I’ve managed to get a fair bit of time on the layout this past week in the lead-up to Christmas with only the occasional interruption due to the better half wanting me to work on her walk in wardrobe or the cat demanding to be fed thus making a trip to the supermarket necessary. I managed to do about 75% of my Christmas shopping online this year but this paled by comparison with the number and variety of materials and supplies I’ve been buying for the layout online.
I’d started this past week with the firm intention of laying at least some of the track in the storage yard, however it only took the consumption of one beer while I sat looking at the length of the storage lines leading to the turntable to make me realize that a major revision to the plan was called for. I will now have 6 storage lines instead of 5 and all of them will be significantly longer after the inclusion of some curved points which have been pushed something like 750mm further back up the yard. Of course the first thing I did after I decided to make this change was to take stock of the curved points I had on hand. I would need 2 left hand ones for this change and another for the entrance to the yard in Raworth, a stop on the line that is yet to be built. Great news, I had 4 curved Peco points in the cupboard, all of them right handed. @%&%$*&! 🙂 I placed an order online with my usual supplier but having only placed this 4 days before Christmas my plans to lay some of the storage lines was going to have to wait. What to do next?
I spent a few hours refurbishing a small cabinet that I built something like 20 years ago to house my power packs and electronic boxes on my last HO layout. As I’ve not had a permanent layout in the intervening years when this layout came down the cabinet was trundled around the state with me and last saw service as a “make-do” spray painting station. I need somewhere to house my DCC system, the power packs to supply the command control system and other layout functions, a place to gather the power cords in place at a power board and a place to store all the other paraphernalia that goes along with these needs like throttles and cords. I decided that it would be honoring this little cabinet to place it back in service in its original function and a few hours work to remove various additions, extract some very old transformers and adjust a door that was always sticky saw it carried upstairs ready to be pressed into service next week.
The next logical job on the layout was to “fill the gap” at Queens Wharf created by the splitting of this little layout into two parts to allow for the extension of the loop. I’d already decided that within the yard limits of QW I would hand lay the track to match the track that already exists there so this meant getting the roadbed installed within the yard and making a start on laying the track. I commenced work by carrying out some work on the new bench work tables that the layout is now sitting on and securing the layout to these. I then made some adjustments to some ply roadbed pieces I’d cut up weeks ago and which had been sitting on the layout gathering tools on their surfaces while I worked on other projects. I’ve made a start on the track and I’ll detail my method of hand laying track in a follow-up post but in this post I thought I’d detail how I started with the remnants of a small portable layout and ended up with almost none of this left in its original condition.
This photo shows what was left of Queens Wharf after I’d installed it on its new benchwork. So this where I started about 3 days ago. You can see where things have changed as I split the layout in two and inserted a section of benchwork in the middle to allow a longer passing loop. I haven’t finalized what’s going to eventually be installed in this extended QW but I do know that I want to model an oil siding and I want this model to include some storage tanks. In 7mm these tanks are “big” and while I probably won’t install all of the ones even a small depot would have on site I think two isn’t out of the question. I’ve been considering A as the most likely location but this site is very restricted because of the goods shed at B. It would be good if I could shift the goods shed. Also the track and associated benchwork at C was a piece of extra track I’d installed when I last tried to press QW into service as a destination on a layout but I was restricted to only about 250mm of extra track. I kept looking at this section of layout and thinking “maybe I should remove those stubby lengths of track and start again”. D is the station area of QW and this is largely based on the prototype: if this station stop was going to remain Queens Wharf it really needed to be left in place but it would be really nice to be able to move it closer to the camera so it isn’t crammed up that end of the yard.
When I decided to use QW and Morpeth in the construction of this layout t was intended to be a head start on construction. The restrictions and challenges of trying to cram the two layouts into this space would be compensated for be having a detailed layout up and running much faster. If the process of getting the layouts to fit led to significant portions of those layouts either having to be abandoned or discarded then I may as well start from scratch and build an entirely new layout.
A little bit of leverage and the removal of some screws allowed me to clear the whole end of the QW yard giving me more breathing room for the oil depot and the later installation of a new goods shed a little further down the line.
I started by wondering what was holding the goods shed in place: two screws and a little paint was the answer so this scene is now sitting on a shelf in my storage cupboard. I really couldn’t see the point of leaving the stubby lengths of track in place at this end of the yard as these were only “make-do” anyway so I removed the track and the associated benchwork. Now that I have a clean slate I’ll put some thought into what I’m going to do with this space as I digest my Christmas Biryani. For some reason the better half has decided were going to go with Indian food for Christmas day celebrations this year 🙂
While I was under the layout I decided to determine what was securing the station platform and waiting hut scene to the benchwork: very little it turned out. I gave the scenery base it was sitting on a gentle poke with my fingers and the whole scene lifted. So I pulled the whole scene free from the layout and placed it further up the line just to see if it would fit.
This is the shape of things with the station centered on the main and sitting where it should, not crammed down the end of the scene where it has always been. The reason it was that far down the line was simply a lack of room. I was considering removing the signal from this scene anyway as it was hidden behind the town scene and was virtually invisible. So having the whole scene relocated will expedite this change of location beyond the shop in the distance.
I will have to consider whether I like the station in this location and also whether I wish to leave the station facilities as they were at the real QW which were spartan indeed. In my expanded and enhanced QW such a small, open platform seems a little out of place. An A2 or A3 station building would seem more appropriate for this location. Who knows, Queens Wharf station platform may get a new lease of life at a location a little further up the line. Then again, I might just leave things as is.
Merry Christmas everyone.