Muswellbrook V3.2

It seems as if the elements are against me and everyone else this year. We’ve suffered another round of heavy rainfall over the past couple of days and it’s a long weekend! 🙂 However I stand on the battlements and laugh in the rain’s general direction because my shed has a new roof and as such (fingers crossed) my equipment is safe and dry inside, including lots of train gear.

As I can’t really do much actual modelling or construction until the room is completed, I’ve been noodling about with a layout plan using the interim measurements I’ve taken after the work so far and I’m reasonably happy with the way things look. It’s nowhere near as complicated or ambitious as the previous version however I’ve managed to shoehorn in a mainline yard, some off-scene storage, a full mixed branch line and a colliery siding. I just need to find some room for the Muswellbrook Oak dairy siding and possibly move the Wheat siding to the other end of the yard in Merriwa and I’ll be done.

I’ve put some more work into this plan and abandoned the idea of making the branch a coal only line. Making the Merriwa line a fully functioning, mixed branch is much more in keeping with my interests. I like the idea of mixing coal and wheat on the same layout and there aren’t too many places other than Muswellbrook in NSW where this happens. However I need the Merriwa line to achieve this.

A couple of friends agreed to come by and visit yesterday and I showed them both the previous plan and the work on the room so far. We sat and drank tea and coffee, looked at some models and poked around the upstairs area of my layout room, taking measurements and talking plans. As you do 🙂 There are many “lone wolf” modellers in the world I imagine but I can’t say I number myself among them: I tend to build my layouts on my own but I need to run ideas past other modellers and hear what they have to say about my schemes. For the cost of a few cups of tea and coffee and some biscuits I got to run my ideas past two people whose opinions I respect. They didn’t so much come up with new ideas, more confirmed what I’d already been thinking. I need a circle of track to run some of the big locos I have plans to build and I need a mixed branch. Everything else should hang off these two “must-haves”.

In a sense the branch is really where my interests lie; the mainline yard, 75′ turntable and colliery siding are really just there to take my modelling over the past 17 years a step beyond Morpeth where I’ve really just been modelling the branch but never had this connect with the outside world. I suppose you can call a fiddle yard the outside world but in this next layout I want to model a 3D part of it. Hence the need for Muswellbrook. It wouldn’t surprise me if, in the long run, I spend most of my time running a mixed goods up the branch, shuffling a few wagons about the yard and then running the train back down the line to Muswellbrook. Now that’s my idea of a fun! 🙂 I’ll probably only run trains on the main when friends drop by and if I decide to start running operating sessions. Something I haven’t had the opportunity to do for many years.

We’ll have to wait and see how that goes…