Earlier this year was due to show my 'Shasta' layout based on the Southern Pacific's 'Shasta route' in the Sacramento River canyon north of Dunsmuir, California at the big London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandria Palace. Shasta is a very well known Z layout in the U.K but I was finding its length a bit limiting with the yard only able to hold trains at most about seven feet long. So work had been progressing on inserting an extra four foot in the centre to allow me to run the 'double stacks' and Lumber trains up to eleven foot with plenty of head end haulage and a couple of helpers at the rear.
The new board was going to be a very loosely representation of the former depot at Dunsmuir now in a pretty derelict state but still with some P-Way activity. Shasta would now be fourteen foot overall length and still have a Z-bend interface at one end to connect up to other modules.
However disaster struck three weeks before the show when I went to get the layout out of the purpose built layout shed that lives at the side of the house. Unbeknownst to me a solder joint on the cold water pipe had gone porous and had been spraying a fine aerosol mist of water on the back of the board for a considerable period of time, The board was wrecked! Also in the firing line had been the two new boards for the new British Z layout 'Tapton Junction' but that's another story
So London only saw the standard ten foot 'Shasta' and I sulked for a bit until more invites started coming in for the long form layout
Work started on a rebuild with a new section spliced in
the key was going to be to blend the new scenery in with the existing boards
The turntable is once again the Peco N one modified for Z and we see the cab forward sheds and the remnants of the roundhouse now in situ
Now starting to look the part
I'll add some more tomorrow
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Christmas day and Boxing day have passed, Good food eaten, two very fine wines polished off, acres of cardboard packaging recycled and still another week off before I return to 12" to the foot railroading so time to press on with Shasta.
Now with the extra length I'm reaching the limit of the workshop so tonight I've cantilevered the Cantara Loop board over the workbench so I can work on the three main boards together concentrating on the Dunsmuir yard side of the pike.
The new central section is looking a bit bare but the spur coming off towards the tunnel goes some way to explaining the track over the bridge on the next board along.
Task for tomorrow is to blend some strata into the cliffs and start to add yet more trees
I'll add an update later on in the week but I'm hoping to be running some big test trains very soon!
The following user(s) said Thank You: southernnscale
The clock is counting down to the first show now so this weekend has been spent debugging the layout (various minor elctrical gremlins and cross board track alignments)
show dates confirmed for this year on the U.K circuit are
Macclesfield 12-13th March Shasta
Bradford 30th Apr-May 1st Fargo (if ready !)
Blackburn 3rd-4th September Shasta
Zedex 16th October Fargo
Hartlepool 23rd –24th October Cuyahoga
Shoeburyness 9th-10th November Shasta
Still have to extend the lighting rig and fire retardent front curtain but after that should be ready to roll.
The following user(s) said Thank You: southernnscale
Well it took a lot of effort but I got there in the end. Extending the lighting rig to accommodate the extra four foot took some working out and did require a central support in the end. I kept the power pack and control panel at the 'Cantara Loop' end and made extension cables to reach the two other original modules. testing before loading for the show went well but then I found out that despite my careful measurements it would not all fit in the X-Trail! Ooops!
So,,I was fortunate that I had a job at our Crewe Gresty Bridge rail depot on the day before the show so I had use of one of the call out vans for the weekend.
One of our new Class 68 diesel electrics waits for its next duty. 68 019 has been named 'Brutus'
Setting up on the Friday was better than expected, a couple of slightly misaligned rail joints over a board connection and track 9 in the yard was dead but everything else powered and worked. Realised straight away that there is now a lot more track to clean. The fire retardent drapes had to be re-aligned( they are held on with Velcro pads so easy really).
The Z-Bend track display board now lives at the right hand end and the display board about the Southern Pacific's 'Shasta Division' is at the other
The layout was situated across the entrance of the main hall so was the first to be seen on entering.
Now confirmed to be exhibited at the big Manchester Show in December I am now looking at how we can allow the public to accecs most of the rear of the layout to see the scenicked yard
Obviously it takes longer to put out the stock as all the trains are four foot longer but the sight of long intermodal trains smoothly running through the sinous curves amazed many visitors who were unaware just how much Z scale has grown and improved over the last few years. Two SD70ms hauling a 11 foot long manifest at a scale 20mph without missing a beat put some of the larger scale layouts to shame and generated a lot of questions from the showgoers
There is still a lot of detailing work to do on Dunsmuir depot and the turntable is not wired up yet
To create even more interest I put a model of one of the EMD built Class 66 diesels supplied to us at DRS as if it was being delivered to the docks for export and also cheekily imagined the 'Flying Scotsman' had never returned to the U.K after its bank breaking U.S tour