Sunday, December 7, 2014

Four years and counting

It is hard to believe that I have been writing this blog for over four years. The first post was in November 2010 and I have managed to write over 50 posts since. As I look back over the past four years I realise that some of my goals are going to take me longer than I planned. Having said that, I feel I have achieved quite a bit in that time.

When I started the blog I had less than 5 metres of mainline and the shed the layout lives in was less than half its current size. I had some detours along the way , but the release of the Haskell Na was a major turning point. I could now find & afford a realistic locomotive fleet to model the Victorian narrow gauge. Today I am well down the road of modelling a prototype railway and have completed the main line. I am getting close to having some large areas of scenery complete which I am finding very enjoyable.

In the coming year I hope to get that scenery finished in some more areas, build some bridges and keep adding rolling stock to the layout.

Thanks for everyone that follows the blog for your interest. I was a little surprised to see today that the blog has had nearly 41,000 visitors. I hope you enjoy what I am doing. Following the lead of several of the great blogs I follow I have added some pages with details of the layout and our farm. You can access them from the menu below the title photo. I hope to add some more as time allows.

Now on to what is currently happening on the layout....... which unfortunately is not much. Harvest started three weeks early which has meant since the last post work on the layout has been nonexistent.

What I have had time to do though, is contemplate what is working on the layout, and what's not. For me if I have stopped working on a project, it usually means there is an issue. The most glaring project that hasn't received much attention in the last six months has been the interchange town. I was really happy with it until I started operating and a couple of issues arose.

The first was I made the passing loop to long. It takes forever to run around the train which gets old pretty quick. I could easily shorten the loop but there is a second issue much harder to fix.
From the photo above you will notice I have put the broad gauge sidings against the aisle and the narrow gauge yard at the back. This looks good but even with my long arms I am having trouble reaching the track closest to the back scene. That is not making shunting very enjoyable and I am worried I will damage some of my broad gauge models reaching over them. In hindsight my mistake was very obvious but unfortunately that doesn't help me now.
I have spent a bit of time studying the four interchange yards of Colac, Wangaratta, Moe & Upper Ferntree Gully. None of them easily fit into the space I have and the  more compact yards have large broad gauge yards at the rear. I really didn't want to put a broad gauge yard behind the narrow gauge yard as I don't really have the space. There are also issues with blending the yard with the backdrop. If I was starting the whole layout from scratch I would consider putting  the broad gauge yard in and giving the larger trains somewhere to run in a hidden loop a bit like what Roger Hill has done but it is too late for that now.
Hours spent operating machinery have given me plenty of time to contemplate the issue, and the solution I have come up with is to put the broad gauge at an angle and have a siding serve the narrow gauge yard. I have based my narrow gauge yard on Moe but put the station where the engine house is.

I wasn't sure how this would look or if it would even fit. So today I got some cardboard and laid it over the existing yard to see if it would fit and work.

I am happy with how the changed yard looks and should work. Except for the location of the engine house it is very similar to the eastern half of Moe's narrow gauge yard. If I change the yard to this trackplan I can reduce the width of the bench work in several places to make access much easier. The broad gauge siding is now at the rear, and considering that it is non operating that is a better place for it to be.

I will leave the cardboard in place for a few weeks to consider, but at this stage I am expecting to change the yard over Christmas and New Year