Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Winmar is no more

My New South Wales-based prototype layout, Winmar, finally came to an end last Sunday. I had been progressively dismantling the layout over the past three months and all that remained last weekend was the outside frame, the traverser, and some internal bracing (see photo).

The track had been removed some time ago and I had cut away most of the timberwork and the baseboard top. Anton's 60' turntable and the associated wiring had also been removed. The control panel was disconnected from the multitude of wires that fed into it (photo below - don't get confused by the orientation; the panel was actually sitting lengthwise on the floor but I reoriented the photo to make the panel easier to read ). All the wiring on the layout was disconnected from the track and point motors and much of it can be used again.

It was actually quite sad after the 16' x 8' outside frame had been totally unbolted and unscrewed from the woodwork. My dad had built the frame and the baseboard lattice grid for me back in the 1970s, using aluminium for the outside frame which I think was pretty revolutionary at the time. He bolted the aluminium outside frame to a wooden frame that comprised four sides and a 12" lattice grid supporting the baseboard (but obviously not including the operating well in the centre). He screwed every screw into the 12'' wooden lattice grid inside the frame by hand - and there were hundreds of those damn screws.

Later, I added risers and put a new plywood top on the frame and gridwork. Trackwork followed many years (and many houses) later. Scenery was postponed when it was clear that a move from Sydney to Canberra was beckoning around 2008. Since then, I have lived in four different houses. The current house has a double garage with a wall down the centre that splits the garage in two - each half being just wide enough for Winmar to fit but not allowing any movement of the 12 track traverser (fiddle yard). The traverser (photo below) was salvaged from the layout frame last Sunday and can be used again, given the right circumstances.

I now have an almost empty half-garage (albeit still prone to water seepage when it rains) which is waiting for some decisions as to how it will be used in the future. Competing for the space (in both halves of the garage) are the two cars that currently sit outide on the driveway. In Canberra, housing vehicles is a little more pressing than in more temperate climates like Sydney.

I recently had a couple of quotes for a carport out the front of the garage for the two cars. Alas, the carport would be outside the building line and unlikely to get official approval. The other option would be to see if we could add a second storey above the garage for a hobby room! I hear from some mates who were visiting model railraod layouts in Texas last year that building a second storey above the house or garage for a train layout is not as unusual as one might think! Obviously there's a cost to be considered with this option well above that for any possible (unapproved) carport.

The two Davids who helped me on Sunday with the final dismantling of Winmar were sure supportive of the second-storey above-the-garage option but I wonder how they'd feel if I started asking for building construction donations!

1 comment:

  1. I understand that pulling down a layout that has taken years to construct, and 1000s of hobby hours is not easy. I was in that situation in the mid 1990s, when I was about to move. All the benchwork was labelled and stored, in the hope that I might re-build. The buildings were stored, the trackwork lifted, electrics were salvaged and the scenery sent to landfill. The benchwork is presently still in pieces, taking up space in the garage. In the meantime I have been very active in layout building - in a club - 3 exhibition layouts. If I ever construct a home layout, it will be small, transportable, and themed to a specific protoype. And once that is done, approx 2 years, then after a period on the exibition circuit, I could try a differnt prototype/scale. Frankly, I cannot afford to spend the next 20 years constructing a u-beaut layout, of NSWGR prototype (Wagga Wagga - mid 1960s), to a full scenery stage, with numererous scratchbuilt structures. In the meanttime, does anyone want an L girder freestanding benchwork, to suit a smaller layout, 1.7 metres x 2.5 mtrs?