Modelling Minnipa - Minnipa Yard

The Brill railcar and parcels trailers arriving at Minnipa from Thevenard. Photo: John Dennis

The loco depot area, looking from the apex of the triangle. Photo: John Dennis

Minnipa was one of the larger station yards on Eyre Peninsula with four through roads, a loco depot and triangle. This along with the variety of train operations made it an obvious candidate for a model.


Structures

The station building has been built to the original 1911 plans for Minnipa, and the nameboard was made by scanning the SAR blueprint for the sign, resizing and printing, then attaching the print to the styrene board. Construction is in styrene, with corrugated aluminium for the roof. The building was originally painted in 'best guess' colours derived from black-and-white photo tonings and common SAR practice, but after the actual colours became known it was repainted into the correct 1960s colours.

Photo: John Dennis

The goods shed has been built from styrene sections and corrugated sheet, with corrugated aluminium used for the freestanding wall which is visible inside and out. The overall dimensions and door configuration were determined by measuring the remains on the platform at Minnipa. Since building the shed, I have discovered that the freestanding wall in the model has too many uprights - a rebuild will happen.

Photo: John Dennis

The derrick crane was heavily modified from a kit for a VR crane, suitably altered to represent SAR practice. On the prototype, this crane was replaced with a modern revolving jib crane in 1967, so it becomes an anachronism when running the 1968 or 1969 timetables.

Photo: John Dennis

The bagged wheat shed has been built as a complete frame (styrene sections), and is sheeted with corrugated aluminium. It has been constructed based on a 1925 blueprint for a SA Farmers' Union structure. Ideally there should be space for the bagged grain shed and the first silo block to coexist, but in the first layout configuration this was not possible. As a result, this building was constructed on a removable base to allow for a silo block to be substituted when representing the post-1962 period. However the move to Port Lincoln allowed extra length to be incorporated in the layout, and so the bagged grain shed and first silo block now coexist just as on the prototype.

Photo: John Dennis

The model of the first silo block at Minnipa. The silo cells are plastic stormwater pipe, and the dump shed and top structure are scratchbuilt using corrugated aluminium sheets on a styrene frame. The access tower to the side of the cells is built from styrene sheet.

Photo: John Dennis

The loco shed has been constructed using a combination of polyurethane castings, styrene sections and Grandt Line windows, and it has been constructed according to the actual 1911 plans for the Minnipa loco shed. Corrugated aluminium sheeting was added to form the roof and walls.

Photo: John Dennis

The coal gantry was scratchbuilt board-by-board. This design was used at a number of Eyre Peninsula locations (Cummins, Minnipa, Thevenard and Kimba), as well as on the 'mainland'. Coal was shovelled from an adjacent wagon (on the track behind the shed) into a bucket which was then hoisted up on runners and dumped into the main hopper. The small shed houses the winch for the bucket hoist.

In front of the gantry can be seen a scratchbuilt model of an SAR nineteenth century cast iron water column.

Photo: Peter Knife

An earlier water tower model was built from an SAR Model Company kit, modified from the deck up to match the Wudinna tank. I later found out that the Minnipa tank was built to the same design as the kit, but then I could not locate another kit and had to resort to scratchbuilding. This is the model seen now at Minnipa. Another kit was later supplied by the good people at SAR Model Co, and is now used for the Yaninee tank.

Photo: John Dennis

The maintenance barracks were scratchbuilt using Campbells corrugated aluminium sheet, styrene framing, Grandt Line windows and some white metal water tanks resurrected from the bits 'n pieces box. The 1911 SAR plans for the structure were used.

Photo: Peter Knife

The cattle yard was scratchbuilt with rail posts and styrene fences and gates. As constructed, it is part of the prototype yard at Minnipa - the original had extra pens extending back from the ramp. These will be modelled 'sometime'.

Photo: Peter Knife