Saturday, 23 March 2013

Club - Castle Rackrent Visit

I have said before i am a member of a model railway club in Edinburgh,  and last night there was a club visit organised to Richard Chown's layout Castle Rackrent in his basement for a running session.  Castle Rackrent is a Large O scale Irish narrow gauge layout.  All the loco's, Rolling stock and buildings are scratch built or kits, some very nice stuff.

This is the first time i have seen this layout or even been to a running session on one, so i was not sure what to expect, but what a great night of fun and laughs I had.



We arrived just before 8pm there was 8 of us, John B, John H, Donald, Brian, Ian, Steve, myself and of course Richard himself.  We had a quick run down of how the layout was operated and how the controllers and bell signals worked, then we were allocated a section of track to operate, there are 6 available so 2 of us doubled up.

(This picture shows myself to the left, straight in front is Ian with brain just behind him.  Brian section was on the right.  Way in the back is John B in the terminus station and layout out owner Richard is on the right.)

I was given a small station section and was working with Ian, which was handy as i had no clue to what I was doing and Ian had operated there before, so he left me to do most of the work, while keeping a close eye on me.  Each station had a laminated sheet with a hair clip to keep your place, on one side there was a timetable and the other had all the bell codes.  above your head there was bells that were connected to different sections, we had two above our head the connected up to John B in a terminus station, and the other down to Steve and John B in the main station.

 
These are the station bells, for contacting the station up and down the line.  to let them know what you are getting or giving them.
 
 
Signal levers

We started our day at 4pm on the timetable (hair clip showed us this) then we were off. there was bell's going off all over the place, 1 ding for attention, 2 dings for season clear, 3-1 dings for P1, working the signals and points,  it was a good laugh, and Ian helped me allot, we started about 8:20pm and when i next looked up it was past 10pm.  I think over the course i saw about 5 trains, which does not seem like allot but, there was always things to do, and you were kept very busy.

 
John B at the Terminus Station ( the easy bit if you ask me, but john thought different)


At the front Steve and John H behind at a very busy section


Crib sheet for all those bell codes and the life saving hair clip.

With this being my first operating session, its an area of model railways i have never experienced before.  I have been to exhibitions with club layouts and operated for the general public to watch, and answering questions, but this was very different, it was more relaxed, there was good banter and a lot of laughs.  I liked the idea that from where you were standing you could not see other people's sections and you had a timetable with a list of trains to follow, it was all very well organised.

It has made me think allot about how my layout will operate, i will not have the space to have as many people in the attic, but i think 3 people would fit in ok, so i might look at ways to be able to operating running session in, rather than just a long run around.  But I might be able to have both.

Last line must go to a huge thanks to Richard for a fun night, many thanks.