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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!