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. ( ), 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

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

PLANNING makes for perfect

Random thoughts turn to a Plan well executed.

I have put the thinking cap and my 3rd planit CAD program to good use lately. The first part is the fiddle yard, on a base 750 mm wide I can fit 4 tracks in either direction (let's call them up and down) plus the 2 through roads. I am using for the spacing between the through roads, the distance of 2 medium points, placed end to end of the turnout or 51mm. for each Fiddle track I am using 65 mm between them. this gives my fingers a bit of lee way to pick up etc rolling stock. on the outer edge I am allowing 70 mm- close to 3 inches and 3 mm MDF on the edge 10 mm above track height to stop those horrible messes when a valuable or otherwise item hits the deck!

The simple arithmetic for this is:

( Measurements are for TRACK CENTERS )  

OPTION 1 :Edge 0 mm' track 4 "UP' :70 mm, track 3 Up :135 mm, track 2 up :200 mm,track 1 Up: 265 mm and the Up through road: 330 mm . Then just the Peco 51 mm for the Down Through road giving us 381 mm. Track 1 Down: 446 mm, Track 2 Down: 511 mm, track 3 Down: 576 mm and track 4 Down: 641 mm. As you can see there is enough room for an extra track but I wont use it. the track edge of track 4 Down is 653 mm. this leaves me a bit of room for point runs etc. 
If I go Option 2 the maths will change to add an extra track on each level.


as certain US modellers use:

  • I am assuming that I have about 3.5 by 8 meters to play with and my track plans are done for this area. I may have to change it when I actually move, (Hopefully soon) to the new Hope home !
  • I am using code 100 track for the fiddle yard and hidden track , code 75 Peco for the track seen by the "punter" and may do a couple of hand laid points as time goes by.
  • I have 2 options on my planned layout. Option 1: is a simple Rectagon using mainly 750 mm wide sections. it only allows m 1 station on the branch. Option 2 is for hidden Turn backs  which would allow me, on the Main 2 stations and on the branch 3 stations , 2 small ones say 1600 mm or so long and one terminus somewhat longer.
  •  I prefer this one as I can put an extra staging track in with 90 mm height difference on the up and down tracks. 
  • I also have plans for scratchbuilding a SAR turntable for "GILLS" my main station. I'd like a 5 road roundhouse with 3 extra tracks and a longer Loco lead or leads but reality has set in.
  • I have not as yet finalised option 2, but will show you my ideas next blog. When I turn the CAD drawings (DXF) to Bitmaps ( BMP) so I can load it for all to read .

Well that is it for now, Happy modelling and Blogging and may GOD bless you .

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A short Update


Well dear readers, followers and fans- a few dramas have delayed proceedings even more. I have had a few health issues and my lovely Fiance Janette has had a few as well. 
Then last Sunday at 0207 Hours, we get a phone call saying Janette's youngest son Kyle is at Blacktown hospital with a spinal injury. 

 He had actually broken his neck ! !!  For those of you who know such things: a fracture of T 2 (Thoracics 2nd bone) right where the neck and back join. This week has been one from Hell, with him transferred to Westmead Hospital, and getting a Neck brace to wear all the time, as well as a back brace to wear whilst sitting up, walking etc.

He came home on Thursday night and like all 17 year olds, knows better than the Doctors etc. He went out with a couple of mates on Friday night but actually came home before 5 AM :)

I as Vice President of H.M.R.S.,  had been on duty Friday and Saturday at the Holroyd City Festival Model rail exhibition at Merrylands Bowling Club. I was supposed to be back at 2 PM on Sunday for finish, pack up etc. with Kyle and his mate Dave helping us- great having 17 YO s to help carry stuff. That did not happen, instead a bedside vigil once he had a bed at Westmead.



The Holroyd Exhibition was a joke, very very few members of the general public attended. This was no fault of HMRS but the local council people who did not advertise it, nor did the club , in it's magazine. I think total numbers Saturday was about 50. Still  we got paid for attendance- poorly may I add.

Other wise I have not done much at all. Sold a bit of excess Locos and rolling stock on Evil Bay, and have mucked around with layout plans for the 6x3 meter one and the dream 7.5 x 22 Meter one I'd love :)

Well People that is it for the time being.
Happy modelling and GOD BLESS YOU

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Step Sideways

Oh dear, we have a problem or 37 !

For the next few months I am going to have to store most of my gear and bunk in at a smaller place with my Fiance, Janette,  her kids and my son. No Garage nor "Modelling room" is available. 

So  no layout building will be possible .

I have decided that rather than just let things stagnate, I shall  not let time be wasted but, build some of my over 200 unbuilt kits, do some basic point work on 12 mm Plyboard and do the electrics etc for them. I also intend building a few structures such as Station buildings and some small Diorama type buildings .
I have wanted to do a standard SA Housing Trust "fibro" or 2, same as Housing Commission types in Victoria and NSW. I have taken a few photos, while in S.A. and will use them as guides.  I will do each house as it stands on a Lot- but a fair bit scaled down, with Garages/car ports/ out buildings etc as well as some lawn, bushes, etc etc.

 I may also do a few trees, using the wire armature and Goo method, especially a few Gum trees of various types as found in South Australia. These types are mainly - to my old eyes - Scribbly bark and Box Gum. Red gums do not seem to be  at all common in S.A. . Scribbly bark gum is a light grey main colour, with a mid brown as the "scribble". Other trees that I may attempt are the occasional Elm types and I may experiment on some Oaks as well.

Kits I intend to build will be photographed and shown here in later posts. They include some more M vans, ALX both VR and SAR types ( BGB) a few Y trucks and a few VR 4 wheel and bogie type . I also have 4 unbuilt OCY conflat kits, that I will build up as SAR FQX with minor modifications. I have a fair few carriage kits to do also, so that should keep my tiny mind occupied as well as keep me from mischeif.

To Other things:

Last weekend I had the honour of hosting the 2nd ALBURY- WODONGA Rail Staff REUNION. It went well with a few surprises as well as a few non starters. I have had a bit of feedback and next year's one may be just after Easter- early days yet.
Just a few of the people who attended last Weekend, with my Lovely Janette in the far lower right. A couple of the older blokes, I had not seen in nearly 30 years, It was great to catch up and share yarns and a few ales.

That is it for now, Catch up just after Easter, May God bless you all. Hopey

Monday, 25 February 2013

Another week, not much happening.

In my last Blog, I mentioned that I was using Capral aluminium as framing. I received a message about the cost of Capral. Well Gary L. For some stupid reason I cannot reply to Messages, so I am doing it here. 

 I bought the Capral Qubelock and corner/connector pieces directly from them some 3 years ago and have not needed any more since then. It came in 2.4 meter sections and if my memory serves me correctly it was (as I said 3 years ago) $18.00 per section. Bunnings have pretty much the same stuff but it is slightly more expensive. Caprals web site is :

The stuff I use is 807853 E22120 25 3 RAD 6.5 100 100 Mill Finish 6060 T5 4.491 from the catalogue you can download. 

A very small amount of work in converting a USRA Light Pacific into a SAR 600 Class steamer happened this week- I moved the bell from above the headlight to the standard SAR place, behind the buffer beam. I also very carefully removed the Mid framing from the crew windows. I will post the photos as soon as I move and find my camera. 

On other things, we caught up with some other members of AREDORRA a facebook group for railway people, mainly drivers etc but other rail people are welcome.  I am BBIC ( Boss Bastard In Charge ) and founded the group some 20 months ago.     
We met up  for a social afternoon on Saturday, whilst there were not as many as expected, turn up, the people who did had a great time.  The next social event is the Albury Wodonga Rail reunion on March 16/17.  link :

Gee I put some miles in just for the heck of it.

Still no move as yet but I have faith that a new Home , with shed will eventuate soon ! Oh by the way the 25x 16 is a pipe dream, I will be happy with around 15 x 7 meters !

More soon dear readers, Happy Modelling and God Bless, Hopey

Friday, 15 February 2013

4th Blog of this mad persons mind.

Well dear reader , we come to week 3 of still no new home, another lovely injection in my right eye- more Avastin and some good improvement on my broken Cornea.
 I can now see a lot better out of it and I am PRAYING Hard for a total healing.

Now back to the layout and trains.

Not much to report this last 7 days, I attended an NMRA meeting at John Montgomery's place last Saturday, bloody hot in his unlined shed, but the food, clinics and fellowship were good. I also made some good contacts with other Bloggers- Rowan Magnion , being one. as well as someone who I think will help me and I him in Decal design; but more of that later.

I have purchased some USRA Light Mikados, for conversion into S A R 710 class locos, an easy conversion, using my 2 foot - looks great rule.  I also recently recieved  5 USRA Light Pacifics, 3 more than I need so on E Bay they will go quite soon. Unless someone here wants them- mates rates are  $275 plus postage, brand new in boxes with all documentation, Broadway Limited Paragon @ and listed at $299 US- so a bargain you will get. 2 are Undecorated and 1 is decalled by them for Boston and Maine.  

 If interested email me at:  for details by Midnight on  Tuesday the 19th of Febuary 2013. If not sold by then they go on EBAY next day at a higher starting price !

I have started assembling the basic framework, using Capril aluminium and dimensions overall are 775MM x 1550 MM x 100 MM with the upper area being braced at the half way mark ( well close) . it is quite sturdy and I have walked on it (95 KG) with no dramas. I have made some simple Trestles out of good old 2 x 1 ( 56mm x 22mm) . they will do for the time being, though I have thoughts of Capril hold in type legs attached via good quality  Hinges, attached to the lower part of the frames. 

As to electrical connections, between Modules, I am using some special plugs I got from Jaycar, 10 connections per and rated for 40 Amps.  I will post photos as soon as I can find my camera, after we finally move.

That is it for the time being. Happy modelling and God Bless you . Bye for now.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More somewhat illogical thoughts from this old ratbag!

A week has passed and still have not moved, saw 2 more places today, neither have the dream shed. I may have to build it myself- preferred dimensions 25 x 16 meters.
 (yes I know, dream on).  I may have to settle for a 5.5 x 6 , at least for the time being!

I have decided that after careful consideration as well as playing around in 3rd planit, my preferred CAD, the  modules will be .75 x 1.5 meters each.  This way I may be able to get away with 4 modules across the back if I can squeeze it in :)

More ideas coming to mind after careful using CAD:

  1. Each point, as the layout is DCC, is to be either servo or Blue Cobalt controlled. ( I have both and love them).
  2. The Turntable will be a standard SAR 64 foot or if I can play with the Peco 9 incher- 63 foot ( Don't ask that in meters).
  3. I can fit in 2 loops in each direction in the fiddle yard, as well as carefully placed dead ends.
  4. the main station (Gills) to have the yard in the front of the modules and Loco off the inner side, this allows for a longer main loop as well as stub end sidings.
  5. A station with "up"."down" and "back" platforms, with a short dead end for stabling Carriages or railcars ( RED HENS etc.) behind the main goods loop. The goods loop to have at least one loop off it as well as access from the Back Platform.
I attach this diagram of Aldgate in SAR days, imagine if you will, it being double line and a small branch off the "Down" end 
 Converted JPG from with thanks a great source for SAR, VR, NSWGR etc signal and track diagrams .

That is all, till next time ; dear readers, followers etc etc.  Happy modelling!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

More Ramblings of a mad bloke!

What to do next?

Having thought about stuff for a couple of days I have decided the following:
Photo by D.Jackson

  1. Peco code 75 track is the way to go. Why? because it is close enough to scale height and I have a fair bit of it!
  2. Double track mainline, with as I have already said Maximum grade of 2% or 1 in 50. This makes it nearly as heavy as the real S.A.R. Hills line, but still easy to haul a scaled down train of say 15 cars maximum with 1 or 2 locomotives.
  3. Maximum train length to be 3.6 meters, may go to 4, but that is long enough.
  4. 4 The "fiddle yard " to be 5 tracks with a short return road or turnback road in the middle, say 1 meter long.The other tracks to be at least 4 meters clear.
  5. Have just one "Overland" set 9 cars max, as well as 14 other typical S.A.R. passenger cars.
  6. One "jet" , 1 "Stoney", 1 fast goods, 1 local / pick up, 1 branch goods and enough for the occasional Grain train and stock special.
  7.  Suburban types to mainly terminate at the main station- I have decided to call "GILLS" after a now deceased friend, Fred Gill MMR etc.
  8. Branch passenger train to be a Brill model 55 or 2, similar to what did Semaphore runs in Adelaide or locals, occasionally a Loco hauled passenger also on the branch.
  9. A mix of common type 4 wheel and bogie stock, most of which I already have.
  10. Run to a rough timetable, but using Car Cards, I have 2 types and may modify them to be common !
  11. Photo by unknown
  12. DCC operation, I have an N C E System with 3 throttles including a radio one, may get a 2nd Radio Cab .
Please dear reader, feel free to comment on my ramblings :0 Add this blog to your list also.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Begiinings

Where do I Start?

Millions of ideas after a stunted start, plus having to make my "grand Design" schemes smaller and more practical. I decided that it shall be in metric: 5.6 x 3.5 Meters in total. An L shape basically !
The impending move to a new house makes this a possibility in a single car garage or part of a 2 car garage. Hopefully when we find a new spot, there may be room for a longer or wider layout.

As Vice President of the HILLS MODEL RAIL SOCIETY ( HMRS)   I am usually busy with club affairs. I also do the Bring and Buy at our exhibition. 

Now to layout parameters.

 The layout is MODULAR using my years of experience and many previous mistakes. Each basic module will be 1.6 by .75 Meters. There shall be grades no greater than 1 in 50. Module base height is 950mm and using a variety of styles, I have decided on CAPRIL framework with 25mm Blue Heavy density foam, held by good old 2 x 1 wood ( nowadays 50 x 20 ) !!!.  This will keep the modules rigid, light and easy to carry. The mainline will be double trak, spaced 51mm apart as per NMRA modular standards. There will be a small hidden fiddle yard as well as a back scene with a branch terminus on it. 
I have so much rolling stock, kits and Locos, that I do not need any more for some time, Am actually looking at paring down the list, so may get busy on E BAY and photograph a few Locos and bits of excess stock.
Do I really need all 4 Commonwealth Railways GOXs that while magnificent and are a credit to Auscision, may be a bit too many? 
 The layout , as I said will be portable and I may exhibit it at shows, but more of that in later posts. 
I will misquote the Beattitudes of Jesus Christ here" How blessed are the flexible, for they will not get out of shape!". This means that there may well be quite a few changes to the layout before it is finished ( is a layout ever finished???) 

Now to what the Americans Term: " Givens and Druthers".
Mainly SA, with some Victorian, 
Era- late 60s to 1975.
Minimum Radius- main line 725mm and on branch 625 mm.
Main station to have a smallish loco depot, with a 85 foot turntable plus steam facilities and a small diesel fuel point.  4 stall roundhouse plus 3 extra roads.
Yard at Main to have a gods shed, 1 or 2 private sidings and a fuel company like say Shell or BP etc. Yard to be at least 3 tracks wide.
Branch terminus to have a silo - SA type say 3 cell, plus a stock siding and small Barrel roof goods shed. ( love em ) similar to Fords or Farrell Flat had.
 There will also be a 2nd station on the main line, something like in the Hills like Corromandel or similar with a road overbridge hiding the back scene and fiddle yard.  This  Sation will be on a side of the layout.