No photos to show (yet) but some progress nonetheless over the weekend. After a lot of deliberation and reading around since my last posts, I finally decided on a surface material for my baseboards. I have gone for 9mm plywood, supported on a nominal 2"x1" frame. The baseboard will be constructed in 4'x2' sections (or rather, 607mm x 1220mm, as that's what Wickes supply), each of which will be essentially independent with its own frame. Whether or not the layout eventually becomes portable, I feel it's better to make the board detachable in case I have to move it for any reason. The shape of my layout is neatly covered by ten rectangles the size of the ply sheets, with very little wastage.
I bought the first tranche of material on Saturday and spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon making a start on the baseboard frames. Because it's not entirely clear yet how the surface is going to work (i.e. whether it's flat or whether it's open) I am not fixing down any of the ply yet. I can still go ahead and make all the basic frames without having to worry about the surface just yet.
I have had a go at creating a track plan in XTrkCAD - it's by no means perfect and there's lots I need to learn how to do in the package. But you can see the draft here:
The draft uses Hornby sectional track for illustration but I intend eventually to use Peco flexible and Setrack if funds permit. Watch out for another post about my track dilemma soon. Some things don't quite join up - again, this is an artefact of using sectional track
I think - and I stress this is just an idea at the moment - that the main station will be slightly elevated from the base board level, and that the side sections - the areas with "vertical" track in the diagram - will have the surface at a lower elevation with the track crossing on bridges. Technically it's easy enough to do this, and there should be a nice height effect. Then the front sections will all be open frame to allow for lots of scenery and for the feeds to and from the fiddle yard (feeds to the fiddle yard are indicated with arrows on the diagram). The yard itself will, as hinted before, be under the station area.
The first task is to complete the five frames along the back wall so that I can put down some track and tweak the station layout. I have completed two and nearly finished the third of these frames, and have enough ply to cover them all. Once the station alignment is known I can finalise the plan for the complete layout and therefore the design of the open frame sections along the front.
More to come when I've tidied up enough to allow photographs! With the arrival of several plywood sheets, space has suddenly become an issue in the loft...