Wednesday, 19 April 2017


 The Phillip Island & District Railway Modellers Inc. have found a permanent home at last !
 Work has started on the New Layout
 The frame work is going up
 Each week it gets bigger,
 &  Bigger !
 It certainly is looking good !
Watch this Space & we will keep You up to date with our Progress !

23 - 4 -2017       SEE  PHOTOS BELOW & PROGRESS REPORT   It's all happening at the Club.

 Pete's Report:-

Probably a dozen or so members passed through the doors today, some came early, some late, some left early, some late.  No clocking on with this club.

Progress not as spectacular as last week as we got into the nitty gritty of squaring the base frame to fit the sheets, and laying out the bulbous ends.  However, those of us still there at the end looked at the results and declared it a good day's work.  Others took piccies and these can probably be found somewhere.

Next week we get to set the boards at the right heights and grades.


Don't forget that we do have a layout.  While some of us are in the pool room making sawdust, this is a great opportunity for every one else to run trains on that layout that we nearly got finished.  Indeed, pushing George's name for it (the learning curve, if you forgot) to the next step, if you are not entirely comfortable with the whims and nuances of DCC then the next few months are ideal for coming to grips with things at your own pace.  The experts are available for help in the next room, but not right on the spot making you feel under pressure.  And if you are on top of the world of Digitrax, then just run trains - it's what model railway people do!  

Above all, don't be embarrassed that you are not personally working on our new layout while other people are . There is no rule that says that every one has to have the same skills and ambitions, and the world would be a dull place if we did have.

And those photos that some one else took - Geoff flick passed them to Jack, and now they are on our web site.  Just Google PIADRM and it is amazing what turns up, don't forget our Facebook Page for more interesting Train related information.

30 - 4 - 2017         See Peter's Points Below :-

Hi All

Not sure how many rocked up today - Alan would know, he put out the chairs at tea break.  The usual motley crew, plus a few irregulars.  

Rod is a regular, but not usually in uniform.  He came straight from a combined emergency services exercise at cliff rescue. Perhaps not quite straight, since he was accompanied by a small person who kept calling him "grandpa".  (I presume that she was not the subject of the cliff rescue)

Barry made his swansong visit, prior to leaving the Island and moving to be nearer to family the other side of Geelong.  Can't believe it is truly a swansong (more comebacks than Nellie Melba?) with all the connections here that he and Deanne must have - who else has a shed named for them?  Just take a drive down Settlement Road and look what is on the Thomson Ave side of the Baptist Church.  Best wishes in your future home from all of us.

Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about the tea break (apart from Helen's cake - where does she get all those recipes?) was a forewarning from David that our Inverloch members plan to have another open day in (probably) June.  Specifically for those who didn't make it last time, but all welcome.  Stay tuned for more details, to borrow an old radio phrase.

Wondering if we did any work?  Sure did.  There must have been more than a dozen of us working away, and not falling over each other - it was wonderful.  Our previous home was called "The Long Room", but it might just as accurately have been called "The Narrow Room".  Photos will probably appear on the PIADRM web page.

I think that Helen had plenty of elbow room, as she took the opportunity to get in some loco time on the old layout. Don't forget that the track can handle one straight DC loco, as well as our DCC locos if you want to bring in your own - or there is that stable of Club DCC units that you can run.

David Hall reports via email that the Grossard Court men's group display of their railway activities was a hit with old and young, and the ladies, and sends their thanks for the loan of the Club's Thomas, Clarabelle and Annie.  Any time, boys.

See you on the 7th

7 - 5 - 2017
Hi All

Another good day - in several different directions.  Put the following items of goodness into your own priority.

​Our home layout 
visit to Inverloch is now set for July 2nd
Derek's place around 10.30am, then on to David
s at noon.  Partners welcome, tucker, tea and coffee provided.
Geoff the Sec and Dale went to the Clubrooms on Thursday to meet with Alan Droscher and the council man to look over our new arrangements.
ll was then resolved to everybody's satisfaction.
he door by the long room is
​now ​
deemed to be a satisfactory fire exit,
we will shortly be able to lock the pool room door
​. The 
council is going to relocate the emergency exit signs to their satisfaction.
​It's comforting to know that our arrangements with Cowes Senior Citizens Club and Bass Council are now agreed and the train club's future is so much more secure.  The 
CSCC committee acknowledge that we are a key group in the future of the Club.   There are some rules about what can and cannot be put in various places, but these are all workable.
And what did the eleven of us get up to on the day?  Mostly carpentry in various forms.  The good news is that every one left still fitted with the same number of fingers that they brought in.  The pool room door was fitted with its new hinges and a new lock, and now opens flat against the inner wall.  The electrical fire extinguisher was relocated from behind the door to near the circuit breaker panel.  At tea, Derek talked about proposals for our new point control panels, and was reminded that the Club layout is HO, not N, so things are twice as far apart as he is accustomed to.
Geoff the Sec has threatened to come in one day during the week to turn the baseboards brown, until he runs out of paint.
ext Mother's Day, so numbers will be down, but the room
 will be open.


​14/05/2017   Peter's Points​

Hi All,

As predicted​, a band of only six railway warriors turned up on Mothers Day.  That was not a problem until tea time , when we discovered that a) Helen was not one of the six, and b) Alan Droscher had failed to fill the CSCC biccie tins.  I really don't know how we made it through the rest of the day.

Before that minor glitch, we had arrived to find that Dale and Geoff the Sec had called in earlier in the week and turned the layout base into a glorious swathe of colour - brown(ish).  Actually, that's a good thing - it hides pencil marks.  Or is that always a good thing?  Anyway, there was Rod, hammer in hand, hopping from one foot to the other, so a pencil X marked the spot and the first spike was driven, duly recorded  by Derek's camera.  The four tracks through the new Stanley Creek have now been laid.  Then, late in the day, Rod could not not make sense of the dimensions that I had given him.  Neither could I, until I realised that the dimensions of the baseboard (as built) did not match the dimensions of the baseboard (as drawn).  Fortunately, it was late in the day, so we called it close of play.  Track plans are now at Revision A.  

In the interim, corners were rounded.  Internal one filled, external ones removed.  Tables have been removed from the outer walk around area.   In the far east, the track base carried on with its journey from the high level and arrived at the low level.  

In the long room, George continued to wage war with the Digitrax system and succeeded in giving one of his locos a four digit address.  Not until he asked for help did I realise that the DT 402 throttle has both a button marked "R" and a knob marked "R".   My notes say to press the knob.  George found the button and pressed that.  We can now confirm that  the button just does not do the job.  The knob does.  As I have said before - this is the ideal opportunity to come in and use our old layout to get up to speed with the system at your own pace.

At the end of the day we threw all the offcuts in a box, put the tools away (mostly) and vacuumed the sawdust off the carpet.  It's looking good, folks.

See some of you on the 21st.


21 - 05 - 2017         Peter's Points

                                                             The Gang getting stuck into it !

Hi All,

Of course, with twice as many members here as last week, I only know half as much about what went on.

Geoff the Pres was first in, if not best dressed.  He set to investigating the lock on the pool room door, and finally pronounced that it could not be modified to meet the Shire specs for an exit door, and he will source a different one.  We can use this one on our store room door, so all is not lost.  Then came our far eastern members - we kept David equipped with circular saw, jig saw and tenon saw and he had a merry afternoon cutting things to bits.  Derek huddled with Greg (who arrived about the same time) and talked about things that the rest of us would prefer to ignore - electric stuff.  Helen and Judy, Rod, Geoff the Sec, Jack and Alan were there, making themselves useful or a nuisance as the mood took them.

Rod and GtS eventually made sense of my scribblings regarding the track at the N end of Stanley Creek and got some points and track laid.  A fairly major triumph was to get the base cut to strips where the track on the west side has to rise to the high level (the rise has yet to happen).  This has also freed up the outer part of the baseboards so that the branchline people can start to figure out levels and grades in that part of the country.

Then we cleaned things up and went home.


28 - 05 - 2017                           Peter's  Points

Hi all,

A relatively small, orderly, hardworking team today.  Then, at tea break, Jack arrived.

We were fresh out of Geoffs today, so Rod and George laid track.  I did various carpenter like tasks.  Judy and Helen pleaded lack of carpentry skills, but set to with vigour creating trees.  Some of you may think that trees are wood ( i.e. carpentry) but ours are lead.  Eco-friendly lead, of course.  Dale had no time left to do anything after fielding the non-stop barrage of "Do we have..?  Have you seen..?  Where is our..?  What happened to..?"  Greg and Derek continued their weekly muttering sessions.  I overheard something about raspberry pie and open sauce - sounds tasty.  One useful fallout of various debates was a decision to relocate the railing track from the high level station (at an inner corner) to a point on the branch line (at an outer corner) to provide more elbow room.  It also makes it feasible to rail "fixed" multiple units that are often carried in cassettes - e.g. some EMUs or Garret locos.  In its other identity the track will likely be the wharf track at Port Gary.  The original railing track will remain, as somewhere to park the branchline EMU.  The debate about the layout of control panels is ongoing - in particular the division between mainline and yard controls.  All inputs welcome at this stage.

Later in the day, Dale managed to find a few minutes of calm and produced a loco kindly loaned by Simon - I wonder if he knew? - to check out Rod's trackwork to date.  I should have taken a closer look, for I am not sure just what it was.  A British steamer of long wheelbase, 8 or 10 coupled wheels.  It did find a couple of flaws, where adjacent sections of track had not properly entered the joiners, once again proving the philosophy of test before you have gone too far.  The good news is that the long rigid wheelbase had no trouble with any of the curves laid so far.

At tea, I had to confess that a job I have been putting off (because I hate it) could be put off no longer.  It is time to find exhibitors for our 2018 Show - so if any one knows of a suitable layout, preferably from this side of Melbourne, please let me know.  My new name for Judy is Jiminy Cricket (you figure it out).

Cheerio until the 4th

04 -  06 - 2017                            Peter's    Points

We had a motley crew last Sunday.  The regular crew, plus a couple of irregulars.

During the week, the man from the shire had been in and moved the exit signs so that people are now directed to leave by the doors by our old layout.  Emergency (ie power outage) lights have been fitted in our room and there is now only one switch (not guess which one of four) for the room lights.  And during the day we checked that the aircon works as a heater.

Geoff the Sec set to with a will completing the low level main lines at the S end, so that the high level board can go over them next week.  Geoff the Pres and I sliced some 3mm MDF into strips.  Thereafter Geoff, Dale and Grant (one of the irregulars) set about splicing these, and fitting them to divide the main line from the branchline countryside.  Good progress was made in this area, including splicing in sections of Joyce's painted backdrops from around John's Falls Junction on out old layout.  These have been fitted on the outside of the big curve at the S end and now look even more effective.  The rolling hills just keep coming into view as you walk further around.  And speaking of walking around, some voices were heard whinging about how far it is to walk around the layout.  Get used to it people - that's why we chose this configuration.

Tony dropped by and said "Wow - what progress you have made" or something similar.  You will have to persuade Jane to shop in Cowes more often Tony.  Judy applied foliage to trees, and was late to tea, because it took so long to get the glue off her fingers.  Alan had organised the tea without Helen ( last minute apology - visitors) - sort of organised, he forgot that most of us need teaspoons.  

I raided the old Stanley Creek freight yard for some LH points (you would not credit how many spare RH points we have) and finished joining up the tracks at the N end of the new Stanley Creek.  Then, after everything was fastened down, I noticed that part of the track had moved out of line.  Remedial work next week, I think.

We ran out of time to give Simon's loco a run over the new track - another job for next week.  I did eventually track down that loco.  My 'go to' reference for British locos is a 1960 edition of the Observer's Book of Railway Locomotives.  The trick here is that it is the "Observer's" book, so if it was not running in 1960 then it is not in the book.  Simon's loco is an LNER P2.  A powerful 2-8-2 design introduced in 1934 to work the Edinburgh to Aberdeen line.  So a modern design that, somehow, was not in my little book.  The reason is that by 1944 the P2 class was no more.  They had all been rebuilt as A-2/3 4-6-2 locos Nos 60501 to 60506.  It's all in the little book - as long as you are not trying to find it under P2! 

Only four weeks until we have a day off at Inverloch.  Meantime, put your best foot forward, shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone and book a session with the physio.

See you on the 11th

11 - 06 - 17                             Peter's  Points

Hi all,

I expect that every one knows that thirteen is a baker's dozen.  It is also a long dozen.  Not even Roget could help me to find the term for eleven, so I suppose that I will have to dub it a short dozen.

So there we were in the middle of a long weekend, a short dozen of us - and one a visitor/maybe new member - variously working and chattering but universally having a good Sunday arvo.  As we should.  Just to prove that I was paying attention; those present were Geoff the Pres, Dale, Rod, Greg, Derek, Dave. Alan, Helen. Judy and Paul.  If you think that only comes to ten, you forgot to count me in.

The trackbed/baseboard for the main line is now complete (except for a couple of corner fill ins at the high level), and the arrival loop for freight trains at Stanley Creek has arrived.  In the course of laying in the loop, Rod (fortunately) noticed that that one of the points that we are re-cycling needed one end of the tiebar trimming off to clear the adjacent track.  Alas, in its previous life said point had already had the other end of the tiebar trimmed, so that would have made it pretty useless (since we don't want to use under board point motors).  Good to spot these things early.  Well, early-ish anyway.

Which makes me think that it is time to start adding droppers to the track that we have laid , and hooking them to suitable bus lines.  Because we have all our point frogs isolated (for good reason) it reduces the thoroughness of the testing that Dale can bring to the track itself since he can't run Simon's Cock of the North through any of the points. 

I was not involved in the discussion, but from what I heard it seems that we will have a railing track on the layout, but not a programming track.  The program track will be a physically separate entity in the pious hope that this will avoid those occasions when some one forgets to throw the appropriate switch, and reprograms every loco on the layout at that moment.  Sounds like a sensible thing to do in a Club environment.

I think that Club subs are due on July 1st, but if you give money to Dale before then, expect to get a post-dated receipt because he likes to keep the books tidy, and as long as he does the job I will go along with whatever ....

'Till next week

18 - 06 - 17

Hi All,                                         Peter's   Points

And I hope that it really is ALL this time.  It was not until some one spoke up that I realised that when I changed my eMail programme a few weeks ago about half a dozen of you fell off the group mailing list.  I could say "Let me know if you don't get this."  It would make as much sense as saying "Have you got the latest update?"

At a more physical level, eight of us did something useful.  That does not include Judy, who called in but then had to leave to do other things.  Or Helen, who came and then went, taking with her a sore arm (from gardening)  In fact, Helen might have done the most useful thing of all, as she left us two trays of jammy pikelets.  What a trooper.

Geoff the Pres was another early departure - to attend upon unexpected visitors.  He did return later, this time bringing the blades for the cunning tool that cut a tunnel opening through the divider.  Geoff the Sec and Rod co-operated on track laying to an astonishing degree, and the main line has nearly reached the North end of the high level station (still needs a name).  Only at the end of the day did the alignment go skew-wiff - time to give it away for the week.  My fault for drawing those vanishing pencil lines on brown baseboard.

A real life locksmith person came by, with two small train enthusiasts as support crew.  He will return next Sunday to fit a fully compliant lock and handle to our door.  A happy Alan Droscher also called in.  Happy to be out of hospital, I think.  Stay well, buddy.

Dale contemplated, then did, baseboard and divider things with the aid of Alan and David.  Derek spent the afternoon either on his knees or his back fixing and labeling bus wiring below the baseboard.  The most useful thing that I did was to give back to David his BGM brass model of a VR K Class loco, after I had converted it to DCC and sound.  In the end, it was straightforward, but I find it to be heart in mouth stuff when I have to take the Dremel cutter to some one else's beautiful model.  Somewhat to my surprise, it had no trouble doing laps on our old layout, hauling a couple of meters of freight wagons.  The old track must be better laid than I gave it credit for.

Final point for this week.  It is now two weeks to our Inverloch visit - July 2nd.  Fine fellows that Derek and David are, it is really Ankie and Joyce who carry the burden of our visit.  So for the ladies sake, please ring David on 5674 3519, or 0408 513 120, to say if you will be there, alone or with partner.

Until next we meet..

25 - 06 - 17                                        Peter's    Points

Hi All,

​"​Hi All,

Quite a moment for the new layout - the main lines are now open for business!

After laying in wiring last week, Derek got a loco to move, but was defeated by the forest of undriven track pins.  Geoff the Pres and I laid into these with a will (and hammers and punches) and soon the permanent way became that little bit more permanent.  The Digitrax Zephyr unit that we use on Bald Mountain is so easy to use that a couple of crocodile clips to hook the output to the bus wires had us in business minutes later.  For no particular reason, except that I am familiar with it, the Club's 3 car EMU was the first to take to the track.  And it just went, round and round, both tracks, in and out of the station loops, without even needing the track cleaning.  A credit to all the track layers involved, and the solitary wirer upper involved.

Next to try was the Cotton Belt diesel.  It promptly derailed at one of the points.  So did our Southern Pacific diesel - same spot.  So did a Hornby 4 wheel wagon.  The EMU continued to whizz through.  A close look found that one of the point blades did not quite close against the stock rail.  Geoff the Sec judiciously applied brute force, and the problem went away.  The price you pay for running fine scale wheels.  The EMU is one of LIMA's upmarket products, but it must still have some of that toy train tolerance for imperfect track.  

Having made it through the troublesome point at Stanley Creek, both diesels then decided to die at the south end of Sayer.  So, too, did our diesel railcar.  There is a succession of points at this spot, and it seems that we need a couple more droppers at the right spots.  One again, the EMU copes with the problem because it picks up power on the front bogie of the front car and the last bogie of the back car, so it bridged the gap.  

But overall - a great success, and congratulations to everyone.  

Meanwhile, back at the branchline, Rod was laying track down from Sayer towards Geoff the Sec. He, in turn, was spreading points and rails around as he visualised the first station, and Dale and Co were doing the same at Mousehole.  At the end of the day, we did something similar in the freight yard at Stanley Creek.

Over to you, good people.


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