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Small is beautiful ?




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#1 phil gollin

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 19:44

.

 

A post elsewhere (indeed several over the last couple of weeks) predicted that we shall be lucky to see large tender engines under £150 in future (????)

 

This coincided with my reviewing my present "playing" with trains activities ( aka faithfully operating ).

 

Being a Southern Region modeller, I have a wealth of new and new-ish good quality small locos, e.g. O2, H-class, P-class, (future) Terriers, C-class, 700-class, M7, and possibly (they are "bigger") N-class and Q1.  Add in the 2-BIL and 2-EMUs and you have a multitude of small branch line operating choices.

 

(Edit :  Plus T9 4-4-0, and Brighton Atlantic to come - AND, Adams Radial, and Beattie Well Tank)

 

All this means that I don't often run my larger locos.  It is more accurate (at least in my mind) to run small trains along my relatively small layout, rather than run  large locos with quite short trains (although you did see Bulleid pacifics with 2 or 3 coaches.

 

I am seriously considering adjusting my layout to a "characterful" branch line station with  rather run-down facilities and vegetation, and just restricting the running to small locos and trains.

 

??????????  ideas / comments / suggestions   ??????????

 

Is this the way forward ?

 

.


Edited by phil gollin, 16 May 2018 - 12:14 .

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#2 Nearholmer

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 20:30

You don’t even have to go as far as making it a weed-grown byway. Plenty of suburban and seaside termini were served by short trains for most of the time, as was, for instance, the Reading -Redhill line (daily inter-regionals an exception).

My layout is decidedly not bound by the rules of exact scale, but I like the trains to look proportionate to the space, so typically three coaches, and, guess what: my largest loco, a Battle of Britain, barely ever gets run, because it tends to make the layout look small.

Freezer was right when he wrote that, for most practical spaces, three coaches and a van, hauled by nothing bigger than a medium tank engine or a 4-4-0, and goods trains of similar length, hauled by nothing bigger than an 0-6-0, are the sensible limit, and SR fans are lucky, because there were an awful lot of trains like that, especially if you stretch the definition to include the moguls.

Long way of saying: yes, it could well be your best way forward.
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#3 The Johnster

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 22:31

Cutting your cloth to suit the width.  I started Cwmdimbath with the concept, and then acquired stock suitable to run on it; in my experience, if you buy the stock first you tend to go for bigger, more impressive, locos and then have to find ways of fitting them in to spaces really too small for them.  My biggest loco, a 42xx, looks a bit like overkill on such a small layout but the prototypes ran to Abergwynfi with 20 wagon coal trains, and prototype termini don't come too much smaller than Abergwynfi, which is the prototype inspiration for Cwmdimbath.  My longest trains are 11 coal wagons or 3 coaches, and there are no tender locos


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#4 Oldddudders

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 06:25

Much of Southern’s territory, even in Pre-War days, was becoming commuter belt. So even sleepy branches like Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells West, which saw short trains with few punters for most of the day, might have a daily London through train or two, up in the morning, down in the evening, obviously.

A branch with an occasional pacific to add variety might be the way to go.
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#5 eastglosmog

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:18

The Swanage branch normally ran 2-3 coach trains (often with M7 tanks) but had a few longer "West Country" hauled trains in the summer holiday season.


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#6 Chris M

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:49

Small also allows more operational possibilities in any given space. A large express loco with a long train is great and I have a layout for these but I also have a branch line layout that can only cope with two coach trains. This layout has a terminus plus tow other stations and a hidden fiddle yard so I can run  a complete branch line service and watch the trains progress up and down the line. I find my branch line layout has a certain charm that you don't get on the main line layout and it also provides a much more mind stimulating experience for the operator.



#7 jjb1970

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 14:58

I myself am practising the small is beautiful approach, my last two purchases have been an SD50F and an SD45T-2, they're much more usable on a small layout than my AC60CWs, AC44CWs, SD90MACs etc :jester:


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#8 The Johnster

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 16:45

I agree about operation, which is the most important single aspect of modelling for me.  A big layout tends to attract big engines pulling big trains at speed; it almost self builds as a main line run through where trains mostly go from one end to the other and don't do much else.  A smaller space equally almost self builds as a BLT; every train must at least reverse if it's an auto or dmu.  Everything else must run around and should, and all must wait for the line to be clear before they can go anywhere.  The operator has to do things, and running realistically to a timetable is a challenge.


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#9 Big James

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 19:54

The good thing about being a southern modeller is they built more light Pacific’s then was actually needed so they did get literally everywhere on the former SR. But merchant navies, n15’s and Lord Nelson’s wouldn't have been seen on most BLT’s so they are banned from my layout most of the time.

Big James

Edited by Big James, 13 May 2018 - 19:55 .


#10 ian@stenochs

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 13:07

I Model the pre grouping scene where the majority of locomotives were quite small, even top link engines were mostly 4 coupled. The coaching stock too was shorter with little much longer than 50’ and that was main line. It is nice to be able to run 6 coach trains with a 4-4-0, which take up about the same length as 3 mark1s and a 4-6-0, and looks at home on sharper than prototype curves.
Ian.
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#11 Thunderforge

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:19

As a kid I never had enough money to buy big trains, and even Christmases and birthdays didn't seem to stretch to a Flying Scotsman, so most of my time was spend wondering if I should spend my thirty quid on a Smokey Joe or a new set of points. 

Somehow this has forged my taste into preferring small engines and four wheeled carriages, even though I could afford Castle with a rake of chocolate and creams.


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#12 Steamport Southport

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 20:24

I remember writing a Christmas list of the Mainline and Airfix locomotive models that I wanted one year and my dad said something along the lines of "Why do you want all those big engines? You would be better with a Hornby Pannier Tank". Not even the Mainline Pannier BTW. I think he was joking.

 

Then I pointed out that Pannier Tanks look ridiculous on ten coach trains.

 

 

 

Someone who is firmly committed to the Big Engine Policy as opposed to the Midland's Small Engine Policy.

 

M is for Midland with engines galore
Two on each train and asking for more

 

:jester: 

 

To be fair it's what you like that matters.

 

 

 

Jason


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#13 Captain Kernow

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 15:42

Small is definitely beautiful.

 

Cute little industrials or panniers.

 

Short goods trains of short-wheelbase stock.

 

Small layouts consisting of one baseboard only, for ease of transport and storage (well, I might run to a second board for the fiddle yard).

 

That's pretty much my modelling philosophy now.


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#14 Londontram

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 16:15

Gets my vote. I've pushed my modeling period back to about 1880 with lots of
2-4-0 and 0-6-0 with the odd small 4-4-0 plus all the carriages are small 4 or 6 wheel carriages so a scale length train of say five carriages can be accomadated quite easally
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#15 Classsix T

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 16:23

The three circles of radius 2, 3 & 4 curves I had as test/running-in track have morphed into being the roundy part of a layout that will have a scenic section of only a metre and a half (haven't measured it, it's built to fit into a bespoke size footprint) plus equivalent length fiddle roads round the back.

The intended operation is for branchline traffic akin to the Hadleigh/Stour Valley in the late 50's which wouldn't have seen anything heavier than J39s or Cl.30s in all probability.
However, I reserve the rule one right to pelt Britannias and 40s around with ten coaches should the fancy take me!

C6T.

Edited by Classsix T, 16 May 2018 - 16:30 .

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#16 The Johnster

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 17:55

As a kid I never had enough money to buy big trains, and even Christmases and birthdays didn't seem to stretch to a Flying Scotsman, so most of my time was spend wondering if I should spend my thirty quid on a Smokey Joe or a new set of points. 

Somehow this has forged my taste into preferring small engines and four wheeled carriages, even though I could afford Castle with a rake of chocolate and creams.

 

Because just think of all the small locos and 4 wheel wagons you could buy with the money a Castle and a rake of choc/creams would cost...



#17 tomparryharry

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 20:41

Because just think of all the small locos and 4 wheel wagons you could buy with the money a Castle and a rake of choc/creams would cost...


You are joking of course, young Johnster....

Those Bachmann 4-wheelers are going to cost you about £12-15 per wagon. So, that projected rake is coasting towards £250. Little wonder I'm working up a stock of Airfix/Dapol wagon kits, just to keep the costs down.

That said, that little Peckett working out of Tymawr colliery? Oh yes....

Edited by tomparryharry, 16 May 2018 - 20:43 .


#18 Steamport Southport

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 20:58

Because just think of all the small locos and 4 wheel wagons you could buy with the money a Castle and a rake of choc/creams would cost...

 

I don't know.

 

I bought a King and three chocolate and cream Collett coaches for £130 recently, also a Hall and three Mark Ones (two of them Pullmans) for a similar price. :sungum: 

 

Just saying that there are still bargains about if you shop around and wait until demand falls.

 

 

 

Jason



#19 fezza

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 16:41

Of course if you choose carefully you can have big engines on short trains - even in the diesel era.

I'm modelling the Barnstaple branch 1989 - 1992 so plenty of justification for a 50 or 47 on two coaches or a 37 hauling a 2 car dmu.

Edited by fezza, 22 May 2018 - 16:42 .

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#20 davknigh

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 17:49

It all boils down to the curves. Big engines on anything less than a 36” radius curve look, well, uncomfortable. The gap twixt loco and tender is too big and the front bufferbeam overhangs too far. The same thing goes for points and crossings, anything less than a number 6 is asking for trouble with the big pacifics and the like.

Cheers,

David

#21 tomparryharry

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 22:08

Small can be highly intensive, and prototypical to boot.

 

Some of the Rhondda valley pits were small, but with a prodigious output. One example was Lady Margaret Colliery, right in the middle of the Rhodda Fach. (Ynysir). It was required to be cleared every 30 minutes, or the mining came to a halt. There was simply not enough room to have any extra wagons on sidings, etc. It was only in the 1930's that pits were thinned out, that gave the space for the larger trains which we all readily think of. It's more a smaller locomotive, say a pannier clearing a pithead with 10 wagons, than 80-odd 16tonners on the windcutter.

 

Cheers,

 

Ian.