Here's a bit of an overview of how I operate such a small layout
As always, the operations on Philden are fairly loose and fancy free. I run what I like, when I like, 'cause that's the way uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it uh-huh, uh-huh!
The CountryLink South North West Xplorer
This train is a favourite of mine. The now sold-out Southern Rail Models CountryLink Xplorers in real life were introduced to New South Wales in 1993 to restore passenger services to the north-west of the state. The trains were capable of being operated in two, three or four car sets and were also able to be divided en-route to head to two different destinations. Just for kicks, I'll often pull out a CountryLink timetable and simulate train movements to and from my station to mimic running a train to Moree, Armidale, Griffith or Canberra. My humorously named South North West Xplorer heads wherever it wants to, except east. Solely because of the fact that east of Bondi Junction in Sydney it would fall into the Pacific Ocean!
The Philden cement train
The cement plant is a major source of traffic on my layout, with a small fleet of Southern Rail Models NPRY/NPRF NSW cement hoppers and a sole Casula Hobbies NPCF cement hopper for a bit of variety usually being cycled in and out of the cement siding as required. My layout is set between two era's, the early 1990's with Freight Rail handling all freight within NSW with locos such as 3518, the Auscision Models 45 Class diesel. Then there's the early 2000's, with hook-and-pull operations that were in place with the long defunct Northern Rivers Railroad, were now being performed by its successor Interail with locos such as 42109, an Auscision Models 421 class diesel.
The Philden steel shunt
Steel is another traffic source to Philden, and loads of coil steel are usually required to be rolled flat and used for concrete reinforcing for a nearby highway upgrade project that is taking place just beyond the layout. For the present, the steel is being unloaded by forklift on the concrete apron of the abandoned siding that I modelled beside the cement plant. The coil steel loads are shipped in on either Auscision Models NCTY open wagons that were formerly NODY wagons that had their doors removed and steel cradles fitted inside, or the Auscision Models NCNX coil steel wagons with covered tarpaulins protecting the loads.
The Philden local freight
Aside from shipping steel and concrete to Philden, the local goods shed that stands opposite Philden Railway Station is still being used by a rural co-operative fuel distributor. Shipments of 44 gallon drums of oil and farm machinery lubricant arrive from Sydney in an On Track Models VLCX 40' foot louvered van. Pacific National may have the contract for Shell's block fuel train from Sandown in Sydney to Tamworth in the north west of the state, but single car loads of petrol are still attached to the local freight and delivered to the fuel siding alongside the goods shed in either an SDS Models NTAF Ampol petrol tanker or soon to be arriving Southern Rail Models NTAF petrol tanker. Add to that the growing container and intermodal traffic utilising Auscision Models NQYY/NQTY container wagons and a mixture of Auscision 20' foot and 40' foot domestic containers that also unload on the concrete apron beside the cement plant, and Philden suddenly becomes one busy little yard!
Here's a look back at some of my past operating posts
- Finding Gremlins in Locomotives: one problem creates another
- Bringing back the Bulldog: 421's return for Interail
- Creating Authentic Station Announcements: using DVA 5 software
- That steel ain't light: funny coil steel shipments
- Remembering my past layouts: walking through Memory Lane
- Meet Philden's Blues Brothers: possible partners in crime
- Snacks for Operating Sessions: authentic XPT / Xplorer Menus
- Running some CountryLink timetables: keeping model trains fun
- CountryLink resumes Philden services: sometimes they come back!
- Sounds like a CPH: The Rail Motor Tour
- The Last Philden Xplorer: quietly into the night
- The ALMOST Mail Train: when good ideas aren't
- The Station Master's Desk: operations and railway memorabilia
- The Inaugural Philden Xplorer: banner breaking 1st run
- That first operating session: testing how everything works