It didn't happen overnight, but when I made the final decision it was all action stations. The HO layout was situated in a shed around 11 metres long and around 4 metres wide at one end. It was the effort of over fifteen years of building and one I never regretted doing. In the end it was complete as far as trackage went and the scenery was fairly well done. With the scenery side of things I did what I called the first passover and it was always an intention to revisit locations and improve/finish areas. This takes away the plywood central look and for me, scenery was a big input to South Coast Rail.
We often strive to get the locos and rolling stock looking 110% but often fail in the scenery department.
The plan above show the South Coast Rail layout in its maximum extent. It was basically a single track around the room twice and the main station Bega was located right down the middle. This was my staging yard where consists could be laid over or broken up and remade. Carriage sidings were located on the left hand side and a small goods yard was located within the circle of track on the right. This area also contained the loco depot. Track was planned for this area but never laid or operated. A turntable was to be constructed that was to lead to a 9 stall roundhouse. Also located at Bega were a cement plant and a flour mill. A secondary loco depot was located up near the carriage sidings
The above shots were taken on the layout way back in April 2006, ten years ago, how time flies. Every item shown in the photos has now gone to new good homes and enjoying a second life.
As mentioned on previous blogs, the layout was DC and driven by a control panel with all good intentions to give operators flexibility. All it did was give the panel operator (usually me) a headache trying to remember who was on what controller, where they were and what they were driving. One spin off from this was to add an extra lap of the layout by building a track across the aisle over to the branch. (See right had side of plan)
|Track in middle went across the aisle over to Bega (Ignore signal settings)
In the last photo showing the two 49's can be seen the Candelo mine in the background. Luckily the branch had it own separate controller which allowed an operator to be out of the way and plenty of shunting to be had. If they weren't shunting Candelo then the arrival of a twenty car train of BCH hoppers would see them tied up for an hour breaking the train up into 9 car lengths for loading. A brakevan had to accompany the train and be dutifully shunted onto the rear for the return journey. This was the part I enjoyed, shunting and operation.
So currently only half of the layout still exists. All the baseboards that were in the left hand side of the plan have been demolished. That part of the shed has had it's walls painted.
One of the bonuses of rebuilding a layout is that fact that its a good chance for a cleanup. Stored in the shed ever since we moved here was my record collection from the 70's, two nice speakers and my original Dual turntable, a Garrard turntable I picked up at a garage sale for $2. Now trying to get rid of all this stuff was going to be hard and take time away from the new layout. Having siblings that grew up in the same era was handy. An email to my next down the list brother snatched an eager donor for the collection. On the arrival day I hiked up all the items from the shed to the house. His eyes sorta lit up when he flipped through the titles. I said you can't pick and choose,you have to take all or nothing (including the Hugo Montenegro ones). You could see the frustrated look on his wife's eyes saying, 'No not more junk' But mine were saying, 'great more junk gotten rid of'.
The above photos show a reduced pile of 'stuff' that will eventually be further reduced as we move on. The baseboard frames in the above shots are for the new terminus. They are 1.8 metres long. This will form a terminus 3.6 metres long which will sit in the middle of the shed. The 'back half of the shed still contains most of the original SCR layout still untouched until I get the time or eventually track extensions will deem this necessary.
When dismantling the old layout one of the things I did was to salvage most of the scenery items and sorta sort them into takeaway food containers. Our traditional Thursday night take away Chinese dinners in containers has certainly made a great contribution to the safekeeping and sorting of these scenery items. As can be seen from the photo below, we have been eating Chinese for a long time. Labels will help in the future.
During the week I also picked up a supply of points and track from my local hobby store in Hornsby.
I want to support them and hope they will be around for a long time. Yes maybe could have saved a few dollars via the internet but having them around when I need small items is a blessing.
So with the points and track on hand, I am hoping over the next week or so to get some legs attached to the baseboards an make a start on the Sapphire Coast Rail.
The "What Will be" part of the title will be explained next blog. Stay tuned.