03 March 2009

It's been a while...

Much time has passed with little progress; other commitments have intervened. But the past few days have at last allowed some progress again. The fourth baseboard is now in place (seen below with added train for scale!). When I eventually got time to work on it, it went together pretty well and retains the level of the others without any adjustment being required.

That leaves the right-hand-most of the back boards still to do. In some ways it will be the hardest because this section is a little bit wider than the others, i.e. a few cm wider than a standard 606mm plywood sheet. But now I know what I'm doing, I should be able to complete it smoothly enough, given the time.

Cue arty shot of the train in the above photo...

(It looks better if you don't blow it up to full size.)

Every time I complete a milestone (even a mini one like this), my desire to get trains running comes back. And it's good to know that the next major expense will be track and pointwork, rather than wood and screws.

In the last post I promised an update on the track plan. Well, here goes. Like all good track plans it is still evolving, and there are some problems I haven't found solutions for yet.

Comparing this with the previous track plan (see this previous post) reveals a number of important changes:
  1. The trackwork has been upgraded to Peco Streamline, so the pointwork is smoother and more convincing. The plan now calls for two double-slip points
  2. I have broken the link between the mainline tracks at the bottom right. Previously there was a way of getting from one to the other, to allow an artificial tail-chase. I liked that less the more I looked at it
  3. The branch line now follows a different course and now diverges at (1.8,0.3) just before it disappears off the plan. The RH branch goes into short storage sidings underneath the scenery. The LH branch is supposed to link up with the storage sidings under the main station, but there is a lot of height to lose and I'm not sure how to do it yet. One possibility is a helix - not a particularly realistic construct, and one for which space is not readily available, but a good way of packing lots of gradient into a small space.
  4. The plan has fewer sidings. This is not necessarily a good thing as most real railways have lots of sidings around stations, and operationally I will need some. But it's better for avoiding too much layout clutter. I am sure the final siding arrangement will change again before being committed to the model.
  5. There is also a bit of rudimentary scenery (i.e. a river and a bridge!). I am still learning how to make the most of the scenic features in XTrk.
The plan is almost certainly not final yet, and it will need to be before I start tackling the five front sections. I'm not thinking that far ahead yet.

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