January 16th, 2009

It Has Begun!

A little while year ago, I wrote about although I’m all grown up and have a job and live in a house and drive a car, I still want a kick-ass dog and a model railway.

Well, as discussed at the time I can’t (fairly) own a dog at the moment. Maybe in a year a so when I work next door to my house, but not now. So, train set model railway it is!

Phase one of the build is complete - I have a layout built in my loft with trains going round it and everything. The layout I’ve built is infinitely more complex than the one I had as a kid - it has branch lines, motorised points, gradients and viaducts. Thanks to the wonders of DCC, I can control all of the trains and points from a single controller without having a million wires everywhere. Nerds can think of a DDC layout as a token-ring network. Normal people can think of it as… uh… magic.

Now, up to this point has been expensive. The track alone cost well over £300. Decent locomotives can cost between £60 and £100 each, and the digital controller alone was £100. So far, it’s been totally worth it. Although it’s essentially a bunch of toy trains going around a wooden world, building the world has been interesting and technically challenging. I’ve designed the whole thing in sections, so the raised parts just sit on top of the baseboard, and the long gradients clip into place, and plug into the DCC bus with a pair of banana plugs. Underneath each section is a plethora of wires, point motors and DCC decoders for the motors. My favourite part is the curved bridge in the bottom corner - removable so you can get boxes past.


Soon, phase two will start. This will take much longer, but I’m expecting will give even more enjoyment - scenery! Somehow I’ve got to turn the arid wooden plains into a world blooming with life.

Two Levels