Sunday, 26 July 2009

Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention 2009

Yesterday I drove up to Sydney from Canberra to attend the 26th annual Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention. The convention was held on the very south side of Sydney at Loftus, next to the tramway museum. The drive took three hours one way via the Picton turn-off and Appin.

Two special recognition awards were presented to start the day's proceedings. The awards went to Peter Berg of Bergs Hobbies for his commercial and personal commitment to the hobby, and to Ray Pilgrim for all his help and assistance to the Convention organisers over many years. Both awards were certainly well deserved.

The 2009 Convention followed the format of previous years: attendees go to five selected presentations out of the eleven (twelve in some years) on the day. The five presentations I attended were as follows:

  • Layout baseboard construction and base scenery by Terry Flynn.
  • Transportation of milled agricultural products by Phil Collins.
  • From raindrops to tender tanks (2 parts in one session) by Ray Love and Craig Mackey.
  • Modelling NSW yard lights by Max Stuart
  • Weathering track by Phil Badger
Rather than rewrite my notes of each session and summarise the articles from the Convention booklet, I want to just highlight some of the main points of personal interest.

The presentation by Terry on baseboards went through standard materials (wood, steel and aluminium) and construction (box, grid, and L-girder) procedures. However, I was very interested in the FREMO (free form layout standards) for modular layout construction. I can see how the FREMO standards might be useful for encouraging individuals to actually build a module that can be assembled with other modules into an operating layout. There should be no more excuses that one can't build a layout - just build a module instead and link it up with your friends or club members' modules! Terry mentioned that the Australian Model Railway Association (AMRA) has just published FREMO standards, based on the US FREMO standards. I later discovered some FREMO operations from North America in Utah and Calgary. There are more.

Phil Collins gave us a history of how milled grain products (e.g. glucose, flour, etc.) have been transported by rail in NSW. There were plenty of photos to illustrate his talk. Of special interest to me were the wagons used to transport glucose. Manildra (thanks for the correction, Phil) converted a former BMT milk tanker (BMT 1) for glucose transport. This vehicle didn't last too long since the underframe bent because glucose is much heavier than milk! The other interesting point of note was the use by Cargill of specially converted former DOT (Departmental oil tankers - thanks for the correction, David) into vegetable oil tankers.

The first presentation I attended by Ray Love (assisted by Craig Mackey) managed to put part 1 and 2 into the one session! Ray showed a series of photographs to illustrate the way the NSW railways obtained, transported, and supplied water to service steam locomotive requirements - essentially from dam or reservoir to water tank and water column. Of special interest was the pump house at Glenreagh which Peter Jarvis modelled very nicely. Naturally, like much of the New South Wales railways, there were plenty of variations in type and colour of water supply infrastructure like pumphouses, water tanks, and water columns. Reference to photos and dates is recommended.

Max Stuart's presentation on yard lights was the best presentation of the day, in my opinion. He combined both prototype and model construction in the one session with good photos and illustrations, an informative talk, and a very beautiful diorama to showcase the working yard lights. Max based his work on an article by Bob Stack on yard lights that appeared in an old issue of Australian Journal of Railway Modelling (AJRM). Bob Stack is of course the chief superintendant of South Coast Rail. I am sure both Bob and Stephen Ottaway (editor of AJRM) would be chuffed that Max was able to turn the information from that magazine article into an excellent working model. Attending the yard light presentation was not only informative, but practical as well. Max had some kits available of the yard light with a full set of pieces (including cast goose-necks) and instructions. I bought one complete kit but could very easily go back to Max for more!

The final presentation at 4.30pm was from noted Australian modeller Phil Badger. Phil is well known in model railway circles for his many presentations over the years and his practical assistance to the hobby with brass etchings of components and kits. Phil talked about weathering and how it impacts on track and lineside structures. A big reminder I got from Phil's presentation was to pay closer attention to track and lineside details when looking at photographs, noting in particular railway era and colour variations of track, roadbed, and lineside paraphanalia.

Thanks to Peter Jarvis and the other organisers for another successful Convention.

No comments:

Post a Comment