Saturday, September 28, 2013

Muswellbrook Roundhouse pt.1 - research.

As usual, I have delved into yet another project before finishing the previous. There is however a plausible excuse for this....and its the one I'm sticking to!

I have made a start on constructing the roundhouse for Muswellbrook. This is actually the first piece of construction commenced for the layout. So, here is the excuse......I was asked at the last New England convention about doing some etching for the rear wall section of an Anton's roundhouse Kit for a friend and fellow Blogger Adam Homer. A sample section of the rear wall from the kit was sent to me for measurement and inspection. The Anton's kit uses a cast polyurethane frame with clear acetate for the window glass that has lines marked with a black pen to represent the window frames. Apart from the wall section being totally out of square, The window glazing with its black lines just looked terrible!
Originally Andrew and I (AndIan Models) set about to make an etch that was able to be inserted into the Anton's frame, but after much deliberation it was agreed that if we were to spend the time on the etching artwork we may as well make them correct. After all, I was wanting similar etched window frames to the Cowra ones Adam wanted. So, a new wall section needed to be constructed to fit the correct frames.

Fortunately for me, the rear brick wall section still exists at Muswellbrook along with the roundhouse floor and turntable. As Usual, Muswellbrook roundhouse was unique in many forms and I have never been able to get detailed plans of the roundhouse. Over several visits to Muswellbrook I was able to accurately measure the rear brick wall and roundhouse floor. The below three photos show the roundhouse floor and rear brick wall section still standing.


You can see in the lower photo that the stirrups atop the brick wall are still there. These held the base of the main posts that divide each of the window frame sections. There are three sections per stall. Some simple measuring revealed that the distance between the outer posts, or centreline dividing each stall, was 24'. Some time ago Ray Pilgrim 'Bylong Blog' posted a link to some roundhouse drawings along with a link to a flickr site with images of Cowra's Roundhouse. I soon realised that the dimensions matched the drawing. I was also able to scale off the below photo of the rear wall of the roundhouse to determine the height. These dimensions were also compared to those of the Cowra roundhouse.

If you compare photos of the window frames you will see that Muswellbrook's window frames were more rectangular than that of Cowra's Square frames. Although Cowra's square window frames differed by quantity per frame, The distance between the main posts are the same for both. Andrew was now able to draw up some frames from the researched dimensions of both Muswellbrook and of Cowra's two different frames.

Cowra Windows 1
Cowra Windows 2
Muswellbrook Windows

       After waiting patiently for these to be fitted on a test etch, a couple weeks ago I finally received the samples. Before sending the sample off to Adam, I needed to make sure that, A, the etches fit the correct frames, and B, that I was able to construct the frame and reproduce them in polyurethane.
From the drawing and the measurements taken at Muswellbrook I set about constructing the rear wall. Hold Up! Not as easy as that. For me I needed to work out the exact length of the engine shed and its relation, or position, to the mainline. As the drawing did not match the roof profile of Muswellbrook's, I needed to find out if these matched the drawings also. My last trip to Muswellbrook revealed that there were two main posts along the centreline dividing each of the stalls, however they were not evenly spaced like the drawing. The middle post measured 36'feet from the rear brick wall, while the front post was only 28' from the centre post. Looking at the below photo reveals that the front post was set back from the front line of the gutter, or end of the roof rafter which explains the set back distance of the front post. You can also see that I have drawn a line roughly along were the roof rafter and lower truss beam would be and measured the angle with a protractor. 11 Degrees. Pretty close to the drawing. I was told by someone that the roof trusses from Muswellbrook roundhouse were used to rebuild Cowra's???

Next was to determine the location of the roundhouse in relation to the mainline. I wanted to make sure I had the shed looking correct when on the layout. I used Google Maps to print out a satellite view of the loco depot area. I drew a horizontal line along the mainline, then using a square, drew a 90 degree line from that, intersecting the centre of the turntable. The filled in pits of the engine shed can bee seen on the image so a line through the centre of stall 1's road was drawn to the centre of the turntable. Again using the protractor I could determine the angle of stall no.1........23 degrees.

As I have not started the layout bench work yet, I used a temporary sheet of MDF to mark out the full size floor plan of the turntable and roundhouse area using the researched dimensions and angles. While at Muswellbrook I measured the distance from the turntable pit wall to the rear of the brick wall of the shed adding on 37'6"(half of the 75' turntable), equalling 170'. The scaled out measurements of the Turntable centre, pit wall, front and mid shed posts and rear wall were marked out on a strip of styrene, holes drilled at these locations and using a small pin through the location of the turntable pit centre, radius line were marked. The five rear wall sections were marked out at 24' centres using the straight line from the turntable centre point. I now have a completely accurate plan of the turntable and shed in its correct orientation. I could now start to construct the shed.

To be continued:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian

    I hope you get those etches done, as its something I am looking for also.

    Having said that, I have decided to go down the path of building a roundhouse instead of the using the Antons version, in doing so I am actually wondering if I have made the right decision but having outlaid for the timbers I have to stick to it.

    As I am wanting a RH, to suit the big engines, it means the likelihood of the extended type that have 80 foot walls & depth, but like many things NSWGR there are variations to all of them, even though there is a basic design.

    I heard that the Antons RH is based on Casino, but I could be wrong, however both the Cowra & Casino variants have the same roof profiles, whereas Musswelbrook was of the alternative high single pitched type.

    Using the plans that Ray has links to which are quite helpful, but would be great to get the full collection, what is found on them is the amendment dates, originally drawn in March 1922, then amended in May 22, then December 24, & finally with the published one shown as Extension, completed 16/10/52, certainly a late edition to a steam roundhouse. Which begs a question for me which depot was this plan used for in 1952, dare I suggest Cowra? as it has a bricked permanent & an iron temporary end.

    Of interest with the MBK roundhouse is the roof line extension & flared front end of the walls, it almost appears as if it was originally a standard 60ft Roundhouse as found at Valley Heights, Binnaway & other locations, but extended to the 75ft roof length.

    Without doubt there is a real need for the rear wall windows, looking at the MBK photo & window style used there, they certainly look to be different to other windows, whereas those in the Cowra RH look to be more typical. While there were generally fixed panels & sliding panelled windows, generally they were left shut owing to the weight & hard to open & close.

    Look forward to the next edition