I thought I would start this first blog of 2013 by wishing everyone a happy new year and with a bit of a summary of where all this rambling has taken me.
The starting point is my current layout, Balbeggie Sidings, soon to feature in Model Rail. It was built using Peco code 100 track in order to get something substantial up and running quickly. In this respect it has been most successful. It allows me to operate and has satisfied my desire to show the BR blue diesel era (early 1980's) in a mainline setting. It has shown me that mainline operation can be satisfying and pleasurable, but that it does demand considerable research, varied rolling stock and proper operation, otherwise things start to get a bit repetitive. The original plan was tweaked to add a couple more sidings that allow some simple shunting to take place.
Less successful was the inclusion of a second location (the small yard named as Dysart Muir). This was placed in what must be an awkward position to operate as I find I rarely move across to this part of the layout. Any future layout will have a simple scenic area here. The choice of concrete track was also restrictive. Of course at the time I never build in any flexibility for changes to the operating era. Knowing me the way I do, this was definitely a mistake. The use of colour lights was again a restrictive choice and the simplification of the electronics means they look like signals but don't operate as a railway would. This has lead to a real frustration.
Bearing in mind that this is a one-man operation I have found that simply running a series of trains over the mainline can become repetitive. In order to overcome this I would like to improve the operation of the line, by adding the signalling into the sequence. I am not quite sure how I will achieve this but I want to build in mechanical levels and operate the line properly (by the signals). This along with researched trains and appropriate stock helps put the trains in context and avoids that repetition.
Whatever replaces Balbeggie Sidings will:
a) be a mainline
b) will operate different time periods (early 50's early 80"s)
c) will have mechanical signalling
d) be capable of being run as a signal box
e) will have finer 00 trackwork, and
f) will consist of one main scene
|The current Balbeggie Sidings will continue to serve in the early 1980's period as well as providing a test bed for the early 1950's stock, while at the same time other elements of the new project develop.|
I am now certain that the current layout will be replaced, however rather than focussing initially on the track and the layout, I plan to develop elements of the new project prior to any demolition work. I have a functional railway and I will not break that up before I am ready to proceed. I am therefore planning to have worked on my early period stock, built some semaphore signals (something I have never done before), got some structures completed before I am ready to do any cutting and breaking of the existing layout. It does after all provide a great facility to test the latest additions.