30 minutes a day…

…is all it takes. Modellers ask me how I manage so much progress on my modelling – layout or at the work bench. Believe me, it does not seem like it on a day to day basis as I feel that progress is slow at times. Painfully slow.

Looking back since I started work on my layout last August, a huge amount has been achieved. Whilst I have devoted many hours in longer modelling sessions, to build baseboards and lay track, it’s the 30 minute spells after dinner before relaxing with a glass of wine and a DVD which seem to add up to significant progress. In 30 minutes you can do an awful lot and make progress that gives you hope that one day, it will be finished. 30 minutes and you can install:

  • A DCC controller bus fascia connection plate aka throttle port.
  • A length of fascia itself.
  • Half a dozen dropper wires.
  • A programming track.
  • Five feet of plain track on the mainline.
  • A single tortoise turnout motor.
  • A few feet of cork track bed.
  • Ballast on a foot of track.

Or even tidy up after a longer modelling session – clean tools and vacuum up the saw dust.

You get the idea.

The other evening, I completed two simple jobs in around 30 minutes which moved the layout project on significantly and helped tidy things up a little.

Two clear plastic document holders were fixed to the wall at the ‘service’ end of the layout where all the control gear is located. One seen here and one below the base board. They now hold the important reference documentation, my NMRA gauge in its packet together with the instructions for DCC equipment and the most common decoders in my fleet. Handy for quick reference should it be needed when programming and so on. It saves time not having to dig them out of a box or locate them if scattered around the layout room. The result – tidiness which makes the layout environment more pleasant.

A throttle port or fascia plate or whatever you wish to call these was fitted to new fascia installed adjacent to the helix end of the layout. This simple task and the five minute wiring job with RJ12 connectors took 20 minutes and dramatically improved operations on Phase 1 of the layout. It’s an infra-red throttle port, expanding the infra-red coverage on the layout. The Digitrax radio throttle equipment is still to be released in the UK – although I believe it’s on its way! Until then, infra-red will do nicely.

I know that 30 minutes a day, 365 days a year might not be possible, but making that effort has pushed my projects forward significantly. I know that the shortage of funds or even supplies of materiel will slow progress – yet there is always something that can be done that does not involve cost.

IF you can devote that 30 (or so) minutes every day, that adds up to 3.5 hours a week, 182 hours per year in addition to those longer spells that can be devoted to the project on an occaisonal basis. You can wire up a lot of layout power bus and droppers in that time!


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