Project Planning

Layout from aboveBuilding a new model railway is a process which can be approached in different ways. For many it can be quite an organic process that begins with receiving a train set as a prezzie and evolves to end with a layout of considerable quality.  However, for those of you who like me are juggling multiple demands, interests and schedules, an organic process is not the best way to get anywhere.  We enthusiasts have a habit of thinking big rather than being realistic and this is something I have been guilty of.  So, I’m going to borrow some generic processes to move forward a little quicker

Any project has three variables – time (when it is to be completed), budget and specification.  These all link and rely on each other.  For instance, if you have a lot of money and little time, you could buy a layout outright with the specification you want.  Or you could pay someone to build it.  Maybe if you didn’t have quite enough money, you would have to buy something with a lower specification.  However, if you have lots of free time, you can build it yourself to the specification you want.  I remember talking to a lovely chap at an exhibition who really built his model railway on the cheap – secondhand products, scratch-built using card from rubbish and matchsticks.  The end result was incredible and incredibly detailed.  So to achieve a high specification with a low budget required a lot of time spent working on it.  Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this and also see why the basic principle is pretty sound!

Those who have been following my thoughts on my new model railway have probably noticed that nothing has yet be built or started.  I may have started building something if I had taken this approach sooner.  I have looked at scale and location and decided that for budget reasons to go for 00 gauge and for the best specification reasons (to maximise space) to put it in the garage (click here for the previous post.)  Yes you’ve guessed the flaw – when was time to build it considered?  I would have liked to have been building the model railway by now, after all winter is upon us now and it is modelling season!  However, nothing is being built because the location for the layout isn’t ready yet and won’t be until at least next year.  So that’s the final nail on the locoyard 2014 Movember campaign coffin and it means a re-think for the locoyard advent calendar will be needed (more of this will come in the not too distant future!)

So henceforth, it is time to think about time!  This does through send me back to square one and put everything back into question, as although I still think that in the longer term a decent sized 00 scale layout in the garage will be great, that’s not suitable for now.  So here are my new thoughts…

2014 Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway - Kingswear - GWR clockTime

I would like to be building something in December.  The garage won’t be ready for a layout then.  Height is limited in the loft, although it could be somewhere to put a temporary layout when it is packed away.  We do have a little space in a spare room for a layout, which means that the only way I will have a layout in the time frame I would like it is if I build a micro-layout.

Locoyard - The Romance of Steam - Hornby Pullman CygnusBudget

Having bought a house, money isn’t particularly plentiful (what’s new!)  However, great funds wont be needed if using products I already own or if some are sold.  As space is short, no matter what I do there’s a limit to what will physically fit and therefore the cost will be relatively low overall!  So this actually presents much flexibility in terms of specification and means that budget will not be quite as limiting a factor.

Bachmann 8F Austerity DCC fitting (8)Specification

As with the budget, the fact that I’m aiming to build something quickly means that it will be have to be small in scope, which means the specification is pretty flexible.  Being an existing DCC user means that a degree of automation should be easy to achieve too, no matter the scale.

Next steps…

It seems almost silly to say it, but I’m feeling much happier now.  There’s a limit to what I can build in the timescale I’ve set, which makes it easier to focus on something achievable.  Watch this space….

3 thoughts on “Project Planning

  1. Pingback: Project Planning | Calling All Stations

  2. I too was at a point where I was waiting for a few scratchbuilding supplies to arrive from the UK, (as I’m in Australia), so in the mean time, I started a small plank, built out of odds and ends, second hand track etc, to have a bit of fun on. I decided on a variant of an Inglenook, and slowly with time, it has now become an exhibition layout ! You can read about it here ; It may be of some interest to some whom are starting out small…


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