Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Philip's Creek - A well travelled railway

Welcome to Philip’s Creek.

First, the usual disclaimer; this is my first attempt at a blog and as such, I am learning as I go along. I understand that the concept of a blog is to make regular updates. Given that I need to pay the mortgage etc, I won’t make any rash promises about the frequency of such updates. 

Like many others in the hobby in NSW, my focus is the steam diesel transition period and in my case, more specifically around 1971. Also like many, it is a prototypical layout probably located somewhere on the main northern line. If pushed I might say somewhere between Muswellbrook and Ardglen. However, what probably sets it apart from many home layouts is the amount of travelling the layout itself has done in the fifteen years since it was started.

Exhibition layouts travel extensively in their life and no doubt, a few home layouts have also been moved regularly.  I suggest that Philip’s Creek is certainly a member of that latter smaller group, having resided on three continents and seen the inside of a removal van on average, once every 2 years of its existence. Philip’s Creek was started in a garage of a married quarter on the US Army Engineer School in Missouri in 1996, moved back to Sydney then to Merriwa, back to Sydney and then moved to our current address in Sydney. As a whole, it has not moved since 2005, but two work related moves to England have seen major sections of it occupy space in spare rooms in Peterborough in 2006 and London in 2009/10.

Looking back now; the frequency of the moves probably has a lot to do with the slow rate of progress over the years. Each move has seemed to take about 3-4 months out of the available modelling time.

Yes, I was in the army for over 20 years but in reality, Philip’s Creek was started very much towards the end of my military career and incorporated many of the lessons from that earlier nomadic life. I will go into more detail about how things have been packed and moved in a later entry using photos taken from the most recent London to Sydney move.

As mentioned earlier, Philip’s Creek represents a short portion of the main northern line as it passes through a small fictitious town of the same name. A coal mine is located immediately to the north of the town. In addition, a short branch line runs to the village of Mount Windeatt providing a supply of sleepers and other timber products from a local saw mill. A future extension will hopefully see another town created but this time, a wheat silo will be the main generator of rail traffic.
As may be expected, Philip’s Creek has been constructed using a number of modules of various sizes, all of 600mm width but with lengths of 600, 1200 or 1800mm. Each module is built on a frame of 75*25 with intermediate supports every 300mm screwed into the longitudinal stringers. 100mm of styrofoam is glued on the top of each frame. A track bed of approximately 40-50mm wide canite is glued to the foam. Additional styrofoam is glued to provide higher terrain where necessary.

Philip’s Creek operates a typical mix of rolling stock predominately built from kits supplemented by a growing number of the current generation of ready to run locomotives and wagons.

Philip’s Creek is a ‘work in progress’ and will probably never be finished. I don’t know how many times we may move again. Certainly, I don’t anticipate any further work related moves but lifestyle, health or family may again cause us to call in the removalists. Hopefully, the constraints that I impose on myself will ensure that most if not all of the layout will survive until I am no longer able to pursue this hobby.
“You’ve got to be kidding – every one of them?”


  1. Hi Phil,

    Your layout looks great, even after all the moves! Looking forward to future posts.

    Have a great new year,


  2. Thanks Linton. Still a lot more work yet.

    cheers Phil

  3. Good to see a new blog doing the rounds!
    Don't worry about the frequency of posts, if you have time to post, you are probably better off modelling!
    It's your blog do it your way.

  4. Phil, some great photos to start your blog off, love the depth in the shot under the trestle! All the best and welcome aboard! Geoff.

  5. Thanks to all for the commemts and encouragement.

    cheers Phil