Monday, September 17, 2018

Progress Report - 17 September 2018

Progress photo - September 16, 2018. It's starting to look like something other than a pile of wood!
After a seemingly endless process of painting and staining the legs, painting the walls, and then assembling the IKEA shelves, the layout has finally started to look a little less like a pile of lumber and more like a layout. Or at least the underpinnings of a layout. 
As I've mentioned before, one of the main goals for this layout (dictated by my wife - although I completely agree with her) is that it should "Look like a piece of art or furniture and blend in with the rest of the space."
We opted NOT to use the curtains under the fascia since decent looking curtains would not only be expensive, but they would actually detract from the non-cluttered look we're going for. 
Early tests with black for the IKEA shelf legs and under the layout was far too stark so I deferred to Christine's color sense. She chose a Sherwin Williams color called "Riverway" (SW 6222) for everything under the layout. The shelves are stained a light shade (Pecan) in order to allow them to pop a little. 
Ultimately I plan to use the IKEA shelves in the "entry" aisle shown here for display purposes for some other models and collectibles. But for now they're serving as staging spots for track, roadbed etc... 
There's one section where the benchwork is 12" wide - IKEA brackets secured to the inside of a 1"x3" "L" and painted to match the wall are more effective than individual legs or shelves.  
There's no need to have all the benchwork built on the IKEA shelves (which could get pricey). Using the IKEA Ivar shelf system is working out well - as you can seen here, most of the time you can use a short set of Ivar as shown here, and then bridge the gap to the next set of shelves or even a single support leg.  
A lesson learned from trying to string wire on previous layouts - lay in the buss wires now. ran a pair of buss wires and a second pair of wires (most likely for lighting and the like) around the entire layout now - before the subroadbed was in place. 
So far I'm quite pleased with how everything looks. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

"Surround" or "Screened" Staging - Inspiration for CP staging

If you study the track plan in the link above you'll note the Staging and Feed mill, both of which represent the Canadian Pacific "side" of Richford, are somewhat underdeveloped. 
At the same time, the Central Vermont Richford branch, which originates in St. Albans, also needs to be factored in (those CV trains will end their run - actually they'll turn - in Richford - but the CV branchline trains need a place to go to/come from. 
I toyed with several arrangements - some of which started getting ever more complicated. 
Inspiration for how I'm planning to address all this is coming from an article in, of all places, the January 1987 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. While I shared several of my early influences HERE, in a post that is among the most read on this blog, I likely didn't encounter the January 1987 issue of RMC until several years after it was published (I was in Navy Main Propulsion school in January 1987 and up to my eyeballs learning the inner workings of ALCo diesels, so I didn't get do any model railroading or rail fanning at the time).  
But when I did see this issue one article did make an immediate impression on me. I was on the Model Railroader staff and looking for a design for a layout to fill a spare bedroom when Andy Sperandeo referred me to this article: 

This is a Christian Day design for a layout depicting the Grand Trunk's operations in and around South Paris, ME.  What was most intriguing about the design was the way he handled the staging. In fact, it was an early version of what has come to be called "Surround Staging" - rather than me typing a long description, a quick study of the track plan makes the concept pretty obvious. 
I actually used a slightly modified variant - with the staging tracks placed behind a low 2-D and some 3-D scenery in what I called "screened" staging in a previous layout - so I know the idea works and is quite effective - and is certainly a heck of lot easier than placing staging tracks below the scenicked level on a model railroad. 
"Screened Staging" on a prior railroad. 
I suspect if you tried to build Christian's plan in the size room he shows in this piece I think you'd be disappointed at the results. But I know I'm not the only one who's been inspired by the concepts demonstrated on this seemingly simple track plan. Andy once lamented to me that he couldn't get Christian to do any layout design articles for MR! 
In fact, combine the South Paris Switcher with Andy Sperandeo's San Jacinto branch, a design that was completely misinterpreted as underwhelming at the time it was published, and you have the acorn from which many of today's "achievable" layout designs have sprouted. 
I'm going to hold off sharing the specifics of how all this is (hopefully) going to work on the track plan until I have a chance to draw it out to scale.