2013 Re-start

Just when I am starting to think the layout may have had it's day, operations have commenced again over the weekend, almost by accident. An account of some of the running is on the Updates page:

2011's Second Run

D3a 665 opens the second running session for 2011, here she is approaching Cudgewa, having just passed the home signal. I took a few pictures of the Dn run which can be found in the Gallery: http://shelley-railway-historical.blogspot.com/

Restart 2010

Following some minor works to fix baseboard track connections and replace some detail accidentally biffed during works on Glenburn, track cleaned, power turned on and services return to Cudgewa. Here's the first train, almost 2 years to the day since the last service. - those wagons have sat in the yard a long time! More details under "Operations".

June 2009 - At the buffers.

A small entry to note the end of regular Shelley Railways development. I started building rollingstock for Shelley Railways in 1996, with a test diorama in 1997 before major baseboard construction from 1998 and first stage completion in late 2001. Regular upgrades and extensions to the layout as detailed in the blog bring it to its' final stage for now. The concept has reached it's natural end and looking for a new challenge early last year I commenced modelling VR Broad Gauge in the 1920's/30's in Inner East Melbourne (you can follow progress of this here: http://victorianrailways.blogspot.com/). However the "Cudgewa" layout remains completely set-up and operational and I will occasionally run services through the winding path in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and across grey trestles ageing gracefully in the beautiful North East Victorian bush.

September 2008 - No it did'nt take that long to paint!

Painted back at the start of the year, I have been meaning to post an update on the lower Darbyshire trestle for some time!

December 2007 - Time for Painting

Hopefully showing some of the distinctive features of Victorian Railways' trestle bridges. Note the diagronal braces slant downwards toward the centre of the curve.

December 2007 - Trestle Bits

All components are now complete and ready for assembly. As the trestle is curved, the cant of all the bearers will be toward the centre of the curve to help offset the lateral motion of the train rolling through the curve.

December 2007 - Trestle Factory

Work underway on the supports for the lower Darbyshire trestle with most piers now either complete or getting there. Piles are dowel, beams, crossmembers, bracing and strapping is North Eastern wood. For all but one of the existing trestles, I hand-morticed the piles, this is now much easier with the Dremel. Nb. Weighting track pins are authentic - hailing from Shelley, Koetong & Huon!

December 2007 - Through Koetong toward Tallangatta

These two pictures show recent works on the new section, that above, the "bridge" across the doorway which connects Shelley (lower right) with the line down to Tallangatta. Where the "bridge" lands on the far side will be a minor representation of Koetong, and the junction for Snowy Mountain Railways. A few points: track on the "bridge" (particularly the curve) is set-track as it is fundamental it retains its shape, and this section is fixed in place and will be cut-through (and made removable) once the track has been fixed.

Here's the next section. To build the curving 1 in 30 downgrade I drew it out on paper, cut it out and used this cut-out as a template for jigging it out of 9mm marine play. As 9mm ply is so strong (relative to the weight of the trains that will run over it), I have only placed supports every 30cm, as such each support is 1cm lower than the other which makes the 1 in 30 grade. The missing one in the photo above will be placed under the trestle once built. The track bed is only approx. 50mm wide - enough for the trackbed, allowing scenery to be built to any dimension either side of the per way. I have drawn out the approximate dimensions of the trestle and placed it in it's approximate position to test whether it fits the location. This trestle will be a close, but not exact copy, of the lower of the two Darbyshire trestles between Bullioh and Darbyshire. A photo I took some time ago of this trestle is below.

December 2007 - Bad Photos for a Good cause

Not my best photos ever but they record a significant moment in Shelley Railways' life. On Sunday 2 December, the Up afternoon goods became the first train to run through Shelley as the "bridge" extension over the doorway was complete enough to do so. Given I built Shelley in 2001, it's been a long time coming!
The final bad quality photo shows the Z van trundling out of Shelley. I think any modeller who (like me) contends with a lack of space will understand how good such a moment is!

Tomix GE-look-alike Pantograph

Placed on site as a reference for a mail to the VMRS Group.

November 2007 - Ok, Let's try that again....

Case in point of the fluidity of planning - no sooner had I erected the new section (as per the previous post), than I found it to be unsuitable. My online and outline planning did not and could not have brought out that the board was now too wide for comfortable access, and that the difference in height down from Shelley to Tallangatta (maximum 10cm) would not allow a decent representation of the height of the Darbyshire valley, and trestle(s) in this area. Plan two then has now been devised and executed - the peninsula section allowing plenty of depth for the grade downhill, Tallangatta and Fiddle yard lengths being preserved, as is the continuous run which now connects directly with Cudgewa rather than runs via Tallangatta and the Fiddle Yard as previously thought. Below is the new plan, and picture of it in the room.

November 2007 - Extension work begins...

Here's the early draft extension plan - draught, as plans generally change a bit when building actually begins. The key features are the doorway crossing (top left), grade down to Tallangatta, fiddle yard, connection to Cudgewa to form a continuous loop, and allowance for a future "Snowy Mountain Railways" (the line running along the left and base wall). The yard in the centre of the room was just drawn as a "what if" and won't be built, but a siding may be provided to allow for future extension.

This view from the door shows the baseboards and the usual planning suspects - tape measure, pencil, rulers, track (including fixed section curves for planning curves). I draw it out on paper (in this case old Christmas paper - cheap and easy to use). No, I don't smoke, but in the fine traditions of modelling eccentricities I do like to chew on it when planning!

A very basic planning trick - this photo shows (below the blur) various heights which helps visualise where the track is and the relativity of scenery sections.

Another basic planning trick is laying out the largest train likely to use the section - this helps visualise the scene/scale and also ensures (as in this case at Tallangatta-to-be) that crossing loops are long enough.

October 2007 - And then there were three....

Digging into the life and times of Blitzes, I found there were two interesting examples operating around Cudgewa/Corryong, which then had to be modelled...

The first was a C15 as produced by GMH with the Australian only "Pie Cart" radio modification. This one was purchased by Jim Edwards who ran the postal contract out of Corryong up to Khancoban. Back in the pre-Snowy Scheme days, the rough and off-road capability of the Blitz would have been handy in this part of North East Victoria.

The third blitz was a C 60 conversion operating in the Snowy Mountains section of Cudgewa yard in the late 1950's/early 1960's in the role shown above - transferring the cement containers from the flat KCC wagons to trucks for onforwarding to the Snowy Scheme sites.

I have prepared an article for Australian Model Railway Magazine on these conversions.

Placed on site as a reference for sending this to AMRM via Railpage

September 2007 - A "Blitz" truck

Some light relief from scenery work - just completed a "Blitz" truck conversion from the Battlefront Miniatures model to make this piece of rural Australia - and will prepare a brief article for AMRM on the prototype and conversion.

September 2007 - Groundcover on the Hill

The base layer for the new alignment was laid during the week - a mix of Woodland Scenics' materials and some grounded dirt/chips. Next layer will be the intermediate growth (fallen logs, bushes etc.) then the upper layer of trees. I have used D3a 665 to test the alignment as it's the most picky when it comes to trackwork - ie. if it works for the hardest case, it should work for all!

September 2007 - Changes to The Hill

The existing Cudgewa - The Hill section (below Boundary Ck trestle to above Beetoomba trestle) was not long enough for the wall, so I am in the process of extending it. The picture above shows the work in progress. The old connection is shown by the red curving line where part of the old track not removed can be seen. The two sections used to connect at A-A. The new alignment is between B and B and includes a (relief!) straight section. The expanses of cream are the new cutting walls which have been plastered. The track has been ballasted and painted however the scenery is yet to be added. The previous "Mountain Ash" forest has been pulled out leaving some holes (eg. C), it will be replaced by a more authentic (and hopefully better looking!) medium density eucalypt forest.

August 2007 - Inspiration...

Like many modellers, key inspiration for Shelley Railways comes from actual operations and locations. Above are a few of the photos taken in anticipation of a possible extension to Pygmy Possum Valley in the Australian Alps. These were taken at Charlotte's Pass, Perisher Valley and at Bullock's Flat in late Spring. The Australian Alpine style both of the natural and built world is quite distinct from those seen around the world and I may try to capture some of this flavour to make an authentic Australian Alpine railway.

December 2006 - The Cudgewa Room - Framing complete

Two weeks of activity with "Metal Mate" has resulted in a room with near completed framing and almost ready for the layout boards - above are some of the walls of the room......that door won't be used for some time! There are three shelving levels, that at the base for storage, the middle and upper to be determined between Cudgewa and a future project.

November 2006 - It does'nt look much but........

This is to be the room housing my model railways - Shelley Railways for a start. It's approx. 3m x 3.3m (approx. 12' x 11') which may not seem huge, but is huge for me as I've not had more than shelf space to dedicate to railways before. Works to go before the railway is reassembled include racking and new lighting, the current single lamp being too dim. As the room has two entrances, one will be sealed to maximise the modelling space.

June 2006 - Extended alignment at Dn end of Beetoomba baseboard

My new digs have allowed an increase in length to one side of the layout which I have used to extend the approach to Cudgewa yard, and provide the Snowy Scheme Oil Road. To direct the track onto the extension I have re-aligned the track at the Dn end of the Beetoomba baseboard (the red line shows the projected run in the "before" photo, the indoor photo is "after" - apologies for the dark indoor shot, we've had quite a bit of rain in Sydney lately!). The old formation is now a farm track with a rather solid bridge that looks suspiciously VR. Also included is a shot of the "non-beauty/honest/backscene" side of the new Wabba Ck trestle to show its' foundation and the scenery method employed (trackbed on marine ply with cedar risers, polystyrene scenery former, with plaster and scenic material on top) which I've found useful for small steep sections such as the river valley here.

May 2006 - Cudgewa (Old) Goods Shed relocated to Shelley

Here's Cudgewa's old shed relocated to Shelley on a new purpose-built platform with earth filled ramp as per prototype.

May 2006 - New Goods Shed for Cudgewa (& hence for Shelley)

Wayyy back in 1998 when I built Cudgewa, I had a single black & white photo of the end of Cudgewa goods shed taken at a distance. I guessed it was corrugated iron. I guessed wrong. The dearth of published colour material since those relatively sparse days, and a growing photo collection has slowly convinced me to change it to prototype (albeit shorter of course) - wood and painted the same colour as the station buildings. So nearly 8 years later, using the plan I drew back in 1998 I have now built the replacement. The old corrugated iron goods shed will be relocated up to Shelley, as I have also found in the intervening years that the Shelley shed lasted much longer than I had originally thought.

5 March 2006 - First Posting

This post is to open up my Shelley Railways Site to record updates in my Shelley Railways modelling. I hope the updates and developments are of interest and encouragement to you in your modelling.