Progress of my entire ‘Shelf Island’ system and indeed my British 1:87 scale effort has faltered this Autumn as I completed ‘Shelf Marshes’ as far as a basic railway with all of its tracks and electrics in place but no landscape. For some reason, I don’t want to do the scenery, even though this is always one the most enjoyable parts of building a layout. I like the ‘bare but engineered’ look, above as well as below the baseboard. I suspect, my stumbling block is working up the track to look realistic in its industrial setting. This needs a lot of experimentation on scrap track.
At the same time, I feel we are living in a golden age of railway modelling and I am missing out on some incredibly good RTR models because I am devoting my efforts to a niche application of 1:87 scale, where all commercial support is accidental (like Continental ferry wagons) or archaic. Added to this, my near-distance eyesight is not as good as it was. I only really see my models clearly in photographs, which is probably why I take so many photographs.
Almost all of "Shelf Island" has no scenery and this is because I need to bring individual baseboards out into the middle of the room to work on them. When I do this, I need to put up a folding table; it works well enough but it dominates the room and I have to slide it backwards and forwards to move around the room and get to cupboards.
Back in the summer I tidied this table, but instead of doing the sensible thing and extracting ‘Shelf Marshes’ from its alcove and starting the ballasting, I treated myself to two yards of of Peco 0 gauge track instead. This being somewhere to run the Minerva Manning Wardle I bought during the summer. So I wasn't missing out on this golden age. The K class is a rather beautiful thing and shorter than most of my H0 locos to boot. A way to build a light railway, and a prototype which looks good in 7mm scale. The model ran perfectly from the box but then it looked a bit lonely so I bought it two Dapol wagons to keep it company and give it a bit of purpose, and then I added a Setrack point and a third yard of track to this arrangement. Then I built a simple baseboard to keep this on. And now I am finishing off my third kit-built wagon.
The good thing now is I can see my way out of British H0: an 0 gauge micro, and the option to build a small 0 gauge set up in another room or possibly the garden. This will satisfy me, because I know 00 gauge will not, and I can feel myself running out of steam with H0. I have not been happy with 00 since my teens (I am now in my late 50s) and successive attempts at N, EM, 00 and even S have not satisfied or not worked out or both.
There are two design faults in my original ‘Shelf Island’ module, a too-abrupt change in a gradient and a mistake in my wiring for DCC. It would be sensible to choose this baseboard to extract first to put these right, and to pick up the scenics here. The practice/revision gained would help me to make ‘Shelf Marshes’ better, and this last module is the most promising one for exhibitions. I can also add a Magnorail installation to 'Wellwood' and I think ‘Shelf Island’ would then reach its completion. I will have a model railway where short trains can go from one destination to a variety of others, and hopefully this will be more interesting for a home layout than a simple terminus to fiddle yard.
I will neatly side-step returning to 4mm scale, and still end up with model trains I can run on my friends' 16.5 and 32 mm gauge layouts.
Edited by 47137