Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A mutual understanding.

Yes it has been quite a while since the last post, we have moved into the bigger domicile and have progressed through most of our boxes of stuff. The kids have also settled in nicely. 

The 1960's tilt door garage was cleaned out, swept and dusted, while this was initially destined to become the new home for Victoria Street, the bride had another suggestion.........

Her idea is that the layout in its usual configuration could reside in the spare room the other side of our en-suite as just a running layout, while all the "untidy"(her words) works such as painting, modelling and soldering should take place in the shed, this inside space would significantly reduce the dust experienced in the shed and I can share the inside space with her sewing hobbies.  

While this offer is proving inviting, the reality is that the wall space allocated is long enough, the right hand side return that would feature the bend and racecourse modules would foul the doorway for the en-suite, and this will not do. 

So while these matters are in play, I'm in the process of re-configuring the modules into a cohesive narrative and a functional layout. 

The best scenario and easiest solution at the moment is to remove the bend module and have the racecourse module attach directly to the gates module as an 'old school' along the wall shelf layout. The bend module would reside in the cupboard for exhibitions or could be dragged outside for photography in sunlight. 

Another option is to position the bend module between the junction and railway station modules, this would require trams running out to Ammo factory to traverse the bend before shunting at the station cross over.  This would require the layout to have a return on the left hand wall of approximately four feet, with the rest of the layout along the allocated wall. I ran this configuration at the Sunshine model railway show in 2012, at that stage minus the junction and depot. This concept will need to be negotiated. 

Something like this. (Pre DCC)

And this, one huge retail strip. 

Hopefully to be under the wires soon. 


Sunday, 14 January 2018

The things we do. (We all started from somewhere)

With the layout in exile, and with the family away up north while I have to work. Normally about this time of year I perform major works on Victoria Street. 

Question; What does one do and not yet indulge in self destructive behaviour before moving house? 

Answer; Plonk down some set track and run some retro train sets on the living room floor.  

First cab off the rank, remember the Christmas of 1977, Hornby punch out an Australian series that include the Victoria Railways S class with a ZL van and a loose collection of domestically branded British rollingstock all resplendent with tension lock couplers.  Sadly the box no longer exists, but I found this example online. 

From the catalogue.

As presented 40 odd years later. 
Not in bad condition for something over forty years of age. 

Then a Bachmann set with a Santa Fe F7 and a small collection of rollingstock in original box with track and controller. 

In the box.

Out of the box.

These were obtained by either the local buy swap and sell page on Facebook, or from the somewhat dreaded eBay, off loaded by individuals who had no real idea their historical or intrinsic value. 

As one can remember, set track can have its setbacks, rusty steel rails and flogged out rail joiners make for some iffy running, but add a track rubber and some new fishplates and its Christmas Day, once again for this child. 

Either way I can get my fix while the rest of my tram fleet resides in storage. 

Here is the recent arrival to my tramway fleet cutting notches on the 'set track'. 

My motto in life has been, always have a plan B. Mission accomplished.

From under the radar while the family is away, while running old school DC. 


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Well, that was a busy year.

I know it has been quite a while since the last post, but a fair bit has happen since. 

We have sold up our little abode in the inner west of Melbourne and obtained a good price for it and have bought a massive piece of suburbia in the south east sand belt. 

The bride will get her wish of moving back to her side of town after her tour of duty out west. 

This palatial domicile has ticked all the boxes on the original wish list, the kids will get their own rooms, the bride will get a study, I will get a decent sized shed and we all will get two bathrooms, two living areas and a massive covered outdoor entertaining space. 
This residence unlike some others we have seen doesn't require a renovation that starts with a box of matches. 

As always at this time of the year, I wish followers of the blog the best for the season, try to sensible with the food and drink, and remember it's all about the kids. As it will be our last Christmas west side this year, it is still shared with family and that is what matters.

This years Christmas card is a rework of the fifty thousand hits photo.

Seasons greetings all, from Victoria Street. 

So to the matter of the resumption of services on Victoria Street, as the layout was the first thing packed and stored, it will no doubt be the last thing to see the light of day after the relocation, which will happen in late February.
This will happen when I sort out my new man cave/shed. 

From under a soon to be different roof that will eventually have wires to run under. 


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

On the home front.

The study/man cave/old layout space now looks a treat (and a lot larger), after a dash of interior acrylic called 'Royal beige 1/2 strength'.  This area has been annexed by the bride as 'her' home office. 

After the neighbours place was sold at auction at a very good price, the works around "casa del Glenno" have notched up from a leisurely 'full series' trundle to a slightly manic 'full parallel' dash. 

With all the prep work and paint going on at the moment, I have discovered that all of my children must suffer an inner ear issue, as they cannot to seem to walk straight along the hall without 'pinballing' off the newly painted walls. This has been remedied by proclaiming from now on that all the walls are made from lava. 

On an another front, my football club has missed out on the finals this year, thus freeing me up to do more with the house this September. It has been stated in the media that the Bulldogs are suffering a premiership hangover, but I am still glad to have this problem as a result of breaking a 62 year drought. 

I did recently obtain another W class tram at a good price, this is the only modelling topic on this post. 

An old photo of the first five,
Now there are six

From amongst the paint tins and colour charts. 


Sunday, 16 July 2017

The early removal of services

The layout has not had a tram cut a notch since the suspension of service notice was issued. Even if I did attempt to roll one out of the shed, the layer of filth and dust on the rails at the moment would render the tram 'insulated'. 

End of an era 

These are not the greatest days of modelling, but in the end, this will only be temporary. As you can imagine, I have a list of tasks that Evil Kinevil would struggle jumping, but then he would find himself in the back of an ambulance after failing such an attempt. 

On the other hand the neighbours have finished their episode of 'grand designs' and their property goes up for auction at the end of the month, this will determine how intently we go from here. 

Over the previous weekend, one month before the original scheduled shutdown, services were suddenly suspended, rollingstock packed away, and the entire 4mm to the foot universe that is Victoria Street was placed into recess and storage.

It is only when one is required to take stock and pack it, that's when you find out that you may be a hoarder. I have found 'assets' that have been long forgotten, the bride during her stocktake has 'rediscovered' her vast collection of fabrics and yarn, therefore at this moment in time, the scores are level. 

As most of you can appreciate, photos are in short supply at the moment with all the fun and games going on.  

I'm sure I can conjure up unpublished finds and then cobble them with enough text as a retrospective, also I can use this time to assist others online and live vicariously through their layouts along with their adventures with tramway modelling. 

From the recently cleaned out study with a bewildered look of where the wires were. 


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Moves are afoot.

I have in the last few months fielded a few enquiries about exhibiting the layout from exhibition managers and followers of the blog. I thought I maybe able entertain one or two exhibitions this year, but in reality the humble abode in which the layout resides along with the bride, three kids, a jack russell terrier, one cranky budgie and myself in is somewhat becoming cramped. 

This can only eventually lead to one conclusion, possible relocation. Soon!

Our current domicile is a quaint 'worker's cottage' in the inner west of Melbourne, while this was extensively renovated nearly ten years ago with a 'study' that I annexed. It is believed no longer able to accommodate my family and all our stuff. 

Therefore, not much at the moment is happening on the layout at this point in time, yet the entire bandwidth of Internet is being utilised on searching for possible candidates.  

As with every potential move, requests are being entertained, mine include a reasonable shed/workshop and some more potential layout/man cave space, as apposed to our current arrangement. 

The kids would like individual rooms, but on most stormy nights would huddle together in the main bedroom with the bride and I, to at which point I make a statement, " why bother with a house when could have a tee-pee."

The bride would appreciate a little space for her interests too, considering she smashed her graduate diploma with high distinctions on the laptop, on her lap and on any somewhat clean level surface in our free standing post office box. She does deserve better. 

Either way, be it through my Nostradamus like thinking or the strict initial limitations placed by the bride, but the concept of a modular layout in this current location may have paid off. 

Originally I opted for a tramway layout that was modular for two basic reasons.

One, tramway layouts allow for tight radii turns and shallow base boards.

Two, as I was offered the upstairs study, the insane idea of building a permanent layout would have been foolish, doing a modular layout in the end means that I can carry it piece by piece down the stairs and with time and/or space at the other end have the whole or some small part operational in a short space of time. 

As our place now has a somewhat lived in effect, the slow burn of 'tarting/dolling' up is now underway, as of a matter of interest, the neighbouring house is currently and rapidly being 'refreshed', as a smaller two bedroom abode with a single bathroom, it will go on the market very soon. 

This in the end will decide how sooner or later we may decide to realise and relocate. 

This ongoing scenario will obviously interfere with my creativity in regards to posts and photos, as I have a week off in early August, services will need to be suspended, then that time will be used to disassemble Victoria Street and place it into storage so not to freak out/ deter potential purchasers with my gunzel collection. 

I thank those who follow the blog and understand that the pending suspension of services will hopefully be temporary.

From just over a month or so from under the wires here. 


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Episodes of Bustitution

Buses, either complement or are the nemesis of tramway operations, but they are a reality. They offer flexible route alternatives without the pork barreling and/or the expense of infrastructure in implementing a tramway.

Victoria Street now has on its roster ( or streets), six buses of four differing types and vintages. 

All buses in the collection are all 1/76 (OO) scale made or offered by mobs such as EFE, Trux, or Oxford, then a maybe a combination of all of the above. 

First cab (bus) of the rank is....

The Austerity bus.
(Oxford Bedford rework)

Loosely based on the unit that featured a timber body that was pressed ganged into service during the darkest days of WW2 before the tramway was extended from the then terminus, Maribrynong River to the government cordite/explosives factory further west over the river.  Most services 'gunned  it' from Footscray railway station with the headboard coded with 'Special E'. 

MMTB 301

This model has 'blackout' white markings on the bumper bars and mud guards. 

Now it's on an enthusiast's excursion. 

The next stop at the interchange features the Leyland Tiger TS8 half cab.(Trux)

I have three of these units in service, these entered service when the MMTB was in the process of rehabilitating  the age expired cable tramway network with electric tramways or as a replacement entirely  

These sort of buses extended the range of the then electric tramway network without the necessary outlay required for rails and overhead, yet provide a glimmer of hope in future, given patronage, of the option of expansion of tramway services. 

In most cases, these replaced late night and/or weekend services on some tram routes. Then on some cross suburban routes led to the demise of local tramways completely.  

I have also changed the headboards to reflect west suburban destinations. 

The third phase. 
The Leyland National. 

An EFE/Trux production. 

What happens when successive state governments offer a rail link to the city, yet do nothing, bustitute. 

The citizens of suburban Doncaster, north east of Melbourne, have for as long as has been recalled, have been promised a heavy railway line into the city, to this day this has not happened. 
Some Melbourne suburban rollingstock even had Doncaster East as a destination on the headboard roll in anticipation, but alas these units have retired from service and will never arrive.
Another case of promises,promises. 

Enter the mid to late 70's, tangerine is still somewhat a fashionable colour and as long the sun still shines,  rail is not heading out to Doncaster soon. 

Behold the Leyland national, barreling down the Eastern Fwy, to the city, in its own designated lane at 80km/h. 

These buses apparently due to their modular construction, led to handling and ongoing maintenance issues that in the end resulted the exclusive use on 'slow' suburban runs. 

While the run number features 'D' from the Doncaster depot the headboard has been altered for a Footscray depot run. 

Going long haul, the Denning Mono Coach. 

A Trux model. 
Introduced in the early '80s, these coaches filled the void by the closure of lesser country rail services, they also provided a rather cheap (and somewhat long and nasty) interstate transport between the state capitals as an option when airfares at the time compared to today were incredibly expensive.  

The other use for these coaches were charter services such as school excursions, country race meetings and at the the time, the rather lucrative border raids from Melbourne to the Murray River towns of New South Wales with 'sports' clubs that housed poker/fruit/slot machines. This caper ended when these horrid machines were introduced into Victoria by a state government who was at the time going a bit scruffy for revenue. 

This model in AAT livery is relevant as AAT at this time had their Melbourne depot in the inner western suburb of Spotswood.

 The nightmare scenario on Victoria Street.

As in the past tram depots have evolved into bus depots, for a variety of reasons such as the tramway has become redundant or the depot has become too small for larger trams and/or an expended fleet. 

The former Footscray tram depot in Buckley St, went from a four road yard and shed housing a collection of four wheel single truck trams to an extensive bus depot covering an entire block. 

Under the wires on its last day of trams
(Photo courtesy Trams Downunder)

After the closure of the local lines. 
(Photo courtesy Trams Downunder)

Back to back buses. 

The wheels of progress have turned again, recently the bus operator moved from Footscray to a new and larger greenfield site further out west, resulting in the Footscray site being sold off for a development featuring apartments and a retail section.  

Not under the wires but amongst the diesel fumes and oil leaks on the tarmac.