28 November 2009

Scenery work at SjB

Last week I helped one of my good modeling friends, Steinar Jeppestøl, with some scenery work at his layout; Sjuskogbanen (SjB). All of his trackwork is now complete, and he has basic scenery in place. I'm lucky enough to be able to work at this wonderful layout from time to time, and I have "free hands" and can do what I like scenerywise. Here is the result of the scenery work we did this time.

17 November 2009

Operation ahead!

My main goal with building the Grimstad Line layout is to be able to invite some of my good model railroading friends and host nice and challenging operation sessions. I guess this is a result of reading too much Model Railroader from an early age, or maybe the influence from attending several Fremo-meets where prototypical operation is the most important aspect. I feel that prototypical operation really makes a layout come alive. A recent "Trains of tought" article of Tony Koester in MR spurred me on to make my layout operational as soon as possible. His idea is that the layout itself doesn't have to be ready or anything near perfect before the first operation session. As a matter of fact, it's better to just lay down the track you need, wire it all up, and then as soon as possible host the first op session. In that way I'll probably receive a lot of comments from my fellow operators, and I'll be able to more easily change stuff that doesn't work as intended before I spend too much time ballasting the track for instance. As a result of this idea, I now lay down track rather hastily witouht worrying about the tortoise switch machines at this stage, and without worrying too much about the track plan at Rykene (which has been a headache for me).

Tonight I finished the temporary trackwork at Rykene. I'm not sure if this'll be the final version, but maybe the first session will shed some light on this. I hope that Rykene will be a challenging place to operate. I'm thinking of it almost as a small time-saver of sorts where an operator will have plenty of switching tasks to perform. There are severeal spurs in opposite facing direction, and that will lead to some switch around moves which has to happen on the main line. Should be interesting...

The trackwork at Rykene will be of a lesser quality than the mainline, so on one of the spurs I've experimented with spacing the ties further apart, and with a double tie for every 14 cms (12 meters in real life) where the rails are joined. I think this looks good so I will eventually do this on all the industrial spurs at Rykene before I glue them down. I will also lay the main line some millimeters above the rest of the tracks here.