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There has been a great deal of discussion of Branch Line Termini on RMWeb, with examples being cited from railways all over the place, but people still getting a bit foxed on occasions by the 'whys and wherefores', so I thought it might be interesting to discuss a DIY approach, which might lead to feasible-freelancing.

 

So, sticking with Britain, and the 'classic' era from c1890-1960, and starting with a really, really simple BLT, with a view to gradually building-up complexity as matter progress......

 

Three termini of a very simple kind, suited to places with very limited traffic:

 

The first is simply a single track, ending at a platform! It can clearly only be worked by something that can be driven from each end, an auto-train/motor-train, or some sort of railcar, because there is no facility to 'run round'. No signals, because the section from the passing-place on the right is worked "one engine in steam", probably using a train-staff.

 

Is it worth modelling? Well, maybe if you like weird and wonderful railcars. Is it prototypical? Certainly the LT branch from Acton Town, known as The Acton Shuttle, was pretty much like this, and there were probably others in the classic period.

 

Second, I've continued the line beyond the passenger terminus, into a 'non-passenger' area. Now, this non-passenger area could contain all manner of loops and sidings, an entire non-passenger railway in fact, but passenger trains are banned, because there are no facing point locks, signals, block controls etc ..... it isn't safe!

 

There were several BLTs like this, some where the passenger train, having dropped-off its human cargo and hence become "empty stock" went into terra-incognita in order to run-round, others where the passenger service was run as in the first example, but goods trains continued, for example to a colliery.

 

Worth modelling? Definitely, and a good way of doing things if you want a long, thin terminus on a shelf.

 

Third, a place where run-round is accomplished by gravity. The line slopes down into the terminus. First move is to arrive, and allow the passengers to alight, then reverse to beyond the points. The handbrake is then applied on the coaches, the loco is let into the siding(s), then the coaches are 'drifted' down to the platform under the control of guard, before the loco emerges and re-attaches.

 

Realistic? Yes, there were several places like this, although the operating practices tended to get a bit 'interesting' at some, with trains being run under handbrake control while passengers were on-board. Worth modelling? I'd say so, using either powered coaches and wagons or real gravity.

 

Is this interesting? Does it help? Have I got things right so far? Is it worth progressing to more complex/conventional designs?

post-26817-0-39891000-1542899066_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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Considering that some people in this hobby aren't in it to run trains as such, but rather they like the building - scenery, buildings, detailing the layout - a single track branch line may be exactly what they want.

 

Or, in extreme cases, all they can fit in the space they have available.

 

So yes, I think it is good to periodically bring up some of the simpler possibilities that don't necessarily appeal to those of us who are more active on here.

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Hmmm... I think you're onto something there, Kevin...

post-33498-0-09206200-1542898740_thumb.png

5ft Long, 18ins wide, in 00. I've incorporated both of the latter concepts, I hope. Looks like it could be an interesting layout to operate, especially if goods and passenger operations are combined.

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SEM,

 

If it is to be realistic, you need to decide how to trap vehicles left in the non-passenger areas, to prevent them accidentally escaping onto the passenger lines, hence the traps built into the sketches that I gave.

 

There is no practical need to do it on a model railway, and it consumes space, which is why I am not overly fussy about it on my layout, but including traps adds immeeasurably to realism, and really helps make a freelance design look plausible.

 

I suppose you could use scotches, released by a key on the train-staff, because they don’t use space ....... very normal sur-le-continent, but a bit rare in Britain.

 

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer
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Ah, I didn't look closely enough at your diagram! I'd work something out if I were to ever use the plan.

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I like the proposition that you make a small terminus with minimum facilities to give a basis for your model, rather than copying a prototype, which is always going to want more space, and maybe won’t be so adaptable. Thoughts on the three examples to start with:

a) essentially a diorama with moving bits. There’s a lot of modelling could be used to give it a finished, interesting look, and possibly a short siding in front or behind to gain a bit more interest. Boxfile lines can be good examples of this.

b) looking at this I’m thinking “Looe” as an example. The extra length needed is the main factor, wouldn’t a setup of “fiddle siding - platform with siding abreast - fiddle siding” be a better way of doing things with that length? You’ve got a simple station with through running rather than a terminus. I saw one done this way at a show, and it was the layout I kept coming back to, to watch and take in how it was done. CJFs “Much Waiting” is like that. I suppose the drawback is only a third or so is what you look at.

c) gravity working is something I think about from time to time, and there are examples. I think it’s tricky with model rolling stock to get the quality of rolling resistance that could be relied on to get a gentle run back down into the terminus that didn’t whack the buffers or stop halfway.

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Northroader,

 

I’m not advocating any of these BLTs as layouts, although all could be, it’s more about starting with next to nothing and gradually adding bits, as a way of illustrating design principles.

 

As I rather hoped, trapping has emerged as a discussion-point already!

 

Kevin

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There has been a great deal of discussion of Branch Line Termini on RMWeb, with examples being cited from railways all over the place, but people still getting a bit foxed on occasions by the 'whys and wherefores', so I thought it might be interesting to discuss a DIY approach, which might lead to feasible-freelancing.

 

So, sticking with Britain, and the 'classic' era from c1890-1960, and starting with a really, really simple BLT, with a view to gradually building-up complexity as matter progress......

 

Three termini of a very simple kind, suited to places with very limited traffic:

 

The first is simply a single track, ending at a platform! It can clearly only be worked by something that can be driven from each end, an auto-train/motor-train, or some sort of railcar, because there is no facility to 'run round'. No signals, because the section from the passing-place on the right is worked "one engine in steam", probably using a train-staff.

 

Is it worth modelling? Well, maybe if you like weird and wonderful railcars. Is it prototypical? Certainly the LT branch from Acton Town, known as The Acton Shuttle, was pretty much like this, and there were probably others in the classic period.

 

Second, I've continued the line beyond the passenger terminus, into a 'non-passenger' area. Now, this non-passenger area could contain all manner of loops and sidings, an entire non-passenger railway in fact, but passenger trains are banned, because there are no facing point locks, signals, block controls etc ..... it isn't safe!

 

There were several BLTs like this, some where the passenger train, having dropped-off its human cargo and hence become "empty stock" went into terra-incognita in order to run-round, others where the passenger service was run as in the first example, but goods trains continued, for example to a colliery.

 

Worth modelling? Definitely, and a good way of doing things if you want a long, thin terminus on a shelf.

 

Third, a place where run-round is accomplished by gravity. The line slopes down into the terminus. First move is to arrive, and allow the passengers to alight, then reverse to beyond the points. The handbrake is then applied on the coaches, the loco is let into the siding(s), then the coaches are 'drifted' down to the platform under the control of guard, before the loco emerges and re-attaches.

 

Realistic? Yes, there were several places like this, although the operating practices tended to get a bit 'interesting' at some, with trains being run under handbrake control while passengers were on-board. Worth modelling? I'd say so, using either powered coaches and wagons or real gravity.

 

Is this interesting? Does it help? Have I got things right so far? Is it worth progressing to more complex/conventional designs?

Your first type certainly existed until 1996 in the "new" terminus at Croxley Green. That included stairs up to a single platform and a bridge crossing the Grand Union Canal so for a simple diorama would provide plenty to model. .

 

Your second type can of course still be experienced at Chinnor on the C&PRR (if they're not topping and tailing)

 

I experienced gravity run rounds on the metre Stubaitalbahn's Innsbruck terminus when it was still a proper electric railwayrather than an interurban tram. Nowadays it runs onto the metre gauge tracks of the tram network to reach the centre of the city but, until 1986, the old Stubaitalbahnhof  on the edge of town had no run round but a steep gradient leading into it. So, on arrival from Fulpmes, the train stopped short of the station, its handbrake was applied by the conductor and the motor car was detached to run into a spur followed by the train.still with its passengers aboard (once including me!) running into the platform under gravity followed by the motor car now at the right end for the next run up the Stubai valley..Needless to say there were no trap points or locking bars. With those extra complications, where could gravity shunting of passenger trains be seen or experienced in Britain?

Edited by Pacific231G
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I had wingham (Canterbury road) in mind, but another one was Cowes, but thinking about it, maybe they were both technically gravity shunting of ECS, or at least supposed to be.

Edited by Nearholmer

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where could gravity shunting of passenger trains be seen or experienced in Britain?

I can’t answer that, but feel even slip-coaches were a mite brave. And overseas railways simply behave differently. I recall watching a loaded passenger coach being fly-shunted at Berne.

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I had wingham (Canterbury road) in mind, but another one was Cowes.

I didn't know Wingham but understand that while they did gravity shunt to run round at Cowes it was just to save moves as there was a loop there so it was a normal sized BLT.

I did get to Cowes a couple of times before it closed and my recollection is that both times they ran round the train in the normal way. One was a School Railway Soc. trip which included a shed visit to St. John (where even a few months before closure the locos were all really well looked after by men with real pride in "their" railway)  The second time was with my Dad and that time we managed to get to Ventnor as well as to Cowes. Neither trip allowed time to explore beyond the stations (lunch was packed in the best tradition) so, though not impossible, I think a gravity shunt would have caught our attention.  Much earlier on a family holiday in Ryde when I was very little we walked past the impressive (to my five or six year old eyes) line up of four trains at Pierhead and took the tramway to the Esplanade. That or even the Hythe Pier railway would make for an animated diorama.

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I can’t answer that, but feel even slip-coaches were a mite brave. And overseas railways simply behave differently. I recall watching a loaded passenger coach being fly-shunted at Berne.

:offtopic:

 

Slip coaches seem to have been almost unknown outside Britain though the Chemin de fer de l'Etat in France did use them from 1933-1935 on train 197 which ran fom Paris St.Lazare to Le Havre on summer Saturday evenings. This served three coastal towns popular with summer visitors with the aid of two slip portions, The first, with two coaches, was slipped 2500m before Motteville from where a loco took it forward to St. Valery en Caux. The second, with a total of four coaches, was slipped the same distance before Bréauté Beuzeville from where a loco took it down the Fecamp line to Les Ifs, where the two coaches for the Etretat branch were detached, and the remaining two coaches continued on to Fécamp. Needless to say the two locos were available at the junctions should the slip guards misjudge their braking or be forced to brake early if the "parent" train  had to slow.

All three portions consisted of an A3D (3 first class compartments and a baggage/guards space) and a third class coach. Uncoupling was carried out with the aid of a modified Willison*  automatic coupler, a type the railway was using on some of its autorails. For the return working the three portions were joined onto a train at the two junctions in the conventional way and AFAIK the Willison couplers were backed up by conventional screw links.

.I can't see a summer Saturday's  only service justifying the cost, crewing, training and general complications of slip coaches on its own, so this service must have been a proof of concept trial by Raoul Dautry, the state owned company's notably dynamic managing director, but one he decided not to pursue. 

 

As an eight or nine year old I was taken to see one of the last (but not the very last) slip coaches at Bicester. It was a bit antclimactic as the Birmingham express thundered dramatically past with a King (possibly a Castle) on the front followed a few minutes later by a couple of coaches that crept warily into the same platform.

 

*The Willison automatic coupler, patented by John Willison of Derby but almost unknown in Britain, nearly became the standard European type equivalent to but different from the American AAR "Janey" coupler. and a version, the SA3, was adopted for Russia's broad gauge railways  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Sa3.gif

It was really defeated by the sheer number of vehicles that would have had to be fitted across every railway in the UIC and may also have been a case of the ideal defeating the good as the basic coupler was loaded with brake and electrical connections. 

Edited by Pacific231G

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Before going on to the much more common BLT topologies, I want to thrash this "long thin" option a bit, because I think it has something going for it when it comes to shelf layouts in places like student rooms, and it could easily be bent round a corner, or even two corners, and be no more that a few inches wide, even in 0 scale.

 

Fourth, a bit of development to show a very simple "not passenger" yard beyond the station. This was slightly inspired by somewhere on the Bodmin & Wadebridge that actually didn't have a passenger station, Ruthern Bridge I think, where the single siding extended beyond a run-round loop.

 

All the ideas so far are "one engine in steam", but if we expand the "not passenger" area to be big enough to accommodate more than one train, and make the station the end of a section, adding signals accordingly, we get the fifth idea, which has a bit more operating potential. It looks superficially a bit like Fairford, but Fairford had quite an odd arrangement where the "passenger" line extended quite a distance beyond the platform, and a signal, rather than a simple sign, at the passenger/non-passenger boundary - did it handle excess-length trains, possibly troop trains, and if not, why was it like that?

post-26817-0-24094800-1542917671_thumb.jpeg

post-26817-0-52748500-1542917688_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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This is the second time I have mentioned this today (in a thread on Fairford) so sorry for the repetition.

The station was not really planned to be a BLT; it was just built as through station and happened to be where the money ran out, so the rest of the line never got built.

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I understand that the original company ran out of money there, but that doesn't really explain why the GWR laid it out and signalled it as they did. I can only rationalise it by imagining that long passenger trains had to "draw-up", stop twice at the platform, with passengers on board.

 

Perhaps I'm missing something obvious and simple ....... I've been known to!

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Gravity shunting, if it’s at a terminus, would be ECS rather than with passengers. On the NG lines, Towyn Wharf was worked like that. I’m pretty sure Eyemouth NBR did it, although originally there was a loop at the platform. One place I’ve seen it done was Wellington Salop in the two bay lines off the down main. The Much Wenlock and Coalport branch trains used the bays and there was a scissors crossover with the two bay lines into the approach off the main line and an inclined siding.

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Indeed, except that at Wingham they apparently broke all sorts of rules, including by terminating passenger trains in the goods siding, with the passengers climbing up and down a ladder to get on and off!

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, where could gravity shunting of passenger trains be seen or experienced in Britain?

Loch Tay and Banff

 

(and Peterhead I think?)

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And now we get onto "common or garden" BLT layouts .......

 

Sixth is a hugely common layout, popular in reality because it has only one facing point on the passenger line. The non-passenger area can be elaborated to taste. The spring (or weighted) points on the engine release would have a lever to allow them to be manually reversed for the rare moves that needed it ......... a case might be when making-up mixed trains, when it might be convenient to put the brake-van out of the way in the engine release, then back the assembled train down onto it for departure.

 

This is still the outer end of a "one engine in steam" section, so from an operational viewpoint pretty limited.

 

Seventh is the same thing with signals! The station has acquired a block-post, so we can now have more than one train present at the same time. Quite a few independent railway termini were like this, because they were they originating point for trains - the sidings are likely to have an engine-shed and possibly a carriage-shed somewhere among them. But, some termini started life like this, but were then downgraded to become like the foregoing once the railway company cottoned on to the fact that having a block-post was a seldom-necessary luxury.

 

These two suit the "buy a field and put a station in it" model that applied in most rural places in reality ....... the long thin model really only applied in reality in special circumstances.

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post-26817-0-66693900-1542922533_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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And eighth, the same thing again, with even more signals! This is one of those railways like the SER, and possibly the GWR in places, that erected "non-passenger" signals for moves into and out of section that everyone else was quite happy to control with hand signals.

post-26817-0-94155000-1542923123_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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Kevin, you're beginning to irritate me...

 

Over the weekend there are supposed to be some shelves going up in my room, the deepest of which is going to be over 18ins wide and the length will be around 5ft. Now, these shelves are needed for storage, and I was quite convinced that I wouldn't be able to fit a decent 4mm Standard Gauge layout on one and that I had quite enough 009 to content me for now. Then I read this. Now I find myself wanting a home for my (vaguely Welsh-based) BR Western Region stock.

 

And your plans may just be what would provide that.

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8b. The same thing again but with the sidings feed line emerging from the loop North-Westwards and crossing the running line through a simple diamond so that the sidings are behind the platform. A la Moretonhampstead.

 

?

 

(Woohoo! RMWeb let me post something!)

Edited by Harlequin
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Indeed.

 

Its a bit of a rococo variation, but it is topologically the same, I'm pretty certain.

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I understand that the original company ran out of money there, but that doesn't really explain why the GWR laid it out and signalled it as they did. I can only rationalise it by imagining that long passenger trains had to "draw-up", stop twice at the platform, with passengers on board.

 

Perhaps I'm missing something obvious and simple ....... I've been known to!

Fairford does seem a bit odd as, not only was there a home signal at the goods yard end of the platform, but the first set of points, which accessed the goods shed loop were locked. Looking a little more closely the switches for those points were before the end of the platform so a passenger train using the whole platform would need the points locked and the home signal cleared.According to Fairford's locking chart, for the home signal to be cleared both the FPL for those points had to be locked and the    There is a photo in Paul Karau's GW Branch Line Termini (vol 1) which covers Fairford showing just that with a pannier tank at the head of a train clearly well onto the points and ahead of the home signal which is cleared. 

Fairford did handle overlength excusrsion trains for the annual Fairford carnival but all that signalling, FPLing iand interlocking does seem a bit OTT for one day a year when points without FPLs could surely be clamped. It does rather look as if the terminus still had ambitions to be a through station- its track plan is very similar to Lechlade's- or perhaps nobody ever told S&T that was never going to happen.   

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