Tuesday, October 21, 2008


[click to enlarge]

Hi all,
In May on hols I got thinking about the other side of the layout...the Ffestiniog side.  Finally I've had time to draw it up into a kind of long-term Masterplan.  Of course the short term plan is to 'finish' Rhyd Ddu, but you will have noticed me building much FR stock too.  This is with one eye on the future of my train set (cos that's what it is really!).  

The idea is to feature something different.  I remain to be convinced that 009 shunting layouts really work (maybe County Gate could prove me wrong, I don't know), but I have plenty of evidence that through running layouts can work well (e.g. Dduallt etc) and the extra benefit of 009 is that the scenics can be extensive within a manageable space.

So, I thought of putting together 3 boards of scenic Ffestiniog vistas and if possible, a passing loop in the middle to add operational interest.  The three I have chosen are:

- Tylers Curve and Plas Halt (a beautiful peaceful halt in woodland next to the tightest curve on the railway, which itself resides in a rock cutting.

- Rhiw Goch loop and signal box for the passing loop, encouraged by a recent article in Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review explaining how to model the fabulous new box there.

- Dduallt tank curve leading to Campbell's Platform - a gorgeous swinging curve.

The only issue I have yet to find with this is that the scenes are in the wrong order.  Rhiw Goch is just after Penrhyn, whilst Plas Halt is just before Tan-y-Bwlch, so really those two should be the other way around.  However Tyler's curve, as you can see, really fits with the necessary sharp bend out of HS1.  Also having Rhiw Goch in the middle helps operation.  Because of this I might add plywood backscenes between the three boards to separate them into discrete scenes...?

For those struggling to remember what these scenes look like, here's Rhiw Goch box:

Plas Halt and Tyler's curve:

and Dduallt Tank curve leading to the small halt of Campbell's Platform:

I would genuinely be interested in your comments on this plan, and by the way it is the layout with no name at the moment: perhaps Plas Rhiw Tank?



stephen said...

Since you're going to so much effort to get Rhyd-Ddu right it seems like a bit of a shame to jumble up the FR scenes. I definitely see the attraction in your selection though!

Perhaps instead you could have Rhiw Goch next to HS2, on an angle across the board (back to front), then have Plas and Tyler's turning going back towards the back and finally the Dduallt curves (mangled slightly) to complete the wriggle round to HS1.

Alternatively... to have a good setting for both FR heritage trains and the Garratts how about the somewhere on the lower section of the WHR around Pont Croesor?

Colin Lea said...

It will definitely be an FR layout not lower WHR. The obvious solution to the issue is to place Tan-y-bwlch in the middle, replacing Rhiw Goch, but I doubt there would be room!

Zabdiel said...

Mixing the FR sceens up seems fine to me. I think I'd try to merge the sceenrey from one sceen to the next rather than putting backsceenes between the boards. I tend to think that building layouts can be a bit like landscape painting and landscape painters often did that sort of thing and they don't get criticised for it.

Tom said...

An interesting idea, i don't think an NGG16 would look right running through Tan-y-Bwlch, and it will take a LOT of space to do that station justice. However FR stock running on the WHR wouldn't look out of place on a continuous run (obviously).

On a different note, i bought a Soundtraxx micro tsunami sound decoder the other day, it's mighty impressive. I'll be building a freelance tank to house it in and then get cracking on the next one, i'm hooked!!

Colin Lea said...

Hi Tom, out of interest which sound recording did you choose for the tsunami? Can it be heard online, or could you post a vid on youtube of it??


Tom said...

Hi Colin,

I went for the medium steam micro tsunami. I did this because i'm going to be fitting it into a rather hefty 2-6-2T, so by using the light steam for slightly smaller locos will give me some slightly different sounds appearing on the layout. I'll try and post a video of it on youtube soon.