Now here's a view you don't see too often!
Yes, this a photograph taken from the rear of the London Loop, nicely showing the track and point-work at this particular location. It also allows us a rare glimpse of the line up to the Tipper, which is normally hidden from view.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of available room here, the points at this junction had to be a lot closer than we would have liked, thus resulting in a tighter curve than we really wanted. However, since trains do not normally traverse this loop more than once (although they can and do, quite happily) we did not think that the tightness of this curve would matter too much.
Anyway, despite this junction not being quite what we had envisaged, we are still very pleased with how this part of the layout has developed and it has produced some interesting features, such as the Brewery, Coal Depot and Fuel Terminal.
In fact so happy are we with it that, once this 'southern' end of the layout is complete, we plan to construct a similar loop at the 'northern' end. The reasons for this being two-fold:
Firstly, we want to make that part of the layout more interesting because, from knowing almost nothing when we started, we have learned quite a lot during the past three years. As such we now feel that this original part of the layout compares somewhat unfavourably with the newer bit.
Secondly, it will have the added benefit of allowing us to get rid of the crawl-through, which has to be negotiated each time we want to go from one end of the railway to the other - please see below:
We now realize the mistake in having this but, when we commenced our little project, it wasn't envisaged that this obstacle would present too much of a problem, especially as the layout was, then, confined to that half of the room only. There was never a thought given, at the time, to the possibility of any future expansion. Therefore, once we had crawled through at the start of a constructing or operating session, there was no real need to repeat the exercise until said session was finished.
Now, though, with the railway having grown to take over both the room and our lives, this hole is a bit of a nuisance since we must dive underneath the darned thing several times during a session in The Shed. On top of that, some of the older members of the family, together with any elderly visitors that we get, find it difficult or near impossible to negotiate it. This means that this part of the layout is out of bounds to some people, which is a pity.
Of course, those of us who are not (quite) so old, also appreciate that it is surely only a matter of time before we, too, find it difficult, as opposed to simply annoying, to have to continually get down on our hands and knees!
So hopefully, come next spring, we should see the start of a major rework of that half of the layout that will not only mark the end of the crawl-through but will, also, result in a much more interesting and realistic 'northern' section as well.
Watch this space...