Considering that it’s over ten years since the late John Marsden’s trains were last run I was quite surprised when I gave them a go on Cognito.
Lafayette, a stock Bachmann product, ran hesitatingly first time and got better as the wheels picked up a coating of graphite from the rails.
Lion, a white metal kit, took a bit more coaxing and a dab of oil on the gears but she too improved as the wheels picked up graphite. It was my intention to use ghost power to assist with running Lion, however, the loco is wired the wrong way round. I do not want to take the kit apart but I suppose I could re-wire the motorised coach to match.
Other items from John’s collection are a vertical boilered representation of Novelty and two different versions of Rocket, one as built, the other as in service with coupling/buffing gear on the front end, with some matching coaches. These three locos are all non-runners at the moment. Novelty is scratch built and might just need cleaning and oiling, the two Rockets are of Tri-ang heritage so should be easy enough to take apart for maintenance.
So, what should I do with them? It would be nice to build a small layout but a terminus would not work because of the delicate, and disparate, couplings so it needs a scene for the trains to pass through. A few years after John passed away I tried converting his diorama into an operational layout but it was bodged from the baseboard up and therefore doomed to failure. I am tempted to try again, starting afresh with a proper baseboard this time.
The plan, shown above, would utilise a station roof as the scenic break at one end and an overbridge at the other. Cassette based fiddleyards would make operation easy with minimal handling of the trains. The station platforms would be very low, almost rail level, so they do not overpower the scene and a bay track could be used for odd goods wagons or a spare loco.
Will it get built? That depends upon how long this coronavirus lockdown lasts, I have very little scenic material on hand and mail order is prohibitively expensive, both my local model shop and the village pet shop (for fine sand and grit) are closed.