The main problem with the Chatham Show is that however fired up with new ideas/new toys one might be, it generally represents the start of the summer too & that is never a productive time for model making for me. When I was working full time in education, the summer term was always the most manic & we not so much reached the holidays as fell off work into the welcome stupor of a bit of R&R. These days, we try to go on holiday before the schools break up – simply because it is cheaper and since returning, the weather has not been conducive to being in the workshop with a hot soldering iron. Not that I’m complaining of course.
So, not a great deal going on, though time away from actual modelling can be a good time to do a bit of thinking – especially the ‘what next?’ variety. And here lies the thing. Arigna Town is nominally finished as a model, but hopefully has a busy exhibition schedule ahead of it, so it is a case of keeping things going and creating new interest in model making.
The first/next stage is approaching completion, in the form of a new fiddle yard. The same size as the previous one, but it has seven parallel tracks instead of 4 curved ones and slides on double ended drawer runners. It also pivots, enabling the whole thing to rotate 360 degrees, like the mark one version. A write up and pictures will appear in the layout section in a couple of weeks & it was certainly an interesting challenge.
However, with seven tracks, I will have the space to build some new stock. Not wanting to mess around with the geography & history of my fictitious line, the options I’ve come up with are as follows:
• Track 1 will have space for Railcar B and Railbus 2b, but also room for another railbus eventually, so one of the earlier versions may get built
• Tracks 2 – 4 will have the current trains – mixed, goods and coal. However, the coal wagons will be supplemented by a rake of empties. This means I can then run the ‘mine branch’ will its own engines: hence a chance to raid the Tyrconnel range.
• Track 5 will be able to hold a short ‘Paddy Train’ – either converted vans or perhaps the Tyrconnel 24’ six wheelers, plus the J26. I envisage the latter will arrive with a train of coal empties, which will be picked up by the mine engine [maybe St Mologa or one of the other T&C engines or even a Sentinel]. The J26 will disappear light engine, maybe to shunt the yard at the new power station on Lough Allen. Later the mine engine will return with loaded wagons and the previous sequence repeated the other way round.
• Track 6 is currently reserved for a full cattle train for which ‘Large Tank’ Sir Henry will be built
• Track 7 is ear-marked for an excursion train. Imagine my delight therefore when I read in the latest ‘New Irish lines’ that Tyrconnel have a G2 2-4-0 planned! Do I detect the hand of our ‘Mayner’ here? A rake of six wheelers would complement the loco nicely. My only slight concern is whether a G2 would fit on my turntable, but am assuming the wheelbase should come in at under the 42’ diameter. Perhaps someone can let me know?
So, plenty to do and though there a no deadlines as such, I am certainly expecting the new fiddle yard to be available for the layout’s next outing at Uckfield in October and would hope there will be at least one new train by the time York comes round next Easter