Site seeing – July 30

It’s tool time.

Over on the model railroad hobbyist forum, at the outer end of the western spiral arm, is a discussion going on about the ”Challenges of working in a small space’. Sprinkled in and among that discussion are some of the best ideas I’ve seen for organisation yet.

I won’t say that the solutions are available in your country however, they do give great food for thought and we can all work to come up with something similar. Some of the best ones I’ve seen are so simple I wish I’d thought of them.

Site 1: Model Railroad Hobbyist Forum

In this thread I’ve seen some great tool sets and here are a couple from this thread:

If you get the chance head over to the link and take a read through. I’m looking at building that second stand. Without an inside modelling location at the moment (I normally model in the garage during late spring, summer and early autumn) I have to be mobile in my modelling approach.


Image 1: Andrew’s yellow carry bucket of tools


Site seeing – July 28

I’m always looking for interesting ideas for small layouts. Interchanges especially can provide a great way to represent the rest of the world on a small layout. And so I segue into today’s site of interest. Note the image below is from the RailPictures.Net site and published courtesy of the photographer Tom Sink. Those GPs sure look handsome in those colours though…

Two South Orient Railroad GP9s (former DRGW) lead a train east of Alpine, TX in 1994 on the former ATSF San Angelo Subdivision.

Site 1: The South Orient [ Link to blog –> ]

Recently over on the Rails West blog B. Smith has written about his time on the South Orient. From late 1992 he was the conductor on the railroad working out of Alpine Texas. The list of articles are in the resources section below. One particular piece caught my eye however, in the most recent post:

The cars coming to the South Orient in interchange are on the Mexican side, ready for us to couple into and bring into the United States, as soon as I unlock the gate.

An international border, a bridge and an interchange all in one. Ooh I can feel a design coming on already. Inspiration is certainly where you find it, but I’m not sure I’ve been this inspired for some time.

The whole recollection series has interested me. Take the time to visit the blog and read about the line. There’s even a teaser talking about traffic patterns in the future.

For now I’ll leave you with a TxDOT video on the line’s revitalisation:


  1. Remembering Belding — Old School Railroading in the 1990s
  2. Lonesome Casa Piedra – Last Run of the Texas Pacifico South of Alpine, TX (for now)
  3. Reflections on the South Orient – Part 1
  4. Reflections on the South Orient – Part 2
  5. TxDOT’s page with all of the information on the line

Happy rails to you all…

Site seeing – July 27

One of the things that I often wonder about is where things go to die. In my professional life I had a lot to do with the disposing of assets. Perhaps that explains the morbid nature of it all.

Having said all of that twaddle, let’s go on to today’s site seeing.

Site 1 – The Last Journey of Tram 58 (YouTube)

In this YouTube video, Melbourne Z1 class tram #58 shares its last journey from  the tram depot to its permanent home at the new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre in Craigieburn.

Shot in late 2013 this shows some of the places that our larger pieces of infrastructure go on to when their original working life ends.

Further resources

You can find out more about the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre here in this YouTube video:


Site seeing – July 26

It’s a relatively quiet Sunday in Ballarat. After a wild night of gale force winds and driving rain, it’s been a quiet Sunday morning. Yesterday Mrs HVL and I headed into Melbourne to get away from town for the day. The Hawthorn Tramway Museum in Melbourne had an open day and we took the opportunity to ride public transport all the way to get there.

Site 1: The Melbourne Tram Museum – Hawthorn [Link Here –>]

Located at the junction of Routes 70 & 75 in Melbourne’s eastern suburb Hawthorn the Melbourne Tram Museum is a volunteer-based non-profit group composed of representatives from VicTrack, Heritage Victoria, honorary appointees with recognised expertise in tramway history and preservation, and representatives of the volunteer workers.

We visited as part of the Open House Melbourne. There are some outstanding examples of trams. Here are a selection of the photos taken on the day.

Why Z1 class tram #81 was highlighted

This tram represented the beginning of the renewal of Melbourne’s tramway system beginning in 1975, ending two decades of neglect by the Liberal State Government

It also signals the beginning of ongoing Federal intervention in the peacetime development of Australia’s urban infrastructure, which had previously been an entirely State government function. The Z class tram program was one of the enduring fruits of this fundamental shift in political responsibilities.

Number 81 was the first Z1 class tram to be built (the previous 80 trams of the Z class order were completed to a different standard, and upgraded later to the Z1 design).

In its new identity as ‘Karachi W11’, Z1 81 was used on Melbourne’s City Circle route for the duration of the Commonwealth Games, over the period 14-26 March 2006. The cultural experience for tram passengers was intensified by Bhangra and Pakistani music playing in the background. Special event conductors handed out souvenir tickets featuring the imagery and Urdu poetry displays typical of public transport tickets in Karachi.

After the end of the Games, Z1 81 was placed into storage, but was returned to limited service on the City Circle route on Friday evenings, from 3 November 2006 until 23 March 2007, as part of the City of Melbourne Living Arts program. Performances were conducted on its journey by artists, musicians and dancers during the sponsored program.

On completion of the season, Z1 81 was returned to storage, where it remained until it was placed into the collection of the Melbourne Tram Museum @ Hawthorn Depot on 19 June 2015.

You can find out more about this spectacularly beautiful tram by following the links in the resources section below.


  1. Bell Cord  – Journal of the Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot – Issue #28 – discusses the history and transformation of Z1 Class tram #81. A really great article about this car and it’s history and a lot of political history on the Melbourne Tramways that as an import I did not know about or understand.
  2. Yarra Trams Z1 Class No 81 ‘Karachi W11’


Site seeing – July 19

It’s been a busy month with lots of travel for work. Posts have been somewhat on the light side. Add to that a very cold Ballarat (it was -6 degrees Centigrade this morning and frost everywhere) and I have been not much in the modelling mood. However, the weather changes and my mood with it.

Site 1: Gene’s p48 Blog

One of Gene’s blog readers suggested recently that he publish older articles on building models to help those who want to build their own equipment. Gene said that his first reaction was that ‘it can’t be done since they are copyrighted‘.

After a period of thought he realised that some builds and techniques are already on the Proto48 Modeler site and are already available.

First is a PDF presentation about building freight cars with styrene [Link here] opens the PDF in a new window. You can download it directly by right clicking in Windows and choosing save link as. Don’t own a Mac so cannot help you.

The second link of the day points to the Proto48 Modeler site [Link here] which has a few articles posted that provide a lot of guides on modelling that are applicable to all scales, however the focus is on Proto48.

Enjoy, and I hope that you’ve had a great weekend.

Site seeing – July 8

Obsessive, obscure, observant and even excessive; all these monikers I’ve worn in my modelling career. And then just when you feel that you need to back off the scratchbuilding fanaticism along comes someone to restore my faith in the obsession.

Site 1: Scratch building a HO scale mattress box spring [Link –>]

Over on the FreeRails forum there is a build I just had to showcase. Sean W needed a box spring mattress for a scene. Not able to find one from a manufacturer he did what he had to do – scratchbuilt.

Sean W's HO scale box-spring mattress

Image 1: Sean W’s scratchbuilt box-spring mattress (

Visit the link above to see how he did it. Great work Sean!

Site seeing – July 7

A local site seeing tour today of the newest pages uploaded to the blog.

Site 1: Small Layouts [Follow the link —>]

This is the small layouts section of the old website that is now offline as mentioned in my post yesterday. There are over 30 layout designs in this section.

Site 2: Medium Layouts [Follow the link –>]

This is the medium layouts section of the old website. There are 13 layout designs in this section.

Site 3: Large Layouts [Follow the link –>]

This is the large layouts section of the old website. There are 3 layout designs in this section.

Site 4: Ideas and Scribbles [Follow the link –>]

This is the most interesting and fastest growing section of the website. The Ideas and scribbles section is the storehouse of all of the doodling and noodling that I’ve done over the years. There are narrow gauge loco designs, industry designs, layout ideas and designs but all are drawings only.

  1. Layout Bits
  2. Layout Ideas
  3. Other Stuff
  4. Track Diagrams


Broken down into four major sections follow the links and find some hopefully useful ideas to kickstart your own modelling process.

Site seeing – July 6

A last goodbye

The old Hunter Valley Lines Gallery is no more, after changes driven by the hosting company. There were a total of 476 files in 46 albums and 19 categories viewed 99,871 times since I bought the gallery online in 2005.

Luckily I have all of those files stored here at home, and over time I’ll bring them all back up online here on WordPress.

The Gallery is dead; Long live the Gallery!