Friday, 24 February 2012


         HO scale Overhead wiring/Catenary..

The very mention of it amongst modellers here in Australia brings raised eyebrows and the age old " it's too hard to install isn't it, and you'll snag it with something, just have the poles with no wires".

I decided from the start to have a complete catenary setup with wires,poles and gantry's.

Several European brands of HO catenary are available, but none of them match the type we have here in Sydney. Some are close, but not the same. Therefore all parts will be scratchbuilt to suit the layout.

Cronulla, and most of the cronulla branch line had telegraph(wooden) masts holding the overhead wiring from the start, some of these wooden masts were still in use up until the 90's in addition to the later metal replacements. Below are the first few masts I've built.

The HO representation of the wooden mast(single).  Made from 4mm dowel, piano wire, thin chain and sommerfeldt resistors.

The metal gantry type mast. Made from 4mm Plastruct profile, piano wire ,chain and Sommerfeldt resistors.

There are several different types I have to make, including more metal masts(both singles & gantry), plus tensioner poles and pull offs.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


When I go to exhibitions, one of the main things I zero in on is the ballasting on each layout. I believe ballast is one of those things that can make or break a diorama depending on how realistic it looks. So I  like to see how each modeller tackles it.

I have crushed some actual ballast from the local area and if I can crush enough of it, I will use it. It should replicate the local ballast well considering it IS local ballast.
I am going to weather the rails with rust colour, the rails at Cronulla being particularly rusty on the sides due to the salt air from the sea nearby. I will probably airbrush some thinned light browny/grey over the rails and the ballast when laid.
Layouts that have weathered ballast look better in my opinion(as long as the weathering is subtle and appropriately coloured)

Here is a shot of  a small ballast check today..

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


My double garage has been a storage(dumping) area for years, but is slowly being cleaned to allow adequate room to complete the layout.

In regards to the layout itself, the baseboard is finished, and a raised platform for the track to run along has been mounted to the baseboard the full length. When the garage is cleaner, I will take some broader pics of the layout.
Here is a few shots with trackwork sitting loose, whilst being test fit...
                                    Above, Drivers view from the the Sydney end of the platform, with storage siding straight ahead and the mainline diverging off to the left.

                               Looking away from Sydney towards the terminal sidings. The platform will be at the left of these tracks(where the jar is).            

The plan

Here is the railway's line diagram of the area, showing the position of all relevant features such as points,catch points,signals and the relation between the railway areas and the surrounding roads. The single line(from Sydney)appears at the top and runs to the station and 2 sidings at bottom. There is also a long storage siding from the station that leads back towards Sydney parallel to the single mainline.

I know the basic order of train operations for Cronulla as it was, but intend to go there and speak with the stationmaster, if possible, to find out more.


I have created this blog as a visual diary for myself as i create a layout in HO scale and to share my ideas about modelling modern image railways.

Choosing which Sydney area/station to model?

I have always favoured Southern Sydney for a layout as this is the area in which I live, but have considered the potential of stations from across the network.
STANMORE was an early idea, I loved the hertiage feel to the area with all its terrace houses and old station buildings.
CARLTON was also on the cards, as I had also lived here at one point and liked its heritage station buildings.

These ideas and others like them (Ashfield, Rockdale, Mortdale, Redfern!) contained at least 4-8 track mainlines or had complex pointwork and considering this was my first layout in 15 years, I decided to keep it a bit more managable.

In the end, I decided that a point to point shelf layout would be the best option to get me started  (must have been all the years of subscribing to British modelling mags, they love shelf point-points).

Point to point operation narrowed it down to yards, out depots or terminal stations, as I didnt want to run mainline trains from "behind a curtain to behind the other curtain" and back again, if that makes sense.

My layout had to have a purpose, it had to have realistic operation. Trains on my shelf layout had to appear at one end and run  across the layout to a depot/yard or station, then leave back where they had come from.

Anyway....after much considering and day dreaming the pro's and con's of different locations, Cronulla was chosen.

Why Cronulla?

It is not to distant from my home so it's easy for research visits,
 it is a terminal station at the end of a (mainly)single line branch,
 it also has storage sidings near the station where trains are stored overnight and off peak, but mainly,
 the single line branch and Cronulla station trackwork have been completely rebuilt/realigned during 2010-2011 and the single line branch duplicated into 2 mainlines and Cronulla yard completely remodelled.

The fact that the single line branch was no more, and never will be again, motivated me to create this shelf layout, a piece of history if you will....