Power painting

In the past I have skipped painting benchwork even when I knew sealing the woodwork would stabilise it just because painting takes so long and is such a hassle. Not any more.

Port Bonifacio Scenery

There won't be much.

Port Bonifacio trackwork

All mainline curves have easements, though some would be longer in a larger room. I chose 580mm (23”) minimum for big locos, passenger cars, modern freight.

Port Bonifacio Construction

Construction uses a mix of new and traditional materials.

TranzPanel Slide-away control panel

The control panel is a custom-made drawer on ex-ATM sliders that slides under the layout when not in use.

The Exhibitor's Layout

In 2007 I entered a Model Railroader track planning competiton with The Exhibitor’s Layout. It was avariant of the thinking behind Port Bonifacio. It didn't rate.

Visitors' Rules

If some of this seems a bit blunt, sorry, but it is better to make this stuff clear and avoid any misunderstandings.

FAQ for visitors

To answer some of the most common questions:

Soldering rail

I don't use flux. Some fluxes are pretty corrosive and you don't want to be leaving them there long term to corrode your rails.

Wiring devices

The following devices have been invented or adopted by the SPL.

SPL1 Loconet distributor


Roles of people visiting/using the layouts, with rules and levels of certification for each role.

TranzDeck whole-train HO elevator

I built a train lift (elevator) to carry trains from lower deck railroad to upper deck staging in the around-the-walls shelf layout.

It works.

Rolling stock standards

• Kadee-compatible couplers at correct height
• Wheels in gauge
• One tight truck, one free floating
• Weighted to NMRA standards
All SPL stock
• Wheels in gauge

Locomotive standards

• We can accommodate DC drives on special occasions, but in general all locos must be DCC equipped.
• Track design assumes all-wheel pickup

Track standards


Welcome to South Pacific Lines

On this site we will follow the construction of model railroad layouts, learn from previous ones, and along the way consider aspects of model railroading, especially those that explore the boundaries of the art. We may not move too many boundaries of model railways but we will sure go out there and have a look at them.

"There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible."

Samuel Johnson must have been a model railroader.

Crew Handbook

Welcome to the crew of South Pacific Lines. We want to share the SPL, hence the invitation to join the crew. We will also encourage visitors, especially kids (but not on crew nights – see below). School tours are a good idea. I envision an annual open day to show the neighbours what we are up to, and to raise a little bit of money for a charity too.

Car forwarding

Forwarding will be controlled by one of
• “the Thinking Man’s System”: numbers of movements are set, choose your own cars and locations
• tab-on-car
• waybill
Tab-on-car is more robust and less paperwork, but not prototypical.

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