Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The ALMOST Mail Train

Every now and then something that you thought would work turns out not to. I'm sure I'm not the only one who bought something on an impulse and rushed home only to find that the locomotive or piece of rollingstock in question was too long to roll through a medium radius point, incompatible with code whatever rail or just not suitable for the era you are modelling. In my case, a second hand NSW candy MFE sitter and MHO brake van I thought would look perfect behind a 421 class candy locomotive to form the Philden Mail, turned out to be too long to be turned in the short yard I had designed my 6' foot long bookshelf layout around. The Philden Mail took less than a minute to become the ALMOST Mail Train!

The second hand Lima MFE car with added figures inside turned out to be useless on such a small layout.

With the Powerline MHO and Lima MFE cars long since departed on the 10.34 to eBay, I thought I would stitch together a picture of what the Philden Mail SHOULD have looked like. Keep in mind the 421 locomotive that was to pull it never arrived at Philden until December 25, 2015, hauled behind a red sleigh and 12 reindeer. By this time, the poor souls that were seated in the MFE waiting for the Philden Mail to depart had already left in bubble wrap on the Australia Post Express.

What the Philden Mail was supposed to look like being readied at the station.

The Philden Mail was to have consisted of a single sitter and brake van, with an NGLX louvered van added at the head of the train for good measure. Similar in many respects to the Western Mail train that ran from Sydney to Forbes in the early 1980's. The NGLX van would have been shoved into place from the goods siding at the last moment. The platform road on Philden is a dead end that finishes flush with some mirrored tiles, meaning that the loco would have to reverse the train back out of the platform road to run around the carriages, couple back on and shove the train back into the place ready for departure. The problem was, the lead spurs at each end of my sidings weren't long enough for the locomotive and even one passenger car at a time to fit without fouling the points. My layout was designed as a small switching puzzle with just enough room for a 2 car Explorer or diesel train set to fit at the platform. And I'd gone and made the mistake of thinking that if I could just.... Before finding out that in fact I just couldn't. I'm sure many readers would have a similar story of their own.

By the time the 421 arrived to couple onto the train however, the Philden Mail was no more.

So months after the NSW passenger cars that were to have formed the Philden Mail had left, I completed the story by backing my newly arrived 421 class onto the now imaginary train waiting in the platform road at Philden Station. The 421 was supposed to double between passenger duties and working the cement plant, and the second hand Lima and Powerline models were supposed to act as a cost saving measure for my 'Back To The Eighties' nights. I supposed wrong, when really I should have just stuck to what I'd designed my layout for in the first place, switching cars and running a 2 car diesel passenger train set. Lesson learned.

See also; Auscision Models 421 class review

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