Saturday, 26 October 2013

Tenders & coal

As a follow up to the header photo, I am including a few shots that focus on the amount of coal in tenders of steam loco's.
An example of how the coal got down in the tender of a garratt after coming from Dubbo with the high load.  6038 is assisted by 5364 near Borenore on 238 goods, it will barely make Orange with the remaining coal in the tender.

On the same weekend that the photo of 6014 leaving Dubbo, sitting in the depot is 3801 waiting to haul a Victorian Enthusiasts special that night, it is without doubt the highest load of coal I have ever seen in a 38cl tender.
An old & age affected photo of 3607 pushing up a block wheat train at Tumula, in 1964. Just out of the loop this is the last banking job before returning LE to Bathurst before its next turn of duty. 3607 came out as an assisting engine on 45 Coonamble mail  & remained at Tumulla for more than 12 hours, having had 2 sets of men over the time.
3815 leads 5450 at the same location as 3607 on an Oge bound train. As both engines had auto's on the tender, the 38cl with the larger air pump was to lead, also passenger engines were to lead goods engines based on the auto to auto arrangement & air pump capacity. The freighter came fresh from Bathurst & coaled there, whereas the 38 would have come either from Dubbo or OGE in its previous up train, would have worked from Lithgow to Bathurst on another train & then on with this one. Bathurst could not turn 38cl owing to a 60ft TT. As Dubbo & Orange were the only depots to have Northern coal, & 38cl had to have Northern coal, they were set on a roster of Lithgow - Dubbo - Lithgow - Orange - Lithgow - Dubbo. They were completely shovelled forward at Bathurst, & Oge when working through as well as at Lithgow on the turn round. When spare they could work goods to Orange & get coaled there.  In this photo it can be seen how the coal has been shovel forward to the front of the tender with none basically left toward the rear & at the tender backhead would have been clear.

Finally 5412, is about to enter Carcoar Tunnel after working from Bathurst. The coal remaining in the tender is not too bad considering the distance from Bathurst & having steamed most of the way. The coal would have been sitting just at the edge of the sloped rear, & the doors to the coal area have been closed as a means to help keep the smoke out of the cab in the tunnel. When working through any tunnel, when the doors had been opened, the smoke would roll back into the cab, shutting the doors kept some of that smoke out.  Some enginemen were show off's & in this case the fireman is acting out the combing of his hair to look pretty for the camera.
From a personal perspective, I like to have my loco's with varying amounts of coal showing in the tender rather than having them full or the terrible looking plastic plugs that sit in tenders.
Excuse the quality of the photo's even had they been full size, they would not have been any better, in fact they would have been worse.  I have a huge job to rescan all my slides, & doing them in high resolution before they are totally wrecked. Many of the slides that are from the early days, were terrible for colour & on non sunny days they showed no sky colour at all. The photo of 3801 is an example of Ilford film on an overcast day, I tried Agfa at the time & it was as bad if not worse.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A quick post to describe the new photo in the main header.

Taken at Dubbo on my first ever trip there in 1964, one thing that stands out in it is the coal load in the tender. On the weekend of the photo, 3801 also was in the depot to work a tour train, & both the garratt & 3801 worked via the scenic route to Molong & on to Orange.

I had never seen any loco's ever with the amount of coal as found in both 6014 & 3801, as the latter was also coaled up that high.  I was to find out that the route was very hard with a lot of heavy grades, & it was not unusual for loco's working that route on the up to have to cut off their trains at Molong & run light to Orange for coal, thus all engines working along that route were coaled at that level which from what was said amounted to around an extra 2 & a bit tons.  That brought the amount of coal up to near 20tons in the tender.

On my next post I will put on another photo showing 6038 nearing Borenore being assisted by 5364, that shows how far back the coal is, this engine & train came out of Dubbo & was also coaled up high as per normal.

The reason I put these up is to show a bit of variation of steam locomotives & how they were coaled for in service.  6014 has been coaled as it departed loco, to go on to its train, & very full, during the trip it would use pretty well all the coal in the tender.

To me part of modelling is the aspect of variation especially as I try to capture a sense of reality, small things like the amount of coal in the tender, & where it is in the tender is part of that aspect of reality, its the same as weathering of not just loco's & rolling stock but also infrastructure & buildings.  How long did any of these stay pristine when in use after the paint shops or painters departed, & as far as the NSWGR back in the 60's freshly painted infrastructure was not the seal of death to them.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Modelling Railways is fun.

The past few years, especially the time from April last year have not bee great times for me owing to health. When in Sydney I battled with pain owing to my back problems, it really pulled me down. About 18months before back surgery in 2008 I was going through a real tough time & I was looking to modelling as a means of dealing with the pain & associated problems, I was reading in so many places that model railways is fun, yet try as I might that did not come to me.

In fact, I would go down the train room with great intentions of what I was going to do, & of course have fun, I would be enthused to no end, but when I got into the room, I looked around, & after a short while I walked out as I could bring that enthusiasm into reality, in fact it was utterly frustrating.

Following the back surgery, which meant a birthday in hospital, I got over that, but a year later I was in hospital again for shoulder reconstruction over my next birthday, I tore the rotor cuff & ligaments on my shoulder when I tried to start the lawn mower, my GP was a wonderful encouragement though, he said get an electric lawnmower & press a button to go, That same year 2009 my wife lost her mother to cancer & we decided a move was in order.

2010 arrived & we moved to our present location, & then in March over my birthday I had neck surgery, 3 years of birthdays in a row, & nothing done on the layout except rip the old one up, & pack everything I could. Thinking back I actually enjoyed that.

As I recovered, I was able to start on the current project Essence, & I was looking to Fun again. However, my old faithful back was going backwards, & following a fall in the train room last May, I was in a race going downhill.  Surgery for a fusion was carried out around a month ago, & for the first time in I do not know how long, I can get around without the crippling pain I have endured, I still have a large upper body brace that makes me look like a star wars storm trooper or something like Hannibal Jones but it should be off in a few weeks, thankfully I only need it on when not lying down,

Since the fall, my fun modelling has been very much of a sedentary nature, thankfully I had pushed the boundaries in getting the baseboard, track & the heavy work all but completed prior to the fall. Yet, today I still have restrictions, although things have changed whereby I enjoy going to the layout, even the last year of frustrations are disappearing, & I am enjoying what I am doing, & have done over this last 14odd months.

I look at the small & slightly larger areas of what I have accomplished, & as I am tackling more & more things that I would have not thought of doing in the past, that topic of model railways is fun, started to cross my mind.  It was sitting there for a while but came to the fore when talking to another modeller this week. In the conversation, I found that we shared a heck of a lot in common, I have never met him face to face but have spoken to him on the phone several times over the past.

Interestingly his modelling world is changing, & I think it was as a result of frustration of not getting things done, & too much on the plate, the hobby was no longer fun, since his change he said that he is now starting to enjoy doing stuff again, modelling was no longer a chore, & he now looked forward to going to his model room & wanting to do things, whereas previously it had become a sort of burden & like myself those years ago, would walk away from it. He also indicated other things as well, that has his whole perspective on things changed, & changed for the better.

Model Railways is Fun!? It has been mulling around in my mind, so what does fun mean?  I used an online thesaurus to look up the word Fun, & see what it would come up with --- Joyful, exuberant activity.  I have to say that I was a bit taken back with those two interlinked words, & really wonder if that really does describe model railways.

I would really have to say that, I would not consider the hobby as being much like those two descriptions, as I could not see either being part of what really is a hobby that does not really create such atmospheres as those. I would associate them more with a large party when you have a lot of people around you sharing in a type of festive manner.

It does not mean that Model Railways is at the other end of the scale such as mundane, in fact when I look at the hobby, even taking the times of frustration into account, it is a hobby that one wants to come back to in some form or another. One other word I think applies much better to the hobby in good & even bad/not so good times, & maybe its a play on the word fun, but I would suggest that the theme would better be described in the following way.  Model Railways gives enjoyment.

In general terms, no matter what aspect of the hobby each person likes the most, more than it being fun, it is enjoyable, it creates satisfaction, provides for friendship & interaction between people of all ages, no matter the circumstances they are in.  The best part really is that as a hobby it embraces so much, as its not just one thing that makes it enjoyable, its not just the running of trains, making scenery, building kits or scratchbuilding, & any other item that comes to mind, it really is all of those things & many more.

But, the best part is that despite when as individuals we have our own preferences, & even prejudices, in general there is a heck of a lot of help out there, & its the people who make the hobby what it is, & that is enjoyable in good & not so good times.