Track redesign

In my previous post I shared how I had found a layout plan that looked interesting, and I’ve been developing that idea further. I’ve got nearly all the track pieces already to achieve it (minus the points), and when I laid it out on the floor it turned out to be slightly smaller, which would make it easier to fit into the garage, which is another plus. So I’m now going full speed ahead with that idea.

I’m using AnyRail to play around with track plans, though you’ll notice I haven’t bothered tweaking the layout to fill those gaps at the bottom – there should be just about enough flex in the track to allow me to connect all that up. We’ll end up with two stations, a main station and a countryside halt in amongst the trees. I’m still planning on the back section being raised slightly to add variation, I’ll just need to be careful about the gradient to ensure that my trains can climb the hill. The branch line at the top of the layout will be a timber yard of some description, prepping logs fresh from the wood to be transported to a sawmill bottom right.

There are some isolated sections too, which took some careful figuring out. On the diagram above the isolated track connectors are shown as little triangles. The sidings at the bottom each have a small section of isolated track at the end, allowing me to store more than one engine on each siding by switching those sections off. The points will isolate the other sections, so I’ll be able to leave trains in either station while a freight train makes the journey from the woods to the sawmill. I haven’t quite figured out where the road is going yet, but I’ve put in a level crossing ready for it.

I’ve also been thinking about the construction of the base board. I mulled over the idea of using old wooden pallets as a substructure, seeing as they’re really strong and some businesses give them away for free. But in the end I decided against them, on the basis that they’re really heavy and probably overkill for my little railway. So I’m now erring towards a custom-built table, using six legs I’ve just bought from Ikea, a timber frame, a 12mm chipboard base, and sheets of extruded polystyrene foam on top of that. At least that’s the plan today.

In preparation for the build, I’ve done a load of clearing out and organising in the garage, which had been fairly haphazardly strewn with stuff on the basis that it didn’t matter. Well of course now it does, so order has had to be imposed. A few items went to the local recycling centre, others have been reorganised into tidier piles. A load of old cardboard boxes nearly went into the recycling too, until I had a brainwave and decided to weave them into the inside of the garage door to provide some insulation. It’s all cut to size and wedged in, not a strip of duct tape to be seen! That should make life in the garage a bit more bearable come winter.

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