Starter Layout

Are you a member looking to learn the basics of railway modelling? Why not come along on a Tuesday evening and join the Starter Layout group? The group meets at 7:30pm in Dean Hall (12:00 if there is a committee meeting in the evening). If you are not a member yet then please visit our Membership page for info on how to join the MMRS.

The intention to build a “starter” layout, to encourage members wishing to develop construction skills, with the assistance of some of our experienced modellers, was announced at the 2023 Exhibition as part of our recruitment drive.

At the initial meeting on Tuesday 9th April 2024 the proposed layout was discussed and the general design of the layout and baseboards was agreed.

It will initially consist of four 600mm by 1000mm baseboards with backscene uprights, These can be formed into a larger layout 1200mm by 2000mm as shown in the associated sketch. Each “quarter” can be worked on independently and may represent completely different scenes; summer/winter, town/countryside, seaside/mountains.

The boards have been ordered and the track (Peco Setrack) will purchased in the next couple of days.

The Starter Layout group will meet on Tuesday evenings (Tuesday afternoon when there is a committee meeting). Anyone is welcome no matter what skill level they have. This is a layout for starters and learners and will provide the opportunity to sharing skills and mutual improvement.

A quick update on the starter layout group (April 2024)

Our first discussion was all about what size and type of boards to use. Bearing in mind this layout will never be completed, will constantly change and is not for exhibiting but for practice and fun. We decided on modular 600mm x 1000mm four boards initially that can be stored in twos back to back. The track to be a simple roundy roundy consisting of two tracks that can be independently wired so allowing both DC and DCC to run.

We have been practicing our soldering skills, with regard to drop wires from the track. Our experts helped with the techniques, different areas where the wires could be attached to the track namely directly underneath, along the side of the track and on the fishplates. We still need more practice; I expect soldering will always be turning up as a topic/practice table top exercise. A couple of us will be on the soldering course to improve further.

The use of a multimeter was also demonstrated on some point motors (kindly donated by an mmrs member), the diode, resistance and voltage settings talked over. Again this was overseen by one of the ‘experts’ who turned out to help.

The alignment of the boards was talked about and again one of the experts brought in his boards for the 100year layout challenge showing the space saving storage we are adopting for our boards and that we might consider the use of magnets both as assisting in alignment, locating scenic items and in their electrical capabilities.

It was nice to see one starter helping to fix another starters loco without any help, then testing it with a 9volt battery and when placed on some old track we could demonstrate the effect of dirty track on running performance.

We are expecting our boards any day now so why not pop in and help us assemble them?