Saturday, 1 March 2014

A can of harden up

This weekend's labours have been focussed on installing a curved backboard on the left module.

The above photos shows the first test fit. Not satisfied with the radius of the curve, I decided to chop a little more out of each of the notches to squeeze a better curve in. The timber I'm using is 4mm ply used in concrete formwork. It is easy to bend but likes embedding itself in my hands, one splinter at a time. Work gloves. Lesson learned.

I hadn't planned a specific radius for the backboard, so I hadn't factored in how much cement siding it would take up. I thought I was prepared to sacrifice about 5cm from the end. Until I saw it.

I had planned to just keep cutting away the notch sizes until I got the radius I wanted. This worked, but there comes a point when the curve will be obvious even under the photographic backdrop, rather than a nice, subtle background to the model. Above is a picture of where I decided to stop. I then grabbed the layout design and overlaid the module to it.

A 3-wagon siding would allow me to put the cement discharge structure in the middle and 'gravitate' 2 wagons through it prototypically. The above shows how what I had hoped would be a 3-wagon siding, is not going to happen in the current configuration. If I was only running PRX or FRH hoppers, I might be able to get away with it using some selective compression, but the PCX hoppers I want to run are going to prevent that.

As a work-around, I grabbed a spare piece of track and slewed the siding to be parallel with the main line. It's a little better, and a I reckon I could now get away with a PRX-PCX combination in the siding. A 2xPCX combination looks unworkable. I'd be keen to hear thoughts from anyone else who can see a better solution - I could just be too close to it for now to see it better. I've put the tools down til next weekend, so who knows, maybe I'll get an epiphany during the week.


I've referred to the prototype buildings for the cement siding in previous posts as the one from Tamworth. I've never been to Tamworth, so I was referring to pictures I'd seen of one from google searches. Turns out the cement works I was referring to is actually the siding at Nemingah, about 7k's further up the line from Tamworth. Here's some photos:

Cement unloading facility at Nemingah in 2006. Taken from Rolfeworld. (

From the other side, taken from this thread on Railpage. A PRX hopper is just visible inside.

You can also see a video of a similar one Marcus Amman built for his Main North layout, representing the one formerly standing at Ourimbah, here. I'm thinking this would be an excellent project to model and write up for the AMRM. That's a good couple of months away for now though.

Happy Modelling!



  1. Ben,

    You perhaps should be aware that the Nemingha 'Blue Circle Southern' cement receiving shed is (approx.) 5.5m wide overall and the length of a PRX as you have observed.

    This allows for the loading gauge of a wagon to fit within the shed and work to go on about the wagon unloading it when it is in there, safely.

    By slewing the siding towards your main line you may find that any proposed receiving shed model will foul or be awfully close to your main line (both physically and visually).

    Nemingha and Ourimbah are / were both located away from the main running lines for a variety of reasons, constant referring back to the prototype usually has the answers, but at the end of the day its your show and you decide the amount of modellers license your willing to accommodate.

    If it were me I would leave the cement siding in its original orientation / location as per your plan but continue the siding through your proposed curved back scene in this location so that you can push the two (2) or three (3) wagons into the siding / past the catchpoint, into the shed and beyond.....

    By placing the the full extent / footprint of the cement receiving shed and silos hard up against the back scene. You may not actually see the wagons being gravitated through the other side of the shed as you would have liked in this instance but visually against your proposed main line entry onto the layout it may work better.

    Refer to Chris Nevard's blog and his Cement Quay layout where he uses some of the unloading structures and the like almost as tunnel mouths to good effect against his curved back scene.


    Tom R.

    1. Tom, thanks for the feedback. Having a think about it this week, I think putting the unloading facility hard up against the backscene to allow the siding to continue is going to be the best way to go and the best compromise to get the number of wagons in the siding without sacrificing too much. Appreciate the suggestion!

  2. HI Ben,

    Some of the photos on the RP link you have where taken by some work collegues when I was working at Blue Circle, never been there though. As for the location, the guys at Blue Circle knew it as Tamworth or Nemingah - they kinda interchanged the name as they saw fit, some called it Tamworth, some Nemingah, some both.
    I tend to agree with what Tom is saying about using your original siding layout and carrying the track thru the backscene so you can have enough track to store the wagons, not sure if the PCX wagons ever ran there (doubtful as the PCXs where mainly used for ash transport in the cement industry thought they did trial some between Berrima & Clyde so I guess there's no reason to say they didn't extend the trial to other sites - but then again neither did the Vic cement wagons run to Portland, but they will on mine - when I build it:-). Another thought is to maybe start the curved point leading into the other end of the station say 6" - 12" further 'back' & thus give you more space a the cement silos end of the layout, not sure about your space limitations though.
    Cheers Alex

    1. Hey Alex, thanks for the info. It's helps when it comes time to create the scene. Cheers!

  3. Hey Ben,
    Scrap my comment about the PCXs not being used, upon looking at some of my photos I came across some which have a PCX coupled to one of the steamers at Portland in the 70's, so I guess they must have run, just not sure for how long or where to.

    Cheers Alex.