Considering Options

Rebuilding my two small portable layouts into a new incarnation as a permanent home layout has presented me with a series of practical, if not mundane, tasks to complete before I can run a single train on the new formation. Slicing bits off pre-existing modules, re-wiring old parts of the layout, building new benchwork and patching up the damage caused has provided me with quite a few happy hours of work and things are progressing well. I spent some time today working on the last major wiring task and this will be finished by the end of the week.

However at some point one has to sleep and this requires waking up and therein lies a danger. On the surface waking up from sleep might seem like a pretty safe activity but I’m on a school break at the moment and this means I don’t have to immediately get out of bed in the morning when I wake up: I can lie under the covers and think and this can be dangerous because when you think you’re likely to get ideas! This morning I got an idea as I lay in bed summoning up the courage to face the cold and the idea made a “clunk” sound. That clunk sound is the noise that comes from an idea that works and no matter how hard you try the more you think about it the more sense it seems to make. Let me explain:

Along with a couple of other photos this photo of the real Queens Wharf is one of the primary reasons I model the Morpeth line.

Along with a couple of other photos this photo of the real Queens Wharf is one of the primary reasons I model the Morpeth line.

Many years ago, when I first read about the railway line to Morpeth, one of the things that drew me to modelling the line were some of the handful of photos that had been taken of the line. The one of Queens Wharf above is a real favorite of mine and I have long had a desire to make a more accurate model of this location. On my model of Queens Wharf I have the station platform, waiting shed and crossing in their correct relationship to each other but the cluster of buildings that surround the location of the station is complete modellers licence. I would really like to have the chance to model Queens Wharf in a more natural, open and less cluttered setting. I’ve even considered modelling this scene in HO! Thus far I have resisted the call of the dark side! 🙂

The next step in this thinking process comes with the work I’ve been carrying out on Queens Wharf as I get it ready to connect up to some new benchwork I will eventually build. I was looking at the station and surrounding scenery on Queens Wharf and had the thought that it would be nice to spruce it up a bit and then it stuck me that with the slightly elongated benchwork I’d just installed I might think about shifting the platform along a bit so that it would be easier to do a run-around without fouling the point at the entrance to the QW yard. Because QW was built as an experiment, and because it is so small, I had to place the platform much further down the line than I would have liked. In its current location it’s not possible to draw the two carriage trains into the station and clear the point that leads into the yard. Now that I have a bit more room I could shift the platform down the line 300mm or so.

I suppose it was only logical to start thinking that if I was going to lift the model of the platform and move it further along there was no reason why I couldn’t move it anywhere I wanted on the layout. For the last couple of months I’ve been trying to decide what I was going to build as a scenic feature along the new stretch of line that will connect up the two stations. My first choice has always been a bridge, mostly because I like building bridges. However now that the time to make a decision is fast approaching I’ve been having second thoughts. The bridge I want to build bears no relation to anything that existed on the Morpeth line and there is a perfectly good bridge within the confines of the Morpeth modules that is part of a scene that I’m yet to finish. So I’ve been wondering, if I didn’t build a bridge, what else could form the scenic centrepiece of this part of the line. Clunk! If I was going to move the Queens Wharf platform why not move it onto the new section of layout where there would be plenty of space to model a more realistic representation of the prototype scene? That was the “clunk” I heard in bed.

This is the only photo of Raworth station as far as I'm aware. While the passenger facilities were just as spartan as those at Queens Wharf, the waiting shed is at least platform mounted. The platform itself is brick faced.

This is the only photo of Raworth station as far as I’m aware. While the passenger facilities were just as spartan as those at Queens Wharf, the waiting shed is at least platform mounted. The platform itself is brick faced.

I have never attempted to build a model of Raworth station. One of the reasons for this is that I only received a photo of the station about 5 years ago. Secondly, I simply didn’t have a layout space of a size that would allow me to model it. However if I was going to shift Queens Wharf from its current location there would be a hole where I would need a new station platform and it makes sense to me that this should be the name of the one remaining station on the line I haven’t modelled, Raworth.

While this might seem a bit of a whim on my part there is another very sound reason I wouldn’t mind ripping out the scenery behind the line at Queens Wharf. A few years ago I installed the Morepth line’s one and only signal on Queens Wharf and this quietly goes about its work each time a train enters the yard. It is located behind the shop (Lawson’s Store, built by my friend Stephen Reynolds and named after my mum’s maiden name) on the left hand end of Queens Wharf yard. In its current location behind the store it is almost invisible. When I build the new benchwork I plan to shift it from this location onto a spot out in the open where it can be seen by drivers and by visitors to the layout. If I’m going to move the signal then now is the time to do it when I’m pulling the scenery out anyway to shift the stations about.

I'm not going to call this the "final" plan but it does show the changes I'm discussing in this post. The names Queens Wharf and Raworth shifted to their new locations and the signal location can be seen represented by the letters A and B. A is where the signal is currently located and B is where I plan to move it.

I’m not going to call this the “final” plan but it does show the changes I’m discussing in this post. The names Queens Wharf and Raworth shifted to their new locations and the signal location can be seen represented by the letters A and B. A is where the signal is currently located and B is where I plan to move it.

Tonight I decided to redraw the plan of Morpeth to see what the changes might look like in scale. There is a lot to say for these changes but there is one downside: while Queens Wharf will look a lot more like the prototype in its new location the little layout that has borne this name for something like 12 years has a history and tradition that these changes push to one side. While the clunk was very loud with this idea I haven’t made up my mind that this is the road I want to travel down. I’m sure I’ll let you know what I eventually do 🙂

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