Progress has been slow but steady (much, much slower than originally anticipated) over the last eighteen months. The initial construction of the layout was adequate, but Doug soon realised his supports for the upper level of track left something to be desired. So another member of the EMRC, Glen Eaton, was "volunteered" to do some corrective surgery, producing a more sturdy base for the track (thanks Glen !). The basic scenery is almost finished, and with a passing siding on each level, it is possible to have up to 4 trains ready to go at any time. While originally we began with a generic American train set, plus some donated generic rolling stock, the Araleun team have over time, and with inspiration from a trip to see Puffing Billy, decided they really want to have Australian models, so stock has been sold to raise cash, and now investigations are underway to source affordable Australian trains (we have a limited budget !).
We have been blessed with some extra help from some willing volunteers. First of all, Lou, a retired electrical power supply engineer, has offered to help where necessary with the electrics, and is currently working on two projects, (i) a power supply for a workig model water wheel; & (ii) a separate power supply for the point motors. He has been more than generous with his time and advice. And second, while at Puffing Billy, the operators of the model railway at Lakeside, after a visit there, having discovered who we (Araluen) were, and what we were doing, told us they we renewing their stock of HO Autrailian buildings, and would we like all the all the assembled buildings used in the display cabinate ? Would we ? Is the pope a catholic ? So we are now the proud owners of a number of LJ Models houses and shops, plus a complete farm scene. The savings in time and money of this donation are really appreciated.
There have been other developments along the way. The concept of a "train room" has been expanded to be a hobby area, with a slot car layout having been set up in the room next door, and a number of radio controlled cars have purchased to be used outside (on the tennis court) in the fine weather. Friday mornings are becoming quite entertaining !!! The area just outside the train room is being "landscaped" by Araluen staff, with real VR rail (don't ask !) laid on sleepers set into the ground, and plans for the adjoining wall to be painted by our art supremo Ally, probably with a tunnel for the outside track to "disappear into".
Finally, the whole project keeps growing, threatening to become bigger than Ben Hur. Ally's unbeleivable creative imagination knows know bounds, with enough ideas to fill in my retirment years, and managment recently came down to reassure us that they were still contemplating ways of increasing the space & funds we can use. Conversly, if those resources become avalable, staff & volunteers will need to make greater use of the space and time available for a greater number of clients. What started out as a small time volunteer activity .....
Pictures are coming