Erik Bennett

The Layout

North Beaches Railroad

A composite US and Australian layout with generic scenery

Layout Description

Northern Beaches Railroad is an HO layout in a dedicated room five metres square.  The layout is in the form of a double folded dog-bone, ie, there’s a single main line that goes around twice, for a length of about 80 metres. There are lots of sidings and branches, and hidden loops for offline train storage.

It runs modern diesels, big East Coast steam, and NSW engines and trains that Erik has seen running.   Only trains from one of these groups can be on the layout at any one time.

The layout operates with a 5 amp NCE Power Pro, controlled by wireless Pro-cabs. A Raspberry Pi running JMRI is connected to the command station allowing the layout to be also operated with smartphones using Engine Driver or Wi Throttle.   There are loud warning horns at various places on the layout to alert operators of short circuits.

Trackwork is fully complete and operational.  All points have point motors, operated by accessory decoders. Points that can be accessed from under track level are fitted with Tortoise motors, those that can’t with Peco.  All frogs are powered, using one of the switches on Tortoise motors and, on Peco, either Erik Bennett Frog Pickers or Tam Valley Frog Juicers.

All points are set up in NCE macros (and JMRI routes).  This means that operators only need pick the route they want, ie, they don’t need to know turnout numbers.  Diagrams of the routes are displayed all around the layout.

Scenery is about 50% complete and is generic in nature with a light colour theme.  Landforms were made with plaster on cardboard strip lattice and, in more recent times, high density polystyrene.

Basic ground cover is tan coloured paint, bought as mis-tint sample pots from Bunnings, sprinkled with powdered McGraths Hill clay. 

Site Information

Layout Owner:Erik Bennett
Address:33 Kananook Avenue, Bayview 2104
Phone contact:0409 395 482
Layout details:Name: North Beaches Railroad
Scale: HO with DCC
Size: 15m2
Special instructions:Street address is 33 Kananook Ave, but park and enter around corner at second house in Taminga St. Enter through carport.
Refreshments available:Yes

Layout Visits

The layout is open to guests at the following times:

Event TypeDateSessionLinkPlaces
Event TypeDateSessionLinkPlaces

The layout is not open for viewing during the course of the 2023 NMRA Convention on Saturday 30 September or Sunday 1 October.

*Places indicates the remaining spaces available for each session.