2 thoughts on “A lot more of less…

  1. paul greene

    Hello Simon,

    Thanks very much for Geoff’s incredibly inspiring notes about the redevelopment of Llangullo. When I first saw it in MRJ I was inspired, but the new version and how he got there are very impressive.

    As you say, less is more. It is so tempting to cram in loads of track and buildings to create an ‘interesting’ layout, but the pleasure for the builder and viewer of a simpler layout is just as good.

    Some good points from Geoff about techniques which are very timely given my own work on Blakey Junction. For example:

    1. Hand-built track. Totally agree with Geoff. It looks good and I am finding it a blissful and highly therapeutic exercise. I was daunted at first, but have really got into it. I am assuming that Geoff ballasts dry and then wets and glues?

    2. DCC. Having used it and found it good for a complex layout with many trains, I am going analogue for Blakey, mainly because it was a ‘one engine in steam’ line and in any case I can isolate using points and sections.

    But I also agree with Geoff about DCC and steam. We spent a weekend in Grosmont on the NYMR and steam engines don’t make constant chuffing noises. There is much gliding and clanking and steam! In no way is DCC or smoke units getting anywhere near the full effect of the steam railway.

    And finally, DCC is still complex and unreliable, going into frequent tailspins with minor shorts. This was in great evidence at a recent show where the operators of several DCC layouts were scratching their heads as they puzzled out the latest lock down!

    Anyway, thanks again, and see you soon at the the Autumn do,


    On Mon, 20 Aug 2018, 14:03 The Erratic and Wandering Journey, wrote:

    > Simon posted: “…as I suggested in my last post.” >

    1. Simon Post author

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for commenting!

      Not sure what DCC sound systems you have been exposed to, but most systems now are programmed better than they were, and correct use of inertia simulation means that puffing to a stop need not happen. The bigger problem is the poor bass response due to the lack of volume. Ported speakers do help, but the only real solution is to have the high frequency sounds coming from the engine and low frequency from a speaker under the layout, which is a complication too far for me. (This has been done, but the example I saw sent the bass sounds over several floors of the York Exhibition!)

      My own thoughts are turning more and more to wireless control with on-board batteries either as the main source of power or as ‘extended backup’ for dead spots, with either just a few charging places or live rails everywhere except for crossing bees, respectively. Modern low-current motors and high efficiency batteries are making this an increasingly common choice, but it’s still quite DIY in approach.

      Good to hear from you.


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