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The first shot is some very nice modelling indeed: must be set somewhere up the Hunter Valley with an AD60 on a long string of archaic "non-air" hoppers and hills behind.

Maybe the hills should be a little more kharki, but otherwise its pretty close to perfect

If those buildings are scratchbuilt , they're quite superb - if kit built merely extremely fine work.....

Sadly I can't afford to spend that much on a side interest , especially given the space you'd have to have to do them justice.

I've sometimes thought Cowan just after electrification around 1960 would make a superb layout in the Stoke Summit mould (but far more interesting) - imagine one of those AD60s crawling round double track hairpins on a 1 in 42 grade with a long rake of coal and a 46 class electric tacked on the front as bank assisting engine (DCC required so you can detach the bank engine into the siding at the station) . On the other road you have Eureka's new C38 pounding through at the head of the Newcastle Flyer, followed by a single decker suburban electric terminating and reversing at the wayside platform

Apparently when the AD60s came onto the Main Northern, crews had to be issued with oxygen masks because air conditions in the short tunnels on Cowan Bank became so bad.

Trouble is , you'd need 2 Garretts and 2 C38s and a couple of 46 class [think EM3] and a few other things and about 50'+ of length to make it work. This is getting to be very serious money, sadly

And I don't like to think of how many thousand gum trees you'd need to make for the scenery

But it would be stunning
 

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Ozzie:

A lot of this is "just missed it" stuff for me . NSWGR stean finished about 6-7 years before my few years in Sydney. S. Maitland steam was still operating but as a teenager I never managed to get up into that area - my only sight of it was as a "filler in" sequence the ABC used to use when a TV programme under run

There's a non-air hopper visible in a photo I took on my one visit to Thirlmere - and a rusty 6042 visible in another

RODs (in their LNER guise of 04s) were very much a feature of my UK "home patch" in steam days though I'm by no means old enough to have known them. If they do one in OO I shall probably have to buy one... It's an odd thought that ROD would have exchanged trains with 50 class - and both were designed at much the same time and literally just down the road in Manchester: both Beyer Peacock and the GC's main works were in Gorton in eastern Manchester, and both were replaced by Manchester built 1500V electrics (the 46 class might almost be seen as the next generation on from the EM1 and EM2 Woodhead electrics)

The wires went through to Newcastle just a couple of months before we returned to the UK perminently- if we hadn't flown back to the UK before Christmas I would have certainly made it up there in the summer holidays to sample the new electrification. As it was , I never actually got north of Cowan on a train...
 

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Ozzie21:

Some very fine work there - and a lot of hard graft as well.

This is dangerous stuff . I'm starting to get tempted. No space whatsover for a NSW layout (I've got a couple of things on the go already) and living in a flat AD60s, D57s and the like are going to be perminently out of reach

However I did manage a couple trips of over the Main Western as far as Lithgow (mainly in a V set double deck interurban I'm afraid, and one of those is a bit more than I can contemplate scratchbuilding , especially without anything in the way of drawings etc ).

The non-air hoppers look rather nice . The thought of a layout featuring a few strings of these being exchanged by D50 s and RODs amidst low green hills is appealing - though I haven't tackled a full whitemetal loco kit with chassis , so this is out of my league again (A whitemetal kit ROD in OO would be a big challenge for me - and an HO version would need to be scratchbuilt)

The brake van is another matter .

Descending to earth with a terrible bump, Hornby have announced a reissue of the ex Lima NSWGR 422 class , which it might well be possible to source in the UK . What drive is inside and whether it will pull the skin off a rice pudden is open to question - the replacement motor bogie in the ex Lima cl 59 is apparently not man enough for a large loco , and I have a dreadful suspicion the same unit may be going in the 422 class

But the thought of trying to gather a few bits of stock for a minor branch terminus one day maybe , perhaps on the edge of the Blue Mountains with a railmotor and a diesel for some freight (I know the 422 class were main line locos but...)

At which point a bogie brake becomes an essential item. UInforunately my detailed knowledge of NSWGR stock runs out around this point - is the Trainorama brake still available , and is it even vaguely appropriate for 70s- 80s minor operations?

Relocating the whole concept to the Hunter Valley would at least save making an awful lot of gum trees and rockfaces
 
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