Saturday, 14 February 2009

Getting the 'back story' right

As I said in a previous post, most of the layout is fairly clear in my mind's eye, but the back left hand corner has remained rather vague. The sketch I did a few weeks ago showed a few buildings angled towards the far corner with the rear siding disappearing into one of them. However, further reflection has made me realise there are a number of problems:
  • Angling the buildings like this would make it extremely tricky to disguise the join between them and the backscene unless I did something very clever with rooflines, chimneys, trees etc. Keeping the buildings parallel to the backscene would make life simpler.
  • It's all very well thinking I'll keep the nature of the industry open to conjecture and the buildings very generic, but in practise having a siding entering a building immediately begs the question of why it would do that and what goes on inside - and that in turn would dictate the appearance of said building and the type of vehicles going in and out. It would be a lot easier to keep the buildings generic if the siding simply disappeared behind them!
  • In order for it to be convincing (to me and anyone else who might be interested) I think there needs to be a clearly defined context for the railway and the surrounding buildings etc. - which means the idea of some sort of 'generic' industry doesn't really wash!
  • I've always intended that the railway should be part of the main network rather than a private system with its own locomotives etc. But up until now I haven't really considered the implications of this. There was usually a fairly clear divide with exchange sidings for transferring trains from one to the other. If I want to run 'main line' locos and stock on the layout then the idea of this being some kind of industrial rail complex goes out the window.
Taking all this into consideration, here's where I'm heading now with the 'back story':

What we have is a goods-only branch line, possibly closed to passengers at some earlier date but kept open for the various lineside industries it continues to serve. The scene depicted by the layout shows an area adjacent to one of the old stations (the platforms would probably be just the other side of the road bridge) with the end of the passing loop visible. The sidings at the front of the layout are part of the goods yard (there will probably be an overgrown loading dock alongside the front siding). The rear siding will serve a private, lineside industry of some sort.

Obviously this doesn't yet solve the problem of what exactly goes in the back left corner, how to disguise the backscene join, and how to disguise the exit 'off-stage'...

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