Monday, December 24, 2012

Barcoola Season Greetings

Hi All

I would like to wish all a Merry Christmas and Season Greeting on behalf of the Barcoola crew.

This year has brought a lot of changes, and re focusing of priorities.
On the plus side I actually have managed to wangle annual leave over the Chirstmas - new year period, so there will be a big push for getting Alice Springs to a presentable stage, and enable operations to start.

I have also been taking stock of what I really want to achieve with building layouts.  A number of layouts have been scratched off the list for now.
This includes:
A Layout based on AN's southline.
A layout based on Broken Hill.
A layout based on BCRail.
A layout based on the Lincoln Division.

Most of this equipment has ended up on Ebay, so if you are interested check out Jason's ebay listings you never know, you might bag a bargain, anyway enough of the self promotion.

The refocusing has illustrated to me, the need to get things done in a certain way.  Lance Mindhiem has a lot of info on his site explaining how doing more with less can work, for example the industrial area of Alice Springs was up and running in about 6 months, amongst heavy work commitments, thus getting a small section of the layout up and running early keeps the will power going.  I expect phase II of Alice Springs to be operational real soon now, thus in little over a year. Doing the same on Barcoola using older building techniques took about three years.

So if I was giving tips on Layout project management, here is what I would be looking at.

  • What are you really passionate about? What would you really like to model?  Then take it down to 80 to 60% and you are probably there.
  • Assess your available space, complicated arrangement's just to get millimetres of space are just not worth it.
  • look at 30 inch aisle access for a one person operation 3 feet or more with pinch points for more than one operator.  I learn this the hard way with the Alice Springs industrial area, I have built this down to 24 inches, and I wish I had calculated in an extra 6 inches just for comfort.  Check out the link on Lance's site, in regard to design and space.
  • Available time and passion for what you want to do, taking a smaller bite of the pie, and doing it well is alot more satisfying, again check out a reference to lance's site regarding this.
  • The more real estate you have the more you need to detail it, On Alice Springs some sections are down to 300mm, if I had kept it all at 600mm wide then I would have twice the scenery work to do, thus would take twice a long to finish.
  • DCC makes wiring easy, and thus save time.  If you have not used DCC before, have a look at NCE, simply for user friendly functions, plus its available in wireless, thus you can get away without control panels.  If you are running a layout which trains are run by one locomotive, have a look at a complete wireless system, and the locomotives working batteries only.  I would definitely look at this type of operation for WA S scale.
  • Enjoy the planning stage, paper is cheep, but keep in mind the following, space between tracks for your fingers. in HO leave 300mm of 1 ft for each point.  Try not to go under 30 inch radi for HO mainline for layouts with modern rollingstock.

What's in store in 2013:
Alice Springs.
For the new year we will be completing Phase II.
Starting and experimenting with operations, train orders, TC12's TIMS printouts, shunting lists.
I will be looking at three eras for Alice Springs.
  • AN Transition Era (ALs BLs CLs DL's and GMs 1987-1988 still some locomotives in ANR and CR), 
  • AN 1993 (AN, CLF, CLP DL, ELs GMs, roadrailers and double stacks) 
  • GWI ultra modern - now (CLFs, CLPs GWIs, GWUs, GMs ANs and NRs) and no Glen I will not be removing the signals at the south end of the yard!
Jon is intending to build a layout, which is currently in the design stage.
Maybe even a Pilbara layout, on the small scale.

Anyway enjoy your time off with family and friends.


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