Thursday, August 20, 2009
Layout Idea: Rewanui on a wall
I received a plan of Rewanui in the magic electric mail bag today. This interesting wee station served coal mines at the top of the Rewanui Incline north of Greymouth. And one halfway up - the main line ran under the bin. For most of its life, the inclined section of the line was equipped with a Fell-style centre rail, but unlike the Rimutaka line, the raised centre rails on the West Coast branches were not used for adhesion (going up) but braking the loaded trains on the way down by means of specially equipped four wheel brake vans. In the latter years of steam, fully airbraked stock and locos fitted with twin pumps managed to descend safely without the use of the centre rail which, was then removed.
Empty trains arrived uphill from the bottom of the plan (above), entered the 'station' at far right, and then ran around and propelled empty wagons back to the bins that were on the other side of the river. Traffic was mainly coal of course, but the odd wagon of supplies or timber could be seen. A miners train carrying workers to their shift and back home again ran a few times a day.
As a minimalist NZ120 layout (below) you could probably fit it along one Metric Wall (or two, if you bent it in the middle). The loops don't have to be long - the trains were short because of the grades. I've spun it 180 degrees from the plan above so the trains arrive from off-stage top-right. The 'station' and bins trackage could be made more (or slightly less) complex as desired.
Thanks to the available photographic coverage in books, Rewanui is best remembered in the last days of steam, but our family went up the incline in 1981 on the miner's train just before it all ended, and my mother cruelly snapped my brother and I in our Sunday Best Bowl Haircuts on the front of DJ 3672. The loco has run around its train at the station and is ready to head back down to Greymouth. The point in the foreground is set for the line across the bridge to the bins and from memory the frog end was on a fully planked Y shaped bridge which I've shown on my plan.
The layout could be operated in various eras - a Ww, We, or other tank loco and a short motley rake of Qs with a 4 wheeled van or two; or in diesel days a DJ or DSC with Qs, LAs and LCs. A fantasy-football option would be to pretend the mines stayed open and the line was rebuilt after the 1984 flood, running it with a DBR or DC and some HCCs. Or even pairs of DXs and a very short rake of modern hopper wagons... enough already.