Sunday, November 15, 2009

From Test Track to Spare Room Layout!

I'm sure that I am not the only person who is afflicted with the characteristic of starting off with a simple idea and quickly complicating it! After taking delivery of my Eureka 38, I soon tired of running it backwards and forwards along a length and a bit of flex track on my desk. And whilst I have a 7.2 x 7.2 metre garage down the yard, unpacking all of the unnecessary items since moving in around 6 months ago has been slow, and in the mean time I seem to have created an even bigger mess in there.

As well as having to clean up and make space, I have come to the realisation that no matter how much I hoped I wouldn't need to, the garage will need to be lined and eves installed to stop the atmosphere from entering the shed. Considering the roller doors are open maybe half a day a week, the amount of dirt and general air born objects that find there way inside is quite remarkable, and depressing. I can't imagine trying to keep a layout free of this muck, so realistically between unpacking the remaining boxes, fitting eves and lining the shed to some degree, it will unfortunately still be a while before Gunnedah begins.

However, the spare room has gradually returned to normal after being a half way room for stuff that needed to be in the house to be unpacked, but was yet to have somewhere to put it. Basically a queen sized bed, a sewing cabinet, my guitars and amplifiers (another hobby of mine) and some odds and sods is all that is now left in there. I have almost emptied the built in wardrobe which will will house my model making work bench
which I am about to begin making, which will finally give me a permanent space with which to work on all the projects I have been gathering.

The built in wardrobe is about 55cm deep and around 140cm wide inside, and I had planned a simple test track on a level, with a couple of sets of points to simply test rolling stock on and make sure that all was well running wise. However it then occurred to me, that with the wall running adjacent to the wardrobe being an additional 3.3 metres long, I may be better running a length of track along that wall on a shelf. After all 3.3 metres is better than 1.4 metres at best, and while I'm at it I could ballast it, add some ground cover, a backdrop and a roof with some simple lighting to create a diorama effect.

So already I'd gone from a simple 140cm piece of track to a 330cm diorama in the space of a few hours. It the occured that if I was to cut a small hole in the door I could continue along the wall and curve into the wardrobe with the extra bit of length. That would give around 5 metres of running room which is not too bad for a test track.

But then I had a thought, why use just one wall? Overall the room is about 4.0 x 3.3 metres, and if I used the remaining 3.3 metres of the wall with the wardrobe at one end, then the 3.3 metres across the back wall and then the 4 metres back along the other wall, I'd have a bit over 10 metres of running track excluding what's in the wardrobe. Certainly not the biggest run, but with a few sets of points at each end to make a couple of roads, I could actually operate it in a point to point fashion with some shunting around at each end.

So now I'm looking at an around the wall shelf style point to point diorama, with the layout being only about 15cm deep along the longer walls and maybe 20cm deep across the back wall which would be above the head of the bed. I can easily use around 750mm radius curves as they do not protrude that much into the room space, and being at the end of each side of the bed, it's an area not really used anyway.

So I began drawing some planes of how the track would look, with a single line joining two small country style locations with things like a loading bank, goods shed, cattle ramp etc. With a few sets of points and two or maybe even three tracks squeezed in it would actually allow for some quite complicated shunting manoeuvres taking place to get each wagon in its siding and then getting the train reassembled with the brake van at the end and heading back.

So there we go, from a simple test track to an around the room layout in the space of an hour or so. But wait, there's more!

With the available run between terminals, if I ran up a grade from the wardrobe side to the opposite side, and then had another branch running back towards the other side, but also running up a grade, I could have the short side of the room double decked, giving two separate scenes one above the other, and in effect now giving me three terminals. So the train would be assembled at terminal A, continue around to terminal B where some wagons would be spotted into sidings, the brake van swapped to the other end of the remaining wagons, and then the train would continue on to terminal C sitting directly above terminal A. Using this style I could replicate some of those small country style locations where a branch line runs off in another direction. So although the actual layout depth is narrow, the potential operational interest would be huge.

I've added a simple track plan to show the type of thing I'm looking into, with the left hand side showing the upper and lower level next to each other (top on the far left) and the top left representing the wardrobe branch. I'm actually going through some of the NSW country locations where simple two track plans were in existence with things like a livestock ramp, goods shed, loading bank, small platform etc, so that I can model something that actually existed.

I've already gone to buy some wall brackets and have begun setting the levels around the room, and hopefully over the next few weeks I'll be able to get going on it.

So once again, I've managed to turn a simple idea into another rather large project.


South Coast Rail said...

A layout in a wardrobe. Are you a closet modeller?

Darren said...

Hi Bob

Yes it brings a new meaning to the phrase doesn't it!

Well you often hear of people "coming out of the closet", so why not trains!