|A new layout is in the making for 2019. Or is that two new layouts?|
It's September 1st. August is over, and the four model train shows that I took Philden to in 2018, along with making the August cover of Australian Model Railway Magazine, are now all yesterday's news. And apart from adding a backdrop and final touches that will finish transforming my former two track staging yard into the fully scenicked beach extension, Philden is finished. Anything beyond this is just tinkering with a good thing simply for the sake of tinkering.
I've tried and toyed with the idea of extending this layout before, only to wave the white flag at each dead-end. So when remodelling the staging shelf into the beach extension, I included a sneak-off track that can enable this layout to be expanded into an L-shape layout in the future. If that ever happens... it'd be nice. I just can't see it being anytime in the next decade. For now its going to remain what I originally envisioned. A 9' foot long bookshelf layout encased in perspex.
|There's as much room beneath my bookshelf layout as there is within the confines of Philden's cabinet frame.|
The aftermath of taking Philden to 7 model train shows, is that it makes you want to try something new. Case in point is this; I recently emailed Keith Jordan over in The States to inform him that my layout had made the cover of Australian Model Railway Magazine. Keith's almost finished HO Scale layout 'The Patch', was featured in Great Model Railroads 2012, and was the layout that first inspired me to build Philden. I heard back from Keith, and was a little bit surprised to learn he had since fallen out of the hobby, moved onto restoring muscle cars and sold off all his HO stuff. I say a little bit surprised, because its easy to lose interest once something is almost complete.
As you can see in the photo above, I only have the station building to complete on the beach extension and the blue sky backdrop to replace with a full-length photo backdrop. Whatever I do next is just tinkering for the sake of tinkering. Change this, add that, maybe start collecting rolling-stock from a different era. Wouldn't it be better just to build another layout?
After collecting enough N Scale equipment to build a small 2' foot x 5' foot layout that I first planned exactly a year ago, I have since moved into a larger apartment and replaced my desk with an IKEA work space. Suddenly there is that little bit more room. While I still plan to build a small N Scale tabletop layout, just to satisfy the roundy-round in us all, it's not something that I haven't done before.
|You know you've been living in a place long enough once you start to reminisce on the good ol' days.|
While I grew up in Gosford and shall always consider myself to be a New South Wales boy, moving to Queensland in 1991 was the beginning of the best 10 years of my life. I met Denise, we married and had two kids. For us the Nineties were awesome! It's safe to safe that you've anchored yourself long enough in the one place when you start recalling the good ol' days. If I was trying to recall those days by tinkering with new rolling-stock to build a Nineties NSW roster on Philden, why not just build a second layout instead, and model Queensland? And not just HO scale, but 12 mm narrow gauge HOn3 1/2. Both of which I haven't had any previous experience with.
|It always starts with a locomotive, in this case a HOn3 1/2 Queensland 1550 Class by Wuiske Models.|
I snapped the above picture of this loco sitting atop Philden to a model railway buddy of mine the day after the Redlands Model Train Show and seconds later got the reply, "Oh no! What have you done?" After assuring him it was for a new layout, and that I wasn't about to tear-up any track on Philden, I received an email containing all the forms for the upcoming Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention in October. That's left me thinking, 'why not?' I know very little about the eccentricities of the railways in the state for which I've strangely spent most of my life. And the locomotives that I remember from 20 to 30 years ago are now slowly disappearing from the modern railway landscape. So I'm now going to my first model railway convention ever.
Next May's Brisbane Model Train Show will mark four years since I rocked-up and purchased everything I needed to start building this layout. Four years is a long time. Just ask an Olympian. I think it will make a good time to semi-retire my layout from the exhibition circuit. I say semi-retire, because I'm sure that like John Farnham, there will always be one more final showing somewhere down the track. But you get a new locomotive like the narrow gauge one you can see above, and suddenly there's a new enthusiasm to start planning, researching, learning the advantages of working with 12 mm guage track and so on. If I don't, then like Keith, I too stand to lose interest and move onto something else.
So while you're reading this on a Saturday morning, I'll be sitting in a bakery overlooking the North Coast Line in Landsborough, having breakfast with my wife of 25 years Denise and hopefully seeing a train or two pass by. All the while the mind will be ticking with the options I have in planning a layout that will be as long as Philden, yet able to be twice the width. Unlike Philden, this time I won't be blogging its progress every step of the way! Read my post on ending a career positively on my author blog here, and you will sympathise with where I'm coming from. I feel like I finally just need to do something for me. So come May I'll also retire this blog. In fact I've already started tidying up some obsolete posts and reviews of items and locomotives that have long gone from my layout.
The upside is, that by no longer having to update both blogs, I reckon I'll have the next layout finished and ready to replace Philden on the exhibition circuit come 2020. Until then, there'll still be a few more posts to follow this one as I finish the layout and prepare to show it again in Brisbane in 2019, before I head into the bold new world of narrow gauge. As they say; 'there's no looking back now, its onwards and upwards at all costs!'