Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5th home for Wrightsville Port

When I'd set out to build this Model Railroad back in 2010, very little I knew about the road ahead of me. Well, you might say that you never really know the road ahead, but you have a general idea most of the time, you tend to follow a 'track' (Pun intended!) - you know where you are going, you know the 'stations' to come and you know the timetable. For me, it has always been more of a free flowing road trip for last 5 years - I worked in 4 different companies, all in very demanding jobs, moved to 5 different apartments and 3 different cities. Now, I had no idea back in 2010 that stability will be so hard to get - especially when we bought our own apartment back in Calcutta, but life had different things in store for me than what I'd thought, and things changed. Just to make it clear, it changed for better.

That's where I see the biggest success of Wrightsville Port - It stayed with me for last 6 years and never been a headache during all these movements! It was built as a portable layout, yes, but I never thought that it would travel to so many places (and I can assure you, it's not done yet!). Every new move also presents me with the opportunity of fixing and improving a few things. The layout is generally made clear of all buildings, ships and most of the details - they are removed, packed and shipped separately; only the permanently glued details and the main lights remain on the layout. This gives me the opportunity to work on the wiring when the layout is taken down (it takes 2 people to take down the baseboard - so far it has always been Mouli and I), so we did it this time too. However, this time I also took the opportunity to build a brand new acrylic dust cover for the layout. A dust cover was long over due, and 6 years of dust already made some damage despite my best efforts to clean the layout. I bought a sheet of 2mm clear acrylic, cut them in strips of 18" width and used a heat gun to shape according to the unique contour of the layout. The top is made of PVC foam in two halves. All in all, it takes about 60-90 seconds to remove them, and about 30 seconds more to assemble  - pretty acceptable before and after an operating session.

So, here is Wrightsville Port, happily settled in it's 5th home! This time even the dimension of the room is just made for the layout - 9' X 8' - gives snug fit to the layout and the staging-cum-bookshelf, with enough room for me to stand and operate.

This experience of working with acrylic sheets and PVC foam board is going to be important though, because I think I found my ideal material for modern benchwork that is far easy to work with and has many benefits over plywood - so the next project is definitely going to have these two as the base construction material - however, more on that later.

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