More thoughts on Pembroke:87.1

Will I build Pembroke:87.1?  The jury’s still out.  However, I’ve been having fun thinking about the project.  So, here I will jot down some of my thoughts.

  • I don’t want the display layout to distract me too much from the main layout.  That means it must use minimal resources in terms of both time and money. 
  • Any project manager will tell you that this means that we must be willing to give up scope.  So, while I spent a pleasurable few days daydreaming about building two scenicked baseboards, I have realized that one baseboard is going to be the limit.
  • To save time, money and weight, I would build the benchwork out of foamcore.
  • To provide a robust box for shipping, I would incorporate the legs into the box.  Using the legs in this way would imply that the length of the scene is going to be about 4’6″.  I would like my boy to be able to help with showing the layout next year, and his armpit is only 4′ high now, but I can’t see this scene coming in at less than 4′ in length.  The girl will help too, but her armpit is much lower than 4′ and so she will need a stool.
  • I am thinking of using aluminum for the legs, although that might violate the cost constraint.  My nephew could easily make them for me.
  • By using a scene that appears on the home layout, I can reuse buildings.  However, I will need to make their roofs swappable if I go ahead with a winter scene.
  • I would like the scene to be complete with proscenium arch, backdrop and lighting valance.
  • I would keep all the turnouts in the visible portion of the layout.  That will require a significant deviation from the prototype.  There would be four turnouts: two serving the depot end of the layout, one to run into the engine shed, and one for the siding.  If these, as on the home layout, are #7, then they fit on a 4.5 foot board with room to spare.
  • To facilitate fiddling, the Golden Lake end of the layout would be a turntable long enough for a locomotive and a couple of cars.
  • The Pembroke depot end of the layout would just be plain track, representing the freight shed, coal dock, carriage factory, team track and depot.
  • Sharing the engine house is going to be tricky if I want the doors to operate, unless I make the doors a part that does not get shared.
  • While the turntable on the main layout will be operated with a crank, I think this one might just get pushed around.  I need to think about how I might share the turntable structure itself.
  • I would like to be able to simplify the turnout throws too.  Maybe I should spend some more time thinking about over-center springs; that would be helpful for the staging yard on my home layout as well.
  • Skipping the switch stand targets would help save a bunch of time.
  • If it is going to be a snow scene, how can we make lightweight snow?

So far, it’s just a thought experiment, but apparently I am having fun with it.


2 thoughts on “More thoughts on Pembroke:87.1

  1. Hi Rene,

    Wow! I’ve only just found this blog, actually by accident, so I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on!

    It would be great to see you in France next year, whatever you can manage to bring with you in the way of exhibition items. I know the temptation to build something smaller must be tempting. I got caught in the same trap around 10 years ago with ‘Obbekaer’, which in the end took over my modelling life and the original layout design has taken a back seat ever since.

    P87 seems to be getting some wider circulation over here, with our display at Scaleforum last year, a similar outing to RailWells at the beginning of August, and for us the opportunity to take my layout to Denmark for a show last April. However, it’s the same few guys producing models here in England, and I know that Dave has been encouraging others of some repute to ‘have a go’. Hopefully we will see some progress at the show next year.

    I think you’re making some great progress and whatever you decide on ‘Pembroke 87.1’, I’m sure we can find somewhere for you to run a train or two if the show comes off!

    All the best,

    Geraint Hughes

    1. Hey Geraint,

      It’s great to hear from you! I would love to see you next year in Sedan. I’m waiting to commit until I see what the airfare is likely to be for toute la famille.

      I find in North America, we’re having a long way to go with P87. Generally, young idealists (like I was at one time) get into it, and then discover that they’re never going to build the basement-filling empire that way, and abandon. We are starting to see a trend to smaller, more achievable layouts, however. So there is hope!

      Looking forward to seeing you,

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