Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Or Then Again...

When I went to bed last night I thought I had the plan for the new desktop layout falling into place. It was quite a good plan as well, with some clever scenic ideas and with the OO6.5 dominating over the standard gauge. But looking at it in the light of day it struck me that it was going to be a lot harder work than could be justified. I also had to admit how I'd enjoyed just watching the locos run round whilst I had been doing the planning.

So we head into Plan B territory, which is actually to revert to the baseboard I was originally intending to use for an OO6.5 version of the Scalescenes Canal Box Folder layout, but to build it around the Hornby Forge instead.  This will be my watching the trains go round layout. That leaves the ex TAoC baseboard to be used for a simpler scheme that is mostly a standard gauge shunting plank, but with a simple section of OO6.5 retained.

With a bit of rearranging, I even think I might be able to get both of them on my desk at the same time.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Desktop Decisions

I mentioned recently that I've been missing my original Apa Valley as a layout to just sit on my desk.  I think it is time to start moving forward with that idea. Since they have been sitting around for a long time without being used I've decided to sacrifice one of the Tim Horn baseboards intended for TAoC. If I ever return to that it will be on boards with built-in facias.

So that is one decision down. Another is that as with Cadeby I'm not going to use a permanent back scene.
The picture provides a bit of a clue that I'm not yet wholly decided on much else. I think the final choice will probably be a mostly static single turnout OO yard, based on the Wisbech and Upwell combined with a simple OO6.5  line playing the role of one of our local potato railways. I could always use OO9 but I feel the urge to do something a bit different, especially since James Hilton has just built another loco for me as a Xmas present from my wife. as it happens Hornby have released a new building based on our local heritage centre, the Chain Bridge Forge. Getting my hands on one proved to be a mammoth task and an object lesson in Hornby getting customer service both very wrong and very right.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Revival & Revison

 With short winter days, a full working week and Xmas preparations the ELR isn't yet getting that attention it deserves. A priority is to get the new small engine shed assembled and a lean-to beside the main shed to keep the goods stock under cover.

Most of the dead trees have been cut back
and the old terminus line slewed over

The old household yard was on the right.
It is hard to tell with the leaves,but
 it is now grassing over nicely.

But before doing that I'm beginning to rethink the track layout. The original layout evolved for were what very valid reasons at the time but a lot has changed. The household service yard is in a different location and the trees that the line had to fit around before were either removed to avoid poisoning the goats or have been killed by the goats stripping the bark. I also still haven't decided if the new vegetable plot, attempt number three, will go back where it was or somewhere else.

On top of that there are operational issues. I was never really happy with having all three points in quick succession all coming off the main running line. It was acceptable when we only had one loco, most of the trained were for goods traffic, and the tight reverse curve enforced low speeds anyway. How much of that will change in the future I'm not sure, but passenger services are going to have to start soon as the grandson realises they are an option. With some of the trees out of the way, I might even look at putting in a continuous run, or at least an option to provide one using temporary track. If I do I will just feel that little bit happier if trains can whizz by whilst work goes on in the service area.

So what does this mean in practice? 

I'm still not exactly sure.  Especially if I still want to access the gate onto Quick Lane, which can be very convenient for bulk deliveries. I have a soft spot for it as one of the original terminuses of the line, and it has been good for photos as well. But even before the goats it went long periods of time without being used, and got in the way of bringing bikes and garden machinery into the garden from the road. In any case, for now it has been slewed out of the way whilst some dead trees are cleared and I build the new shed.

Deciding where the running line should go is probably key. I want to use a more generous radius which, whatever I do, will mean moving a point. I guess once I've done that I can design the rest of the yard in a more leisurely fashion 

Friday, 5 November 2021

What First?

It still seems odd to look out the window in the morning and not to be greeted by a chorus of goats demanding food. The good news is they appear to have settled in well at their new home.

I'm still coming to terms with the reconstruction of the ELR. It really is difficult to know where to begin. I think it will be with the original terminus of the line, next to our back gate. In the last year of operation, this saw very little traffic because we moved the service yard for the house to a new location.

Front and back garden sections of the ELR are finally reunited

There is a railway somewhere under there. 

My initial plan is to realign the track and build the running shed here, to house the coach and at least one of the locos, freeing up the workshop. At a later date, I'll build a lean-to against the workshop to store wagons undercover. I'll still need a siding leading up to the gate to move deliveries of ballast, but that is likely to be a temporary track laid down when needed.

As expected I'm slowly being able to move more things from the office down to the workshop. That is making me think about my next plans for the indoor layouts. Finally having a clear space on my big desk has taken me back to the original gestation of the Apa Valley. What is different this time in the space I have in mind is going to be viewable from at least three sides and is more L shaped.

Option one is an OO6.5 layout to just watch the trains go by. I'm thinking something that runs from an industrial setting, out into the marshes, and then back to a harbour.

Option two is a bastard combination of an Ian Holmes inspired idea for a Kings Lynn based layout crossed both with White Lion Yard in Great Yarmouth and an old idea I had for a pointless EM Inglenook.

As with the OO6.5 layout I've not got a detailed scheme in my head yet, but it would involve an off-scene traverser or sector plate, with the tracks entering the scene in such a way that they appeared quite separate.

Option three is simply that pointless EM gauge Inglenook to finally get the Tanat Valley out of my system and make use of the old station buildings.

Then Bachmann had to come along with their double Fairlie announcement.

For years I've had two kinds of slightly absurd OO9 ideas in the back of my mind. One is an extended rabbit warren based on a couple of CJF plans, or, in a simplified form, the original Jopuef preformed HOe layout. The other is based on an old layout that appeared in MRC back in the sixties of Minffordd. It might well have been  built by Chris Leigh, and might even have been in 5.5mm scale

Both of these schemes would involve a certain suspension of belief. Here is my badly drawn concept for the Minfford layout.

Note that the hidden loop is placed at the front, and the operating interest would really be focussed on the yard.