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A question of Space...



It has been an interesting couple of weeks, with plans continuing for the small, portable, Ripe project/layout and several sketches done to try and get my minds eye down on paper.


One of the main snagging points though has been the size - namely, I hadn't calculated how large the brackets would have to be to support a 1' wide shelf. When I found some suitable ones today in Wickes, I was a little surprised - to be frank they will look awful on the wall, and as the shelf was planned for the lounge, this will not meet the approval of the rest of the family!


However - all is not lost. My computer desk has a shelf on top, which currently houses a speaker, a collection of miscellaneous junk including a speaker, flower pots (which will soon become very useful indeed when the time comes to prick out some of the many seeds currently growing in trays on the bedroom windowsill!), a back scratcher (a Christmas present to stop me using a steel rule for this most essential of tasks) and the router for our broadband & wi-fi. All of this could be found new homes, which would leave me with a suitable spot for a small plank which would not have too much of an impact on the rest of the household. The only issue is it is just under 3' as opposed to 4' in length, although there is suitable space either side for an overhang to make it 3'. I intend to put a new shelf directly on top of this, and secure it to the desk, giving 'slots' with a divider or two to allow for storage of things like printer paper which need to be kept out of reach of my 2 year old daughter (otherwise printer paper becomes drawing paper!). The layout would then, as per previous plans, be built in a demountable 'box'.


Try as I might, I haven't been able to shave a foot off the previous plan without it looking far too cramped, so tonight has been spent back on the (virtual) planning, with an eye to shrinkage. It is probably a good job I am using XtrkCad rather than good old pen and ink, as by now I would have gone through a whole forest's worth of trees, given the number of times I have started over again. Finally though, inspiration struck - and it came in the form of an old layout.


It is one of my regrets that this project - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/63341-daddy-charlie-build-a-railway/page-2 - was never finished, firstly because it was something both Charlie and I enjoyed doing, but secondly because, looking back at the pictures towards the end of that thread, it was coming along very nicely. Unfortunately the cardboard construction did not survive our house move in August 2013, and although it still languishes in the cupboard under the stairs, it is not worth trying to resurrect, especially as the cardboard used wasn't really strong enough in any case. The trackplan, however, gave me an idea, and so I present Ripe, the 3' version!




Most of the plan is pretty self-explanatory, but despite shrinking the area by a foot in length, I have been able to get most of what I had previously in - the only real exception being the cattle pens, which have had to be sacrificed.


I said in one of the previous posts that the theme would be rural, without large industry, and that remains, however some research this evening found a new potential industry. The following screenshot is from the 1915 Kelly's Sussex Directory, as found on the University of Leicester website, and I am assuming copyright has now passed, however if this is not the case I will happily remove.




You will see, amongst the names of farmers, an entry for one Douglas Mannington, described as an agent for Webb & Sons Seed Merchants (and also an insurance agent). Webbs, my research tells me, became a big name in the horticulture world, eventually merging with another company, Bees, and becoming part of the Unwins company. In my fictional reality, Mr Mannington was not an agent, but had his own seed company which was eventually swallowed up by Webbs a few year's later. His warehouse is served by a private siding off the runaround loop, and crosses the public road protected by gates either side, before running into a covered loading dock.


Operationally, this revised plan offers the same, if not a little more, than the previous one - according to XtrkCad, the platform would hold a 2MT 2-6-2T and 2 Mk1's, so short, pre-grouping motive power (E4, Terrier) and coaching stock should present no problems. The Bay/Goods dock holds 2 standard 20T Vans with ease, and 3 if I extend it by an inch towards the right hand side. Having the coal merchants office on the station forecourt hints at at least one other, offstage siding, whilst the private siding for Mannington's accommodates one wagon onstage, but continues offstage too. I was planning to use cassettes, but given that, to allow for the entire layout to be used 5 of these would be needed, I have had a rethink, and am now thinking along the lines of a 2' fiddle yard board either end, which could be detached from the scenic board when not in use and stored elsewhere. When 'playing' or for transport, the whole shebang would then fit nicely on the dining table.


Useful links;


University of Leicester - Historical Directories - http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16445coll4

Webb & Son's brief history; http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Edward_Webb_and_Sons

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