Satisfied with how my track-work performed after a week of running my locomotive up and down in Philden yard, I turned my thoughts towards what this bookshelf-style layout was built for; operating. Even without my removable staging in place, this layout was designed to be a fun switching challenge designed to provide a guy like myself an hour and a half of model railway action.
|The first train arrives in Philden on the No 1 road, ready to test my layout design with some simple shunting maneuvers.|
The premise for my first test session was simple; within the confines of the layout, a 4 car train arrives to transfer some wagons from 'beyond the mouse-hole'. In future, when the mirrored mouse-hole door is open and my removable staging is in place, the train will pull up in the yard on the No 1 road as shown above.
|Sounds simple huh? But the 82 class loco leaves only enough room for 1 wagon at a time to be shoved into the goods sidings.|
What follows is a series of 32 different moves to break the train up, shove the wagons into place for loading and unloading, and finally reassemble the train so that it is facing in the opposite direction. Once my removable staging is complete, I will also have an arriving Countrylink Xplorer passenger service to contend with that will need to moved to and from the platform to the carriage siding for storage overnight while the yard is shunted, (an Aussie term for switching cars).
|8243 runs around a VLCX wagon after already pushing a similar wagon into place in the goods siding.|
The No 2 road will not only be shared by a goods shed at the dead-end of the layout, and the cement works at the mouse-hole end, but will need to be used as the run-around point for the locomotive as shown above. Once the removable staging is added, I will have the added benefit of a longer run-around point beyond the mouse-hole. But for now, 2 wagons combined with the 82 class loco foul the points at either end of the No 2 road, so only 1 wagon at a time can be shoved into place making it more of a challenge.
|8243 sits in the platform on the No 1 road, ready to head back out of Philden through the mouse-hole.|
In future, wagons will be left behind and empties rotated in and out of the yard through the mouse-hole using a train order slip. But while I prowl through eBay for an authentic NSW SRA blank train order sheet that I can scan, copy and have fun filling out just like the real thing, I think its safe to say that for a small layout Philden safely passed the first operating test session.
For the record, the first train that operated into Philden on Friday July 24, 2015 consisted of: 8243 hauling VLCX 586-F, VLCX 9-C, NPRY 12067-G and NPRY 12154-B.
See also; Hand painting PECO track