Australian Model Railway Association NSW Inc.

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"O" Gauge Permanent Layout November 2013

Part of the extensive "O" Gauge layout

This is the oldest of the three permanent (or fixed) layouts erected on the first (display) floor of the Mortdale premises. "O" gauge means that every one foot (305mm) in real life is reduced to 7mm. A scale of 43.5 to 1.

Parts of the layout are very old (circa 1960), having originally been constructed in the early days of AMRA NSW. The original part, still largely operational and well landscaped, essentially comprises three ovals(Up Main line, Down Main line and Relief line) plus a Branch line and many sidings and loops. The DC power is provided through a third/centre rail. Control is a form of cab control but with fixed panels controlling dedicated sections of line. Although the track is oval-shaped, continuous running is not possible because there are no dedicated paths through Central Station platforms and at least two panels are required for a train to complete a circuitof any of the lines.

Over time the layout has been amended, improved and expanded, with its last expansion being the addition of a large "universal" section, well and truly bringing the layout into the 21st century and the computer age. Universal, in this context, means that the track can operate all forms of model locomotives; alternating current (AC), direct current (DC) and digital comand system (DCS) with either two-rail or three-rail power pickup arrangement and with course or finescale wheelsets. The universal track is also configured as an oval and continuous running is a feature.

After appropriate orientation and training, members can easily run and control their own trains. Just about any type of "O" gauge train can be accommodated

Although the latset proprietry ready-to-run "O" gauge locomotives and rolling stock (complete with sound, smoke and whistles) can be run, alongside you will see scratch-built models made by AMRA members, in some cases 50 years ago. And while they may not be quite as "shiny and factory perfect" as new ones, they are hand built, prototypical, unique and wonderful creations.

Two operating turntables

Two operating turntables

A large goods marshalling area known as Shepherd's* Sidings.

A large goods marshalling area known as Shepherd's* Sidings.

Some of the latest lighting trickery using low powered LEDs.

Some of the latest lighting trickery using low powered LEDs.

Two mainline stations - Central and Hoganvale*

Two mainline stations - Central and Hoganvale*

A branchline town called Davies* at a lower level - accessed by a long tunnel, and a viaduct modelled on Stonequarry viaduct at Picton, NSW.

A branchline town called Davies* at a lower level - accessed by a long tunnel, and a viaduct modelled on Stonequarry viaduct at Picton, NSW.
(*All named after past or present members)

Overall, a testimony as to why some say that "O" gauge is the modeller's premium gauge.

Past & Present "O" Gauge Exhibition Layout (January 2013)

Layouts specifically built for exhibition purposes, by their very nature, have to be portable and this usually means they are constructed in modular form. This particular layout comes in 14 separate parts (trestle tables), measuring 11m by 5m when erected. It can also be used in a shortened 12 modular format. All modules fit into two specially constructed steel racks, making transportation very convenient.

Its objective - as its name suggests - is to demonstrate to the public the various types of locomotives and rolling stock that have been available over the last half century. For this reason it is only very minimally landscaped; rather it concentrates on having the maximum track in the available space. There are basically four ovals on which to run trains; together they allow 6 trains to be run at once.

Trains on display - locomotives, coaches and wagons - vary from scratch-built vehicles from the mid-20th century to the latest factory made wonders of style, sound and detail.

Three rail MTH track and points are used. It operates on all forms power source; AC, DC and DCS. When space permits. the layout is erected at Mortdale and can be used by members to run their trains.

Built over the period 2010 - 2012, it was first successfully exhibited at the 2012 Model Railway Exhibition at Liverpool, NSW. It won an Award on this first outing. "O" gauge exhibition layouts are rather few and therefore this layout is a welcome addition. AMRA NSW is proud to have been able to add to the collection.

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AMRA NSW is dedicated to promoting the hobby of model railways throughout New South Wales.
These pages last updated 17 August, 2015 by David Bennett.