Tuesday this week gone was Tuesday Nighters. We visited Lefty & Son's house (the next suburb up the road) and discussions were many and varied. It was not unusual to have 3 different conversations occuring around the table at the same time, while "& Son" was replacing drive gear in a bachmann shay. After this operation, the loco ran very well. It was sitting on the layout in speed step 1 just with the driving gear turning over. If you did not see the gears turning you would not have known it was moving. However, if you looked in a few minutes it was 6-12 inches down the track and you thought that was strange, wasn't that somewhere else last time I looked. So "& Son" did a good job.
Yesterday was Club meeting day. So on my way to the Club approx 50km from home (depending upon which route I take), I visited Greg's place from Greg's Railway Modelling Musings. Greg has his two layouts that are currently under construction in his shed out the back of his place. One is his son's and the other is his.
When we got to the club, conversation turned to the new Clubroom layout that will go into the new clubroom extension currently about to erected this week or next. We currently have the new slab laid out the back of the current clubrooms. The slab is approx 15m x 12m. This will support a 12m x 12m shed and a 3m lean-to out the back for weather and sun protection. This new shed will be dedicated to the HO guys. The current HO layout will be relocated from the first shed, and put along one wall. It is nominally 2.4m x 9m in size. It will be about 0.6m from the wall, taking up about a quarter of the the shed. There is one slight problem with relocating the layout. It is actually 2440mm, while the two doorways it needs to traverse are 2400mm wide. That will pose an interesting conundrum. The next quarter of the new shed will be basically a continuation of the walkway/breeze way right the way through the clubrooms. The last half of the shed will be the new HO layout. The discussion currently revolves around should the new clubroom layout we built against the three sides of the shed with peninsulars into the middle, or should be built about .6m to .9m off the three walls so another 20m of track run along the back of the layout can be added. So if the layout ends up being two levels we could get 40 m of extra track run. However, this extra track run will be at the expense of layout length in the front peninsulars as we still have to but go past the approximate half way point in the shed. It may also cause us to loose one of our peninsulars altogether if we cannot fit in with nearly 1.5m of length lost in the layout width.
I am doing up some basic plans to see what will fit into the available space using my layout squares paper, which is basically graph paper drawn in EXCEL with an approximate 1cm square equal to 300mm of layout. For the metric illiterate (Hi Mike) that is approxiately 12 inches. The paper is 40 squares wide by more than enough squares deep - about 28.
I can see the logic behind the "access all around access" idea, as we may want to cater for up to 20 people running trains in the future, as well as lots of people exploring the layout with a about a half dozen running trains during a Clubroom open day. But we will draw two example layouts and measure the trackage to see if one is potentially better than the other.
This wednesday I will be heading back over to the Clubrooms, as a few of us will be cutting up a few of our storage trays. We use 4.5mm or 4.75mm MDF and produce a tray that is approximately 32cm x 42.5cm and 5.5cm high. They fit quite nicely the foam inlays that we buy in bulk from the local manufacturer that fits either longways or crossways in either HO or N scale. We have approximately 40 foam inlays for HO in the Club Shop (20 of each orientation) but only 2 crossways inlays for N scale.
A selection of trays made up
We will try and cut up approximately 120 trays. This should last us about 12 months. We have done this about three times before and all just get eaten up. We sell the storage trays for $2 each in a kit form - a base, 2 sides and 2 ends. Members have to glue and tack them together themselves. We also make a large carry case (again selling it in kit form for $20), that can fit 5 or 6 of these storage trays in it, and publish a worksheet (available free to all members) on how to make your own and put this together. You just need some sort of hinge for the front door, a couple of cupboard handles to carry it and something to keep the door closed - e.g. a couple of hasp and staple locks. However, if you store a lot of locos in your box, it can get very heavy. I have about 8 carry cases inside my shed spread all over the place. The storage trays can hold tools, books, plans, rollingstock and locos. They are just the exact size to hold our NCE foam inlays that our Procabs or Powercabs come in so members can take their NCE handhelds (which our Club has standardised on) to the Clubrooms or to exhibitions. Quite a handy little piece of railway kit.
Darryl's version with 5 trays and he joins two together with suitcase clips. He also has a cutting mat on the top.
My version with 6 drawers. I use plasterers angle to slide the trays on.