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Rising Standards

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  1. Thanks Mike. That arrangement of a trip from a larger yard in the area is the sort of thing I had in mind, probably serving a specific business (brewery etc.) rather than general sidings, and the likelihood of smaller locos doing those duties is fine as I've got plenty of nondescript black engines to keep occupied. I see the advantage of putting the sidings the other way round - the train can be left in the loop while the loco pulls wagons off the back to deposit them in the sidings, rather than shunting the whole train all the time. It can of course be achieved pretty easily on the spare room plan, but on the right angled version I was initially a bit stuck for how to make space to achieve it. I also realised that the extra crossover for departures from the middle platform was reducing its length on the right angled version, so it couldn't be 5' long on a 9' baseboard length while running parallel to the board edge. The answer seems to be to make the platforms angled compared to the baseboard/wall, which makes space for a few short sidings behind the station and gives a less regimented look to the plan than before, At that angle I could just about squeeze a 5' long middle platform onto a 9' board, but I've added another 3" to the end to give a small amount of space for the platform round the back of the buffer stops to be seen. I've not really got space to have a station building at the end of the platform on either room plan, so that's something I'm puzzling over at the moment. I'm inclined to go with having it along the innermost platform, and perhaps supplement the walk round the end of the buffer stops for access to the other platforms with an underpass/subway closer to the throat end, unless that seems unlikely in reality? As far as I can see from my rudimentary signalling knowledge, goods siding arrangements aren't likely to make much difference to the signalling needed, so I'm inclined to start thinking more about that. Is the usual etiquette to post again in Permanent Way, Signalling & Infrastructure for guidance regarding that, rather than continuing here? Right angled: Spare room:
  2. It's not shown very well at the level of zoom I used to get most of the space in one screenshot, but there was a left hand Peco trap on the pilot spur. Mind you, a loco running against that and derailing would still have blocked the down line, so a standard point is a better solution. I had considered connecting the pilot spur through to the turntable, but I'd always envisaged having that siding specifically as somewhere for the pilot to sit between duties, and thought getting train locos in and out that way while keeping the pilot there would require a siding longer than I had room for. Of course, I've been thinking too specifically about specific movements, and hadn't realised the improvement that would give in overall flexibility - connecting the pilot spur to the turntable doesn't mean it has to be used with any regularity, but it does mean locos can come in and out that way if the pilot is elsewhere. Ah, I see what you mean, thank you. Width could be an issue in both potential locations, so there isn't going to be room to bring the layout further away from the wall and increase the number of traverser roads to a more useful figure. There might be a means by which a cassette fiddle yard could be made easier to take down a traverser too if I go for the right-angled plan (the fiddle yard end would need to come apart for access when needed). I've added rough representations of where I envisage having platform faces now, and you're quite right about the release crossover. I initially started off with the facing crossover in the outer platform because I was prioritising loop length for goods trains that would be shunted by the train loco. I didn't really envisage handling many passenger trains in that platform without a station pilot, and when I did briefly try the trailing crossover it also looked less pleasing than how the facing crossover tucked into the easing curve of the platform. Much like the pilot spur above though, I wasn't considering what else the trailing crossover would allow to happen, and it would certainly give potential for things like a loco sorting out its own train in the outer platform at off peak times when a pilot might not be provided. The change of alignment needed also gives a more consistent platform width. The headshunt length needs to remain much as it is to allow a loco and brake van to fit, but I don't think reducing the distance from the release crossover to the point accessing the sidings is going to be an issue. If a newly arrived goods is longer than that (unlikely), I guess it can always draw forward into the siding beyond the crossover to get clear of the yard point and then set back? Incidentally, I have another Peco trap on the exit of the goods sidings at the moment. Would this be needed, or is it OK without due to it exiting onto a goods/loco run-round only loop?
  3. Hi folks and thanks for your taking the time to give your thoughts. I hope you won't think me ungrateful for not having responded sooner; I've been reflecting on what I'd like to include and doing more messing about in Anyrail to incorporate some of your ideas. My mention of Reading South in my original post might have been a bit misleading, as I intend for this to be a 'Not Reading', a bit like how Steve Cox's Readham layout has structures from present day Reading and Cheltenham while being neither. I'm aiming for a Reading South kind of appearance in terms of station building, canopies etc., and there will be a similar mix of loco hauled and EMU-based services which will be imagined to represent services on different routes. There will however be a bias towards operation with locos - unrealistic of course given that the electrified route should be busier to justify the cost of electrification, but although the EMU models I have are fantastic, I treat them more as an accompaniment to my steam fleet and don't envisage having many EMU-only running sessions. Also, while I don't intend to represent a particular year, many of my locos carry early crests, and probably the majority of my rakes of coaches are crimson and cream, so I'd prefer to think of it as a nominally mid to late '50s layout to cover the period in which the commonality of the earlier BR livery standard is giving way to the late crest, green and maroon etc. Paul's plan was much appreciated and pointed out the shortcomings of my original throat arrangement. I also really like the idea of having a turntable and short term loco stabling, particularly using a smaller one than the Peco type as David suggested. There are some aspects of my original plan that I'm looking to keep too: A pilot spur - station pilot work is one of the things that really appeals to me about this style of layout. One is enough though! Ability to have simultaneous arrivals and departures from either left and centre or centre and right platforms - now achieved by doubling up crossovers as David said (I came to the same conclusion on the same night!). This probably is still overkill for 3 platforms, but I'd prefer not to have a dedicated departure platform. Traverser style fiddle yard - I'll be operating this on my own most of the time, and sliding a traverser over to change trains seems likely to be more efficient for that than changing cassettes. Specialised goods facilities - As well as giving a bit more variety in trains and the potential for unusual wagons, a daily trip from a bigger yard to serve a brewery, factory or similar here gives the opportunity to do a bit of shunting if the mood takes me. I realise this also might be a bit unlikely unless the business has been on the site since before the railway arrived, and carriage sidings are a good idea, but I'm happy to imagine that there are larger carriage sidings (and a loco shed) a short distance down the line. Here's what I have at the moment. That bottom corner feels a bit cramped, but I've accepted that I haven't got room to fit in what I'd like and spread things out more, and if such an improbable place had existed it could have been very hemmed in anyway. The top left corner is left clear in case the plan has to be adapted back to the L-shaped location - in the spare room that would give some space for scenery hinting at the town.
  4. @mdvle - You make a good point. The reason I haven't gone for a conventional linear Minories arrangement is purely down to platform and fiddle yard lengths. With these more awkward shapes I can fit in lengths of 5' which I believe should be just enough for 4 suburban coaches and a couple of tank engines (or 4 longer coaches and a bigger loco), whereas fitting the fiddle yard, throat and station into 9' would restrict train lengths quite substantially. @Zomboid - In model form there are advantages to the loco spur over the diamond; it would give the most direct access to the platforms, reduce the amount of running back over the end of the throat into the fiddle yard, and avoid the increase in length or width that the throat arrangement would need to tuck a siding within the lines at that point. I completely agree though that it would be unlikely in reality unless the site was so hemmed in that there really was nowhere else to put it. The alternative I guess would be a spur facing away from the station off the inside or outside platform access routes - I don't suppose it matters which very much.
  5. Good afternoon folks, After years of accumulating stock with a primarily BR Southern and Western region bias, my thoughts have turned to building that first layout I’d always expected to have by now when I was younger. I’ve done some trackwork renewal on a club layout and was effectively in charge of all matters electrical in that time, so I’m not frightened of the first steps of layout construction, but I am very aware that my first attempt shouldn’t be too ambitious and needs to be something I’ll actually finish. Locations for a layout in the house I currently live in are slightly restrictive in some ways, though that does at least help to keep my ambitions in check: In a corner of a room with approximately 9’ of useable length along the two walls. Width ideally needs to be minimised away from the curve in the middle – no more than 2’ to keep the centre of the room available for other purposes (occasional dining, working from home). Limiting factors are a set of French windows on the left wall when viewed from the centre of the room (so that end of the layout in particular needs to come apart easily for access if desired), and a radiator on the right wall which starts fairly close to the corner. Advantages of this would be that the space is currently fairly empty so can be made available quite easily, and the resulting L-shaped layout is not completely impractical for an exhibition manager to find space for if I decide to take it out somewhere. In a spare room with a main portion measuring 7’ 6” x 8’. As shown below, the door opens into the room at the left end of one of the longer walls, limiting the length of board from the door to the end of the wall to 4’ 9”. The house’s hot water tank and associated plumbing occupies the space to the left of the door, so the area in front of this space (shown in grey) is as well left unoccupied, or would at least need anything around the door and tank to be easily dismountable. There is however a set of shelves built into a former chimney breast in the back left corner when viewed from the door. If this space could be repurposed it might offer a further 2’ x 2’ for an extended fiddle yard along the back wall. The advantages of this room would be that the railway would be out of the way of the rest of the house, and there may be potential for some form of continuous run if the space by the door can be used, even if only one loop to run in new locos (the door already has a lock that would prevent entry if a lifting section was being operated). The key disadvantages are that this room would need to be emptied (the contents not being mine to dispose of), and that removal of the shelving from the former chimney breast would need to be approved too (the house not being mine to mess about with either!). I already have planning permission in principle for the corner idea, subject to approval of a final plan with dimensions checked for acceptable intrusion into the room space. The spare room has not yet been discussed, as it hadn’t struck me as a viable proposition until since then, but I'm considering it as an alternative suggestion in case any objections are raised. Like probably most people on here, I have a multitude of ideal world layout concepts in my head. Having neither the space nor skills to build the nice spacious double track secondary main line station with gentle curves and an operating well that I’d ideally like, an urban setting probably gives greater scope for using the variety of motive power I have than a branch terminus, as well as a more diverse array of traffic types and operating methods. After reading a lot about Minories and taking some inspiration from the curved approach to Paris Bastille, I’ve come up with the general track layout shown below with modifications to fit both locations. My questions for you really are regarding whether I’ve overlooked any practicalities of this, or am envisaging unrealistic (potentially even dangerous in reality) ways of working it. Right-angled: Spare room: The idea is for a Reading Southern-style terminus with 3 platforms, these being the innermost and centre two lines. While I wouldn’t class this as a Minories layout per se due to the different throat arrangement, the operating concept is the same with various classes of big tank locos and EMUs providing an intensive service over multiple routes at peak times, less frequent local trains mixed with some longer distance services during the day (involving the use of a station pilot), and parcels, newspapers etc. being loaded or received at the platforms by night. On both diagrams the parallel lines of straight track indicate the location of a traverse fiddle yard – this can be assumed to continue to the end of the space available, giving 5’ length in both cases. Firstly, the station throat is designed to allow simultaneous arrivals and departures from any pair of platforms, but I’ve not decided on the most sensible way to arrange sidings for the station pilot or a loco awaiting its next train. While I could use the Minories arrangement of a loco siding off the outgoing line, I’m not that keen on the loco having to reverse out and then draw forwards to the platform. The closest point to access to all three platforms from is the centre of the throat arrangement (between the third and fourth points on the incoming line’s route to the inner two platforms). Using curved Peco Streamline points means there’s no easy way to substitute a double slip for one of the points to put a siding within the throat arrangement, so I’ve taken a siding across the line used to access the outermost platform and goods reception loop. While this seems like a convenient arrangement operationally, I assume this sort of arrangement would be unlikely to be used on safety grounds unless space constraints made it absolutely necessary, and that complicated signalling arrangements would’ve been needed to reduce the risk from this. You’ll notice also that at the moment this is one of three loco spurs, with the outer two having their own for Liverpool Street-style turnarounds. I think this might be overkill in model form, involving more locos sat waiting for trains than the intensity of service actually justifies, and potentially less interesting than the operating method Cyril Freezer envisaged of the loco that brought in the last arrival moving to the head of the following arrival in another platform. Alternatively the siding off the inner line might provide a means of having a single continuous run loop bypassing the fiddle yard at a later stage. I haven’t included trap points in the loco spurs yet as I was short of track pieces in Anyrail, though I realise they’d be needed. Secondly, I’ve assumed that there’s a dedicated goods yard elsewhere, but the outermost line is a loop used for reception of a daily goods train serving specialised goods facilities accessed from the point that currently leads nowhere. I had envisaged this being operated as follows: Train arrives and loco runs forward into headshunt. Loco reverses past its train along the adjacent platform, then draws forward to collect the brake van. Loco pulls the brake van clear of the loop point, then pushes it to the end of the platform. Loco draws away from the brake van and uses the crossover to re-enter the headshunt, then buffers back up to the train, stops and pushes back further to shunt the yard. When shunting is complete, the loco draws the wagons forwards, then runs round and pulls back out of the loop, finally propelling them forwards to the brake van to await departure. If you’ve read this far then thanks for your time, and any feedback regarding this would be gratefully received.
  6. A Zimo MX616R will sit neatly beneath the DCC socket, and its wires are just the right length to coil around the socket a couple of times so that body fitment and removal isn't hampered by having to keep them out of the way.
  7. Not quite the answer you were looking for as it's not a direct plug decoder, but I put a tiny Zimo MX616R decoder in my H. The DP2X-UK was the only decoder I'd seen mentioned as being suitable too, but I wasn't keen to order one specially as from previous experience they suit some locos better than others (my Hornby 700 didn't run smoothly when fitted with the only one I've bought so far, whereas my King Arthur is perfectly happy with it). I've standardised on Zimo for all new decoders, and ideally wanted a solution that would allow the body to be easily re-fitted and removed without any hassle with tucking wires away. After a bit of measuring, I reasoned that the MX616R would sit neatly under the DCC socket, which it just about does, and the wires are the right length to coil up around the socket quite neatly. You do have to unscrew the socket from its mounting posts to fit the decoder there, and it's worth making sure that none of the wires going into the PCB are long enough to obstruct the decoder too. The description in the packaging also recommends that you don't use the decoder to run the loco on DC, and at £32 it was as much as I'd want to spend on a non-sound decoder. The performance is just what I'd hoped for though, and makes it all worthwhile.
  8. Interesting stuff today from Hattons. I'm inclined to agree with the earlier comments about this approach likely being the only way to make coaches of this style that will achieve a worthwhile return on tooling costs. I also can't see much reason for kit companies offering a means of producing specific vehicles to those that want a completely accurate end result to lose sleep. Much as these did briefly make me consider whether I really do want to part with my SECR C, I decided a couple of years back that I'd focus on the first 10-15 years of nationalisation, so a rake of these won't be joining my fleet. However, if a full brake in BR crimson was offered that would certainly catch my interest as a potential milk brake, especially as I understand the times some milk trains ran at might justify working lighting.
  9. Right by the roadside section of the SVR's car park. Here's a rough snip from a well known online map service.
  10. My understanding from my very limited knowledge is that the weight did indeed have to be taken off the door by way of man and shovel before it could be dropped in relative safety for removing the bulk of the load. I forget the source, but I believe I saw this mentioned in an article that showed a (probably 7 plank) wagon with a dropped section taken out of the top plank over the doors, the reason for the notch's presence being claimed to be that a chap shovelling a load over a height greater than that of the notch was entitled to a higher wage.
  11. Yes indeed. If the retailer it came from doesn't have any stock left, return it for refund and order elsewhere. As frustrating as it is to receive a defective model and have to return it, I now take the view that locos cost too much to accept unsatisfactory examples of them, and time spent investigating what's wrong with a new loco's mechanism can be better spent in other ways. More importantly, if model shops don't get duff ones sent back and grumble about it to the manufacturer's sales rep, there's no incentive for them to improve quality control for future releases and avoid us getting a repeat instance next time. Having now had my example of Westminster apart for DCC fitment, I can report that the socket and blanking plug are just taped together rather than wrapped in heatshrink - much more sensible, so I'll retract my earlier rant about that! A Zimo MX616N does indeed fit, and could probably go at the front of the chassis where Hornby intended a decoder to go, but I put insulation tape down the side of the motor and body (where the instructions show the plug and socket) and tucked it into there. Irrespective of control method, the loco runs nicely on the whole, although current collection is less reliable than I'd expected. I think cleaning the back of the wheels and pickups should do the trick as they're very greasy (in fact, the whole mechanism seems to have been very heavily lubricated; on removing the motor mount to apply the insulation tape, the worm was effectively sat in the middle of a box of grease that had presumably been thrown outwards during running in). I should then be even happier with it. I thought the proportions of it looked a bit odd from the rendered images at the time of announcement, but the finished article is a nice purposeful looking machine and an excellent companion to previous industrial releases like the W4 and Barclay.
  12. If the socket was in the place indicated in the instructions, the Zimo alternative to the harness-type Hornby decoder would be the MX617F which I've deployed in the Terrier. That was what I was expecting to need when I find time to collect my Westminster. As it isn't, I imagine an MX616N would be most likely to fit within the space under the socket. While I'm frustrated at facing the higher cost of that (£30+ rather than £20), at least it'll save the hassle of trying to get a bundle of wires tucked away under the body. That said, whether the different socket location was Hornby's intention or not, having the socket and blanking plug heatshrink-wrapped together is clearly a special kind of daft. Of course, the ideal situation would be for Hornby not to assume that everyone using DCC will be happy using their own decoder, and instead put the socket in a place that gives a suitably sized void to accommodate a conventional direct plug 6 pin decoder. That would then enable straightforward fitment of the owner's preference of a myriad of ordinary 6 pin decoders like the MX617N in around 5 minutes, as the design of some other manufacturers' locos have permitted for a number of years now. This loco's chassis is clearly derived from that of the W4, and The Engine Shed said as much when it was announced, but there's no reason why this couldn't have been considered in the design process anyway.
  13. A Zimo MX617F uses the same 6-pin on harness arrangement as the Hornby decoder, and likely offers better performance at a lower cost. Mine has one and trundles about very nicely indeed over pointwork. Fitting was a bit of a pain in that the decoder has to go over the socket and then have the wires shaped over the top to fit within the remaining boiler void space, but it does go in and I imagine the Hornby decoder would be no better in this regard either.
  14. Blimey, you don't hang about! Sorry, I haven't really got any photos from the build process, but I'll try and get you a few from mine as it is now at the start of next week, including body mounting arrangements.
  15. It's been a while since I did it, but if I remember rightly the back of the body on the Hall fits into a horizontal slot at the back of the chassis and the front screws in under the smokebox. I took the same approach, using the same slot at the back of the shortened chassis and building up strips of plastic to get the one that would sit in the slot at the right height. At the front I glued another piece of plastic underneath the smokebox and glued a small nut to the top of it, then passed a bolt up through the original screw hole to tighten into the nut. If the nut ever comes unstuck I'll have a problem! The connecting rods are from the Hall, but had to be thinned down at the back to allow the Grange crankpins to be fully tightened and let the wheels turn freely. I have a feeling the coupling rods are the Grange ones, as the crankpin arrangements for the Hall wheels are different.
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