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Author Topic: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)  (Read 916 times)

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Offline rob_au

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Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« on: December 28, 2019, 12:58:57 PM »
While my current N scale layout build (Bayswater Station) has slowed due to the requirement to purchase additional electrical infrastructure, I have started a more simple, straight-forward layout to work on in parallel. So, why I am posting here rather than in the Layout Planning or Layout Construction forum? Well, this is because this layout is being performed with that Horrible Other scale track (HO) in anticipation of running either HO or On30 scale locomotives on the track and I didn't want to run foul of forum rules.

Nevertheless, I think that this "side layout" project has enough novel features that it might be of interest to others here on the forum, hence the reason for this post in this forum group.

What's unique about this layout? Well, for a start, it is built on a pair of "donut" baseboards:



Alright, so while that might be "different", it doesn't make for an interesting layout, does it?

Well, this is a point that I would probably concede, but this layout is going to be based on the "Puffing Billy" narrow-gauge tourist railway here in Melbourne. Specifically, I am going to replicate the trestle bridge that curves in a semi-circle and forms a major tourist attraction in it's own right:







And from Google Earth, it becomes clear why this layout is suited for these "donut" baseboards:



So far, I have built the baseboards into two layers, representing the upper running track of the train and the lower ground level that falls away under the trestle bridge. On the upper level I have additionally installed some inclines to add some interest to this "non-focal" area of the layout.





In terms of stock, I have purchased a Powerline Victoria Class T diesel (analogous to the DH31 engine in the prototype photo above) in the HO scale, but ultimately I may end up running an On30 model (available from a specialty model provider here in Melbourne) of the "Puffing Billy" steam engine and carriages which form an iconic element of this tourist railway.

Anyhow, I am having fun with this very simple layout and thought I would share this with the forum (but didn't want to run foul of forum rules by posting in the other groups).
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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2019, 01:41:14 PM »


obviously not keen on Elf'n Safety!!
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Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2019, 01:46:18 PM »
obviously not keen on Elf'n Safety!!

I know what you mean, but it is actually quite safe (perhaps more than what this photo suggests)
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Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2020, 11:18:01 AM »
A frustrating derailment on this build this evening ...

I was soldering dropper wires on the track that I was about to lay when my youngest got talking to me, asking me about what I was doing. As the discussion went on, I ended up getting some track and engines out to demonstrate the different model sizes, only to find that my HO engine doesn't fit on the "HO" track that I was working on. So after some head scratching, I found that I had been sold HOm (or HOn3Ĺ) flex track rather than HO flex track. It turns out that HOm gauge is used to represent metre-gauge trains in HO scale. It runs on 12 mm (0.472 in) TT scale tracks. And of course, I have lost the receipt as I did a "clean up" a week or so ago.

At least I found it now before I laid the track on the layout, but still ..
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 11:27:00 AM by rob_au »
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Offline Bramshot

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2020, 11:24:33 AM »
I recently uncovered some home movies of the Puffing Billy taken back in about Ď64 / Ď65. Returned on a holiday in 2000, donít recall people hanging out the carriages on that trip, though we were diesel hauled.
I guess the steamers will be out of service at the moment due to fire risk, and hope the fires arenít threatening that trestle or any other parts around there. We used to live in Boronia, not too far away!

Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 08:58:01 AM »
Some interesting reading about this bridge:

  • Built 1899 for narrow gauge railway line (at a cost of 482 pounds) on standard Victorian Railways pattern but unusual in its curve.
  • The Rail Bridge, over Monbulk Creek is architecturally important because it is an essentially intact example of a timber trestle bridge and is possibly the most extremely curved surviving bridge in Victoria.
  • The bridge is a timber girder bridge with fourteen spans of 6m and carries a single 0.76m gauge track, at a radius of 60m on a ballasted timber deck. It is of considerable height, with piers to 11m high.

From http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/yarraranges/result_details/115714
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Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2020, 01:30:20 PM »
While awaiting the delivery of point decoders for my N scale layout, I have spent some time while physical distancing working on this layout.

From the start above, where I had cut the baseboards and laid the gradient ramps, I have added further foam to connect between these two ramps on the upper level and foam blocks to be shaped into the gradient and land form under the bridge on the lower level.



Note that in the above photo, the foam on the upper level has been painted and there are marks from an aborted attempt at laying some underlay foam for the track.

It can also be seen that ply sheet has been curved around the inside aspect of the donut and slopes up to match the gradient of the foam surface on the upper layer. Care has also been taken to sure the alignment of this curved sheet with the inner aspect of the donut is neat and presentable.



The timber on the inner and outer aspects of the donut over the portion of the layout where the curved trestle bridge will reside have additionally been cut to create an inundating land form reflective of the prototype.







The next step will be to cut some cork to serve as the underlay for the track on the upper surface.

Interestingly, for the track the runs over the curved trestle bridge, which on the prototype has a third guide rail, I have found some HO/HOe dual gauge rail (HO/OO 16.5mm plus N 9mm track) which I have ordered and promises to provide an interesting aspect to this simple layout. If anyone is interested, this is the track in question - https://www.tillig.com/eng/Produkte/produktinfo-85126.html

« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 01:39:18 PM by rob_au »
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Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2020, 08:59:23 AM »
Foam painted in anticipation of laying track and building the trestle bridge - I'm not sure how much further I will be able to proceed on this as I am still waiting on the delivery of bass wood that ordered three months ago!  :(


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Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2020, 11:01:37 PM »
Some frustrations ... After spending significant time building four (of the fourteen) bridge spans, I found that these were too short and sharply turned for the layout. I'm going to have to go back and check my math and start over with these.

Additionally after two failed attempts and having my tracksetta break, I gave up on trying to do the curved track over the upper part of the layout with flex track yesterday. I went and purchased some Peco R2 (44 cm) set track pieces and was rapidly able to solder drop wires lay these on cork ready for placement on the layout. And finally progress! I hope to be able to place these on the layout within the next few days, complete the under-board wiring and be able to run a locomotive on this (portion of the) track.

The next step beyond this will be then to install a power controller (https://udamonic.com/model-rail-controllers.html) and finish up the timber-work for the outer curve/side of the layout.
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Offline Bealman

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2020, 11:10:24 PM »
Start the trestle again, huh? Ah, the joys of railway modelling!  :thumbsup:

I see the controller is another Aussie product.  :thumbsup:

Very professional finish to them.  :thumbsup:

I guess there's no relation between udamonic and the old eda controllers I posted on my thread recently.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 11:16:39 PM by Bealman »
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline rob_au

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2020, 11:32:48 PM »
The guy who makes the controllers has been spamming (nicely I would add) a few of the local Facebook groups. By the look of them, they are using a microcontroller on board for a smooth and controlled power output. Although I am still working on how I can best fit this on the curved side of the layout ... I have some ideas, but one step at a time :-)
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Offline Bealman

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Re: Puffing Billy Trestle Bridge Layout (HO/On30)
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2020, 11:49:05 PM »
Good point...  dead straight controller panel, extremely curved layout....  :hmmm:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline rob_au

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Re: Montrose Trestle Bridge Layout (HO)
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2020, 09:59:30 AM »
Last night, wire droppers were soldered and the track placed and glued.on the upper part of the layout.



I have taken the N scale approach of wiring droppers to each piece of track - I am also looking at running some redundant wiring between these blocks and the controller as these will be exceptionally difficult to service once the outer curved covering is installed (in the event that something becomes detached or loose).





I had planned to weather the track before laying it on the layout (but forgot), so that will be my next job before ballasting this upper section of the layout. I will also need to purchase some more timber before I restart my efforts on the trestle bridge.

I also was able to run a locomotive - Powerline Victoria Rail T Class diesel T370 - which will likely be my principal locomotive for this layout.



I had thought of getting an Auscision Walker Railmotor (http://www.auscisionmodels.com.au/280HP%20Walker%20Rail%20Car%20Page.htm), which I thought would have looked really striking on this layout. However in speaking to the guys at the local store, they suggested that it really needs a wider turn radius (one guy who owns one of these suggested at least 22" curves) rather than the 18" minimum listed on the Ausicision web site (and which this layout incorporates).
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