Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Road to Nowhere - Dealing with Uncertainty

Well, the ‘short term’ employment continues and that means the taxman and bank manager are happy but the penalty has been a lack of time for things modelling. A two week trip to Gallipoli in June also consumed available spare time but allowed me to cross something off the 'Bucket List', so no complaints there.  However, this all means that work on Philip’s Creek has been restricted to cogitating or planning.

What has been focusing the mind of late are the consequences of the sure onset of one's later years and, in particular, the need for at least one more house move. The need to move has been driven by two certainties; declining mobility will push my wife and I to a single storey house, and a declining pension balance will drive a need to take some cash from the value of the existing family home. The time frame for this final upheaval is uncertain but will probably be sometime in the next five to seven years.

This certainty of having to relocate creates some uncertainty for the future development of Philip’s Creek. Although I have 'flip-flopped' a few times, my most recent plan anticipated a major extension of the layout by creating a helix and an upper level to accommodate a significant branchline. Indeed, the latest extension saw the start of this line just north of Philip’s Creek together with the bridge modelled on Hall’s Creek bridge near Sandy Hollow but going nowhere beyond that. The rolling stock in the photo opposite shows the way the terminus is currently managed - crowded and very restricted!

However, the thought of embarking on such a major construction, including building over the existing sceniced layout, only to have to dismantle it and perhaps, adapt it to a new layout space has reduced the appeal of my earlier plans. My current thinking is to adopt a more simple approach that will permit some flexibility for further extensions once I have moved house. But what?

I really would like to create a home for the silo I built about two years ago and provide an alternate destination for some trains passing through Philip’s Creek. Finally, I also need to create some additional staging space to reduce the overcrowding in the Sydney/Newcastle and Muswellbrook staging areas.

However, the following two photos (taken from opposite ends of the garage) show the only residual space available on the current level. It is not long, about 2.5m and provides the sole access to the layout unless one gets down on hands and knees. So I have the choice of either having an access adjacent to the garage doors or installing a lifting bridge separating the new module from the main portion of the layout. Currently, I am leaning towards the lifting bridge because it will allow more space to open the car door and placate the domestic manager.

All of this pushes me towards another simple module using my standard length of 1.8m combined with a hinged access section. It will be crowded but it does offer the flexibility to extend further with minimal disruption once the house move has been completed.

The track plan will probably look something like the one shown below but I have a habit of making minor alterations once I start laying track, so no guarantees.  

Hopefully, this will future proof the layout to some extent. I know the layout in its current form will fit into one garage space so at worst, I need only to find a generous two car garage, potentially vertically as planned previously. If I get lucky and find a more generous space, then the layout can expand horizontally.

Now if someone can tell me how I can fit 30 hours into a day, I'd be eternally grateful!