Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Ballast or Not to Ballast, that is the Question.

Lately I've been completely taken aback with the modelling efforts that have been posted to various blogs. Some new and some quiet for a while, all have held my attention through the limited time I have for modelling. So, firstly I need to say thanks to those who post their efforts, then secondly I need to get back to my own efforts...we'll see.

For a long time now I've been focused on the 'location' of SSC as being in a range somewhere in the northern part of NSW. The ability to have a layout set in my imagination only I thought was a good idea all those years ago. As time has gone on and a 'history' has grown around my initial ideas the location has more and more become more fixed. I love the location south of Tenterfield, I suppose that's obvious to those who know the area, as that is the place where there's a creek named Splitters Swamp.

Last time the crew came around to my place for the fortnightly Tuesday Nighters there was a fair amount of discussion about my plans for the first module and the location of both passenger and locomotive facilities. This leads me to think about just what I should be building next. Sure there's backdrops to paint and scenic foam to carve colour and glue in place, but a trestle bridge would be great!

now the trestle is on the second module so that begins the next chapter in module construction. The timber is cut, T-nut holes are already drilled, the only missing element is time, rather than allowing this to move along its natural course I think I'll begin construction of the trestle.

Here we are, the part of the post where you find out the purpose of the actual post. Do I follow the construction of bridges on the Northern line and have a ballasted deck or do I have a more pioneer line construction and have an unballasted deck? A Pioneer line would only have a very basic bridge so unballasted is the way to go. The location is now more focused on an area, the topography I like. I also have quite a few photos of the area, so it all looks good. I never would have thought that the progression of this layout would have caused a very definite link to a place, but it seems to make alot of sense. My original thoughts was of a heavily timbered steep area, and a fair bit of that will probably occur, but I think that now the landscape will be a bit more open with distant hills not just a very close background of dense scrub and trees.

I'm off to 'construct' for a bit now, a bit less in the way of posting and all will be well.


  1. Geoff,

    I suppose you have answered your own question, that a true pioneer line would have a simple trestle bridge - think Oberon Branch, Snake River near Carlwood. The various Ron Preston "Standards in Steam" series of books often give good examples of the infrastructure on the various pioneer lines he traveled on .

    But having said that, the small ballasted bridge example you posted in your post would certainly make for a great model, am sure there a story could be concocted about why a ballasted bridge was built on the line?



  2. Yes Tom the simple trestle would definitely capture the spirit of the pioneer lines. I think that's probably the way I'll go.