Letting off steam: Keeping things simple…

This month Lucian Doyle helps a friend create a layout to help him wind down after work.

I am not one who will broadcast to all and sundry about my interest in model railways. This is not because I am ashamed of my passion but I have become rather tired of trying to explain my hobby to those who clearly have no desire in knowing more but prefer to pull my leg, thinking they are the first to do so.

My six-track sketch of what my friend wanted from his layout.

Therefore, having kept my interest in models and full-size railways much to myself, I was somewhat surprised when a casual acquaintance of mine knocked on my door several Saturdays ago and asked if I could help him build a model railway.

Having invited him in I asked if it was for his children and he said no, the layout was for him. He explained that all he wanted to do was just manoeuvre several locomotives from one part of a simple layout to another, because what appealed to him about model railways was, in simple terms, the logistics.

He felt that being immersed in the movement of locomotives would help him to switch off from thinking about his job. I prefer not to reveal my visitor’s occupation but what I can say is that his profession is incredibly stressful and should the stress not find a release then his work-life expectancy could be limited.

The Hornby Select, which I had recommended as being suitable for my friend.

“Do you want the layout to have scenery?” I asked. “No,” came the swift reply. “Well, how large do you want it?” I enquired. My friend then proceeded to explain what he was looking for. “I am a bit limited on space but if you can make me a baseboard, say 4ft x 3ft 6in, that would be perfect.

“I then require a series of straight tracks equally spaced with each running the full length of the board. Six tracks would be great with each section of track connected by points so that I can move a loco from the bottom track up to the top one. I would like each track to have two electrically operated uncoupling ramps with each point fitted with a point motor.”

For the full article, see September’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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