Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Trip to the UK.....

While the trip to North Queensland had caused some delay to work on the shed, it was our trip to England in June 2009 that really stretched the time frames on our shed. We started talking about the possibility of going to the UK early in 2009. I was keen for my wife Pauline, Raymond and I to go. I had been very fortunate to have won a Museum Scholarship in 2006 and had spent 5 weeks visiting various museums and heritage railways around England and Wales. I made a lot of friends during that journey and I wanted to renew those friendships as well as seeing some new places.

A couple of months before we went to the UK, in early April, to be exact, I finally plucked up the courage to install the stormwater pipes for the shed. It was not anywhere near as painful as I had expected. The shed was now ready for inspection and once passed we could move on to the next stage. The inspection would have to wait until we got back from England.

Finally the stormwater pipe for the shed is installed. 10/04/2009

Our four week trip was expensive but we all enjoyed ourselves. The first few months of the year I spent in arranging an itinerary and booking travel and accommodation. The shed certainly took a back seat during this time. Finances were tight so the purchase of further material for the shed and any contractors were non-existent.

We flew Emirates via Singapore and Dubai then direct to Glasgow. The booking gave us a 19 hour layover in Dubai so Emirates put us up in a 4-Star hotel complete with meals and transport to and from the hotel, free-of-charge.

Here are a few images of our journey:

Glasgow Museum of Transport. 29/05/2009

Glasgow Station with our train ready to depart for Inverness. 30/05/2009

A Scottish Heritage site, Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. 1/06/2009

Entrance to Inverness Station. 2/06/2009

Diesel railcars at Bank Top Station, Darlington. 2/06/2009

Locomotion preserved at Head of Steam Museum, Darlington. 2/06/2009

Great Northern Railway 0-6-0ST at Shildon. 3/06/2009

Southern Railway No.825 on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. 4/06/2009

Duchess of Hamilton had arrived at the National Railway Museum, York only a week or so before our visit. 5/06/2009

Duke of Gloucester in the workshops of the East Lancashire Railway. 6/06/2009

David Lloyd George Double Fairlie takes water at Blaneau Ffestiniog. 8/06/2009

NG143 at Dinas Station on the Welsh Highland Railway. 9/06/2009

Raymond stands beside NG143 at Dinas. We took turns having a footplate ride. 9/06/2009

Caernarfon Castle. 9/06/2009
Talyllyn stands at the head of its train at Wharf Station on the Talyllyn Railway. 10/06/2009

More footplate rides. Raymond stands in the doorway of Talyllyn. 10/06/2009

Prince of Wales 2-6-2T on the Vale of Rheidol Railway at Devil's Bridge. 11/06/2009

A Great Western Railway tank locomotive rolls a train past the new education centre and museum at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway. 12/06/2009

Earlestoke Manor runs around its train at Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway. 12/06/2009.

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway 0-6-2T The Earl stands at the water tank at Welshpool. 13/06/2009

Rebuilt from a Baldwin locomotive from the Eastern Province Cementc Co in South Africa, No.2 of the Brecon Mountain Railway near Merthyr Tydfil stands inside the locomotive shed/workshops. This loco is fitted with an ex-Queensland Railways' headlight. 14/06/2009.

For Dr Who fans we visited the Dr Who Museum in Cardiff where the Tardis is on display. 14/06/2009.

Dr Who would not be complete without some Daleks. 14/06/2010

Hurricane stands at the head of the afternoon schools train on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. 18/06/2010

Northern Chief on the turntable at Hythe. 18/06/2009

A First World War Baldwin 4-6-0T stand outside the locomotive shed at Page's Park on the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. 21/06/2009

Another First World War loco outside the Leighton Buzzard locomotive shed was this Feldbahn 0-8-0T. 21/06/2009.

During our return to Australia we spent a couple of nights in a 5-star hotel in Dubai - absolute luxury!

Now Raymond and I could get back to working on the shed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

North Queensland Interlude.....

Work on the shed now slowed to a snail’s pace as we had to install stormwater pipes and I was unconvinced in my approach to this task. I purchased many different types of pipe fittings and tried a number of different set-ups before I finally managed to get the job done in 2009.

In the meantime a very good friend from the UK, Mike S advised he was coming out to Australia with a fellow rail enthusiast Ken P. They would be visiting other parts of Australia before coming to Queensland and heading north to see the sugar cane railways.

Raymond and I decided to take holidays and go with them in a hire car so that we could show them around. We had a great time but we did not see as much as I had hoped as it was in November right at the end of the crushing season. Several mills finished their crush only a day or two before our arrival. Since my early trips visiting the sugar mills in the 1960s there have been many changes. Sugar mills have closed and instead of mile upon mile of sugar cane there are large areas of cane fields replaced by banana plantations and, of all things, timber plantations. The timber plantations have received very favourable tax incentives from the Federal Government persuading farmers to sign up for what is really a long term (years)investment compared with the annual seasonal income from sugar cane. The worst aspect I have found is that you can no longer walk into a mill loco shed for photography as the mills are now surrounded by security fences and you have to report to the office before entering the property. In many instances an approach to the office will not gain you entry as it is all too hard. You have to do a site safety induction and be accompanied by an employee who should be doing something else. Even standing on the boundary of the mill property to photograph trains entering or leaving you are under constant surveillance by security cameras or being approached by security guards to move on.

I will not bore you with the story of our trip but am including a selection of photos we took during the journey. Hopefully, there may be some modelling ideas for those of you into narrow gauge like Raymond and I are.

Isis Mill No.4 has reached the summit of Cordalba Hill and is now starting the descent on the double track section to the mill. No.4 was originally a Queensland Railways 3 ft 6 ins gauge diesel hydraulic shunting loco rebuilt and converted to 2 ft 0 ins gauge. 30/10/2008

WATTLE, an 0-6-0DH built by Commonwealth Engineering, Rocklea, Qld is heading another train load of cane to Bingera Mill in the Bundaberg region. 31/10/2008

Millaquin Mill locomotive shed with BURNETT a ComEng 0-6-0DH and two EM Baldwin bogie locos outside. 1/11/2008

ELLIOTT is a B-B DH built by Bundaberg Foundry under license to Hunlset Plc in the UK. Here, she is pulling a long rake of cane up the hill beside Langbecker's Road heading for Millaquin Mill. 1/11/2008

The Australian Sugar Cane Railway is located at North Bundaberg. It is an absolute must visit when they are running. Here an Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0T and a Bundaberg Fowler stand outside the shed. 2/11/2008

RM16 was an inspection rail motor based in Rockhampton. It is now preserved in the foyer of Rockhampton railway station. 3/11/2008

D12 EMB B-B DH heads back to the Plane Creek Mill at Sairna from Turnor's Paddock near Koumala. 3/11/2008

We missed out seeing any of Mackay Sugar's locomotives at work as the crushing season had just ended. Here a large fleet of their diesel locomotives await their turn for the off-season overhaul at Racecourse Mill. 4/11/2008

Proserpine Mill's No.3 a Clyde 0-6-0DH Model DHI-71 has a long rake of cane on the Cannon Valley line. 5/11/2008

DELTA a ComEng 0-6-0DH heads past the cane siding McDesme No1 on the way back to Kalamia Mill at Ayr. 6/11/2008

A ComEng 0-6-0DH from Invicta Mill, Giru crosses a large bridge on the Milaroo line. The bigger bogie locos that normally worked out here could not cross this bridge due to flood damage. This location is about 100 km from the mill. 7/11/2008

HOMEBUSH a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 preserved in working order at Victoria Mill, Ingham. 8/11/2008

MKD14 an EMBaldwin 0-6-0DH takes a train of raw sugar from Macknade Mill to Lucinda Point. 9/11/2008

The only John Fowler Patent Type (indirect drive) locomotive remaining in the world is at the Sugar Industry Museum, Mourilyan. 10/11/2008

Two ComEng 0-6-0DH locos in multiple unit cross the North Johnstone River heading for Babinda Mill. The old Bruce Highway to Cairns is in the foreground. 11/11/2008

The travellers stand beside Babinda Mill No.1. From left to right - Mike S, me, Raymond and Ken P. 11/11/2008

The Savannahlander a 2000 Class RM at Mareeba. Mike and Ken travelled on this from Cairns. We met them in Mareeba to head on up to Mossman. 12/11/2008

MOSSMAN a ComEng 0-6-0DH stands outside the Mossman Mill loco shed. The crushing season had finished the day before. 12/11/2008

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Shed is built.....

The completion of the veranda meant that Titan could now come on site and build our much anticipated shed. There was still other work to be done in connection with the veranda including the concreted pergola area and lighting.

I had stressed considerably over whether the shed we wanted would fit in the position we wanted it. It had to be at least as big as Craig's otherwise we would lose brownie points. :-)

The shed was to be at right angles to the top end of the house. It could be no closer than 900 mm to the veranda structure and the back of the shed could not encroach into a sewer easement than ran inside our boundary parallel to the back fence. We measured and measured and remeasured and even the Titan rep came out to help undertake yet another re-measurement. We placed the shed in line with the top side of the house allowing a pathway for bobcats and mini-excavators to have access to our back yard should the occasion arise. We knew this would most likely occur when we got around to starting our garden railway.

The first of Titan’s sub-contractors came on site on the 9 May 2008 with a bobcat to level out the site. This was then boxed up and readied for the concrete pour. A cement truck could not get down beside our house so we had a concrete pumper on the street.
When the concretors arrived on the 12 May, it was a cool winter’s day and it even rained at one point. The concretors did a great job but after screeding the slab the concrete refused to go off. One fellow had to come back at 9.0pm that night to put the helicopter float over the slab, working by the headlights of his utility, to give it its final smoothing off.

Work begins with a bobcat preparing the site for the slab. 9/05/2008

A laser level being used to enable the bobcat to level the site. 9/05/2008

The slab is boxed and readied for the concrete pour. 12/05/2008

Concrete pumper is set up and the first load of concrete arrives. 12/05/2008

The slab is being poured. 12/05/2008

The completed slab ready for the shed material to arrive. 21/05/2008

The slab had cured by the 21 May when Titan delivered the panels for the shed which were stacked up on the slab.

And here it is! Titan delivering the shed. 21/05/2008

A lone sub-contractor arrived on the 27 May to erect the shed. He made it look easy.
The shed under construction. Note the standard gauge railway behind the shed. 27/05/2008

The lone contractor fixing the roof to the shed frame. 27/05/2008

We had the sliding glass door into the shed in line with the back door of the house downstairs and also the staircase down from the veranda. This has made the shed an inclusive part of the living area of the house.
The doorway to the shed taken from the rear door of the house. 27/05/2008

The completed shed. 27/05/2008

The completed shed looks very nice but there was still a lot of work to be done.

On the 30 June, John and Wayne the two sub-contractors arrived back on site to build the concrete slab under the veranda as well as a retaining wall between the veranda and the shed and also a retaining wall along the fence line on the top (northern) side of the house. A bobcat and mini-excavator assisted in the site preparation.
The mini-excavator preparing the area under the veranda for the pergola slab. 30/06/2008

Preparing the retaining wall. 30/6/2008

John and Wayne did the boxing up for the slab on the 1 July while a pest control company installed a termite barrier between the slab and the house. The concrete slab under the veranda was poured later that day.
Termite barrier beinhg installed in the boxing for the pergola slab. 1/07/2008

Completed pergola slab.

Retaining wall. 20 mm gravel still to be filled in behind the wall. 1/07/2008

The building inspector came during July to inspect the veranda and pergola area, but it was to be another 12 months before I got the building inspector to inspect the Titan shed. The main thing that held us up for the inspection was the installation of the stormwater drains for the shed which we had to do ourselves. I just couldn’t decide how to tackle what was, in the end, a quite simple and straightforward task.