Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back Home

Big ol' jet airliner take me back home (Photo from, but it was who I flew with & the type of plane I flew on)
Well my brief sojourn in Perth has come to an end all to quick as I had to come back to Sydney unexpectedly, my  wife is very happy (well she is actually the reason I had to come home, but that's a story for another day, maybe) and the kids were delighted to have me home (though not sure if that still holds true :-) but for me my stay in the West came to an end much to quick and unfortunately whilst I did get to sample some of the local delights, I certainly did not see anywhere near what I had intended to, both from a modelling perspective and a general perspective, though it meant I got a chance to go to the AMRA 50th anniversary exhibition held at the E.G Whitlam centre in Liverpool which I had resigned myself to missing out on (costs twice as much to fly at that time as compared to a few weeks earlier, or later, I wonder why that is) the down side is that I had hoped to get to a 'local' exhibition down at Albany which would have been a neat trip for a weekend.
Next time, and I hope there will be a next time, I hope to sample more of the local sites which was difficult this time as I was limited to public transport, speaking of which I'm quite impressed with the idea of  some of the suburban lines going down the centre of the freeway.
As I am a member of the NMRA, I took advantage of that membership to attend a couple of the meetings and meet some of the local members, who made me feel most welcome, and I must make a special mention of Alan Burrough, the Div 4 super who went out of his way to drive me to the meetings, a gesture that was really appreciated & shows the benefits of belonging to an organisation such as the NMRA, or AMRA which also has a national presence. One of the members who hosted a meeting was Phil Knife(MMR), unfortunately he was in the midst of moving and so his layout was stripped bare ready to be moved to its new home (another local Modeller has purchased it I believe), but a sample of Phil's modelling is evident in the following photo of a WAGR 'R' class that Phil scratch built to SN3 1/2 scale, using a mixture of Styrene for the superstructure and Brass/Nickel Silver for the chassis, some really nice modelling.

The other meeting I attended was at Frank Goode's (MMR) place, a sample of his modelling skills is displayed in the following set of photos :

And the view one gets when Frank opens up the door to the layout room, rather nifty I think (pardon the sideon view, can't figure it how to import it vertically.


I've been told that there is a fairly good contingent of NSW modellers over in the West, unfortunately I did not really get a chance to meet any though I did manage to get to the AMRM clubrooms near Bassendean and saw the Swan View  layout first hand, unfortunately none of the structures were on the layout as they were boxed and put away so as to minimise damages, a very good idea, they also had a range of HO/OO American & British models which were very nice, and a really nice 'O' gauge layout :

When I knew I was definitely coming home I hired a car for my last weekend, this gave me the opportunity to see a few railway related items I would not have seen otherwise, one was a visit to Whiteman Park where they have a purpose built tourist 2' (I think) narrow gauge railway (Bennett Brooke Railway - ), they do have steam there (including a couple of South African ng15 2-8-2, unfortunately they are under repair but are hopeful of having at least one back & running in the not too distant future) as well as some other smaller steamers, but unfortunately they were restricted to diesel running due to a bushfire which was being mopped up as I was there, so our trusty stead for the day was a Gemco Funkey PW27 (Wyndham). Whilst travelling in the passenger cars I asked the Guard, 'Mal' about the railroad, and whilst telling me about the history of the line he asked where I was from, when I said Sydney & that I was returning home the next day he then contacted the driver, Scott & arranged for me to have a cab ride, so my planned 1/2 hour trip ended up lasting a very pleasant 2 hours, so thank you to Mal & Scott for making this visitor from the east have a great day.

I also went down to Dwellingup to visit the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway (, I had decided not to go for a ride as I was due to fly out later that afternoon & did not want to take any risks, but I still had a great time looking at the steamer in service (a WAGR 'W' class?) and watching it as it worked its way back up the hillside.

From there I hightailed it back to Perth, there must've been a major accident in the opposite direction because I noticed that the freeway was blocked for at least 7 -8 Km and I remember thinking I'm glad I'm not stuck in that as I could have missed my flight. I then stopped in at the Castledare Miniature Railway (, they only had diesels running but still nice to see.

Quite ironic I travelled all the way to the west coast & still saw a 44, admittedly, a model (& it looked quite nice)

To me, one of the highlights of my stay in the West though was nothing to do with Railways but something that happened a few years ago now and have been wanting to see for many years now, as the PM of the day said, any boss that sacks someone today is a bum, or words to that effect, if that didn't give it away this should:

And that fabulous winged keel
Australia II, which won the America's cup many years ago, is on display at Freemantle in the Maritime museum, to me well worth seeing, as was the Collins class submarine, HMAS Ovens, that is open for a tour, well worth doing and certainly gives an appreciation for what our submariners go thru to defend us.

I guess I should also mention that I managed to do a bit of modelling as well whilst I was in the west and now I have the Southern Aurora Lounge car (BCS), Diner (RMS), Baggage car (MHN) and Power van (PHN) built to the basic shell stage(sides, structural end and roofs) , that can be a story for the next blog, but those that attended Liverpool on the Saturday would have seen Ian Black's model of the Southern Aurora running around the Waterfall layout & they looked great.

Well that's it for now.

Cheers Alex.

Monday, July 2, 2012

So, what's this photo got to do with the Mudgee Line, quite a bit it turns out, and then again nothing at all. The above photo of a sunset from a beach looking over the ocean is one which I would have thought I might take one day on holidays, but not from a place that I'm working from - why is that, well because I'm based in the Western Sydney area, which is where the Mudgee layout is, but that photo was taken at Scarborough Beach, Perth, Western Australia, just a few K's west of Sydney :-)

A little while ago the company I used to work for made me/my role redundant, unfortunately the only work I could find was based in Perth, the other side of the continent, and I must say though I've only been here for a short while, it is quite a nice place to be, I just hope I get a chance to sample the local modelling scene (Ideas anyone??).

One would think that with redundancy one would have a heap of time to be able to spend on the layout, unfortunately that's not how it's worked out for me, whilst I have been doing a bit of modelling, it's not really been for the Mudgee line (more on that shortly) I have not been able to do anything much on the layout (but I have managed to replace about 2/3rd of the old point motors with the RC Servo based point motors), mainly because of other commitments.

So what have I been doing.

At the last convention at Loftus I saw a demonstration of modifications to the Lima Southern Aurora cars to make them more realistic by a gent named Ian Black, after initial discussions with Ian I decided to have a go at making a 10 car Southern Aurora set, whilst it never ran to Mudgee (except as a preservation tour or three as far as I am aware and even then probably with not all the 'correct' cars) it has been a favourite of mine and I have always wanted to model it, my original intentions was to just have a go at making the power and baggage cars and leave it at that, Allan Brown showed me his models based on the Lima Southern Aurora cars where he lowered the windows to make them more realistic and I thought that would be a good move and discussed with Allan what would be involved in modifying the models, before I started Allan told me about a very good set of models of the Southern Aurora he had seen at the Armidale convention and he thought that whilst there was a fair bit of work involved that they did make up into a very nice set, after seeing Ian's rendition of the Southern Aurora set at the last Loftus convention I decided to have a go. Thus based on Ian's descriptions at the convention and via phone conversations, I have started making my versions based upon Ian's information.

The above photos are of the NAM & RMS, whilst not yet finished (long way to go actually) they have been a lot of fun to get to the stage they are in in the photo, currently I am working on some more LANs, NAMs & DAMs, and have bought some of the models west with me to hopefully continue with.

I'm hoping that whilst I'm working over in Perth that I might be able to do more modelling, time will tell, but if I have anywhere near the amount of free time I think I'll have, I should have the 10 cars finished in about 3 - 4 months.

So whilst the Mudgee line may not be worked on for quite a while from now on, I'm hoping that I will still be able to do some form of modelling in one form or another.

Well that's it for now, so until next time I bid you adieu.

Cheers Alex...