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Is Minories operationally satisfying?


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49 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

I don't think Bill and Frank were being that picky; they had after all only just invented the staging yard, With the MPD on top, it would have been very difficult to do more than store complete trains in it. I'd give you pretty good odds though that Peter Denny's fiddle yard was also inspired by Maybank.

 

At the time of MRN's 1934 description there were six tender and four tank locos avaialable and five passenger sets.

Main line corridor set.-Four 56-ft. coaches, as built in 1911 for the Bournemouth service.

Compartment set.-Four 56-ft. coaches, as built about 1910 for London suburban ser­vice.

Compartment set.-Four 42-ft. coaches, ex Maybank stock.

Articu­lated restaurant car set.-Three coach set, G.N.R. type, for the through Louth and King's Cross traffic.

Four­ wheeled set.-Five coaches, as built about 1880.

 

The number of wagons was described as "an ample supply for all needs" but a four platform terminus with a separate goods yard fed by four hidden sidings (on the traverser) would be able to handle six trains, one of them goods, quite easily.  

 

The traverser was pivoted at the far end and was semi automatic . It's starting position was with the first track lined up with the arrivals road for the first train to the terminus. Pressing a button on the control panel released the alignment bolt (presumably by a solenoid) and this made the circuit to a motor that moved it on till till the bolt sprang back to lock it in its next position and cut the power to the drive motor.The first track on the traverser was now empty and lined up with the departure road so a train already in the station  would have somewhere to go and the second inbound train would be lined up with the arrivals road.  According to the 1934 description this arrangement gave them four arrivals and four departures and at the MRC show they had five different timetables to  ring the changes. So far as  I can tell, each sequence took between 25 to 30 minutes and I've seen one image with a clock face sign next to the layout saying "next demonstration at...."  suggesting an hourly performance. Between performances the traverser would have been reloaded but I don't know whether this was done via the layout or by swinging it clear. It occurs to me that the traverser mechanism may have been similar to those used for automatically registering turntables and in those day purely electro-mechanical. Loading the traverser was the only time when stock needed to be handled as they used a hook and bar autocoupler with the bar a wire between buffers (made possible by using an outside third rail)

1947154367_Maybankautomaticcoupler.jpg.174f2fa508c78255c5dfa56a2e7de0b3.jpg

 

 

They made a silent film about the layout and its genesis in 1936, possibly with or for the MRC, and this was shown one year at the Easter show in Central Hall in lieu of the layout.  I've only ever seen a low resolution preview of this but it does show the auto coupler in effective use. Passenger trains were as described but at least one included a couple of wagons as a tail load. When the film was made Banwell and Applegate look to be in their very early twenties.

 

MRN's 1934 description of the layout, based on a visit to it at Bill Banwell's home after it had been exhibited twice at the MRC show ends thus:

"We've now been all over the system, and cannot but feel the greatest ad­miration for the two Directors of "Maybank", who have given us. some­thing new in model railways- some­thing that by its very simplicity of operation enables the working of a terminus to be shown with the utmost faithfulness of reproduction"

Given that Maybank was almost the only complete working model railway at many of the pre-war MRC shows, which were more about displaying railway models than seeing model railways in action,  the achievement of these two young men seems nothing short of staggering.   

 

 

 

The Denny yard was always served by points rather than a traverser. The overall effect was similar in that you didn't need to attend the fiddle yard very often during operation. The automatic traverser was miles ahead of its time and not very often seen on models even today.

 

Funnily enough, a friend of mine is just working on a semi automatic turntable fiddle yard for his layout in 2mm finescale. Press one button and it moves to the next track. When it gets to the last one, it turns round and locates the other end.

 

The present Denny yard has six tracks and allows operation for over an hour before the instruction to "turn sidings" appears. That takes less than a minute and then you can operate for another hour before attending to the fiddle yard again.

 

Many a modern layout could learn from these old masters! I have seen layouts where a huge amount of the operation is in the fiddle yard rather than on the layout.

Edited by t-b-g
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TBG, I think the different is this solenoid operated loading mechanism - a single push-button to align track, energise the rails - like a cartridge of a rifle I'd imagine? Certainly my brief acquaintance with a manually operated traverser was less than ideal, so pretty interesting that the Maybank chaps went straight to something electrical and mechanised from the get-go.

 

Though as you have described the Denny-style rotating FY tracks may be superior, I'm not altogether convinced yet (though I must add without any real world experience to back it up either way), that an extra 5 minutes to restage the trains is worth the hassle of creating (and budgeting space for) a 360 rotating baseboard.

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1 minute ago, Lacathedrale said:

TBG, I think the different is this solenoid operated loading mechanism - a single push-button to align track, energise the rails - like a cartridge of a rifle I'd imagine? Certainly my brief acquaintance with a manually operated traverser was less than ideal, so pretty interesting that the Maybank chaps went straight to something electrical and mechanised from the get-go.

 

Though as you have described the Denny-style rotating FY tracks may be superior, I'm not altogether convinced yet (though I must add without any real world experience to back it up either way), that an extra 5 minutes to restage the trains is worth the hassle of creating (and budgeting space for) a 360 rotating baseboard.

 

I did revise my post as I had completely missed the bit about it being semi automatic! That does impress me!

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Yes - my layout Godstone Rd is a half-minories (in my humble opinion) and I spend an annoying amount of time aligning traverser tracks for basically any movement beyond station limits - which is a bit of a pain when the crux of the layout is to bring trains from the FY onto the station and then out again!

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44 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

TBG, I think the different is this solenoid operated loading mechanism - a single push-button to align track, energise the rails - like a cartridge of a rifle I'd imagine? Certainly my brief acquaintance with a manually operated traverser was less than ideal, so pretty interesting that the Maybank chaps went straight to something electrical and mechanised from the get-go.

 

Though as you have described the Denny-style rotating FY tracks may be superior, I'm not altogether convinced yet (though I must add without any real world experience to back it up either way), that an extra 5 minutes to restage the trains is worth the hassle of creating (and budgeting space for) a 360 rotating baseboard.

 

As I mentioned, the 360 degree rotating train table was the second version of the Denny fiddle yard.

 

The original Denny fiddle yard was a four-track rectangular cassette that could be picked up, turned and put back down again and is the design that forms the fiddle yard on my own layout.

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1 minute ago, RJS1977 said:

 

As I mentioned, the 360 degree rotating train table was the second version of the Denny fiddle yard.

 

The original Denny fiddle yard was a four-track rectangular cassette that could be picked up, turned and put back down again and is the design that forms the fiddle yard on my own layout.

 

I don't know where you have seen that type of fiddle yard and if it was a Denny design, I would be very interested in seeing it as I have no knowledge of it.

 

The early versions of Buckingham had simple loops ending in a loco only turntable. This was replaced in the early 1950s by a series of points dividing the tracks into 5 before they went onto a turntable. This was turned on a fixed centre pivot. It was described in detail in the March 1954 edition of Model Railway news but had appeared briefly in print (1953) in Railway Modeller in an article "At home with Buckingham". The early turntable had 5 tracks and could take a maximum of 4 bogie carriages and a loco. When more room was available later, a new one capable of handling 5 carriages and having 6 tracks was produced, very likely using components from he first one. 

 

If there has been 4 track fiddle yard that could be lifted and turned it is a previously unknown development that has escaped my attention and I would love to know more about it.

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I may have the number of tracks wrong - CJF designed a layout with a 3-track lift-off reversible fiddle yard in '60 Plans for small layouts' where he credited Peter with the design, and I have a recollection of a CJF plan in RM with a similar 4-track fiddle yard, again credited to Peter.

 

image.png.1ffac0165056d7e8ffd7178e55189a02.png

 

I have to admit I haven't seen any articles  by Peter referring to this particular design.

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2 minutes ago, RJS1977 said:

I may have the number of tracks wrong - CJF designed a layout with a 3-track lift-off reversible fiddle yard in '60 Plans for small layouts' where he credited Peter with the design, and I have a recollection of a CJF plan in RM with a similar 4-track fiddle yard, again credited to Peter.

 

image.png.1ffac0165056d7e8ffd7178e55189a02.png

 

I have to admit I haven't seen any articles  by Peter referring to this particular design.

 

In the text, he mentions the fiddle yard either turning round or being lifted off. I am pretty sure the lifting off bit was a CJF idea as the Denny one always turned on a centre pivot.

 

But thanks for that. I had completely forgotten about that plan. I have an extensive collection, which I believe holds everything ever published by Peter Denny. That one isn't in it as it was a CJF article rather than a Denny one but I do have the old RM with it in, which was part of my Dad's collection. It must be 40 years since I looked at it and it had gone from the memory banks!

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Tony - many thanks for the clarification. As my collection of RMs is only(!) complete back to the mid 60s and is fragmentary prior to that, I'd always assumed the version CJF referred to was a predecessor of the rotating type.

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3 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

I don't know where you have seen that type of fiddle yard and if it was a Denny design, I would be very interested in seeing it as I have no knowledge of it.

 

The early versions of Buckingham had simple loops ending in a loco only turntable. This was replaced in the early 1950s by a series of points dividing the tracks into 5 before they went onto a turntable. This was turned on a fixed centre pivot. It was described in detail in the March 1954 edition of Model Railway news but had appeared briefly in print (1953) in Railway Modeller in an article "At home with Buckingham". The early turntable had 5 tracks and could take a maximum of 4 bogie carriages and a loco. When more room was available later, a new one capable of handling 5 carriages and having 6 tracks was produced, very likely using components from he first one. 

 

If there has been 4 track fiddle yard that could be lifted and turned it is a previously unknown development that has escaped my attention and I would love to know more about it.

Hi Tony

I don't think he ever actually built it but Peter Denny did design a three track fiddle yard following  exactly that principle  to use with the original Leighton Buzzard. The design appear in the three part article Building Leighton Buzzard in Railway Modeller in May-July 1960. It is shown without detail in the general sketch of the layout in part one and in far more detail in part three. 

 

As I'm sure you know, the idea was to add to the folding board with the original Leighton Buzzard, a second folding board with an extended scenic section including a  small loco shed, an extension to the kick back siding  and an extended main line leading to a tunnel mouth on one half and a traverser based fiddle yard on the other half. The traverser, employing his usial Meccano components,  would line up one of three sidings with the main line but crucially those sidngs would be on a separate tray fitting onto the traverser table that could be lifted out and turned without needing a turntable. In the article he describes in detail how to build this and intended to build this second folding baseboard to enable Leighton Buzzard to double up as a very portable exhibition layout though AFAIK that never happened with Leighton Buzzard Mk 1.

 

What does intrigue me are these two sentences in part three (RM July 1960)

"We come finally to the off-stage part, the storage sidings. I have not actually constucted what I am about to describe although I have made something very similar. It consists of a traverser with a portable tray for the rolling stock (Fig 15 shows the general idea)"   I'd love to know what the something very similar was.

 

 

I probably shouldn't post the diagrams here without permission from Peter Denny's sons (they are initialled P.B.D.) but have  PMd them to you.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

The other thing is that if you have a Denny style fiddle yard (either the original lift-out-and-reverse version, or a train turntable), you can hav different roof boards on opposite sides of the carriages so it looks as if the train has come from somewhere else.

 

5 hours ago, Lacathedrale said:

I was thinking of how one could do that, RJS - but as IMT has said, there is a fair amount of operation with just the four slots. I think that after 45 minutes of operating, one could either call it a night (if at home) or have a short tea break (if at an exhibition) and restage off-scene. I didn't factor in destination boards and that's a good point - it would be useful for an A and a B pattern, particularly if rakes are made up differently for the B-pattern.

 

IMT, I would be very eager to see your timetable/diagram, any chance of posting it?

You can paint the sides in different colours too, and give locos different numbers.

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4 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

The Denny yard was always served by points rather than a traverser. The overall effect was similar in that you didn't need to attend the fiddle yard very often during operation. The automatic traverser was miles ahead of its time and not very often seen on models even today.

 

Funnily enough, a friend of mine is just working on a semi automatic turntable fiddle yard for his layout in 2mm finescale. Press one button and it moves to the next track. When it gets to the last one, it turns round and locates the other end.

 

The present Denny yard has six tracks and allows operation for over an hour before the instruction to "turn sidings" appears. That takes less than a minute and then you can operate for another hour before attending to the fiddle yard again.

 

Many a modern layout could learn from these old masters! I have seen layouts where a huge amount of the operation is in the fiddle yard rather than on the layout.

 

I've operated layouts like that and when working them single handed it's quite frustrating to not be able to offer the public  any movement in the visible section because you're too busy making up the next train. Railcars can be quite useful in that situation. 

 

I think it was the idea of a storage sidings based "fiddle yard" where you didn't actually fiddle with the stock that may have come from Maybank. By 1945, when Peter Denny started serious modelling,  it may have been an idea that had simply got into general consciousness but Maurice Deane and John Charman- two other "early adopters" of hidden sidings designed theirs as complete yards complete with run round loops and loco sidings. Denny does make the point in his writing that in his turntable based fiddle yard the entire tray can easily be lifted out and, with its barriers slotted into place used to move stock from room to room and presumably store it. Do you actually use the Buckingham Branch fiddle yards that way?

4 hours ago, Lacathedrale said:

TBG, I think the different is this solenoid operated loading mechanism - a single push-button to align track, energise the rails - like a cartridge of a rifle I'd imagine? Certainly my brief acquaintance with a manually operated traverser was less than ideal, so pretty interesting that the Maybank chaps went straight to something electrical and mechanised from the get-go.

 

Though as you have described the Denny-style rotating FY tracks may be superior, I'm not altogether convinced yet (though I must add without any real world experience to back it up either way), that an extra 5 minutes to restage the trains is worth the hassle of creating (and budgeting space for) a 360 rotating baseboard.

Maybank was O gauge and its home was in a long narrow ladder shed so a turntable would have been out of the question (Some of the pre WW1 railway company demonstration layouts had used off-stage train turntables so the idea wasn't completely new)  I suppose that for two young men with the skills to scratchbuild locos and complex pointwork, a motorised traverser would have been relatively straightforward. 

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2 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

In the text, he mentions the fiddle yard either turning round or being lifted off. I am pretty sure the lifting off bit was a CJF idea as the Denny one always turned on a centre pivot.

 

But thanks for that. I had completely forgotten about that plan. I have an extensive collection, which I believe holds everything ever published by Peter Denny. That one isn't in it as it was a CJF article rather than a Denny one but I do have the old RM with it in, which was part of my Dad's collection. It must be 40 years since I looked at it and it had gone from the memory banks!

The choice between using a rotating fiddle yard or a lift out one is obvious. A rotating one needs to go into a space with plenty of room to swing it - such as a centre of a room. Peter Denny apparently lived in a vicarage with lots of space.

 

Many of CJF's plans were designed to fit inside a room, where the fiddle yard was placed against a wall, thus making a lift out version essential.

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7 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

 

You can paint the sides in different colours too, and give locos different numbers.

Hi Sainty

 

Now that is a disaster in making if you are a DCC operator. You tap in the number, it doesn't move, you push in the number it doesn't move, you bash in the number it doesn't move, YOU BANG IN THE NUMBER and it doesn't move. You then realise the chip is programed for its other number.  Before the DCC experts call me a troll again, I know from operating a mate's layout where he had dual identities for some of his locos and the 47 called the Queen Mother was something else on the other side.

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3 minutes ago, Clive Mortimore said:

 You tap in the number, it doesn't move, you push in the number it doesn't move, you bash in the number it doesn't move, YOU BANG IN THE NUMBER and it doesn't move.

 

I think we have all be there with numeric keypads, how many times have you lost your cash card because you kept bashing in the wrong number?

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12 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

Many a modern layout could learn from these old masters! I have seen layouts where a huge amount of the operation is in the fiddle yard rather than on the layout.

 

I tried cassettes a few layouts ago. Spent most of the time, 75% perhaps, changing them to do the simplest of movements. I do think that pivoting sector plates, even ones that rotate 360 degrees, are easier to make/align than the sliding traverser type. If your have the length for ladder pointwork that’s nice and simple, but does consume a fair bit of space. 

 

The CJF L shaped layout does rather remind me of a LMS/BR*one of the past. That had a turntable in the corner, and a smaller branch terminus in front of the fiddle. The classic quart - or would that be half-gallon - into a pint pot. More about operation than absolute appearance by today’s standards, but inspirational to me at the time nonetheless. Sometimes I do wonder if the emphasis is now too much about the latter.

 

Izzy

 

* Just remembered. HM Pyrkes The Berrow Branch, ( I think I have the name correct, apologies if not).

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1 hour ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Hi Sainty

 

Now that is a disaster in making if you are a DCC operator. You tap in the number, it doesn't move, you push in the number it doesn't move, you bash in the number it doesn't move, YOU BANG IN THE NUMBER and it doesn't move. You then realise the chip is programed for its other number.  Before the DCC experts call me a troll again, I know from operating a mate's layout where he had dual identities for some of his locos and the 47 called the Queen Mother was something else on the other side.

True enough Clive but I suppose that in the spirit of Minories power should come from an H&M Safety Minor or Duette...

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5 hours ago, Izzy said:

I tried cassettes a few layouts ago. Spent most of the time, 75% perhaps, changing them to do the simplest of movements.

 

I have gone for an expensive alternative which will not please many.  I have a fan of sidings AND pairs of Peco Locolifts "stuck" together (long battens) which mean I can have a loaded fiddle yard to start with and the take off and replace trains using the "Carriage Lifts" into some storage boxes with lengths of rail in them to run the stock off into/pull it into a "carriage lift" from.  Specials like Sleepers, Mail and Motorail inevitably have to be put on/taken off.  Some planning and use of DMU sets (or their equivalent) means quite a lot of the time it can be an in/out process without changing stock.  Some stock I reverse as the sides are different as suggested above.

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On 01/04/2019 at 08:59, Izzy said:

 

I tried cassettes a few layouts ago. Spent most of the time, 75% perhaps, changing them to do the simplest of movements. I do think that pivoting sector plates, even ones that rotate 360 degrees, are easier to make/align than the sliding traverser type. If your have the length for ladder pointwork that’s nice and simple, but does consume a fair bit of space. 

 

The CJF L shaped layout does rather remind me of a LMS/BR*one of the past. That had a turntable in the corner, and a smaller branch terminus in front of the fiddle. The classic quart - or would that be half-gallon - into a pint pot. More about operation than absolute appearance by today’s standards, but inspirational to me at the time nonetheless. Sometimes I do wonder if the emphasis is now too much about the latter.

 

Izzy

 

* Just remembered. HM Pyrkes The Berrow Branch, ( I think I have the name correct, apologies if not).

I also found the Berrow branch very inspirational. At least from photos (I never saw it in the flesh) it was both attractive and convincing in appearance  with plenty of operation. It was an imagined S&DJR branch from Highbridge serving Berrow, in reaity a small coastal village just north of Burnham on Sea (which it replaced as an S&D terminus) but grown in Mac Pyrke's imagination into a resort important enough to see Bulleid Pacifics with through coaches, with a four mile long twig back to the village of East Brent (both real places) . Though the two termini were really very close together on the layout the visual break between them seemed very effective. E.Brent was a very small station so didn't overbalance the layout but I remember being particularly impressed by its design and appearance. 

There's more about it here in a thread from last year.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/131447-the-berrow-branch/

 

Curiously I've just been re-reading some of Peter Denny's early articles in MRC and he says that a small sub branch (Tingewick I think) made a terminus to fiddle yard layout like his original Buckingham Branch far more interesting to operate. David Jenkinson did of course use the same idea with Haygarth that hid the storage sidings on his original EM Marthwaite. I don't know how many examples of this existed in real life (Ft. William and Mallaig are obvious though that was more a reversing junction than a branch with a twig)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Pacific231G said:

I also found the Berrow branch very inspirational. At least from photos (I never saw it in the flesh) it was both attractive and convincing in appearance  with plenty of operation. It was an imagined S&DJR branch from Highbridge serving Berrow, in reaity a small coastal village just north of Burnham on Sea (which I assume it replaced) but grown in Max Pyrke's imagination into a resort important enough to see Bulleid Pacifics with through coaches, with a four mile long twig back to the village of East Brent (both real places) . Though the two termini were really very close together on the layout the visual break between them seemed very effective. E.Brent was a very small station so didn't overbalance the layout but I remember being particularly impressed by its design and appearance. 

There's more about it here in a thread from last year.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/131447-the-berrow-branch/

 

Curiously I've just been re-reading some of Peter Denny's early articles in MRC and he says that a small sub branch (Tingewick I think) made a terminus to fiddle yard layout like his original Buckingham Branch far more interesting to operate. David Jenkinson did of course use the same idea with Haygarth that his the storage sidings on his original EM Marthwaite. I don't know how many examples of this existed in real life (Ft. William and Mallaig are obvious though that was more a reversing junction than a branch with a twig)

 

 

 

Many thanks for the link. As the original article has been kindly posted I have been reading it again as far as I can. How I wish magazines carried such today. Well written and as inspiring to me now as it was then. Easy to understand and showing how not a hugh amount in the way of rolling stock can go a long way in providing maximum operating potential and pleasure. This is what I have always thought model railways was about, running them just as much as building them.  Sorry to cloud this Minories thread with another layout, but the basics of operation apply across the board really.  All it really needs is the ability/willingness to accept a measure of make-believe, (as regards train lengths/track distance and so forth), mixed in with the desire to model the real world.

 

Izzy

 

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2 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

I also found the Berrow branch very inspirational. At least from photos (I never saw it in the flesh) it was both attractive and convincing in appearance  with plenty of operation. It was an imagined S&DJR branch from Highbridge serving Berrow, in reaity a small coastal village just north of Burnham on Sea (which I assume it replaced) but grown in Max Pyrke's imagination into a resort important enough to see Bulleid Pacifics with through coaches, with a four mile long twig back to the village of East Brent (both real places) . Though the two termini were really very close together on the layout the visual break between them seemed very effective. E.Brent was a very small station so didn't overbalance the layout but I remember being particularly impressed by its design and appearance. 

There's more about it here in a thread from last year.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/131447-the-berrow-branch/

 

Curiously I've just been re-reading some of Peter Denny's early articles in MRC and he says that a small sub branch (Tingewick I think) made a terminus to fiddle yard layout like his original Buckingham Branch far more interesting to operate. David Jenkinson did of course use the same idea with Haygarth that his the storage sidings on his original EM Marthwaite. I don't know how many examples of this existed in real life (Ft. William and Mallaig are obvious though that was more a reversing junction than a branch with a twig)

 

 

 

Firstly, many thanks for sending the article on Leighton Buzzard on. I have the article but had forgotten about the description of the fiddle yard.  As I said, as far as I can tell that was one that he designed but never built.

 

Many of the early Buckingham layouts had more than one station. The names changed from version to version but Tingewick, Stony Stratford and Leighton Buzzard were three of them. Some had a through station between the fiddle yard and the main terminus and some had a tiny station in front of the fiddle yard. The only time he didn't have a second station was when he was really stuck for room and had just Buckingham and a fiddle yard but that was not for very long and quite early in the history of the layout.

 

Having a layout with more than one station certainly does add to the operational possibilities, with connecting services, through carriages and the distribution of goods wagons all being more meaningful and enjoyable.

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On 01/04/2019 at 17:15, Peter Kazmierczak said:

The layout that has always inspired me is John Charman's "Charford".  This too, has a branch to an (off-stage) Bridport. His fiddle yard was of the normal ladder type though.

Hi Peter

The storage sidings on Charford after the first extension (into an L) were simple ladders but on the original version the "marshalling yard" was almost as complicated as the station.

1873847557_charfordoriginalpecomed.jpg.559bdbfe0e328086be79ed4f4e86bc13.jpg

(This is as close as I could get it to the photos in the original articles which show slight differences from his published track plans. I've used Peco medium radius points and increased the length of each board from  5ft10in x 14in to 6ftx 15in  to accomodate the slightly extra length and width compared with  the CCW chaired hand built track that John Charman used)

This does suggest that the idea of off-stage tracks for storage or as fiddle yards was not, in the early 1950s, particularly developed and Maurice Deane used a simuiar arrangement for the yard of his Culm Valley layout though that was in the open and scenicced .

In the final permanent version of Charford the "storage sidings" were underneath the terminus so presumably acting far more as storage sidings for complete trains than places where stock could be much manipulated. 

 

This morning I simply could not find any of the articles I've kept about Mac Pyrke's Berrow. This evening I realised that was because they were in the same folder as all the articles I have on Charford. It's no accident that these two early and very inspirational layouts were together.

 

The development of hidden sidings/fiddle yards/staging tracks (they have many names) is interesting. I've only been able to find two pre WW2 layouts (Maybank abd Alheeba State) that used them but immediately after the war they were suddenly ubiquitous. I've no idea whether this means that a lot more was going on that simply never featured in magazines or that a lot of thinking took place during the war while little actual modelling was happening, It does strike me though that  the traverser set up at Maybank, though greatly admired, may not have been seen as a complete novelty. 

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  • 1 year later...

I got around to seeing Charford in MRJ35 - what a wonderful layout. On the lines of those original layouts I put Maybank together in XtrkCAD for a little play and you can see quite how complicated it gets, how quickly:
image.png.011d8bf5a84126afdf553f280ad7b7cd.png

 

(this is with the four standard coach sets and various tank/tender locomotives).

 

In the same or subsequent issue there is a really wonderful article on Frank Dyer (who was covering operations for a number of issues) which describes signalling, particularly how it affects people building passenger layouts.

 

Assuming we have signals (or maybe just a control panel with LEDs and toggle switches that we can refer to, if we are not yet at the stage of building working bracketed and gantry semaphores) then we can do lots of things:

  1. Ensure all the points are set correctly before the signals (and thus movement) occurs.
  2. Interlock our signals properly: for example,
    1. Each signal that would route a train over a set of points, locks those points in that position.
    2. Requiring a signal that would permit movement over a crossover, runaround or secondary route to be 'on' (i.e. STOP) for those points to be unlocked. Trains would not whizz around between tracks, but crawl up to signals or come to a dead stand while the points and signals move around them.
    3. Calling-on arms to permit movement into the platforms that are occupied
    4. Ground signals for shunting rather than running movements (rather than a signalman's permission, in such a terminus)
    5. Trap points to avoid any wagons or vans from being allowed to move uncontrolled onto a running line
    6. Locomotives whos carriages have been removed (at a terminus or bay) should run up the running lines to the platform starters

Each movement then becomes more than just 'flick direction button on controller' and engages a system of signal and point activation too.

 

Edited by Lacathedrale
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On 02/04/2019 at 01:55, Pacific231G said:

The development of hidden sidings/fiddle yards/staging tracks (they have many names) is interesting. I've only been able to find two pre WW2 layouts (Maybank abd Alheeba State) that used them but immediately after the war they were suddenly ubiquitous. I've no idea whether this means that a lot more was going on that simply never featured in magazines or that a lot of thinking took place during the war while little actual modelling was happening, It does strike me though that  the traverser set up at Maybank, though greatly admired, may not have been seen as a complete novelty. 

 

I'm sure we've discussed before the various pre-WW1 commercial exhibition layouts that used various forms of what we would now call a fiddle-yard, although they were for dealing with complete trains, rather than fiddling, so the germ of the idea was around from a very early date in our hobby.

 

But, a mental sea-change does seem to have occurred during the 1940s, with both FYs and scenery being rare in the late '30s, yet apparently instantly accepted by the early '50s. It might have to do with the crop of younger modellers who "came through" during that time, going off to war leaving their clockwork 0 gauge behind, and coming back to the hobby carrying in their heads a crop of ideas that they knew of when they left, but hadn't been able to put into practice.

 

The MRN, for instance, punted a very modern-style scenic layout, basically a simple circuit with a halt (and one siding??), advocating a fine-scale approach to it, c1938, just the sort of minimalist, but superbly executed, sort of thing that people do as a first try in P4, so radical ideas were swirling around waiting to alight.

 

PS: found it! How unlike a typical 1930s layout is this?

 

 

9784BC1C-F5A1-4E97-9673-0BDCF7E958CF.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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