Progress on the layout

Since the last post on DME Down Under (which was a considerable time ago), significant progress has been made on the layout. In the next few blog posts I will bring you up to date with all the developments. Let’s begin with a more formal looking picture of the layout instead of the sketches. Layout space outlineThe dimensions of the central and outer walls are clearly marked in both imperial and metric measurements. Here in Australia, we have used the metric system since 1974 but I still use imperial measurements every now and then. You can see that the layout follows the outer walls of the double-garage. There is a central wall in the middle which is very useful as it enabled me to use it for two separate yards/towns linked by the peninsula. The peninsula is a double track band, roughly 7 foot across (2.13 metres), with the inside being open to house the dispatcher.

The hatched sections are the baseboards which are, for the most part, three feet wide (0.9 metres). This gives an aisle width of three feet as well. The only pinch point is the 2.5 foot (0.76 metres) gap from the outer edge of the peninsula to the baseboard along the front of the garage.

You can also see a red line within the hatched area. The red line represents a separation of the layout between the front edges (aisle sides) and the rear (wall sides). Between the red line and the inner (aisle) edge is the “visible” model railroad, representing the stretch of line between Brookings (South Dakota) and Marshall (Minnesota) which is fictitious but all explained in an earlier blog post. In actual fact, the model railroad on the lower deck represents the section of this fictitious east-west trackage from Ivanhoe (South Dakota) to Marshall. In real life, Ivanhoe is 23 miles (38 kilometres) west of Marshall.

For the most part, these areas behind the red line (i.e. closest to the walls) are either not considered part of the railroad or have hidden tracks. For example, between the red line and the garage doors is a hidden single track that joins the yard on the far left wall (which is the town of Marshall, Minnesota) and staging on the far right wall. As you follow the red line to the right you can see that it goes half way along the bottom right hand baseboard and then cuts in at ninety degrees towards the aisle. Here, the top half of this baseboard is all staging and considered to be “offstage”. The separation of model railroad from staging tracks will become clearer in future blog posts as I explain each section one at a time.

While the second deck is still some way off in the future, it will be eight inches (200mm) above the lower deck baseboard from the outer walls to the red line. In practice, it means that the upper deck will cover staging and where there is no track anyway. For example, the long wall on the far left of the garage has almost no track between the wall and the red line. But eight inches above this space will eventually be the town of Evan (Minnesota).

I will conclude this post with just one further explanation as my planned double-deck layout is a little bit unusual. The double-deck will actually be stepped with the lower deck model railroad running along the front edges (between the aisles and the red lines). The second deck will NOT be directly over the visible part of the layout but stepped back behind the red line and against the outer walls. So you can also read that the red line on the plan above is a good indication of the position of the upper deck – red line to walls.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The next installment will start with staging to Ivanhoe (bottom right hand baseboard to top right hand baseboard) bridged by a lift out section across the doorway. Until next time…     .