Friday, 4 September 2015

The Inaugural Philden Xplorer


After 10 months of sitting forlornly in it's box, my CountryLink Xplorer train made its inaugural run from Sydney's Central Station to Philden on Thursday 3rd September, 2015. And to commemorate the occasion, the townsfolk of Philden arranged for the return train to Sydney to break through a special banner.

Watch the 13 second video on YouTube

The 2 car CountryLink Xplorer was the whole reason I switched to modelling Australian HO to begin with. After months of going through the whole should I, shouldn't I process, what seemed like an eternity saving for the model and 10 months of extreme patience while waiting for the railway station platform to be constructed on Philden, my Xplorer finally arrived in style.

The inaugural Philden Xplorer prepares to depart my layout for the return trip to Sydney.

With Philden essentially being a small, narrow book shelf layout, Southern Rail Models 2 car Countrylink Xplorer train is a perfect fit. For those who don't know much about Australian trains, the Xplorer is a diesel passenger train with a driving compartment at both ends of the 2 or 3 car sets, capable of being lashed up together and divided en-route to what are some fairly remote locations in the far south and north-west of New South Wales. As such, all the design for Philden Railway Station has centred around having a 2 car train arriving and departing from my layout without the need to turn the train around.

2522/2502 Xplorer set about to break through a special banner on the inaugural Philden Xplorer.

It took me about 2 minutes to design and print the special CountryLink banner to commemorate the first run of the Philden Xplorer. I borrowed some of my wife Denise's pins from her sewing kit, threaded them through the printed paper and stuck them into the track ballast. As a precaution, I partly cut the banner with a pair of scissors to enable the train to neatly break through the middle, and sat back with the camera and my smartphone to record the occasion.

Black and white photos are a great way to enforce a historic occasion, such as a new CountryLink service.

I know this probably qualifies me for a Nerd-of-the-Week Award somewhere, but I don't care. Model railways are meant to be fun, so why shouldn't we modelers have a little bit of fun along the way? Adding some black and white photos of the occasion is another way that we can lend a little bit of history and nostalgia to our modelling endeavours. So with the first run of the Philden Xplorer now recorded in history, and with the wine and cheese after-party now consigned to a headache from yesterday, I'm sure there will be many more photos of the Xplorer train arriving at Philden Railway Station in the months ahead. But as usual, that's a story for another day.

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil