Melaleuca station building banner Updated
Sept 15, 2015


The Sandstone & Termite is a 45 mm gauge railway situated in my backyard in Loftus, Sydney, Australia. It is no longer electrically operated with power through the rails as I have all battery powered trains, with radio control.
The area occupied by the layout is about shape 20 x 25 metres. The sandstone ledge and my fight with termites in some of the timber trestles, resulted in the name of Sandstone & Termite Railway.
There are about 250 metres of track. Much of the track is above ground on 'baseboard' made from fibro and old fence palings. Above ground is so much easier to use, but I would like a little more garden for the trains to traverse.

One very important point to consider when planning your layout is to allow plenty of sidings right at the front of where you can stand, where trains can be put onto the track without bending down or reaching over the mainline.

I make no attempt to model fine details. If it looks like a carriage at first glance then that is good enough for most of the people who see it. I'm more of a copier of the general ideas of a vehicle, not an exact modeller. I'm in the hobby for the fun of driving trains around the back yard, standing back and listening to the sounds and talking to the neighbours as they come to look.
I was able to get into G at minimum cost by making my own track and trains. A hundred metres of track, 13 turnouts, 3 locos and 14 vehicles for around $AU1500, spread over 4 years (1993-1997). Much more has been spent since! I now have 25 locos and about 60 wagons. I have enjoyed playing track surveyor, bridge builder and track layer as well as train driver and electronics designer. When the neighbours see me out with the spirit level and string they know there's an extension being planned. One of the great things about G is that you can get most of your materials at the local hardwarestore instead of specialist model shops, and you can use your normal power tools. I hope this convinces others to give it a go.

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The "Layout"

view Large plan of the line or the smaller versions below.

The layout can be operated as two separate continuous runs, allowing 2 independent operations (below right)...or..
as a 200m long single track around the yard. see below left - the 7 colours show the 7 single-line sections. Black indicates 'station yards'

These diagrams may give a clearer idea of the operating options
Left shows two separate loops for continuous running, center is set up for point-to-point, and right shows all the options

Here's the profile of the line gradients, illustrating the gradients involved.

The best way to take a ride along the line is to go to the Pictures menu and select "clickable Map'. or click here

This video provides an introdution to the line

The following is a more detailed description of a trip from Termite to Sandstone - use the middle diagram above.....

The rails start at Termite in a 'workshop' under the house where there are twin reversing loops and 4 sidings to store all the trains.
The track leaves Termite through a hole in the wall, at a level about 120cm above the backyard, crosses the path on the level, passes the small platform at Ironbark overlooked by a Dutch style windmill, and winds its way along the sandstone ridge, which is up to 3 metres high in places. A natural rock overhang forms a 'tunnel' and then we slow for the semi-circle curve which changes the direction at the boundary. Originally,this was the sharpest radius on the line (80cm) but has now been replaced with a 100cm radius curve on a higher trestle. With the change of direction we head downhill at 1:25 on the new trestle bridge, with the old bridge preserved on our left, then over wood-truss bridge (tomato stakes!), through a solid rock cutting then a steel-arch to cross the path again.
The 1:25 grade is the ruling grade for the line. We pass Fibro Flat station and the door to the workshop and Termite, is crossed by a lifting bridge and then we swing around past the unusual elevated turntable, across a girder bridge and into the first station, Melaleuca, named after the tree it's under. The station is raised about 60 to 80 cm above the sloping yard on a hardwood, fibro and lattice 'baseboard'. It consists of a platform, a passing loop 4 metres long, a goods loop and a four sidings. The track here is 60 cm below where we started. This has become the prefered location for visitors to load their trains onto the track.
Leaving Melaleuca, we then slowly creep out onto the major engineering structure of the line; a horseshoe shaped trestle on a 2 metre radius, 1.5 metres high and 10 metres long, followed by a straight 4 metre long girder bridge to finally get us down to ground level. All this is on a down grade of 1:33 on the straight to 1:40 on the curve. The line to Melaleuca passes over us on a girder.
We continue through the crossing loop at at Maple Jn and onto the large stone viaduct which encircles Lilyvale township.
The 5 metre long viaduct is constructed from Hebel concrete, Lilyvale is the only "town" with any non-railway buildings.
At Lilyvale we can choose to take the reverse loop to go back to Melaleuca. But the mainline continues back across the path and through a tunnel under Melaleuca baseboard and down the fenceline at 1:30, crossing under the Melaleuca-Maple line, to reach Oleander.
Oleander is just a small platform with a single siding to load logs for the sawmill at Melaleuca.
Past Oleander it is bridges all the way to Ti-tree. and we enter Ti-tree station. This is built on a 'baseboard' about 1m above ground and is 600mm (2') wide and 13m (40') long. It has 3 loops and 4 sidings, including one for wheat silos.
Then on across two long steel arch bridges and up the side fence to Blackwall.
The ground is falling away faster than the train can follow at 1:30 grades. Blackwall station has a crossing loop on the 1:30 grade. We then continue behind the garden sheds, still at 1:30. The line continues under a rock shelf jack hammered out of the living rock, with the high trestle way above .
We finally arrive at the magnificent Sandstone station - the headquarters of the line. This is a two-storey station (made from Hebel blocks). Sandstone has 4 crossing loops, 4 sidings, and a turntable. It is partly on a raised garden bed about 60cm above the grass, but I have had to add extensions on at the front to accommodate all the tracks.

This is the terminius of the line, but a long siding continues to the South Sandstone Colliery, which is adjacent to Maple Jn.
From there, a crossover allows a short cut return to Melaleuca,
OR, by passing under the coal loader , we can continue and rejoin the mainline at Oleander. Thus we can go round-and-round the yard, if required.

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