Monday 24 June 2024

Shunting (Switching) Layout. Part 2. Flour Mill.

On the other end of the layout, real estate has been ear marked for a flour mill. 

Looking around there was not a lot of flour mills on the QR network. In Brisbane I can think of three, the mostly known one being the Albion mill which is long gone.

Other mills were at Clapham and Moolabin. All were served by rail receiving grain from the Darling Downs. By the mid 1990’s shunting of these siding ceased. A grain handling facility was established on the western end of Wacol yard there the wagon repair shop was located. A number of small corrugated silos were erected around a drop pit for unloading rail wagons. Trucks conveyed the grain to the various mills around town. Corn from the Kingaroy branch was also transferred to truck for Kellogg’s in Sydney from the site, something that was done at Clapham by slinging QR hopper bodies up above NSWR hoppers for unloading.  Each week a full train of loaded grain was placed into a couple of siding at Wacol. During the week a couple of Rail Operators (Shunters) would unload the wagons using a shunt tractor, two/three wagons at a time to keep the silos full. If the weather was wet, one wagon at a time was unloaded, the rubber tyres on the shunt tractors would not grip the wet rail head. At the end of the week all the empty wagons were collected from various short sidings and were marshalled into a train for Toowoomba.  

Around 2002 the grain wagon fleet was condensed from around 12 sets to 3 using higher capacity VGH wagons. The older QGX/QGA lower capacity wagons built for use on branch lines, along with VAOG wagons were scrapped. Super silos were established on the Downs and full trains were loaded in less than 2 hours. These silos were all on “A” class (15.75 TAL) lines.  No longer were wagons being used as storage. You guessed it, wagons sitting around for a week was not a good investment. With the new arrangements, these wagons would be capable of 5 to 6 round trips a week to the port.

A quick look in the 1963 siding book shows a small number of flour mills in regional South East Queensland.

Defiance Milling Co. Toowoomba.

Queensland Co-op Milling Association Toowoomba.

Warwick Flour Mill Coy’s Sidiing (off Warwick Butter and Dairy Coy’s siding) Milhill.

Dicks Flour Mill (25 Chains) Bell Branch Dalby.    

Like the butter factories, they too no longer operate, some of the buildings are still standing. 

Defiance Milling Toowoomba. (2024).

That's not QR. SA may be.???? 

These photos were taken April 2024. Great old building, but much to large for a shunting layout. 

In 2004 I visited Dalby and took a few photos of the flour mill on the Bell Branch. There was a great pie shop over the road and when passing through Dalby it was worth a few minute to stop for a coffee and a pie. 

The line on the left is the Bell Branch.

 Changing the subject a little bit, talking of the Bell Branch, how about this for a prototype shunting layout. The 1963 siding book shows the following. 

0 mileage being the branch points Dalby yard.

25 Ch, – Dicks Flour Mill Siding.  (Loop Siding 5½ chains.)

31 Ch. – Mobil Oil Co   (Dead End 2 ch.)

46 Ch. – Beelbee Sawmilling Coy. Pty Ltd (Loop 10 ch.) Part owned by State Wheat Board. There was also a telephone to Dalby at the location.

54 Ch. – B.P. Coy’s Siding  (Dead End 3 ch.)

63 Ch. – Phillips Oil Products Ltd Siding  (Dead End 3 ch.)

68 Ch. – Golden Fleece Petroleum Siding (Dead End 2 ch.)

A bit further down the line was



Mocatta’s Corner (8 ch. loop also used by Caltex Oil Coy.).State Wheat Board 20 T cart weighbridge 

Drawing suggest not all dead end siding faced the same direction. 

If I’m correct, a chain is the length of a crick pitch (66 ft.)  

There is an article on the shunting the branch in an ARHS publication. 

DH 58 shunting the Bell Branch Dalby. The tank wagon in the siding is a BP wagon. 

With consideration, the Dalby mill was the one to be built for the layout. The photos above didn’t give much from the rail side of the mill. A search on Google maps can up with a view I could use. The mill had been repainted in parts, the brown was now cream. To add a bit of colour to the layout, the mill was built as per my photos above. 

I again visited the mill after building the model and took these photos of the rail side. A very different story, it look like a rubbish tip and things were starting to fall apart.

Dalby Flour Mill 1935.  (Photo State Library Queensland. Allan Queale Album)

During this era, wheat arrived in bags, trapped wagon placed on the approach to the mill.

Around 1953, wheat transport transferred to bulk. Slios were used to store the grain. At first, it looks like two concrete silos were built and in later two steel siloes were added. 

A quick look on the internet shows Dalby had a population of 1416 people in 1901. The town had a Post & Telegraph Office, School of Arts, hospital, railway station, three churches, Salvation Army Barracks, state buildings, a flour mill that had just been established along with the Farmer’s Cooperative with a Butter, Cheese and Ice Factory.     


The building is to be low relief, to set a scene for placement (spotting) of wagons. The actual mill takes up just about a full street block with two frontages, I have allocated 400 x 75 mm ?????  Best of luck old boy. 

The main features of the mill were made from styrene sheet. Measurement were a guess, what may look OK

The styrene was covered with homemade corrugated iron.

The grain silos were made from PVC pipe purchased from Bunnings. (69 mm O/D)

The wire was to support the cover over the unloading pit. 

Styrene and corrugated iron used in the building construction was use for the elevator tower.  

Styrene sheet and strip was used for the awning to the cover the unloading pit.

Structure ready for painting. Some of the roof section were made removable for lighting to be added.  

The structure was painted with an airbrush using Vallejo paints much the same as in the photos taken in 2004. 

Lights were added to the elevator and a flashing red light on top.

The “Flour Mill” sign on the roof was homemade Inkjet decal.

The sign provides identification for someone not familiar to the layout.   

More lights were added under awning and in the building. Detail was added at the open door. The forklift, bags and pallet are InFront Models kits. 


Defiance Flour wagon is a Caintode Flats “C” wagon kit. The decal is available from Ted’s Decals, check out QR’s decal set on eBay or email 

The ARHS Sunshine Express showed a photo of the wagon and indicated the wagon as C 5626 and was painted 1946. History Card shows the wagon was built by Toowoomba Foundry Co. in Nov 1899. At first was altered for Zillmere Hams and Bacon Traffic and then used by Hutton’s for bacon traffic in 1942. Refitted back to an ordinary “C” wagon in September 1946 and sent to Mayne for the Advertising Branch. In 1951 the G.M. Brisbane issued instruction for the wagon to repainted with “Defiance Flour” signage. July 1960 the sign was deleted and applied to C 1056. C 5626 was scrapped in the Northern Division in Dec 1972.   

C1056 was built by Shillito & Son in February 1915. At first it was used as a Camp Wagon in the Hughenden district by a Flying Gang. 1954 not shown as a Camp Wagon and found in general traffic in Cairns. The wagon was repaired by CEC (Commonwealth Engineering Co) in April 1959.  

July 1960 the Defiance Flour advertisements was painted on the wagon in Brisbane. The wagon was scrapped at Ipswich 1985. Nothing to show when the sign was removed, my guess the wagon would have been paint “Freight Grey” during a workshop visit after 1969. I recall seeing a “Defiance Flour” wagon in the early 1960’s. 

I don’t think the wagon was captive to Defiance Flour traffic, I remember seeing the wagon out at Charleville on a goods train. I don’t think there would be to many wanting 12 ton of flour in one order in the west, may be the local bake house.  

Overall I feel the Flour Mill feel has been captured and will provided two points for wagon placement during operations.  Maybe the taller building at the back could have been a little taller?? I was trying to keep the overall height down for transporting the layout.


Wheat arriving.

Before the mid 1950’s, wheat was transported in bags, open and platform wagons were used. W and MTW platform wagons were the main stay in the wheat traffic. Open wagon could also be used as seen in the 1935 photo of the mill. 

This HJS wagon was scratchbuilt using styrene, side detail was not required as the tarp covers the sides. Caintode Flats bogies and detailing parts were used.   

Around 1953, wheat transport went bulk in special open wagons covered with tarps. WH and then WHE wagons were used.

This WH wagon was scratchbuild from styrene.

The slightly higher capacity WHE wagon is a PGC kit.

From the mid 1960’s bottom discharge wagons came into service, QGX wagons. If it was a bumper crop, coal wagons covered with a taps were used as well.  

In later years steel top were added to the coal wagons making the VAOG class. Around 1999, with the upgrading of most wheat growing branch lines completed, workplace and safety issues with workers on top of moving wagons during loading, altered loading methods at selected locations, larger capacity surplus VAH coal wagons were converted for grain traffic. Fiberglass tops with air operated top hatches saw the birth of the VGH wagons. The wagons were made up into three sets of 38 wagons and all other grain wagons were them scrapped.

Only around 12 to 16 had the signage on the side.  Dalby 2004.

 For me, I will be using my two QGX wagons and maybe WH and WHE wagons. 

This QGX wagon is a PGC kit

Bags of Flour out.

With our flour mill owner being a very happy rail customer the end product would leave the mill in box wagons.  Any four or eight wheeled box wagon could be used. Most of the time they would be supplied empty on request. From time to time one may arrive loaded with bags etc. 

Overall, I think the structure will provide atmosphere for the operations required.  When the structure goes on the layout some additional weathering and effects will be added. 

In the meantime until we meet again, have fun and enjoy the hobby. 

Arthur H. 


AMRA Qld. Library.

Queensland State Archives

QR Stations, Stopping Places and Isolated Siding 3rd January 1963. 

Monday 13 May 2024

"Great Train Show" Rosehill Sydney May 2024.


The Exhibition Guide showed 91 Exhibits

Blue Mountains  HO NSW  North Shore Railway Modellers Assoc. 

Lift up bridge section to access the centre of the Layout. 

Springfield Junction  Hills Model Railway Society 

Tarana / Oberon - Georges River Model Railway Club  N - NSW.

Uley Junction  O  UK (GWR) 

Second Hand Corner 

Being a Shedman is a hard work, need supplies.  

T Gauge  1:480 

Puffing Billy 1:350 

There was 6 live modelling clinic. 
Very nice dinning area to sit and have lunch.

Awesome exhibition, we have some very talented modellers in this country. 

Well worth the day trip to Sydney for the event. We had a great time in catching up with modellers from all over the country. 

Many thanks to the Epping Model Railway Club. 

Trust you enjoy 

Arthur H.