Well, its more destination ‘AnyRail’, than anywhere actually, https://www.anyrail.com 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
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.
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’ http://myp48.wordpress.com-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