Friday, 18 September 2015

Doesn't Time Fly?

I can't believe it's a week already since WHR Great & Small II.

Last Friday morning five of us were hard at work erecting Dduallt and Bron Hebog side by side in the historic NWNGR Goods Shed at Dinas.

To be honest it was much more work than I had anticipated when we agreed to exhibit the pair of them.

Dduallt, being a quarter of a century old now, was constructed in a very traditional manner and the boards are secured together with coach bolts, which can become a little tiresome when you're on your hands and knees on a very cold and grubby floor.

Bron Hebog, by contrast, is a work of precision engineering, and being so big with boards interlocking at all angles can be troublesome to fit together on anything other than a perfectly smooth surface.

By no stretch of imagination does the Goods Shed floor fit that description - it took all five of us to force some of the boards into position.

Over the years it's been a matter of quiet pride to us that the layouts generally run very reliably, even when, in the case of Dduallt, it has been in storage for a number of years.

Bron Hebog, alas is still being developed and suffered some minor teething troubles over the weekend.

We were caught with our trousers down by the electrics on the revamped fiddle yard.

Naturally these were subject to extensive testing after construction, but one of the fundamental difficulties with a layout as ginormous is that it's unrealistic to put the whole thing up outside of exhibitions.

So while the yards were tested and worked as intended on their own, when connected to the rest of the layout the electrons got into a bit of a disagreement.

The question we are still trying to answer, as I write, is where?

The issue didn't stop the layout operating, it just made it tricky to run trains smoothly in and out of the yards using a combination of control panels as is supposed to happen.

For me part of the joy of this exhibition was at last being able to run full length WHR trains around the layout.

The show had a delightfully informal feel which meant we felt able to have a play ourselves and try out some unusual combinations and spoon on a big dollop of modellers' licence, such as when my friend Marcus brought his NG15 models over to stretch their legs around the layout.

Over in the real engine shed NG15 134 was being shown off with its wheel sets back in the frames at last.

The day is coming nearer when we will see this scene for real, I hope.

I had posted in the build up to the show about how we were going to have to divide our stock carefully between the two layouts with the current 21st Century locos and carriages on Bron Hebog and running Dduallt as a late 80s / early 90s period piece.

The plan seemed to work perfectly and it was a bit of a revelation to me.

As our fleet has expanded ( mainly on account of the FR churning out new locomotives and carriages over the last 20 years) so the layouts, Dduallt in particular, have suffered what you might call 'British motorway syndrome' - struggling to cope with volumes of traffic for which they were not designed.

What this show reminded me was how much easier (and perhaps even more fun?), they are to operate with fewer trains on them and room for manoeuvre in the fiddle yards.

It seems that sometimes less is indeed more.

1 comment:

  1. What an excellent weekend it was too. Great to see both layouts side by side and to see you all again. My only wish was that my layout had also been in the goods shed.