Tuesday, 21 April 2015

BIG Changes

Well, seeing it's been nearly 12 months since my last update, I thought I had better get off my backside and fill you all in. I decided some time ago to change the layout design and a shift of locations to an imaginary Island called " KANAGRA" It lies just off the South Australian mainland adjacent to Goolwa and the Coorong coast stretching some 280 miles ( 430 KM) north south and sort of triangular shaped being a narrow triangle.  It has a decent harbour at the top (Port Selby) and another at the Bottom called Vaneed. I attach a History as an attachment. 
 As I am moving house and Shrike Models is finally getting off to getting stuff here , I have put all else on hold but as soon as the move is over and all gets settled I will begin doing my Layout, which will encompass just a part of the line.


The History of Kanagra Island

It is believed that the island came into existence about 900 AD.  About this time 3 huge meteors hit South Australia with major earthquakes, the largest forming the huge lake 29 miles north of the Murray river near Loxton and 2 smaller ones hitting the ocean south of what is now Victor Harbour. This caused a massive land shift upwards forming the Island some 280 miles north to south and about 4 miles across at the north end, widening to 65 miles across at the mid South.There is evidence from the Fleurenaux Peninsula Aboriginal tribes of the major upheaval in their legends and they considered Kanagra Island to be an evil place.
When the first British arrived in 1834, they found a pale skin tribe in the area around Gills and Jagandulcie that spoke a sort of Dutch language and used , what they called Ferrestone, as fire. This Ferrestone was actually Black coal! There were only about 3 to 400 in the tribe and their legends say that some women were kidnapped but the Dutch and they settled on the island.  This would most likely be the Able Tasman or Mahogany ship crews.
As this was officially a part of South Australia, there was mainly English, Scotts and Irish settlement at first, but in 1867 a ship of Swedish and Danish settlers arrived, all being Lutheran and similar style people. The first main settlements were around Port Selby and near what is now Selby plus at the lower point of the island around Vaneed.
The population in 1869 was around 4,000 including the Jagandulsi tribe. The SA government realising how valuable the Coal was decided to build a railway from the Port Selby to Jagandulcie and work began on 18th June 1870. This line was easy grades at first but the hills near Jagandulcie, meant a hard slog up a 1 in 48 grade, at that stage the hardest grade in S.A. The line opened in 1874 with 4 locomotives in line haul and one for shunting at the port.  This was connected to the SAR at Goolwa from 1885, with only 6 miles (10 KM.) of sea crossing via a ferry.
As the population increased, there were new villages and areas populated by mainly Scandinavian and Scottish migrants and by 1890 there were nearly 80,000 people on the island. It was a favourite place to escape the summer heat, being about 5 to 8 degrees cooler overall than Adelaide. Hotels sprang up along the coastal areas and Vaneed, Zumsteig and Barnett Bay were very popular vacation spots. The SAR extended the railway as far as Vaneed, 197 miles south of Selby, by 1896 as well as a northern line 26 miles from Selby to Lagoda, on the northern end of the island, opposite the North Coorong area on the mainland. More migration in the late 19th century saw the first post Federation Census as being 136, 418, a huge percentage of the South Australian population at the time. Selby became the capitol and largest city having in 1909 34, 500 residents and the SAR actually double tracked the line from Port Selby to Gills in 1911.
After World War 1 more European migrants, coming from Austria, Germany Holland and Belgium as well as Britain and Russia arrived and by 1929 the population had increased to 275,000. Then during the depression, migration slowed to less than 500 per year. 
Kananga grows many fruits and vegetables not easily grown in the rest of South Australia, including Greengages, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Celery, Peas, Pomegranates, Gooseberries and cool weather grapes. Also there is not much wheat grown but a lot of Corn, potatoes, Oats and Barley. There are cattle, sheep, Pigs and Goats as well, thus giving a nicely managed food source. Oil was found near Vaneed and off shore in 1935 and a refinery was established there in 1938. This made the economy boom and before World War 2, a petition to succeed from South Australia was begun. The war stopped any proceedings and it was not brought up again till about 1960.
The first Coal mine was started by George Halsey at Jagandulcie in 1860 and is still going today. More coal was discovered in 1870 and mines were established at Ashmore, Sleeman and Kavinka on the branch line from Beanula to Taschig. These are worked as a private concern with their own locos and rolling stock, as is the Halsey mine.
More coal is mined at Hinnakka using KR locos and rolling stock to take it to either Port Selby or Jinkarra Power station.
A daily Oil train runs from Vaneed refinery to Lagoda , dropping various company tank cars at various locations. There are 3 Air conditioned north- south passenger trains daily from Vaneed to Port Selby as well as 2 others from Selby to Lagoda, these as well as the branch line services are well patronised and the speed is gradually being increased, to 70MPH and 75 MPH ( 115KMH and 125KMH), were possible. Mainlines are all continuous welded rail mainly 100 Lbs or 50KG with a small section of 60KG rail . the Main line is double track, then CTC from Gills to Vaneed, the north line and branches are worked by train order.
On the 1st of July 1966, Kanagra succeeded from South Australia, becoming the 7th State of Australia. The SAR handed over 7 930 class, 5 Rx class, 6 830 class and 4 740 class locos, as well as 800 freight cars and 36 passenger cars. 6 300 and 2 400 class DPMs with 3 860 class cars were also built in the early 1960s purely for Selby suburban service. The new Kanagra Railway (KR) bought 2 RDC2 and 1 RDC1 from various US railways in 1967 to serve the 2 branch lines etc. A small number of VR 4 wheel stock was also acquired and this made the KR a nice profitable railway, which it still is. 1970 saw 20 US type Flat stake cars for timber traffic and 36 new (US 70 ton) Hoppers similar to the SAR H type built, and as time progressed more modern types arrived.
1974 saw the population hit 450,000 total with Selby and district having 150,000, Vaneed 45000, Beyanula 35,000 Lagoda 22,000 and Taschig 20,000.

More to come including a track plan
See you soon, happy modelling and may GOD truly Bless you, Hopey

Monday, 5 May 2014

Huge things going on, but not on my layout

SHRIKE WEBSITE - Coming, coming, coming

Prior to my sojourne south to the Hobsons Bay Club Exhibition at La Trobe University, in Melbourne's north. I had arranged with my web host company for the website finalisation- Oh boy what Murphy's Law did. First their mainframe server crashed at about 8 PM the night before Good Friday, then when someone reset it, the sites had been corrupted.
Then since I returned there has been drama after Drama.  Any way Tuesday evening May 6th shall be when they promise ( PLEASE DEAR LORD) , the website up and running, after I have no idea how many phone calls , emails etc.
I also want to thank my mate Rod Young for being such a pal and all that. I had a setback in Melbourne but won't go into it here. The exhibition was a huge learning curve for this Novice Model retail producer. But we laearn quickly, along with discussions with other manufacturers and retailers. Quite interesting how only 3 of 17 gave me negative vibes. 
Thanks Ian D. saved me heaps. ( James M, can you pass this on)

Rx, SAR 

Many many excited phone calls and emails from our South Australian Contacts. As I am producing for under $500 per, the first ready to run (Plastic) South Australian Steam engine- the Rx . The web site has all the details. ( Please Lord get them going).
 I am offering a pre arrival discount of $40 per locomotive to ensure a good response, It too is on the website. 

 The only modelling I have done since moving to the mini house ( see last Blog) has been to weather a couple of my now competition's RTR Freight wagons ( Cars in US/SAR palance) , I still intend doing a 3 section Diarama but that is on the backburner for a month or 2. 
The Albury show is my next venture, followed by Adelaide and Epping ( Thornleigh) in one weekend ( There ya go Smalls etc, free advert), so a bit more frequent flyer points tax deductable car hire, motel meals etc. I will have such a complex tax return this year, same with BAS- easy when income was $0, now it's trickling back. But I need to see what a house used to cost say 10 years ago in Sydney, come back my way before I am somewhat happy.

as of: let's be safe and say Wednesday 7th May

Till next update etc, may GOD bless you, my friends and followers. 
Geoff Hope

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Yuck, this place is too small

After The Move:

I have discovered that after moving home, even though it is only temporary, it is too small, not enough kitchen cupboards etc. Here it is February and I have at least 12 boxes unpacked inside. There is not enough room for my cooking stuff, the Garage is a joke- exactly 5.5 x 5.5  meters and chockablock. It has eaves at the rear between the garage and the house. There is a paved area about 5.5 x 6 meters so I have placed shelving under the eaves , Mainly plastic boxes are in the shelves, but a few small cardboard ones with plastic over them. my wagons are mainly in 2 cabinets in the shed along with Locos in one and other locos in boxes next to the door. My Q Block is stacked in a mess at one part of the fence side wall and 3 modules, are next to it, placed end on.


Ashton and I, left for a great little holiday on Monday 5th January, we stayed in a motel the first night at what was the Hume Highway, in South Albury. Caught up with my old mate Garry and his wife Robyn, my accountant. Tuesday we caught up with some other old friends and Ashton's Great Aunt Margeret ( MAGRAT) and her mad mob. We stayed Tuesday and Wednesday night at the country mansion of my oldest mate, Rod Young, at Allans Flat 
(Comtrain goes HO HO HO or Hobsons Bay north blogspot). It was great catching up with him and I reccommend Yackandandah for the food at the cafe there. 

From there we went to Melbourne, staying at my old mum's for 4 nights. I was sick on the Friday and we did nothing- may have been mum's cooking!!! On Monday we caught up with friends at Packenham, about 1 hour or so from Melbourne, staying at the Motel at Officer, not a bad place. 

Tuesday saw us go to Lakes Entrance, staying at a Caravan Park on site Van . A good time there with Ashton catching his first fish- a Waaloo I was told by a local Aboriginal Lady. it was so small, but Ashton was so excited. I caught nothing whilst a bloke about 8 meters from me caught a nice about 12 pound what I assume was a Bass Straight yellow belly or maybe a Barracudda. Oh well ! We stayed 3 nights at Lakes Entrance. 
After Lakes Entrance we went to Eden, for only 2 nights ( darn it) ,, Staying in another on site Cabin- this one was SO SO NICE inside, I wish we had stayed 4 nights. Opposite a great beach and we went to the whaling station museum and other sightseeing places. 

Then we made the mistake of a night in a dingy motel at Bega, with the world's worst Chinese feed. MSG city and the Chinese Smorgasbord was so over cooked it was impallatable. We gave up after that and later in the night had a ham sandwich each.  

Next day, Monday we were off to Canberra, stopping at Cooma for lunch,  it was a great meal there. We booked into our Cabin in the north side of Canberra and after unpacking etc, I had to throw up- that Chinese food had given me a small food poisoning. I was OK about an hour later so we drove around Canberra, finding a few sights and getting lost with my GPS telling lies.  Tuesday had us at the War memorial and museum then Parliament House to see where so many BAD mistakes have been made. Then in the evening, dinner with a lovely couple I know Rau and Lorna. Rau drove the Silver Fern in NZ and fired for me when I was playing trains at Southern and Silverton. 
Wednesday saw is return to the slums of Sydney :( after a 16 day, 2760 KM soujourn. 

THE POSSIBILITIES of doing something in this hovel:

I looked at the "Family room, which is about 7 meters long and thought 
" Here's a possibility! Place a small diorama with those 3 sections against the wall. It will fit if I move the couch around."
So, dear reader, that is what I will be doing over the next 2 weeks. Including the 1 meter legs, 100 mm framing and 25  mm Base, that gives me a small display 750 mm by 4.7 M long, 1125 mm high to build a roughly 3.25 meter loop, Silo road and say a goods shed and stock siding. A bit of simple scenery and a couple of small shops, a few houses ad a country service station will take say 6 months to do properly.
I will be able to display my RTR Locomotives on it, and as my first Loco is a NSWGR steam this layout will be a bit generic, with stobie poles etc going in later to make it South Australian. The Station and platform will be removable, so I can do a ground level SAR one later. This will be against the wall of my Home layout at the new place.
Speaking of which, I have done some work in 3rdPlanit on the new design, a huge ammendment taking the floor plan to 8.5 x 24 meters in total- yes I have the Land for it as well as a nice BIG house with 4 car Garage, Pool and another shed for business etc. More later!

Well dear reader, that is about it for a while, I will take a few photos as I assemble the Display modules, lay track and begin scenicking, stay tuned for exciting updates! God Bless you all and thanks Col ( Rev Col) for the support emails. Catch you at some NMRA thingy. Hopey

Monday, 2 December 2013

The move= part 1

it's only temporary:

Well dear readers, here I am sitting at the keyboard instead of final packing. Why? I hear you ask. Because my back, arms, legs and every part of me hurts like hell, that's why.
I move into the new place in Kellyville( Sydney north west suburb) in less than 24 hours, my garage is a mess, blue foam board, pieces of 7MM 3ply, and box after box after box in there, Hired a skip to get rid of rubbish- the rotten bugger did not take a double bed mattress, that had seen better years. so - FREE TO GOOD HOME, one double bed mattress!.

Thoughts of the week:

Oh lord, make this new place better than here! So many dramas occured in this place! I need a fresh start!

Colourful enough for you??

OK back to the main blog mission: The layout, as one would know by now, it is now in pieces, with some Qubelock framed and some Wood, Modules. I had 6 built and track layed on 4. all wired as per the standard DCC ideas, and 3 modules have points, using Servos as point motors- I like them, they are easy to install etc. 
When I move tomorrow, the layout is going to be on hold for a while, I may work on a module or 2, perhaps some scenery, as well as fine tuning track. I have been reading about many ideas on other blogs, when not packing etc etc .

So where to from here???

The place is a rental and HOPEFULLY I will get the big property next year, so as I can build that dream layout, in a purpose built shed, similar to my old Mate: Rod Young. ( http://hobsonsbaynorth.blogspot.com.au/ ), There ya go mate- free advertising.  Perhaps a bit larger than his ( internal dimensions) 7 x 20 meter shed. Everything is on hold whilst the project I spoke about comes to fruition.  Speaking of which, I sent money in US$ to china while the Aust $ was 96 cents, today it is a mere $91c. 
BOOO sayeth this new player in the Aussie ready to run market. 

Any way enough ramblings and talking , must get back to filling boxes with stuff- non essentials like Cutlery etc :)
God Bless and catch up soon, Geoff Hope

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Well, dear followers. A lot has happened over the last few months.
At the moment I will not say what, but Steam will rule my layout ! I have formed a partnership with a well known modeller and another not so well known modeller. We have started negotiations with a Chinese manufacturer and , Hopefully, our first product will be here before the next Liverpool exhibition. 

I will not say more but there will be 2 Loco classes from 2 states coming in at first.  Wagons, Carriages and Brake Vans are planned to follow.
Other manufacturers and importers have been spoken with so I and my "TEAM" do not encroach on them.

as usual it was HUGE and so much of my $$$$ went. 
Apart from discussions with so many old mates, manufacturers etc etc I had a few minutes to look at a few layouts in detail. a Wonderful upgrade on Wyee, as well as Binalong . I also found the TANODEN Japanese layout very interesting and spoke at length with the operators.

Layout Progress:
Nothing is happening at the moment as I have a room full of boxes etc where the layout should be. 

Well all that is it for the moment, God Bless you, More soon