Marbelup Valley Railway - Operation

From the outset, the Marbelup Valley Railway was designed to allow realistic and interesting operation, including both coordinated train movements along the single-track main line and wayside shunting.

Some of the railway's features which support the operational aims include:

  • A reasonable number and variety of sidings, industries, etc. to justify freight traffic over the railway.
  • Four modest size stations which represent a significant length of main line and allow varied operational possibilities.
  • A consistent and logical geographical layout: Trains heading to the right are going towards Freycinet.
  • A Digital Command Control (DCC) system so drivers can simply drive a train without having to worry about complex block power controls. The DCC system uses hand-held throttles which allow drivers to follow their train along the line. Drivers can unplug their throttle while their train is moving and move to the next station.
  • Use of Kadee couplers and generous provision of under-track uncoupler magnets, to allow most shunting to be "hands-free"
  • A signalling system with centralised traffic control (CTC).
  • A wall-mounted fast clock (6x normal speed), driven by the CTC system and synchronised with the clock on the CTC computer.
  • A 4-track staging yard (Springdale North) representing the WAGR network beyond the Marbelup Valley area.
  • A card-based system for directing movement of goods wagons.
Since July 2001, operating sessions have been held on the MVR every two months. Operating sessions typically require 5-7 operators with duties as follows:
  • Train Controller - coordinates all train movements over the MVR main line.
  • Freycinet Yardmaster - coordinates operations within the Freycinet station and yard, assembles outgoing trains, shunts wagons from arriving trains to local destinations, or to outgoing trains.
  • Drivers (3) - drive trains over the main line, including carrying out shunting at the smaller stations.
  • Driver's Assistants - any extra operators usually assist drivers of local goods trains with shunting.
There are four walk-around throttles which generally limit the number of trains on the main line to three, as one throttle is pretty much in full-time use at Freycinet. The room size and aisle space make operation difficult with more than 7 operators.


The MVR timetable is based on the train graph principle. The Train Controller uses an A3 copy of the train graph to regulate train movements, and manually updates the train graph to accommodate extra trains, late running, etc.

See the enlarged timetable for more detail.

Wagon Cards

Here are some typical wagon cards. There is a small envelope for each wagon, with is class and number details. The card slipped into the envelope has up to four destinations for each wagon, which determine its movements over the MVR and WAGR network.

MVR Home Layout Summary Aerial Photo Freycinet Area Photos
Updated 19 September 2004