Southern Rail Models L Class

 
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
So who else is looking at getting one?



http://www.southernrailmodels.com.au/l-class.html

Sponsored advertisement

  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
It's where you say 'one' that I'm confused!!

I have to have some ATN maroon L's, definitely a two-tone blue one (or two) and probably a single orange with blue stripe one as well. So that could be six!!
  Poath Junction Chief Commissioner

Location: In front of a computer most of the time.
'getting one'. Surely you jest! I note sound is an option.
  Piston Train Controller

'getting one'. Surely you jest! I note sound is an option.
Poath Junction

Yes finally they are listening, ready to run with sound. Now if only Auscision, Austrains, etc would provide the same!
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
L270 in PN for me, and L271 in Interail as well Very Happy
  ALCO4401 Train Controller

Location: On the Branch waiting for a train order, west of Tarana
These will sell very well in WA, someone better bring some over, as our lack of "Hobby Shops" here, only stock pommie or US stuff.
  brissim Chief Train Controller

These will sell very well in WA, someone better bring some over, as our lack of "Hobby Shops" here, only stock pommie or US stuff.
ALCO4401

Now is to time for all those over in WA who not so long ago were whinging about the lack of WA outline models to "put their money where their mouths (or posts) were". Obviously the L Class is a wise choice for a model given its widespread use in the eastern states which adds to the interest but it will be interesting to see the eventual sales split between WAGR and "eastern" liveries (not that SRM would release this potentially commercially sensitive data).

Tony
  ALCO4401 Train Controller

Location: On the Branch waiting for a train order, west of Tarana
Now is to time for all those over in WA who not so long ago were whinging about the lack of WA outline models to "put their money where their mouths (or posts) were". Obviously the L Class is a wise choice for a model given its widespread use in the eastern states which adds to the interest but it will be interesting to see the eventual sales split between WAGR and "eastern" liveries (not that SRM would release this potentially commercially sensitive data).

Tony
brissim

Well, I am getting two at least at this stage, better also get a nice rake of WBAX's off Auscision to run behind them.
  jamiepb Junior Train Controller

I just finished building one.........
  wat700 Junior Train Controller

Location: Richmond, NSW
Shame there are none in the 90's Westrail liveries but it is only the first run!

Still L252 or L257 or both will surfice for me for the time being!
  QR-INTERAIL Deputy Commissioner

Location: Where else, but Queensland
So who else is looking at getting one?
"Greensleeves"


Well goes without saying for me, both Interail models for me, including sound! Smile

Also, possibly one of the PN liveried ones too, because it's just such a beast of a loco!

In regards to the PN ones, can anyone tell me if PN ever ran them to Acacia Ridge, at all, even once?

Be interesting see developments on this model and future releases, maybe some pineapples!
  ethansx49 Chief Train Controller

Location: Warrnambool
Westrail 1976 or mid 1980  for me probably
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I would like 2 to convert to Comalco locos, and one of the orange ones.

Things are tight, so the later they come the more I can get... could the builders let us know if it will not be too hard to cut off the dynamic brakes on the roof....  Ta !

Regards,
David Head
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Now is to time for all those over in WA who not so long ago were whinging about the lack of WA outline models to "put their money where their mouths (or posts) were". Obviously the L Class is a wise choice for a model given its widespread use in the eastern states which adds to the interest but it will be interesting to see the eventual sales split between WAGR and "eastern" liveries (not that SRM would release this potentially commercially sensitive data).

Tony
brissim

What will determine a second run for some more WA specific locos will be the sales in WA of both these and the previously announced ARG DFZ loco.
So while we won't know the success or not, there are three WA-only models that are in this first run (the two-tone blue versions and L256 in the first version of Westrail orange).  If they sell well (or even sell out) then we'll know if/when a re-run is announced with other colour schemes. The versions offered will be telling.

In a post on their FB page Rocket said that the WA market was only about 5% of the total Australian outline.  Not a big basis for investment. Given the size of WA however (10% of Australia's population & much bigger than Sth Aus), I would argue there is room to grow there.

Kind regards

Toby
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
It's not clear what market he's talking about. If it's the market for his models, then only 5% is not surprising, because he currently produces only one WA-specific model, and it's in the wrong scale and wrong gauge. In WA, we model 1067mm gauge only in Sn31/2, not HO scale, and certainly not HO scale with standard gauge bogies instead of narrow gauge ones. But he could be talking instead about the market for HO scale Australian outline as a whole, in which case I suspect he's forgotten to include the WA modellers who've bought BHP Billiton Iron Ore stuff (which is made by foreign manufacturers, not eastern states ones).

I own four HO scale BHP Billiton Iron Ore locomotive models, and quite a few wagons to go with them. I would also have bought HO scale WAGR locomotive models, but up until now, nobody has bothered to make them, even though most of the WAGR standard gauge locomotive classes have run extensively in the eastern states for many years. (I would also have bought several BHPBIO SD-70 locomotive models, but nobody makes them, either, even though the SD-70s are now the backbone of the BHPBIO fleet, and even though some of them were originally ordered by BNSF to BNSF specs.)

You would only have to buy one WAGR L class or K class locomotive model, and you would then immediately be able run a complete r-t-r WAGR train (either with Indian Pacific coaches or intermodal wagons), but, again, until now nobody has bothered to make any L class or K class locomotive models.
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
It's not clear what market he's talking about. If it's the market for his models, then only 5% is not surprising, because he currently produces only one WA-specific model, and it's in the wrong scale and wrong gauge. In WA, we model 1067mm gauge only in Sn31/2, not HO scale, and certainly not HO scale with standard gauge bogies instead of narrow gauge ones. But he could be talking instead about the market for HO scale Australian outline as a whole, in which case I suspect he's forgotten to include the WA modellers who've bought BHP Billiton Iron Ore stuff (which is made by foreign manufacturers, not eastern states ones).

I own four HO scale BHP Billiton Iron Ore locomotive models, and quite a few wagons to go with them. I would also have bought HO scale WAGR locomotive models, but up until now, nobody has bothered to make them, even though most of the WAGR standard gauge locomotive classes have run extensively in the eastern states for many years. (I would also have bought several BHPBIO SD-70 locomotive models, but nobody makes them, either, even though the SD-70s are now the backbone of the BHPBIO fleet, and even though some of them were originally ordered by BNSF to BNSF specs.)

You would only have to buy one WAGR L class or K class locomotive model, and you would then immediately be able run a complete r-t-r WAGR train (either with Indian Pacific coaches or intermodal wagons), but, again, until now nobody has bothered to make any L class or K class locomotive models.
Bahnfrend

I'm pretty sure he's talking about the total Australian outline market. Southern Rail hasn't yet released any model for the WA market. I don't think he's forgotten about the Pilbara railways but as you say no one in Australia is making those, mostly because they're all US size machines. Even if you considered them I would be pretty confident that we're still only talking about 5%.

Anyway so its not one but two so far announced. Wrong scale & gauge? Well the DFZ is happening because of the QR 2300, I'm sure it wouldn't have been considered otherwise.  It is incorrect gauge but where is the HOn3.5 market for WA? I've never seen anyone do that. I know there are quite a few Sn3.5 modellers but it would be a brave manufacturer to produce injection-moulded RTR for that market - how many of them actually are there? How many have bought the kits produced? 50 different people? A hundred? Even if there's 250 of them I don't think that's enough to justify an Sn3.5 scale RTR model.

In my opinion the narrow gauge states have been their own worst enemies in terms of getting RTR made.
Each state seems to have a core group of dedicated (and very skilled) modellers, and each group is using a different scale/gauge ratio!! This despite the fact that there are similar or identical locomotives that have run in more than one state.

As I've said before, what is a model producer to do?  Try to cater for each market? Not likely to work with such small markets. Only because Queensland is a big state (twice the population of WA) has it been possible to consider RTR models, and even these have only appeared within the past two years.

Don't get me wrong, I hope that there are more WA modellers out there and that these first WA RTR models do well.
But those who want WA models are not in any position to dictate terms to producers. 'We want only these models in this scale and nothing else will do' will result in no models.  It is solely because the L is so well-travelled that it is being done. It is perhaps surprising that it has taken so long for it to appear, but then again Trainorama did say it was on their 'To Do List' way back when in 2008 some time.
Unfortunately for Trainorama the issues with the factories in China plus the change of ownership has devastated their old production plan.  In fact there is now only one item that they were planning to produce (as far as I'm aware) that has not already been released or announced by another manufacturer.  For their sakes I won't mention it here.

Anyway. This little black duck has ordered two DFZ's and I'll be ordering two original blue L's (among others).
So I'm doing my best for what I'd like to see.
Next to persuade Rocket to do L268 in the one-off blue, orange & white colours!

Kind regards,

Toby
  M636C Minister for Railways

The initial advertising is very confusing and gives the impression that they don't know much about the L class at all!

I hope the models don't have the errors and misconceptions suggested by the brochure.

Firstly, the locomotive illustrated as "two tone blue" is actually Light Admiralty Grey and Strong Blue.
(If you don't believe me look it up...)

Just using the wrong name wouldn't be a problem except that a few locomotives were in fact repainted two tone blue in the mid 1970s. The two Queensland built locomotives, L274 and L275 were delivered in two tone blue and they were the only locomotives built new in that scheme. The rebuilt KA class and at least one K were repainted in two tone blue.

The lighter shade in "two tone blue" was a distinctly different shade to Light Admiralty Grey.

So models L1 and L2, if "as delivered" will be Light Admiralty Grey and Strong Blue.

The illustration of the Grey and Blue unit in Victoria appears to have no number on the headstock (which is non standard) and seems to have non standard red lettering on the cab side.

While the colour scheme listed for model L3 may have lasted into 1976, it was painted around October 1975. I have a slide of an L class loco in that scheme but I can't recall if it is L256. At least one R class also carried that scheme. The reason that the white separation stripes were introduced was that in black and white, the stripe couldn't be seen as the shades were the same. I have a few B&W photos of L class in that scheme - they appear to be in undercoat. I believe reflective tape was used for the stripes.

Most of the class carried the L4/L5 scheme, but several other variations of orange and blue were used, mainly plain orange with large "Westrail" lettering with blue and white chevrons on the ends.

L6/L7/L8 seems a little excessive, reproducing three of four locomotives. You wonder why they don't do L265 in that scheme as well, completing the set. The illustration shows the locomotives after digital power control and cab air conditioning was fitted. It would be much easier to model the locomotives before this change.

L9 and L10 are illustrated with a loco with ARG logo but the indicate that the Australia Northern logo (confusingly called AN) will be used. My recollection is that the ARG logo was used for virtually all their use in NSW, so the "Northern" logo might limit the usefulness of the model. Note that these four locomotives had different illuminated number boards to all other L class rebuilds (see photo of 3107, incorrectly illustrating 3104 as model L11)

Even the photo of 3107 doesn't illustrate the ARG/QR logo which the text suggests L11 will carry...

Note the subtle differences in the number boards on the Interail units illustrating models L12 and L13 and the PN units L14 and L15 which are otherwise similar. Incidentally The two surviving PN units have Q-Tron and are effectively LQ class even if they are not lettered that way.

One gets the impression that the selection has been made for Eastern States modellers only, so you wonder why they bothered with L3 at all.

Why no yellow QRN/Aurizon scheme that appeared on LZ3101 and LZ3103 in NSW and LQ3121 in WA?

It appears that they will not be modelling L274, L275 or the two Comalco units which have different air intakes.

M636C
  M636C Minister for Railways

I would like 2 to convert to Comalco locos, and one of the orange ones.

Things are tight, so the later they come the more I can get... could the builders let us know if it will not be too hard to cut off the dynamic brakes on the roof.... Ta !

Regards,
David Head
dthead


The Comalco locomotives have quite different air intakes which are not included in the Southern Models range.

The Austrains C class has the correct air intake. If you could scratchbuild the cab as well as the blank dynamic brake hatch, you could build one right now.

M636C
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
Toby

I don't agree that the narrow gauge states have been their own worst enemies.  In Qld, WA and NZ, they model mainly, and in the case of WA and NZ exclusively, in Sn31/2.  There's even a special magazine published and circulated by Qld and WA modellers who model in that scale.  It wouldn't be difficult for an r-t-r manufacturer to cater for that market, but they just haven't bothered as yet.

In WA, there's been a large group of Sn31/2 modellers for decades, and all the model locomotive kits they make for each other sell out before they're produced.  There would almost certainly be a lot more Sn31/2 modellers in WA if someone were to make something in r-t-r for them.  As far as locomotives are concerned, the obvious choices would be the W class steamers (60 built, and many preserved, including some interstate, plus a Silverton Tramway variant) and the X class diesels (48 built, each with its own name; also, several different liveries, and several preserved).  The problem is lack of supply, not lack of demand.

I would be surprised if the Southern Rail L class doesn't sell well here.  The NR class models in IP liveries, and the BHPBIO models (including the very expensive brass ones, and the Bachmann train sets) already sell quickly, and new variants keep becoming available.  The AMRA Sn31/2 group has already circulated the Southern Rail leaflet to its members, and I expect many of them to be customers.  I've already decided to buy both of the "two tone blue" versions for myself.  And yes, I, too, will buy L268 if it ever becomes available in the blue livery, and also an L in the yellow Aurizon livery if one ever becomes available (in my opinion, the Aurizon livery is the most attractive livery the Ls have ever worn).

Incidentally, M636C is correct about the "two tone blue" livery actually being grey/blue in most cases.  However, I am optimistic that Southern Rail will get the colours right.  A very encouraging sign is that one of the "two tone blue" models will be L253, which featured in the photo of the IP in the Avon Valley that was used as an IP publicity image for many years.  That suggests that Southern Rail really has put some thought into choosing appropriate variants to model.
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Toby

I don't agree that the narrow gauge states have been their own worst enemies. In Qld, WA and NZ, they model mainly, and in the case of WA and NZ exclusively, in Sn31/2. There's even a special magazine published and circulated by Qld and WA modellers who model in that scale. It wouldn't be difficult for an r-t-r manufacturer to cater for that market, but they just haven't bothered as yet.

In WA, there's been a large group of Sn31/2 modellers for decades, and all the model locomotive kits they make for each other sell out before they're produced. There would almost certainly be a lot more Sn31/2 modellers in WA if someone were to make something in r-t-r for them. As far as locomotives are concerned, the obvious choices would be the W class steamers (60 built, and many preserved, including some interstate, plus a Silverton Tramway variant) and the X class diesels (48 built, each with its own name; also, several different liveries, and several preserved). The problem is lack of supply, not lack of demand.
Bahnfrend

I'm afraid I've seen zero evidence that it is 'mainly' Sn3.5 in Queensland. I know there are 'some' in QLD but I have only ever seen two such layouts in over twenty five years of buying AMRM.
There seem to be a great many more modelling HOn3.5. And that is what the producers are making RTR. They also have sufficient demand to make them in 16.5mm gauge too, even though that is the wrong scale/gauge ratio. And in South Australia they are modelling in HOn3 (10mm gauge) because the dual gauge track replicates the broad/narrow combination better.  The Tasmanians model in OO scale (one or two in Sn3.5).  So for the 830 class that ran in SA and Tasmania, there's not one thing in common. Different scale and different gauge. For the 2350 class that ran in QLD and then Tasmania (ZB) and then later in WA, there are three different scales and two different gauges. That is what I'm talking about. Being the same as NZ's large kit market is no advantage.


When you say 'it wouldn't be difficult' for a manufacturer well my question is what is the circulation of the S scale magazine? If it is anything less than a thousand then I'm afraid you have no chance of getting anything produced RTR. If these kits are selling out before they've even produced them, my next question is how many are they making? Fifty of each kit? So how many people are actually missing out? These numbers just don't stack up.  A popular kit does not an RTR market make. Kits are produced in the tens or hundreds at very best. RTR needs to have thousands.  The lowest production run that I'm aware of was 2800 models. Some may well have been smaller since then, I don't know, but I would be very surprised if any were below the 1000 mark. I'm quite sure that some of the producers have done their sums well before me, and they would have a much better idea than me.  The fact that they haven't done this, suggests very strongly to me that the Sn3.5 scale market has a bit more growing to do yet.
Don't get me wrong, I would be very happy to see models produced in Sn3.5 scale RTR. I might even buy them myself. I'm just not convinced that the market is there. There need to be numbers, not opinions. A belief that a model will sell is not enough.

And re the Aurizon livery, well Southern Rail did say that they were reducing the 2300/DFZ production run and that some numbers would have only 35 made!  My suspicion is that some of these are the Aurizon ones. Why? Well if that was a popular colour scheme they would have put them in the first run of the L's.  Having said that, they may well already be planning to do them in a 2nd run.  The page does clearly state 'First Run'.
As far as it being the best livery, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one!!

Kind regards,

Toby
  M636C Minister for Railways

Toby

I don't agree that the narrow gauge states have been their own worst enemies. In Qld, WA and NZ, they model mainly, and in the case of WA and NZ exclusively, in Sn31/2. There's even a special magazine published and circulated by Qld and WA modellers who model in that scale. It wouldn't be difficult for an r-t-r manufacturer to cater for that market, but they just haven't bothered as yet.

I would be surprised if the Southern Rail L class doesn't sell well here. The NR class models in IP liveries, and the BHPBIO models (including the very expensive brass ones, and the Bachmann train sets) already sell quickly, and new variants keep becoming available.
Bahnfrend

The problem with Sn3-1/2 is that there aren't any readily available S gauge WAGR standard gauge locomotives or vehicles to run with them.

Modelling in Sn3-1/2 effectively prevents modelling of the current WA scene where dual gauge is such a significant feature of operations.The conversion of RA to KA, the use of WV wagons on narrow gauge as VWV. and the XNG grain wagons converted from NG and later SG salt wagons are examples.

The best chance of getting a QR 2800 (or WA PA class) is the fact that three of them are working in NSW coal traffic on standard gauge. There will be more locomotives than the L class coming. Auscision are making the C44ACi, the AC, ACA, ACB and ACC classes as well as the 6000 and 6020 classes used by Aurizon Intermodal. There will also be the GT46C ACe, the SCT and LDP classes.

But with three different main line types in WA specific lettering and colours as well as 81 class for the PN Kewdale shunter, and the Indian Pacific cars and locomotives, it isn't just the L class....

With DFZ class becoming available, a limited sort of dual gauge operation becomes possible. Narrow gauge wagons are still a problem, but ex QR container wagons should be available.

M636C
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
Toby

I'm not surprised you don't see much Sn31/2 in AMRM. There's very little Qld or WA narrow gauge content of any kind in AMRM, and the Sn31/2 modellers in those states tend to write about their models in their own Sn31/2 scale magazine.

Both AMRA (WA) and AMRA (Qld) have large and active Sn31/2 groups.  As is said by one blogger: "Sn3½ is the traditional scale of modeling 3'6" In QLD and WA and NZ".  However, the size of the Sn31/2 fraternity in both WA and Qld is limited by the absence of any r-t-r.  I've often seen people running HO scale interstate or overseas outline r-t-r rolling stock (eg Thalys high speed trains) on the AMRA (WA) Sn31/2 layout.  These people would probably run Sn31/2 WA outline stuff if any of it were available in r-t-r.

You suggest that there wouldn't be enough customers for the smallest feasible production runs.  I know very little about that sort of thing, but I do know that the relevant technology is rapidly changing.  There are already WA modellers using 3D printing to produce one piece bodyshells for diesel locomotive models.  If this type of technology were used instead of injection moulding, I suspect that much smaller runs would be feasible, not only because you don't need moulds for 3D printing, but also because it's easy to 3D print in several scales simultaneously.

Also, I would have thought that the obvious WA outline model to produce first in r-t-r Sn31/2 would be the ADK/ADB class railcar/trailer set.  They ran in WA from 1968 to 1992, and have been running in Auckland, NZ, since 1993.  Sure, they've been refurbished since they arrived in NZ, but initially they ran there unmodified, so you wouldn't even have to produce them in more than one livery.  (There are also the ADL/ADC railcar/trailer sets, but they didn't enter service until 1982 and therefore had short lives in WA before heading across the Tasman.)

M636C

There actually isn't all that much crossover between standard gauge and narrow gauge in WA, and not that much dual gauge, either.

For example, there were only ever three KAs.  They were just RAs on standard gauge bogies, and look rather different from Ks.  They operated pretty much exclusively on the branch lines out of Kalgoorlie.  Someone is already 3D printing a one piece bodyshell of an RA in Sn31/2, so to create a KA in S scale, you would just have to fit them with some S scale bogies, or perhaps even only wheelsets - available from manufacturers of S scale stuff in the US.  You'd then put them on r-t-r S scale track, also available from the US.

There were also a few NAs, which, similarly, were just rebogied Ns.  But as the Ns were very short lived, had limited operations, were notoriously unreliable and are almost all now long scrapped, few people would be interested in modelling them.

Yes, I know that the CBH class locomotives have either narrow gauge or standard gauge bogies, but they've only been in service for a short time.

The only dual gauge line in WA is the one from Northam to Kwinana/Fremantle.  These days, most of the rolling stock on it is standard gauge.  The DFZs are based in Geraldton or Albany, hundreds of km away.  If you wanted to model dual gauge, you would want to do it in S / Sn31/2, not H0 / H0n31/2, because 12mm in 1:87 is closer to metre gauge than 1067 mm gauge, and therefore the track would look like dual standard gauge/metre gauge, not dual standard gauge/1067mm gauge.  But you probably wouldn't model it anyway - you'd just model the standard gauge line east of Northam, and you'd model it in H0, because, as you say, the standard gauge locomotives you mention either are already available in H0 or will be soon (and so will the CBH class, in H0 scale standard gauge, because CFCL Australia has some very similar locomotives in that gauge).

Another point to make about WA narrow gauge is that modellers of it are much more interested in the steam era or its immediate aftermath than in present day operations.

As for narrow gauge wagons, well, the post war 4 wheel wagons had standard underframes, so it would be easy to produce them in Sn31/2 - one underframe design and two or three body designs would be sufficient.  You would sell them in packets of three or so, as is done with H0 scale eastern states outline wagons, or in 16.5 mm gauge train sets with a steam or diesel loco, like Bachmann's BHPBIO train sets.  So you could have a respectable, and perhaps economically viable, Sn31/2 WA outline range with just one or two locomotives, one 4 wheel underframe,  two or three wagon bodies, and an ADK/ADB set.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Also, I would have thought that the obvious WA outline model to produce first in r-t-r Sn3-1/2 would be the ADK/ADB class railcar/trailer set. They ran in WA from 1968 to 1992, and have been running in Auckland, NZ, since 1993. Sure, they've been refurbished since they arrived in NZ, but initially they ran there unmodified, so you wouldn't even have to produce them in more than one livery. (There are also the ADL/ADC railcar/trailer sets, but they didn't enter service until 1982 and therefore had short lives in WA before heading across the Tasman.)

There actually isn't all that much crossover between standard gauge and narrow gauge in WA, and not that much dual gauge, either.

For example, there were only ever three KAs. They were just RAs on standard gauge bogies, and look rather different from Ks. They operated pretty much exclusively on the branch lines out of Kalgoorlie. Someone is already 3D printing a one piece bodyshell of an RA in Sn31/2, so to create a KA in S scale, you would just have to fit them with some S scale bogies, or perhaps even only wheelsets - available from manufacturers of S scale stuff in the US. You'd then put them on r-t-r S scale track, also available from the US.

There were also a few NAs, which, similarly, were just rebogied Ns. But as the Ns were very short lived, had limited operations, were notoriously unreliable and are almost all now long scrapped, few people would be interested in modelling them.

Yes, I know that the CBH class locomotives have either narrow gauge or standard gauge bogies, but they've only been in service for a short time.

The only dual gauge line in WA is the one from Northam to Kwinana/Fremantle. These days, most of the rolling stock on it is standard gauge. The DFZs are based in Geraldton or Albany, hundreds of km away.Another point to make about WA narrow gauge is that modellers of it are much more interested in the steam era or its immediate aftermath than in present day operations.
Bahnfrend

Starting from the top...

The ADBs were unaltered in Auckland, but the ADKs had their radiator "humps" removed and replaced with a new design significantly lower in height. So a single model would need to be designed with interchangeable radiators to be accurate in both markets.

I know what the RA class looked like, I helped build them at English Electric in Rocklea. The KA bogies were an entirely different design (as could be seen by going to Bellevue and looking at the set sitting on the track in the Gemco compound.) But I have photos of KAs in both the original two tone blue (not grey and blue) and in orange with blue stripe at Forrestfield in the period 1975 to 1982. And I don't believe they only ran light from Perth to Kalgoorlie. One of the original jobs for the KA class was working a special vacuum braked grain train made up of converted NG grain hoppers, and I'd expect that this found its way to Kwinana quite often.

The NA class were just N class fitted for air brake only. When convertted to SG, the two Westrail locomotives were class NB. They used ex BHP M636 bogies, by the way. 1874 had the class NA painted out by South Spur when it was converted to SG, so technically it wasn't an NB.

A couple of weeks ago I had a work trip to Perth so stopped by Forrestfield on my way south. There were two DFZs in loco coupled nose to nose (with different cab roofs) so of course I took a photo. I believe they had been in Albany but they were in Perth when I saw them.

A colleague returned to Melbourne on an earlier flight than I was booked on, so I sat at Midland for a couple of hours watching trains. I saw the freighter ex Kalgoorlie with the Murrin Murrin sulphur wagons behind an ARG yellow Q class. Right behind it was a single CBH (NG) on a short grain. There was a short empty ore to the east with an ACA, followed by a Prospector westbound, then a loaded ore with two ACCs and finally P2511 long hood leading with a loaded grain in leased XU and XT wagons. There are a lot of SG trains, but quite a few NG as well.

As the the accuracy of 12mm:

I make 12 x 87.1 = 1045. That's quite a bit closer to 1067 than it is to 1000.

The difference in gauge at 1:87.1 is about 0.25 mm.

Given that the model rail is wider than the prototype, I doubt there is much visual difference between dual gauge using 12 mm and that using 12.25 mm...

M636C
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Toby

I'm not surprised you don't see much Sn31/2 in AMRM. There's very little Qld or WA narrow gauge content of any kind in AMRM, and the Sn31/2 modellers in those states tend to write about their models in their own Sn31/2 scale magazine.

Both AMRA (WA) and AMRA (Qld) have large and active Sn31/2 groups. As is said by one blogger: "Sn3½ is the traditional scale of modeling 3'6" In QLD and WA and NZ". However, the size of the Sn31/2 fraternity in both WA and Qld is limited by the absence of any r-t-r. I've often seen people running HO scale interstate or overseas outline r-t-r rolling stock (eg Thalys high speed trains) on the AMRA (WA) Sn31/2 layout. These people would probably run Sn31/2 WA outline stuff if any of it were available in r-t-r.

You suggest that there wouldn't be enough customers for the smallest feasible production runs. I know very little about that sort of thing, but I do know that the relevant technology is rapidly changing. There are already WA modellers using 3D printing to produce one piece bodyshells for diesel locomotive models. If this type of technology were used instead of injection moulding, I suspect that much smaller runs would be feasible, not only because you don't need moulds for 3D printing, but also because it's easy to 3D print in several scales simultaneously.
Bahnfrend

If the Sn3.5 fraternity want to grow their scale then I suggest they write articles for AMRM as well. Otherwise they are in an echo chamber. Their magazine is rarely seen outside of specialist hobby shops (I've never seen it for sale, although I had heard of it), so how is it going to further the scale?

I've since been advised by a reliable source that the magazine's circulation is much less than one thousand, less than 200 in fact.
So in order to make a minimum production run of say 1500 (a big risk), then every single person out of (lets assume) 200, needs to buy seven or eight of the model you produce!  So are you all going to purchase seven ADK railcar sets? Even though some of those two hundred are in NZ, some are in QLD and I know of two in Tasmania. So for every person that does not buy any, that is another seven or eight unsold.  If you produce only one thousand models then you still have to pay the same total price for five railcars that you would have for seven or eight, and you put off anyone who currently runs their TGV's, Flying Scotsman or Union Pacific trains on your S scale layout.  In order to be successful therefore you need at least three to five times as many people to buy an RTR model than have ever purchased a kit or scratchbuilt a model, and you still need all of the kitbuilders to buy them too.
For example I am purchasing six of the Southern Rail 2300/DFZ models, but I know of a QR HOn3.5 modeller who is not purchasing any of them. So not a great example but rather an illustration of the extremes of the market.

Somehow I doubt that the sudden appearance of an RTR S scale model will cause all of your members with TGVs & Mallards to suddenly sell them and buy WA outline.

One bloggers opinion does not a fact make either. HOn3.5 is very clearly the bigger market for QLD, there are eight RTR wagons now available with a loco, railcar and another wagon announced from Southern Rail.  There are dozens and dozens of different kits available. You obviously don't believe this, however belief does not change the facts. These guys (Wuiske & Southern Rail) have been involved in the QLD market for years (Southern Rail through their association with PGC & BLack Diamond). Wuiske did just ten S scale 1720 class. I'm pretty sure they would have done more if they knew there was a bigger market.  I'm sure that BDM & Black Diamond (who have produced a few S scale items) would be doing more if there was a market. They are not. There is not. End of story.

If local groups are able to get 3D printed models made and they are good quality, then good on them and I hope they're successful.  I have seen some of the wagons done recently and they do look good. For the foreseeable future I don't see any other changes happening with the S scale market.  If someone is convinced that RTR injection moulded can work, they are welcome to set up their own company and give it a go, and prove everyone else wrong if they can.

Kind regards,

Toby
  ALCO4401 Train Controller

Location: On the Branch waiting for a train order, west of Tarana
Toby

I'm not surprised you don't see much Sn31/2 in AMRM. There's very little Qld or WA narrow gauge content of any kind in AMRM, and the Sn31/2 modellers in those states tend to write about their models in their own Sn31/2 scale magazine.

Both AMRA (WA) and AMRA (Qld) have large and active Sn31/2 groups. As is said by one blogger: "Sn3½ is the traditional scale of modeling 3'6" In QLD and WA and NZ". However, the size of the Sn31/2 fraternity in both WA and Qld is limited by the absence of any r-t-r. I've often seen people running HO scale interstate or overseas outline r-t-r rolling stock (eg Thalys high speed trains) on the AMRA (WA) Sn31/2 layout. These people would probably run Sn31/2 WA outline stuff if any of it were available in r-t-r.

You suggest that there wouldn't be enough customers for the smallest feasible production runs. I know very little about that sort of thing, but I do know that the relevant technology is rapidly changing. There are already WA modellers using 3D printing to produce one piece bodyshells for diesel locomotive models. If this type of technology were used instead of injection moulding, I suspect that much smaller runs would be feasible, not only because you don't need moulds for 3D printing, but also because it's easy to 3D print in several scales simultaneously.

Also, I would have thought that the obvious WA outline model to produce first in r-t-r Sn31/2 would be the ADK/ADB class railcar/trailer set. They ran in WA from 1968 to 1992, and have been running in Auckland, NZ, since 1993. Sure, they've been refurbished since they arrived in NZ, but initially they ran there unmodified, so you wouldn't even have to produce them in more than one livery. (There are also the ADL/ADC railcar/trailer sets, but they didn't enter service until 1982 and therefore had short lives in WA before heading across the Tasman.)

M636C

There actually isn't all that much crossover between standard gauge and narrow gauge in WA, and not that much dual gauge, either.

For example, there were only ever three KAs. They were just RAs on standard gauge bogies, and look rather different from Ks. They operated pretty much exclusively on the branch lines out of Kalgoorlie. Someone is already 3D printing a one piece bodyshell of an RA in Sn31/2, so to create a KA in S scale, you would just have to fit them with some S scale bogies, or perhaps even only wheelsets - available from manufacturers of S scale stuff in the US. You'd then put them on r-t-r S scale track, also available from the US.

There were also a few NAs, which, similarly, were just rebogied Ns. But as the Ns were very short lived, had limited operations, were notoriously unreliable and are almost all now long scrapped, few people would be interested in modelling them.

Yes, I know that the CBH class locomotives have either narrow gauge or standard gauge bogies, but they've only been in service for a short time.

The only dual gauge line in WA is the one from Northam to Kwinana/Fremantle. These days, most of the rolling stock on it is standard gauge. The DFZs are based in Geraldton or Albany, hundreds of km away. If you wanted to model dual gauge, you would want to do it in S / Sn31/2, not H0 / H0n31/2, because 12mm in 1:87 is closer to metre gauge than 1067 mm gauge, and therefore the track would look like dual standard gauge/metre gauge, not dual standard gauge/1067mm gauge. But you probably wouldn't model it anyway - you'd just model the standard gauge line east of Northam, and you'd model it in H0, because, as you say, the standard gauge locomotives you mention either are already available in H0 or will be soon (and so will the CBH class, in H0 scale standard gauge, because CFCL Australia has some very similar locomotives in that gauge).

Another point to make about WA narrow gauge is that modellers of it are much more interested in the steam era or its immediate aftermath than in present day operations.

As for narrow gauge wagons, well, the post war 4 wheel wagons had standard underframes, so it would be easy to produce them in Sn31/2 - one underframe design and two or three body designs would be sufficient. You would sell them in packets of three or so, as is done with H0 scale eastern states outline wagons, or in 16.5 mm gauge train sets with a steam or diesel loco, like Bachmann's BHPBIO train sets. So you could have a respectable, and perhaps economically viable, Sn31/2 WA outline range with just one or two locomotives, one 4 wheel underframe, two or three wagon bodies, and an ADK/ADB set.
Bahnfrend

Bahnfrend,

Whilst I agree with some of your comments, The biggest following in WA modelling would be split between British and US prototype. Since moving to Perth in 1999, and attending every AMRA show (as an exhibitor), you only have to look around to see that the "Local following" is quite small by comparison.

The Sn3.5 group producing the models, don't do themselves any favour's either, being only doing small runs, and not keen to supply outside of the Group. They always have very little to sell at the show (split between the three main producers).
If they want to grow the Sn3.5 scene, they need to promote it by having kits available. They have done some fine Loco kits over the years (G class, W class & ASG) just to name a few, but unless someone drops off the perch and the estate sell their collection, there is never anything available.
There has been some nice wagons done recently thru 3D printing, so hopefully some may be available this year to buy.

Whilst I, am a NSWGR modeller, I do love the L's, as I work with them everyday in my employment (Aurizon) I have already preordered 4 x L classes, so I am doing my bit to help the local scene.

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