Monday, 20 March 2017

Reaching the 100,000 Milestone!

It looks like this blog will pass the 100,000 visitor mark in the next couple of hours. Given that this is also my 100th post on Philden Model Railway, not only have the two milestones collided, but its fair to say the past two years have flown by so quickly!

When I started this blog with my first post back on the 14th May 2015, it was due to the excitement of having just come back from the 2015 Brisbane Model Train Show here in Queensland, Australia. Having sold off the final remnants of my former N scale collection, I'd wandered the aisles of the exhibition marquee with eyes wide, calculating what I could afford to buy as I prepared to delve into the world of Australian HO scale modeling. It was something I had wanted to do ever since I was a young boy caught up in the excitement of school holiday trips to Sydney by train. Central Station was simply the grandest station that ever did exist, and surely every other railroad company on earth must be trying to emulate what the New South Wales Railways had achieved. It was a blind-sided mix of one-eyed ignorance and bliss all wrapped together in a giant sesame seed bun! And somehow, I thought it would be wise to document it every step of the way.

The completed framework from 2 years ago.

From knocking-up the framework for a small bookshelf layout on my garage floor, to completing the layout in time for this year's 40th edition of the Brisbane Model Train Show, I've made my fair share of mistakes along the way. But like any good modeler, we simply put these discoveries down to trial and error. They are after all, what makes us better model railroaders in the long run. Not having a lot of room to build a HO scale layout in our small ocean view apartment, the 6' foot bookshelf layout with an additional 3' foot of staging became the limit for what I could construct. Try as I may, extending the layout beyond these dimensions just wasn't going to work. Those who have followed my layout's progress will appreciate that as in life, any good result only follows a lot of hard work.

The night time view of my near complete bookshelf layout.

As a writer, projects such as this blog always stretch your imagination as to where you can take it. Over the past two years I've courted numerous ideas that each required a time and money ratio that was simply beyond what I was able to entertain. There's only so many cottage model railway industries that the hobby can sustain, and in the end, each and every idea I came up with was a case of trying to reinvent the wheel. The amount of time and effort I have put into creating this blog however, is something that I shall be forever proud of. I can honestly say that with the amount of time I've spent creating the pages, links and writing these past 100 posts, I could easily have built this layout three times over!

In the end, Philden has been a fun layout to build, and one that I hope will stand above my desk for many years to come as a form of inspiration for my writing. With the final touches to be completed in the coming weeks, I'll be saving any further updates until after the layout makes its' public debut at the 40th Brisbane Model Train Show on May 6-7, 2017. Following the Brisbane Show, I will of course keep readers updated with the final two additions to this layout, those being the Neath Signal Box to be constructed on the concrete slab that presently stands beside the bus set-down area, and the steel receiving shed that will be constructed over the vacant siding opposite the cement plant. Each of these structures will continue to keep Philden looking fresh as I take it on the exhibition circuit over the coming years. And don't forget, this layout was built with reversible backdrops, meaning I can exhibit it from either side for a completely different perspective.

Finally, to all those readers who have bailed me out over these past two years by purchasing the models from me on eBay that I'd inadvertently discovered were either not compatible with the limited space I had to work with, or the era I was trying to place my layout in, I say a big thank you. After announcing that I had scrapped plans to add a second level extension to Philden, I sold almost everything overnight. I hope you were all happy with getting something for a fair price. To me, it is a reminder of how good this hobby has been to me. I always get enjoyment out of it, and it always gives you something back when you are ready to move onto the next project. For me, that is going to be a return to N scale, and I hope to have my next layout well underway by the end of this year.

Could there be a new blog on the way? I'm really not sure. With a new book project slated for me to start on this year, I'm mindful of burning the candle at both ends. I need some relaxation time too. As for a hobby? I couldn't recommend a better hobby than model railways. But don't just take my word for it, click on the construction page and start reading for yourself. There's 100 posts I've left for future readers to discover and be inspired by.

Until May rolls around, take care, and happy modeling!

See also; Celebrating the 50,000 Milestone!


  1. I know I'm late to the party, but sorry to hear that your plans for an upper level are at an end. I have a soft spot for the 86's, so I was vicariously sad to see it go.
    On the upside, exhibiting Philden will be good and I'm looking forward to your posts on it's first public outing. All the best for your final preparations!


    1. I was sad to part with the 86 class too, and even entertained adding wires to Philden, but the cement plant overhang and the overpass were both too low to add wires beneath. On the upside, I was able to replace the 86 class with a new loco to share the duties with 8243 at the Brisbane Show. Just what is it? Well, its something old, something new. I'll get some good photos of it at the layout's first outing in May. After the layout's first train show I'll be constructing the steel receiving shed opposite the cement plant. It should be impressive, it will take up about 1/4 of the layout's length. And just this week I have started to draw up plans for a new stand-alone N scale layout that can stand beneath Philden. HO above, N below, it might very well be a better result than adding the second level to Philden. Plan B's often have a funny way of turning out better!

  2. The station kit arrived today.

    It looks excellent.


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