Saturday, 29 May 2010

All this for just three inches

Over the last couple of evenings I have noticed that the layout, being placed on a work bench/table, is definitely at the wrong height for me to work on comfortably. This is probably a sign that I'm getting a bit old. Standing up the layout is far too low and being seated it feels too restrictive and awkward. This has got me thinking about what is the best height for the layout and that I ought to get the layout supports built sooner rather than later.

So with the thoughts that: I am 6' 3" and my partner is 5' 2"; that the layout is being built for my own interest and as a test bed; the layout needs to be at a height that is comfortable for me to build and operate; the layout needs to be at a height that my partner can hopefully appreciate it. My thoughts wandered to the recently suggested height of 4' 3". Initially I thought that this would be a about right but during my lunch break yesterday, to try and help make a decision, I started to draw the diagrams below.

If I put a front fascia on, 18" above track level, to frame the layout, I could still operate the layout without stooping. If I put a back-screen on the layout it would have to be at least 2' tall, however, my thoughts are that I will be operating the layout from the front anyway so a 6'+ back-screen would not be a problem. Looking at the above though I thought that 4' 3" might be a tad too high for my partner, also, is it too high for me to work on comfortably? The track bed might be better at my elbow height which would put it at 4'.


This might be a better height? Back-screen if fitted would still be 2' high. The bottom of the front front fascia would be just below my eye height but if I stand a little away from the layout it should not be too intrusive. If I sit on a tall stool while operating the layout, the front fascia should not be an issue. My partner would have a more open view with the track bed 3" lower than the above 4' 3". With the track bed being at elbow height it should be more comfortable working on the layout especially when adding scenic detail.

Time will tell, but a track bed height of 4' looks to be favourite. (We'd both better get dressed after the life drawing class........ :-)..)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Tredethy Wharf (May update)

This is not much of an update on progress, more a report that the layout has found a home which should help with construction.......

Apart from a fettle with some Bill Bedford W Irons, progress on the layout has been at a standstill from mid April through most of May. Work and social commitments have taken their toll, along with yet more furniture moving and rearrangements. This is all down to my daughter moving out into a flat and the rest of my partner's furniture coming out of storage. With all this going on I had to, yet again, reluctantly loose my 'man space' in the garage. But the upshot of all this is that I've negotiated some space for the layout in the house!

The baseboards for Tredethy Wharf now reside on a bench in what has become my 'man space' in the house. There's not enough space for the eventual complete layout, only the two scenic boards (beggars can't be too choosy) but this has enabled me to dabble a little on the layout for the last couple of evenings.

A while back I mentioned to the local P4 group that I was planning to use cork for the track bed. I was immediately informed that Balsa wood is starting to be recognised as a better material for the track base. Holes have been cut through the ply baseboard under the tie-bar locations for point control and 5mm Balsa has been glued in position. One part completed turnout has also been dropped into place. I was hoping to get the track plan glued in place but I've been side tracked a little this evening staining some sleepers.

The next update should show some good progress........

Monday, 10 May 2010


This last weekend I spent a very enjoyable Sunday helping (well I like to think I was helping) operate a P4 layout at Cleethorpes Model Railway Exhibition. The layout depicts a 'what might have been' at Saltfleet on the East Coast of Lincolnshire and is the work of two members of the local Scalefour Area Group, Martin and David. It is very much a work in progress and they have worked tirelessly over the last few months to get it to its current stage.

Soon after arriving I was, promptly handed the controls! Well I suppose I had offered and had hoped I'd get some hands on the controls but it had been many a year since I'd been in the drivers seat.......... I then spent the next two hours absorbed in the 65 movement sequence. To my surprise the time flew by and I honestly thought that only half an hour and passed when it was announced 'grub up for first sitting'.

A few things came out of the experience the main one being the use of automated couplings. I've been having thoughts about the merits of 3-link verses automated couplings for many a month and after Sunday it has to be automated couplings. The ease of use under exhibition conditions far out weighs the aesthetics of 3 link couplings. Goods traffic was formed into set rakes with 3-links within the rake and 'Sprat and Winkle' coupling at each end. It all worked well once I'd spotted all the magnets. So next discussion is which automated couplings......?

If my little project comes close to this standard I will be well happy.

Thanks guys........