News and current activites of the West Australian Model Railway Club (Inc.)
Main HO Scale Layout
Back in the late 1990’s when the club moved to its current location at the Railway Museum, a significant portion of the membership where devoted to running very long trains — the kind you typically see in regional and outback Australia. As a result the design of the club’s main HO layout at the time reflected this interest.
Some 20+ years later, the membership of the club has changed quite a bit and so have the modelling interests. The original layout was starting to look a bit tired, was not operating well and did not lend itself to operating sessions. That coupled with the desire to free up some space in the club rooms to build some additional small, portable exhibition layouts meant the existing layout had to go. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see more details of the old layout.)
Plans were drawn up and a two-level, U‑shaped design was proposed to free up space in the middle of the room for two portable exhibition layouts (probably an N‑Scale American layout and an OO-Scale British layout). This was presented to the club as a whole in September 2021 (see New HO Layout Justification) and work commenced.
This page will be updated regularly to track progress of the construction of the new HO layout (newest photos at the top).
Original HO Layout (now demolished — see above)
Situated behind the public layout and occupying about 80% of the available floor space, the main HO Scale layout is the club’s primary indoor layout. It consists of a single main line about 70m in length — at scale speeds it takes around 20 minutes to drive once around the layout! The main line is cleverly serpentined around the layout twice to make it appear that there are multiple main lines.
Radio operated DCC (Digital Command Control) is used to allow drivers to control their trains without having to worry about the mechanics of switching electrical blocks over. This system is fantastic for a layout of this size as it allows the driver to walk around with their train and maintain control over it at all times. We use the NCEDCC system.
The layout shape is like a “four-fingered hand”. A train has to go up and back each finger twice in order to complete a full circuit of the layout. Numerous passing loops, sidings and stations create interest by providing sources and destinations of freight and passengers.
Although designed primarily as an end-to-end layout for operational purposes, the two main yards at the end termini are actually adjacent to each other. Some tracks interconnect them allowing continuous running around and around if you are feeling lazy.
In addition to the main line, a branch line extends from the (approximate) middle of the main line run to a major passenger terminus situated on a slightly elevated dog-leg off the end of one of the fingers.
The main line is fully operational (on most nights) and most yards are working. Scenic detail is probably about 70% complete and is being worked on actively.
The club has many HO locos and rolling stock, or some members choose to run their own.