Kingsvale, NSW 1963

Kingsvale, NSW 1963
A view of Kingsvale station, looking north towards Cowra c1963. Courtesy Ken Ames, "From Grease to Gold Braid".

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A bit about Kingsvale

Kingsvale had a small yard comprising a main line, adjacent to the platform, a crossing loop and a goods siding.  The railway infrastructure, in the period of interest (circa 1953), consisted of a timber station building (a variation of the A3 1909 design) and a signal box.  A gents lavatory was at the northern end of the platform, and further north, a fettlers shed.  A pitched-roof out-of room was added on the southern end of the platform later, as was a grain shed on the eastern side of the line.

Kingsvale, the layout, is currently only a single module 2.4m long x 0.6m wide.  This depicts approximately half of the station precinct, from the northern points to half-way along the platform.  An adjoining module will complete the station area.  However, my style is usually to be overly ambitious in the planning and overly procrastinatory in the execution.  So I wanted to limit the plan and see it through.
I'm using code 70 rail for the main line and code 55 for the sidings.  It will be DCC operated (NCE) and portable, though I'm not planning to move it far.  If I surprise myself and finish this, I will complete a loop and a fiddle yard to operate the station prototypically.
The current state is this:
The rail has been laid with PCB ties used to maintain the gauge and the 6-foot.  Points have been built, with the exception of the switch-blades.  Platform is under construction, and the station building (from a kit - can't remember whose) and the signal box (SJM) have been painted in the stone scheme.  I've laid cork road bed and the next step is to detail the rail, paint and glue down to the sleepers.  These have been stained with dilute grey raven oil.  A very effective weathered silvery/grey finish results.

More to report soon.


Market forces...

Not much to do with Kingsvale/Demondrille, but I had to share this recent experience...

I'm putting together a set of R cars I had sitting in my incomplete/unstarted kit box (when I get beyong the easy bit of filing, gluing, filling and sanding, I'll post some photos).  It got me thinking about the Stephen Johnson L car models, one of which was beautifully assembed and painted by Andrew Hayne in Branchline Modeller #1.  When they were available, I could never afford one, being a poor student. 

Even though Ian Lindsay still flogs the R cars, which are SJM patterns, Ian Storrie does not sell L cars, nor does he have access to the patterns.

Well, I found some L cars up for sale on EBay.  What luck.  I know how to play EBay and thought I was in with a good chance of at least one of the models up for sale.  I set a limit of about $90, which is exorbitant for 6 bits of plastic and a few bits of wire, but I was prepared to stretch to this for the opportunity to own one of these ugly, but strangely appealing carriages.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I won none of them, and an SJM ACM sold for $153!  Does Stephen Ottaway know what he could be charging if he made a few more?!? 

On reflection, maybe he was the one selling them!

So no L cars for me, for now.

I'll save my cash and get back to those R cars...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Brick-faced Platform

With my rails pretty much soldered into an assembly (without detailing or completing the point-work to an operational stage) I wanted to start work on the platform.

The platform is only about 100 yards long and brick faced.  The brickwork is distinctive and I want to make sure that I create a realistic effect.  Despite the fact that a platforms is such a basic structure in the railway landscape, there doesn't seem to be much source material for brick platforms in the model railway press.  Branchline Modeller did some good work on timber and concrete-faced platforms, but nothing on brick as I recall.  So I have studied the Wild Swan book on modelling buildings and looked about for decent english bond brick sheets.  There are a few choices here:
  • printed paper sheets - seem too red and cannot be painted over
  • embossed styrene or plastruct sheets
  • etched brass sheets
I favour the brass sheets, and Keiran Ryan's product looks very nice.  The only problem is that the platform is capped, which will be difficult to do using the brass alone.  So I might need a combination of brass and styrene.

More on this later...

Friday, 18 March 2011

A new frontier

This is my first ever blog post.  I realise now that this is where it's at as far as recording modelling progress and sharing techniques and know-how, so I've joined the fraternity.
This is a short post, just to get started, but I hope to have some photos of what I'm working on in the near future.

I have always wanted to model Demondrille, 391.6 km from Sydney on the Main South.  This location is unique on the NSW railway system firstly because it was a locomotive servicing point on the main line and secondly, because it was not a terminus or locomotive depot.  Walking around the remains of the coal bunker almost twenty years ago, I was captivated by the extent of these facilities, despite the fact that it was not far from the large rail centres of Harden and Cootamundra, and yet in the middle of nowhere.

I have made some moves towards fulfilling this ambition; the train room now exists (though it also fulfils a few other functions; storage for example) and I have a half built coal bunker.  But Demondrille is a large and complex facility and my procrastination and pursuit of perfection combined with the usual lack of time means I might never have an operating layout.

So, to break this conundrum and just build something, I decided to create a smaller layout (consisting initially of one or two modules) based on Kingsvale, which is the first station along the line from Demondrille on the cross-country branch to Cowra and Blayney.  I was very fortunate to discover that in Ken Ames book "From Grease to Gold Braid" there is an entire chapter on his time at Kingsvale in the early 60s, including a number of decent photos.  Great!

Kingsvale was a busy fruit-farming area (still is) and the railway facilities comprised a single line with a loop and goods siding, a modified A4 station building and a loading bank.  An easy place to start.

I was keen to try a Proto87 layout, but this is another aspect which actually retards my modelling; with so much stuff that is not to Proto87 standards and a desire to have an operating layout of some sort as quickly as possible, I decided Kingsvale should not be Proto87.  I will aim to make it to as high a standard as I am capable of without going as far as Proto87 just yet.

If you have any photos of Kingsvale (or Demondrille) pre 1992 (the first time I visited the area) and are willing to share them, I would love to hear from you!