Eltham South Electric Tramway

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Melbournesparks

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Apologies for all the broken images in the earlier pages of this thread, I'm lazy and haven't rehosted them. Skip ahead for working images!




After a very extended period of procrastination I finally got a start on building a garden tramway late last year. It's been running for about six months now, with new rollingstock and incremental improvements happening all the time.

The Eltham South Electric tramway is a shoddily constructed, cheaply run tourist tramway set somewhere in the Victorian bush. The motley collection of rollingstock is maintained by an even more motley collection of voulenteers, depending heavily on scavenged and recycled materials.

The rollingstock currently consists of three serviceable electric trams, with another two under construction or restoration.



530 was the first tram in the fleet, it actually predates the others by about 15 years. More on that later. It is scratchbuilt from plywood and various other stuff, and was originally powered by an old VCR motor. It still gets used as an unpowered trailer sometimes, pending restoration to operating condition.



V214 has been the main passenger car of the tramway since opening day. It's a Bachmann toastrack tram that has been somewhat modified to resemble a Melbourne tram of the same number, dating from 1906.



125A is an ex Sydney Baldwin steam tram motor. It is the main workhorse of the tramway, being used for perway traffic and track cleaning. Scratchbuilt from various scrap materials, with an LGB stainz motor block. Since both rails are used for current return it is battery powered with RC.



The LGB tram is a relatively recent arrival, as yet unmodified. It doesn't really fit the Australian theme, but I quite like it as is.



Ballarat 33 is the newest member of the fleet, only recently completed. It's a major rebuild of another Bachmann tram.

As well as the trams there's various freight and perway vehicles, but they can wait for the next post.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Nicely put forward Tram Fleet. Looking forward to your Service Vehicles.
JonD
 
Melbournesparks

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Thanks guys!

I've been following your work for a while now Greg, awesome stuff. It was a big influence in convincing me that aluminium bar rail was practical.



Despite it's decrepit appearance, rotary scrubber 15W is arguably the most useful piece of equipment in the fleet. It's rotating brushes clean the railhead of grit and aluminium oxide without damaging the environmentally sensitive moss that grows between the rails. Technically a heavy rail piece of rollingstock, it is usually propelled by the steam tram motor for scrubbing duties. Was originally a Bachmann caboose.




The Baldwin 2-4-2 is a bit of an anomaly on the tramway. Way too big to be economical, it sees occasional service as a replacement for the steam tram motor on works trains or track cleaning duty. Here it is hauling one of the two heavy rail open wagons and scrubber car 15W.




Still under construction is sprinkler car 7W, an approximate model of a real Melbourne tram.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Scruber car makes so much sence, but it is a Pway Car Model that serves a very real and prototype job. Brill piece of kit.
JonD
 
Melbournesparks

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Scruber car makes so much sence, but it is a Pway Car Model that serves a very real and prototype job. Brill piece of kit.
JonD
Thanks, it's a useful thing to have, especially for removing the coating of dust that builds up on the rails after it rains.

I realise I failed to mention another relatively recent arrival, and one that falls squarely into the category of "not tramway" rollingstock:



The ex FO electric rack loco was obtained as the result of a thread on this very forum, seen here in the autumn sun after it's long journey from the UK. Something that fortunately escaped the attention of customs was the couple of spiders that had stowed away in it's driver's cabin. They were probably wussy UK spiders, but were quarantined just in case!

Like all rollingstock that ends up here, it soon went into the workshops for the required local modifications. LGB purists avert your eyes.>:)



FO24 on a test run after fitting automatic couplings and stripy snowplows. Not that it's going to do much plowing snow here...



Despite it's long uncompensated wheelbase it copes with my tramway quality track well. This photo is level, but, nothing else in it is.



That 10km/h speedboard is more like a challenge than a rule.

While it is certainly useful to have a heavy rail electric loco generally, I have big plans to use this for it's intended purpose of climbing really steep hills. :D
 
Melbournesparks

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I fired up the steam plant again today.



Made a few minor improvements to the generator since last time, it now has a slightly larger aluminium pulley, and a capacitor to smooth the output.

The capacitor makes a big difference in smoothing out sudden changes in the torque required. Previously the generator suddenly coming on load was enough to throw the belt off. Now the engine really needs a governor. I'm not sure if I'm quite skilled enough to make one, but we'll see how we go. Still in the testing phase, but hopefully soon I'll be able to assemble everything nicely.
 
Melbournesparks

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Winter is here now, and it's.. weedy.



The electric locomotive is on track cleaning duty to stop the rails disappearing into the undergrowth.




Ballarat 33 passes some old relics.



The Baldwin 2-4-2 got a bunker end headlight. There are no turning facilities on the line, so it runs this end leading just as often as the other.



The higher humidity lately has caused a big increase in vegetation growth. The track is just about disapearing from view in some places.



Ballarat 33 ambles along through the weeds. The Baldwin 2-4-2 is well camouflaged against the lush winter vegetation!
 
NCS from Qbyn

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V214 has been the main passenger car of the tramway since opening day. It's a Bachmann toastrack tram that has been somewhat modified to resemble a Melbourne tram of the same number, dating from 1906.
.
I have less than fond memories of sitting in a Melbourne tram at the top of Swanston Street at about 7am on a very cold morning waiting for it to take me home. It was bitterly cold. And that was in 1975, when the old green trams were the only ones in operation. None of those nice new ones with the closing doors and heating! Even so, they were protected a little from the elements - they had walls and glassed windows. Goodness knows how people survived in those toastrack trams - especially on a rainy windy day, something not unheard of in Melbourne! I suppose it beat walking - but not by much. I mean, the roof seems almost superfluous. Did they have canvas curtains for wet days? Or were they only used in fine weather - a bit like open top double decker buses in tourist towns today?
 
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Melbournesparks

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I have less than fond memories of sitting in a Melbourne tram at the top of Swanston Street at about 7am on a very cold morning waiting for it to take me home. It was bitterly cold. And that was in 1975, when the old green trams were the only ones in operation. None of those nice new ones with the closing doors and heating! Even so, they were protected a little from the elements - they had walls and glassed windows. Goodness knows how people survived in those toastrack trams - especially on a rainy windy day, something not unheard of in Melbourne! I suppose it beat walking - but not by much. I mean, the roof seems almost superfluous. Did they have canvas curtains for wet days? Or were they only used in fine weather - a bit like open top double decker buses in tourist towns today?
Haha yeah, it's been raining since this morning. V214 would be no good today! Toastrack trams were rare in Melbourne. V214 was one of only five, all from the former North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting co. system. I'm not sure if they were used seasonally or not, but they were all out of use or converted to other purposes when the MMTB took over in 1922. V214 became a freight car, it was restored back to a passenger car by the MMTB in 1979.

Most trams did have canvas blinds in some form or another. Ballarat 33 is supposed to have them in the end sections, but I haven't modeled them yet. This tram actually used to be a California combination type car like this:


It was modified later with enclosed ends and doors. Ballarat is probably one of the most freezing places I've ever been, it's a stunning high of 13 degrees there today!
 
Melbournesparks

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The Melbourne winter is cold and a wet and nasty, so tramway operations are limited and the weeds are taking over. The big electric locomotive and the Ballarat tram did a bit of running today to keep the tracks clear.



The big electric loco is a reliable workhorse as usual, hauling the track cleaning car today.




Ballarat 33 disappears into the weeds.




New rollingstock! Aw yiss. I recently found this little LGB electric loco on ebay. Here it is on a test run, works well! Soon it will go into the workshops for some minor repairs and modifications.
 
merlin

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Hi Melbournespark,

Very attractive layout with some very interesting pieces of stock - I am particularly interested in your track scrubber, my current one is an old PM wagon with LGB static pads fitted, but your rotary brush unit has got to be a far more efficient bit of kit. Would you advise me of the source of the business part(s), i.e. the rotary brushes, motor, etc? Thanks. Is your sprinkler car going to be a working model for real weed control?
Incidentally, we live about 30 mins drive from the Seaton Tramway, www.tram.co.uk, in East Devon (near Beer where PECO hail from) and we can watch the trams coming and going from the comfort of the coffee shop in a well known supermarket (rhymes with Fresco!) when we decide to shop there rather than our small local one.

Cheers.
 
Melbournesparks

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Hi Melbournespark,

Very attractive layout with some very interesting pieces of stock - I am particularly interested in your track scrubber, my current one is an old PM wagon with LGB static pads fitted, but your rotary brush unit has got to be a far more efficient bit of kit. Would you advise me of the source of the business part(s), i.e. the rotary brushes, motor, etc? Thanks.
The rotary scrubber is certainly a useful bit of equipment this time of year. Here's a close up of the brushes:



The brushes are made from circles of kitchen scourer, clamped between two disks:



It's a cheap and readily available material and seems to be about the right level of abrasive.



The motor came from an ancient VCR, driving the brushes through a home made gearbox. The motor and gearbox swivel both vertically and laterally to follow undulations in the track. It is powered from a lead acid gel cell inside.

Is your sprinkler car going to be a working model for real weed control?
Incidentally, we live about 30 mins drive from the Seaton Tramway, www.tram.co.uk, in East Devon (near Beer where PECO hail from) and we can watch the trams coming and going from the comfort of the coffee shop in a well known supermarket (rhymes with Fresco!) when we decide to shop there rather than our small local one.
That's the plan! The main problem I have at this time of year is crushed plant matter on the rails. It forms a kind of goo which is not electrically conductive. The rotary scrubber isn't that effective against it on its own, it needs a solvent as well. Water with a little bit of dish washing detergent in it seems to do the job.

The Seaton tramway looks awesome, I actually head of it from someone who models it on another group. Will have to check it out next time I visit the UK!
 
Madman

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Quite an ingenious bit of work on your track scrubber. I also like to make use of bits and pieces from unused and outdated pieces of technology.

I generally don't have any issues with clover. I rather like the nice bronze color of it. But there is another weed that grows flat to the ground and bleeds a milky goo when I am weeding. It's tentacles are a bit tougher than clover and cause minor mishaps with lighter rolling stock.
 
Gizzy

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The Seaton tramway looks awesome, I actually head of it from someone who models it on another group. Will have to check it out next time I visit the UK!
Definitely worth a visit. Went there after a trip to Pecorama a couple of months ago whilst on holiday in Devon....
 
merlin

merlin

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Hi Melbournespark,

Many thanks for the reply, and the pics. I thought it may have been a commercially available bit of kit, which would have saved me some work, lazy so-n-so that I am! :) However, as its a home made job I shall have a rummage in the come-in-handy stores and see what I can come up with; that motor and gearbox reminds me of something I think I may have in stock. Thanks again and let me know when you are going to be in our neck of the woods and we can maybe have a glass or two at the SLR
 
trammayo

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Melbournesparks

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Quite an ingenious bit of work on your track scrubber. I also like to make use of bits and pieces from unused and outdated pieces of technology.

I generally don't have any issues with clover. I rather like the nice bronze color of it. But there is another weed that grows flat to the ground and bleeds a milky goo when I am weeding. It's tentacles are a bit tougher than clover and cause minor mishaps with lighter rolling stock.
The main weed that causes me trouble is creeping oxalis, it looks a bit like clover. It's a noxious pest here, nearly impossible to eradicate without a scorched earth policy. Lucky it's seasonal, so it will all die in a couple of months.

Hi Melbournespark,

Many thanks for the reply, and the pics. I thought it may have been a commercially available bit of kit, which would have saved me some work, lazy so-n-so that I am! :) However, as its a home made job I shall have a rummage in the come-in-handy stores and see what I can come up with; that motor and gearbox reminds me of something I think I may have in stock. Thanks again and let me know when you are going to be in our neck of the woods and we can maybe have a glass or two at the SLR
Sure thing!


The design was very approximately based on the LGB track cleaning loco, with a few (actually a lot) of concessions to make use of available materials. I'm lazy too, but also poor and cheap so sometimes home made is the only option. It fits with the theme of a perpetually impoverished and run down tramway anyway. :)

Just to show there is some sort of weed control on the tramway, here is the environmental contractors engaged in their duties.
 
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