Destination Anywhere

Severn & Dean

Severn & Dean

Well, its more destination ‘AnyRail’, than anywhere actually, and that’s where some of the schematic plan above has come from. More of that later ..

I’m at one of those stages where you have a number of ideas/projects all running under consideration simultaneously. This is a good and bad thing.

Good because it reminds us we’re alive and if you’re male, can multitask. Or alternatively and more realistically (if male), can think about different things sequentially.

Bad as it arguably lacks focus and can be the catalyst for a period of stagnation and aimless meandering from subject matter to subject matter. You’ll then need to join a forum and start a thread saying, ‘My mojo has gone, what can I do to get it back?’ Fear not you’ll soon have a number of replies saying ‘me too’, so that’ll help, bet you’re glad you asked …

Chris Mears, judging by this post has found himself at a similar cross roads to me and has written an interesting piece on his blog princestreet..what-he-said/  I’ve found myself in a similar place. I have Albion Yard, and Wharfedale Road  ‘available’ for me to play with, and in real terms ‘complete’. Both of them OO/4mm scale, and  my own work.

I have Bawdsey http://bawdsey. too,  EM gauge/4mm scale built by Chris Matthewman, that too is complete, in effect being a ‘classic’ layout in the true sense and built by a real craftsman.Bawdsey 4mm/ EM gauge

Bawdsey 4mm/ EM gauge

I did have ideas of an extension to it, http://bawdsey.the-future-bawdsey-ferry/ but time and other projects have taken priority and realistically it’s not going to happen. The layout is a delight to operate though in its current form. I find myself questioning why break something that’s fixed? So that brings me back to OO/4mm scale, and where I want to go with it. I’ve done single/solo projects in OO/EM and N gauge and helped on others in different scales too, 4mm/OO is, boiling it down to the basics, where I’m at. It makes the most sense to use this scale, I find it comfortable to work with, and can find the challenges within it that are extant in other scales. I’ve also invested time and effort in 4mm/OO stock, so its a good launch point.

This brings us back to the plan at the top. I wrote recently about having operated ‘Buckingham’ and having been taken by the concept of trains ‘going somewhere and doing something’. I have a garage that could be used for a system layout and that’s where I feel I’m headed now. Anyrail has been useful with its Peco Code75 point templates and flexi track components included in the software. I’ve started with the first draft above, to get to know the software and how to get what I want from it, which is not necessarily the best out of it. The locations in the ‘Severn and Dean’ schematic plan above, are copies or pastiches of real Forest of Dean track layouts. The concept being to give the right operational feel to the layout, and to, in part, replicate the challenges of operating the railways in the Forest. It’ll run the perimeter of the garage and be semi portable, formed of individual ‘shelfies’ or I-layouts*, at a height to make them view realistically rather than from an aircrew perspective. A good friend suggested it had something of the Mindheim about it, http://www.lancemindheim (in a good way I hasten to add), and there are similarities right enough. This will be a branchline layout of an linear format, in shelf units, and made, by me. It’s prototype freelancing too, taking real elements and making a ‘mashup’ as the kids would say, of a railway that people would recognize.

           The Fleet

The Fleet

Part of the concept is to push my boundaries again. I’ve built layouts by myself to specification, and others with no real plan, Albion Yard for example which turned out as perhaps my best so far. With Albion Yard I’ve got a good selection of motive power, and even for such a system as I’m thinking of only need a couple more locomotives to get a representative mix. These include 57xx panniers with no top feed, these are in progress at the moment, a high tank 45xx, and a couple of the 64/54xx variety which will come in the new year with Bachmann’s imminent release. The choice that I have yet to make is whether to go DCC Sound or stay with traditional DC. The downside of the DCC option is cost. More controllers, and sound ‘inserts’ costing around £100 per loco. For the group above that’s an outlay of around £800, and a further £500 for the known additions to come of two small panniers and a 45xx. That’s a lot of money just on sound de-coders which only add a bit of play value rather than any significant operational advantage. Almost certainly if I pull the trigger on this project, I’ll part fund it by getting rid of other projects which are in stock which will soften the financial blow, but it does mean commitment too, something us modellers with wide fields of interest like myself, will find a bigger challenge than the actual project!

Perhaps its time to take a leaf out of Eugene (Gene) Deimling’s blog and ethos and borrow a strap line from Nike, and ‘Just do it’  I’ve already started ‘Doing it’ I think, I can stand in the garage and visualise the space and baseboard shapes in my head, the design has evolved from the header image.  Reading books on how the Severn and Wye and Forest of Dean operated, I’m getting a feeling for how much more stock is required, mostly its freight, mineral wagons in particular. Probably about another 20 – 30 wagons, another £2-300 pounds on discount prices if I buy RTR. The Airfix kit is looking a promising option to cost effectively build up the wagon numbers. I’ll make the descision based on cost vs time available, fortunately they can be built quickly and look almost identical to the RTR counterparts. Passenger stock is pretty much catered for, a couple of Great Western B sets, some BR Mk1 suburbans, and three Autotrailers will cover what I need. For a newer twist I may add a British Rail diesel Railcar as well.

So, what next? The northern end of the line as depicted will change, I know that already, and am thinking of trying to integrate the DVD project layout into the scheme. I’m quite encouraged by the amount of thought this potential ‘railway’ project is taking, it’s quite a different feel to previous projects, it feels like it has more ‘purpose’. We shall see …

*I-Layout Mr Nevards description of one of my eye level presented Shelfie layouts



This entry was posted in DCC, dcc sound, Forest of Dean, Great Western, Hornby, Kalmbach, Layout, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, Modelling, Nevard, OO Gauge, research, Welsh Marches, Western Region and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Destination Anywhere

  1. geoff52 says:

    Excellent news Paul, I was hoping you would manage to shift one of the cars thus allowing you to crack on with the project. Ever since you mentioned your grand plan I’ve been thinking of Coleford Junction in all its splendour 🙂

  2. Dunks says:

    Just a thought, but as well as pushing your boundaries, why not push them for the current 00 RTR standards by building track from Exactoscale components, e.g. chairs and FastTrack sleeper bases, with code 75 rail. It would make for a great chance to “push the envelope”, and show how far 00 can be taken – there are quite a few claiming that apart from a head-on view, it can be hard to differentiate modern ready to run from EM and, less convincingly, P4. If Peco, or other ready to play, brands are used, the track and pointwork is typically a give away, so doing it with the right size and shape of rail, lifted off the correctly spaced sleepers via chairs, would raise a lot of eyebrows.

    If you would like me to work with you on doing the plan in Templot, I’d be happy to help (any excuse to play with it, really!) and we aren’t much more than an hour apart on the A1.


    • bawdsey says:

      I agree Dunk’s and it may well be worth investigating further. I have a feeling in my water that the Exactoscale chairs may not work. The mainstay of the fleet are the Bachmann Panniers, and whilst not ‘Pizza cutter’ wheels, they have a more noticeable flange than some more modern RTR releases. I’ll try and blag some from someone and make a small section including some checkrails. I know what you mean re comments regarding the OO track visual debate. I’m not convinced, my track (particularly on Albion Yard), looks ok from a distance and a low viewing point, One of the reasons I like the letter box presentation. Raise the viewing angle and its clear its OO, some of the comments regarding the visual aspect I feel come from those whom aren’t interested in the track, so the visual discrepancies don’t stand out. This is possibly one of the reasons ‘OO’ points have never been introduced, they look wrong, If you know what track looks like, the peculiarity of sleeper space lengths stand out, and the market doesn’t actually know what it wants anyway, and in my experience never has done, hence the bi-annual ‘OO’ points frothnami’s that occur. We are due one imminently.

      On the Severn and Dean, I can think of a location where this ‘finescale’ approach could work and be viable. In terms of the whole layout the Peco geometry and serviceability of the Code 75 range works for me, coupled to C&L plain track. For a solo project this size it makes sense to stick with what I know I can make work, and in a reasonable time scale. I don’t have the Time Lord qualities Jim Smith-Wright seems to possess though to build track and baseboards etc etc.

      I may well tap you up on getting the baseboard design worked out once the track plan is finalized, so I can see a curry evening ahead!

  3. renegourley says:

    If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, start operations now! I mocked my layout up with wooden toy trains, and found a few places where I needed to change the plan subtly, even though it was a fairly faithful representation of the prototype. More importantly, I found out that the plan is going to be a lot of fun to operate, and that is keeping me motivated through what I always knew was going to be a long project.
    I’m looking forward to following your progress.

    • bawdsey says:

      Rene, thank you, it’s an excellent idea. The kids are now grown out of the wooden train thing, they’re into horses, ballet, theatre and singing so I have no excuse either to get some Brio! Where I think that concept could really work for me is to use a village hall/meeting room one evening or Saturday, blag or buy second hand OO/HO set track by the bucket load from swap meets, and set it up on the floor. Jus like when I woz a kid! Then getting mates who still use RTR couplings to bring (beer), stock and play trains. We’d only need a couple of section switches for DC to isolate controllers, and feeds can be done via contemporary RTR track feeds and connectors. If done within the actual footprint, apart from some curve radii, I’ll get a very good idea of aisle widths and board restrictions, without even cutting a single piece of wood.

      Thank you for a brilliant ‘igniter’ !

  4. Al R says:

    Hi PMP

    Tried dropping a text last night – has your number changed? Drop us an email, be good to catch up. Enjoying the blog.

    Al (Barry Ten)

  5. James Wells says:

    I think the idea of a ‘system’ where the trains go from one place to another is a great idea! Very much in the spirit of US modellers. I posted this on my blog some time ago –

    Iain Rice’s take on the system concept in a UK context. It’s something I’d love to try at some point so I’m going to enjoy seeing yours develop!

    PS You’re never too old for Brio! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.