Back in the hobby (again)
So, I'm going to give model railroading another shot.
I have a little extra time on my hands. I don't want to spend it just sitting around, watching TV, or listening to music or podcasts. Model railroading has been in my life for decades. It's not a hobby that I want to give up without making one more go to remain hooked.
A while back I found a website about micro & small layouts. The layouts featured got me thinking. If I built something small and manageable, a layout I could easily move around, I might run trains more often. The site informed my about puzzles and other ideas to make a very small layout work over time.
Among the forums at nScale.net is one on layout planning. One of the posted threads is in that section is called the "144 Square Challenge." The idea is to build a layout worth operating in 144 square inches, or 1 square foot. That, along with the micro layouts site, got my mind thinking.
Pictured above is the start of my first effort at meeting these challenges. The design is a small yard called an "Inglenook." The idea of Inglenooks is that you have space for cars that you organize into trains. You have an arrangement that makes creating trains a bit of work.
In this case, I have an extension that will only let me move 1 car at time. The siding at the top is Siding 1; it holds 1 or 2 cars. Below that is Siding 2; it can hold up to 3 cars. Below that is the Main Line. Let's say that car A is on Siding 1, and cars B and C are on Siding 2. The challenge is to get them into A-B-C order, moving 1 car at a time. It takes time to get them into the proper order. Begin rearranging the sidings the cars are on, and making up a train will take time and planning. The same goes for adding a fourth or a fifth car into the mix.
This is what real railroads do. Railroads have to organize trains to make it easy on the crew. The crew has the job of setting out and picking up cars along their route, in a limited amount of time. Organizing the cars before the crew departs the yard helps them do that job faster, with a minimum of wasted time, wasted fuel, and extra risk.
That's what I'm hoping to get out of this little layout. I'll try to blog about my progress as I put down scenery, a backdrop, and do some operating sessions. I have extra material left over, so with more track I can build a second layout with a different sort of operational puzzle.
We'll see where this train goes this time around...