Our new layout as really an old project that stalled.
I'm new here but have been a model train fan for nearly 50 years!
My first memory of model trains was my Dad running Hornby-Dublo 00 GWR Castle class under my cot as a toddler. I've been collecting model trains and rolling stock for over 45 years. Everything from Hornby-Dublo (two rail), Triang-Hornby, Hornby, Bachmann and just recently some Murphy Models. When an 8yo I build my first very simple layout in my dad's attic, when 12 we moved house and I built my first 'scenic' layout in the attic of our then new home. The layout was effectively built into the attic structure, the track was all glued with ballast and pinned. When my Dad died a few years later and we moved house again the layout had to be left behind with only rolling stock and buildings salvageable. I vowed then that if I every built a layout again that it would not be 'nailed down' but semi-portable or at least transportable without too much damage. I dreamed up and designed many layout plans in those years (doodling with a ruler, pencil and compass), forgot about them and then eventually decided to built a layout once again when our son was born 20 years ago. I had still kept collecting rolling stock in the intervening years in the hope one day I might build a layout.
00 layout - Hybrid Irish and English countryside
Bolt together baseboards on foldable leg system.
Four continuous loops with some sections hidden
A large terminus station - a suedo mock up of Heuston/Kingsbridge with dual steam era/diesel infrastructure and some poetic license
A main line junction connected to a branch line
Operate as four loops or one long linear section effectively allowing steam loco to leave terminus and return facing in opposite direction
Steam Engine Sheds at Terminus yards
The build plan
The layout plan was a reworking of one I had designed in school study hall one night. But over 20 years later I was not about to start building it (i.e. 1993). I started with a design for the baseboards that facilitated bolt together joints where track could be cut at reasonable angles to the board joints. The base boards would have up to three levels to facilitate hidden sections, gentle curves, gentle transition gradients between the continuous loops on the upper and mid levels. I spend about 6 months building the base boards using mainly 9mm ply on 3"x1" structure, and legs made by 2"x1" lattice, butterfly bolts, and dowels for the joint alignment. After that I provisionally laid the track to ensure the curves would work with the geometry on the paper plans which often don't work out with the real practical world. Some adjustments and then laid the track (peco) provisionally on foam underlay. The long term plan was to get the track work wired and fully operational, then do the scenery and then relay the track by gluing it onto cork underlay using PVA, paint and ballast. Anyway I got the base boards finished, got the track laid, first fix electrical done for a 12v block section system, build a few control switch panels, scratch build the station platforms virtually all of which were curved, and drilled baseboard under all the points for future motorisation. The wiring and sectional insulation took forever, especially making up the control panels. I got most of the track running and then scratch built a few buildings, amended some of the old 'toy' hornby and airfix buildings I had since the 1970s. A few years had past so we 'played' with it and then a combination of family life and work commitments effectively had me abandon the project for the past 16 years. I did manage to move the layout over two days from a farm outbuilding to a converted attic space.
1993 - Build Baseboards and legs
1994 - Lay track
1995 - 1st fix wiring of block sections and isolation sections
1996/7 - build control panels + scratch build curved station platforms
The plan now?
Rewire the layout for DCC and remove all the old block section wiring.
Start the scenery in sections - need grass embankments, hedges, some trees, and also city scapes with brick raised sections.
Finish some additional scratch buildings (stations buildings + signal boxes)
When initial scenery is done, relay track on cork underlay and fill track with simulated ballast using PVA, etc
Anyway, very rusty but hope to make a start back at it over the winter months. Looking forward to learning from folks on here and getting some advice from time to time. I feel humbled when I see some of the stunning layouts and craftsmanship on this web site. Our layout is meant to be fun, hence it will have an unusual mix of UK and Irish rolling stock from steam to diesel because that's what I grew up with and I love GWR and LMS rolling stock. DCC sees to offer much simpler operations without the need for all the isolation sections I have already wired, but I am quite excited about what sound and lighting possibilities DCC may offer. I'm sure the next 'phase' of building our layout will take anything for 4 to 10 years.
Access roads to the terminus
English style mainline through station
Good night, looking forward to chatting to folk on here