Monday, 16 April 2018

Chullora Industrial

Things have been a bit quiet here since my last post but I’m happy to report that I’ve finally progressed plans for a new layout. It's a bit of a long post today, so  without further ado here's the plan as it currently stands:

On the left is the traverser from my previous NSW country layout. The new layout module measure 155cm x 45cm. Track will be Code 70 with Peco Code 75 turnouts provided that I can make that combination compatible. Viewing will be from the bottom of the picture, with the backscene at the top. The working title is "Chullora Industrial," but as this is more of a layout running metropolitan trip trains to sidings on one of the goods lines I may tweak the name in future to more comprehensively represent the influence that the Sandown line and Flemington fruit sidings have had on this design.

An exercise I find useful in determining what design is going to make me happy in a future layout is to write down what I want out of that layout. Here's my "must have's":

  • a run-around
  • trains go to a destination.
  • a level crossing
  • run bigger diesels
  • 3 sidings
  • somewhere to run cement stock
  • somewhere to run wheat stock
  • run electric stock
  • able to run 20-40 minutes' of operation time.
  • transportable
  • one-piece
  • adaptable into a future layout
As much as I would've liked to incorporate electric stock or even a worker's platform for a two-car suburban electric to run in to mix things up, I ran into the risk of overcrowding the scene. Perhaps I can revisit that in future or can invest in a diesel railmotor bristling with camera-toting gunzels. I can't exactly run wheat trains into here, but there's no reason a trip train to a mill or industrial bakery on a trailing turnout further offstage couldn't draw forward into the layout's run around siding, and change ends before heading back out to Enfield/Clyde/Rozelle for marshalling.

The cement sidings on the bottom right of the plan allow for cement hoppers to be brought in and exchanged, as well as open wagons covered with tarpaulins, representing bagged loads of cement. Something like this tarped BDY is what I'm looking to represent and run into those sidings:

Image credit: Auscision models

The other industry is a freight forwarding/logistics/general traffic destination. I plan that those sidings will mainly see louvred vans and box cars, but also the McWilliams' wine tanker I have stashed away to build. The scenery will be a hard stand with a large awning coming off the warehouse, similar to the fruit sidings at Flemington.

I want to take it out to exhibitions again, hence the transportable requirement. I'm also going to build this one as a shadow-box layout, rather than as a pelmet design as on Rozelle Street. The reason being is that one of the frustrations of exhibiting Rozelle Street is the elaborate game of Tetris we have to play to arrange the fiddle yard, pelment, and backscene in the car boot every time the layout goes somewhere. That's before I work out where to put the trains!

In short, no, this design does not accommodate a V set. I've made it pretty clear here just how much I wish that were possible, but that is an itch that will need to be scratched at a later date, on a railway built in a house I don’t need to up stumps and move out of at the end of a contract. But rather than sink a couple of hundred dollars into building a V-set capable behemoth that is both constrained by currently available space and limited in utility if (when) we move house again, I can re-use the traverser I built two layouts ago which in turn provides staging to achieve the instant-on concept of design that has provided many hours of enjoyment in Rozelle Street.
I have to give credit to UK modeller Chris Gilbert for this design, as it's very much influenced by watching several videos of his layout "North Haston" on YouTube. Below is an example of the kind of shunting he does at exhibitions. {Edit: That he did at exhibitions - the layout has since been sold]. I'm not planning on going to many exhibitions with this layout, but I found it enjoyable watching this one. Plus he's using cement wagons. Not going to lie - I'm blatantly plagiarising this design feature almost down to the track plan.

The plan has also brought me to considering layout height again. My country NSW layout in 2014 had a track height of 140cm, and Rozelle Street has a track height of 124cm, shown below. I’ve explained my reasoning for each in previous posts, but going forward I’m going to stick with the 124cm height, despite the height of the pelmet dropping by 5cm lower than on Rozelle Street as depicted here:

So there you have it. Plans for achievable layout number 2.

Work has me away a lot between now until about September, so it remains to be seen how quickly this will be built. Building Rozelle Street showed me that I go from bare boards to an operating layout with all of the bugs ironed out in less than 6 months, and to be honest, I want to replicate that speed of construction with this layout. We'll see how we go.

Thanks for making it this far, and by all means, if you can see a glaring roadblock that I've missed or have a suggestion for an amendment to the track plan to add interest, please feel free to add a comment below. We're all here to learn.

Cheers for now,