The first part of this feature can be found in Issue One of The Anorak
When we all got back, and reality hit home we knew that Latelee Town was history and we were either going to do something positive or we were just going to operate other people’s layouts as infinitum. The truth of the matter was that the Club didn’t have a comparable layout nor at that stage the will to go down that particular path and that just left a void.Baseboards
Basic requirement was of course a set of baseboards. I had purchased some while before (and probably had at the back of my mind during our “conversations” at Burton) the defunct Ambleforth layout which was a tail chaser layout which had done a good number of shows but for reasons that I never fully got to grips with had been retired and stored in a barn for about five years. Again, this layout originated from the brains and undoubted skills of Gary and Ian but had been purchase by a third party and never progressed with. Whilst it was in a reasonable state the fact that it, a) needed a rewire and b) relied on relays and other strange wiring assemblies to operate. However, the core asset: 16 baseboards had been well made and above all kept dry. On inspection that was good but the 2ft wide public display area and 2ft 6in wide fiddle wards were too narrow for what we deemed appropriate for the new layout. The die was cast however, and the 16 boards would be the start but the 2ft 6 wides would become the new front and new 3ft wide boards would be manufactured to hold the fiddle yard. That made the overall size of the layout 24ft x 11ft 6: just doable if the centre boars on front and back were designed to have straight track and no pointwork and became removable when not at exhibition. This would then just fit in my den. Whoopee!Design
Much chewing occurred over the design although to be fair most of this was done with the combined input of Ian, John and Chris. Other Members by this time had got involved: Peter Boyt, Alan Chilestone, Mark Winchester, Denis Crack, Paul Austin, Bill Dulieu, Mike Chester, Gordon Lynch and maybe others who don’t come directly to mind although I know they will tell me! It was decided that the main feature was to be a bridge. A big bridge – a feature that would stand out… and Gordon erroneously suggested that he had the plans in N scale for Ballochmyle Viaduct on the Glasgow and South Western line. What a mistake to suggest that he had the plans in N scale and N is half OO and even greater mistake to admit to having it AND the ability to build it (and to allow oneself to get talked into it! have the skills to build the darned thing. Much like the S7 layout and Grahams warehouse Gordon came up trumps and a few months later produced a 4ft long three arch viaduct which holds very close reference to the real thing. Shame was the viaduct has four more smaller arches which for the purpose of the layout had to be omitted but wow what a bridge! I have already alluded to Ian making kit built TPO vans and during the 1990 with the effort to reduce postal costs and introduce mechanical handling new postal platforms were manufactured which were close to rail vehicles and at the same height as the vehicle floor allowing forklifts to lift in palletised mail. As Ian was financially struggling, we designed one of these to be a shunting feature at the front of the layout where his products could be readily seen. A 14-road fiddle ward was designed in although at a later date the error of three-way points made a slight redesign! To the right the scenic break would be a tunnel and to the left an underground station: like Birmingham New Street: was to feature with a typical bus interchange on top. Well in simple terms that’s it and it just needed building.Control
As agreed, it was to be DCC – it’s easy and only needs a few wires BUT we took the option of DCC traction control and analogue route setting. Three control panels would be required – one for each of the up and down fiddle yards and one for the front operating area. Designed to be push button controlled for ease of use.Track
In order to keep costs sensible we decided not to go fine scale nor indeed code 70 but to use code 100 of which I had quite an amount especially having stripped Ambleforth which was in surprisingly good condition: a testament to the way it was put together in the first place and the decent storage in the barn latterly. Much track was required and 49 sets of points with associated motors or at least that’s what we ended up with. It started off slightly more but three ways – baahh humbug!Overheads
Having stripped the overheads from Ambleforth I thought that I could convince Ian to make more of the same. His skills are amazing, and I have the Ambleforth OHL carefully put to one side. Indeed, the tunnel had a overhead bar pick up feed ready for use. Frankly this is the area which has most technology challenges and as this is proposed as a portable exhibition layout overhead are FRAGILE. I will come back to that later!Signals
Electric colour light signally was decided upon although at conception this was the idea, and no one had really thought it through properly – again more later: it gets interesting somewhat!Name
Well that’s easy – the amount of Burton Bridge Brewery that was consumed at the exhibition given that we were there on Friday evening as well left the name Burton in our heads and having a bridge involved left little to be discussed. Burton Old Bridge was born!
Well that’s where we are in terms of decisions. Build comes next in Episode 3!