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Lacathedrale

Is Minories operationally satisfying?

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My 2mmFS cameo layout Godstone Road is pootling on slowly, but finally being in the last furlong for decorating my home office I've realised I've got a nice space (approx 10' x  1'6") for a layout on an otherwise uncrowded wall.  It would appear this is a fine space for a Minories-a-like layout. I've always wanted to do a layout of a station set up on arches (as can be seen by my layout planning thread on 'Spa Road'), so it's something of a no-brainer as it pertains to "plans that have stood the test of time". However, I've never operated Minories and I don't know how it would actually pan out for interest after it's all built! 

 

Though my space is 10' long, I've provisionally marked my longest train (in 2mmFS) at 3' which should cover six full length carriages and a pacific tender loco i.e. the longest I could conceivably want to run. I won't have space for a full ladder of turnouts in the staging yard (I need to taper one end of the layout down to 6" or so) but could probably deal with a sector plate (not sure I'd want to handle cassettes that big!). I was thinking of taking inspiration from Cannon Street in modelling the station with an overall roof after the throat pointwork/start of the platforms, and using a mirror to hide the truncated nature. If I can get away with it, a small MPD like that at Cannon Street (either just the turntable, ash pit and water tower of the up side, or the full turntable and engine shed of the down side) masking the exit to the fiddle yard.

 

Operationally I imagine the layout will revolve around accepting passenger trains (setting signals, etc.) and having the loco pilot move and remove the carriages, sending the locomotive to the depot for either turning and watering or replacement by another engine on the outbound journey - and repeat. THis is going to sound like a really stupid question -but is this FUN? I ask because my layouts in the past have always been very much aligned to an in-depth operational practise as per American switcher layouts where there's always definite purpose and progression. This sounds like it'll be a super fun layout but I'd be really grumpy if after 15 minutes I'd exhausted basically everything that was to be done!

 

 

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I can only comment on my experience with my layout Sheffield Exchange Mk1 which was a Minories type layout. I would go out to the manshed to do some scenery. "I'll just run one train". Then I would look at the clock, "Goodness, I was meant to go to bed an hour ago", and no scenery work had be done. I enjoyed operating it.

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As someone who enjoys just shuttling multiple units in and out of an impossibly simple two-platform terminus, your idea almost sounds like too much fun. Running round, sending locos off for servicing/turning etc etc... steady on!

I'm well aware that we're all different and like different things. Part of me thinks that if you have to ask the question, you're trying to justify the build of the layout to yourself? Ask yourself what you enjoy and does the layout cater for that? If not, keep planning until you arrive at a design you can't wait to build. Good luck.

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I enjoy operating my Westonmouth Central layout which while not following the Minories plan, is of a similar ilk. I've done two day shows with it and survived. I've even had two operators running it at once. 

 

Of the three platforms, one is the main passenger platform, the next is a short platform which is used by a DMU in peaks, for loco stabling off-peak and parcel vans in the evening, while the third platform is actually a parcels depot, so van shunting occupies the operator there. That's where dual operators come into play, one can shunt the parcel vans, which the others runs trains in and out of the main platform. A degree of coordination is required as the parcel man sometimes needs to draw back into the fiddle yard, so needs an partially empty road, and needs the passenger man not to slide the traverser while he's across the joint. 

 

Not things that are practicable on Westonmouth Central, but adding and removing a GUV or extra BG from a passenger rake would increase the operation; could suburban trains have extra coaches added for the peak and removed again after? Could a six coach train arrive complete with catering car, but after reversal depart for its onward journey as four coaches behind a smaller loco,leaving the refreshment car and one other behind? 

 

It all sounds like fun to me, but we're not all the same. The Bradfield Chronicles on YouTube might give you some ideas.

Edited by HillsideDepot
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I was involved in a Minories clone in the 1970s. Our modus operandi was based on predominantly diesel hauled trains with a smattering of DMUs, and it was quite fascinating to run, especially if you threw I a timetable and tried to do it against the clock. The intention had been a DMU based layout but after just two or three of the MTK kits had been built, the focus changed somewhat for the sake of our coach builder's sanity.

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I like the plan, I've small OO four platform terminus, Whitecross St if you've ever seen it. It's not really a Minories plan but the same idea. I shuttle EMUs around and run the occasional parcels train. It's been at a number of shows over the last couple of years and I and my crew certainly don't get bored. It's good fun. It's DCC operated with analogue switched points. It can use a second controller and run two trains. It uses a sector plate as a fiddle yard, great space saver!

 

So to be brief, it suits me and my operators. The question you should ask yourself, is :- "Will it suit ME!" From your description it ought to be a good plan to run with.

 

I also run US switching layouts and am building a UK shunting one and if you like switching then a Minories style layout ought to work well for you.

 

Good luck

 

John

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My old layout's branch was based on the Minories plan, but mirror-imaged and with a double slip giving access to a turntable and engine shed. Operationally, it was entirely satisfactory and good fun, with a few challenges thrown in too.

I also added a crossover near the platform ends, allowing for locomotives to run around their trains. 

Another method of operation was to uncouple and isolate the train locomotive, then run a new  locomotive onto the train to depart.

Multiple units and pull-push trains were much easier.

Then there were a couple of sidings to allow goods traffic to be shunted, and a parcels road on the other side.

Yes: great fun. :)

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Bill,

Perhaps you can "play" the plan. Draw out the plan and using bits of card to represent rolling stock (all to scale) go through some "operating sessions." If you are still playing an hour or so later you'll have your answer.

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I agree with others that Minories can be good fun. But perhaps not the original. It needs a little bit extra: e.g.. parcels dock, goods warehouse, carriage sidings, departure-only bay to give enough operating potential. None of these need take much space if low-relief buildings are used.

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Interesting, so it seems that there does need to be some kind of timetabling/scheduling (rather than just piddling about) but otherwise the track arrangement is flexible and engaging. I've whacked it up in XtrkCAD and even with various operating problems (is it me or has the program got progressively more buggy recently, despite no updates- time to switch to SCARM), it was alot of fun.

 

It all sounds like fun to me, but we're not all the same. The Bradfield Chronicles on YouTube might give you some ideas.

 

What a wonderful link, thank you so much! I'm really fascinated by how every video shows a particular train. I gather they're fictional, but certainly have me convinced they could be real. 

 

 

I agree with others that Minories can be good fun. But perhaps not the original. It needs a little bit extra: e.g.. parcels dock, goods warehouse, carriage sidings, departure-only bay to give enough operating potential. None of these need take much space if low-relief buildings are used.

 

I appreciate that Minories re-works are somewhat of an RMWeb trope but do appreciate the point, and well taken. Fitting another 3' parallel line for carriage sidings might be impossible if I want a turntable/shed on-layout (which I think I do?) but the Bradfield Chronicles link above does show some interesting options with sidings and a branch parallel to the fiddle yard tracks... Maybe a centre road between the platform roads?  The only goods I could foresee would be parcels, newspapers or express fruit - all of which would be served from a platform, right?

Edited by Lacathedrale

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In one of his booklets CJF himself writes that, after originally doodling the design, he spent 30 years vainly trying to improve it.

He does however in a couple of his track plan booklets include versions of the plan with extra facilities, ie a 2-road goods shed to the south side,

and on another an additional road south of the platforms that gives access to a small 2 road yard to the right.

 

cheers

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I quite like the ideas purported in Modular Minories, and the layout shown in Bradfield above is something beautiful. AFAIK it has the carriage roads accessed via a runaround loop on the throat, and also extends the pilot spur into a platform road, which has a switchback across a diamond into aforementioned carriage roads. Certainly some spectacular pointwork.

 

Here's my rough approximation of the plan, albeith without that gorgeous diamond around the throat. Essentially Minories with three changes:

 

1) Back to back plain turnouts in the up road replaced with a single slip

2) An additional road added on the station to act as a headshunt for the carriage sidings (see below), accessed via another single slip (maybe some end loading dock at the extremity? I'm aware I've got it flipped the wrong way in the plan below!)

3) Trailing pointwork on the up line to access carriage sidings.

 

PmxFQS1.png

 

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RqHfvQz.png

 

Two single-slips, five regular turnouts and a threeway - seems like a great introduction to point building too. Of course in this version I've not got a turntable and engine shed, but the Bradfield video does show there's a good amount of operation without one. I do potentially have space bottom-right for a wider board but I don't think it'd fit there at all - maybe best to just have the loco pocket and call it a day? 

 

I'm of course building castles in the sky, but I foresee Black fives, Coronations, Royal Scots with a Jinty as the pilot - maybe a 4MT hauling some suburban services. Quite how I'd handle that in my 3' x 6" fiddle yard I'm not sure but it's quite mouth watering.

Edited by Lacathedrale
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I've never liked the complex curves in the Minories plan, and even less that the straight leg of the main line leads into a dead end loco bay...

 

far better was this later version by CJF for the same footprint, but much more realistic.

 

post-238-0-76356300-1518440393_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

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I've never liked the complex curves in the Minories plan, and even less that the straight leg of the main line leads into a dead end loco bay...

 

far better was this later version by CJF for the same footprint, but much more realistic.

 

attachicon.gifCJF CF.JPG

 

Well I like it (a lot) - but it isn't the same footprint.  Minories was 7 ft or so - this is over 10 ft (unless I am mistaken).  The advantage of Minories is that you can curve the exit by swapping points about a bit and have a curve into a fiddle yard (I am desperately tryiong to find my plan for that!).  This is a straight in and out - nothing wrong with that of course.

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DGF, unless I'm mistaken, trains are driving on the left, so while technically it's "the straight leg" it's a trailing connecting to the outbound mainline? That being said, your suggested plan does look good - I would imagine it flipped 180 degrees and mirrored, with a Grand-Vitesse style continental freight depot masking the mainlines as opposed to a goods shed but the principle works.

 

I often come back to our discussion of Acheaux on the SNCF many years ago, but I'm not sure I could distill that far enough.

 

I do think the layout would have MORE than enough space in 2mm:ft in either permutation, but the fact that it will require a cubing (as opposed to doubling) of stock, scenery, areas of interest, etc. is a little worrisome. On the other hand, the equivalent in EM/P4 would need ~15' or so, necessitating an entirely separate fiddle yard and being unable to perform any operation in-situ in my home office.

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Though my space is 10' long, I've provisionally marked my longest train (in 2mmFS) at 3' which should cover six full length carriages and a pacific tender loco

 

May I caution slightly regarding train length? A Farish Mk1 is around 5.5 inches x 6 = 33 inches. And then for a Pacific you'd need to allow for another 6 inches for a Merchant Navy and slightly more for a Duchess, giving you around 41-41.5 inches total.

 

I appreciate you may have been talking in general terms, and I know I'm talking in UK N scale terms, not 2mmFS; and it's only a matter of 5 inches (no sniggering at the back!), but I thought it worth raising in any case.....

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That is a good point - actually it may provide a tipping point because if there's not enough space for ~4' clear on the platforms and the staging then the M.O. for 2mmFS in the space is somewhat lost. I'm not sure how I managed to calculate 4.75" per - certainly a fudge.   Anyway, while I'm always up for some planning chat and throwing numbers around really I was hoping this thread could be something more along the lines of a general discussion of the plan as opposed to my specific implementation :) Thank you very much!

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That is a good point - actually it may provide a tipping point because if there's not enough space for ~4' clear on the platforms and the staging then the M.O. for 2mmFS in the space is somewhat lost. I'm not sure how I managed to calculate 4.75" per - certainly a fudge.   Anyway, while I'm always up for some planning chat and throwing numbers around really I was hoping this thread could be something more along the lines of a general discussion of the plan as opposed to my specific implementation :) Thank you very much!

Phew! I'm always worried when replying in these cases in case it's taken the wrong way....! So, happy to have helped.

 

In response to your original question, though, I think the Minories would provide plenty of interest. With no loco release, every arriving loco is trapped and requires either releasing by the pilot, or the train loco to shunt the stock into the carriage sidings. In the case of platforms 1 and 2 (working from right to left of your first 3D image in post 12) this requires the railway equivalent of a double shuffle to get the stock into the head shunt, for then to be reversed into the sidings. and in between arriving and departing trains to boot.

 

You mentioned Bradfield earlier, and I think that is a perfect example of a small station layout that can give hours of operating fun, but I think that relies on the fact that there is a set and in depth operating sequence provided for operating the layout (or at least the videos on YouTube suggest that). And it seems to operate with a reasonable amount of motive power to ensure there is a bit of variety withe regards trains arriving on scene. 

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Here's my rough approximation of the plan, albeith without that gorgeous diamond around the throat. Essentially Minories with three changes:

 

 

1) Additional unnecessary points to build;

 

2) Two to three more point lengths in the throat;

 

3) Less operational flexibility than Minories (a train arriving in the middle platform blocks one departing from the rightmost platform).

 

A good illustration of why CJF was unable to improve on his original idea ;)

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Simon, taking that in the spirit it was intended - can you think of a reason why one wouldn't substitute a double slip for the back to back points Freezer uses on his inbound? With regard to point #3 - I thought one of the big problems with Minories is that it only permits a departure from the rearmost platform concurrent with any other movements? Certainly there are additional points, but would an extra platform road a three road carriage siding not justify? I ask with an air of genuine curiousity. It does seem like a winner regardless, although I'm somewhat dismayed that Bradfield Chronicles basically does exactly the kind of thing I was thinking albeit far better than I could...

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Hi Bill

 

It's not the slip in the throat that bothers me. That's an improvement on the original as regards eliminating reverse curves, the only potential issue being the tight radius of rtr slips, which of course doesn't apply if you're building your own track.

 

I've sketched your plan below (on the right), next to a version of standard Minories that also uses a slip (and has an additional crossover, of which more later). Most of the track below the dashed line is the same on both. Above the line you have changed the access to platforms 2 and 3, and added a trailing crossover A.

 

(Sorry for the small size of the image - I don't have access to decent drawing software at the moment.)

 

post-6813-0-81178500-1518472056.jpg

 

So my points:

 

- rearranging access to platform 3 has allowed arrival into that platform simultaneously with departure from platform 2, which Minories does not (I confess I hadn't noticed this when I posted before);

 

- however, unlike Minories, an arrival into platform 2 blocks departures from platform 1;

 

- the extra crossover A through the tandem adds nothing, as departures from platform 3 still block the whole throat just as if they were going via the slip;

 

- so on balance, your layout actually has about the same operational flexibility as Minories, but uses more points and is at least one ordinary point plus a tandem point longer.

 

If you want simultaneous operation of platforms 2 and 3 in Minories, a better way to achieve it IMO is just to add an extra trailing crossover (B in my sketch) as this doesn't affect any of the other movements already possible and may be slightly more compact.

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My 00 layout is about 14 feet by 18 inches of a terminus station including fiddle yard. Rather than a double track line I have two single track lines plus a platform a bit like Kings Cross York Road. There is also a goods yard and loco spur. Together it provides plenty of operating fun for two operators.

 

If you are at the Chapel-en-le-frith exhibition in a couple of weeks time you can have a good look at it.

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Part of the beauty of Minories is that the running lines make one turn across the face of the platforms and don't turn any further.

 

Once that diagonal is set up the designer can then choose to take off crossover connections to platforms where they are needed, giving each platform access to both up and down running lines.

 

Lower platforms that are less busy don't need their own connection to both running lines. So at a point you just continue the down line across the face of the platforms and it becomes a bi-directional track for the remaining platforms, relying on the crossover at the top to route outgoing traffic onto the up running line.

 

It's only worth placing a slip at the top, where the down line first makes its turn, if there's a need for a crossover platform connection at that point.

 

@Bill: I suspect the only way to really get a feel for the operating potential of a Minories style layout is to try it for real. There will be details, wrinkles and subtleties that you can only find out that way. If you've got some RTR track and a couple of lengths of board maybe you could plug one together temporarily.

Edited by Harlequin

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Having a curved approach meant that there were no reverse curves and the trackwork 'flowed' nicely.

Here are a couple of photos of my old layout branch, now all broken up and gone. I did stretch it by around 18" in the middle after doing the initial work. The photos show it looking both ways along the tracks.

35790040054_efc8bcbd9a_b.jpg

36625042375_2fe912a1ce_b.jpg

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post-16423-0-69844600-1518511060_thumb.png

 

This is the shortest I could get the station throat. The more platforms and sidings you add the more space is needed.

Edited by Clive Mortimore
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