The BMW model railroad's first running session

Thought some of you might like to see the problems we residents of the UK have in finding space to put our model railroad.

After many months of construction work my loft layout, the Becaton, Michaelsberg and Williamstown Railroad (BMWR) had its first running session on Wednesday 26 Nov.
I had intended the pervious week to be the first session but Sod's Law intervened and the point operating switches which had been running well before my visitors arrived failed! I felt embarrassed in front of my two visitors.
This time with just one visitor everything worked perfectly in the 'main' area. The temporary yard area that I'd laid to give us a point to point layout also worked for the most part but there were a few times when the uneven track caused the couplers to come undone and the odd derailment.
I managed to take some photos which are at http://mikehughes627.fotopic.net/p55116716.html
Taking the rolling stock out from the boxes and then replacing them seemed to take longer than the actual running time - I've spent a couple of hours putting it away tonight (Thursday). I wondered how others of you manage this chore. Do you - leave the stock on the layout, pack it away have some form of covered storage, cover it over on the layout or what?
I was pleased that I'd tried out the layout as it is and found that it all worked - that is except when one of my visitors was present two weeks ago. I discovered one wire had come loose on the Lenz buss but couldn't find why the darned points wouldn't work. I can't get the fault to occur again. I can only think that everything has settled into place since I've been round checking every plug and socket. Whatever we tried this week it all worked OK!
Putting in the temporary section has helped me finalise the track layout for that area - it'll be different to the temporary part! It has also shown me the importance of making sure that any gradients you have are gradual - the temporary part had some gradients that made the long locos couplings go to a different height to the following rolling stock causing them to uncouple. Thankfully a problem that can be easily solved when the final track work is laid down.
One thing this has brought home to me is that keeping records of what you've done as you go along is far easier than trying to remember how you wired something up over a year ago. That's why the red folder and the small notebooks (relics from the time I had my printing business) are kept close to hand - see http://mikehughes627.fotopic.net/p55116708.html
If you look at the photo you will also see a long piece of 6mm wood about 3.5" high screwed to the rafters. I put this in originally to show me the maximum distance I could go inwards with the track since this marks the height of a double stack container train. Now that I'm thinking more about scenery I'll probably take this out and put scenery behind the track and up to the rafters
As I said before, apart from the 'test train' consisting of a GP40 and 5 mixed cars I've put everything away until I've constructed the next stage of benchwork. When that's completed I'll have a complete circuit I can use to test and run in trains. Now there's an incentive to get going if ever there was one! It'll have to wait until January now as I'm coming up to what is usually the busy time of year - and I'll be working all over the holiday times (extra money).
That's the joy and the pain of our hobby. So much to do and never enough time. Now if there are any carpenters out there who want to build some benchwork I can supply copious quantities of tea and coffee - you'll have to pay your own travelling expenses though :-)
--
Mike Hughes
A Taxi driver licensed for London and Brighton
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2008 11:38:26 +0000, Mike Hughes wrote:

If that's what's showing in the photo of the electrical return, there's one other benefit of alligator clips (as we call them over here): they function as pretty good bumping posts!
--
Steve

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You're absolutely right - have a guess how I found out?
--
Mike Hughes
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