For the first time since 2005, I dusted off some Large Scale rollingstock and headed off to a run day at Greg Hunter's garden layout, the Sandstone and Termite. Greg has a website describing the layout, and an early version of his layout was featured in AMRM Issue 219 (December 1999).
I'm not an early riser, so by the time I got there, everyone else was leaving! However, Greg and I still had a bit of fun as I admired all the additions he had created since my last visit and re-familiarised myself with this huge railway that goes right around his substantial backyard.
My RVR No.12, a converted Bachmann 'Annie' 4-6-0, waits on the through line at Ti-tree with my mineral train as Greg's No.14 overtakes with a short goods train.
Greg's No.14 has a scratchbuilt body on an Aristocraft eight-couped chassis and a Bachmann 'Big-hauler' tender. The loco is inspired by the Emu Bay Railway 4-8-0s, though it appears that the NSWGR's locomotive engineer, William Thow, has had some input into the design of the cab!
Greg's No.14 has proceeded from Ti-tree and is seen here passing the South Australian Railways inspired goods shed at Sandstone. This station was the terminus of the original version of the line.
After passing through Sandstone, Greg's No.14 is seen here passing behind the township of Lilyvale, heading for Maple Jnt. Lilyvale township has grown considerably since my last visit!
Meanwhile, back at Ti-tree, Greg's No.9, a loco clearly based on the SMR 10 class tanks, featuring a scratchbuilt body on another Aristocraft eight-coupled chassis, waits for my train to clear the main so it can propel back out of the refuge siding and proceed on its way to Oleander and Maple Jnt.
My RVR mineral train stands on the main line at Sandstone. The 'smoke' coming out of the chimney is courtesy of my cheeky Production Assistant!
Despite leaving T-tree in opposite directions, my mineral train and Greg's No.9 hauled goods train have both arrived at Melaleuca, an important location on the line going 'up the hill' to Termite, the only 'indoor' station on the line! Melaleuca is another location that has expanded considerably since my last visit.
The station building at Melaleuca is a very nice model based on the NSWGR standard Pc3 precast concrete design.
When I last visited, this rather fine goods shed, obviously based on the NSWGR G1b design, served the small freight needs of Melaleuca station. It had been replaced with a sawmill at its previous location and now serves the intermediate siding at Oleander, in the Ti-tree - Maple Jnt section.
Another new location is Blackwall, a new crossing loop in the Ti-tree - Sandstone section. The reason for the name stands behind the nicely modelled timber-clad, skillion roofed station building...
Another new feature is this raised turntable, just 'north' of Melaleuca. My RVR No.3, a modified Aristocraft 2-4-2T, heads downhill with my 'Tasmanian' goods train on the main line behind.
Sometime later, my No.12 prepares to turn on the turntable as Greg's No.9 heads uphill towards Termite.
Completely new since I last visited is this diesel, scratchbuilt on USA Trains power bogies and based on the AIS diesels that ran at Port Kembla. It has a very interesting method of control; the radio system controls the (very impressive) sound system, which then controls the locomotive, the opposite of the norm. This means that the loco 'revs up' when accelerating and drops to idle when coasting! I like it and I want one!
Last shot of the day; a shaft of sunlight illuminates the rear of my 'Tasmanian' goods train as it waits permission to proceed while standing in the loop at Lilydale.
Thanks to Greg for inviting me, and I look forward to my next visit!