Thought it might be time to provide some news of the “Bottom Yard”.
Andi has given a great overview of the thinking behind his “Top Yard”
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t= ... highlight=
along with his track plan and a great sketch showing the various parts. “The Bottom Yard” came about following conversations with Andi and of course the slight spirit of competition that exists between us – nothing too distasteful just a means of getting us both to actually build something more than anything else! ............. And also because I was jealous of a good idea and thought I might as well try and muscle in on it.
So the “Bottom Yard”..........
Well it’s the dirty end of the business, it’s where the money was made to provide for the “Big House” and all their fancy contraptions and in its day it was, in modern parlance, the Transport Hub for the whole enterprise. A place where most of the goods produced or grown on the estate could be stored until needed or sold and then shipped out via the canal.
Although the canal and some of the warehousing dates back to the early 1800’s, its heyday probably was in the 1890’s up to the start of the 1st World War. After then like most of the large estates lack of money/ manpower has lead to a long slow decline.
The narrow gauge line was added as one of the young masters’ bright ideas during a sudden and short lived period of relative prosperity in the 1920’s to speed up movement of produce from the estate and a small local quarry and in addition to help alleviate the acute manpower shortage which existed at that time.
Since that time no major investment has really been made although various members of the family have played with different ideas and brought in different equipment........ The usual argument ensued between generations i.e. “what’s wrong with steam, it has always been good enough for our needs versus let’s move to diesel/petrol engines, it’s the future, less maintenance and easier to use by our people.”
At different times the argument swung one way or the other but whoever won the argument never really had the money to do the job properly so any new equipment was always second-hand and the old stuff was kept “just in case”
We are now in the period late 50’s to early 60’s, where some of the warehousing has either fallen into disuse or has been sublet to various different tenants including the local Council. The canal is now almost completely disused although there has been talk on the council of draining it and using it as an access road for some proposed local industrial units.
The Estate manager, who is based at the Top Yard, to be near the “big house”, does occasionally visit and come up with some bright idea or two but basically “out of sight out of mind” and so long as the foreman who is in nominal charge does not spend money they are all left in peace to get on with their various “activities”.
All of the employees at the Bottom Yard are well used to this and are well versed in make do and mend so the equipment there is kept going with whatever comes to hand or cannibalising from some other piece of equipment. Most the work consists of moving stone from the quarry along with the various agricultural produce from the estate farm into the yard, where it may be stored or shipped out by road.
As a means of trying to bring in some additional money the Estate Manager decided to sub let some of the old warehousing/storage sheds. Currently the local Council use some of the space to store surplus bits of kit and one of the locals is using some space to start up a garage business.
The foreman considers all these as a “bl....y nuisance”
as the tenants are forever leaving equipment/cars/vans etc in the way. The “Bottom Yard” has always been tight for room as it grew without any great thought and it was certainly never planned to run trains, lorries storage facilities and a garage out of a place which, as he says “you can’t swing a cat in”
, but he doesn’t make the decisions and the Estate Manager doesn’t see what the problem is.
Well hopefully you now have some idea to the history and background of the layout, so let’s move on and see where I have got to;-
Here is the original layout plan, as you can see I’m more a mechanical drawer than an artist like Andi.
The layout is very simple with the opportunity to act as a shunting layout if I want to play, and like Andi’s there is the potential to add ends to the layout to enable me just to sit back and watch the trains go round.
Andi won this argument, I was tempted to go down the lightweight foam/card baseboard construction but he convinced me that 2”x1” & 6mm MDF was the way to go ............. yes it’s a bit heavy but when things go wrong it can’t half take some punishment!
This was my first, second, whatever go at laying the track, and I do find it all very hard work even on the simplest of layouts like this. The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that my original intention was to have lots of isolated sections but in the end I decided to keep to the KISS principle and just use the points to provide isolation so now I have reduced everything down to just 2 wires feeding in the power, and even I can handle that.
The funny cut-out at the front is where the canal will be, the intention is to have 2 different versions one with water and debris the other as a dried out/drained canal being used as a road. The intention is to fasten the alternatives on to the actual layout via magnets. This will give another view point, and using the drained section, a place to stand vehicles as I expect most of the time the layout will be used as a backdrop for photographing some of my current and planned models.
Oh and in case I get any comments, because I have nearly got to this stage before, it all actually works and I have the videos to prove it!
Finally here’s where we are at now, sorry David no Cornflake packets, just a raid on the local shop’s empty boxes and lots of cutting and hot glue.
Don’t take the shape of the building as the final product I just wanted to rough out the mass of the buildings and get some differentiation in the way of height and roof lines. The gap in the middle will be most likely filled in with some simple garages/lock-ups.
In case you are wondering about the sleeper spacing, no I am not trying to use the original sleepers by spacing them out the plan is that in some places the granites setts, ash, dirt, etc, which most of the track will recessed into will have broken down over the years. At these points the sleepers will show through may be either wood or pressed steel sleepers haven’t made my mind up yet.
Don’t expect quick progress on this, it will be done as and when the mood takes me but hopefully the odd update will get posted on a not to infrequent basis.