Friday, March 15, 2019

The End of Padstow Mark 1

Rick Stein (of Padstein restaurant infame) is not involved that we know of. (UK joke.)

On the night of February 19, 2019 water from a rainstorm two days earlier had backed up on the flat roof of my townhouse and leaked through the roofing onto the sheetrock ceiling of my office and train room. A 4 foot by 4 foot panel of sheetrock detached from the ceiling and fell swinging down from the paper coating slowly. It did not hit the 2 foot by 11 foot layout based on the trackage at Padstow minus the long pier or my workbench. While the layout and workbench were intact, I was informed that the room would ultimately need to be cleared of furniture and fixings to repair the damage to the ceiling and repaint the ceiling after the external roof was repaired. It has been over 3 weeks since that disaster and unfortunately we have not had enough dry days in a row for the roof to dry out so it can be replaced by the roofers.

I have boxed and binned most of the train stuff from the room. But, alas, the time has come to tackle the rather poorly build layout. It was simpley a 2 X 8 sheet of fiber insulation board on top of supporting 1X2 boards supported by 3 wood TV tray tables. There was an 3 X 2 extension with a shallow manual turntable and locomotive storage tracks that did not exist at Padstow. Any actual storage or shedwork was done at Wadebridge where there was a Southern Railway sub shed.

The design really only afforded a place to pose or switch either my English prototype collection of postware Southern Railway and related 4 mm scale (00) scale or my growing collection of US 1947-54 US Southern Pacific passenger and freight equipment. It was built from an assortment of Peco Code 100 Streamline turnouts going back 15 years and older Atlas code 100 track with wider thicker ties. I have ripped out the turnouts. Much of the wiring was from a previous pre-DCC Great Western Brixham branch line terminal layout from 2003-2010.

It is not really a great loss and I feel no real regret at its demolition. It is almost and air of exultation that comes with an out with the old in with the new anticipation. The turnouts have been saved although their future is in doubt as new layout(s) when built will use more modern trackage components. If it is totally British in outline it will use new Peco Code 75 “bullhead” rail components when they become available. On the other-hand the first to be rebuilt could be to North American prototype track with Micro Engineering and new Peco Code 70 USA line components. I also have some Peco Code 75 flat bottom European HO track turnouts on hand now that have not really been used and may be used to augment the newer track. Flex track would be Micro Engineering code 70.

All the buildings from Padstow station area have been saved. If I get the energy I will build a separate 3 2X4 modular layout that can be stored when not in use to show of English Southern modeling efforts. This will happen only when there is a full range of Peco bullhead rail components available.

I am also thinking about how I can rebuild so that I can model the Walnut Creek station area on the Southern Pacific San Ramon valley branch and maybe the branch interchange at Avon Contra Costa. If I had the space I would start with the small engine terminal at Port Costa, the Sacramento/San Joaquin junction at Martinez and then the Avon yard with interchange to the US Navy Port Chicago terminal railroad as will as the San Ramon branch. Unfortunately this would probably depend on winning a substantial lottery prize. At my age (75) it is probably just a dream goal.

A more realistic proposal for my small 11 foot by 11 foot area is to remove the book cases in the office and put a new Avon/Port Costa shelf layout along the north wall at a 45 inch height. My office desk, PC and printer would go under the layout. The big chair will have to go and only a single roll-around office chair used. The office has to stay here as this is the location for the high speed ATT phone/data connection and the WiFi router. This modular shelf layout would have two tail tracks. One on the short 5 foot west wall and another extending 9-10 feet over the work bench on the east wall. This would be at the 45 inch height.

Along the South all in front of the built in cherry bookshelves, a new Padstow Mark set of modules would be built with a curve at the east end to get to a pair of storage/staging tracks in front of the windows and below the SP layout staging. The workbench desk would have to be replaced and move out.

As I do not anticipate full re-occupancy of the train room/office before the end of April, this construction effort will take place over most of the rest of the year with the goal of full operational track work by December 2019.