With another international move under my belt, this time back to the UK (at least for a third of the time, Outer Mongolia for the remainder) I’ve been left with much less space than I had available in Utah, with very little chance of this materially increasing in the near future. This coupled to the fact that I’d not progressed my plans of Lydford Junction in the last two years have led me over the last couple of months; OK Years again, to evaluate the different plans that I’d had.
After several false starts, reading quite a few books and reading RMWeb quite a lot more than I should, I looked again at the part’s I liked from Lydford Junction, and came up with a new concept keeping them. The result is Lydford Town, a smash up of the layout of Bridestowe station on the western slopes of Dartmoor, placed where the line comes closest to the village of Lydford, just to the North of the viaduct, borrowing the attractive PDSWJR station building at Brentor. This should still capture running through the landscape feel I think suits 2mm so well, utilising Dartmoor as a backdrop, albeit not on the scale of messers Greenwood and Jones’ empire’s
Despite Lydford Town’s much smaller scope compared to Lydford Junction, I still have a mountain of stock to build and convert to run anything like a representative schedule, realistically making this a long term prospect. After more deliberating, procrastinating and contemplation, I decided that it would be a good plan to enter the Diamond Jubilee Layout Challenge for the shindig in 2020 as well. A couple of Idea’s bounced around for the DJLC included:
It was at this point that I remembered the old baseboards that I’d put together for the semi-theoretical extension of the Callington Branch in East Cornwall, called Congdon’s Shop, with the aim of fitting this into a boxfile coming in at 714x 233mm. These are not dissimilar to the DJLC dimensions being 600x 239mm, or 240mm depending on how accurate your tape measure converts 9.42”. This has got a far as laying track, and installing TOU’s, but for one reason or the other, has failed to get beyond.
Rather than trying to modify a set of boards already built, it seems to make sense to me to recycle the concept (and correspondingly all the research, stock collated and idea’s) onto a new set of boards built to the right challenge dimensions. Fortunately the amount of tools and information available to layout planners has increased dramatically since 2012, with Templot and NLS maps freely available, coupled with the learnings from my own previous failings and successes.
One of the main dissatisfactions with the original plan was that “714mm is just too small a length of track to be interesting.” This statement, on the face of it, is a problem. The DJLC length is specified as 114mm smaller than this. But templot and inkscape to the rescue:
Actually, the prototype trackplan is quite a lot shorter than I’d originally guesstimated, and the more important, interesting bits of the station will reasonably fit into a 300ft scale length. This, to me, still feels stiflingly cramped having three entry points to the layout from the fiddleyard. So, I’ve planned the layout to actually be 900mm in length so that following the challenge in 2020, I can replace the backscene side to the full intended dimensions. This allows me to include the yard entry point and thus reducing the fiddleyard entry’s down to two and I feel gives a more open feel. The irony isn’t lost on me that the layout might only be ready for 2050 or the ninetieth anniversary, (a more realistic projected completion date?!?)
I wasn’t particularly happy with the straight-curve-straight portion of the platform road on the initial rendition, the old trackplan solely using straight Easitrack B6 turnouts. This time I’ve planned to use B8 curved turnouts soldered up from templot printout’s. Curve radii were specified to be greater than 450mm which has, mostly, been adhered to. The soldered turnout construction will give me more strength, and greater opportunity to adjust and correct when I construct it out of gauge.
I am keen to try to use a sector plate type arrangement with this layout to ease the amount of handling stock needs and the faff that this involves. I envisage that cassettes will still have a role to play, acting as the headshunt off the end of the traintable and potentially to load stock onto the layout from extra storage cases. To also assist with this, the straight portions of the table are planned to be made from brass strips, as anyone who’s tried to load up the traverser on St Ruth, this is a difficult task to do this on plain rail with fat fingers. Only three roads are anticipated to be required on the traintable, up to two for passenger and one for goods stock, the vacant road being able to act as the run-around road. A 70mm thrust bearing is used as the pivot, whilst alignment and power should come through cabinet barrel bolts, until I can think of a more unnecessarily complicated way to do it.
The 3mm ply construction of the baseboards has proved to be remarkably robust, to be honest they have now survived a couple of trips in the hold of a 737 so there can’t be much fundamentally wrong with this for the small size of board required. I plan to use 6mm stripwood rather than cut plywood strips this time though. Life’s just too short, trying to get straight flat edges from a sheet material.
So there you have it, the grand sum of what 6 years of paper planning gets you… Nothing to show, a pile of materials, but at least a vague idea about how they ‘should,’ all fit together.