Eric has been in touch again.
I’ve posted quite a few of his layouts and updates over the years, so I was very pleased to see this in my inbox:
“This has taken a lot longer than expected as at first I intended a single level layout and got all the track laid and tested along with quite a lot of lighting.
Then I started on the scenery and it was after about a month and a half from starting I found that flat one level rails were very boring to run and not for me, so up it all came and I started another of my normal multi level layouts using inclines of 2%.
The lower twin tracks are my goods (freight) lines which are just a large circle with two sidings each. The next two levels are passenger lines, a twin track figure eight with three sidings and an inner loop on each track which actually act as extra sidings.
See attached track plan, it’s not very good but gives the idea used. I never plan out a layout first as with such awkward shapes to encompass I prefer to lay the track and see how I can fit it into the design in my head.
To the right, are two bungalows under construction above a small pond. (TIP) The pond is made out of a supermarket (Morrison’s) plastic pie container base cut down to around 3/8ths inch high and painted then filled with Realistic Water. Then when set plaster cloth is used around it to blend it into the ground. Note the new part tarmac road to the bungalows with the old steam roller levelling it off.
Centre back is my small town of Smeedle, the background flats are actually one of Al’s office buildings converted into a block of flats. Thanks Al. The roads that I use I hand built on the computer and printed onto thin card, not perfect but ok. A lot of fiddly work.
The police station is above the tunnel with police cars ready to roll. The Metcalfe low relief shops and Grace bros department store all extended back a little to enable lighting them up. The cinema is a Metcalfe kit with added balsa wood back with blue lighting above the entrance. The low relief office/ bank building is laser cut and two kits were used to build it.
To the left side we see a small country road leading up to a small roundabout with a garage set on the corner. Two small cottages sit down at the bottom of the hill. Quite proud of the large road signs near roundabout, taken off the internet and adjusted to suit the roads. Again a very fiddly job but worthwhile if you have the patience.
Front centre my town park and rather swollen river, after heavy rains upstream you can see a tree trunk floating down the seething river. The ramp down to the park holds a Metcalfe pavilion which here is a café, note tables also Metcalfe as is the fountain in the centre of the park all from their mini kit range. The river is done with EZ water and effects.
The street lights I got off Amazon are 6 v lights that I painted silver as the white wasn’t suitable. They have a good fat lower stem that fits into the board and if a good fit needs no gluing in place and they are reliable and reusable, a big plus as I try to re-use items wherever possible. The park lights were longer than I really wanted but they work fine.
Ok I missed adding signals for the simple reason of difficulty bending my old bones under the boards to go with my twisted fingers. I don’t do weathering, too messy and I prefer to see locos and track clean,,,ish. J
A (TIP) for cleaning track. I use the pads that fit on carriage axles with Methylated spirits (Available from good chemists (drug stores)) added to pads on each circuit of the track, this cleans and doesn’t corrode or wear the track, I have used this method for years and it works, around three trips round per track then a clean pad to wipe off any residue. Cheap and cheerful.
The various sections over the track lift away for access and the shaped plaster panels also lift off. Another (TIP), if you make lift away plaster panels that are over the rails I paste cling film under them to stop plaster flakes dropping onto the rails, it keeps the underneath area free of dust and plaster residue.
My system is run by two Gaugemaster 4 track controllers, everything is DC. One controller for the four tracks and the second is for lighting using the controls as dimmers. Wiring for the lights is all manually done on each panel with lights connected with quick release jointers for when access required so the whole panel can be removed.
The overall maximum size is almost 5.5 ft by 7.5 ft but interrupted by a wall to the right that the track has to curve round and in the middle centre area there is an access hatch, that is why my layouts are rather awkward to design.
I hope you like the new layout and welcome all your comments.
A huge thanks to Eric, especially for his narrative – it really does highlight the perils of laying your scenery before you are happy with your track.
That’s all for today, folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And if you want to get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.