So having built the track for my Hudon's Pizza layout and bought a baseboard I've now come to a bit of a halt while I decide what to do with the extra space available. If you remember back to when I first introduced the idea for this layout I showed both a map and an aerial photo of the test track.
Both of these seem to show that the test track is completely isolated from track anywhere else in the works. Given that Hudson's did deal in portable railway systems I'm guessing they were use to having to manhandle rolling stock, but it does seem kind of odd that at their works they wouldn't have made access to the test track easier. I also have a thread over on NGRM about the layout (you have to sign up to be able to read that link unfortunately) and on there someone suggested that maybe there was a point on the test track with rail leading off to the top left. As hard as I looked I couldn’t see anything though.
You'd think, given how much railway equipment Hudson's produced, that it wouldn't be too difficult to find photos of their main works which would clear up the issues regarding how the test track was used. Unfortunately the only other photo that has turned up is this one, which appeared in NG&IRM issue 36.
Certainly from an initial glance this photo of a 'Ganges' class 0-6-0WT doing laps of the test track doesn't exactly show a lot of detail. Upon taking a closer look though I started to notice that what looked like rails to the top left of the locomotive wouldn't match up with the rails just in front of it. To see what I mean here are two cropped and zoomed versions of the loco and on the right hand one I've drawn red lines over anything I think is rail.
So, if everything I coloured red is definitely rail then there is no way they join up in a complete circle, which leads me to the conclusion that I'm looking at a point leading off the test track. Given that my layout was always going to be inspired by rather than a reproduction of the works I now have to decide what I want to do. On the one hand I have a circle of track built and ready, but on the other hand I've got space for a little more track, and if I can avoid having to resort to the "hand of God" to change stock on the circle of track that would be nice. The problem of course is that I've no idea if I'm capable of building a working point. Plain track I think I've mastered well enough for it to work reliably but a point is a whole different game, made more so by the very tight radius of the circle it has to fit into. I'm not going to make any decisions yet, but I think I am going to have a go at building a working point (will be useful to know for future layouts if I can build one) and then see where that leads me. It does of course mean that there is unlikely to be any scenic work on the new layout for quite some time.