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General Arrangement


47137

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"Shelf Island" is my model railway layout, and it represents the railways of the eponymous location.

 

The layout is in the mould of a typical British narrow gauge project but built as a standard gauge line. And in 1:87 scale. The layout has a fiddle yard (which rather resembles a motive power depot), but the long-term plan is to create a model of a self-contained railway system where trains move imaginary freight and passengers between different locations. So far, I have built the railway infrastructure for four locations (and also the fiddle yard), and gathered together a somewhat eclectic collection of model trains to operate the services. The scenic setting at Fairport is complete (August 2018) and barely started everywhere else.

 

The layout has four baseboards and two link spans, arranged around three walls of a spare bedroom. Three of the baseboards are micro layouts by most criteria, the fourth is currently a flush door with the track loosely laid on it. The link spans are simple and narrow bridging sections I have made to suit the room. It should be possible to take individual baseboards to exhibitions or to rebuild the layout in a different space if I ever move house, but so far only the fiddle yard has made it to a show.

 

The main elements of the layout are these:

  • The processing plant, at Fairport
  • The vehicle dismantlers, at Cab ry Cheilley
  • The harbour and rail/sea transhipment facility at Keiy Pabyr
  • The chemical plant, exchange sidings and PW depot, at Shelf Marshes

 

The area marked "Wellwood" (first added to the plan on 3 August 2020) will be a scenic section for photographing trains and to set out some model road vehicles. There is a siding here to connect a TrainSafe tube so I can move complete trains on and off the layout.

941677732_plan15withWellwoodmock-up.png.866339f19d072470daf97c9cdcaa2943.png

 

 

Plan last revised: 27 October 2020

 

The total run is 28 feet, most of half a scale mile in 1:87 scale. The room is L-shaped and so while I would very much like to take the track around the whole room as a continuous run this will not be possible. If I run trains at Light Railway speeds, I can have journeys lasting for a couple of minutes.

 

The main baseboard and the fiddle yard are sitting on top of five small bookcases, these are the smallest and cheapest Ikea 'Billy' ones you can buy, these were £10 each in the autumn of 2014. The fronts of the bookcases are 12 inches from the wall. They could go an inch closer if I enlarged the recesses for the skirting boards, but there was no great benefit in doing this. As they stand, I could set up the two L girders in the main baseboard facing away from each other and minimise the footprint of the layout:

blogentry.jpg.03ef96054e74d16bc9e27803c3a182b0.jpg

 

I pinned a narrow strip of wood across the fronts of the bookcases to make a lip, so the layout will not pull forwards off them.

 

The main baseboard is held in place by the fiddle yard. There are two steel dowels and sockets at the joint between the two, and so with the layout in position first I can then slide the fiddle yard into place:

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By a sheer fluke (and this is the best bit!), I set the vertical distance of the rear dowel above the bookcases to be the same as the horizontal distance of the dowel from the back of the fiddle yard. So I can turn the fiddle yard onto its back and re-engage one dowel to hold it during fault-finding and maintenance underneath the fiddle yard:

blogentry-14389-0-55548000-1436175260.jpg.5f1fbe14f130e741f0dea5009ba7c11a.jpg

 

Ikea have since put up the prices of the Billy bookcases but the cost of the set of five is still much the same as a set of legs and trestles, and there is masses of space to store things underneath the layout. With so much storage, the layout doesn't really consume any extra space in the room, though of course the shelves have filled up with model railway stuff.

 

The baseboard for Fairport (top left in the plan) is hung on the wall above the workbench and the baseboard at Shelf Marshes is in an alcove, sitting on wooden brackets screwed to the walls:

image.png.6208ad98ae484897d3c38d3602e4833c.png

 

At the moment, Wellwood is a temporary arrangement of some Kato Unitrack on a part of a flush door. The two link spans are hanging between their respective baseboards.

 

The "possible new fiddle yard" marked on the plan needs a hole through a partition wall to take tracks out of the room and onto the landing. If I ever do this, I would like to rebuild the present fiddle yard as the headquarters of the local transport preservation society.

Edited by 47137

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Richard, I do like this approach - building up small layouts/sections bit by bit and joining them together. One fine day I hope to do the same. I saw your progress on the Shelf/yellow section over in the SI Modelling thread, looks like good progress already. 

Edited by Mikkel
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  • RMweb Gold

I have redrawn the plan to include "Shelf Marshes" (this has its own layout topic) and the latest mock-up of "Wellwood". If I can bring the whole of this scheme up to the scenic standard of Fairport then it should be quite a satisfying little railway.

 

In many ways, the whole scheme is now two layouts with their fiddle yards connected end-to-end each side of the chest of drawers. Operationally, this is rather good. I can run whole the railway on my own, or bring in a second operator(*).

 

- Richard.

 

(*) Right now, I am in a Covid Tier 2 area and home visitors are forbidden. But the thought is there.

Edited by 47137
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  • RMweb Gold

That's an interesting arrangement. I have been thinking of how to link my layouts, and it never occurred to me to put the FY in the middle. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  • RMweb Gold
1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

That's an interesting arrangement. I have been thinking of how to link my layouts, and it never occurred to me to put the FY in the middle. Thanks for the inspiration!

I claim no originality for the idea. Some years ago, I saw a narrow gauge scheme at a show, this layout had two termini and a fiddle yard between them. It seemed a really flexible way to run a layout; also the owner could choose to take only one to a show.

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Richard. Those link spans, can I ask how you secure them to the layout sections?

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  • RMweb Gold
On 29/10/2020 at 06:41, Mikkel said:

Thanks Richard. Those link spans, can I ask how you secure them to the layout sections?

 

The whole arrangement at Wellwood is temporary. The baseboard is hanging between the chest of drawers and the front of Shelf Marshes; and the link span across to the fiddle yard is a simple length of timber resting on strips of wood at both ends. The track is Kato Unitrack, laid loosely and run across the link and onto the baseboards at both ends:

DSCF1181.jpg.dea5650e1769548d8b30ba481e359448.jpg

 

With the track removed:

DSCF1198.jpg.26cb4d05d680f8cb7cd0d26d5d4a9c4d.jpg

 

And the link span lifted out:

DSCF1202.jpg.9dd4ae9e90544e591be5c2fe8b1fafaf.jpg

 

The arrangement at Fairport is complete. This link span is a narrow baseboard resting on supports at each end. Timber support at the left and a bit of aluminium at the right:

DSCF1192.jpg.764bfc0d1cf9e46fd92350305292b7ac.jpg

 

The link is held to stop lifting, sliding and twisting by two pairs of pop rivets used as dowels:

DSCF1189.jpg.26df25fcee88d1a10957410e66556813.jpg

 

DSCF1190.jpg.5116602e0dc8ff7624cdea2bfed2e1a3.jpg

 

The pop rivets simply pull out and I can then lift the link span out of the way. I have to use removable dowels here because Fairport is fixed to the wall and the baseboard to the right is jammed against the  wall in the corner of the room. There is no free space to slide things along to dis-engage the usual pattern makers dowels.

 

See also Wellwood (provisional version)

Edited by 47137
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  • RMweb Gold

Many thanks for that comprehensive response Richard, and illustrated too! As Don says, nice use of the pop rivets. 

 

This is all very inspiring. I have some magnets I can hardly pull apart. The question is, would I trust them to hold a layout link, and thereby my precious trains? :D

 

Anyway, it looks like there is room for more layouts in your room. Should keep you busy for a while yet!

 

Edited by Mikkel
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  • RMweb Gold
3 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Should keep you busy for a while yet!

 

Sometimes I feel it will never end. I intended to build "Shelf Marshes" as far as its track and turnout motors, and then do the scenics on the main baseboard. But as "Shelf Marshes" has progressed, I've realised I have built the basis for a better layout and I could even remove the main baseboard and build something else.

 

There is also a thought, to build "Wellwood" in 1:55 scale. My H0 trains would run through without difficulty, but the section would be home to a 3 ft gauge railway built in the larger scale.

 

What is good, it to be able to connect the TrainSafe tubes onto the layout. The original access for these through the fiddle yard has been blocked off by the chest of drawers for ages, ever since I closed up the gap between the them.

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