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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sometime ago, reading one of the forums I came across this:

"Just got back from the WHOLE day at the show, we were reasonably pleased with the layouts present although, many of them seemed a long way off what I remember exhibition standards used to be, but it is around 7-8 years since I last attended a Model show, I enjoyed the trade presence and found lots of little goodies but no major purchases.

One last thing, my 11 year old son has just summed his day up with " Really enjoyed it Dad, but not sure I will go again, totally "fed up" (not the words he really used ) of being pushed out of the way by Ignorant Smelly Old Men".

Now that got me thinking and It really did hit home how inconsiderate some people can be.
So I thought about making a layout just for the kids, as most exhibitions I've been to if they don't supply a box for them to stand on they can't even see the layout!

So the seeds were set, it also had to meet certain criteria that I had set myself:-

1. I wanted it to be amusing for the kids so I thought Thomas the tank engine and friends always onto a winner!
2. I not only wanted them to see it but also have a go a playing trains, the easiest way for me to do this was to make it DCC operated.
3. I have loads of Scalscenes kits so all buildings had to be made from the kits I had or scratch built.
4. As I already have a 'train-room' It had to be fairly small so I also went for N-gauge.
5. I wanted the layout to be fairly easy and straight forward so that if any parents saw it they could think, yeh I could do that. As I'm pretty sure that after they have strolled around an exhibition the quality of the layouts is enough to put anybody off!
Thinking I'm never going to get anything to lool like that!

So that little lot was my target!

1. First the layout, fairly obvious really to me......the Hornby TrakMat, lets be right mum and dad go out at Christmas buy little Johnny his first Hornby trainset and it will be the TrakMat, it just so Happens Hornby do a Thomas TrakMat as well!!
This is the OO Thomas TrakMat, the only difference between this and the other TrakMat that comes with the other sets, is the locos that are run on it!
I thought this would be perfect, kids can have Thomas running about when they want to play, then dad can get his grown up locos out when he wants ago!

Click on the images for a bigger picture.



So there was the plan, a full TrakMat including all accessory packs A-F, with aq bit of working out copied this layout but using all set-track in N-gauge.

Which gave me my N-gauge TrakMat Layout:-



I started laying the track, but fitted the point motors to the points while building, made sense to do it now so if I wanted to I could power them up later.

I built the baseboards in the usual way, but made the height very low, perfect for my nephew to sit at and play trains!




All of the buildings are Scalescenes, I adapted the terrace houses, to try and give a cottage type feel to them.
The goods shed was scratchbuilt copied from the Hornby one, roughly guessed the sizes but it's not turned out too bad.




The waiting room and shelter came free in the Hornby Magazine but in OO, so with a bit of playing about managed to create a N-gauge version!
Thomas taking James's coaches around the small waiting halt to check for clearance.

Front and rear main waiting room and shelter:-




After looking at the build a layout in 6weeks thread thought that was an excellent idea to build a transport box so I did the same thing for this, thanks guys!



The front flap I fixed with hinges so this could swing down and hold the controllers, worked much better than I thought it would!!

In the end I went for electric control of points, as it's the EZ-command I used switches and indicator panel, which I actually prefer having used accessory decoders in DCC
I also made them easy to disconnect by fitting 15 way plugs to the back of the control box, the switches are just spring loaded toggles.




The layout nearly complete just the final finishing touches to add, cars and people etc, the main EZ-command will be at the back so if required I can take back control.



To make it really easy I made up ID plates to match the loco numbers as shown below, as Thomas is number one his pic is number 1, to control him just press the button next to number 1 and away you go!



A few snaps of Thomas and friends, these have all been chipped with TCS M1 decoders apart from Percy as he's so small he had to have a CT Elektronic.






My dad sent a loco to Digitrains to have a decoder fitted, for his birthday last year I called them and asked for a sound decoder to be fitted, his face was a picture when he turned the sound on!
Well he bought it over a few weeks ago so I could test it using the EZ-command, as I didn't know what would or wouldn't work, turn the sound up!



Any comments so far?
 

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[quote name='wiggy25' date='12 Jun 2008, 09:32' post='54948, as most exhibitions I've been to if they don't supply a box for them to stand on they can't even see the layout!
[/quote]
Most of the exhibitions & shows that we have attended do indeed supply step ups - maybe it varies in different parts of the country ?
 

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Chief mouser
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Excellent Ian and it seems that you have been enjoying yourself while building it.

Incidentally I would second Brians comments above.

Regards
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the comments guys,

Yes, some exhibitions I've been to have indeed supplied the little plastic steps, a few haven't though!
Also it means dad normally has to carry them round with him!

The idea behind this layout was that they don't need it!
It's only about 500mm off the floor!
I will place two little stools at the front for the operators.....sorry drivers to sit at!

It's not bad for a layout just under 1m square!
 

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I've been to quite a lot of exhibitions in the East Midlands with my three-year-old, most don't supply steps and even when we bring our own he still can't see the layouts. At DEMU last week all but two or three were set at well over a metre. For the sake of my back and arms, I may have to stop taking him until he is a couple of feet taller!

While I applaud you for setting a low height for your layout, I think most small children will also want to look at all the other layouts at an exhibition. One that's high up is regarded as being especially interesting, a bit like the biscuit tin in the top cupboard...

Has anyone considered setting layouts at a metre or so and providing chairs for operators and adult visitors?
 

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Chief mouser
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QUOTE (Edwin @ 12 Jun 2008, 15:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Has anyone considered setting layouts at a metre or so and providing chairs for operators and adult visitors?

I would think this impractical - can you imagine the chaos caused by all those (moveable) chairs, not to mention backpacks all over the place.

Regards
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Just a little up date, not done too much after my operation.

I have added the SiSt trees though in the back (top) left hand corner, this is the deep dark wood, which hides the EZ-command!

Wheel Infrastructure Transport hub Building Urban design

As can be seen from the picture above there is a 'Virgin Cumbrian' interloper trying to muscle in on Thomas and friends!
Thomas & James are not going to take this lying down and have come out in force to see what this intruder is all about!!

Train Land vehicle Plant Building Vehicle

Those SiST trees do look really good in that shot, I just need to blend the roots in a bit more, when I can actually bend down to do it I will!

The goods shed in that pic, is my scratch built one, but I've just about finished the new Scalescenes one, which will be placed very soon and it does look very good.

I've fitted two Hornby accessory decoders below the baseboard and connected these up to a 15pin socket.
The two plugs going into the back of the mimic panel are for the LEDS and Point motors.

Gas Wood Office equipment Machine Engineering

It means I can unplug the point motor plug and plug it straight into the accessory decoders, I can then control the point motors from my Hornby Elite controller, and still use the LEDs at route indication. I've used the Elite because I can name the points, saves me having to remember address numbers!
I can also name the locos which will make it much easier for the younger ones(and me!), than just using a number
Hopefully If I get invited to an Exhibition, (when I can actually walk properly!!) I can run the layout using the EZ-commands and the mimic panel with switches then at the flick of a switch and change of a plug, I can use the Elite to run everything.
It's something I would like to have seen at an exhibition and actually tried, just so I knew what it was like to operate the points using both systems.

Eventually I hope to have the Infra Red Access 1 controller connected up to the Elite, the IR receiver/transmitter will be mounted on a bracket behind the mimic panel, so a good clear path at the front of the layout for two of the Access 1 controllers to be used instead of the EZ command companions.

All adds to the amusement.

Cheers
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
Here is an update,

Another overhead shot showing the Elite in the background, and the new Scalescenes goods shed:-



The switches shown here switch between the EZ-commands and the Elite.
The switch above the quick connectors is to switch one of the sidings between main line and program track, it means I can drive an engine on flick the switch, program flick the switch to drive off again.



The next few are just a few close ups as I've been adding figures and vehicles.









Just a few more people to put onto the layout and it's almost finished.

Cheers
 

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Hi wiggy,
Looks all ready for the youngsters to try out and enjoy, does the layout have any lighting at all ? just a thought it would add an extra dimension nothing elaborate just the odd light here and there to add interest, and could be run from a yuasa battery they last for ages on one charge the children could turn them on and off at will from a simple switch.
 

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Now that not a bad idea at all. I think its great you are doing something for the kids. That is really looking good and they will love it.

When do you plan to do your first test run at a show? My moneys on when you do the public will vote it the best! You have my vote.

Excellent job.

m
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OOooohhhh,

Not thought about lights, I could put a couple down the street and one on each platform.
Right need some N-gauge street and platform lights now!!!

I need to get it fully finished, I then need to try and get exhibition organisers to see it so I get invited to shows!

All of the points and locos are now addressed and named on the Elite so the points can now be operated by the mimic board or the Elite.
It will be good for people to try both ways of operating the points!!

I also have the block/occupancy detectors now, so will fit those at a later date for maybe PC control or if I buy an ECoS for limited automatic control.

First thing is to get it finished and actually get invited to an exhibition!!

Thanks for the comments guys, I really do hope the kids like it.

I went to Grantham exhibition at the weekend and as I was leaving a couple of young kids walked in.
The excitement they had, just seeing the first layout was enough for me to think that mine may work as I hope.

I know it's not the best scenery detail in the world but it's fit for purpose and I have a feeling they wont really care (although I could be wrong, they seem to be smarter than ever now) if they can run Thomas round the layout at 100mph!!

We shall see what happens!

Cheers
 

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Looks great, I hope you get lots of invites and recruit lots of kids to our hobby.

Just think in the year 2070, some railway modeller will be reminiscing about the first primitive DCC systems, where you had to push buttons and rotate knobs, instead of just thinking your control thoughts. He will go on about your layout that he encountered at a show in 2008/2009 when he was only 8 or 9 and it turned him or her into a lifelong modeller!

On another tack, I noticed that at the exhibitions in Austria, there is often a very simple layout (just a circle of track) mounted just above floor level, with a Roco Multimaus attached (as part of the Roco stand, of course). This attracts the kids no end, mostly because they are allowed to have a go. I see a lot of grown-ups watching them and thinking well DCC is not that difficult is it? This probably sells a lot of DCC (especially the Multimaus) to the Austrians, plus the fact that the Roco Starter Sets are very reasonable with Multimaus included.

You might want to try out a Multimaus on your layout, as it would be interesting to see if the kids prefer the hand-held controller (Multimaus) or the console type (Elite and E-Z Command). Of course what the kids prefer might not have any bearing on the preferences of adults, as it might just show that they prefer the feel of the Multimaus as it more like a game controller.
 

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Great looking layout Wiggy


Thanks for posting the pictures

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 10 Sep 2008, 17:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Great looking layout Wiggy


I have to agree with that.

Regards
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Thanks folks.

I've run all of my N-gauge locos on it and everything works fine, so thats a good thing!

I may buy a diesel loco and have it fitted with a sound chip just to give a little more variety!
A class 73 electro-diesel pack from Dapol which is a two car unit a power car and dummy car, it means the sound chip can fit in the dummy car


John,

What I hope to do is buy a couple of Hornby Access One's IR hand controllers, that way It's a choice between a hand held cab control or the EZ-command console.
I've used the Elite, (and when they are released) the Access One's as you can name the points and locos, just makes it that much easier for the younger ones.
Ok too young and they wont be able to read, so back to the EZ-command and look at the pictures!

Just need some signals, as the track looks a little empty, just going to use the P&D Marsh ones, they don't need to be working just some semaphores to add a little bit of interest.

I will post photos when it's complete, shouldn't be too long........famous last words!

Thanks again for all the comments.
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
QUOTE (upnick @ 10 Sep 2008, 12:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi wiggy,
Looks all ready for the youngsters to try out and enjoy, does the layout have any lighting at all ? just a thought it would add an extra dimension nothing elaborate just the odd light here and there to add interest, and could be run from a yuasa battery they last for ages on one charge the children could turn them on and off at will from a simple switch.

As suggested "let there be light"







I have fitted the switch next to the level crossing at the front so the operator can switch the lights on!
Something else for them to play with............or is that go wrong????

The photos don't really it do it justice, but it doesn't look too bad, the lights are not really as bright as shown though, which is good as it actually looks like a nice glow.
Oh and I have changed the main station building to one with a canopy, I think it just looks that much better as a main station.
Cheers
 

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Hi Wiggy,

Look great bringing life to the layout and i'm sure the children will find it interesting
not sure if you could add anything else to it really........ is Thomas pulling a cattle wagon ? how about a cattle dock from ratio ....... if your interested PM me as i have one going spare new in its box
 
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