Update 3

Here is the 3rd and final posting for whats on at this years forum.


Prof Klyzlr – Layout Sound 101

Sound is the next frontier when it comes to adding realism to a layout.  Prof will describe how sound can be incorporated into a layout; from the best sound sources for layouts, to suggestions for locating speakers, through to creating customised sound files.

Panel Discussion

An opportunity to discuss the merits of the various baseboard modules on display.  Builders of the different modules will provide a brief summary of the reasons behind, and what they see are the advantages of, the method they used to construct the baseboards of their layout or module(s). This will be followed by questions from the audience to allow participants to decide what suits them best.


Darren Lee and Brendan Canning – Module construction:  Darren and Brendan will be demonstrating different methods of module construction.


Ian Phemister – Ian will have his latest, partially completed layout at the forum.  It is based on the North Coast of NSW at the time the main line was being converted to CTC signalling.

Prof Klyzlr – Prof will be bringing his latest logging layout ‘Wood’n DAYS’.  Built for the recent Narrow Gauge Convention in Geelong, it is unusual in that the trains run on wooden rails.  This layout is fitted with sound and it will be used to demonstrate how sound can be incorporated into a layout.  It also features a baseboard constructed from light weight foamcore in an aluminium frame.



Stephen Johnson Models

Other Attractions:

The model display is guaranteed to provide something of interest or inspiration to every attendee.  All participants must contribute to this display.

For those who didn’t attend the 2015 forum or those who want to hear them again, a video of the talks from the 2015 forum will be played in auditorium when it is not being used for other activities.

Lucky door prizes – Rather than paying for their space, commercials are required to contribute some of their products to a pool of lucky door prizes.  First attendee drawn out of the hat gets first pick of the pool.

On Saturday night there will be a dinner followed by a trivia quiz prepared by quizmaster Ian Black.  There will be prizes for the individuals at the winning table.

A tour of the Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum has been organised on Sunday afternoon for those interested.  This will provide an opportunity to see parts of the collection that were unable to be covered in the time available in 2015.

2017 Registration form

Below is a link to the registration form for the 2017 convention, the format is the same as in 2015 were it was an editable PDF. The form can be filled out through a PDF reader and then saved and emailed to the e-mail on the form or printed off and posted to the listed address.

At this stage we still have one final release of information on what will be on during the forum, this should be announced in the coming days.

2017 BMF registration form

More information on the 2017 forum

Following on from the first posting about what will be happening at the 2017 forum, here is some more information about what’s on; the registration form shall be released in the next couple of days followed by the third and final release of whats on.


TALK:  Storage and staging of trains – James Dalton

Trains move passengers and freight from one place to another.  A layout represents just part of that journey with trains having to enter and leave the scene.  An important aspect of layout planning is deciding how this is best done.  James will discuss the various options available for storing and staging trains along with their pros and cons.

DEMONSTRATION:  Modelling the terrain and landforms – Andrew Campbell

Andrew will show how realistic landforms can be carved from extruded foam sheets.  He will also show how to apply a basic ground cover to the foam in readiness for more detailed scenery.

DEMONSTRATION:  Detailing scenery – Geoff Burns

Geoff will use his layout ‘Splitters Swamp Creek’ as a stage to explain his scenery techniques and also how he has used LEDs mounted on a light weight pelmet to illuminate the scene.

DEMONSTRATION:  Researching the prototype – Bill Phippen representing the ARHS Railway Resource Centre will be able to access the ARHS photo archive and intranet on the day.  He’ll describe what information is available from the resource centre and how to get it.

LAYOUT:  Splitters Swamp Creek – Geoff Burns

‘Splitters Swamp Creek’ is an exhibition layout of a fictional NSW branchline.  Those who have seen the layout at exhibitions in and around Brisbane and northern NSW have seen the level of detail progressively increase over time.  This is an opportunity for Sydneysiders to see this fine layout.

LAYOUT:  Peak Hill – Kieran Ryan

Keiran will have two modules of ‘Peak Hill’ at the forum.  These modules will feature a grain shed and a bulk depot.  In addition showing how he built the modules, Keiran will also explain how he adapted the track plan so he could fit in these large structures.

TRADER:  AndIan Models

TRADER: Ray Pilgrim’s Signal Branch

TRADER: ARHS Bookshop – A limited supply of relevant books will be available.

First update on the 2017 forum

Update on the 2017 forum

As previously advised, the theme for this year’s forum is ‘Building a layout’. As we have been organising the program it has become clear that all aspects of layout construction can’t be covered in one year. It’s therefore likely that this will be the first of a number of conventions that follow this theme.

Building a layout starts with research, planning and design, however we are mindful that many forum attendees will already have layouts. While the program for the 2017 forum will cover the basics, including aspects of planning and layout construction, it will also include activities relevant to those who already have layouts.

The forum will follow a similar format to previous years, being a mix of talks and demonstrations with plenty of opportunity to pick the brains of other modellers. Again, the contribution of an item to the modelling display is a mandatory condition of attendance. The model display has always been a basis for modellers to share their work and ideas with other attendees.

Over the next few weeks we will progressively release details of the talks, demonstrations, layouts and traders and other activities at this year’s event.

TALK: Infrastructure for an era – Stephen Ottaway

The first talk will cover how railway infrastructure evolved over time and the advantage of having stations, goods sheds, stockyards, cranes, loading banks and other infrastructure consistent with the era in which the railway was built. This consistency is the basis for a realistic and authentic layout.

DEMONSTRATION: Track construction ballasting and weathering – Ian Millard

Ian will be demonstrating the use of splined roadbed and laying track using Central Valley Ties (sleepers). Central Valley Ties are relatively new and offer significant advantages over traditional flex track. He will also demonstrate how he ballasts and weathers the track.

DEMONSTRATION: Drones as a modelling tool – Ian Phemister

Ian will have two drones on display and can discuss their operation and the possibilities they offer for researching the prototype be that a location or rollingstock.

LAYOUT: Ebor – Stephen & Andrew Ottaway

Consistent with the theme of building a layout Stephen and Andrew will debut EBOR, an exhibition layout which is currently under construction. The layout is based on a fictional station on the proposed line from Guyra to Dorrigo. It is built on plywood baseboards and roadbed which incorporate some innovative design features. Hand laid track and points (including operating catchpoints) have been used while the landforms and scenery are still under construction. The intent is to show attendees how the layout is constructed prior to completing it for the 2019 forum.

TRADER: Kieran Ryan Models

TRADER: Mechanical Branch

More information will follow soon. Feel free to share this with others you think may be interested.

Branchline Modellers Forum 2017

The 2017 Branchline Modellers Forum will be held on the weekend of 26th – 27th August. Once again it will be held in Coffs Harbour at Bishop Druitt College.

The 2017 forum’s theme will be ‘Building a layout‘. Talented and experienced modellers will provide the usual mix of talks and demonstrations which will focus on how to plan, build and scenic a NSW layout. The extensive model display is a regular feature of the forum and there will be an opportunity to buy things from some small, specialist suppliers whose products are not readily available. At least one NSW layout that has not been seen before will also make an appearance.

In truth, all of this really only provides an excuse for like-minded modellers to get together to have a great weekend.

We are still in the process of arranging the details but keep an eye out for future updates.

Registration form and notes

Hi All,

Finally we have the forum registration form and the registration notes which contain the information for the activities held over the weekend ready to go.

You can access them though the links below, The registration form is a PDF which is editable so there is no need to print it out and then scan when completed just save it when completed and email it back to us.

BMF registration form

BMF registration notes

Its shaping up to be a great weekend and hope to see most of you there!

BMF 2015 program – Part 2

The final part of the program for the convention,

If you found the program for the forum sufficiently enticing and want to lodge an expression of interest in attending, please send an email to branchline@rocketmail.com . This will ensure you are emailed a registration form as soon as it is available.


Ian Black – Closing the gap between corridor connections on passenger cars

Geoff Burns – Modelling trees

Brendan Canning – Soldering – featuring assembly of brass signal kits

Tom Rogers – Concrete structures – prototype and modelling

Keiran Ryan – 3D printing in action

Ian Millard – Modelling track and building realistic and reliable points

Aaron Denning – Weathering with acrylic pastel powders and isopropyl alcohol


Andian Models

Keiran Ryan Models

Stephen Johnson Models

Casula Hobbies

AR Kits

BMF 2015 program – Part 1

Branchline Modellers Forum 2015  –  Program

Just a quick post listing the first part of the program for the BMF 2015, the demonstrators and traders list will be following soon and the application form with attendance cost is also not far off so stay tuned.

Master of ceremonies

Andrew Hayne



Paul Horder – The history of concrete station buildings in NSW

Graeme Henderson – Pictorial overview and discussion of concrete era infrastructure

Keiran Ryan – Making models with a computer

Darren Lee – Designing a NSW layout with realistic operation and realism as the goal

Stephen Ottaway – A modeller’s guide to the cranes found in NSW goods yards


Rohan Fergusson – Bolivia – the next section under construction

Alan Tarrant – Bullenbung Creek – a concrete era rural branch line



Bishop Druitt College, Coffs Harbour

21st -22nd November 2015

Another Branchline Modellers Forum (BMF) is being held, this time at Coffs Harbour on the north coast of NSW.

The first forum was held in 1994 at Sydney’s Macquarie University.  Seven events were held until organisational difficulties at the venue and the inability to find a suitable alternative, together with burn-out of the organisers led to its demise.  It is hard to believe 14 years have passed since the last one was held in 2001.  The first forum led to the publication of Branchline Modeller which morphed into the Australian Journal of Railway Modelling.  Despite not being held for such a long time, modellers are still asking when the forum will be held again.  It appears that it has not been forgotten by those who attended because they still want more.

The 2015 BMF will follow a similar format to the earlier events. The main difference this year is that it’s being held outside Sydney for the first time.  Because most attendees will have to travel, the 2015 forum will run over two days rather than one, making it easier to justify the effort to get there.  Saturday will be a full day in Coffs Harbour with a dinner featuring a guest speaker that night, while on the Sunday the program will finish with lunch followed by the option of a guided tour of the railway museum at Dorrigo that afternoon.

Following the format of previous forums, all attendees must bring something to put in the modelling display. THIS IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE CONDITION OF ATTENDANCE.  The item for display doesn’t have to be a model; it could be plans, photos or something else that is relevant to modelling and of interest to other modellers.  The purpose of this requirement is twofold.  Firstly, it means that each attendee becomes an active participant in the event by contributing to the entertainment of others.  Secondly, that spending time looking at the resultant display, the size and diversity of which is a feature of the forum, is an important element of the entertainment on offer.  In the past, some modellers have even built small dioramas just to display at the BMF.

Each previous forum had a theme and the theme for the 2015 Forum is pre-cast concrete railway buildings.  That’s not to say that every lecture or demonstration will be about pre-cast concrete buildings. Rather, the theme provides a focus for a few of the lectures and demonstrations and is a suggestion for those who may be undecided about what they bring for the modelling display.  Plans or photos relating to pre-cast concrete railway buildings, especially those that were unusual and which no longer exist, would be particularly relevant.

The forum provides a range of different activities where attendees are free to choose how they entertain themselves.   In addition to the modelling display, the activities that have been planned include listening to lectures, watching demonstrations, inspecting layouts, asking questions of presenters, spending money at trade stands and very importantly, socialising with other modellers.

Five different lectures will be given over the day and a half.  The venue has a theatre with tiered seating so that you see can the presenter and the screen, not just the back of someone’s head.  Attendees are able to go to all of these lectures, or if they choose they can undertake other activities instead.

There will also be six demonstrations dealing with more practical aspects of a variety of modelling subjects.  Demonstrations provide the opportunity for closer interaction with the presenter.  They will run intermittently over the day and a half so the demonstrators also get to see some of the other activities.  There will be plenty of opportunity to see all of the demonstrations; provided everyone doesn’t spend too long at each one.

Two layouts will be on display; one is complete and the other is still under construction.  A module or two of another impressive layout should also be there.  Unlike at exhibitions where access to layouts is limited, there will be an opportunity to see how each layout has been or is being built and to ask the owners all about the hows and whys.

A number of trade stands will also be there and some hard to find items will be available.

Most importantly, there will be plenty of opportunity for attendees to talk and interact with each other.  While the organisers believe they have put together an interesting and informative program, they also have the view that attendees can learn a lot by informally interacting with other modellers.  People who identify an item of interest in the display are particularly encouraged to seek out the person responsible for that item and talk to them about it.

Lunch and morning tea will be provided on both days as will afternoon tea on the Saturday.

Because the venue has a limited capacity and to ensure the event does not become too impersonal, the number of people able to attend the 2015 BMF will be limited to 100.

Further information about the 2015 BMF will follow soon, including details of the presenters, the cost and how to register.  Options for accommodation and other things to do in Coffs Harbour at that time of year will also be provided.

If you found this description of the forum sufficiently enticing and want to lodge an expression of interest in attending, please send an email to branchline@rocketmail.com . This will ensure you are emailed a registration form as soon as it is available.