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Space-efficient traverser design


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I've got 41" to fit in a four roads in my FY, where the tracks tracks need to be 39 1/2" each. Tracks will enter the FY board perfectly perpendicular to the board edge. The  end of the traverser or sector plate will have a thin layer of perspex bolted onto it to stop trains running off the edge (or into the wall in my case).

 

There is no room behind the layout (it will be mounted on a wall), although I suppose if I ever exhibited it that would be less of a factor (and probably deserve a 'proper' FY board instead of this!)

 

This is roughly what the scenic board will look like, in green - with a Tim horn baseboard I'm using as a base for the traverser/FY footprint marked out in purple:

image.png.46cc1f7e2cf9bd20605785c4f3d4b665.png

 

Here's another angle showing the size of the traverser in its rearmost position:

image.png.54331acc22dde699186c326380a39014.png

 

As you can see, with my longest train in-situ there's not much room to work with!

 

image.png.c78b49a3ac3fd54b5940d2ed086cfec0.png

 

I had thought of mounting the purple board flat to the exit from the scenic boards, but this way I've got lots of space for mechanical gubbins on the purple board to move the red unit around.

 

Any suggestions gladly taken on this! I'm not sure of the math to work out what the throw of a sector plate would be vs track spacing (which for my layout will be about 3" as it exits the scenic section), a plan of the exit to the FY and some flat tracks (which are the correct length) is included below:

 

 

image.png.cbb96dd01bf7dd384ba7c94e0b7dff44.png

 

It is actually possible for me to squeeze a tiny bit of extra length out of the space I have, by jinking around a brick column in the corner, as shown below - so if neccesary I could increase the distance from the end of the FY board to the start of the traverser by around six inches, with the same train length (see the red mark). However,  this will start to encroach upon the window the end of the FY - all the time, instead of only partly and when the traverser is extended:

 

image.png.d908ac71712fa2ba7154590d255ab496.png

 

 

 

I would greatly appreciate any advice or help, in fitting a traverser board with just an inch or so of room before the rails actually get onto the traverser!

 

Many thanks,

image.png

Edited by Lacathedrale
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The bottom road of all the designs above can’t be connected to the “outbound” line from the scene. Ideally you want to arrange it so that all roads can be connected to both lines feeding the scene.


Would cassettes be an option instead of a traverser? At 40in long they would be just about manageable and you could store a lot of them on shelves just above the fiddle yard. More storage than a four road traverser allowing for a more varied and intensive service and giving the ability to turn trains.

Edited by Harlequin
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Yes, the lowest road is 'entrance-only' - but that is a sacrifice I'll have to make if I were to use a traverser - it gives me four trains in and three trains out without restaging. Each train, without interference such as remarshalling rakes or adding/removing vans takes about 7 or 8 minutes on XtrkCAD - so that's 40 mins of operation, after which it would require restaging.

 

Cassettes is an interesting choice, though, and something I'd not considered. Assuming a skeletal support structure (instead of a ginormous box) - they can run straight from the exit of the scenic section up to the maximum extent - since they're not permanent and don't require perpendicular movement they would take up very little space. And of course, they can be shorter for my shorter trains.

 

I guess (!) the problem is that the exit track of the layout is the headshunt for basically all movements, so would always require an empty cassette there. A traverser would be a gentle pull to align the tracks while operating, whereas a cassette would neccesitate 'restaging' for every train by getting up, physically moving the cassette to a shelf and getting a new one down.

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Faintly bonkers idea coming up:

 

What about making the FY tracks on the traverser as very gentle curves, not curves as you've drawn, but sort of sagging curves .........imagine the straight tracks you've drawn sagging towards the bottom of the page. Might buy you an inch or two.

 

The same could be done with a gradient in the track, but maybe  that's even more bonkers.

 

Or, build a vertical traverser ...... a lift/elevator with several decks, to the maximum allowable length. Or does that take it onto the window sill?

 

Make the layout/trains shorter.

 

Make the two tracks at the rear shorter, and have a strangely-shaped traverser that fits round the brick pillar.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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2 hours ago, idd15 said:

Hybrid traverser, one that has a fixed track and yet can take cassettes as well? 

 

I use two Peco Locolifts put together with stripwood/foamboard rather than the floppy foam supplied as a way of manipulating my fiddle yard - so a 2 coach train or DMU fits and can be lifted/turned. An expensive approach which lets me have an intensive timetable.  Two lists plus a single loco on a Locolift gives me a 4 coach train.  If as "idd" suggests you could include something like that with your traverser you could get a lot of trains in/out too?

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@idd15 - not a bad idea for the bottom traverser track, for sure.

 

@Nearholmer - the maximum train length is dictated by six 6-wheeled coaches, or three 60' coaches plus a tender loco - here's an overall shot of the layout with some notional scenics in place (as per our discussing on Pre-Grouping over the Thames - this is a SECR station based in the Blackfriars/London Bridge/Charing Cross/Cannon Street quadrangle, off the Widened Lines), and the trains in staging - as you can see, pretty tight!

 

image.png.f6f7a6fe22889788a2a8e0d4b07796bb.png

 

Top to bottom, a surburban tank on some 60' stock, a tender loco on the same, a suburban tank on some six wheeled stock, and a terrier on some urban four/six wheelers. There's no way I'm going to give up running the new Wainwright D when it finally gets released, or a nice long rake of four and six wheelers - so train lengths don't all have to be this long, but the FY needs to be able to support those lengths (red vertical line). I've already got the scenic Tim Horn baseboards (black vertical line), so can't really make the visible layout smaller either.

 

I could, however - go hog wild and build a proper fiddle yard. I would need to mount the layer lower down (i.e. sitting on my office chair) which is probably better anyway, in order to not obscure the window - but assuming the FY was frameless (i.e. just a nice varnished wood surface trimmed/etc.) it wouldn't look too bad:

 

image.png.41513aa7924495c85a8c99ac73048050.png

 

This would allow me to not have to think about traversers and timber mechanisms. It would also mean that should I wish to exhibit I could do it with this FY but if it became a more common thing, I could build a separate/additional 'straight' FY/traverser at a later date.

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If you go with cassettes unless you are just using units for your trains don't have the complete train plus loco on the one cassette because then you have to turn the cassette after each use.  Once a cassette gets to three foot or more it becomes unwieldy and particularly unbalanced with a loco at one extreme, keep separate cassettes for locos and trains - also allows mixing and matching trains/stock easier without handling anything.

 

The combined Peco loco lift is a expensive way to construct some cassettes but if you'd seen my previous ham-fisted attempts at wooden cassettes then they are an option if you don't feel confident.

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5 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

This would allow me to not have to think about traversers and timber mechanisms. It would also mean that should I wish to exhibit I could do it with this FY but if it became a more common thing, I could build a separate/additional 'straight' FY/traverser at a later date.

if you do think about exhibiting - remember to build your layout with two faces.  Generally people see an L shape layout with the operators surrounded by the layout not the viewers, so where your wall is is where people would view your layout from not from where you will operate it in your home.

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this is going to sound even more bonkers, how about a 40" long carousel/magazine, like a revolver magazine in a gun only having the bullet space to hold the train.  Obviously the roads would need to be hung to remain vertical, also you could have it intersecting both roads so either priority could be used and have quite a lot of roads.

Edited by rdr
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Your curved 6 road trad fiddle yard above has the problem that you need to man handle rolling stock from the outbound side to the inbound side because there are no crossovers within the FY.

 

So, in the bonkers vein (is it because we're all in the holiday mood?): What if that entire curved FY was a traverser that slid across the two feed lines? (I.e. up and down as we see it on screen) :wink_mini:

That would allow any FY road to connected to either feed line, meaning that no man handling would be needed (or at least it would be greatly reduced). Whichever road is spare could be the headshunt. The cost being a slight reduction in the length of the storage roads.

 

But seriously, I suggest a KISS approach and avoiding curves in the FY. Keeping the FY roads straight will allow closer, more accurate, coupling of vehicles. Cassettes can also be used for transport to exhibitions and just keep an empty cassette pushed to the back that you can plug in quickly for shunting.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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Where do these 60ft coaches come into things?

 

If you are in the era of six-wheelers, wouldn't the bogie stock have been c48ft?

 

Even the BR Mk1 coaches used on the Widened Lines were short, 57ft I think.

 

I have all these issues on my 0 gauge layout, running almost exactly the formations you cite, but would say that six-wheelers and 48ft coaches do make nice compact trains - its 4-4-0 tender engines that I find troublesome, because they hog platform space as well as FY space, tank engines being a lot better!

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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@Nearholmer I'm taking advantage of the glut of SECR stock available RTR, so these are the bogie birdcage stock - not strictly in period but honestly I just want to play trains for now and not get so stuck up in the minutiae!!

 

@Titanius Anglesmith I'm glad you like it, this is actually courtesy of @t-b-g 's kind help in showing the throat of Buckingham GC - much simplified of course, the original has a goods line aisle-side infront of the station throat. It's considerably more compact than Minories and generally avoids those reverse curves.

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I was trying to help, by making your trains shorter ...... prototypicalness around dates is something I treat with a very relaxed attitude.

 

The "scissors and slips" arrangement was fairly common practise for cramped urban/suburban stations in the late C19th so, whether you knew it or not, you've hit on something that is convincing, as well as workable.

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That station plan looks really workable and will give plenty of operational fun.

 

I am torn between the fiddle yard ideas. There is something nice about setting a number of trains up in the fiddle yard and running the layout for a while before you have to attend to the fiddle yard again.

 

The traverser does give access from all fiddle yard roads to both up and down lines.

 

Not having a crossover in the fiddle yard does make it more tricky but can be got around in a couple of ways. If you imagine either carriage sidings or further cross overs off scene, then you can have your pilot loco working empty stock back "wrong line". Again, giving Buckingham as an example, there are carriage sidings on the down side and empty stock is propelled from the platforms into those sidings "wrong line".

 

So although the sidings and points don't seem to be workable at first glance, with a bit of clever sequence writing, it can be done. So a set leaves "right line" for the fiddle yard. Later, the pilot goes off scene to collect stock from the carriage sidings. That sort of thing.

 

So any arrivals on the up line are from the carriage sidings worked by the pilot and any departures on the down line are either using a crossover off scene or going to the carriage sidings.

 

In fact, you have probably come up with a design that I haven't seen or thought of before. I had always thought that each fiddle yard road must be available for arrivals and departures but with a bit of clever thinking, that is not the case. 

Edited by t-b-g
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Looks like a very interesting take on the Minories track plan!

 

Using a traverser you're going to have to man-handle your locos from one end of the train to the other; you don't have the room for a head-shunt at the none-layout end of the fiddle yard to allow locos to run around.

 

Using two cassettes for each train, one for the loco, the other for the coaches would allow you to turn the loco whilst changing ends without having to risk damage to the loco itself.

 

Steven B.

Edited by Steven B
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If this "big 4-4-0 plus long bogie coaches" train is only going to make an odd appearance, maybe as the up business train from Tunbridge Wells in the morning, and the Down in the evening, then you don't need to worry, I think.

 

Morning train arrives; pilot take coaches away or shifts them to another platform to release loco; loco disappears to the nearest turntable.

 

Evening, pilot arrives with coaches (if they haven't been stabled in a platform all day); big loco majestically backs down; much fussing about; train departs promptly at 5:21pm.

 

Other thoughts:

 

- your platform roads seem to terminate some inches from the LH end of the layout ....... you will thank yourself later if you take them all the way to the left;

 

- which begs questions about the concourse and booking hall ........ put the concourse upstairs as a mezzanine, over the ends of the platforms. Lots of inner London stations were/are like this, West Brompton and Aldgate being good examples to look at because much Victoriana survives at both. Edgware Road (Met.) is another station worth looking at, because that has quite a large concourse (often with potted plants) above the tracks;

 

- consider putting loco spurs, fed from the traverser, under the bridge at the RHS ...... this will allow you to tack a loco onto the back of a short-rake departing service.

 

You will notice that I often cite "underground" examples. This is because several of the stations on the Circle and Hammersmith Lines have been far-less altered than the "BR" ones, and give a far clearer picture of what a late-Victorian inner-London station was like. CJF based Minories on a Met Line station, of course. Fenchurch Street is good, though, and only just round the corner from Aldgate.

 

This is Aldgate fairly recently (c10 years ago??) - it’s used to look a lot “furrier” than this, a right mess in fact, with kiosks tacked on here and there etc. (Wiki commons photo). 

 

D881C134-5147-42CD-97AD-EAE8FA2B157D.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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I'm not sure if it"s of any use, but if radical ideas are being thrown into the pot, why not have both a Fiddle Yard and Storage sidings.

Here's the radical bit...locate the storage sidings underneath the layout on a lower deck.

Access to and from the layout via a vertical traverser, positioned in the area under discussion, that also doubles up as an off scene fiddle yard.

 

The vertical traverser can be a simple double hinged board or panel, to ensure it stays upright during movement, operated manually and locked into place at the higher and lower positions.

Alternatively, a straight up and down board, running on guides or rods, linked to a manually operated lifting mechanism.

 

OK, it might be a bit mad or off-the-wall for some/many. I just thought I'd throw it in to offer some fresh thinking into the mix.

 

Ron

 

 

.

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3 hours ago, Lacathedrale said:

 

@Titanius Anglesmith I'm glad you like it, this is actually courtesy of @t-b-g 's kind help in showing the throat of Buckingham GC - much simplified of course, the original has a goods line aisle-side infront of the station throat. It's considerably more compact than Minories and generally avoids those reverse curves.

 

It’s the compactness and gentle curves that immediately jumped out at me. I think I might see how it looks on Anyrail when I get the chance :)

 

3 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

 

The "scissors and slips" arrangement was fairly common practise for cramped urban/suburban stations in the late C19th so, whether you knew it or not, you've hit on something that is convincing, as well as workable.

 

I quite agree, but rarely modelled? Maybe due to the lack of a readily available scissor crossing?

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8 minutes ago, Titanius Anglesmith said:

 

It’s the compactness and gentle curves that immediately jumped out at me. I think I might see how it looks on Anyrail when I get the chance :)

 

Hey TA! You might like to go and check one of your own track plan threads, where I suggested just such a thing for you some months ago.

:search:

 

Edited by Harlequin
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gosh, such wonderful discussion - I barely know where to start.

 

Train length / operational flex / Tonbridge Express

@Nearholmer @t-b-g - It is an interesting choice to consider my 4-4-0 hauled bogie stock separate, particularly with the separate marshalling of carriages - but it doesn't really change the fact that they need to live somewhere in my FY - so the minimum space requirement doesn't change, right? I have cancelled one of my 6w coach preorders to bring the ultra longest train (six 6w + 4-4-0) down to the same size as my birdcages + 4-4-0 - so in theory any train can pull any coach formation.

 

Station design:

@Nearholmer My track is most definitely going to be situated on a viaduct, so I'm not sure that a mezzanine with the track right up against the left-hand board edge wouldn't work. I haven't got too far along about how I'd like the station building to look, really. In my mind, this route is the result of a spat between the SER/LCDR in the same way the Bricklayer's Arms ended up being a passenger terminal to spite the L&GR - so it doesn't need to be massive and ostentatious.  Maybe just a footbridge to track level :biggrin_mini2:

image.png.ddb595b80de1b76a0decba773fcf64b3.png

(Spa Road, Bermondsey - queueing on the track was pretty endemic, apparently)

 

Maybe more seriously, the left hand corner of the layout looking something like this (if you imagine that wrought iron roof in the background is the end of the trainshed)
image.png.0b8e544546586ef1ee4ce88aaeb59e55.png

 

The front of the viaduct on which the station is setting might look like this, maybe hiding the end of the tracks under the overall roof just like LB (well, the south/left side of it!!)

 

image.png.9282eb6a5dca6d5a6a879fd91b74e629.png

 

I'm not clear on the benefit of making the platform tracks longer - they are already long enough to take the longest train my FY can support?

 

 

Fiddle Yard design / Operational flexibility:

@t-b-g I could certainly have wrong-line-running into a small subsidiary carriage siding (i.e. the stabling sidings on the east side of the approach at Victoria), the other side of the lines to the main carriage shed. I think it would be a bit difficult to have discipline were it not for the fact that this only ever needs to happen for ONE train per operating session and only affects ONE FY track - so I can't 'cheat' in an operating session.

 

 

@Ron Ron Ron - now you're just being silly :)

 

Cassette usage

As it pertains to cassettes, I can imagine a set of cassettes which are aligned via pegs/dowels/runners into a traverser bed - this way, I can build the cassettes first without having to 'worry' about the traverser and get some idea of traffic patterns (idea courtesy of @justin1985 ) - and should the need arise make changes - and then build a cassette-verser at a later date. 

 

I would build separate cassettes for the locos and the stock - this works nicely because it means that 'restaging' just means lifting and placing the loco cassette infront of the stock cassette. I imagine the cassette supports on the FY baseboard would be simple blocks of wood every 6-8" or so bolted to the board underneath, with a smooth ply surface ontop with a felt covering - the cassettes themselves would need to locate quickly and without much clearance - particularly at the junction with the scenic boards - any ideas? I thought about jig-aligned end-on drilled holes in the ply base, one of which has a double-ended peg inserted.

 

The advantage of cassettes is that I can overhang them slightly into a socket a few inches inside the edge of the scenic board, rather than having to terminate them inside the FY board - probably a small thing, but one less joint and alignment to worry about in the short term.

 

 

 

Edited by Lacathedrale
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Ah, I thought you were in a cutting, sorry.

 

Viaduct much more prototypical on the southern bank of the river.

 

You could always do the inverse of what I've described, and put the booking hall under the tracks, with stairs up to the platforms. Fenchurch Street is like that, although it does have a small concourse at platform level, which you could dispense with.

 

Why make the platform tracks as long as possible?

 

At the most basic, do yours actually fit your longest train with a loco on each end, inside the starter signals? Assuming they do, why longer still? Because it looks better, and because it allows things like leaving a van on the stops, which was common practice for things like perishable goods, parcels, and, weird as it may seem, horse-boxes.

 

The cassette-verser idea sounds really good BTW, and will work really well when 'time drift' sets in and you collect a set of early SR livery trains to go with the pre-grouping ones, as you inevitably will! You could have bother eras "cassetted-up" and have some shelving brackets on the wall fot the 'not in use' era to live on.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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