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New N Gauge Layout - Help Needed

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Hi All

 

Sorry for the very vague title, but I really do need some help!

 

I am planning a layout to start building in September, free time during the day....long story but at least I will be able to start.  I have approximately 1m x 3m space to work on and I am using code 55 N gauge with DCC control.  I have already been to DCC Concepts and spoke to them, must say top bunch and well worth a visit!  Already got lots of the required stuff NCE, track, locos, etc...

 

My thinking in a 2 line route, with rear fiddle yard, with a bridge of some type at one end but on a curve.  Other end, a station with 2 platforms (?) with station buildings possibly central.  I would love to incorporate goods shed, turntable, cattle dock, etc and this is my major problem - how should it look?  I love the idea of watching trains, especially LNER A4s roll by...(I live in York, so wonder round the NRM far too often!)

 

I want it to be as close to real as possible without copying someone else's ideas but I have no idea how the bit off the main lines should be - I have played with lots of track designs on my Mac and just binned them as they looked terrible.  I would really appreciate anyones help, or pointers to the right locations to look at.

 

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to someone's help.

 

Many thanks Chris

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Hi Chris,

 

Nice opening post -  you've set your stall out very clearly. Hopefully someone who knows more about the character of mainline stations in your chosen area and era will offer some advice.

 

Generally speaking, though, you'll be compressing the length of real station track plans and simplifying them, even if you're not modelling a real place. The trick is to retain the feel of the real thing while you do that.

 

Do you have any real stations or parts of stations in mind as inspiration for your layout? The historical mapping websites are very useful as a first step for researching the general layouts of stations. maps.nls.uk and old-maps.co.uk.

 

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Do you really need a station? If you'll enjoy building the models then that's one thing, but if you're not so bothered about that and just want to watch the trains go by, it doesn't add any significant play value whilst occupying a lot of space and limiting where you can put turnouts. If you want some operation then the space would be better used (IMO) for a freight facility, which could well only be capable of handling a handful of wagons.

 

Or if you're truly just into watching the trains go by, you could just have some scenic plain line. Maybe with a signal box and a refuge siding or something.

 

A turntable is going to make any relatively small roundy into a bit of a train set (nothing wrong with that), so I'd think long and hard about the compromises it'll entail before putting it on the essentials list.

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Posted (edited)

Do you have access to all 4 sides?    1 X 3 M in N is 6ft X 18Ft in my money which is 00 in imperial.    2 X 2.5ft curves and 12 ft straight in 00

With DCC and N I think the rear 300mm needs to be behind a low backscene so you can see the trains, maybe hand operate the points to save a few quid.  If it was DC you could hide them in a tunnel and stick a branch or MPD over the top.

You don't have room for a big station with a convincing MPD.  RTR Turntables are 75ft and they were like Hens teeth. Even Peterborough didn't have one and I think Grantham's packed up so they built a triangle instead.

What I did was plan a decent size MPD which served a big station just down the line.  The station modelled was a suburban / wayside station serving the MPD as much as anything.  Monument Lane by Birmingham New St was inpiration, though St Margarets at Edinburgh might be worth having nightmares about.   

The bridge is a fly in the consomme, But Stroud GWR, Truro GWR, Ribblehead(?) Midland (S+C) all had viaducts at the platform ends, or thereabouts, Stroud platforms continue on to the viaduct, so don't compartmentalise them run the two together. No reason not to have points on bridges, the real thing tries but often fails to avoid it. Carlisle Ditadel northern approach is over filled in arches with double track, no headshunts, just two tracks, and trains shunted, terminated, started and everything from the three through platforms and two terminal roads that I know about. South end track was like a blind granny's knitting after the cat got at it.   Think outside the tin.  Avoid clitches.  Like Dark's Satanic Mill or R.Sole fish merchant.

 

Edited by DavidCBroad
Bored

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1 hour ago, DavidCBroad said:

Do you have access to all 4 sides?    1 X 3 M in N is 6ft X 18Ft in my money which is 00 in imperial.    2 X 2.5ft curves and 12 ft straight in 00

With DCC and N I think the rear 300mm needs to be behind a low backscene so you can see the trains, maybe hand operate the points to save a few quid.  If it was DC you could hide them in a tunnel and stick a branch or MPD over the top.

 

 

I'm a bit baffled by this.

 

1Mx 3M is 3' x 18' regardless of the scale of the model!

Why can't you hide things in a tunnel and stick a branch on the top using DCC?

 

Regards,

 

John P

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, jpendle said:

I'm a bit baffled by this.

 

1Mx 3M is 3' x 18' regardless of the scale of the model!

 

 

I believe he was converting the N dimensions into OO given that most people are in OO, and so they would have a better idea as to what to suggest for an N layout.

 

1mx3m is 3'3"x9'10" in N, or equivalent to 6'6" x 19'8" in OO.  (or put another way, a bit smaller than the N scale equivalent of Hannet Purney).

Edited by mdvle

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Posted (edited)

It's amusing that some of us feel the need to convert N to OO and convert metric to imperial before we can think about this layout sensibly...

:)

 

Edited by Harlequin
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10 minutes ago, jpendle said:

I'm a bit baffled by this.

 

1Mx 3M is 3' x 18' regardless of the scale of the model!

Why can't you hide things in a tunnel and stick a branch on the top using DCC?

 

Regards,

 

John P

1M X 3M is 3ft 3 X 9ft 6"  I work in 00 at 1/12th scale drawing my plans at 2mm =1 inch or 1 inch = 1ft

You can't easily hide FYs in DCC if you have more than a very few models as you can't see which is which to select the correct code. Its bad enough trying to work out which Hall class is working a train in 00 let alone which A4 in N. There are work arounds but basically if you have DCC keep the FY visible, if DC then hide it.

 

I did a doodle earlier.  Anyrail code 55 free version with added freehand  Small station in a town.  Maybe the big station is two miles away and the depot relocated to cheaper land on the outskirts of town . Or maybe locos change here as at Grantham.

Orange links allow anticlockwise locals to terminate, run round and depart from the bay  also allow locos to change in both directions.

Shunting uses main line as in vast majority of real stations in steam era.  Sidings mainly for loco coal or possibly local freight, or withdrawn locos or breakdown crane. Loco shed on reflection should have been angled towards viewer .  Dropped corner of baseboard for Viaduct. Viaduct end hidden by buildings to mask FY entrance,   Stroud GWR has this feature with big buildings hiding the view of the end of the Viaduct.   Just a doodle.  For the more adventurous there could be a spiral down to a FY on a lower level, but this is a beginner I believe

Screenshot (428).png

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Wow, thank you for all the replies, really appreciate the time taken!

 

More thoughts are to look at stations like Easingwold and Alne, just north of York, which allows the 2 main lines and a bit of shunting, playtime so to think.  Yes I like making models, so a station is a must, but not mainline just branch line style/size.

 

Like the idea of a farm near the bridge/viaduct - would like more of a fields and scenery style than a town and industrial buildings.  Also going to try as much as possible and set in the 1920s to 1950s.

 

Fiddle yard question - would you use code 55 points/track, looking at medium size or Y points to save a bit of space, or stick to large points and use code 80?

 

Sorry for all the questions but want to get as much right before I start.

 

Thank you!

 

Chris

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I would use Code 55 throughout, it is much more robust than code 80 as the rail is buried in the sleeper webbing. To save space in my fiddle yard I use small radius Code 55 points. Th only draw back being that my fat fingers don't fit between adjacent trains in the FY when its full.

 

Regards,

 

John P

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Alne is pretty simple if you ignore the junction, the coal depot and the quad track to the south of it.

 

I think it would be a good template. Simple goods yard trailing from the Down line, crossover, long goods headshunt which you could happily run on into your scenic area because it would not look "stationy" - wouldn't detract from the scenery.

 

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Posted (edited)

May I suggest using computer track planning software (such as AnyRail or SCARM) to work out what you can fit into the space? It sounds as if what you are after is a secondary station on a major mainline; you will need to think carefully whether that will fit into the space that you have available.

 

If not, you have some possible alternatives, depending on your preferences:

 

(1) compress the station to shorter than realistic length and make your stopping trains shorter than would have been realistic to fit into the platforms;

(2) omit the station entirely and model a plain piece of track, a diverging branch junction, passing loops or similar;

(3) model half of the platforms of the station, the other half being hidden off scene, broken with a footbridge; or

(4) build a big shed in your garden to give you more space.

 

Do not worry too much about imitating others' ideas; after all, other modellers are only attempting to imitate reality, which I presume is what you are trying to do. Your layout idea seems to be similar in basic concept to the well known "Little Bytham" layout (in 00 gauge) by Tony Wright; that is a secondary station on the East Coast Main Line set in the late 1950s. You may want to look at pictures and videos of that to give you an idea of what sort of track layout and facilities that such a station might have had. (I note that you want to set your model from the 1920s-1950s; beware that there is very limited rolling stock availability for pre-1950s eras in N gauge - you will have no carriages suitable for stopping services or even secondary mainline services, for example, until you are able to use non-corridor mk. 1s from the early 1950s onwards, and the LNER in particular used many older carriages  later than other railways as it lacked the money to replace them).

 

One other tip - make the fiddle yard as big as you possibly can (in terms of the number of trains that it can store at once). If you only have (say) six fiddle yard roads, you will only ever be able to have six different trains passing on your layout unless you go around to the back and manually take trains off and put them on again. Think carefully about whether you will be satisfied with this in 5 or 10 years' time as your collection of stock grows.

 

Also, you may well want to allow for changing of locomotives in the fiddle yard and crossing between up and down lines so that you do not have to see the same train go past in the same direction time after time but never come back.

 

Code 55 is fine for the fiddle yard: that is what I have used in my fiddle yard. There is a better selection of turnouts available in code 55 than the older code 80, and, if using code 55 throughout, you do not have to consider how to manage the transition: the special transition tracks from Peco will take space that you might want to use for something that is not straight track to maximise your space utilisation.

 

Also, think at an early stage about whether you want to have the facility to automate your layout, even partly (for example, to have the non-stopping trains run automatically while you control the stopping trains). If there is any possibility that you might want to automate, you will need to plan this carefully from the outset, as you will need lots of electrically isolated sections to allow for current drop sensors so that the computer knows where the trains are. All turnouts will need to be in their own sections. You will need to use high quality DCC decoders with back-EMF (Zimo, Lenz or ESU preferably).

 

Finally, be careful of recommended minimum curve radii: 305mm is generally the recommended minimum for high quality modern N gauge stock, although some track planning software will, by default, allow a tighter radius, which works with some, but not all, N gauge stock (including much older stock of a cruder design).

Edited by jamespetts

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Thank you for all the fantastic ideas and plenty to think about.  I fly off tomorrow on a family holiday so will take a pen and make some doddles on ideas whilst away.  When back, in just over a week, I will upload the ideas.

 

Huge thank you

 

Chris

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You could also look at Chester-le-street for inspiration, which has many of the features you're looking for (though not island platform, or turntable).  It would look quite like David's plan above, though with goods facilities instead of the loco dept.

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=54.8573&lon=-1.5794&layers=168&b=1

 

And of course there is Durham for an LNER through station with a viaduct at the end - but probably bigger than you want! :)

 

 

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Posted (edited)
 

Just to give an idea of what might work in a 3m x 1m space, thise link takes you to a model constructed on a slightly larger area, althouh the 1.2m x 3.05m baseboard does not include a loop at one end, this is added as an extension when the layout is being operated. It does, however incorporate many of the features that you have identified and might provide an idea of how to progress with the pencil and paper whilst on holiday...
http://www.009.cd2.com/satanicmill/front page.htm

Neil

Edited by NWJ
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Posted (edited)

Looking at the track plan suggested, and given you like modelling can I suggest an often forgotten location... Peterborough East?

PBE was on the south of the river, and curves into PB North under the East coast mainline and in an earlier time would also have a junction for Northampton (current NVR trackbed).  The meadow the line passes between the bridges most of the year is a car park but for four weeks holds a fairground (as seen in this map).  The ECML at this point crosses the river in a series of viaducts and impressive bridges.

The station itself was a little unusual in that the tracks had platforms both sides and an overall roof.  An overall roof would allow you to model part of the station and use licence to lead in to you FY.   

With regard to turntables, PBE did have a turntable on at the East end in the MPD, but if you limit the right hand scope this would go.  BTW the turntable is now at the Nene Valley Railway, and as described is a 70' version which I think the NVR extended (?).

A little detail I discovered recently is that in the late 60's Peterborough put in a bid to retain PBE to serve the proposed National Railway Museum which would have been between the station and the river.   As the NRM went to York PBE was fully closed in the 70's.  If you build a "might have been" around this you could include a NRM with turntable and pretty much any type of rolling stock esp if you really stretch the point and allow a link to the NVR at Peterborough.  Check Google for this location.  The history has potential, but you'll have some interesting compromises to make, there is almost too much to choose from.

Just one more thought - you could alternatively move the station west to the land between the bridges and integrate the NRM and call it "New Peterborough East for the NRM".  The idea of a train on the bridge held at a signal for PB North would look good imo :) 

 

PB_East_with_Fair.png

Edited by John Hubbard

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On 09/08/2019 at 22:50, FraserClarke said:

You could also look at Chester-le-street for inspiration, which has many of the features you're looking for (though not island platform, or turntable).  It would look quite like David's plan above, though with goods facilities instead of the loco dept.

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=54.8573&lon=-1.5794&layers=168&b=1

 

And of course there is Durham for an LNER through station with a viaduct at the end - but probably bigger than you want! :)

 

 

 

The Darlington to Newcastle section has the advantage of being mostly double track, and abounding in curves and civil engineering, which may be easier for the OP to represent satisfactorily in the space available than the very open straight racing stretch north of York.

 

Here are some photos of Bishops Wearburn, an N gauge layout set in that area, showing the sort of effect that can be achieved.

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Hi All

 

Finally got round to getting a design sorted.  Why does work get in the way so much....

 

Attached is the main layout idea and 8 lane fiddle yard.  Area is 3m x 1m max.

 

Layout will be DCC with NCE already purchased, and the rest will be DCC Concepts bits.

 

Will upload the next design when I have managed to put the station, shed etc on the images.

 

Thoughts and help much appreciated...

 

Many thanks

 

Chris

8 Lane Fiddle Example.pdf Main Layout.pdf

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