Wednesday, June 24, 2015

NRAIL extension plans

((NOTE: I wrote this ages ago, but it looks like I never pushed it live. :) Oops ))

I'm inching closer to committing to the NRAIL extension plan of taking the subway section and pushing it through the wall to the other room of my office.I'm current;y working out budget items with the Mrs. and trying to sort out the execution. It's a bit tricky and I'm trying to do it without a drastic change in the current setup. (This might be a long winded article today! :)  )


My first thought was to rip everything up and start over with a new Master Plan®. I'd basically start from scratch, rethinking both the top deck and subway areas, ripping out all the work so far and rebuilding the whole of it to work in all the items that I learned AFTER building what I currently have. While this is somewhat exciting, it's also a bit...disheartening. I'm finally at a stage where I'm working on scenes and adding people and small items and it would be a rather major step backward in the process. Not sure I want to do that at this point.

So, the idea was that I could take what I have and work with it, building a sort of visual story for the reason why it was set up the way it is. The top deck would not change - it would operate the way it currently is with maybe the exception of opening up the center station area - removing the Modemo (which doesn't run well on my layout) and making it somewhere I can run the Portram to for "operations". The Modemo unit would be addressed in the future - maybe dropping another electrical pickup on it...once I figure out how to do that. :)

The subway section would be extended (the green areas in the images below) and would run through the wall into the next room.

I'll have to work out where this desk would go. A logistical choice, really.


The new space that I've opened up with contain some of the things that I wanted to have in my original layout plan three years back. I'm going to look back on some of the things that I had to omit and see which ones could be folded into this section. Lush green spaces that creep in on the track areas is one thing I want to make sure I get in. Elevated track running past trees and water is another. Hillside vistas. I had the bridge section pictured below a while back and that may be a lovely centerpiece to the hillside / tree / water area.


 The idea is somewhat simple, though not linear. The subway section is in Shizuka and the story will be that it's traveling to another location miles away. Passing through and under the current layout is simply traveling underground and under the water. Then, when it passes through the wall, it's miles away in a new city or town area - TBD. I was giving through to how I see it if I want to do things like stop at stations and the like if the control is in the other room. Well, I thought a simple webcam might be fun at some point. CCTV style. It will still be fun to see it roll through at speed even if I can't stop it in the exact location.

And, yes, down the line, I can run DCC. :)  That would solve that issue 100%. Watching the guys walk around with handheld throttles during MODEL RAIL RADIO SHOW 100 was an eye opener for sure. That combined with on-board power would make me so happy. :)

Need to break through this wall...without hitting wires! :)


Like I said, I had some items I wanted on my layout scene wise that I had to bail on due to space constraints and building priority over nature. However, opening up the back room might provide a great opportunity to get some of the more natural and scenic looking area. Lost of trees, bushes and green. Some of the images below reflect the look I'm researching now.

This is a great chance to do a train line that's higher up on a hillside or mountain because then I don't have to worry about switching elevations from the level the subway is on to the current height of the table space in the back room. I can build up a mountain/hillside, have the track up on it like the image directly above, then have a nice space for small water areas, houses and roads below it. I think it would look super cool. :)

I was originally thinking that my Hillside Tram would fill in another part of the back room area in the far future. This is a cool, yet somewhat complex idea.  A few MRR folks have been playing around with it. In Japan, there are areas where trams and trains run up hillside areas. There are stations in various locations. When the trams pass, they pull into the station area, then switch to either the higher or lower track and proceed on their way. It's a cool little system. I'd love to get something like it going. I have it worked out in my head. I just keep plotting.

So, I'm making an effort to keep my eye on the goals and tasks at hand. It's fun to think through and think about. I have to admit, I'm still thinking about long term changes and how they can work with what I'm doing now. (SEE: Hillside Tramway :::grin::) For example, in the future if I want to expand some more, I can move MORE stuff out of my office and build the mountain for this tramway project. That, in turn, may even be connected to my current layout - taking the spur that runs off past my harbor area, pushing it through the wall, then running it over to the mountain for use in the tramway area. Pretty slick. :)

But....for now....this extension.  Time to look over old notes and see what I can weave in here! 


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