An Australian RIP (switching) layout

At the Corio Model Railway show in 2017, I was lucky enough to catch this outstanding Australian switching layout. Owned by Ian Wilson of Ian Wilson Models (which is sadly no longer in business) this layout was simply outstanding. You’ll notice that the layout is completely self-contained, with no off layout cassettes or fiddle-yard.

Despite that, it had all the needs for a working layout including a run-around to allow the single locomotive to serve all facing and trailing sidings.

At 2400mm (8′) long by 600mm (2′) wide, it was a delight to see operate in the flesh. Sadly I was advised today, that the layout is (sigh), no more.

If you have any images of the layout or further information on it, I’d love to know. Please contact me through this site’s contact page (which send me an email), or on the Facebook page with details.

Enjoy the gallery of images.



Resources

  • None in this post

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I’m working on a new series of posts – here’s a quick teaser…

It’s been a while right?

Shift work, long days, cold nights, and all that stuff.

The good news is there’s a batch of content coming focusing on Locomotive, and Railcar maintenance facilities… you are going to love it. How to model each one, operations possibilities and all in a small space. I want to thank Rob Chant and Aaron Riley for beginning the discussion on Facebook.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming over the next few days! The day it posts depends on how I feel after my second COVID-19 vaccination tomorrow. Here’s hoping for the best outcome and no headache, etc.

There’ll be more posts to come during October though covering a range of topics from the micro size to the mammoth 8′ x 2′ footprint, including:

  • Motive Power Depots (MPDs) for diesel or electric locomotives,
  • Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), and
  • Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) throughout October.

Aaron Riley’s Metra Railcar Facility layout

Based on a Rob Chant design (more on that in the next post) Aaron has built a cracker ‘L’ shaped layout in only  96″ x 53″ with a width of only 18″.

This is a taster, there’ll be more in my next post!


Resources

  • Visit Rob Chant’s Facebook page for more great designs.

Staying in Contact

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Workshop Report – June 2021

Getting old sucks. In some aspects, it’s truly great in that you have perspective (time on the planet) to measure against. My eyesight is not enjoying its perspective. However, today my workspace has seen the light…


What’s new

Modelling later in the evening, when the space is quiet, and others are in bed and I can lose myself in the moment, is my favourite and most productive time. Of late, I have not been able to work past sunset. My original light, a sunlight fluorescent lamp, just wasn’t up to helping me see.

Thanks to the IKEA Tertial Work Lamp and their RYET (4000K) LED lamps, I now have a very well lit, energy-efficient space and better lighting for photography to boot. Here is the before and after shot showing the (very messy) space. Note that both images are untouched, exactly as they came from my phone camera.

Before

After:

The work lamp was only A$14.95, and the LED globes only A$8.00 a pair. Frugal as always, and yet a great outcome. So no more tired eyes for me and more modelling time after dark. That’s a major win.


Work in progress

There’s not been much in-progress work of late. That will change now that I can see. I have plans to complete the O Gauge Shunter locomotive over the next week or two, prepping her for final paint, and finishing. Then it is on to more locomotive projects including the:

  • 1/4″ O Gauge GP38-2 projects ( 2 x Weaver 2 Rail Units mentioned here on my modelling site)
  • 1/4″ O Guage EMD  F9 (2 x Atlas by Roco 2 Rail units from the 1970s) mentioned here on my modelling site

HO scale sees:

  • 2 Bachmann 70 Tonners (DCC but no sound) that need to be repainted, numbered and lettered for use,
  • some more freight car projects including more work on the Australian freight wagons that I’ve started but not yet finished, and I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve lost the plot for now and I’ll close out here.

Completed

Nothing to report for June 2021


Resources

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Evans Hollow layout hits a milestone (been a long time coming)

The Evans Industrial shelfie layout has hit a major milestone! Read on…


A quick heads-up for those of you following along with the slow build of this layout. We’ve hit a major milestone, with the completion of the wiring of the layout underside. No track down at this stage, but that is coming in the next day or so, and aiming to be at the testing stage during the Mothers Day weekend.

(That’s the second week in May if you need reminding like me!)

I’ve completed the wiring to my wiring standards. You can download a copy from this site, just head down to the resources section at the bottom of the page.

Just a couple of notes for those of you wondering:

  • Yes, I love wiring and electrics
  • Yes, the wiring is designed as a modular unit, to facilitate troubleshooting and replacement as necessary over the years
  • Yes, the wiring is extensible, in that this layout will be able to join up with other small layouts  being planned in the future for this series
  • Yes, I had a lot of fun, and a little frustration – more on that in the article that I’ll be publishing in the next week or so – plus there’ll be a video too that I’m working on for the remainder of my vacation – I go back to work Sunday.

Hope that you have been able to get out and also do some modelling, and thanks for continuing to follow along with me. Stay well, stay safe, and stay modelling.

Regards Andrew


Resources

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Site Update – 26/03/2021

There’s a new section (Layout Design Basics) under the Articles menu. The first article there focuses on Inglenooks.


Layout design basics

I’ve added a new section on layout design basics under the ‘Articles’ menu. In the first page I’ve looked at the Inglenook. Bought about by the recent posts on the Montpelier, OH grain facility. Which is a double-ended Inglenook.

Inglenooks are a fascinating subject of study on there own, and really handy to come to terms with as a small layout designer since they can be used as a game, or in normal operating usage when switching your layout. All with the change of the number of cars on the layout.

There’s a lot of information on the page, and I’ve added links to the ultimate source of Inglenook knowledge too. Head on over to the page and check it out when you get a moment.


Resources

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More first Mile/Last Mile? We can do that…

I posted a while ago about a flour mill, here in Melbourne, that showcases a loads-in, empties out flour milling operation. Today we’ll look at another operation, this time in Montpelier Ohio which is an empties-in/loads-out facility for grain. This is truly first/last-mile railroading at its best.

Switching the Montpelier Ohio Elevator

We’ll talk about modelling a facility using the track layout and operations featured in this post next time. For now, I’d suggest that you watch this outstanding video from YouTuber Scott Taipale. With WAER 223 an SW 1200 switcher (ex IHRC 223, ex TRRA 1223) working a unit grain train at the elevator in Montpelier Ohio.

This SW 1200 switcher was built for the Terminal RR of St Louis in 1955. Later owned by the Indiana Hi-Rail and successor Wabash Erie, it is now used exclusively by the Edon Farmers Co-Op to handle the bulk car movements you’ll note in the video.

A couple of notes on the video from Scott:

  • The line furthest right (North) used to be Wabash’s 1st district which ran from Toledo to Montpelier (now truncated, it ends 4800 feet behind/east of the camera)
  • The branch line connects to the former Wabash yard in Montpelier (now Norfolk Southern)

In my next post, we’ll look at how you can model a layout based on the track diagram and how you can fit this facility into your space and time limitations. Thanks for reading along.  and if you get the chance please like and subscribe to this blog, and to the Facebook page. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Resources

My switching first/last-mile playlist on YouTube

Previous Kensington Posts:

Scott Taipale

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First mile, last mile railroading – what is it?

So what is it?

First-mile/last-mile railroading, what modellers refer to as customer switching, is the customer end of railroading. That is the setting out and picking up cars from a customer’s premises on the railroad. This can be directly from a customer’s spur, a ramp at the local yard or a team track, off the local mainline.

It is the point at which the customer and the railroad meet. All railroad economics relies on it and always has.  While in the modern era the customer has gotten bigger to take advantage of intermodel and block trains, the underlying forces remain the same. Customer shipping goods. Railroads picking up goods and moving them to their destination. Destination (consignee) receiving and accepting goods.

So why is this important to me?

For you, the small layout builder/operator, the first-mile/last-mile end of the operation is the:

  • simplest to model,
  • easiest to operate, and
  • most interesting to work with for the longer term

Whether you use a ‘tuning fork’, inglenook, supernook, or another layout design element you enjoy, by focusing on the customer end of the operation you make the layout simpler to build, which means getting going faster. You can operate for 10 minutes, 30 minutes or for as long or short as you have the time for. And over the life of the layout (whether that is a few months, or a decade or more), operation varies day to day, session by session, from a well-designed customer operation so that no two sessions are ever the same.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll know that I enjoy watching Railfan Danny on Youtube. Danny has just released another video, this time a Q&A session. One of those questions was about first-mile/last-mile railroading. I hope you’ll watch the entire video, for those without the time, I’ve linked to the 7:11 mark to watch the section specific to today’s post.

Resources

  • Railfan Danny’s “Railroad Questions Winter 2021”

There are more switching videos over at Danny’s YouTube channel, just follow the link below to go to all the videos with ‘switching’ in the description:

Staying in Contact

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Every day’s the same, just different

A recent Facebook post in the Micro/Small Model RR Layouts group regarding problems with a member’s switching layout prompted me to write this post.

Here in essence is what was said:

I built a switching layout based on Lance Mindheim’s “One Switch Layout” plan. The first time I ran a switch job it was very absorbing. The second time (different switch list), I realized that I had figured out the “trick”, and it was more tedious than interesting.

Working in the rail industry this is the standard operating procedure. The first time you do a thing is often stressful if not outright terrifying, and then the tedium sets in as you make this just another part of your day. And perhaps, that is the difference between knowledge and understanding.

Most days are going to be the same. You drive a train. You deliver and pick-up. You go back to your starting point and berth the train or hand it over to another crew. And this is a good thing. When things get very different there is a problem and that can ruin your day. Each industry may be simple to switch or there may be gyrations required to get cars fettled into the right spots. You don’t know until you get on-site and check the tasking from the receiver or shipper. Same but different. That’s the nature of the business.

In the same vein, the model should be much the same. Every time you operate the layout, the track and switches won’t change (unless they break). However, with an interesting industry, with more than one spot, nothing will ever be the same twice. This is where the interest comes in for me. It is the troubleshooting required to get a car out of spot 2 of the 3 on the spur, get another car into that spot and work with the industry to get it out that makes it interesting.

So what do we take away from all of this? Tedium is a daily part of any ‘work’ task. Adding interest is the job of the layout designer and builder. Ensuring that you have industries with more than one spot and that at least one of those spots requires a certain car on occasion will ensure that you have operational interest in all of your operating sessions.

Your takeaway

Working with the industry is how you make sure that your layout does not go stale. There are resources available for understanding this concept. I’ve linked to Tony Thompson’s outstanding website (see resources below) for more on ‘Sure Spots’.


Resources

  • Visit Tony Thompson’s excellent website “Modelling the SP” using the link to get to part 1 of 4 on Sure Spots. I’ll quote Tony here on what a Sure Spot is: “The concept of a “sure spot” means a particular point at which a car must be spotted, such as one particular spur, or a particular loading or unloading facility along a spur, or even a particular door at an industry.”

Staying in Contact

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Site Seeing – More on Grain at Kensington

I’ve written previously on the Allied Mills facility at Kensington (inner Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). Marcus Wong I’ve discovered has a great blog post on his site about the facility that goes in-depth about what it is, what it does, and where it is headed.


Visit Marcus’ site

First off here’s the link to Marcus’ site

So visit there for an in-depth review of how things get from A-B.


Resources

Visit the previous post on our site:

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Site Update – June 14, 2020 – The “Not dead – Just Dead Tired” Edition

Life’s been more complex since the COVID-19 outbreak and being an essential worker has meant no time off and more work to stay safe. I’ve been quiet I know.


Holidays

It’s been a long few months.  And with all that has been going on in the world, I’ve had to do a lot just to cope with it all.

Working in the public transportation sector has been very stressful.  With extra cleaning and social distancing and so on I’ve been mentally shot at the end of every day. It’s exhausting to do what I do without getting sick.

All of the drivers, customer service and other staff at work have done our best to stay COVID-19 free despite the time spent in, around and with the public. So far no-one has tested positive which is a testament to the efforts we’ve all taken. In addition, I’ve taken on the role of OH&S rep for our work site adding complexity to the already complex. It is good though to be back in a leadership role and being able to assist others when they need guidance and assistance.

Days off have been about family. They’ve been doing it tough too worrying about me. So a big thanks to my wife and children. They’ve been outstanding and steadfast during the pandemic. I could not have done it without them.

My silence? It’s been me, and not you. Seriously. You do what you have to when times get tough. I’ve not forgotten about you or the mission of Andrew’s Trains though. Speaking of that…


Where to from here?

What seems like a lifetime ago (only several months) I began to change the look and feel of the site. Either moving or changing many elements here. The core of the layout design and similar works remain. They always will. That’s what I’m about. But in thinking on my mission here’s what I feel is the right place to go to next:

  1. Focusing on getting you to build your first layout (if you’ve not already done so).
    • A simple straightforward task-driven format such that over one weekend you can build a simple module (I’m going to focus on a 2′ x 4′ foot standard (or their metric equivalents) and show you how to go from idea to construction, to built and work-ready layout in a weekend.
    • That’s right, something nice and simple (like an Inglenook) that you can build on Saturday and Sunday and operate from Monday.
    • I’m looking at a multi-part short and focused video series for these using common components (for those of you in countries outside of Australia). These will be a subscriber series with a written version available for free here on Andrew’s Trains.
  2. Working with others in the same area to share thoughts and ideas.
    • I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve loved the work being done here in Australia by Luke Towan over at Boulder Creek Railroad.
    • He’s a gifted scenery artiste whose techniques I’ll be using. Scenery is not my strong point Thanks to Luke it doesn’t have to be.
  3. I’ve got a couple of changes yet to make to the site.
    • There will be an update to graphics (thanks to my son’s outstanding design and video skills).
    • The other change will be moving the posts from the front of the site to their own dedicated page, and making a static page the entry point to the site. In addition, I’ll be adding an email list option for those interested in joining.  All of this to be completed by 28 June before I head back to work.

Takeaways

  • More change is coming to Andrew’s Trains. But in a good way.
  • The focus is on basic layout building technique, using simple tools to build a layout in a weekend that you can operate from Monday.
  • There will be paid and free content. Paid content will be in-depth, and interactive for those needing more help or greater insight.
  • Free content will provide the same content but without interactivity and the deep dives into specific areas.
  • Posts will be moving to their own blog page and a new front site page will appear with access to an email list for those interested in signing up to new content.

Staying in Contact

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Designing Small Operating layouts you can build since 2003

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