A Z20 at Morpeth Station (Finally)!

I’ve been working on a Morpeth based theme for something like 16 years. The Z20 class tank locomotive was ubiquitous on this short branch line, in fact I know of only one photo that shows a different class of locomotive on the line and that was a C30, another tank locomotive of the NSWR that at a casual glance is a very similar looking locomotive. The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve been working on a series of layouts in a range of formats based on a branch line that essentially only had one class of locomotive that ran on it and for all those years I haven’t had a model of that class of loco. I do now. To put this into some sort of perspective, in that 16 years I’ve built two separate versions of the station building and platform you can see in this photo. This is number 2.

This the fist photo I've taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

This the fist photo I’ve taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

Now everyone brings to their modelling a different set of beliefs and principles when it comes to what they will and won’t run on their layouts: some people are happy to run just about anything that has wheels others won’t run a locomotive on a line that depicts a particular spot that never ran there on the prototype. Now I’m fairly flexible with what I’ll run on my layouts, as long as they’re the correct scale and are generally speaking of a NSWR origin (and not too ridiculously large) locomotives that never ran on the Morpeth line get a run and even those that weren’t even running till after the line was torn up might make an occasional appearance. However I do have one bug bear about prototype running that has caused me pause a few times over the years before I built 2002. Locomotives run on Morpeth that never ran to the real location however I’ve always felt less than comfortable with this without at least one example of the class that was synonymous with the line, namely the Z20 class. I consider this informed consent: I’m ok with the non-prototype locomotives running on the layout as long as I know they didn’t run there and that I also know what did and I have one example of that class running on the layout. Having 2002 is the fulfillment of a 16 year journey and having a photo of the loco in front of a station building made by myself with a station name board with the word Morpeth on it has resonance for me. This photo is my hobby.

This module has sat untouched for most of the past week as I’ve been busy with work and life but I managed to do some track laying tonight.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I've installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I’ve installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

The hole in the scenery left by the relocation of the Morpeth engine shed sits on the front of the module in front of the station. I spent some time tonight wiring up the new length of track (just over 400mm long or 17″) and cleaning the track on the module and testing the loco. This is the first time in over three years that I’ve run a train on this section of the layout and the only work needed is to fill the holes in the scenery and lay down some new ground cover. After I’ve done this I’ll install a bit of fencing and some pipes and this siding will become a minimalist fuel siding. Once that work is done this module will be placed back in the trailer and out will come module 3 to take its place in my workroom. Module 3 is the scenic heart of the layout and it needs at least three new buildings, a lot more trees and shrubs added, a creek/river bed completed and a concrete culvert that leads onto a curved pier that runs onto a module that I haven’t actually built yet.

I’ve set in my mind that I’m going to offer to take this layout to an exhibition in Sydney or Brisbane in 2017 but it’s got to be finished before that happens. I’m pretty sure I can get the basic infrastructure done in time but the models take me a long while to build and the goods shed, while largely complete, needs a bit of work to get it where I want it. The new scenic module will be formed by the base freed up by recycling my train turntable module that I believe I can reproduce in a much slimmer form so it can sit in a small slot in the trailer which will allow me to build the pier as a fully completed unit with ship in situ. I plan to have the pier wired up and locomotives will run on it but at exhibitions I’ll utilize a shuttle module that will allow my Manning Wardle to shuffle back and forth on its own with a wagon or two in tow. I’ve also been thinking about how I can make the ship model rock up and down gently as it sits next to the pier and how I can light the module as it sticks out from the main layout at right angles, thus making a lighting rig that doesn’t intrude too much into the scene a real challenge. Lots to do…

This photo shows and early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much futher along than this stage but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout.

This photo shows an early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much further along than what can be seen in this photo but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout. I”ll move back to working on it when I’ve filled the hole in the scenery on module #2. Looking at this photo I’ve remembered that brick building you can see behind the loco is a Downtown Deco structure that suffered a fatal accident when I was moving house the last time. A desk lamp fell on it from the top of my work bench so I’ll need to find a replacement for it when I come back and start to work on the module in a few weeks. Make that four buildings I have to construct…

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3 thoughts on “A Z20 at Morpeth Station (Finally)!

  1. Excellent work as always – your dedication to accurately portaying the prototype shines through.Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Bill. I haven’t felt very dedicated recently. I’ve been really slack and haven’t done very much modelling at all but when I got this section of layout out of the railer I was pleased to see it didn’t need a whole lot of work to get it completed and ready to pack away again. Module 3 is a very different story.

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