A blog outlining the construction of the 'Gladstone Yard' in HOn3 ½

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Current Projects Underway

I have been meaning to post photos of some of my modelling that I have been attending to lately but I have been unable to post photos onto the blog. I have read that other blog users are having difficulty posting pictures as well so I'm glad to know it's not my computer or Internet connection. Despite this I thought I would provide a little update of what has been happening.

A few Saturdays ago I spent the afternoon with Al from AR Kits. Now if you want to know anything about model trains and trains in general Al is the 'Go-To' man. He is very helpful and will give all the time in the world to help anyone out. Al also has a great range of NSW products and a lot of finer detailing items and decals that are hard to come by. I recommend that Al be any ones first point of call for any HO Australian modelling needs.

Anyway, Al and I started the planning stage for building the Gladstone Cabin in HO. It will be constructed out of styrene sheeting and will have a scale size panel within. Lighting will also be added. I want the cabin to be built to a high standard. That's why I have gone to Al for help. Al showed me some of his scratch building work and it was pretty smek! Al even gave me a lesson in Scratch Building 101. He couldn't have made it look any easier. I was amazed at how simple scratch building can be. After searching for the materials that will be needed Al gave me a booklet on scratch building, some scrape styrene sheets and some top notch glue to start practising with.

Construction of my ILM QR goods shed is coming along slowly. It is a very easy model to build and I have enjoyed taking the time out to build it. I have taken pictures of its progress but as I mentioned earlier I have been unable to post the pictures. I have also been researching photos of the QLX box wagon in preparation for weathering my Wuiske RTR models. I have a few good ideas in mind and all the materials needed to proceed so once this bad Queensland weather disappears I will start that project.

Friday, January 4, 2013

VAK Coal Hopper

Note the faded '71' (indicating 71 tonnes) to the left of the arrow and logo.
Signs of its use in the old Central QLD days

Wagon profile:

Bogie coal hopper, red Circle wagon, constructed of aluminium, three drop doors, length of 3 units. They were restricted to A (Main Lines) and S (Mineral lines) class lines. The VAK were also restricted to 60km per hour when loaded. The VAK carrying capacity dependant on the class of line it operated on. The VAK originally had a carrying capacity of 56 tonnes. As indicated in the photo above they were capable of weighing a gross 71 tonnes. These 71 markings were regularly seen on the Blackwater system in the early 90's. Overtime their carrying capacity increased as lines/bridges were upgraded.


Grain VAKG, VAKS, VGK, VAKG (modern), VGMK
Predominately used on the Moura/Blackwater and southern lines, they were also used up north. During the 70’s flood they could also be seen on the NCL conveying coal from Gladstone to Brisbane. In the Gladstone the VAK were hauled by 1270, 1300, 1550, 2100, 2350, 2400, 3100, 3200, 3300, 3400, 3500 and 3600 class locomotives.

Southern Rail has recently released an excellent model of the VAK and variants. It was a great relief for the QR modeller when these models were announced. Although not prototypical, I will be running a unit train of 20 VAK’s representing a 60 car Moura consist. I would love to model a complete 60 car set but I feel if this was the case the layout would need to be built the size of a basketball stadium to match the scale train load and I don’t have the room to do that.
I have purchased both the QR Blue and QR Red liveries. All wagons will be suitably weathered. I would like to add graffiti to the wagons but the coal hoppers in Central Qld were usually graffiti free. The QR blue version will have shunter’s steps added to each end and a slimmer QR Blue decal placed on the centre of each side along with the the 71 tonnes decals. Sergeant couplers will be added to the wagons. I have also considered replacing the end slopes with the slopes that had sledding shields (the upside down V). There is still one in Brisbane traffic with this shield but i have not yet been lucky enough to photograph it. I plan to make my own coal loads for the hoppers. You could always tell where a loaded coal train originated from by the way the coal was loaded (I will explain fully in a later segment). Therefore the loads will be based on the Moura Mine style of loading.
The bogie/coupler height seems to be a hot topic with the latest release QR models. At the moment I have not yet decided what rollingstock to adjust.  This will be determined when the QR locomotives arrive. The rollingstock will then be suited to the locomotives as I’m guessing it’s not going to be easy adjusting the coupler heights of the locos.

Over the Christmas holidays I have been working on a few projects one of which is a ILM QR goods shed. These will of course be covered in future blogs. Also to come are brief VGK and QLX wagon profiles.