Wednesday, 20 April 2016

It all ends up in the bin again!

It seems that I never get anywhere further than running a few trains. It doesn't help that, even after much thinking and planning, I still end up with a layout that doesn't work very well. However, the driver this time was that we were moving apartments. We didn't go very far - just down two floors but the new one had a bigger 2nd bedroom (aka David's Hobby Room). I had seen the room before in that my mother-in-law moved into an apartment with the same floor layout (but a mirror image) about 6 months before our move. I had always stood at the door of the room and thought what a great railroad I would get in there.

However, by the time I had set up my modelling desk, my studying desk (I am completing an Open University degree in Computer Science), two glass cabinets full of scale models, a shelving unit with my scale model kit stash and a 10' run of kitchen units holding the rest of my "stuff", the only place left for the railroad is on the top of the kitchen units.

I have a big pile of HO equipment and only a 2' wide shelf to build a railroad. Now, if I was to go back to making a switching layout then this would be fine but I have found that I miss trains running round.

I posed the problem on the forum of Model Railroad Hobbyist. I was asking if I could get a roundy-roundy layout on here, given that I only run short 1950s diesels and 40' freight cars. What has come out of that is a suggestion to try a tight curve (I have the track) and see how it works. Apart from that there are three real suggestions:

  1. Fit removable wings on both ends of the worktop to enable wider curves.
  2. Fit a shelf around the room behind the computer screens etc. with a lift out bridge at the door end.
  3. Move to N Scale!
I don't like option 1 and 2 doesn't work as we rent the apartment and I don't really like fixing anything to the walls - the kitchen units you can see are actually free standing. This leaves option 3. If you go back to 2011 on this Blog you will see that I have been here before. In fact it was only when we moved in 2013 that I broke up this and moved to British OO (for a very short time before I came back to US outline!).

I quite like this idea for a few reasons. Firstly, it gives me the equivalent of 20' x 4' in HO without the complications of not being able to reach the back of the baseboard. Secondly, and strange to relate, I would be glad to get away from having sound on the locos. I found it hard in a small room to have three locos all puffing or whining away. I kept turning the sound off. This way I can move to a quieter world. Lastly, I can have my dream of a really good run for the trains whilst keeping a decent yard for switching. I think that I can get enough for my current stock, off EBay, to let me get the bulk of what I want and then to build up slowly after that.

Finally, I would be glad to have something a little bit more complicated because I am still developing "Old Bill's Switch List" which is my web based car routing software.