Hmmm, now what can we build here?
I've decided to move ahead with the next installment in the series of micro-layouts based on the fictional Farthing station. Again, it's Edwardian GWR during the period 1904-1908. Here's a rundown of my thoughts so far.
The basic idea is to model the inside of a large Edwardian goods depot. Or rather: just a section of it, showing maybe 3-4 busy loading docks. I envision an overall roof structure extending over the entire layout, under which we'd be seeing vans and wagons entering and leaving the loading- and transshipment docks. The visual interest would include the kind of detail I like, such as a fleet of horse drawn vehicles in the trans-shipment dock, goods of all shapes and sizes, and Edwardian workers going about their business. To get an idea of what I'm thinking about, have a look at this photo: Paddington Goods Depot [scroll to first image].
The scenic section of the layout will be housed in the Ikea "Snackbox" shown below, which has had one side removed. The outside measurements are 56 x 37 cms, which I believe is approx. 22 " x 14 5/8 ". The Snackboxes have previously been discussed on RMweb, and in one or two cases also applied. There is even a Yahoo group for Snackbox modelling, although it has gone rather quiet (edit: the "Snackbox" has now been discontinued from Ikea). Indeed it seems that most people who have embarked on Snackbox layouts have subsequently abandoned them, possibly because the space really is quite limited. I'd like to give it a try though, as I think it might just work for this kind of scheme
One of the challenges will be how to create a reasonable degree of operational interest, since we are basically just talking about a set of parallel tracks with some loading docks in between. Here I'm thinking of bringing the fiddle yard into the picture; ie by adding a couple of points to the fiddle yard it could help generate some interesting moves in itself. We'll see. My knowledge of the workings of these larger depots is very limited at present, but as a start I hope to find some useful info in GWR Goods Services Part 2A, for which an order will be placed shortly. There is some interesting preliminary info on the workings of an LNWR goods depot here, which indicates some possibilities for shunting wagons from an arrival to a departure bay, etc.
Aha, a chance to build some "foreign" goods stock!
One of the things I like about this idea is that it will most definitely not be loco-centric! In fact, I am not even sure locos were allowed to venture inside such a depot at all, due to the fire risk. Again, though, the fiddle yard would come into play, as the domain of 1-2 shunting locos. Wagons and vans would form the bulk of the stock (in fact, all of it). This will require some additional stock building apart from what I already have, but I enjoy this and since we're talking OO here it won't be all that time consuming. I'll also get a chance to experiment with the little known red livery that was used on GWR wagons at one stage.
Questions to investigate
Lot's of things to delve into, here's a few off my initial list - if anyone can help it would be very much appreciated!
1. Good prototypes of large-ish GWR goods depots that can provide inspiration?
2. Were locos at any time allowed into these large goods depots?
3. Was foreign goods stock admitted and handled similar to GWR stock in such depots?