Here's an overview of Philden's operations

Philden is a fictional model railway set in New South Wales between 2002 and 2008. 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 modeled portion of the layout calls for only a handful of cars to be switched at a time. Add to the mix the 2 car CountryLink Xplorer passenger service that is required to call at the railway station, and operating sessions on my bookshelf layout can take on any manner that I choose.



The CountryLink South North West Xplorer

This train is a favourite of mine. The now sold-out Southern Rail Models CountryLink Xplorers 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. As my layout is set between 2002 and 2008, hook-and-pull operations that were in place with the long defunct Northern Rivers Railroad, were now being performed by its successor Interail. So you will find operations on my layout being fictitiously shared between Interail and Pacific National, enabling my On Track Models NSW 82 class diesel and an Auscision Models 421 class diesel to share the duties.



The Philden steel shunt

Steel is another staple 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 modeled beside the cement plant until I begin construction of the steel receiving shed that will occupy the spare siding that stands opposite the cement plant. The coil steel loads are shipped in on a pair of Auscision Models NCTY open wagons that were formerly NODY wagons that had their doors removed and steel cradles fitted inside, and are among my favourite freight cars that I operate.



The Philden local freight

Aside from shipping steel and concrete to Philden, the local goods shed that stands opposite Philden Railway Station also receives and sends car load freight to and from Sydney. A sole On Track Models VLCX 40' foot louvered van and an Auscision Models 56' foot NLJX louvered van share the duties, and sometimes this traffic may be attached to the block cement train or arrive on the steel shunt.



Here's a look back at some of my past operating posts