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Wombat Creek Tramways

Wombat Creek is a H0 (1:87) scale model of a fictional town situated somewhere in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia.

The time is 1963. Geelong wins the VFL Championship against Hawthorn (109– 60). John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. ValentinaTeresjkova is the first woman in Space. The men behind The Great Train Robbery get £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London.

The town consists of several buildings. The “Wombat Creek Bank and Gold Exchange” is a prominent building in the town centre. You will also find several other commercial buildings; among them the daily newspaper“W.C. Chronicle”(colloquial known as the "Toilet Paper") and “Wombat Creek Brewing Company” (Famous for the “Wombat Bitter”). “The Big Nugget Gold Mine” is situated at the Western outskirts of town near the small Chinatown. The War Memorial is in a small park along East Street.

The town’s mayor Alfred Campbell together with his son David Campbell owns several businesses, including the bank, the pub and the newspaper. AC/DC basically run the town and make most decisions on behalf of the rest of Wombat Creek’s residents, who, on the other hand, are too busy with their own businesses.

The mayor’s latest initiative is Wombat Creek Tramways. Wombat Creek doesn’t really need a tram system, but AC reckons tramways will improve the town’s reputation. Partly because of limited funds the tramways' construction and rolling stock depend heavily on second-hand requirements from other Australian and overseas tramways.

Traffic lights

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Sun, November 20, 2022 17:07:06

As mentioned in a previous post the second bridge over the Creek and railway is too narrow for two trams passing at the same time. To regulate the traffic flow traffic lights are needed. Fortunately I came across a website for ‘Talking Electronics’. Among lot of electronic devices (several related to model railways) was a controller for up to four traffic lights. I got in contact with the gentleman behind the electronics and yesterday I picked up a set of lights for a reasonable price. Everything was already put together and ready to go. I still have some work to do before the lights can be installed at the layout, but the short video shows their working. They are Australian and the sequence is red-gren-yellow-red.

Know your tree ferns from your palm trees

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Sun, November 13, 2022 18:13:29
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During the week I made some progress with the landscaping around the creek. 21 tree ferns and a couple of stumps went down. The ferns started their life as palm trees but with the trunks cut shorter and added sisal as dead fronds (need a bit of brown colouring), they can be taken for tree ferns. The reeds along the bank of the creek are coloured fibres from a sisal rope.

It smells like Earl Grey

Text and photos from Wombat Creek Consolidated Mines Pty Ltd Posted on Sat, November 05, 2022 20:08:42
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Well, not really. Despite the ground cover is made of tea leaves from used teabags it doesn’t smell at all. The logs obscure the creek coming straight out of the background.

Melbourne Cup Day bridge work

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Tue, November 01, 2022 18:22:41

Today is a public holiday in Victoria enabling me to spend a few hours with the tramways. The bridge is almost finished. The first train has past under the bridge which soon will have soot marks above the track.

Melbourne Cup Day landscaping

Text and photos from Wombat Creek Consolidated Mines Pty Ltd Posted on Tue, November 01, 2022 18:21:34

Given the urban setting of Wombat Creek the layout will not have many opportunities for ‘landscaping’. The small embankment along the railway is made with scrap pieces of foam-board painted a base brown. A ground cover of tea leaves will form the topsoil before some Australian native will be planted.

Bus issues

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Sun, October 30, 2022 12:13:01
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Following up from the previous post, the double-decker bus faces the same problem in Wombat Creek as in Melbourne with hitting the awning along the Myer department store. Hopefully the driver pays attention. The photo also shows how well the bus and tram match the colour scheme.

Bus on a bridge

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Sun, October 30, 2022 12:06:49
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In 1938 the board of the tramways in Melbourne decided to replace the cable trams in Bourke Street with double deck buses. Leyland was successful in winning tender for 45 bus chassis and one double deck body. The remaining 44 bodies were built by firms in Melbourne and Adelaide.
The double deck buses were numbered from 201 to 245 in the M&MTB fleet. They were painted in the standard tramway green livery, with numbering and lettering in gold leaf. The buses entered service in October 1940.
By August 1943 it was clear that the conversion of the Bourke Street routes to bus operation had been a failure, for a few reasons:
The Leyland buses required the same two-man crew (driver and conductor) as trams, but could not carry as many people.
Melbourne commuters were unwilling to travel on the top decks of the double deck buses, due to the difficulty of ascending and descending the stairway, particularly as most passenger journeys were relatively short. As a result, the lower deck was overcrowded.
The top decks of the double deck buses frequently collided with shop verandas and electric light poles.
Worn out before they were ultimately replaced by trams, the Leyland double deck buses were all withdrawn by January 1954. The buses were all sold off. Their new owners mostly used the buses as sheds or extra accommodation at holiday homes, but one bus had a unique fate.
It was bought by Wombat Creek Tramways. After a major overhaul including re-painting the bus was put into service at route 9 between Wombat Creek and Gumnut Gully.
Well, most of the above is true. The text is an extract from an article at Melbourne Tram Museum’s website. Only the fate of one bus is not quite true. The bus is a purchase from a well-known website. The price and colours were right for Wombat Creek Tramways. Only the side logo, destination box and number plates have to be altered.

Tram on a bridge

Text & photos from Wombat Creek Tramways Posted on Wed, October 26, 2022 17:51:47
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The second bridge over the Wombat Creek has caused me a lot of thoughts. Firstly getting the right hight above the railway line. It is possible to clear the top of the steam locomotives by just 2 mm, but I think it is too tight. With a slightly higher bridge there are inclines on both sides leading up to the bridge. Not a problem for the trams to climb.

Secondly the plate girders are from a Peco kit. I have used the middle parts for the first bridge over the Creek. The remaining parts are glue together to form two girders. They are just too short for the span without relaying the railway track. If the bridge is narrower the girders are fine, but that will result in another issue.

How to get two tram tracks across. A gauntlet with fully ‘intertwined’ tracks would be an interesting feature, but with the inclines and a curved tracks I have opted out of this solution. Instead the tracks will just clear the girders and be very close to each other. Two trams may not be able to pass the bridge at the same time. A fact, which gives me a reason to install working traffic lights. I’ll keep you posted!

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