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.
The bluestone retaining wall along the creek has been erected. Only the capping stones at the top are missing. The photo shows the purpose of a relative long wall. It sits along and hides the control panels.
Next step would be the second wall/pier supporting the bridge, but..
To get easy access to the dirt road along the creek, it better wait, but…
The dirt road will cross the railway on the other side, but…
The tracks will have to be put down before the road, but…
The tracks will cross the creek, so a small bridge has do be built first!
Complicated? Not really, if you get the order right.
Work has commenced over the plate girder bridge carrying the tramways across the Wombat Creek. The original Peco plater girder bridge is 220 mm long, so a middle section of 75 mm has been cut out. The remaining pieces will later former a second bridge across the creek and the narrow gauge railway. The bridge will be painted obscuring the new and at the moment white ends.
The supporting retaining walls will be clad in blue stones (basalt), and a gravel road (in a very bad condition due to its proximity to the creek) will form the only road access to the Big Nugget Mine behind the bridge.
The outside plumbing of the fire station is complete. So are the signs at the front. Of course this includes the letters CFA (Country Fire Authority). Wombat Creek is after all a small rural city somewhere in Victoria.
The second fire engine has arrived to the station after being unstuck from its display base. An old screw driver had to be filed down to fit into the triangular screws under the base.
So far, so good. But a closer inspection shows the engine cannot enter the fire station. The ladder is hitting the top of the door frame. Just by a mm or so. The building will need to be raised onto a plinth.
For a while the Scalescenes Fire Station has been printed and primed ready to be assembled. With time in Covid isolation the time has come. This is my first Scalescenes product and I am very impressed with the outcome. It is full of details, well thought solutions for e.g. gutters and down pipes and all parts which have to line up, just do so. Only downside is the length. It is just too short for one of the fire engines!
After 25+ hours of work only some plumbing on the side and signs on the front to do.
The fire station has room for two engines. At the moment the second engine is stuck to its display base by two pesky tiny and triangular screws! Why….
With my job I knew it was a matter of time before I would get Covid-19. Now my time is up and I will spend 7 days isolating at home. Fortunately my symptoms are quite mild. Mild enough to do a little modelling.
Margaret finally decided the lawn was too long and needed a mow. She didn’t get far, though, before she realised mowing was too hard and retired to the hammock. Meanwhile her son Tom did a bit of cricket practice and scored a perfect six. Unfortunately the ball went through one of the windows in the tram shed. Tom is quickly hiding in the cubby house. His sister Sarah wants to follow him, but she is unsure if she can climb the ladder.
Three days work and the control panel for the tramways is almost finished. Only the loop around the Big Nugget Mine is missing. The final position of the tracks has to be determined depending on the design of the bridge over the narrow gauge railway.
Obviously the black lines are the tracks. The red push buttons control the points. Some points are still not connected. The black push buttons control the power to the tram-stops. The tracks are under constant power and the trams will come to a stop, unless the black buttons are activated. The slide switches are normally on, but they make it possible to stop a tram between stops.
The track down the slope towards the Explosives Factory has been laid. It is not yet wired up, so the trams aren’t running yet. The track is not embedded in a road and will need to be ballasted.
The tram connection to the Explosives Factory is inspired by the trams at the once isolated Footscray system in Melbourne. As seen on the photo from Melbourne Tram Museum, the T class No 180 is showing Explosives Factory in the destination box.
n the Maribyrnong/Footscray area there used to be a factory complex consisting of the Explosives, Ammunition, Ordnance and Pyrotechnic Factories. They were involved in productions for the Australian Defence Forces. During WW2 the factories operated around the clock 365 days a year. Of the 8000 strong workforce 52 % were women and many of them lived locally. They used the trams to and from work. With trams every 7 minutes day and night they didn’t have to wait long for the next tram.
Originally the destinations for the trams were listed as the factory names, Explosives Factory, Ammunition Factory, Ordnance Factory and Pyrotechnic Factory, but after the Japanese bombing of Darwin 12 February 1942 the Commonwealth Authorities ordered the signs changed by the end of the month. Apparently to make it less obvious for spies where to find the factories. The destinations would be ‘Special A’, ‘Special B’ and ‘Special E’. To make life even harder for an eventual spy ‘Special A’ went to the Explosives Factory and ‘Special E’ went to the Ammunition Factory. How the Pyrotechnic Factory was signed is unknown.
The products from the Explosives Factory in Wombat Creek are of course destined for the mining industry and the trams will not arrive at the factory every seven minutes 24 hours a day.
The photo shows the latest track work at the Tramways. The two parallel points are the turnouts towards the loop around the Big Nugget Mine. The points at the front connects to the track towards the Explosives Factory. This track will be on an decline/incline, which will be rather steep. The greatest gradient on the tramways in Melbourne is 1:8 (some resources state 1:6). At Wombat Creek it will probably be around 1:10 or a bit less. A trial run with three trams showed no issues going up-hill.
Planning further work on the Tramways is rather complicated. The loop can’t be finished before part of the track for the mining train is done. This can’t be done before the creek is in place. Nothing can be tested before the control panel is extended. Where to start?