Sunday, 15 November 2020

Where Do You Start?

I have a plan. It's not as complicated as the last plan but it still has three levels and it is still set south of Bega on the Sapphire Coast of NSW.

The baseboards have been put down, I've painted cork to put the tracks on. I'm ready to go.

From the bottom level the tracks rise up to meet the middle level in pretty much the same place, along the back wall and curving around the outside of a return loop. I use the Woodlands Scenic 2% inclines as they are easy to use. I have found that if I use picture mounting cardboard the I can use one incline for two tracks. This set up worked faultlessly since I installed at the end of 2016.

This is a good place to start so tracks were placed on the highest curve of the incline. Too easy.

As you walk into the room, it's on the left. Closest to the edge of the baseboard will be a coal mine. I loved the feature on the old layout and had plans for a flood loader along with the tipple. To access the flood loader without having to run around the train the track needs to pass under the incline. So I built a bridge... a couple of times. The crossing is effectively one curve crossing another.

To work out the bridge, I needed to work out the coal mine. The last one had a loop for the flood loader and another loop for an empty train to arrive and be shunted - normally by a Garratt as it's a great loco for a coal train.

I don't have this luxury for the new mine area. I want an avoiding road for the loader, otherwise there is no need for the tipple. That problem needed to be worked out.

The next issue was the headshunt for the coal mine. I have a train of 12 loaded BCH hoppers which is swapped with another train of 10 empty CH hoppers under the tipple as part of the operations of the layout. On the old layout the headshunt was Platform 2 of Bega Station. It was good as it did not interfere with passing trains. When I measured the headshunt to where the coal branch rejoins the main line I realised that shunting operations would halt operations on the layout as it would block the return balloon loop that turns trains around to continue on their circuits.

The plan for Bega is/was similar to the old layout but with an extra platform and as I found out yesterday, 10 cm narrower. I cut the new boards 35 cm wide for the bottom level with the plan to use 30 cm. The middle level will be 60 cm wide with an incline along the back.

When I eventually looked at a copy of my old layout plan I discovered why the old layout would not fit when I explored different options. I sort of need my 60 cm for the middle level but I need Bega to work. I'm now using 33 cm with 19 mm for the support for the next level. This now gives me enough room for four tracks around two island platforms. This should help me operationally later.

By redesigning Bega I was able to alter the junction with the coal branch. This meant that I could plan the coal branch and the bridge which then meant that I could start with the incline.

I started at 10:30 with the idea of a couple of hours on the layout and then mow the lawn and a couple of other gardening tasks. By the time I finished on the layout it was time to start dinner and I hadn't laid much track except for a quarter of a curve. The lawn can wait until next weekend.

I'm glad that I had the time to do what I did yesterday as it will make things easier as I move through the lower level. When I started the planning I worked from the top down. The coal branch wasn't really planned neither is the branch line to Tathra. I'm still toying with ideas for this and I figured that it could be the last thing to think about. That's a job for future me to worry about.

I like pictures in my blog but I don't have any images of the layout worth publishing yet, so enjoy an image of my travels in January. It's a Class 170 DMU operated by Cross Country Trains at Leicester on 15th January 2020. Similar to my plans for Bega, Leicester has for platform faces on two island platforms. Leicester was my first stop outside of London that trip. I'd caught an HST from St Pancras and was waiting about 20 minutes at Leicester for a service to Sheffield. From Sheffield I went to Leeds for and hour and then Liverpool Lime Street. After some trainspotting, I caught a train back to London Euston and the Tube to Paddington for the overnight sleeper service to Penzance.

Until next time.

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