Here's a bit of an overview of how I operate such a small layout

Philden is a fictional model railway set in New South Wales between 2002 and 2005. It was designed and built to be the smallest possible HO scale bookshelf layout that could still accommodate modern Australian locomotives while performing some simple to rather complicated switching operations. With a 3' foot long staging shelf containing two simple staging tracks both able to have the power isolated with an on/off toggle switch, the 6' foot modelled portion of the layout calls for only a handful of wagons to be shunted at a time. Adding to the mix is a 2 car CountryLink Xplorer passenger service that is required to call at the railway station.

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