From a modelling perspective, it's been been a fairly quiet month, as work and family activities have occupied my time and attention. However, I have managed to spend a few hours on the hobby, with the focus returning to the CCH fleet as well as upgrading my two old Powerline MHGs.
However, for this post, I wanted to spend a few moments on the development of the new coal train as a whole, and the extra lease of life that it seems to have given to my elderly 50 class locomotive. I already operate one coal train, pulled by 6018, that regularly passes through Philip's Creek to somewhere further up the Hunter Valley. This consists of a dozen larger BCH wagons assembled from kits quite a few years ago. The original intention was for this train to pick up coal from the mine at Philip's Creek, but the frequent derailments of the 60 class caused a rethink and the second coal train was born, this time based on the smaller, "quaint" CCH and LCH wagons. Yes, I know there are two BCH wagons in the photos but they may disappear as the four wheel fleet grows.
5131 was the first white metal kit that I tackled shortly after converting back to HO scale. It is a bit rough compared to its brass and factory manufactured colleagues but is a sentimental favourite. It has been re-engined once, as well as receiving much attention and attempts at fine tuning, albeit with only limited success. In times of frustration, I have even considered converting it to a static model.
I don't know if it's my imagination, but since being assigned to the new role 5131 seems to run a lot smoother and more reliably. I may have just invoked Murphy's Law and it could return to its old ways, but hopefully, 5131 will soldier on for the foreseeable future.
One other surprise addition to the coal train was the CHG brake van. Santa (aka Gen Y son) left it under the Christmas tree. I had contemplated purchasing one at Liverpool last year but opted for two MHG vans instead. Nor was it on the Christmas wish list, but a frantic call from son just before Christmas, having left things a bit late for internet shopping, provided an opportunity for a spot purchase from the local hobby shop.
And so to finish this post, I thought I would step back, literally, and provide a longer distance view of the coal train on approach to the mine.