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Breaking through the layout's mid-life crisis




Up until a few days ago I had seven model railway layouts (each on its own baseboard), all of them in my hobby room. This is quite a lot for a house with a total floor area of around 45 square metres / 450 square feet.


I have since ditched "Wellwood", re-purposed my 7mm test track as a combined 7mm test track and additional H0 fiddle yard (below), and moved "Shelf Marshes" to the garden room. "Castell y Bwrdd" is now on show instead of hidden away on a high shelf. The results are the hobby room looks a lot better and having the reshuffle lets me see how Shelf Island could mature into a much better layout. The system is now, in many respects, going to be a small scenic section ("Fairport Mk2"), a test track with many gradients and reverse curves (the original multi-layer baseboard), and two fiddle yards. It is almost as though I have given up on making scenery and given my all to making model trains. There is no harm in this but making the scenery was always the part of the hobby I enjoyed the most.


Time will tell me whether I can live with having a layout in my garden room. This goes against my principle of having all the model trains in one room, but it is a lot more accessible if "Shelf Marshes" becomes my exhibition layout. The structural parts of this build including the track and controls are complete, along with most of the buldings; it just needs its landscaping. (And ballasting, yuk). The daylight in the garden room is better for doing this than the artificial light in the alcove of the hobby room.


In the longer term, perhaps I should rebuild the core of Shelf Island with a new, more generous layout, taking up the space of the present baseboard and the first fiddle yard. This could have more gentle curves and gradients. I think such a thing would be a dedicated home layout because L shapes don't fit well at shows. I designed the original core baseboard and its fiddle yard to connect together end-on as well as in an L shape but they have never progressed much beyond the track and controls. The decision then becomes whether to keep these somewhere (I would be very loathe to part with them) and if so what to use them for.


Below is the mock-up of my new fiddle yard, mostly hidden behind the 7mm stock but I think the result will work well enough. I am hoping to build this into something workable next week.




This board is 7 ft x 1ft. It is much stronger than it probably looks - 15mm chipboard on the usual 2x1 softwood. There would be space to put a 7mm micro below this one day. In which case I could remove the 32mm gauge track and add more H0 . . .

Edited by 47137
Restored images lost by RMweb hosting provider 'Dediserve'

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Good stuff Richard, it's good when you get a few ideas and they all fall into place. I clicked on the Castell y Bwrdd link. That is a lovely looking layout, no sure how I missed that thread. 

Look forward to seeing the fiddle yard progress. 

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