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    Modern(ish) image N gauge (late 1980s)
    Pre-nationalisation 00 gauge
    Computer control/automation
    Realistic operations
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  1. @Lord of Narnia - thank you: that is very helpful information. The Radley Models website states that the last batch of the flare sided stock took 12 years to sell and inquires as to whether anyone is likely to want more. It is very encouraging to see this being pursued and potentially broadens my modelling horizons with this layout. I actually have two old white metal Harrow Models kits, mostly assembled and partly painted, from the 1990s of Q38 stock, being one powered and one unpowered driving motor. It would be good to be able to use these (although the motor needs a new worm gear). I shall be interested in your layout progress if you post about it online.
  2. Thank you all for your replies; there is plenty to consider here. Baker Street (or a pastiche of Baker Street) is an interesting thought, and would allow much variety of surface stock, but I would only have space to model the Metropolitan main (branch) platforms rather than the inner circle. This is not necessarily a major problem, but the combination of the two lines is characteristic of that station. One might be tempted to model the Jubilee/Bakerloo at a lower level, but adding a second level would compromise storage space and make the layout difficult to build/wire. A Baker Street inspired layout would work better pre-1960s, I think, as having a layout with only one type of stock (A stock) would get somewhat tedious after a short while. That second issue is also a possible issue with an Edgware Road pastiche, although in principle it might similarly be remedied by setting it in an earlier era. However, a difficulty arises in that Radley Models has discontinued its O/P/R/Q38 stock kits, which would be quite important for earlier era working of subsurface lines. Another issue with earlier era modelling is the practice of uncoupling trains, as discussed above. There is not the fiddle yard space available to have different rakes of the EMUs in 4/8, 6/8 or 4/7 combinations. This might be solveable if any of the Underground models could be adapted to take Kadee couplers. An article in the latest edition of the MRC bulletin suggests that at least some of the deep level stock could be so adapted/fitted, but gives no details as to how. I will have to see if I can contact the author. My current provisional thoughts favour the Harrow Garden Village track plan. This allows room for the narrow gauge layout, and potentially allows for a multi-guise approach, permitting changing between a Northern Line location (imagine Edgware had the Bushey Heath extension been built), a Metropolitan/Picadilly line locaiton (the original Harrow Garden Village idea, a pastiche of Rayners Lane) and a District/Central Line location (the original Acton Green idea but without the BR lines). This would allow a mixture of tube and subsurface stock. One possible issue in changing between a tube stock only location (as on the Northern Line) and a mixed tube/subsurface stock location is that the platform heights would not be consistent between both. That will need further consideration. What will also need furhter consideration if I am to use a multi-guise approach is whether to use a generic name (e.g. "Green Lane") that could in principle apply to any of the locations, or change the station signs between each guise change. The latter might be difficult for an Underground location where the station signs are more built into the architecture of the station than was the case with main line stations in earlier times, which tended to use only independent sign boards, making a multi-guise layout with different station names easier. The advantage of this set of plans is that it allows for running a great variety of rolling stock that interests me (1938 stock, 1959 stock, 1962 stock, A stock, O/P/Q38 stock, R stock, F stock, 1972 stock, standard stock and possibly even the LT pannier), by changing the guises, but only requires a subset of that rolling stock to get started with one of the guises. The eras for the guises might be somewhere between the 1950s and 1970s (many Underground stations seem not to have changed significantly in appearnace between these times), and might be narrowed even further to the 1960s (albeit with elimination of the 1972 stock) if significant fetatures did obviously change. This would in turn give an approximately even spread of eras in the four layouts (this, the narrow gauge layout, the large 00 gauge layout on the upper level and the large N gauge layout on the southern wall), with the narrow gauge layout being set in around the 1900s, the large 00 gauge layout in the 1930s, this in the 1960s and the N gauge layout in 1989. **** In relation to overall progress of the shed projects, it is the N gauge layout on which work has started in earnest. Progress can be followed in more detail on this thread in the N gauge forum. As discussed above, I cannot start the 00 gauge layout baseboards until all the lower level layouts have at least their rearmost track laid and wired in (at least as to droppers and possibly also point motors, although I have acquired a fair bit of rolling stock for the 00 gauge layout). In summary, the baseboards were completed in the spring of this year, and the track for the extensive fiddle yards has been laid. The scenic section track has not been laid as I am waiting for the availability of code 40 British Finescale flatbottom turnouts which are due early next year (I was one of the Kickstarter backers for this project). In the meantime, I have been working on the electrics/electronics, and was delayed by a considerable time because of some electrical problems which have very recently been solved. For testing of the electrical equipment and setup, which testing revealed the problem, I had wired in only the western extremity of the layout, connected this to my PC and set up TrainController with the interface for this. This was a useful exercise, as it allowed me to determine whether each of the planned items of hardware/software were suitable and to replace or modify those that were not suitable before progressing to the rest of the layout. Some changes were made to the planned equipment as a result of that, and the next task, which I started only very recently and has now been interrupted by builidng myself a new computer (and is about to be interrupted further by Christmas), is wiring in the bulk of the fiddle yards to the specifications and standards that I have now finalised in the testing phase. One of the products of the testing phase has also been a refinement of how uncoupling is to be done; I still plan to use Kadee couplers on the 00 gauge layout and the Kadee-like Dapol Easifit couplers on the N gauge layout, but, instead of using a mixture of fixed permanent magnets and electromagnets, I plan to use instead servo mounted permanent mangets located underneath the baseboard. I worked on the early stages of the development of this system along with some others at the Model Railway Club (it was originally developed for Sprat & Winkle couplings used on a club layout there - see here for a demonstration video of this concept). The development is in the process of being continued by a small commercial manufacturer, which plans to go into produciton of these early next year. I already have a prototype of the Kadee version installed on the N gauge layout for testing (it turns out that the same sized magnets work well with both H0 scale Kadees and N scale Easifit couplers). It works well and avoids all the problems of electromagnetic uncouplers as well as the problems of having permanent magnet uncouplers constatnly acive even when uncoupling is not desired. This testing phase is useful not just for the N gauge layout, but for all four of the planned layouts, as the same systems and specifications can be used in each of them, as well as the experience gained in building the N gauge fiddle yards applied to the other layouts. In some ways, although physically smaller than the large upper level 00 gauge layout, the N gauge layout is the largest of all of them, especially in fiddle yard space, if one were to measure by meterage of track.
  3. Goodness, you'll be finished before me at this rate!
  4. @colin smith- I do not believe that I have had an answer to the question of what features of the current plan are atypical of Welsh narrow gauge practice. May I ask what your answer is to that? This is of some importance if I am to take anything useful from this comment. I should note that the purpose of this plan was to see whether a workable narrow gauge railway could be fit into the space available, as discussed in detail. If there are other layouts that might also fit into the space, give no less operational interest and are more fitting to reality, then I should want to modify the plan accordingly, so the harsh tone of some of the posts is wholly unjustified. Thank you for the Festipedia links - however, the only track plans that I can see are from Duffys, which appear to be incomplete, and, from what I can tell of these incomplete plans, are of a considerably larger facility than would fit in the space available, so there is little use that I can make of these plans. @PaulRhB - as to slate transfer, as explained in the original post, the idea is that all the significant slate traffic does not go through this station: only a few wagons for the local town. The slate transfer terminus is at the other end of the (imaginary) line.
  5. The above track layout is based on one from the Tarrant Valley Railway model, as set out above. I believe that it is also similar to Tywyn Wharf, although I am only going from a model railway track plan for this. May I ask which specific features are atypical of Welsh narrow gauge practice and where I might find plans of similarly sized Welsh narrow gauge termini?
  6. That does make sense. This does look like an older than 1980s layout now that the single lead has been removed. Splendid!
  7. Thank you for your replies. That is a lovely looking layout.
  8. I have posted these plans before, but I suspect that they are liable to be lost among a thread discussing London suburban layouts. There is some context to this, which I will set out below, but first the basic plan. The basic plan I am contemplating building a small narrow gauge layout in a limited but slightly unusually shaped space and this is the track plan that I have come up with so far: This is intended to represent a freelance narrow gauge railway in north Wales in perhaps about the 1890s. It is imagined as the inland town end of a railway intended mainly to carry slate from a nearby quarry to a port and/or main line railway. The slate quarry is imagined as being perhaps half a mile outside town, and served by its own spur, which joins the mainline a little way down the line, off scene. However, there is a spur from the quarry connecting to the town station to allow locomotives from the quarry to be stabled at the engine sheds (red tracks) overnight and also for small quantities of slate to be brought to the town from the quarry for use locally. The fiddle yards are shown in green. The station would thus mainly receive passenger and general goods traffic, with the occasional slate train from the quarry. The engine sheds are secondary engine sheds, the main works of the railway being at the other end of the line. It is intended that the sheds be able to store up to 4 engines. To give an idea of size, the platform is about 600mm long. This should be enough for a locomotive and three bogie carriages of the Lynton & Barnstaple type, although I may well not use this sort of carriage on the line - I have yet to make detailed decisions about rolling stock. The intention is to use DCC (I presume that this is practical in 009 given that it is plainly practical in N gauge?) and principally ready to run stock from suppliers such as Fourdees and Peco (and possibly Bachmann). Track I had planned as the Peco irregular sleeper ("Crazytrack") type, as this is intended to represent a minor, lightly laid line in the 19th century. The tight radius of the turnouts is useful for fitting the layout into this space. The track plan is loosely inspired by the design of the Tarrant Gunville station on the delightful Tarrant Valley Railway layout which I enjoyed watching at Warley this year: Tarrant Valley Railway - 009 by fairlightworks, on Flickr Tarrant Gunville by James Petts, on Flickr The context The reason that this is squeezed into this specific shaped space is that it is intended to fit alongside the fiddle yards of a London Underground based layout as shown here: The end of the London Underground layout (shown in grey) fiddle yards coincide more or less exactly with the end of the narrow gauge layout's fiddle yards, thus the narrow gauge railway should not encroach upon the scenic part of the Underground layout. That Underground layout is itself to an extent fitted in around other layouts in my railway shed: one layout, currently under construction, is an N gauge layout occupying the whole of the south wall of the shed. The other layout, still in the planning stage as I need to complete at least the fiddle yard wiring for the N gauge layout before I can have the baseboards for this layout installed, is a large 00 gauge layout intended to represent a main line terminus in the 1930s and will occupy, at a higher level than the N gauge layout, the whole of the south and east walls, and most of the north wall, the other part of the north wall being taken by my desk/workbench. The west wall contains the door that I use to access the shed. A diagrammatic representation of the shed interior, showing the planned 00 gauge layout including track, the under construction N gauge layout (shown as a plain brown rectilinear object), the floor (grey) and various items of furniture/storage is below: The shed interior looks like this: Shed by James Petts, on Flickr except that the N gauge layout is now considerably more advanced: Fiddle yard track complete by James Petts, on Flickr I had originally planned to build these two layouts first before giving any detailed consideration as to what to do with the lower east and north walls, the plan being to gain experience of building and operating the other layouts before deciding what to build in the remaining space. However, the people who made the baseboards very sensibly advised that the upper 00 gauge layout be not put in place until I have at finished laying and wiring in at least the fiddle yards of the N gauge layout. This is because it would otherwise be extremely difficult to reach the rear parts of the lower track with the upper tracks in place. (As an aside - although the lower level track and wiring should be done before the upper level baseboards be built, the upper level track and wiring will need to be complete before the lower level signals/scenery be put in, or else they will be liable to damage whilst reaching underneath to implement the wiring). I have recently realised (perhaps belatedly) that this means not only that the N gauge layout should have its baseboards, cork, track and wiring done at least so far as the rear parts are concerned, but that the other layout(s) that I might want to build along the east and north walls need also to be partly built (at least to the stage of trains running on track on otherwise bare baseboards) before I can even have the 00 gauge baseboards built. I had for some time thought in vague terms that I might want either a London suburban/Underground based layout (for intensive operation) or perhaps a Welsh narrow gauge layout (for more relaxed operation). I now realise that I cannot make this choice on the basis of experience running the other railways because of the sequence in which they must be built. One solution, therefore, is to have both. This necessitates a very small narrow gauge layout as might be imagined, but I think that I have just about managed to squeeze in a workable plan and room for a smidgen of scenery, and is only compatible with some of the various designs of London suburban/Underground layouts that I am in the process of considering, but this may well be better than missing out on being able to model the delight that is narrow gauge at all. I have not made up my mind quite whether I want to do this yet, but I do like variety (as might perhaps be inferred from wanting to model the 1980s in N gauge at the same time as the 1930s in 00 gauge and also possibly the London Underground and a sleepy narrow gauge station), so this is a very appealing solution. I should thus welcome any comments about the practicality of these plans or the realism (or operability) of the track plan. Sorry that this post has ended up so long - these things are never simple, I find, especially when I like to optimise things to the last degree.
  9. This is a nice looking layout! It is delightful how much that one can fit in with N gauge. This in code 40 should be quite the delight. Are you using British Finescale track? It will be splendid to see this when it is in progress/built. As to the plans, I agree that the first is better than the second or third. It does not make sense for the main line to have what would be in effect a very sharp slalom in the approaches to the station, which would create an unnecessarily harsh speed restriction: the main lines would be as straight as possible and everything else would be laid to match. Presumably you intend the Motorail bay to be inaccessible from the up direction (down main) as well as platforms 4 and 7? The only way of using it would be for a train arriving from the up direction to reverse in platform 3 or 2 onto the up main. A train arriving from the down direction would also have to reverse on the up main, even with the headshunt, which is not accessible from the up relief/slow (or main). I do not know enough about Motorail operations to know whether this is correct, however. I also wonder whether, pre-rationalisation, the exits from platforms 5 and 6 would have been a double junction rather than a single lead - it may be this single lead junction that lead one of the posters above to suggest that this looked a bit 1980s (although the double slip is very un-1980s, as is the diamond crossing on the double junction on the main lines, which is in keeping with the period). Are you intentionally missing a track for the platform face opposite platform 7 on the northern side (i.e. between platform 7 and the lower motorail bay), or is it just an artefact of the drawing that it appears this way? One final thing - how would the bays be operating? Presumably, in the early 1960s, much of this would be steam hauled, so either a locomotive would have to release the stock in the bays and then the locomotive, or there would be kickback working. The station pilot (or kickback locomotive) would have to be stored somewhere, and something would have to be done with the locomotives hauling the stock into the bays. Unless there had been a major redesign of the track layout very recently at this station (which is possible - you will have to research this), even if by this period, the bays were mainly used by DMUs, the track facilities (including somewhere for locomotives to go) for steam traction using these bays would have remained. It is possible that some of it may have become derelict (perhaps the station had lost its station pilot - I am not sure whether this happened this early) and the pilot/kickback siding(s) might have been lifted or have become overgrown; but you might want to represent this in some way.
  10. What is best will depend on what effect that you want to achieve. Cork is often used to replicate the raised ballast shoulder of main line track; at this, it is effective, although some also prefer commercial foam based products. Depending on your scale, however, and the era in which you model, these may be too thick for your requirements. For sound insulation, I do not have direct experience, but understand that foam is more effective than cork, and cork better than nothing; but I have heard that ballasting undermines the sound damping effect significantly, although I am not aware of any controlled tests to show the extent of this and do not have experience of this myself.
  11. Ready to run stock should generally be able to negotiate a 490mm minimum radius (it is, as noted, mostly designed for a 438mm minimum radius, being 2nd radius) - if properly laid (and be sure to put enough space between the tracks to avoid overhanging carriages colliding with one another), but this will look very poor in the scenic part of a layout as real trains do not negotiate curves anywhere near this tight. In a fiddle yard or other hidden area, of course, it is less of a problem. Of course, realism is to a large degree a matter of taste, so you may find this less problematic than some others,
  12. Following some helpful information relating to the history of uncoupling workings, I have realised that the platforms and fiddle yards in the layouts intended to accommodate subsurface stock need to be able to accommodate 8, rather than just 7 carriages. The fiddle yards seem already to have been long enough, but the platforms were too short in some cases. In these revised plans, I have lengthened them accordingly. Pudding Lane II Acton Green Harrow Garden Village According to the source linked above, uncoupling seems to have persisted the longest with the District, right into the early early 1970s. It seems to have been abandoned in the mid 1950s on the deep level lines; the position with the Metropolitan seems to be slightly unclear at present. One issue is that, if I am to model a period and a line in which on peak/off peak formations were different lengths, I am going to have to be able to couple/uncouple the Underground stock, and I am not confident that the specialist couplings used for the Underground stock, whether ready to run or kit built, will readily accommodate being uncoupled in service, especially automatically. If this is correct, that leaves only two options: either (1) restrict myself to eras and lines in which no uncoupling took place; or (2) use multiple rakes of stock to represent coupled and uncoupled states, which is possible but problematic given the limited fiddle yard space.
  13. Thank you all for your replies: that is very helpful.
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