The layout has been progressing well. All the track is now laid. The station sidings and relief road over near the access ramp are in and working.
The goods shed is installed sans some finer detail which can come later.
Testing has been in place to determine if radio/battery was necessary for the layout to operate to the electrical reliability standard I insist on. Result has been the removal of radio from all but one loco (only used as a banker for the access ramp). This loco has a current draw in excess of my systems capacity so it was not a hard decision to make.
I am currently using powdered graphite as a contact improver and it is working fine so far. Needed a little more than I use indoors for success. Trains seem to run fine even when the rails are covered in a heavy dew.
The track power v radio/battery decision just boils down to swapping some occasional loco wheel cleaning for charging batteries.The track has to be cleaned outdoors anyway. Given I like to just let the trains run, track power proved to be the best choice for me at the moment.
When I can use my DCC throttles, with a radio adaptor that allows me to use the decoder and batteries of my choice and comes with onboard charging from the track so the battery is more of an extended stay alive they will have won me.... no stalls/ failures to start AND no plugging locos into battery chargers and waiting, bliss!
Once the platform, station building and loading bank are built I might be able to concentrate on more rolling stock.
Thankfully I discovered that Urethane and the Australian sun are not good bedfellows before investing too much in rolling stock made from that material. A warped set of coaches followed a previous experience with Gauge One wagons sagging. Back to wood and card for me until I move back indoors permanently.
Looking back, I could have agonised over having track that looked like NSWGR practice, building pointwork that matched only one wheel standard and counted rivets. I would be a very long way from having an operating model railway if I had followed that path. Soon the layout will be 'complete' although it can never be 'finished'.
Hindsight is wonderful; perhaps I could have avoided the 'flat board technology' look by gluing a 75mm layer of styrofoam on top of the Villaboard sheet before laying the track. I think that would have provided enough glued surface to keep the foam from heading off into the neighbour's in a gale.
This is the last of the layouts on my list to build. It covers the 'O gauge layout big enough to run anything NSWGR' and the 'outdoor layout' in one swoop. When it comes time to abandon this layout and if I am still able to build an indoor layout it is hard to say if I would continue with 7mm scale. Perhaps it will be time for a complete change of direction. An Sn3.5 layout running a variety of favourite trains or a British OO one would allow me more opportunities for doing the scenery and structures I enjoy building.... also my friends can once again bring their faulty HO equipment for me to diagnose the problem. :>)