Friday, April 10, 2009

Going Nuclear...

I get distracted.
The forum RMweb is a wonderful place. Thousands of like minded modellers offering support, inspiration and advice to each other. As far as I am concerned it's the best site of its type on the web.
The forum RMweb is a terrible place. Full of distractions to catch the unwary railway modeller off guard and lead him down paths he'd either forgotten or never even thought of.
Such a thing happened to me to me just this week (and not for the first time I hasten to add) I was browsing through the posts quite randomly and I came across one entitled Nuclear Flask Layout. Immediately I recalled the British Rail stunt from 1984 in which they ran a train full speed at a Nuclear Flask to prove their indistructability and decided to take a look at the thread. The gentleman in question had sketched out a few ideas for a small layout in a boxfile of a nuclear flask loading point in N gauge. Another poster pointed him in the direction of another thread containing prototype information about these transfer points. I should have stopped there.
But I didn't. That was my big mistake. For I was drawn in by the thread and the prototype photographs. Then I saw some pictures of the transfer point at Trawsfynydd in North Wales. North Wales is one of my favourite places in the whole world and I'm a sucker for anything sited there. I was also quite familiar with the Trawsfynydd location.
That was it the creative cogs started whirring and I started sketching and so here are a couple of ideas for your perusal .
The top one has somewhat of an unusual shape to it to enable the viewer to do something you can't do on most layouts and that is watch a train come towards you. It is an idea I'd like to experiment with some more at some time. It's something that can be done quite easily on small layouts but not many modellers choose to do it. I can only really think of three layouts that do this. One in 4mm scale is called Villiers Street, another is an N gauge layout (might be 2mm finescale though) that I forget the name of and I think I've seen a third one in 009.
The second plan is a bit more conventional in that regard. The trains only pass across your field of view.
Transfer points are not very exciting places really. There will be a big heavy crane to lift the flask off the wagon and on to a waiting lorry and vice versa. A security fence and a site office would just about complete things. In both plans I have tucked the crane away into the corner for two reasons. One it would help hide the fact that it doesn't work. Conversely, it would also simplify things if you did want to make it work. I did in fact work out some ideas for making the crane work but I don't know how feasible it is. The cleverer amongst you would have no problem in making a working crane. Scenically, Nuclear power stations are in remote places, Dungeness, Cumbrian coast, Welsh mountains. So there's a lot of scope for different scenic treatments. I opted for the overgrown rundown Trawsfynydd branch line.
Something this small could be an ideal diversion from your main project if your interest is waning or if you wanted to build a small test layout to try a new scale... Like P4...
No I didn't say that...

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