08 April 2024

The first reveal

Until recently, around here work had waddled along on the modelling side of life at a rather leisurely pace. At Easter I reviewed a few photos from 2022.  It was immediately apparent that many things left undone in 2022 are not yet fixed one third of the way through 2024. 

Moreover, the way I was working meant that more issues were being created than resolved.  Some trackwork issues meant it was difficult to work the branch line and that large cardboard box placed on the mainline tracks just prior to Christmas, was still there. Yes, I had happily spent most of my time ignoring those things and just shunting the Dubbo area of the layout. Fascinating for the purist but rather turgid.

There was another Easter epiphany. Although I live in a small country town, there are a number of people who have sidled up to me over the last several years to whisper, "I hear you have trains in your shed". Probably not enough to create a model railway club, but enough for an ad hoc running day.  And I had never done anything about it.

So, I did. I actually fixed more problems than I made last week and by yesterday morning, had a functioning main line run and a decent branch line experience.  I had also moved about 937 items that should not be on a model railway, off the layout.  And I cleaned it up, thereby finding all sorts of associated running gear that had fallen off rollingstock over the last year or more.  

By 14:55 yesterday I could announce to the wife that I was as ready as I could ever be, which was timely as the first guests arrived five minutes later.  Yes, I invited a few lucky victims. Victim A has a well-established TT layout. Victim B models classic Italian sportscars (so I let him drive the closest I had - a 49 class).

After a perfunctory briefing ("you can't break anything any worse than I have, so let it rip"), we had a really good two-hour session.  Trains were run, there was shunting, drivers learned the road, Control did not lose his cool, womenfolk were amazed as their mean lept all over the place, shouting and laughing at each other. And, of course, as soon as someone pulled out their smartphone, things started derailing.

And it wasn't until after the guests left and several beers had been drunk it dawned on stupid here that we had finally christened the layout - yes, there have been private viewings etc, but this was by any definition, a "session". And before it gets cold in these here parts, I am planning another.  And I am also off to run some TT!

Here's a few very ordinary photos to record some of what got run.

Gee, I remain impressed with the Casula 12 class. Here it is, wheezing into Dubbo on a special tour train to mark the occasion.

Western division 4494 worked the West Mail. While the loco performed flawlessly, several recent expensive purchases of rolling stock on this train were rather disappointing. The wheel set on one purchase was well out of gauge and another was "lifted" once in Dubbo to show that the axle had never been placed in the bogie correctly.  I guess the lesson is to run the old stuff, and just show off the new stuff.

It wasn't all pretty-boy polished up stuff for the visitors. A well-weathered P class worked the branch, while a 49 ran a couple of goods trains. 

I am not sure I managed to convince either TT Guy or Italian Sportscar Guy to leap into NSWGR HO scale, but they both volunteered for the next session.  I am already plotting a 'run your old stuff" night in May.


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