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.
In 1899 the Victorian Railways began constructing rolling stock for their narrow gauge railways. It was decided all carriages and wagons should have the exact same dimensions. All are 27′ 3 ¾” long and 6′ 3” wide with 17′ between the bogies.
With this in mind I designed the track plan for the mining railway in Wombat Creek. The area with the Big Nugget Mine is rather constrained but calculations showed the loop should just be long enough for three wagons. Unfortunately the couplers are longer than expected. Only two wagons will allow the locomotive to run around. The ‘standard’ train will consist of one or two wagons plus a brake/guards van. A shunting puzzle has been created.
Shunting to and from the siding can be done, if the siding can take three wagons. Again, the couplers are just too long! Somehow the siding has to be extended, which can only happen by moving the points into the siding closer to the entry points.
After I have pulled up the tracks involved, I did some ‘line drawing’ and I have a new track plan for the mine. Exchanging two wagons already in the siding with two other wagons will be a challenge but can be done.
The first open NQR wagon is ready to run. It still needs to be painted and and have a few details added. The body is made from 0.5 mm polystyrene sheets and 1.5 mm polystyrene angles. With another three wagons the fleet of NQRs should be big enough to serve the sawmill and mines
With the tracks finished, the narrow gauge railway definitely needs rolling stock. At the moment the entire fleet consists of three steam locomotives, one big passenger coach and four ore wagons. None of this is typical for a narrow gauge railway in Victoria, so it is time to get constructive!
Almost 50 years ago I bought four scale N wagons (made in Yugoslavia) for $1.60 each! The purpose of the purchase has always been to use the chassis and bogies for HOe/OO9 stock. Finally this is going to happen.
The sawmill supplies the mines with fire wood and props and will need open wagons like the Victorian Railways NQR.
The narrow gauge railway serving Wombat Creek Consolidated Mines Pty Ltd is now operational. The missing link between the Explosives Factory and the Big Nugget Mine has been constructed under the Main Street. The engineers used the ‘cut-and-cover’ method for the tunnel.
As a train may stall or derail in the tunnel access to the tunnel will remain from the top by moving a building or two.
A day in Melbourne saw me riding trains and trams all over the city. First a visit to a model railway shop purchasing joiners and an ice cream van. The joiners are needed to finish off both the narrow gauge line and the tramways. The van will be a centre part of a small cameo on the embankment.
An electronics shop provided me with a ‘countdown timer’, which (in theory) should extend the journey along the mining line with up to four minutes.
The research involved a trip to Clifton Hill. As seen in the photo a group of youngsters with fancy cars have set their eyes on the corner block between the Fire Station and the Bank. A perfect spot for a jazz club called ‘the Bellcord’. As the ‘chief architect’ I have come up with a design like this:
The former United Kingdom Hotel in Clifton Hill (nowadays a very unusual McDonald’s). The time frame for the build will be sometime this year. Well, it will always be this year since time in Wombat Creek has been frozen into 1963.
The research continued to this lovely tram shelter not far from Camberwell station. A perfect fit for the stop at the embankment. The build shouldn’t take too long.