Friday, 10 September 2021

NSWGR Precast Concrete Platform

This post will be dedicated to a kit that I recently produced. Last year, I wanted to do a 3D Printed Model of the NSWGR Precast Platform for a working Diorama type layout which was best done as a 3D print out produced from Shapeways.  However, the down point of this approach is that the cost to make the standard short length of this platform would be very high and the longer length version would have almost been doubled which would have been very questionable if it was worth doing this project at all. Therefore, I got the 3D Prints on certain parts of the platform and created a casted model kit out of them.

The following is an instructional steps on how I produced this platform, Instructional steps on how to build up this platforms and a bit of historical background on these platforms.

Just appearing form the undergrowth is an intact Standard Short Length Precast Concrete Platform which is one of the few remaining items of Windowie Railway station (On the Kunama Branch).

Development Of The NSWGR Precast Platform Kit

To address the challenge of preventing this model to exceed reasonable costs, but also could be easily reproduced for other projects. With also the flexibility to make desired lengths and be able to be profiled also to be a Curbed Platform (like the case at Robertson Railway Station), I have 3D drawn up and got printed several different platform parts to be able to construct a Platform.

The Platform Ramp ends and various size sections of platforms that have printed out in Fine Detail Plastic by Shapeways.

These parts have been made to be able to be casted and produced into not just a simple kit that someone at beginner level and beyond can build up, but ends up being completed into a solid neat looking item that can be placed on your Layout. 

Building the NSWGR Precast Platform Kit

My first build of this platform took me one night to assemble, paint and to weather it up. 

What is needed are the casted up platform pieces, a ruler (Preferably a Steel Ruler), Super Glue, (Optional) Styrene strip (Ideally anything above 2.5 mm x 2.5 mm styrene strips), Primer, Paints and weathering items (what works best for you to your method of painting and weathering). I will share the details of paints and weathering methods that I used for this platform build. 

Also a file will be needed to remove any exceed flushing from the casting and remove any obstructions that may prevent a flush connections between the platform parts.

I used Loctite Gel Control Super Glue that I got from Bunnings to join the Pieces of Platform together and to glue on the styrene strip on the back of the platform to assist with holding in the Pieces of Platforms together which also makes the platform rigid. Styrene strip does not have to be used, but without it you can run the slight risk of the platform breaking apart when moving it around when fitting it onto your layout.

The Ruler helps allow the platform pieces join together straight and square to one another.

My First Cast job that I have done on my own. I have done this a few times before under supervision of someone who makes castings on a regular basis.

First Standard Short Length Precast Concrete Platform built up.

Primed the Platform using Tamiya Primer.

I will be using SMS Paints IJK Deck Tan as the base colour and Mig Oilbrushers Bluff, Medium Grey and Black for the weathering. I will be using a soft bristled brush and cotton bugs to apply the weathering.

SMS Paints IJK Deck Tan applied.

With the Oilbrushers, I dabbed on each colour and blended them on the model. I applied the lighter colours of oilbrushers on first and the black last. With the black, apply it to where the joints and grooves are.

Oilbrusher paints being blended into the model with a soft bristled Brush. Cotton Buds were also used to help blend in and remove and unwanted excess weathering. With OilBrusher paints, the good thing I like about them when it comes to weathering, they will take a few days to dry up allowing for plenty of time for any touch ups if needed.

The completed standard short length Precast Concrete platform.

The completed standard long length Precast Concrete platform.

I have not at this point been able to fix in place the Platform in place. Therefore, a pictorial steps on how to fix to fix it in place will not be available for now. You will notice that I have placed in some extended lengths on the vertical supports for the platform. For my layouts, I normally use the use a layer of 7mm thick Portugal Cork as a noise suppressant and it makes for easier track laying plus other advantages. I would drill holes where the posts extended out as one means to keep the platform anchored in place when fixed into the layout. If your layout does not have a layer of foam or Portugal Cork, you can use a pair of pliers or track cutters to trim off. Track level (top the track level) should be approximately be around the first lower line of the platform. Drainage holes would normally be covered with the ballast. 

I use off cuts of Portugal cork to make up my platforms mound and I would use Liquid Nails to adhere the platform in place.

Will These Kits Be Made Available For Sale?
Sort quick answer is yes. However only a small run of these platforms will be for sale in kit form. The reason is that it does take time and effort in casting these models and with the lockdown still ongoing in Sydney plus the fact I just wanted to do something a little different for a short time to have a break from building up my model rail project of Muttama. I wanted to experiment with casting and see how many platforms that I can be casted before the rubber moulds I made starts to break. The end result is I have produced more than what I needed and happy to part with the excess platform parts to go to a good home. Basically, most of the casted up platform bits have been produced have turned out very well and not only that, the polyurethane material is for one very robust and ready to paint up as soon as it is assembled.

There will be a Kit for the typical standard short Rural platform which will be in total length of 67cm and the Typical Long Rural Platform 83cm (which will be an extension pack option sold with the Standard Short Platform Pack). 

These platforms will go well with the Casula Hobbies Rail Central Pc Station Building range mostly with the Pc3 Station Building kit.

Completed short and long Rural Precast Platform.

I will be initially going to some various Facebook Model Rail Buy swap and sell groups to sell these kits. 

Historical Back Ground On The Precast Concrete Platforms
The following I'm happy to be stand corrected on as I have only done very brief research on this topic. On the Bombala Branch, it seems that Bukalong and Bombala Railway station platforms were the earliest example of Precast Concrete Platform on the NSWGR Network. However, it must have been possible it was experimental as this style of Precast Concrete platforms have not been found elsewhere.

Could the Precast Concrete platforms at Bombala and Bukalong be the first proof of concept Precast Concrete platforms to be rolled out on the NSWGR Network.

The Westby Branch line seems to have been the first recipient of the Standard Precast Concrete Platform (the one that has been modelled here) back in 1925, with Burrandana and Westby stations being provided with this standard of Precast Concrete platform. However, in saying this Windowie Station was provided with this standard of Precast Concrete Platform, which is unusual to the fact that the Kunama (or better known as the Batlow Branch) was put into production in 1923. Was the Platform at Windowie the test case before rolling this standard of platform out or was it a replacement platform to its original platform?

Where On The NSWGR Network Could Be Found?
I have so far found the following Mainlines and Branch Lines to have these Precast Platforms

Westby Branchline - Burrandana and Westby Railway station
Talaga Branchline - Strathaird station
Broken Hill Mainline - Some stations
Kywong Branchline - All stations
Naradhan Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Burcher Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Boggabilla Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Unanderra - Moss Vale Line - All stations except Mt Murray

It is also worth noting that there may have been several Suburban Stations and Rural stations that may have had their original platform replaced by these Precast Concrete Station Platforms. 

Best source of information for station location research is from the various Facebook NSWGR groups that show historical photographs and website