Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gunnedah And Beyond - Back On Track!

Once again it's been a long time between posts, hard to believe it's been seven months since I collected my Trainorama 48 class, and whilst yet again I cannot report on any actual modelling, that is all about to change in the very near/immediate future.

I wish I could report that this is because my health issue has improved, frustratingly this is not the case with it continuing to progress slowly, but in spite of this annoyance I am determined to make the most of each day and try to achieve some goals I have previously had, building a nice layout being one of them.

With a massive amount of support and encouragement from my wife, and her insistence that we plough ahead regardless, I feel very fortunate to be able to report that I now have an almost complete dedicated Man Shed with which to build a nice layout within.

We are fortunate to have a large enough backyard that already had a double width carport attached to the side of the double garage, and because I no longer need to house a car trailer, box trailer, and other associated equipment you collect simply because you have the space, we have been able to build a 7.5 m x 5.6 m Colourbond shed, that has been fully insulated and lined, painted, nice flooring put down, and apart from the glass sliding door entrance, has a combination of cupboards and drawers with a 900 mm high 600 mm deep bench top the entire way around the interior walls. The inside dimensions after being lined are 7.305m x  5.485m, a very generous size I think.

All that remains to do is for the electrician to return and simply connect up the power points, light switches and down lights to the wiring which was all routed prior to the interior walls being gyprocked, the air-conditioner which has already been ordered to be installed, and the rest of the skirting boards placed in the gaps between the cupboards.

All of the cupboard doors and drawers feature the push to open latches so a gentle push with either my knee or foot sees them pop open, and a gentle push on him sees them close, much easier for me than having to grab handles these days. No fancy bench tops were used as they will be completely covered by the layout, no point wasting money on something that will never be seen!

It's probably an adventurous/ambitious plan, but I would like the layout to be on two decks with the bottom deck being a combination of staging and very loosely based on parts of the Main North line, and the top deck will feature a likeness of Gunnedah and some of the surrounding railway infrastructure, mainly the oil sidings, stock yard, abattoir siding and whatever else will fit without cramming too much into the area.

I am planing on trying the high density foam insulating sheets that you can buy from Bunnings, that are 1200 mm long by 600 mm wide by 50 mm deep as the basis on which to lay track and scenery. I'm thinking of placing either a plywood or MDF fascia sheet onto the front and rear faces of the foam that will be around 4 to 6 inches high, as well as some light bracing under the foam just to make sure there are no sagging issues.

I'm thinking I would like layout sections to be essentially modular, and not permanently attached to the bench or walls. I am thinking about getting some very basic steel frames fabricated, that are essentially in the shape of a capital E that will simply sit on the bench tops and against the walls, and will support the lower level deck, upper level desk, and a top roof and fascia. The back scene will be able to be attached directly to these frames, and when each scenic module is completed it will simply sit in place and but up against the back scene.

The fascia panel of the top deck will allow for fitting of LED strip lighting to light the lower deck, and the top roof and fascia section will house the LED strip lighting for the upper deck.

The only thing I haven't decided is exactly how trains will get from the bottom deck to the top deck. A helix I think is out of the question as they take up a lot of space, so I am thinking a simple long grade along the back edge of the lower deck that pops up in an appropriate place leading into Gunnedah may be the best way to do it, although to be honest this is not ideal either! I think this is where the dreaded word compromise comes into play.

Making this all the more challenging is that I really do have extremely limited use of my right hand and next to none of my left, so to a large extent both my wife and daughter will be very hands on in trying to be my hands in doing a lot of stuff. Like I said earlier this is an ambitious project, but with help, determination, positive thoughts and some luck along the way I don't see why it cannot be achieved.

Hopefully I will have some updates soon on how my foam module idea works out, and over the coming months more regular updates. But for now just take a few pictures of the room itself.



South Coast Rail said...

Hi Darren,
Welcome back with some good news - a shed. Now I always thought train sheds were supposed to be painted with sky blue walls!!!
Seriously though you will have a tough road ahead to fulfill your dreams. Please don't hesitate to call out for help. I am sure there are plenty from the model railway fraternity who will lend a hand to help you achieve.
Do a blog call and organise some working bees.
Looking good,

Darren said...

Hi Bob,

It's nice to be back with some positive news, and you are right that I may well need some help along the way, the last 12 or so months have taught me to accept help when offered, so once I get a few things in order I may well post a list of jobs I could use a hand with!

Sky blue walls might seem logical but gee they are boring haha! I wanted something bright and cheery, besides the layout will have its own backdrop and pelmet with fascia over the top, so the orange will just be a nice highlight on the top couple of feet off the wall.

I really can't convey how stoked (boom-tish!) I am to have this space to play with.


Ray P said...


Fantastic shed, now that's a plan! Go for it!

Best regards,
Ray P

Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,

It really looks fantastic! The colour combination is also cool.

Be patience, you can achieve this as you are fortunate to have such helpful wife & daughter in your life.


Phil White said...


A late comment - having reread your post while away, the styrofoam modules work well particularly placed on top of the cupboards. I have used a similar arrangement for years.

I do suggest that you work on a few modules at a time to get things running and keep the wiring simple.

cheers Phil