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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Gladstone Yard Shunt

 Recently repainted 1739D sits in the Gladstone Yard
 in the early- mid 90's during a shift change.
There were six shunts in the Gladstone area during the early 90’s. The No.1 Shunt was known as the Yard Shunt. The 1720 class were predominantly the class of locomotive used for the yard shunt. As DOO conversation gradually rolled out the Yard Shunt was consistently a DOO locomotive while the Jetty Shunt (No.2 Shunt) remained an original 1720 for some time until majority had been converted.
The Gladstone shunts were generally drawn from the Rockhampton locomotive pool and sent down every so often for replacement on local work trains. The general pool was usually locomotives numbered between 1733 through to 1740 and also 1771. 1736D was a regular operator of the Yard Shunt for a number of years, after which 1738D or 1739D were the flavour of the month. Towards the end of the 90’s the 1502 class were used as the Yard Shunt for around six months. It was believed that this occurred due to heavier loading that required shunting in the yard (generally the Mount Miller and chemical loadings) and the fact that the 1502’s were becoming surplus due to the introduction of the 2800 class. The 1502 class did not last long before the 1720’s returned. The early 2000’s saw the 1550, 2100 and 2400 classes take over but once again today the 1720 has returned possibly for their last stint.
The days of the 90 tonners.
2482D sits in No.1 Road during a meal break. 

The Yard Shunt had one LSR/T (runner or shunter’s float as others may know them by) attached to the No.2 end of the locomotive. The locomotive would always have its No.1 end facing ‘Up’ (towards Brisbane) as was the norm for most shunts in Queensland. Towards the late 90’s buffers were removed from the locomotives and rollingstock. This was a result of the draw hook wagons being removed from service. It also assisted in the prevention of workplace injuries during shunting. Despite this one end of the runner’s buffers were not removed as they were still occasionally required to shunt ‘antique’ draw hook rollingstock.
In the early 90's the Shunt consisted of a driver, a DA (driver’s Assistant) and three shunters. The shunt operated from 00:01 hours on Monday through to around 13:00 hours on Saturday. The crews were rostered on eight hour shifts which started at 00:01, 08:00 and 16:00 hours. After its final shunt on the Saturday it would detach its runner in the water road and then ran light engine to the South Gladstone Diesel Shed. There it would be attached to all the remaining shunts and the occasional left over Moura locomotives and sent light engine to Callemondah for servicing. They would then return Sunday night ready to start by midnight. It was a great sight to see the shunts head to Callemondah for servicing as there were no less than 6 locomotives in the light engine movement.
The Yard Shunt covered the Gladstone Yard, QRX sidings, the goods shed sidings at Auckland Point and the wagon workshops (when they were operating). Occasionally it would share tasks with the Jetty Shunt and South Gladstone Shunt if movements were running behind schedule. When the Jetty Shunt permanently ceased operations around the mid 90’s the Yard shunt took on all roles of the Jetty Shunt which consisted of the grain and fuel sidings etc. The Yard Shunt would always attach and detach loading from visiting freight trains and also shunted the mail from the ‘Mail Trains’ such as the Capricornian. Now-a-days the ‘Mails’ do not carry mail, the Capricornian does not exist and visiting freight trains do their own shunting in the yard.

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.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Locomotives and Rollingstock used in the Gladstone Area between 1990-2000

 X301 approaches the Platform on the main, Rocky bound while a 3900 enters the loop
with a freight to Brisbane. The 2800 is in No.1 and will depart for Brisbane
with its general freight train once X301 clears the section.
1270 class                            1460 class                            1502 class                            1550 class
2400 class                            2450 class                            2470 class                            1620 class
1700 class                            1720 class                            2100 class                            2130 class
2141 class                            2150 class                            2170 class                            2800 class
4000 class                            3100 class                            3200 class                            3300 class
3400 class                            3500 class                            3600 class                            3900 class
 ICE                                        ETT                                         2000
2050                                     1901

Louvre Wagons
ALY                                         CLO                                        CO                                          QLP                                        QLX


VAH Coal Wagon             VSO Hopper                       VAOW Woodchip            
VAOG Grain Wagon        VAJ Coal Wagon                VALJ Coal Wagon              
VAKG Grain Wagon         VAL Coal Wagon               VAM Coal Wagon           
VAO Coal Wagon             VO Coal Wagon                 VLO Lime Wagon
VJM Coal Wagon             VJMG Grain Wagon          QGA Grain Wagon          
VBO Ballast Wagon         VMO Molasses Wagon    VSA Coal Wagon

FJS                                          HJS                                         HO                                         
HSA                                        HWA                                      WHO                               
HWO                                      WHA                                      WHE

OB Oil Tanker                     OC Oil Tanker                     OH Oil Tanker                          
OP Oil Tanker                     OQ Bitumen Tanker          OT Fuel Wagon                
WO Water Wagon            WSE Water Wagon

Specialised Wagons
BSW Wheel Set                DDM Car Carrier               HJC Cement Wagon       
LRC Remote Wagon        HOS Sleeper Wagon         LSR Runner                       
R Refrigerated                  QRG Gantry Wagon         PST Sand Wagon             
QR Rail Wagon                 ELRC Remote Wagon       ITVO Weigh Bridge Wag.
SD Ballast Wagon            PS Sand Wagon                 TES Plough Wagon          
CW Camp Wagon            EWT Electric Van
Cattle Wagons
KL                                           KSA                                        KSAT                                      KL                          

Flat Wagons
MTW                                     PYC                                        QFCS                                     QFP                        BAUY                                     BAZY                                      PCZY                                     


TDV Drovers Van              TGV Guards Van               TLV Guards Van                               
LTC Test Van


L Lander Cars                     M Lander Cars                  

Heritage Coaches

AL                                           BL                                           BGV                                       BLV       

CL                                           Sunshine Express Cars

There is obviously more stock that was used during this time period but this list is based on my observations in the area for this time period and does not include all variants of rollingstock.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Gladstone Yard

Overtime the Yard has grown to suit the demands of its ever increasing traffic. However, one would beg to differ if a visit was made to the station in today’s time as very little traffic is seen. The road in and out of the yard consisted of a single main line. The increase of traffic could have justified a double main line between Gladstone and Callemondah but this was never to be. In the 90’s the yard would be heavily congested, particularly in the early mornings and late afternoons. The yard was extremely busy that trains would be held at Parana (first crossing loop to the south) and Callemondah (first crossing to the north) until a path was available. To make matters worse peak periods would often occur around the time the morning and afternoon Spirit of Capricorn was due. During this time all other movements in or out of the yard were held until the Spirit of Capricorn had cleared its path. This was the general rule if any mails had departed Parana (from the south) and Mount Miller (from the north) and heading to town.
The Yard Shunt has just entered the yard from No.12 (Auckland Point).
 A mixed freight occupies the loop with a Brisbane bound service while
two 3900's sit in No.1 with a Rockhampton bound goods.
The yard consisted of the following roads:
The Main Line; was obviously connected to the station platform. It is also connected to the three dock roads (originally four) located at the southern end of the yard. The general rule was to keep it clear for passenger services but in desperate measures it was used for freight and coal services running through town. On one occasion someone had made the decision to allow a stock train to briefly stop on the main line. After it departed the station porter spent a good couple of hours cleaning the waste off the platform before the afternoon Spirit of Capricorn was arrived.
In 1998 2800’s, electric coal locomotives fitted with protruding steps and the new VSA coal hoppers fitted with Kwik drop doors were no longer permitted to use the main line due to clearance issues. The main line was 135 units in length.
The Loop; is the same length as the main line. This was still inadequate as often longer freight services known as Super Freighters would stop and still foul the sections in and out of the loop. This would often affect shunting and other train movements in and out of No. 1, 2, 3 and through roads.
No. 1; was primarily used as a ‘secondary loop’ for freight services and was 68 units in length.
No. 2; was 55 units long and generally was used to stow the ‘Limey’ which generally consisted of a 1460 and 11 VBO’s or VLO’s.
No. 3; was usually kept clear to allow South Gladstone bound coal and the Auckland Point bound Woodchip services to pass through the yard. Often the Yard Shunt would occupy this road during shift changes and meal breaks.
The Through Road; is a relief road and enables access to the Gladstone Diesel Shed, the diary, the angle and number 12 Road (the Auckland Point balloon loop). The Through Road was not electrified and has claimed a number of pantograph from electric locomotives.  
Water Road; is a storage road situated between the north and south entrances of the angle. It is parallel to the Through Road and is usually used to house the shunts and coal locomotives during off periods.
The Angle; is connected to the Through Road and is used to turn locomotives, in particular those arriving from the Moura System. Once the train had unloaded the locomotives would detach from their train, run into town, turn on the angle and head to Callemondah. The Angle was not electrified and therefore electric locomotives were required to use the angle at Auckland Point. QRX is situated at the tip of the angle. A number of sidings were situated there which enabled indoor and outdoor loading of wagons.
The Southern End of the yard. The dock can just be seen to the right. 
Sidings were located at the Dairy which ran off the Through Road and situated at the southern end of the yard and the dock as previously mentioned. The wagon shops were connected through Auckland Point yard and also No.3 road. The wagon shop sidings were removed when the shops were relocated to Callemondah. The original shop building was converted into offices/work shed. The yard was connected to Auckland Point via the northern end of the main line, the loop, No. 3 and the Through Road. The yard was also connected to South Gladstone Yard via the northern end of the loop and the Through Road.  Access to the Gladstone Diesel Shed was also via the Through Road.

The Yard Shunt is shut down in the Water Road with two other locos.
A solo 2250 sits in No.3
Attached is a link to a sat view of the yard.

I was hoping to add more detailed photographs but for some unknown reason every time I attempt to download a photo an error pops up saying something like the file server is down. Has anyone else experienced this?

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Brief History

Gladstone is located on the busy North Coast Line between Brisbane and Rockhampton. It services branch lines such as the Calliope/Monto Branch Line, Biloela Line, and the Moura Short Line. For years Gladstone has been a major rail hub for the Queensland Railways. The growth of the railway in this area has been the result of the large quantity of export coal arriving from the Moura and Blackwater Systems. This coal is deposited at local ports such as Barney Point and Clinton and also the Gladstone Powerhouse and QAL.

3516 and a 3600 head past the Callemondah Wagon Shops
with a loaded 100 car to the Clinton Wharf

Gladstone was once rated to be in the top 10 Rail Photography spots in Australia due to the volume and variety of traffic in the area. Such traffic consisted of passenger, coal and minerals, general freight, chemicals, woodchip, grain, cattle, work trains, local shunts and heritage services.
Through time passenger services consisted of The Capricornian, The Milklander, The Spirit of Capricorn, The Sunlander, The Queenslander, The Spirit of the Tropics, The Spirit of the Outback, The Daylight Sunshine Rail Experience and both the electric and diesel Tilt Trains. Other services such as Troop trains and the Great South Pacific would run ‘around the back’ of Gladstone (through the deviation).

Freight was seen in town during six days of the week. It was very rare that a freight service would run into town on a Sunday but freight could be seen on a daily basis along the deviation section running between Brisbane and Rockhampton. Over time container traffic took over majority of the services but there were still plenty of mixed freight services running into town. Gladstone also produced (and still does) originating services which usually left late in the afternoons to destinations north and west. The most enjoyable service to watch was the Monto Train and the Brisbane to Gladstone/Rockhampton goods namely 7367 which was led for a period of time by one or two 1720’s.  

During the grain season Gladstone Yard and Auckland Point would be over flowing with grain trains. These services would originate from various points west. Some grain services would run directly to the port of Brisbane. A grain shunt would be employed during peak grain periods. This shunt was one of six shunts running around the Gladstone area.

 Class leader 1502 on the Mt. Miller Shunt departs for Mt. Miller 
while 1735 is over the hill on the Jetty Shunt
For a number of years the local Heritage group (part of Queensland Rail) would run services to such areas as Monto, Bororen and Rockhampton. Usually a yearly steam service would reach Gladstone operated by either Queensland Rail or a private historic operator. These steam events would always fill the station platform with people of various age groups.
My father worked in the railway in Gladstone and I was often able to go to work with him on the weekends. During these times my knowledge in the basic operating of the railway grew. My favourite memories would have been the cab rides, in particular driving the South Gladstone Shunt  to the unloader with sixty wagons loaded with coal in tow.

It has been a dream to model Gladstone since I was a child and now with RTR QR products on the door step, what better time to start. A big congrats to the new players on the market that have taken a big risk (which I feel will pay off) for QR modellers. The current suppliers shouldn’t be forgotten about either as they have paved the way for today’s modelling of the Queensland Rail system.  

The general plan (at this stage) is to complete two yards. The first being Gladstone and the other being a small station situated between Gladstone and Rocklands (Rockhampton). I am yet to go through my yard diagrams to see what is feasible. These two yards will be constructed in a way that will enable one or the other to appear at exhibitions. The main lines between both yards will be lengthy and will only be a permanent feature to the layout room.

The layout will be planned to reflect the prototypical running of trains in the Gladstone area. This will make for a challenging and entertaining running sessions and will create the realism of operating the Gladstone Yard. It will accommodate six operators and consist of single and double main lines with passing loops available on the single. A signal panel will also be part of the grand design and will require a full time operator. NCE products will be sourced for DCC operations. Sound will be added to the locomotives but a brand will be determined when some of the new locomotives arrive.

The modelling period will be between the years 1990-2010. This period will cover three liveries and will reflect the final years of the government railway before it was sold off. There were very little changes in the Gladstone Yard during this time but the yard itself will be constructed to reflect the early 90’s. During this time the wagon workshops were operating and the barracks were still standing opposite the cabin.

All work involving the construction of this layout will be added to the blog so that I can share my experience with others who enjoy this wonderful hobby. So please join in the experience with me and enjoy reading the progress of ‘Gladstone Yard’.

A loaded 60 car coal train heads to the unloader at Clinton