it stands so far - it will be a slow process but hopefully will get there eventually.

I have the beginnings of a layout in an attic, when I first started it, it was to be based on the South Coast of NSW from Bombo thru to Bombaderry, then I gave a presentation on Cement Traffic in NSW at one of the conventions and as part of my research came across Portland, I then realized this would be a neat little line to model, so I scrapped any ideas I had on the South Coast & started researching the Mudgee line.

Some of the following is what I like about Mudgee :

  • The fantastic station building - going to be a lot of fun building that.

  • The cement works @ Portland & their exchange siding and private locos.

  • That Mudge has it's own loco depot and locos where changed there in the era I will be modelling.

I wanted to make a dual level layout to allow maximum use of the space I have available. A major constraint I have is that the layout is in it's own purpose built room in the attic and thus I have sloping walls to contend with. To start with I made a small module with the two levels and left it at that for a few months so I could get a feels for it, after a few adjustments on the module I started on the main layout benchwork and am pretty happy with the outcome so far.

The layout has been under construction for the last 7 years, it is still very much a plywood central at this moment - as mentioned it is a double level layout, the lower level is 1050 mm (3 foot 5 inches) above ground level, the upper level is 1440 mm (4 foot nine inches) above ground level, giving a gap of about 320mm ( 12 inches approx) between the two levels (allowing for the framework). The two levels are connected by a 3 turn helix with about a 1/48 grade.

That all for now...