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entry 22 Nov 2008, 10:03
I returned to the hobby in Christmas 2006, when under the tree, completely unexpected, was a Hornby DCC "Mixed Goods" set from my wife. ("The hobby". I love that phrase. You read it all the time in the model railway press: "the Hobby". "THE Hobby?" As in, there's only one worth talking about, presumably. Angling? Macrame? Pigeon fancying? What they, then?).

Well intentioned as it was, and delighted as I was to receive it, I don't think she foresaw the consequences of this present. Or did she?

This train set, which I had not requested, seemed to rekindle in me some latent desire to build a model railway. I had never been a member of a club, attended any shows or read any of the monthlies, so I had no idea that such things as shelf layouts were possible. I was just gripped with the notion of filling out and completing the supplied 6' 4' Trakmat.

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The days between Christmas and New Year saw me making almost daily visits to the local toy/bicycle/artist materials shop in our small town, which stocks a modest array of Hornby products, to purchase the requisite track packs. I went up a rather steep (and expensive!) learning curve.

I learned that the track packs A-F referred to on the 'Mixed Goods' box were not the same as the track packs A-F which the local shop had in stock, which built up the previous Trakmat layout.

I learned about 1st, 2nd and 3rd radius curves.

I learned that you need to add electro point clips to energise all the trackwork on a DCC layout. (Later I was to learn about code 75 track, flexible track and electrofrogs, and wonder every time my 0-6-0 "Jinty" stalled on a point if, in hindsight, I had been wise buying all those dead frog Hornby points...)

After a week or so of tripping over the layout, set up as it was on the wooden dining room floor, the inevitable plan for a baseboard was hatched in my mind.

So it was off to the local Focus. Unfortunately, I hadn't read up on baseboard construction, and so ended up buying three pieces of 9 mm thick 4' 2' MDF, plus some PSE timber.

Thus was New Year's Eve 2006 spent gluing and screwing softwood battens to the underside of the MDF boards in what I know realise was a completely unconventional manner. Still, the result was at least reasonably stiff and flat. The Trakmat was fixed on with Spay Mount, and the trackwork was pinned down on Hornby foam underlay.

This arrangement was fine as far as it went, but I realised that I could not monopolise the dining room table for ever.

The loft was a possibility, and was already partially boarded, but the now monolithic baseboard would not go through the hatch. And I wanted to run my trains NOW.

I considered the possibilities in the integral garage. (As I say, I was wedded to the Trakmat at this stage, not considering other layout possibilities). Even in here it was going to take up too much room, especially since it would have to share the space with the washing machine, tumble dryer, freezer, workbench, shelving, bicycles and cross-trainer.

I had just started a better paid job, and the term "credit crunch" had yet to be coined. There was nothing for it but to buy a bigger house.

Who says she didn't have a plan in buying me that b****y train set!

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dwb
post 22 Nov 2008, 14:37
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I enjoyed reading that, thanks thumbsup.gif

Great hobby isn't it?

David


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post 20 Jan 2009, 17:01
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Your blog made me laugh out loud, espcially the bit about being sniffy about lima not bieng "kosha" I too suffered from that affliction as I too was given a lima (god only knows what it was as parants decided to clear out loft and boot fair it all , including the railway, several years ago) and it wasnt the best of runners!
Steve


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About to embark on a railway modelling adventure. BR blue to modern image. West coast mainline Wolverton area.

Can't wait for the weekend. I mean, come on, after Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says W T F!
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