Longer-standing members will remember the 2006/7 Layout Challenge which started on RMWeb2 before we broke it. This produced a number of rather fine layouts including Keyhaven. It also - mostly - produced Blacklade.
The basic remit of the Challenge was to produce a small layout providing a showcase for some of the high standard RTR we have enjoyed in recent years . LisaP4 defined the rules to require layout to have a maximum footprint of 6 square feet . That killed off an idea of mine to base a small layout on a version of the Timesaver shunting puzzle and mocked up to represent a version of Tyne Commission Quay transplanted to the foreshore of the Thames in the 1950s and electrified at 1500V dc. It would have required 8 square feet . In retrospect Tynesaver Wharf ("For Your Economical Fuel!") was a merciful escape - the work involved would have been far too much and I'd have been stuck with a half built layout stalled and abandoned. As opposed to a 4/5th built layout stalled, like wot I 'ave..... The scheme would have required amongst other things a DC Kits EM1 and a Judith Edge EB1 (and possibly an EF1 to boot) and a heck of a lot of inlaid track - always bad news on the work front . The EM1 kit I acquired cheap when the local model shop closed down is still sat behind me with no obvious prospect of being built. It's not merely well down the list - it's not on the list at all.
As well as this still born scheme , the Challenge produced a large range of schemes which never quite made it - I think at one point there were just under 80 layout proposal threads in the subforum on RMWeb 2 and to my mind the unbuilt proposals were the saddest loss when that version of RMWeb congealed and froze. I recall Buckjumper had a proposal for a gaslit subterranean S7 affair in 1890s E.London ("Always carry a revolver east of Aldgate, Watson") illustrated by some atmospheric sketches (Sepulchre St wasn't it?). A particular mention is due to two very innovative and radical schemes to use the footprint - Kenton's "Long Thinney" and a bold circular doughnut multilevel scheme in N , whose name and builder I have forgotten (Sorry!) . Both proceeded a long way into construction before abandonment for differing reasons and both used the idea of a very narrow board to maximise length .
But to return to what actually got built on my part
I attach the link to the thread on RMWeb3 (itself starting as a repost of the RMWeb 2 thread - I'm sure some of this material must have been through either the Library of Alexandria or the Saxon monastery of Jarrow at some point):
It is perhaps reposting the initial ideas:
Plan B revolves around on of the plans from Carl Arendt's micro site , which has attracted me for a while:
The plan in question is under Shelf Switchers / Passenger Lines , and is called "Amalgamated Terminal 2" . It's a slight tweak of "Amalgamated Terminal"
Carl has designed this around shunting passenger coaches, thinking in US terms of loco hauled passenger trains being shunted and reformed.
I looked at it and thought "small terminus for DMUs"
Some people may remember the long threads on RMWeb 1.5 about modern small termini and MUs:
[Links deleted because dead]
and there was a discussion on RMWeb 1.0 sparked by some photos of Manchester Mayfield. Cloggydog [Alan Monk] declared an unfulfilled urge to build a small Manchester terminus in the late 60s.
Anyway, my concept here is to take Amalgamated Terminus 2 and lengthen it to 8' 4" : ie 2 boards each 4'2" long, 5" wide at the board joint , and 12" wide at the end.
Someone who can remember things like triganometry may be able to confirm, but according to my maths (done using strips, trriangles , and fractions on the back of an envelope)that's just under 6 square feet.
There are a few tweaks to the trackplan. There'll be an extra crossover between the centre platform and the front platform, giving access to what Carl Arendt marks as "Engine Ready road" and for me will be a small fueling point. And there'll be an extra fiddle yard road at the back
What's marked as "Covered Concourse" becomes the back platform. The middle platform moves to between the front and middle roads
We are in a largish Midlands county town , somewhere between 1989/90 and 2000/1. [in the event, I've slipped into an "early" period 1985-90 and a "late" period 2000-6: The end of the Central Trains franchise closes the latter] It isn't Derby, or Nottingham, or Leicester or Lincoln. Maybe it replaces one of them, and it resembles bits from all. It had an ex GC through station and an ex MR terminus, and now the rather battered MR station remains, served by DMUs
In the early period we get 114s, 105s, 150/2 , 153, 155 and Pacers. (In other words I build the kits in the cupboard and finish the conversions) Maybe a 108 and 101 in blue/grey (I grab some new RTR). Parcels are possible (CCTs + 31). A 20 brings the fuel tank for the fueling point. Maybe a 31 and 2 coaches subs for a DMU [i bought the RTR; Hornby forstalled the 153 conversion , and I bought 2; the other conversions still await - a tentative start has been made on one Pacer: see my blog]
In the later period the Modernisation Plan units disappear , and I get to run my Central Trains Turbostar and the 156 I'm promising myself. [and got] Maybe a 158 (See Steve Jones picture) [W Yorks 158 in service, and I'm finally going to order a CT 2 car set from Hattons. The photo in question was of a classic CT pairing on the Joint line - 153+158] Maybe I'll sort out the 37 conversion and use it for the fuel [ Maybe by the end of the next decade. A cheap 57 off the Bachmann stand and a discount 66 will serve in the meantime]
It will be DCC ; some of the interest will be joining and splitting trains. I can just manage 150/2 + 153, and 142 + 142, or 142 + 153 , or 153 + 153 are possible
It will be OO. I want to have pukka OO track, and as beginners don't start with double slips, I'm thinking of investigating Marcway. This may affect the geometry slightly: as drawn it seems to use Peco medium radius. [ I went Marcway]
It will use stock I'm going to build for the club project , which will be DCC anyway, plus units intended for the home layout I haven't built. The only things I would need to buy is two Pacers. Virtually all the structures /bits can be sourced out of my cupboard.
In any case there's only a few low relief flats involved. I don't need to build stock specially. So it should be a relatively quick project.
8'4" comfortably fits in the "study" where the home layout was going to go [ Ended up as 8'6" long]
I've roughed it out with stock and Peco templates on some lining paper full size. I've never tried XtraCAD, and this seemed quicker. Also I'd endorse Neil and Shortliner's comments about needing to check every quarter inch
And it fits. I need to get a friend to turn it out in Templot to check the geometry 100% for handbuilt, but it drops in place and all the stock fits...
The "bow-tie" shape has caused a few interesting issues with the pointwork and motorisation of same in the throat area, but works, more or less, scenically
After October 2007, construction gradually slowed down, and by the beginning of 2009 it more or less ground to a halt as I became occupied on other fronts. I repeat the last posting in the old thread , dated Sat Aug 29th 2009:
Its been a long while since anything was posted - most of my efforts in the last few months have gone into stock.However this does mean that there are a few new items to play with and the other evening I had a running session.
I went for an early period session and managed to get 8 trains on the layout, being W Yorks 158, 2 x 153s, W Yorks 155, 108 , 3 car 101, parcels (31 + 2 bogievans) , 20 + TTA .Operation was on the same principle as those puzzles they used to sell , where there were 9 positions and 8 tiles, so you had to shuffle things round using the one available space. I managed to run trains for over an hour and a quarter before getting myself boxed in to the point where I needed to take something off in the fiddle yard to make another move possible . Given the small size of the layout and the lack of frieght , the operational potential is good, even if permissive working was stretched a bit now and again.
The 3 car 101 is probably a bit much. The original idea was to make up a 2 car set , but as Hornby's unit was actually allocated to TS at the right period, it seems a pity to rework it as power car+ trailer and dump the centre car. Whether such a 3 car unit would ever have run as a temporary power twin at this period is unclear, but there seems to be some evidence formations were starting to get a bit improvised and mix'n match by the mid to late 80s. It would certainly make operations simpler if I just removed the centre car on an ad hoc basis. Both of the DC Kits in the cupboard are for 2 car units (105 and 114) so once one of those is built there is an alternative anyway
The running session has clarified things in terms of fleet strategy and what projects I start next. I was a little surprised to find that I already have almost everything for the early period (1985-90) and potentially plenty to spare, whereas I'm short of stock for the "late" period 2000-7. I'd assumed it was the other way round. To get a complete blue period fleet, I need to swap over the W Yorks 158 and the Central 153 (which was pressed into service to test consisting - dead easy with the PowerCab). I've already got a Provincial 150/1 on order from Trains4U - far from being an unnecessary indulgence, it can replace the 158 with something appropriate in short order. Longer term , I'm intending to buy a second RR 153 to go with my existing one, once Hornby release a RR livery in late condition with ploughs. In the medium term , however, it looks like I need to get on with reworking one of my Pacers with the Branchlines chassis pack. Neither Pacer is operable at present (no decoders/coarse wheels jam in the points) so this would get some "dead" stock into traffic.
I was considering one of 3 possiblities as "next cab off the rank" - the Pacer project, detailing up a body for the Airfix 31 and building the Ratio Southern bogie brake van . However it looks like the choice is made - I already have a perfectly serviceable Hornby 31 and 2 parcels vans...
Another way of freeing up space in the fiddle yard would be to fit a decoder to the old Bachmann 03 lurking in a cupboard , and sort out the pickups, couplings and a few other bits of upgrading . Again it was on the list as a "quick win" project to get some stored stock back into use and may well be prioritised
Looking at the fleet list from the other evening, if I was running late period, i'd need to swap out 2 Modernisation Plan DMUs, the parcels trains, and the 20+TTA. I've a couple of Type 5s and a late green TTA recently finished,so the fuel oil is covered, but the only other DMUs currently available are a Turbostar and a 156. I had been hesitating whether to get a Central 158 from Hattons, on the grounds I didn't really need it - perhaps I do. And it does suggest I should get my finger out and finish the Bratchill 150/2 which has been stalled for an indecent length of time. Even with both I'll only have one DMU spare for the later period. If I just build everything I've already got for the earlier period, I could have 4 spare units, 5 spare locos and at least 3 spare parcels vans....
It's one thing trying to calculate what stock you can and can't run and do and don't need, but once you actually try a session everything becomes a lot easier to see
Nothing has been done on the layout since. However it has seen occasional use as a programming track . You'll have spotted that a couple more items of stock have been finished (PMV , TTA) or begun (Pacer)
Having recently managed to shed a couple of commitments within the club I should now have more time to sort out the long list of jobs to be done in other areas - finishing Blacklade being one. The items still outstanding are the old ones - the remaining point motors and the station walling. But with luck we may see some progress in the coming months
As I've now found the Create Blogs page again, and managed to transfer this to a blog, I can update this entry to say I've given the thing another running session, and what sticks out like a sore thumb is that the points do not throw completely . If you don't check each one is fully over and snug , and push it into place where necessary derailments result . The problem is clearly the one discussed here:
I can watch the wire bending instead of the point moving if I view it from below. So this will need sorting out when I find out where I can source piano wire - and what I use to cut it with . I'm not going to wreck the edge on Xurons- they're expensive tools.
This time round the 101 was reduced to 2 car, we acquired a "swinger" in the form of the newly built PMV and I found I didn't need the second diesel loco , as the 31 could be used for the TTA and minor pilot duties . That's 7 and a half trains, but proves comfortable to operate: I managed over an hour and a half of train shuffling without getting boxed in. Part of the concept is that each unit needs to go onto the fuelling point as some stage - this gives some point or or purpose to the train shuffling moves
On account as it were are two quick snaps:
And yes I really do need to add the station buildings, or at least the surrounding walls which would once have supported the overall roof
Edited by Ravenser