I’m making it law on this blog that every post contains at least one link to my Flickr account 😉
Joking aside, It would probably be helpful to include a link to the latest batch of photos documenting my progress on Flickr, given that both the photos and blog posts compliment each other, for words can say what pictures cannot and all that philosophical carp. Today’s story begins when I got bored with weathering my track, squinting at rails 80 hundredths of an inch in height painting them a subtly-different colour from the rails. I had no idea that such a small layout could demand so much painting at that level.
As is the way with the middle of the project, the choice was between something I’d rather put off, and another thing I’d rather put off. And with that, I broke out a sheet of recently-acquired 9mm plywood and got to work making good on the fundamental concept of this layout.
Making good on the name: Constructing the Backscene
Ever have one of those ideas that you think of as a minor addition to your project and yet they turn out to be genius? This was the case with using the guide rails pictured below:
You see, their original function was to keep the backscene straight across the centre of the baseboard, as my experiences of warping with plywood is pretty bad. Quite by accident, however, it made the bracing process a lot simpler than it would’ve been otherwise, as it clamped the backscene in the correct orientation. A little PVA glue sealed the gaps and added to the integrity of the structure.
But alas, such successes cannot last.
By the time it came to cutting out the side supports, the plywood was back to it’s old tricks again – chipping, de-laminating and generally ending up looking like the kind of workmanship found in a boiler cupboard. While this isn’t too critical, it is something to keep in mind for exhibitions in future.
This was where the guide rails really paid their dividends, as I could act with confidence that the centre of the backscene was going to stay put. The side supports were of a simple triangular profile, with a void in the middle for dealing with derailments mid-transition. From there it was a simple case of screwing the parts into the layout battens, and nailing the supports to the backscene, which serves the dual function of straightening and strengthening it.
The end result is a sturdy backscene, 20cm high for the best compromise between compactness and scenic space, that effectively separates the two scenes. It was such a simple job in the end, yet it’s effectiveness is undeniable.
The Goods Yard:
Bonus Trivia: The shortest railway stations in the UK
Here’s a bit of odd inspiration I came across at my new job (I’m a Junior Lab Technician now, coming up in the world!). It involves two railway stations in Scotland, less than ten miles apart just north-west of Inverness, called Beauly and Conon Bridge. Just before I reveal the length of the platforms, I’d like to point out that the class 158 DMUs that serve the stations can only open one door to let passengers disembark.
That’s right. 15 Metres. A Class 158 has carriages 23 Metres long.
Come to think of it, the goods yard could be receiving it’s own station after all…