I have been into model railways since I was a toddler in the early 1950s and my son Raymond has grown up to be very enthusiastic as well. We have both been through many phases of modelling interest. Other than being given a shunting layout for my New South Wales phase during the 1980s for a while and then a layout built by the AMRA NG SIG Group when we changed to O Scale narrow gauge modelling in the 1990s we have never had a layout that we had built ourselves or even one that we could operate at any time without a need to set it up when required.
The world-wide interest in ready-to-run O Scale narrow gauge brought about through the On30 models released by Bachmann is encouraging new generations of modellers as well as older modellers. On30 may not necessarily be for the purists who want everything to be exact with each nut, bolt and rivet located where it should be as well as the models of prototype locomotives and rolling stock operating on the correct scale/gauge. That does not mean that On30 modellers necessarily overlook such things. The track gauge is the main compromise. The models available are based on 3 ft, 2 ft 6 in. or 2 ft gauge prototypes. They operate on a track gauge of 16.5 mm (the same as HO). To further complicate matters the Bachmann models are made to American O scale which is ¼” to the foot or 1:48. This scales out to about 2 ft 6 ins gauge, which is why it is referred to as On30. British manufactured models are made to 1:43 or 7 mm to the foot and are often referred to as O-16.5. In this scale ratio the 16.5 mm track works out about 2 ft 3 ins gauge.
The late Linn Westcott, editor of Model Railroader magazine, had a slogan on the magazine cover which he frequently espoused – “Model Railroading is Fun” – and that is what this is about.
Another interest of mine has been the sugar cane railways of Queensland. This interest really began in 1965 when my good friend, Bob Gough, took me to Nambour for a day to see the few remaining steam locomotives at Moreton Mill. It was love at first sight for me to see the little Fowler 0-6-0T locos Coolum and Eudlo struggling up Howard Street in Nambour with rakes of cane for the mill. Places like Diddilibah Hill, the River Depot, Bli Bli Cutting, Eudlo Flats and Paynter Creek were ingrained in my mind. Narrow Gauge was a passion! I am interested in all (full-size) railways but narrow gauge railways (less that 3 ft 6 ins) hold a special place.
Eudlo at The Rafting Ground, Eudlo Flats Branch. August 1967
The story will unfold with the construction of a 40 ft X 20 ft shed (The Shed) and the reasons why it was built and progress on this and the construction of an On30 layout.
This Blog will not only be about our On30 layout in The Shed. It will also tell the story of Raymond's N Scale layout to be built in the garage where our current On30 layout is located and also a Garden Railway he is to build next to The Shed.