The last few hours of 2016 ticks away, outside low cloud envelops this deeply rural welsh valley and the log burner is crackling, filling the Barn with warmth. There’s no sound travelling up from the village and it allows me to sit and draw plans, make notes of future projects.
I’m working through the planning stage of my future Severn and Dean project. The tranquility we find at the barn allows us to just relax, and I’ve brought a drawing pad, a couple of research books and ‘time’. Within the drawing pad I make a mix of sketches and notes, some of which will never be used, but at least clear the air in terms of knowing ‘that ones not for me’. I’ve worked out which sections I want to concentrate on, not to make a model of, but a model based on. Notes include the geographical orientation of the location, to make the model plausible the train has to work from the right direction, this means the track plan works like the prototype. The type of train, engine and stock need to be right to work at the location or pass through en-route elsewhere on the system. Notes on the location include brief annotations of the type of features seen, these give me a good idea on the style of presentation needed, and access for tasks such as uncoupling. It’s a really useful tool to help decide what to include and more importantly what to leave out. It’s still left me one problem, one location Eastern United Colliery at Ruspidge, is definitely on the ‘wants’ list. It is linear, in a steep sided valley and has the operation and appearance I want to provide a real link to the eastern Forest lines. The problem is the coal screens, like many the wagons gravitated through the screens to the loaded sidings. With the real thing, you have real mass, with these ‘toy trains’ capturing that realism becomes far harder, and I’ve still not got my head around moving cuts of four or five wagons a time to replicate those movements. It’s a clear case for compromise, losing the operational authenticity on one hand, or perhaps deleting that location entirely, it being a compromise too far!
Another area of consideration is the fiddle yard, I’m keen on having as little in the way of wasted space as possible. One thing that appeals as it is one of the locations under consideration, is using Bilson Junction as the fiddle yard. It’s a linear junction with prototypical forming up of trains, and significant storage, certainly enough to keep an operator or two occupied. There’s a reasonable amount of information on how the junction was worked which may help the big scheme out. Imagine a stereotype roundy large layout, scenery one side, and a ‘wasted’ section of storage sidings the other. By doing Bilson I get storage and scenery combined and add prototypical operation, what’s not to like? Well apart from it means the space requirement for the rest of the railway gets eaten into, and I likely have to drop a location I’d like to build. Such are the joys of getting all your ducks in a row!
So going back to the beginning, it’s the end of 2016, thanks for reading regardless of if it’s your first time or if you have been on the train since it departed! Please also try to look through the blogs linked via the blogroll, there’s plenty of interesting reading and inspiration amongst those other modellers and writers, and I wish them and yourselves best wishes for the coming year.