Operating session – Feb 2020





Above: Peter K has been experimenting with making trees for the Adelaide Model Railroaders layout from dried flowers from his garden. To make these pines trees Peter applied green flock to the dried flower stems with cheap hair spray. He gave the first fifteen to me to try for appearance and durability. Nine of then trees are in this photo. I will show the other six in other photos.


Above: I have made a little bit more progress on the Walthers Electric Furnace kit that I am building for the Adelaide Model Railroaders.


February four was the first session for 2020 after a two month gap. We had six operators, Sol road crew 1, Peter S and John road crew 2, Rod as per usual Kanunda Yard master, David Hostler and myself controller.

We got away to a some what late start after the computer used for the 4 to 1 fast clock shut down incorrectly. I accidentally knocked out the plug while starting the clock. Fortunately this hiccup did not flow on for the rest of the session. Once started, the session ran really well. All locos ran very smoothly. We only had one derailment after someone forgot to reset the crossover to normal at Emu Flat after passing through it. That event caused the Melbourne Jet which left Cooper right on time to arrive in Foster a few minutes late. The only variation to the advertised time tables. All cars and car cards finished in their correct spots. 

Last session we decided that whoever took the Hostler job should always do two consecutive sessions. The idea being that by the second session he should have a better handle on the job and hopefully remember the job better he next time that he is required to be hostler. That idea seemed to work even though it was two months since the last session. David was able to remember some of the more difficult moves that the hostler is required to make so he did have a better handle on the job. This helped to make the session the success that it was. 

This session we rescheduled the down Myrtle Springs goods to depart from Kanunda before the up Roadside goods departed from Foster instead of vice versa. The reason being to allow the hostler more time to prepare the up Roadside goods for departure.

It appeared that this change only moved the problems over to the Kanunda yard master. What happened this time was that when the controller issued a train order to the down Myrtle Springs goods’ crew headed

Train no 403  engine 842

at Kanunda


Proceed to Myrtle springs

Shunt at Wooldowie

The down Myrtle Springs goods’ crew , Sol, said “what am I to shunt at Wooldowie I know that there are no pick ups at Wooldowie and I have nothing to set out there.”

I knew that the down Transfer goods recently  had brought a wagon into Kanunda that had to be forwarded on to Wooldowie. The down Myrtle Springs goods passes through Wooldowie on it’s way to Myrtle Springs. It appears that the Kanunda YM had insufficient time to get Wooldowie loading on to the earlier departing down Myrtle Springs goods. I feel that it should not be the controllers job to make sure that the consist of trains is correct. Result being that we will revert to the original order for those two trains. The up roadside good crew will have to remain patient for their train to be prepared by the hostler. These two trains are among the last four trains of the session and there is plenty of gap before the last train, the time tabled Up Mt Gambier goods. Sometimes if all has gone well as happened Tuesday there is a half hour fast time wait before its departure of 1334 from Foster. 


Above: Three of Peter K’s pine trees in the back ground. Trainorama 830 class, number 858, arriving at Maranalgo to pick up loaded cattle wagons. The green open wagon is an idler wagon to be placed between the brake van and the smelly cattle wagons for the return journey to the abattoir at Gepps Cross.


Above: The other three pine trees are on the hill behind Footner cottage at Kanunda. 858 has picked more cattle wagons at Kanunda and is now headed to Cooper (staging) from where it will proceed to Dry Creek yard and finally the cattle wagons will arrive at Gepps Cross abattoir.


Above: 938 a Lima dummy and powered Austrians 705 power through Wooldowie with the loaded stonie.


Above: Maranalgo, and Powerline 840 on the Maranalgo goods is about pick up an open wagon of mallee roots from Sol’s Firewood. The empty WAGR open will be left to be filled with mallee roots.


Above: The late running Melbourne Jet after derailing on the incorrectly set crossover at Emu Flat.


Above: The two locos on the Melbourne Jet seen crossing Five Mile Creek are green BL29 a Powerline model fitted with a Fiddle Yard mechanism and Orange and Grey G511 a dummy Powerline loco. Behind the train is Penstone limestone quarry and in the distance Rod can be seen yard mastering at Kanunda.


Above: The down roadside goods has arrived at Wooldowie.


Above: Austrians X54 and Lima dummy 950 on the Adelaide Jet cause the down roadside goods to pause it’s shunting at Emu Flat while it proceeds through on the main line.


Above: Auscision 830 class 842 sits in the yard at Kanunda waiting for the down Myrtle Springs goods to be made up by the Kanunda yard master.


Above: Engine and van (EV) Lima dummy 930 class 942 and Trainorama 961 pass through Wooldowie on the mainline on the way to Emu Flat where they will begin the run as the up grain extra to Gillman Yard (Cooper staging).


Above: 961 and 942 on the up grain extra run around the AHGX wheat hoppers that they have picked up at Emu Flat to pick up another four AHGXs at the Wooldowie silos.The AHGX hoppers are cheap Powerline hoppers that I have kit bashed.


Above: Trainorama 930 class Alco, 949 running B end forward passes King Forrest and the Cooper Motive power centre as it arrives back into Cooper staging with the up roadside goods.

The session ended a little before 2200 hours. Then operators enjoyed tea or coffee and some cake. All in agreement that it was an enjoyable session.

Cheers Ken.


Dec 2019 operating session video pt 3


The K&EFR is a fictional fourteen kilometre stretch of the mainline between Adelaide and the border with Victoria. This line then carries on to Melbourne.

This video picks up the session about half way through. 

Mustard pot 830 class 847 on the transfer goods has just taken six wagons from Kanunda yard back to the west end staging representing Adelaide and environs. After the Hostler ( staging operator ) has exchanged loading the transfer goods will return to Kanunda with another six wagons.

Then the down roadside goods arrives at Kanunda, from Cooper (staging) and sets out loading for Kanunda and the Myrtle Springs branch. At Kanunda the down roadside goods also picks up for stations further down, Wooldowie, Emu Flat and Foster. Then it travels on to Foster setting out and picking up at Wooldowie and Emu Flat. At Foster (east end staging ) the Hostler will exchange the roadside goods loading before it returns to Cooper (west end staging) as the Up roadside goods.

Following the roadside goods is the grain extra from Cooper which sets out wheat hoppers at Kanunda, Wooldowie and Emu Flat. Then returns to Cooper as an up engine and van. 

The up Tank train travels through from Foster to Cooper.

The down Myrtle Springs goods is made up at Kanunda and sets out loading at Wooldowie on it’s way to Myrtle Springs via Jimba Jimba Junction.

The up Mt Gambier goods the last train)  stops at Kanunda to pick up loading for Adelaide (Cooper)

Not shown in this video is the Adelaide Jet a through train which departs Foster at 1044 hours.

I hope that this explanation helps to understand the video.

For a track plan and more information please look at about the Kanunda & Emu Flat railway above.

December 2019 operating session part 2



The session started at 0600 by the 4:1 fast clock. Part 2 of this video series picks up the action at 0720.

0720 the down livestock train 325 departed from Cooper (west end staging). It originally came from Dry Creek yard Adelaide with four empty CS cable wagons from the Gepps Cross abattoir. 325 sets out two cattle wagons at Kanunda and two at the branch line terminus of Maranalgo. Then it returns as 326 up engine and van (cab hop to some) to Dry Creek via Cooper (staging). The cattle wagons will be loaded next day (next session) and will be sent to the Gepps Cross abattoir via Cooper. 

0747 the down empty Stonie train 301 departed from Cooper. It originally came from ICI chemicals Osborne Adelaide soda ash factory. It travelled to Emu Flat where it dropped off the empties and picked up a train of loaded hoppers for the return journey via Cooper as 302 up Stonie.

0821 the down Maranalgo goods train no 405 which was made up at Kanunda departs Kanunda for Maranalgo. After shunting the goods shed and Sol’s firewood it returns to Kanunda as up Maranalgo goods train no 404 with the loco B end forward, that is, long hood forward.

0903 Melbourne jet departed Cooper. The Melbourne Jet is a fast down through freight travelling from east end staging (Cooper) to west end staging (Foster) with out a stop.

0931 Adelaide super freighter departed Foster. The Adelaide super freighter is an up fast through freight travelling from east end staging to west end staging.

The through trains above travel between Adelaide and Melbourne.

For more information and a track plan please look at “about the Kanunda and Emu Flat railway” above.

Dec 2019 operating session Video



All of the times shown on the video are from the 4:1 “fast” clock used during operating sessions.

To help understand what went on. The session started at 0600 (6am) “fast” time. 

The first train on the layout was 313 the down Mt Gambier goods which is said to have come from Mile End yard in Adelaide. 313 departed Cooper (west end staging) at 0606. 313 is a through train that has only one stop on the layout, Kanunda, where it sets out a cut if cars. From Kanunda it proceeds around the layout until it reaches Foster (east end staging), from where we assume it proceeds on to it’s destination at Mt Gambier in the south east of South Australia 466 Km from Adelaide.

102 the up Overland is the daily interstate passenger train that has departed from Melbourne and enters the layout through Foster at 0608. 102 is a through train that only stops briefly at Kanunda before proceeding to Cooper (east end staging), from where it is considered to be heading to Adelaide after its about 750 km journey from Melbourne.

The Mt Gambier goods and Overland are run to time table along with six other trains. All of the other trains which carry out shunting duties are run as extras using train orders.

The first of the extras is 402 the up Myrtle Springs goods which departs from it’s dedicated staging track and proceeds to its destination Kanunda carrying out shunting duties at Wooldowie on the way.

119 the down Emu Flat passenger (local timetabled passenger) comes from Adelaide and on the K&EFR it departs Cooper at 0655. 119 travels to Emu Flat stopping at all stations arriving at 0713 and after the loco has run around the train at Emu Flat it departs at 0725. Then as 120 up Emu Flat passenger it travels back to Cooper stopping at all stations arriving at 0742. 119 down Emu Flat passenger normally crosses 402 the up Myrtle Springs goods at Wooldowie.

The final train shown is 202 Adelaide Jet a fast through freight that does not stop on the layout. 202 runs to a timetable. It has travelled from Melbourne entering the K&EFR at Foster and is heading to Adelaide through Cooper.

For a track plan of the K&EFR please click on “About the Kanunda and Emu Flat railway” above.

Cheers Ken. 

December 2019




The Kanunda & Emu Flat Railway has been contracted to build some structures for the Southern Central  Rail Road. That is I have volunteered to build some structures for the club’s (Adelaide Model Railroaders) layout.

The first one that I am attempting is the Walthers Electric furnace. I was wondering what I had let myself in for by the time I got to step two. Step one said glue two pieces No 4 together, making part of the rear wall. Then the instructions said glue two pieces No 5 together, so far so good until I discovered the two no 5 pieces were too small to complete the wall. After examining the other wall pieces I discovered that two No 6 pieces would be a perfect fit to complete the wall. After that all that I have done so far has gone according to the instructions.


Above shows my progress so far on the electric furnace. Building these structures will take up most of my limited modelling time so for some time only essential maintenance will occur on the K&EFR.



Firstly thanks to all the operators for putting up with me videoing the session. I had three cameras going one being Ray’s (Wild Creek RR) Mobius mini camera shown on a Wild Creek flat in front of the Adelaide Jet as it passes Penstone Quarry while crossing one of the bridges over Five Mile Creek.. I got so much video recorded that it will take ages to get through it all.

We had five operators, Peter and Sol were the road crews, Rod Kanunda Yard Master, David Hostler, and myself Controller.

As usual we had couple of issues with the paper work. I had to retire C501, I think one of my solder joints on its stay-alive capacitor has broken. I replaced C501 with X54 and forgot to exchange loco cards. Then Peter got 119 the down Emu Flat Passenger and could not find the timetables for it. I had dropped them into the Livestock train’s box by mistake so really nothing major.

X49 on 102 the up Overland had a minor derailment on Sandiman Switch but still arrived at Cooper one minute early without apparently having to hurry. I wonder what speed it was doing as it approached Sandiman Switch. This was the only derailment all night.

Every thing seemed to run quite smoothly on the main. The Hostler job (staging Operator) like most yard jobs is fairly complex. I have been rotating that job around each session. But David pointed out that if operators had at least two sessions in a row as hostler they might get a better grasp of the job. So I think that it would be a good idea to give that a try.

While on the subject of the Hostler he is always under pressure near the end of the session when turning the roadside goods around. This session the hostler had the car card box for 310 the up roadside cards while noting it’s a cards. So the next road crew took 405 the down Myrtle Springs goods box out of order. Train control was setting up a camera and failed to notice that the Myrtle Spings goods was departing Kanunda earlier than usual. Train control needs to be more on the job. Any way all went well and the Hostler had more time to make up the up roadside goods. So I think we will change the sequence next session allowing the down Myrtle Springs goods to depart before the up roadside goods departs.

The up roadside goods forgot to set out the explosives van at Penstone Quarry his excuse being that it was mixed up with Cooper loading. Sometimes that has to happen because explosive vans and tank cars must not be coupled next to either the engine or brake van and can not always be in station order. Fortunately Penstone Quarry had a stock pile of explosives. 


Above: BL 29 and 940 cross Five Mile creek with 206 the Adelaide super freighter.


Above: A quiet time at Wooldowie.


Above: 840 arriving at Maranalgo with 405 the down Maranalgo goods.


Above: English Electric 503 shunting at Kanunda.


Above: Happy operators, Rod, Peter, and Sol. 


Above: David the hostler, in his domain, setting the turnouts so that 327 the up grain extra can depart Cooper

Finally I have been making good use of Ray’s mini camera. Below is the link to a tour of the K&EFR from the point of view of a HO scale train driver.

After finishing the session on time we all sat down to enjoy a cuppa and some cake.

Cheers Ken.

October 2019






Nothing to show this month. During recent operating sessions C501 has been unexpectedly dying. I have been blaming, dirty wheels, dirty pick ups, dirty track, overheating but have not been able to solve the problem until this last month when I decided to bight the bullet and take the top off of C501. I then discovered that a wire had broken away from the decoder, one of the wires to the capacitor, this being a sound decoder, an N scale one at that. I had to peel back some of the plastic shrink wrap that covered the decoder then look through a magnifying glass to make sure that I found where the wire came from. I also compared it to X49 which has the same Digitrax decoder. The wires on these decoders are quite stiff so I expect that is why it came off also I had curled it round a tight bend. I tried resoldering the original wire with no success so I found a piece of more flexible decoder wire and was able to reconnect the capacitor with that. I test ran the loco with the top off and it ran fine but after I put the top back on it still stopped. So I removed the top again and found the other capacitor wire had come off. I then replaced that wire with more flexible wire resulting in problem being cured and I can report that C501 ran fine on Tuesday night.


There was six of us at this session. Road crew 1 was Sol and Paul, road crew 2 was David, Kanunda Yard master Rod, Hostler John, and myself Train control.

The session got away quite promptly. Almost immediately Sol and Paul found a problem with the paperwork. Their train 313 the down Mt Gambier goods had S301 in front yet their timetable said BL29. It turned out that the pack for 313 had two time tables in it, the correct one saying that the lead loco was S301 and the time table for the last session saying that the lead loco should be BL29. I thought I had lost that time table during restaging. So it did turn up. Once again the superintendent has managed to confuse the operators.

David’s first train was the up Overland which derailed on Sandiman switch. Perhaps X49 was not on the track right from the start and decided to finally derail at that point. Any way the result was that the up Overland arrived at Cooper four minutes late.

During the session the comment was made a couple of times that Sol and Paul were getting all the “easy trains” and David was doing all the shunting. To me it is interesting to see how each session pans out. I think that most times whoever starts with the down Mt Gambier goods will get most of the through freights. These trains are easy but can be somewhat boring. The crew who takes the up Overland at the start of the session will almost always then get the up Myrtle springs goods followed by the down extra grain or stock to Maranalgo. And who ever gets the Maranalgo extra will usually end up with the Maranalgo goods. Some operators enjoy the puzzle shunting at Maranalgo is others seem to stress out when they get those jobs. From my train control desk near Maranalgo it is interesting to see the different approaches to shunting there. You would not believe how many ways that small area can be shunted. I think it is great for an operator to get to work there because Maranalgo is at the end of a short branch where they will not be disturbed by passing trains. From then the crew who selected the up Overland usually get the roadside goods both down and up.

The crew who takes the down Mt Gambier goods as their first train usually takes the Stonie which will involve shunting at Penstone Quarry Emu Flat. Then they take some through trains before taking the extra grain or stock to Emu Flat with involves picking up or setting out at Kanunda, Wooldowie and Emu Flat.

So I suppose that if you want a lot of shunting take the passenger train (up Overland) first up. 

John seemed to struggle as hostler. He was “volunteered” into that job by train control he not having done it since November last year. It is a job that one needs experience to really do efficiently. Also it did not help that the superintendent decided to change the line up in staging tracks seven and eight placing two trains in each of those tracks. John was already under the pump when David arrive at Foster with an unusually long down Roadside goods. When shunting at Emu Flat David picked up all the ‘pick ups”. His instructions say to only pick up wagons going down (to Foster). This meant that when he handed the train over to John, the hostler, John had to send three cars back to Cooper on the up roadside goods. To help John out the controller took on the job of shunter at Foster but while he did some good work and saved some time he put the brake van in the wrong spot resulting in a couple of extra moves causing much hilarity among the onlooking road crews who were being held up.

This hold up altered the normal flow of the session. Usually the crew bringing the down roadside goods into Foster takes the up roadside goods away from Foster. This time after David brought the down roadside goods in the up roadside goods was taken out by Sol and Paul who still did not get a lot of shunting because David had done all the pick ups at Emu Flat so the up roadside goods had an express trip all the way to Kanunda.

The hold up with the roadside goods also caused the last train of the night, the up Mt Gambier goods, to run 30 fast minutes late.

After an interesting and enjoyable session we broke for tea or coffee and home made biscuits.


Above: 846 with the two carriage Emu Flat passenger train is in track seven of staging and is one of the trains assigned to a different track this session.

The goods wagons in track 6b are from the transfer goods and arrived via Cooper. The wagons in track 5b are from the roadside goods and have arrived via Foster.


Above: For some reason I was unable to get the photos I took during the session off the camera’s SD card. So I posed all these photos after the session. Here 930 class Alco 949 travelling B end forward is arriving at Cooper with the up roadside goods.



Above: BL 29 and 940 pass over the upper Bindieye Creek bridge as they arrive at Kanunda with the up Mt Gambier goods.


Above: C501 and G511 lead the Melbourne Jet across Five Mile creek.


Above: Wednesday, during re-staging the Stonie has been re-staged. The loaded hoppers have been placed under the stone bins just as they were shunted during the operating session. Now 705 and 938 will be ready to depart Cooper with the empty Stonie next session.

Cheers Ken.

September 2019





The yard master at Kanunda has been saying for sometime that he could use more space in his yard. Because of the confines of the layout it is near on impossible to extend the yard tracks even by 150mm so to be able to get at another two cars in the yard I extended dead end track five by 370mm.This is the third enlargement of Kanunda yard. The first time I extended the whole yard about 300mm toward the garage door. This enabled trains of almost 2700mm to pass in the passing siding and also adding another track for the goods shed provided storage for two extra cars in the previous goods shed track. Still we were short of space so dead end track five was added to the front of the yard. 

Kanunda is built on two modules which have 70x19mm frames and are topped with 19mm particle board. To get track five in I attached at strip of 19mm particle board to the front of the modules. All of the roadbed on the K&EFR is 19mm particle board.


Above: The extended track five is the centre track in this photo. The track on the lower level is the main line going between Wooldowie and Emu Flat via Jimba Jimba Junction. This section of mainline road bed 19mm particle board road bed and is hung off the Kanunda modules as well.


Above: The demolition work that was done prior to lengthening track five. Here we can see the edge of the original module and the end of the strip I added for track five’s road bed. There was a small mound at the end of track five. The scenery contours were made of folded newspaper covered with calico and painted with three or four thin coats of casting plaster tinted brown with oxide colouring before the ground cover was added. 


Above: For track five’s road bed I glued and screwed a strip of 3mm MDF in place giving a smooth transition from the 3mm cork under the existing track and a solid base for the track which would have hung half off of the module.

The end result of this work has given the Kanunda YM space for two more cars but more importantly track five will hold the completed down Myrtle Springs Goods, simplifying his work in making up that train.

The plastic seen in the back ground is the dust covering that I place over the layout when it is not in use.


Above: While I was ballasting and painting track five I painted and ballasted the 6mm of track I extended when I built the new shed for Con’s Choice at Wooldowie.


Above: I needed to use up excess blasting glue so I ballasted the main line into Foster (staging). Also I added ground cover, dyed sawdust, around this corner of the peninsula. As well I started gluing builders sand between the tracks in the staging yard. I do this to save precious ballast. When the ballast covers the sand you would never know. Eventually the whole staging yard will be ballasted.


Four operators arrived at about 1920 hours. John arrived at 1930 to check that we were OK for number of operators. Four is probably ideal. So after some chat John departed because we were OK and once he was out of earshot it was declared that if any thing was to go wrong it would be his fault.

So the session got underway a little late with David and Peter as the road crews, Rod Kanunda yard master, Sol hostler, and myself controller.

David’s first train was the up Overland which went into the passing siding at Emu Flat and came to a halt at the other end because the superintendent, me, when test running prior to the session had not set a turnout in Emu Flat  back to normal. So was that John’s fault or the superintendent’s? Fortunately the stoppage was minimal and the Overland arrived at Cooper (staging) just on time.


Above: David was also in charge of the up Myrtle Springs goods seen here arriving at Wooldowie behind small Alco 842 to do some shunting.


Above: The Kanunda YM has made up the two wagon and brake van down Maranalgo goods and stored it in track five until a crew is available to take it out.


Above: 858 arrives in Kanunda with the grain extra and comes up against cars from the down Mt Gambier goods that have been left in the passing siding. The passing siding is long enough to hold both.


Above: Very shortly after the down Stonie comes barrelling through Kanunda on it’s way to Emu Flat. 503 the English Electric Kanunda shunt engine, in the passing siding, has to stay out of the way of the two large Alcos, 705 and 938, pulling the Stonie. 858 and the grain extra can be seen behind 503 and the consist that it is shunting. At times Kanunda becomes a very busy place. 


Above: Small Alco 858 arrives at Maranalgo after dropping two wheat hoppers at Kanunda. This is the maximum length train that the loop at Maranalgo can handle.


Above: After setting out the wheat hoppers at Maranalgo David takes 858, engine and van, through Sandiman Switch on it’s way back to Cooper travelling B end forward.

The next train that David drove was the Melbourne Jet, a fast through freight. However he detoured down the branch line to Maranalgo. The Jet will never fit in Maranalgo’s short loop! It turns out David had forgotten to return Sandiman Switch to normal after taking 858 and it’s van through earlier. Definitely John’s fault.

P1020635 (1)

Above: EMDs S301 and G511 barrelling through Emu Flat with the Melbourne Jet. Despite it’s detour the Jet arrived in Foster (staging) only a couple of minutes late. So we called that on time.


Above: Alcos 950 and 937 pull the down Overland through a cutting and over the second Five Mile creek bridge.


Above: Shortly later large Alcos 950 and 937 travelling over the newly ballasted track pass Gilleston halt, where no trains ever stop, that guy could be waiting a very long time. Almost at Foster.


Above: David, this time driving 961, sets out two empty cattle wagons at Wooldowie cattle pens. David is following Peter who is in charge of the down roadside goods.


Above: David, in the rear, arrives at Emu Flat while Peter,foreground, is shunting the down Roadside goods.


Above: 961 has three cattle wagons to set out at the Emu Flat cattle pens, just visible next to the silos. Also, just visible, is green Alco 949 shunting the down roadside goods.


Above: While David and Peter were to-ing and fro-ing at Emu Flat with their trains time was getting on and the Hostler, Sol and Kanunda yard master, Rod were sitting about with nothing doing. So train control suggested that Sol take the Mile End – Kanunda transfer goods round from Cooper to Kanunda. 

In the foreground above Sol is bringing the transfer goods into Kanunda while Rod readies his uncoupling skewer to uncouple wagons from the transfer goods.


Above: Last train. EMD X54 and Alco 940 bring the up Mt Gambier goods into Cooper (staging) Up until this time all time-tabled trains ran on time but 314 the up Mt Gambier goods departed Foster (staging) at 1344 ten minutes late.

I can report that all wagons were delivered to their correct spots and all car cards and way-bills also ended up in their correct boxes.

Once the up Mt Gambier goods was put away we all adjourned for cake and tea or coffee after an enjoyable session. 

Cheers Ken

Superintendent Kanunda & Emu Flat railway.