Sydney STA

Sydney STA
Sydney STA fleet for layout

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Torn between choices

As the new year of 2017 commences everyone has anticipation of new things to look forward to. I wanted to commence something new to spur some enthusiasm again into completing my layout. 

Torn - Choice of two different approaches
I was torn between either completing a full double track around the room to enable continuous running of trains or starting the 1970s scenery section of the layout. 
In the end, I half completed the full double track which ended when I ran out of flexitrack around the fiddle yard area and lost momentum  so ended up starting to commence the 1970s section again. 

New 1970s section
I have yet to name this section of the layout but it will have scenery items that will bring back memories of my childhood living in Belmore and travelling along Canterbury road during the early 1970s. 

The section measures 1800 mm long x 600mm wide. 

Track layout
This will consist of double track with Peco code 75 with a oil siding in the corner of the section. Track had been laid in previous months so what was needed was to paint and weather the track and ballast the sleepers.

I found a supplier in Blacktown, Austech that supplies extruded polystyrene which is denser than the normal polystyrene. I bought a couple of sheets a  few years ago. This will be used for the embankments where the track will be raised about street level. No more gaps are used to cover holes where there were joins between the polystyrene.

Above: Start of the embankment section of the 1970s layout

Rail and sleeper weathering and ballasting

I applied rust acrylic paint along the rails and nail heads with a light grey paint for the sleepers to remove the black plastic look.  This is where you can spend time weathering and detailing the track that can make a difference between a toy train and realism. I will probably need to do some more dry brushing with different shades of greys and browns to get the right look. 

I used Chucks Ballast - Martin's Creek fine on my previous layout and also on Wardell section of the layout. This is also used in this section applied on with a plastic spoon and a mixture of PVA glue with water and dishingwashing liquid applied to the ballast using an eye-dropper.

Above: Oil distribution section of the 1970s layout. with ballasting of sleepers commenced. 

I originally had the backdrop board already screwed on to the baseboard but found I needed to remove it to correct the underpass road that would represent the Arnotts rail bridge at North Strathfield. This made the layout detailing more accessible so I could access the back of the layout. I will probably won't reinstall it until after I have completed the scenery

Still alot to do
There is still alot to do with the scenery in the meantime I have been also been building some of the structures for this section. If I could complete the scenery in 6 months that would be fantastic.

Lets see. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Power on the Bridge

Work has commenced on developing a new area that will incorporate a 1970s section and fiddle yard. In order to for the trains to reach this new area a lift off bridge has to be built so that trains can go around the room and also that inside of the room can be accessed.

Test Run
Below is a test run of the CPH railmotor going over the lift off bridge with the safety zone in operation.


Safety Zone
In order to avoid any mishaps of locomotives still moving if the lift off bridge is up a safety zone is in place about 40 centimetres before this is an isolated section of track and only powered when the lift off bridge is down. A microswitch is installed near the hinge of the lift off bridge which triggers when power is made to the positive wires on the bridge


Wiring diagram
Sample wiring diagram found on the internet was used as the basis to complete the wiring for the safety zone and microswitch.
 Track Alignment
As the baseboard legs and shelving is movable a sawn connector rod and metal plug is use to align the bridge with the non-attached baseboard


I have been enjoying learning and doing the electronic side of building the layout. There is still some refinement and further testing to do but I am happy with the result

Happy New Year and until 2017



Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Thanks for everyone's support during the year. Hope to have some new exciting development in 2017

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Retrofitting lighting

After my post in August with the installed working street lights, I noticed that the platform and footbridge lacked any lighting. I decided that I needed to fit led lighting to both the platform light fittings and the footbridge. This took a bit of time and was quite difficult but I am happy with the results.
Above: Wardell station at dusk

Platform lighting
The platform light fittings are  Uneek double scroll top lights that are made of white metal and are solid with no actual light fitting. I purchase 10 warm white mini LEDS from a supplier in China from ebay and glued these to the top of the light fittings two for each light fitting. For Wardell station I used 8 LEDS two for each station lamp post.

Removal and reinstall
The most painful and tedious part was to dismantle my previous work such as the footbridge and station and platform. This is so that the I could drill holes in the baseboard to accommodate the lighting wiring to go the the AC power.

Footbridge lighting
The footbridge is quite a fragile structure and many parts had to be reglued. 
The other difficulty was installing lighting on the footbridge and footbridge stairs. I purchased a different set of LEDS for this.
The light fittings on  the footbridge were made from painted wire with plastic no stripped away.

Wiring for the footbridge and stair lights was also difficult as there was so many wires but limited space to hide them. I decided to use cut a terminal block into 2 ways so that all lighting wires would go into the terminal block and then only one set of lighting wiring would come from the footbridge to
the AC power .

Now that I finally finished the lighting I am looking forward to run some trains again!

Another view:Night Seen Wardell Station

Sunday, 30 October 2016

On the Wire

Finally after several months of procrastinating and attempting to complete some of the finer details of the layout such as tram overhead wiring and the telephone poles, I finally completed it. My tramway system looks complete with overhead wiring.

Below is a photo of the screen looking on Crystal street bridge.

Technique for the telephone poles and wires
 The tram poles and telephone poles were a combination of bamboo sticks and Rix Products Railroad telephone poles.  I really like the Rix Products as the telephone poles are a taller than the Atlas branded ones. I also made some modifications so they would look more like the prototype in Sydney in the 1950s.

The telephone wires were made from 0.440mm gauge wire from Mitre 10.

Technique for the Tram overhead
I tried many attempts trying to use super glue to glue etched brass overhead fittings together to the wire without much success. The holes in the etched fittings were too small to put the brass wire through. I decided to do without the overhead fittings and just solder the wire together.  After my old soldering iron died I decided to purchase a new solder iron with temperature control and also a new helping hands.

This assisted the job quite a lot. Also by adding further frogs to the overhead for curves the structure became stronger.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The end of the newsreel

"Good Evening and Welcome to Television"

Today is the 60th anniversary of when television was first broadcast in Sydney on 16 September  1956 by TCN Channel 9. Prior to this new technology, one had go to the local cinemas to see something on the screen .

The weekly newsreel provided patrons to weekly content of news, sport and current affairs that were shown at the local cinema. The onset of television resulted in the decline of the newsreel format as it could not keep up with bringing up-to-date news. It also resulted in the decline of the local cinema. 

Below is a tribute diorama to the anniversary. A newsreel film unit filming reviews of the new FE Holden Sedan in 1956.

The Holden FJ van is a Road Ragers diecast with custom designed and made decals. The film crew is a Preiser set.

 While the anniversary does not directly relate to my layout except that this event occurred in the 1950s it does allow me to display my other fetish. My HO scale model car collection. Here is a view of some of my collection as you can see my favourites are 1950s American cars.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Back to the boards

Lacking momentum
Over the last couple of months I have found it difficult to have the enthusiasm and momentum to complete the finer scenic details of the Wardell station section of layout. I would start a project such as installing the poles for the tramway wiring but did not have the patience to finish the frog and hanger wires.This was the same with the planned point rodding which has begun but not complete.

Back to woodwork

The idea of building the layout out was to build each module at a time before moving onto the next section i.e. trackwork, wiring and scenic section completed before moving onto the next board. Each module was either 600mm long or 1200mm long. This was to avoid the problem of biting off more than I can chew and also ensure that some scenery would be complete to do photo some model scenes.

Next Section
The next section of layout is loosely based on the goods area of Petersham before the Training Centre arose in its place. I am aware that there was a overhead wiring shed and a goods shed. However, I have no information of the goods shed as it slowly fell out of use before the 1950s.

Attached is a draft track plan of the next Section shaded in green and also the planned future section for part of the far wall.

Framework and backdrop
As shown with the timberwork to give some variety to the terrain there is some gradient for the main tracks to rise up gradually so that there will be a railway bridge. Whilst the tram tracks will gradient down so it will eventually be level with the baseboard. The area in between will be flat that represents the goods area.

 The backdrop is painted in Accent Iris Waters with a roller.

Here is a mock of the area with buildings. The G2 Goods Shed is taken from my Bilby Beach Layout which I feel has too big a footprint for the goods area. I might replace the The overhead wire Shed is represented by a Dunnyhalt plywood laser cut kit from Models and More. A kit that was easy to put together.

Trackwork has been laid down and using PVA glue and cork

Lasting thoughts:
I was pleased with the progress after two Sunday afternoons work. I still need to decide whether I should keep with the G2 Goods Shed or purchase a G1 Goods shed or another appropriate goods shed that would suit the area.