Don Davis' SOUTH SIDE RAIL

- A brief history

The SSR came into being in the late seventies when after seeing several resin NSW wagons coming to grief onthe train room floor the decision was made to change over to American prototype.

Why South Side Rail ? at the time I lived on the south side of Blacktown so it seemed to be very originalto call the Layout the SSR. In the early nineties the SSR had to move to a 2 bedroom unit in South St’Marys and this is where the concept ofrunning trains around a layout of all track to a layout which could be operated similar to the prototype. In one of the rooms I built several modulesbased on the Southern pacific and Katy interchange in Austin Texas. These modules then moved to the present location in Kings Park where they are part ofa much larger layout.

The layout area is in the shape of a shortened wedge measuring 8 metres a long the back wall and 5.7 metres at the yard end and the opposite end with the gorge 3 metres wide. Thelayout is basically a folded dogbone of single line trackage. A coal mine is accessed from the mainline, there is a main yard which gives accessto a meatworks, coal merchant, wheat silos and engine sheds. From the main yard the interchange to the branch line is reached where thebranch line accesses cattle yards, wheat silos and the timber mill. We also have trackage rights with the other partner in the real estate for expansionat a later date.

The era that has been attempted to be portrayed between 1st and 2nd generation diesels no specific area has been modeled with most scenery being modeled on areas of America westthat appealed to me.

The locomotive fleet is mainly first generation diesels from S.P, U.P., ATSF, N.P. and Rio Grande. Rolling stock is mainly of 40 footers to allow the trains to appear longer. 

The end result (dream) is to have a good operational layout where realistic train movements can be operated. My interest was raised when in 1994 Bob Kolwyn (now residing in Perthand still a member of the NMRA) who had a large NSW layout. Suggested that 6 members of the NMRA attempt to gain our AP for Chief Dispatcher thiswe did spending approximately 200 + hours over 12 months to gain the certificate.

Donald Davis