This post is an epic ramble so I've summarised in a second post after this
As a kid I built an 00 model railway with my Dad/Grandpa. I'm looking to get back into it after 20 years or so absence and wanting to build a my first 'proper' layout.
I've been trawling the net for ideas and kept ending up here (which is a credit to you guys and this community) so I've decided to join and document progress here for myself really and if anyone takes an interest that's cool.
My childhood layout was a standard two track roundy-round 8'x4' affair and looking back the interest stemmed primarily from the building work, saving up to buy things and trips to Dentons in Didcot. Once it was built I quickly realised that operating was fairly boring and I was just waiting for something to derail so I could heroically leap into action.
It was built on the budget offered by a paper round salary so it operated very much on a Rule 1 basis. Smokey Joe and Mallard shared tracks with a class 92 and 58 all of them pulling anything from coal plank wagons through to some Dublo tin plate coaches. Very prototypical. In my teen years I acquired all my grandpa's old stuff when they moved into a flat so I have quite a loy of Dublo, Tri-ang and old Hornby stock and locos. I still have the layout and all my stock but it's at my parents and it's lockdown so it's staying there for the moment.
So, to the new layout. These are my broad design decisions to date:
• Rule 1 applies but I'd like to keep it prototypicalish.
• Small enough that I can carry it round the house on my own and store it easily. I have limited space and a one year old. This led me to discover shelf layouts and the world beyond loops. No need for it to be truly portable as I can't see my work ever being good enough or me keen enough to cart it to exhibitions.
• Must provide operational interest after construction. So loops out and Inglenook in.
• Due to space constraints it will be a freight layout to make shorter trains look more realistic.
• For initial cost and legacy stock reasons it will be DC but wired to enable easy conversion to DCC later.
• Code 100 track. Would have gone 75 but google tells me that "vintage" stock wheels have issues with it and apart from perhaps running my Dublo stuff Google couldn't tell me where the division between "modern" and "vintage" fell so more importantly I was unsure if my childhood stock (circa 95-05) would have problems.
• The plan was electrofrog but COVID shut down Peco so all my track is Hornby bar one Peco electrofrog Y.
• Plenty of space for me to practice some scenic modelling (never tried this before).
With my vague design decisions thrashed out I've decided I want to base it on some of the liveries from my childhood namely Mainline Freight and ARC. That would also fix my timescales to the early 90s. From my childhood layout I already had the beginnings of a fleet with a Mainline 08 and 58 (Hornby) and a Lima 59 and some PGAs though they remain at the other end of the M6, for now. eBay would have to suffice to build the balance of the fleet for now.
Now to ponder the layout...
I kept jumping around with my ideas, first it was going to be a quarry with loading facilities, then an urban TMD, I found some of the work involved in the impressive TMDs on here intimidating so I'd fixate on a rural marshalling yard before flipping back to a quarry again. Then I'd panic about being good enough to make believable cliffs so it was back to pondering the best retaining walls for an urban TMD....
I created dozens and dozens of layouts in Anyrail to try and visualise my ideas. Obviously my imagination got carried away and ended up with several designs that told the whole story from quarry to unloading station in a mile long diorama. Then reality muscled its way in and my layouts got brutally cut down to a manageable size. So I decided I'd focus on a mini-TMD and sidings and try and make the setting as quarry like as I dared as I went along. Inclusion of a fiddle yard got axed at this point though provision would be made to add one later, if desired.
I started scouting out locations on google maps for inspiration such as the depots I was familiar with at Didcot, Reading and Toton plus the quarries at Hope, Torr and Whatley. And wishing to live dangerously, by typing random phrases into Google's image search to see what popped up.
After much deliberation here is my finalised track plan. (Unsure how to insert an image in the middle of a post so I've attached it)
I decided to make the sidings similar to the ones at Whatley with the sidings splitting off either side of a central line rather than like Toton or Reading where the depots peel off to one side of the track ladder style. I had to forgo Whatley's runaround at the end of the sidings, where they all come together again, for reasons of space. It also become apparent that I'd have to scratch build any loading facilities so that got binned until I had half a clue what I was doing with this modelling lark.
For the TMD part I decided to put it at an angle to the sidings and quarry entrance to mix it up a bit and make it feel a little less regimented and parallel. My self-imposed space constraints didn't really afford me the ability to run long trains and add curves.
And finally, the sidings can function as an Inglenook. I'll probably have to add some wagons without couplings at the end of the sidings to effectively shorten them to the right length.
Phew, layout finished. I'll be impressed if anyone made it this far... I've spent a few weeks on and off editing this mind dump. Today I finally gave up editing and decided to post or I'd never get round to it. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, future updates will be short and sweet with more pics and less words.
Ironically my English teacher was forever telling me off for being too concise.