As folks may be aware a week or two ago I ripped up my yard(s) and re- laid them. Today was the day I had intended to (a) re-wire the new yards and (b) make a start on some of the more architectural scenery. Well the best laid plans of mice and men, so they say.
I'd glued up an assembly last night; that was going to be the carcass for an embankment and bridge but when I went to put it in place this morning I knocked off a couple of locking lugs. No big deal I thought, dab of glue out with the spring clamps and I'll be back on plan by lunch time. What to do in the meantime, oh what to do.
"I know, I can crack on with the wiring", first job, salvage all the switches from the two now defunct control panels. So I sat there, snipping wires and unscrewing the switches. More fool me though, for as I was engaged on this somewhat mindless and repetitive task I allowed my eyes to wander over the main line. And it occurred to me that the tunnel mouth at the far end of the station (opposite to teh end I was supposed to be working on) was on reflection a little close to the station, being as it *was* (you can tell what's coming can't you folks?) only about 3 feet from the start of the pointwork at the station throat.
Now before I go much further I should point out that I'd made a good start to the scenery at that end of the layout. Lots of embankments and retaining walls, painstakingly built from plywood, covered in plaster, or plaster bandages with a top coat of plaster. The plaster being carved in to exquisite stonework, representing untold hours of work.
I also ought to add that an important part of my narrow-gauge lies over that particular tunnel as it runs down from the quarry on the far wall. It levels out above the tunnel, splits in to two roads (storage siding and headshunt) then zig-zags down a rather steep incline to the exchange sidings with the main line. Still hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Anyway, I was fixated on the approach to the station and I sort of thought to myself that I could cut back the tunnel, re-jig the narrow- gauge (a little or so I thought) and get another few feet of run in the open for the mainline. So out came the jigsaw and a new embankment took shape. But it looked silly, to I chopped away the side that laid between the mainline and the sidings and that looked better, it did, honest it did (that's the point where the first of the really good plaster work was ripped out)! But then I was left with a bit of orphaned 009 gauge track on a spur stuck out like a sore thumb, 4 inches above its surroundings on the most improbable geology ever. Well no prizes for guessing what came next, more jigsaw, a little hammer (well quite a big one actually) and away went the spur.
OK it was then time for a bit of real head-scratching. The passenger part of the narrow gauge was OK - it runs behind all the above to the mainline station. But the quarry part was a little stuck, no way of getting to the most beautifully crafted incline imaginable. Indeed very little chance of getting to the exchange sidings at all. Then came the brain wave. What if I move the turn-out that lead to the exchange siding about 6 feet closer to the quarry and bring it down a new incline parallel to the main line (hidden at this point by the remainder of the tunnel) but on an opposite alignment. Great, I could ease the angle of descent by at least half and by ending the incline at the bottom in a half spiral - a bit like the modern Festiniog it's run directly in to the exchange sidings (which would have to be re aligned a little plus I'd get a couple of storage sidings in as well down at the bottom in sensible locations. So I moved the turn-out.
I'm now in the process of carving a track out of a nearly finished hill, a hill that's been built out of plywood, covered in plaster bandages, sculpted with yet more plaster (stained in a suitable earth colour of course), had dry stone walls built upon it, indeed had everything done on it bar having the final ground cover applied.
Oh, and just as I was finishing I thought that I'd put that carcass in at the other end of the layout, after all that's what I had meant to do today. It fitted perfectly ... then I knocked off a couple of locating lugs ...