Barchester Diary Jan 2005

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OK, I had the space now, and a generous space it was too, some 20 feet by 8 feet along one wall of a large room. Unfortunately there were two floor to ceiling 18 inch square columns that also shared this space giving me a practical model area of 20 feet by 3 feet for the model itself. So I decided on a 20' by 2' 9"end to end layout, this being my favourite method of operating. I didn't take up the whole 3' of width because I knew that was too wide to stretch across for comfortable working. As it turned out so was the 2' 9" but that's another matter. The height was fixed at 42" which gave me an eye level view when sat in the operating position. This also made it easier for me to get under the baseboard if required.
The picture below shows the final layout plan, in diagrammatic form, after many changes, which is operating very satisfactorily for my purposes. The fiddle yard itself is shown on the far right. There are five platform faces at Barchester, numbered 1 to 5 from the top,  plus a holding road next to platform 5. Platforms 1, and 3 are main line arrivals, the bay (platform 2 ) is for the push-pull auto train and 2-car DMU to and from Charford, while platform 4 is the main line departure platform. Platform 5 is for arrivals and departures of all branch line trains to the south of the Charford area. Three main lines and two branch lines enter the fiddle yard via the road bridge, also counting from the top. There is a two road engine shed in the top middle of the photo and the second track down from that is another holding road for branch line trains.
   Image unfortunately lost

I made up four 4 foot  by 2 foot 9 inches sections of 2" by 1" framing which were screwed to a batten on the wall and then to each other in turn. Each section had it's own supporting leg of 2" by 2" and these were also screwed to the floor with small right angle steel sections.        
  This picture shows the first of the four sections completed and also screwed to the wall.
  Note the blue and white painted back scene. As you can see painting is not one of  my talents.
Image unfortunately lost

The cross members of each section had holes drilled in them to take future electrical cables to prevent untidy loops of cable getting in the way. The whole thing was solid as a rock before the half inch chipboard covering was screwed down. Not my favourite covering I have to say but plywood here in Spain is far too expensive and other suitable materials were unavailable.
          4 four foot baseboards I hear you say, that's only 16 feet, what happened to the rest of the length? Ah, mistake number one. After the fourth section had been made and attached to it's brothers I suddenly realised that the end wall, that was to accept the  narrow end of the last four foot section, had a window in it that opened inwards. I hadn't bothered to try it previously as I assumed it would open like most other windows, outwards. The window was lower than my framework, I mean, it would have to be wouldn't it. I was damned if I was going to take everything down and re-batten the wall after all the trouble I had had, and which I won't bore you with, especially as the layout would be far too low, at the window opening level, both to view and operate satisfactorily. So I decided my fiddle yard would have to be reduced to 1 foot width so that I could continue at the same height and it would just miss the window when it was opened.     
You can see in this second photograph the four sections completed and screwed to the wall batten.
Image unfortunately lost

Bear in mind that here we have a seventy year old man starting from absolute scratch.  No tools of any kind, no materials, and living in an area of a foreign country that can easily supply umpteen gallons of sun lotion and red wine but had nothing for modelling British outline trains, or outlines of any trains if it comes to that. I had no problems ordering a coffee and double brandy but DIY was outside my scope. Anyway, difficulties are meant to be overcome and I do have a stiff upper lip after all. Born with one don't you know.
          The 'flu came along then so that put paid to the rest of January as I suffered magnificently with all the aches and pains, as we men do.