Bloody Hell!! What happened to the last 7 months??

 And its Australia Day 2024

Time flashes by when you are having fun! (not)

So our little team, has continued to plod on, although we really have little we can show you guys. The wiring project, has taken most of our time.

My stupid setup in the early days has caused much heart ache, however the light is now visible at the end of our tunnel. 

I am now happy we used servo motor point motors, and paying $3.00 each instead of $50+ for the much better Tortoise motors is a real sweetener for one who has the need for near 150 points to change.

I was certainly not so convinced after suffering multiple failures with Tam Valley control switches (maybe a result of my crap wiring?) and changing to ANE (Peco) switches was not much better. However along came David and his Simple Switches (Click here to see them).

All I can say is Where were you 10 years ago? These things are brilliant!

So we replaced the faulty Tam Valley bits and all the ANE bits with Simple Switches and most of our problems went away.

Now every indication I got in the early days was Tower Pro SG90 were the best of the cheap servos and ideal for model railway use. I found this to be true and the first 50 installs operated flawlessly (they did not rattle and changed tracks easily when the Tams decided to work). However the next 25 were not so good. I believe they were cheapened, and I guess almost every one has failed. I was told to search for Tower pro SG90 with metal gears. I found them and bough another 25 and they are working very nicely. Another order for 25 will probably allow me to power my Heritage 2 POS signals.

So there you go!  Six months of electrical, and time to run a few trains?

 I can add a few pictures here to show other progress, if I can find them?

 Progress Pictures

Here we have some bits Al sourced from his son Neil, cut on a CNC machine.

The first are replacement coupling pins between a LIMA 38 and its tender

You can contact me, and I will let Al know your phone number if you could use one of these?

The next are replacement drive shafts for a Trainorama S Class (GM and 42 Class)

 We asked Neil to make some on his CNC machine. Thanks Neil.

Here are pictures of the shafts installed. I used to think that pulling the bogies apart to change split gears was near impossible. However completely pulling the chassis apart, still did not fix the problem. So I used the dremel to cut out slots to drop the motor back into place with the shaft already pushed in both ends of the motor.

They are a proper bastard to fit. Even worse than the damn bogies, when you try to replace cracked gears.

We had to use the dremel to get the shafts in. Fit them to the motor and push down as you line up the gear box. 4 Hands anybody?


OOPS! It was a run away :(

Its a huge layout, and difficult to know if you remembered to change those points. Anyway looked spectacular. You will notice that some locos are not on track (apart from crashed ones) We were still trying to find wiring problems.

Wiring?  Well the new Control Box has a lot of spaghetti in it, I guess?



Lastly, I cannot find the new scenery pictures I took over the last several months. I think they are lost. So next time Graeme comes over, I will do some update pictures then.


First thing is my Australia day 2024 Video 


And lets run an 90's pass on  Australia day :D Please forgive the edit which failed to show the second person safely connecting up the cars and waving the train back into the dead end.

And so after running around and pushing back its time to head back to Melbourne

Sorry about the time warp. I took this video several times trying to make it right. However you will see my mistake, easily.

Cheers all

Hope you all had a Happy and Holy Christmas with your loved ones...

And a Happy New Year to you all.

Rod Young


2023_06_23 Near Catastrophe at Hobsons Bay Nth.

 2023_06_23 Two weeks ago, Al and I spent the day fixing up Trentham.

And this old fella could not have done it without Al's help or these special tools.

SPECIAL TOOLS  (Not human kind ;)

This trolley helps me to work under the lower bench top. Its slightly lifted off the floor, to help with holding arms up and seeing the work being undertaken. Using magnifying glasses (3.00) makes it easier too.

This adjustable trolley was built by Graeme and uses a mechanics trolley. Removed the wheels and put them on the frame. Also works a treat. Except....  for last Thursday!

More to come later!!

Changing track down end of Trentham (old Shinohara three way point had power routing problems and constant derailments)

With a lot of work, Al got the Peco code 75 three way point installed with only one kink that I can see. He did great work as he usually does. However electrical gremlins meant we had to return here the following Thursday

Trains would run into the dock, however a direct short occurred when trying to run in or out of the platform road. Got to be a simple problem, eh?

Turns out an easy fix. The connector on the Tortoise (used at Trentham) Was incorrectly fitted and shorted out the feed to the frog.

AS it turned out, unfortunately, I used the high trolley to get under and fix the point. I could not see the Tortoise properly as it was behind framework. I slid forward and there lies the problem. After seeing the connector was shorting, I fixed that problem. Al tested a loco through the points and it was time for me to come out from under. When I sooted forward, I did not realise that the red tray had bent under my weight.

And then Al pulled the trolley out.... OUICH!

Two points and a section of track well and truly buggered!

Fortunately Al fixed one point.

And it was easy enough to replace the flexi track.

Work in progress.

Ok all done.

So next week we will wire in the last point motors (if I get a panel finished by then.

We have taken away the Tam Valley Octo switches (p/b with leds) and installed toggle switches (to match the simple switches) Their are 18 point motors required to power Wodonga yard. I have two more simple switch 8's to add to the Octo (8) switches in place.

 And so this is the final bit. All point motors installed, just the toggles and panel to go.

Two simple switches are waiting to allow for 16 switches and servo point controllers.

Cheers Rod


2023_06_10 So where are we today?

 2023_06_10 Its just plain too cold and wet!

And so THURSDAY....

Despite all the excuses we have actually squared away a few things. Electrically the railway actually seems to be working with every track now working well on DCC.

Honeysuckle was repaired by Tony K (who donated it to the cause.) Wired it up,got the points working and temporary controls installed. Tony is building a new lever frame for this station, as we had to re-configure it as a through junction rather than a terminus, in its original form. Tony has already built all the operating semaphore signals, and they are stored away until the scenery and ballast are fixed up and the new lever frame arrives.

Last Thursday Al and I had our regular workday and we moved on to some dodgy track work on the branch line. We had already spent a lot of time trying to resurrect the old hand laid track. And so decided to replace the three way points with a peco code 75 asymmetric three way point that almost matched the original. Almost is the operative word. But it certainly improved operations at Trentham. 

Some pictures.

The Peco point did not actually fully match the footprint of the original hand made point.

However Al worked his magic! and it fixed down (despite the caneite base) and will tidy nicely, I think.

All went well .I laid on my trolly under the points and fixed the point motors in place and wired the three way point in. Then I had to replace the points into the dock road. It was late and I struggled to get the throw rod into the throw bar. Pushed too hard and broke the damn thing. It was a code 70 microscale point, and I could not drill out the hole on the throwbar because it was too flimsy....

So I now have to fix it up before Al comes again. He was disappointed with me, I am sure :(


Graeme gave me a call, and said he was in the mood to do some painting!

And so he did (some painting)

Graeme saw the buckled valence for the first time. We decided the best fix (for us) was to triple the number of rivets and force the buckles as flat as we could. The results were good enough, I guess.

Graeme then painted the valence mat black.

Obviously he was not yet "painted out" and we did find some 6 year old costeau blue paint in a leaky tin and we watered it down to get just enough paint for the job.

And so onwards and forwards the trusty roller headed away, back to the other end again.

We can now see an end to the project we started last year to hide the bricks.

And so with the backdrops painted and the valence in place our next projects are staring us in the face. Graeme gets to start his scenery, and I get to install the LED lighting. (and fix up some existing adhesion problems as well with the existing LED strips

Just a day after painting, and looking great.





2023_04_23 An update to Honeysuckle, and more canopy valence (problems with expansion, still)

 2023_04_23 Update for April '23


After fitting the MDF board we found it stretched and buckled overnight. We had to remove it and cut it to fit, and reaply.

And so this time we stretched the new boards and riveted them about 560mm apart, hoping the stretch could be minimised.

The repaired board seems acceptable.

Graeme contorts himself into the old helix to finish it off.

We were unable to bend curves into this piece. But it matches the table top, I guess :)

We are pretty happy with the finished valence. Just need to paint it before it stretches again.

Longer view.


Graeme also came gifting some station signs which we can use to mark the different sttions around the layout.We have decided to use the white lettering on black using full CAPITALS. and the larger badge too.

Al also visited bearing gifts

Al is currently away for a while and we all wish him a great holiday.

We now have a solid control box on wheels, and I visited Jaycar and purchased all the hardware to put it all together. Hopefully it will make things easier to access and stop some of the wiring issues we have lived with for some time.


Tony K. made two trips over from Bendigo to sort out our problems with Honeysuckle. Reallky appreciate his time and expertise.

We decided the track had found its useby date and replaced most of it with Peco code 75 on cork. This point lever was replaced (previously) with a new temporary panel.

Tony makes up these temporary panels, that can get the railway operating untill the new signal frame can be installed.

New track installed and mostly wired in. Point motors are all working. Just droppers need to be added.

WE also replaced the points here with electrofrogs as well.

And so the old Honeysuckle frame was removed and went back to Bendigo, to enter Tony's museum.

The frame being replaced with these temporary control switches which control all points. Some signals were removed for upgrade / repair and the signalman will use flags to control all train movements untill the new frame is installed.

 The turntable track needs adjusting and two new tracks will provide room for stock wagons and stabling of one passenger train.


After not operating for a long time, and after the return of operations at Honeysuckle, it was time to clean up Fernleigh and restore operations. All I need do, now, is build a new control panel.


Undercoat applied but unfortunately it did not stop the material from warping.

In the distance, you might see the repairs fixed the problem. However the foreground shows the new panels have warped despite the extra rivets and care we used this time.

Thanks Graeme for all the work. He packs up for the day.

Next day its my turn to undercoat the valence before it warps agoain!

Unfortunately it was worse than before.