Station at Thorley.The clubs main permanent HO (1:87) scale layout is the DRAYTON HABOUR RAILWAY, well underway and fully operational; the Drayton Harbour layout occupies an area approximately 35ft x 32 ft, it has been under construction now for about 4 years. This is actually the fourth version of the Drayton Harbour, versions 1 to 3 succumbing to clubhouse moves, but each time being rewarded with a larger area in which to build, the current premises are about as permanent as you can get and barring any real mishaps should remain our home for the foreseeable future.

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The Drayton Harbour Railway name was derived from the area the club was located when the layouts inception first took place, the suburb of Drayton in Toowoomba does not actually have a harbour, but when the mist settles in the low lying areas and bordered by trees and buildings, the resemblance to a harbour is remarkable, hence the nickname of the underlying part of Drayton, when the club moved, the name of the layout stuck as we felt it was appropriate to the area and members of the club had grown accustomed to the name.

Two levels of benchwork.Although built as a permanent layout, the bench work has been designed in a semi-sectional manner in sizes that would be reasonably manageable to move should the need arise. Based on the Lin Westcott “L-girder” type of construction, the girders are actually of a “T” formation, all sections being ‘ripped’ from 8’ x 4’ sheets of high quality 12mm MDF, a jig was made to facilitate easy and quick construction of basic bench work sections, while tricky areas such as corners and helix area were custom manufactured to suit the need.

Scenery showing splined track.The roadbed uses two methods of construction, in yard areas, 12mm MDF is used, this is sealed prior to track laying and scenicking to prevent warping problems, for between yard mainline and branchline roadbed, a spline fabrication has been used ensuring smooth transitional curves and grades, the strength of this construction is amazing ( a member tested one section on the layout by doing a tightrope balancing act walking the length of a section of mountain mainline “prior to track and scenery” and without a safety net, we wouldn’t even risk that with our trains!). This “spline” was fabricated using several 2” wide 1/8” veneer strips laminated by gluing, screwing and clamping together in a vertical manner, set on risers as built and once dry, the running surface is then planned smooth.

Backdrops are once again MDF, with ‘curvable’ MDF used in the corner areas, some areas of the layout have central dividing backdrops made from the same material. The layouts height is 44” to ground zero rising substantially in the mountain regions.

Bill Waterhouse working on a section of scenery.GT code 100 flextrack is used with Peco code 100 turnouts, most turnouts being powered either by Peco solenoid type motors or Lemarco slow motion drive motors; they are all controlled from a Dispatchers panel, which although in the same room as the layout, is separated from it.

An interesting feature of the trackwork is the underlay, this is foam used to protect garage roller doors during transit, it is cut into appropriately sized width strips and secured to the sub-roadbed with Liquid nails or PVA glue. The track is then fastened to the underlay with the same glues and/or track nails. Joints are soldered on curves to retain a smooth alignment and feed wires are dropped from every section of track to bus wires running all the way round the layout to ensure electrical conductivity.

The track is weathered using different methods, dependant on the member performing the task and the tracks use (main, branch or yard), ballast used is sieved crusher dust that is then secured with the traditional PVA glue and water method. One of our members designed and built a multi tiered electrically powered sieve so that we can produce our own ballast; we get from dust through to rocks in five different grades to suit ballast for Z, N and HO as well as scenery rocks from the coarsest material.


This is the clubs HO Scale layout. More information and pictures will soon be added to this area.