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Is Minories operationally satisfying?


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On 4/1/2018 at 4:17 PM, The Johnster said:

I have never operated a Minories layout, but can see the attraction.  It is a classic plan and to my mind the best thing Freezer ever did, adaptable to several types of operation or a mix of them.  The concept of a suburban terminus, busy in the rush hours but lightly used in the periods between them, and probably operating parcels traffic in the evening as the local postal sorting office produces mail for despatch by midnight.  My main complaint is the lack of proper goods facilities, but if I were to build one I would have these as an urban goods depot on a higher level behind the station.  Freezer's concept has the station below ground level surrounded by retaining walls, which automatically lends itself to this approach.  You need a lift to get mails to platform level.  

 

As I say, it's adaptability is considerable; you can shuffle multiple units in and out, top and tail with locos, have a pilot removing stock to carriage sidings beyond the tunnel and bringing it back cleaned and serviced, or anything between.  Freezer suggested top and tailing, but this is not compulsory.  Traffic can be as intense as the layout can stand in rush hours, and more relaxed at other times, and the changes can be rung with different stock for inner and outer suburban runs, parcels, and even the odd excursion.  Unless you are wedded to the big main line concept of big engines and fast expresses or 60 wagon freights, Minories should be able to satisfy more or less any operational requirement, and is suitable for pre-grouping, big four, BR, and modern era stock.  I would personally be reluctant to recommend it for OHLE layouts, as the knitting will prevent access to anything that needs it because of those retaining walls, but that is about my only proviso.  The station throat is a masterpiece of compression, and entirely realistic and rallwaylike.  

 

Later iterations of Minories by CJF put it on a viaduct - a much better option in my view.

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6 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Later iterations of Minories by CJF put it on a viaduct - a much better option in my view.

Shades of Paris Bastille (or perhaps Fenchurch St.)  but the original design was for a Walkley Sidings type folding layout that would form a box when closed and have a road bridge to conceal both the hinges and how short the station really was. Geoff Ashdown used this (though not the folding) very effectively for his EM Tower Pier which is- on the passenger side- operationally equivalent to Minories and is just two metres long with a metre long fiddle yard.

1508564038_iphone6jun20141146.jpg.10265829eb6ef3191ab43b38ff42c6bc.jpg

 

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Tower Pier really is lovely - the inverted design of having the railway behind and below a raised embankment is pretty unique but I think it works! It reminds me of the area to the north of Farringdon.

 

Anyway, I ended up building a Minories layout with a slightly different scenic arrangement, here is the thread: 

 

 

Essentially, migrating the location to something much more suburban - the three platform faces become an island platform and the outermost a carriage siding, and the loco pocket becomes a coal concentration depot.  The space occupied is fairly large, around fifteen feet - and it seems somewhat sparse given the size occupied. Time will tell! 

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Hi Bill, (Am I the only person on RMWeb who calls you "Bill"? Awkward.)

 

Sorry for taking this thread slightly off-topic but after reading earlier posts about alternate track plans I thought it would be possible to do something with more operating potential in the spirit and the kind of space restrictions of the original Minories.

 

BTW: Regardless of the change of setting, I think your track plan for Godstone road has evolved away from Minories and become a new species.

 

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That got me thinking about what actually defines a Minories track plan.

 

I suggest the DNA of Minories, either as a whole layout or as a subpart of a larger layout, might be this:

  1. A double-track, up and down line connection to the rest of the layout.
  2. Three or more terminal sidings opposite the double track connection, usually described as Platform lines.
  3. Following the double track in the Down direction from the connection, the first element encountered must be a trailing crossover, which sets the natural direction for the double track to turn.
  4. The next element encountered must be a facing crossover*, which sets the natural direction for the terminal sidings. (This and the trailing crossover form the characteristic Minories parallelogram which creates smooth routes in and out.)
  5. The first terminal siding ("Platform 1") must connect to the Up line after, or as part of, the first facing crossover so that Down trains can run directly into the first terminal siding.
  6. Zero or more further facing crossovers can feed further terminal sidings ("Platforms 2-n").
  7. The last facing crossover is degenerate, connecting only to a terminal siding and preventing the Up line from continuing further. The first facing crossover may also be the last.
  8. One or more remaining terminal sidings can be connected to the Down line after the last facing crossover.
  9. There are no loco release crossovers between any of the terminal sidings.

* Facing crossovers can be true crossovers, can incorporate slips in the Up line or can be "degenerate" crossovers which terminate the Up line.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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18 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

 

...

I do though think that two island platforms gives less sense of main line terminus importance than having at least one non-island platform, probably the original departure platform with waiting rooms, ticket office etc. buffet etc.

1484629399_platformarrangements.jpg.9768c477b16ef7c9b4cdfb43333e2cba.jpg 

I think the lower plan here feels larger and more important than the upper even though they both have four platform faces.  (ignore the throat pointwork, I just doodled this from an existing plan)  This requires more width of course but it's usually length that we're up against when cramming a main line terminus into a branch line space.

 

 

 

Very interesting and, on that plan, I think you are right.

 

But the top plan is similar to Norwich City, the (over?)-grand terminus for the M&GN's single track branch from Melton Constable. The two middle roads there were shorter (c.300 feet from memory), presumably intended for locals, the two outside roads were about double that length - so, closest to the concourse, you had a single, very wide island platform which you had to walk down to reach the 2 "bays".

 

I keep fantasising about building a Norwich City (or, at least, experimenting with some temporary track laid out in that formation, to test its operability). I have made a couple of Minories variants in the past and found them to be very engaging to play with.

 

Paul

 

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La Cathédrale,

 

Have you looked at Caterham? 

 

I might have proposed it to you before, because it is in the locale that you seem to be interested in. 

 

If you were to sort of move the aggregate terminal from Purley to the Caterham, or inflict a small coal concentration depot on the place, and adopt an earlier (say the 1910s-1950s) version of the track-plan, so as to permit loco runaround, it has a lot going for it. You could add a further platform (it had one island) if you fancied, but even without that it would be interesting to operate, if you spiced things up by having some loco-hauled passenger trains, as per the Oxted Line nearby, and perhaps a newspaper train arriving in the early hours. You probably wouldn't want to replicate the full track-plan, which was fairly straggly, but to use the essence of it.

 

Iain Rice gave a sort of condensed Caterham as a plan in one of his books, intended for operation pre-electrification using H Class tanks and C class goods etc; a good plan, but I think too early for you?

 

BTW, I'm very much with the others who have said that Minories, or near equivalent, is plenty complicated enough to keep one person happy if it is operated with a high proportion of trains loco-hauled. It would probably get pretty tedious if "all MU", but not with locos. All this talk of four-platform termini leaves me a bit cold, because, unless they are the sort of place where trains hang about in the platforms for ages, they will become too demanding for enjoyable OPO, IMO.

 

Have you had a look at Geep7's 'West Sands' thread? He is building a really nice BR(S) two platform terminus set in the 1970s, and I think he would tell you that it is sufficiently interesting. My own 0 scale portable terminus is only two platforms, and really small (2400mm x 400mm) and that is just about interesting enough to operate for a one-day exhibition ...... it might get a bit annoying after two days, though, because it is so very limited.

 

Kevin

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3 hours ago, Harlequin said:

That got me thinking about what actually defines a Minories track plan.

 

I suggest the DNA of Minories, either as a whole layout or as a subpart of a larger layout, might be this:

  1. A double-track, up and down line connection to the rest of the layout.
  2. Three or more terminal sidings opposite the double track connection, usually described as Platform lines.
  3. Following the double track in the Down direction from the connection, the first element encountered must be a trailing crossover, which sets the natural direction for the double track to turn.
  4. The next element encountered must be a facing crossover*, which sets the natural direction for the terminal sidings. (This and the trailing crossover form the characteristic Minories parallelogram which creates smooth routes in and out.)
  5. The first terminal siding ("Platform 1") must connect to the Up line after, or as part of, the first facing crossover so that Down trains can run directly into the first terminal siding.
  6. Zero or more further facing crossovers can feed further terminal sidings ("Platforms 2-n").
  7. The last facing crossover is degenerate, connecting only to a terminal siding and preventing the Up line from continuing further. The first facing crossover may also be the last.
  8. One or more remaining terminal sidings connected to the Down line after the last facing crossover.

* Facing crossovers can be true crossovers, can incorporate slips in the Up line or can be "degenerate" crossovers which terminate the Up line.

 

There is a further point (sorry) to consider and that is relating such a plan to the purpose of the prototype.  If you are looking for a small and busy urban terminus - which is what this sort of thing is often represented as - then you cannot ignore the need for parallel moves, i.e parallel arrivals and departures.  'Flying Signalman' addressed this very well in one of the early posts in this thread.

 

And how about this one for the steam age?

 

https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php?id=120

 

Or scroll  on this page to see the final steam age four platform face version  and lower down the ultimate two platform face version -

 

http://www.harsig.org/PDF/CircleWidened.pdf

Edited by The Stationmaster
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1 hour ago, Fenman said:

 

Very interesting and, on that plan, I think you are right.

 

But the top plan is similar to Norwich City, the (over?)-grand terminus for the M&GN's single track branch from Melton Constable. The two middle roads there were shorter (c.300 feet from memory), presumably intended for locals, the two outside roads were about double that length - so, closest to the concourse, you had a single, very wide island platform which you had to walk down to reach the 2 "bays".

 

I keep fantasising about building a Norwich City (or, at least, experimenting with some temporary track laid out in that formation, to test its operability). I have made a couple of Minories variants in the past and found them to be very engaging to play with.

 

Paul

 

 

That Norwich City arrangement does look interesting. OS map is probably wrong but seems to show that arrival only possible on two of the four platforms (i.e. no facing crossover).

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13 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

There is a further point (sorry) to consider and that is relating such a plan to the purpose of the prototype.  If you are looking for a small and busy urban terminus - which is what this sort of thing is often represented as - then you cannot ignore the need for parallel moves, i.e parallel arrivals and departures.  'Flying Signalman' addressed this very well in one of the early posts in this thread.

 

I was thinking purely about the track layout when I wrote the above - and in that context I think the opportunity for parallel moves is implicit because the "DNA list" requires a double track connection and ensures that platforms 1 and 2 (and optionally more) both have direct connections to both up and down.

Or have I missed the point of what you're saying, Mike?

 

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4 hours ago, Harlequin said:

That got me thinking about what actually defines a Minories track plan.

 

I suggest the DNA of Minories, either as a whole layout or as a subpart of a larger layout, might be this:

  1. A double-track, up and down line connection to the rest of the layout.
  2. Three or more terminal sidings opposite the double track connection, usually described as Platform lines.
  3. Following the double track in the Down direction from the connection, the first element encountered must be a trailing crossover, which sets the natural direction for the double track to turn.
  4. The next element encountered must be a facing crossover*, which sets the natural direction for the terminal sidings. (This and the trailing crossover form the characteristic Minories parallelogram which creates smooth routes in and out.)
  5. The first terminal siding ("Platform 1") must connect to the Up line after, or as part of, the first facing crossover so that Down trains can run directly into the first terminal siding.
  6. Zero or more further facing crossovers can feed further terminal sidings ("Platforms 2-n").
  7. The last facing crossover is degenerate, connecting only to a terminal siding and preventing the Up line from continuing further. The first facing crossover may also be the last.
  8. One or more remaining terminal sidings connected to the Down line after the last facing crossover.

* Facing crossovers can be true crossovers, can incorporate slips in the Up line or can be "degenerate" crossovers which terminate the Up line.

 

During the fiftieth anniversary of Minories there was a competition for "Minories" type layouts and that seemed to include anything with three platforms directly accessed from both sides of a double track. I never really liked that because it seemed to dilute Cyril Freezer's flash of genius in replacing the two straight crossovers of a conventional minimum length throat with angled crossovers made up from opposite handed points so reducing to one the number of routes involving a direct reverse curve and avoiding any multiple reverses.

For me, if it includes this arrangement  of points  (To get to the core of the idea I've left out the loco layover track) then it's a Minories. If not then it may be Minories inspired but it's something else

346359627_coreMinoriesthroat.jpg.2bcd5ec152cddb26174ef78205c30a65.jpg

 

The great virtue of this is that it's very efficient in length as, for any given stock,  you can use shorter points without buffer locking (or absurd end throw) on all but one route. With Peco medium or SMP three foot radius points this will fit fairly comfortaby into three feet.

 

Use the same points (and so the same length) in a straight arrangement of trailing and facing crossovers and, even with medium radius points, you will need longer points or, unless using short carriages, accept absurd end throws between them on three of the six possible routes. (Though for shortish non-corridor suburban stock this is less of a problem .

1454270100_straightthreeplatformthroat.jpg.7db2f2f620d9d92826fadef9756c61e1.jpg

 

Even though it is operationally equivaent to Minories (and also accesses three platforms in the same length as for two) this is a long well known arrangement and not, IMHO a Minories throat.

 

I've done quite a lot of experimenting with long main line coaches in H0 scale and  the shortest throat I could come up with using standard Peco points that avoided buffer locking on all routes was this and suprise, surprise I couldn't better Minories .

1591018452_coreminoriesthroat(ML).jpg.5494a3e4ea027343a780437c6574ed33.jpg

For this I used long (nominally 5ft radius) points for the two back to back points but medium length points elsewhere and it fits fairly comfortable into a length of one metre (this plan has a 25cm grid, the others have a 12 inch grid)  It does need a slightliy wider board. To achieve an equivalent result with a straight throat you'd need to use long points for both crossovers which makes it that much longer. For those of us trying to squeeze a main line terminus into an average size room every centimetre counts! 

For the layout I've been experimenting for I'll probably have to accept that I'll just need to cough loudly when trains are arriving on platform one or go for a single track main line (or have a fiddle yard at an angle to the terminus which easily solves the entire problem by losing all reverse curves. .  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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4 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

During the fiftieth anniversary of Minories there was a competition for "Minories" type layouts and that seemed to include anything with three platforms directly accessed from both sides of a double track. I never really liked that because it seemed to dilute Cyril Freezer's flash of genius in replacing the two straight crossovers of a conventional minimum length throat with angled crossovers made up from opposite handed points so reducing to one the number of routes involving a direct reverse curve and avoiding any multiple reverses.

For me, if it includes this arrangement  of points  (To get to the core of Minories I've left out the loco layover track) then it's a Minories. If not then it may be Minories inspired but it's something else

346359627_coreMinoriesthroat.jpg.2bcd5ec152cddb26174ef78205c30a65.jpg

 

The great virtue of this is that it's very efficient in length

 

 

 

Completely agree. That's what I tried to codify in the "Minories DNA list".

 

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57 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

Completely agree. That's what I tried to codify in the "Minories DNA list".

 

Hi Phil

I wasn't sure what you meant by a "degenerate" crossover- is it one corrupted by loose living that derails passing trains?:rolleyes:

 

I tried replacing the back to back points with a slip. it can be a single slip as you don't need two routes between platform one and the down (outbound) main line but, leaving aside the small radius of the Peco variety- and I assume there are larger radius single slips available. This is not IMHO a Minories throat but that doesn't matter. However, it just didn't look right and seemed to lose the main line feel of Minories perhaps because it was too compressed. You also get two immediate reverse curves so you'd need to use long points at the left hand end and so lose some of the saved length .

1466108490_minoriesequivalentwithsingleslip.jpg.1caa1c88cbbf8e25fc7b914d35ebf2bb.jpg

 

Next step would be to try this out with other makes of track that do include longer slips.  

 

BTW I've not forgotten the neat plan you came up with about eight months ago (though it still needs about a metre for the throat itself) It does have a nice flow to it so I hope you don't mind me reposting it here)

593995873_HarlequinsMinoriesin4mex1.5mcoulisse.jpg.79ace79554337ec65044488e3f3ad52e.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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2 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

There is a further point (sorry) to consider and that is relating such a plan to the purpose of the prototype.  If you are looking for a small and busy urban terminus - which is what this sort of thing is often represented as - then you cannot ignore the need for parallel moves, i.e parallel arrivals and departures.  'Flying Signalman' addressed this very well in one of the early posts in this thread.

 

And how about this one for the steam age?

 

https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php?id=120

 

Or scroll  on this page to see the final steam age four platform face version  and lower down the ultimate two platform face version -

 

http://www.harsig.org/PDF/CircleWidened.pdf

 

 

 

Some interesting locking detection bars on the Midland and GN platform roads, on that box drawing.  It would make an interesting layout with 3 different companies, each using a different platform.  There can't be many places with that happens,  less so in such a compact site. A rush hour timetable would keep the layout operator(s) on their toes.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

I was thinking purely about the track layout when I wrote the above - and in that context I think the opportunity for parallel moves is implicit because the "DNA list" requires a double track connection and ensures that platforms 1 and 2 (and optionally more) both have direct connections to both up and down.

Or have I missed the point of what you're saying, Mike?

 

The thing is to get away from the idea of a very limited parallel opportunity - which effectively means adding a second crossover somewhere.  If you don't do that you might only get a 1 (line):2 (lines) ratio for parallel moves in only one direction and not the other.   So for example  if you add another crossover to the plans drawn by David (Pacific 231G) you create the capability for an additional parallel move, in exactly the sort of way it was done in the 1926 layout at Moorgate St on the Widened Lines which allows parallel moves from every adjacent pair of platform lines (the 1916 layout also gave that flexbility).  

 

But adding crossovers does of course increase the overall length so it depends what you are trying to achieve operationally or the space into which the layout has to go, compromises as ever.

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4 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

There is a further point (sorry) to consider and that is relating such a plan to the purpose of the prototype.  If you are looking for a small and busy urban terminus - which is what this sort of thing is often represented as - then you cannot ignore the need for parallel moves, i.e parallel arrivals and departures.  'Flying Signalman' addressed this very well in one of the early posts in this thread.

 

And how about this one for the steam age?

 

https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php?id=120

 

Or scroll  on this page to see the final steam age four platform face version  and lower down the ultimate two platform face version -

 

http://www.harsig.org/PDF/CircleWidened.pdf

Hi Mike

From the basic passenger Minories it's a fairly trivial task to achieve that

1229083242_Minoriesbasicplusparallelanyrail.jpg.16a992d495d156e860d535d7652ee3c2.jpg

 

At the cost of rather less than a points length from platform 3 (less because you don't need any clearance beyond the points)  this allows parallel moves to and from any two platforms and doesn't introduce any more reverse curves.

 

The rational way of working this in the evening rush hour would be to load all three platforms with trains for the start of the rush and these would then depart in reverse platform order (bottom to top) to be quickly replaced by an incoming train or ECS movement. You then repeat this  cycle of three train until the end of the rush (and vice versa in the morning) This is fairly straightforward with push pull or MUs  , With loco hauled trains the "trapped" loco that had brought the train in would follow it out and then either back into the loco road or, perhaps straight onto another train having, in the case of steam locos, taken water from a column cunningly provided at the buffer end while trapped (remembering that the loco that brought the train in can still provide steam heating until the new loco arrives).

The challenge would be to get this as slick as possible so using the minimum number of locos to run as intense a service as possible.

Thanks for linking the diagrams for the Widened Lines, they're fascinating. Apart from each platform having its own loco layover it's Interesting in the pdf that the circle lines are defined as both up and down and inner and outer rail in succesive sections of the diagram.

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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2 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Hi Phil

I wasn't sure what you meant by a "degenerate" crossover- is it one corrupted by loose living that derails passing trains?:rolleyes:

 

Yes, sorry about that... ;) I made up the term!

 

What I mean by "degenerate" is a crossover that prevents one of the two main running lines continuing. E.g. in classic Minories it crosses from Down to Up to feed platform 2 but ends the Up running line and so platforms 3 onwards can't have a direct connection to Up.

 

Maybe there's a proper term for that? Or maybe it's a daft concept that no-one's thought of before...

 

I think your single slip version looks convincingly like Minories even though it's very compact. It fits the DNA description. It's just the loco spur that might make it difficult to see.

 

Peco really should do a larger radius slip.

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

But adding crossovers does of course increase the overall length so it depends what you are trying to achieve operationally or the space into which the layout has to go, compromises as ever.

 

Indeed, I guess part of the decision will be how the layout is going to be used. A home layout with a single operator will have less need of parallel operations because of the limit to how many trains one person can control at once. A club layout designed for multi-user operation would have much more use for it.

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Pacific

 

OT trivia: on the Underground, one is taught a mnemonic: WIND and OUSE.

 

westbound, inner, northbound, down; outer, up, southbound, eastbound.

 

This describes the ‘equivalence’ of road names, up and down not being used by LU-proper, but being NR terms that interface.

 

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer
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1 hour ago, Harlequin said:

Yes, sorry about that... ;) I made up the term!

 

What I mean by "degenerate" is a crossover that prevents one of the two main running lines continuing. E.g. in classic Minories it crosses from Down to Up to feed platform 2 but ends the Up running line and so platforms 3 onwards can't have a direct connection to Up.

 

Maybe there's a proper term for that? Or maybe it's a daft concept that no-one's thought of before...

 

I think your single slip version looks convincingly like Minories even though it's very compact. It fits the DNA description. It's just the loco spur that might make it difficult to see.

 

Peco really should do a larger radius slip.

The single slip version looked alright on paper but very unconvincing when I laid it out using actual pointwork in order to test it. When I tested it I also found that the two foot radius Peco slip produced an absurd amount of end throw with opposite buffers totally separated.

Are you seeing Minories as a London terminus so the inbound line would be up and the outbound down or the other way round? That's why I've  tended to refer to inbound and outbound. For simplicity it's worth looking at the straight line equivalent of the Minories running lines (ignoring any sidings and the loco track) as in terms of operation and signalling this is really the same throat. 

1744907995_straightthreeplatformthroat.jpg.5b7d8ed0a9aa16ad3ce8a71e6af4acda.jpg

I don't know how this would be for a terminus in Britain, whether the up and down lines continue to be so called beyond the first (trailing crossover) or whether they then adopt their platform numbers 1-3   

 

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I’ve done something different in the same sort of space. Instead of a double track approach, I have two single lines going to different destinations. This means a train can arrive from one of the single lines, have the loco detatched and a new one put on the other end, then it departs on the other single track. Of course trains can also arrive and return on the same line.  It is sufficiently challenging to keep two operators engrossed. On one occasion we had four operators, one for each line, one driving the station pilot, one shunting the freight.

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Just to illustrate the point about Minories' virtues in avoiding all but one reverse curve, this isn't a function of Peco or similar RTL points. Any points of these dimensions would behave similarly.

 

clips of Minories (GN) taken in 2014

 

These are three shots I took in 2014 on a very simple  digital camera of trains passing over different routes on the EM gauge Minories (GN) layout built by Tom Cunnington and other MRC members to celebrate the plan's fiftieth anniversary. Happily Cyril Freezer was still around for that anniversary and certainly got to operate the layout. They stuck to the original plan as closely as possible using I think B5 turnouts. With what I assume are 60ft suburban coaches, trains flow very nicely over most routes through the throat but you do see what would be buffer locking on the inbound to platform one route.  

Tom very kindly let me have a go at operating this layout and with loco hauled trains you are busy and it's quite easy to get snookered if you don't concentrate. I've operated other incarnations of Minories and in terms of operating satisfaction I would want to add some goods operation but I'm seeing it more as a main line terminus  for rather grander trains (posibly a gare maritime) than an inner city suburban operation.

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