Sunday, 21 January 2018

It's the "I don't have a name yet" railway

I have been modelling US outline HO for many years with only a couple of unsuccessful forays into British OO and OO9. However, I have got a bit depressed about the costs of buying stuff from the USA. Finally, I have decided a) that I want to do something where I can pop to my local model shop,that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg for postage/added VAT and handling charges and c) gives me more room for a railway.

Hence, I have taken down the HO layout. I am slowly putting all of the equipment up on EBay and am now building an Gauge layout. My basic area is one leg of 9'x 2' and a second leg of 6' 6" x 2'. In HO/OO this is quite tight but in N it is acres!

The problem is that I know little or nothing aboutBritish Railways having been brought up in South London (Streatham to be exact) and thus was only exposed to Southern Electric in my youth. I have decided that I will use basically LMS equipment as I can cope with 3F, 4F, etc. andI like Duchesses and Jubilees.

I went off down to my local model railway show - Scograil in Ipswich, which seems to have morphed into Orwell Model Railways and now run by Brett (of Scograil) and Kevin(of Coastal DCC fame!). I must say that we are very lucky to have both a top quality model shop AND a genius at DCC - in Kevin Dickerson - within 5 minutes drive from me. It seems that this results in daily visits!

Where am I then. I have designed the layout - basically a medium sized terminus feeding a small branch end of line and a fiddle yard. Location seems to be in the north west. I am thinking of making it a seaside resort where you can see the Lake District in the background feeding out to a small town with a Creamery as its biggest employer (Seascale way).

The terminus looks like this:

and the branch like this

Telling my wife that this would be cheaper than US HO, I went round to Orwell and spent £350.00 on some track, a loco (Ivatt 2MT), some passenger coaches and goods wagons. I then acquired a 4F. Having tried DCC Concepts DCC decoders (I am a Digitrax man) I swapped them out for some Zimo as Zimo seems to manage coreless motors better (thanks Kevin). This was when I was thinking of building just a small board for fun. Having turned it into something bigger and better(?) I then spent another £350.00 on the track for the terminus. Given that I am expecting to run a Jubilee or a Duchess into here with some "blood and custard" Mk1s and some extended coal trains, I haven't yet explained that I am not finished! Fortunately, I have all of my HO stuff to sell so that should offset the costs somewhat.

I am quite disabled with arthritis and can't stand up for too long so my model railway sits on top of some B&Q kitchen units that sit on the floor. This means that I can roll around on an office chair and do most things sitting down. I can't contemplate climbing underneath baseboards so I build everything out of 5mm foam core, extensively braced. This makes a 9' x 1' 4" baseboard light enough to pick up but strong enough when sitting on a stretch of kitchen worktop.

I use DCC extensively and thus have Cobalt IP motors and I drive them from JMRI buy setting up routes for specific trains. These sit underneath the layout but if there is any issue, I can just flip the board on its side and fix it. To make the shunting on the branch more interesting, I have reverted to wire and tube for the point operation but the fiddle yard (which will be behind the branch eventually), will be wired into the DCC bus and JMRI.

I have a good friend who is an artist (see his website at Brunswick Fine Art). He has painted some back scenes for me - and I built his web site for him. I am in the process of fitting these. As the layout may need to be lifted, the back scenes are all removable.

Anyway, that is the story so far. Here is where I am with the layout itself.

The main board.

and the branch terminus

So far, I have been unable to think of a name for this. I am thinking of something like"Grange-over-Sands" or "Wells-Next-The-Sea" - in other words, something that tells you it is a seaside location. So far, I have come up with nothing!

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