Friday, February 18, 2011

Wee Waa progress: Dirt and rock

Rail motor set makes its station stop at Wee Waa; 47 class and guard van for the branchline goods train take refuge on the old stock track.

My guilt is somewhat assuaged. Trackwork and wiring last week at Wee Waa has given way to an initial layer of dirt ground cover and ballast, and by golly, Wee Waa is starting to move beyond the "Plywood Pacific" stage it has languished in for the past couple of years.

The dirt is. . .dirt. It's been sitting in a big bucket in the garage the past couple of years, and while it isn't true Australian dirt, it isn't the usual Texas kaliche. The ballast is Arizona Rock and Mineral Great Northern Basalt ballast, N-scale (the HO stuff looked too coarse). It matches the shade of several photos from the North-West. I'm going to assume it was from the pit in Ardglen? Or possibly from the small ballast quarry near Bellata?

I'd be all hot to get going with static grass and various green shades of weeds and other ground vegetation, but it seems the website that for years had carried instructions for making a cheap static grass applicator--the "Grassinator"--is in "rebuilding" mode. . .which either means it will someday return, or it will be lost to the ether. Hopefully the former, for I didn't bother to download instructions on building the device!

I've shunted the goods train at Wee Waa a couple of times since completing the track and wiring, and it's good fun. Stick a home signal just short of where the tracks disappear through the wall, and it makes the work that much more entertaining not to go beyond the safeworking limits with long pulls or run-arounds.

IDR Delivers. . .

Another fun little box from Australia arrived this week. My order from Hobbyland in Hornsby, specifically several resin kits from Ian Ratcliffe. Beautiful stuff! I purchased a KHG guard van, 1957 fishbelly MLV, and a pair of KF four-wheel flat wagons. The castings are first rate, the instructions clear and well-illustrated. I was quite tempted to put forearm on workbench and with a mighty swipe clear off enough room to get started on them, but I resisted and worked on Wee Waa instead. I'll certainly be a return customer.


Towelly said...

G'day Bek,

About the static grassinator. If you can't get any help with the instructions I could send a few pictures and a description of the one I built. It is based on the one your looking for however I made a few changes as the plastic containers were not available locally. They seem to work really well.


Linton (Stonequarry Creek)

Colin said...


James said...

G'day Bek :)

The home signal was not a 'limit of shunt' like US train order working. The home stick was there to 'protect the interlocking' only. As long as you had the staff for the section you could shunt as far outside the home stick as you liked. If you didn't have the staff, you couldn't shunt at all, as our safeworking rules involved 'overlap', which means that if another train was in the section the main line had to be clear through the station to the clearance point at the other end of the station. At Ray's last running night I had to issue quite a few 'bungs' to drivers (flamin' uncouth, untrained rabble... ;o)who were shunting outside the home stick when there was a train in the section!

Ray P said...


It looks like I will have to get you to write down down 'plain english' safe working rules/instructions, that is, not in railway language. Got to keep it simple, yes/no?

Ray P

BEK said...

I guess what I'm wondering is if train #1 has the staff from Station A to Station B, and train #2 has the staff from station C to station B, what determines who will take the loop for the cross? At what point does the authority of the staff end? at the first switch of the last location of the block, or the last switch of the last location of the block? I've read several summations of safeworking, but this was never cleary explained to me.

Ah, yes, another reason why someone should take up the cause of "safeworking for model railroading dummies" much as some of our operations-oriented modelers in the states have done with dissecting Train Order and Timetable operations!

Jonathan Smith said...

G'day Bek

The instructions for the static grass applicator are in the March-April 2010 Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine also my understanding of safeworking is that the authority of the staff finishes at the home signal protecting the interlocking as for who takes the loop for the cross I thought that was decied by the train controller.

cheers Jon

James McInerney said...


You're on Ray! I'll see what I can do, but it won't be today!


When trains were approaching from the section either side for a cross, the first train to arrive had to take the loop, in order to preserve the 'overlap' of the second train to arrive.
The section ended at the 'clearance point' at the far end of the station, which is why you couldn't have a train sitting on the main line (officially ;o) and then authorise a train to approach from the station in advance, as that train was occupying the 'overlap'. In order to accept a train from the station in advance, the train had to either be in the section to the rear (in transit, or stationary at the home stick) or safely locked away in the loop, or some other suitable siding.
btw, the 'clearance points' were specific locations at each end of a loop where vehicles on each line were 'clear' of each other. It was marked by a small white post (called a clearance post) in the 'six foot' (in the old days with a keroscene lamp mounted on it for visibility at night). The clearance post at the up end of Lambing Flat's loop can just be made out opposite the front of the 44 class in this photo:
In a nutshell, the mainline has to be kept clear to the clearance point at the other end of the station if a train is approaching the interlocking, first train to arrive takes the loop, so preserving the 'overlap' of the second train approaching.