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Owen E

Little Dunelm - "The Glory of Grouping" - Our First Layout

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My wife and I are putting together our first layout. It's a whole family project - we're preparing it in time for our eldest son's next birthday (he's train-mad), and my dad is very excited to run trains on it too. I've been buying and renovating a number of locos and rolling stock from an online auction emporium of note, and we have a few new locos (from trainsets) to add to the mix. The layout will be 6x4, or perhaps more like 6'x4'2" to allow for the Stage 2 plan.

 

Find current draft plan picture below. The Stage 1 plan is the main OO portion - a double loop with one external siding and two internal sidings. I think the internal sidings will be an engine shed and a good yards respectively.  The external siding will lead to a small station; the large station will be on the inside of the inner loop. For scenery, there'll be a hillside town with a church inside the loop (marked out for now by the green oval and grey building on it).

 

(Stage 2, putative at this stage, would be a OO9 track with a station platform between the narrow and standard gauge lines, and a single siding to an industrial yard. This is roughly represented on the plan; AnyRail's limit on number of pieces means the OO9 track is slightly foreshortened and there's a "fake" station in there marked by the black block.)

 

There are some technical questions facing us - some just to do with learning basic skills (replacing fishplates at the crossover with insulated ones), some strategic (working out permanent wiring choices for controls - hang the wiring through the baseboards?), some pretty structural (if I split it to 2 x 3x4 baseboards, how best to ensure continuity, how best to fix together in use, etc).

 

Of course this is all very "gestural", and not at all intended to be groundscale for the purpose of the stations etc. It's a layout intended for many purposes: portable but extensive enough to be fun, with lots of things to "do" - goods to be moved around, passengers to go between stations, shunting, etc. The era is "General Grouping". Our plan is for each "regular operator" to have a company of trains - my eldest son will take LNER (including his favourites, Mallard and Flying Scotsman), my wife the SR, I'll have the GWR, and my dad the LMS (not that he knows this yet; a surprise waiting for him when he gets a Coronation-class to parallel his childhood Dublo one!). Again, no intent on close realism, but an attempt to capture some of the glory of Grouping.

 

Very happy to hear suggestions on the layout, advice on modelling, etc.

 

EDIT: A few probably-helpful info points to add :

*current OO track is all Hornby; we own all displayed below and have laid it out to check everything fits, works, etc.

*no fiddle-yard planned (things are either IN or OUT of the world, as it were; obviously the engine shed and the small station side-track can be used for engines to rest

 

 

Little Dunelm.jpg

Edited by Owen E
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For a first layout, keep is as simple as possible.

Do you have all the pointwork yet? If not, reverse the crossover at the bottom.

The way you have planned it will work, but you will find circumstances where you may have to throw an unrelated point in order to power a section. Reversing the crossover will eliminate this. I can explain but it would take a while & possibly a few diagrams.

With the crossover reversed, you would power the outside track from the left & inside from the right, then whatever for the narrow gauge line.

All Hornby points are Insulfrog so you won't need any insulating joiners.

The only rule you would need to follow is to turn 1 controller off or synchronise them when you have the crossover set to 'crossed'.

 

There are other (all more complex) ways to wire this but these are more complex. Running your first train is a very rewarding experience, so it is important to get to this stage as quickly as possible.

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Taking up the point made by Pete above, if you reversed everything, to a mirror image of above you would be able to use the same trackwork, but with the added advantage of a trailing crossover, and trailing siding connections, which should make for better running,

 

cheers  

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27 minutes ago, Rivercider said:

Taking up the point made by Pete above, if you reversed everything, to a mirror image of above you would be able to use the same trackwork, but with the added advantage of a trailing crossover, and trailing siding connections, which should make for better running,

 

cheers  

The idea of reversing just the crossover was to eliminate any wiring technicalities by feeding all points from their toe (single track) end.

Reversing everything does not achieve this without extra power feeds or the need to throw a seemingly unrelated point to feed power.

 

I forgot to answer the question about splitting the layout into 2. It can be done, but track ends will need to be fixed. Even if they don't get knocked, they will not stay where you lay them! 2 methods of fixing them are to metal strips stuck to the board (a product called copperclad is popular for this). You will also need a way to carry current across the board join. There may be somebody who has managed to get the rails to touch but I have not come across them. The usual method is to solder wired to rails & carry these under the board with connectors.

With sectional layouts, it is normal to attach frames to the underside of the boards to hold them flat & attach these together. Bolting is the simplest way, many also use locating dowels to fix them more accurately.

This is easier to see for yourself at an exhibition if you can get along to one. Most layout owners will be more than pleased to explain how they did things.

 

I would build a 6x4 layout & enjoy it before moving on to something a little more involved.

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Excellent stuff, guys - thanks so much. Few responses/followups:

 

(1) we have run trains a few times in that most amateurish of ways - unfixed track on clean, flat surfaces. I test trains I'm fixing on ad hoc test track regularly, too. But of course there's no serious running capability at the moment, especially as we don't want to wear the track out.

 

(2) re reversing the points - do you mean by turning the crossover into 2 x left-hand points (rather than the present 2 x right hand points), or do you mean by moving the RHPs to the "top"?

 

(3) I'll have to have a think about that issue of wiring and continuity across the sections - that's good food for thought.

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3 hours ago, Owen E said:

 

 

(2) re reversing the points - do you mean by turning the crossover into 2 x left-hand points (rather than the present 2 x right hand points), or do you mean by moving the RHPs to the "top"?

 

(3) I'll have to have a think about that issue of wiring and continuity across the sections - that's good food for thought.

Yes,  I meant using your two left hand points for the crossover. It follows the way the big railway does it in the UK. It is safer that way, as trains will run through the points in a 'trailing' direction, and there is no danger of half the train trying to take the other route!

Then you use the two right hand points for the sidings, but facing the other way, and move your hillside town  to the left end.  

That way you can use your existing track, but in a more realistic way.

 

I can't elaborate on the wiring issues, as I'm not much of a modeller, just someone who likes visiting model railway exhibitions.

 

cheers

 

cheers

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Revised trackplan below with some (very out-sized) scenery thoughts. The pointwork on the yards may change very slightly to improve its use by longer engines, but 2 x extra points are easy enough/cheap enough to source and massively expand the usefulness of that side of the layout - two extra sidings for trucks/engines/coaches. Say one each officially dedicated and modelled for the engine shed, goods yard, and coach storage - is there anything else the fourth could be?

 

Guide to the "scenery":

 

*Hollow box on track: the Hornby engine shed we have.

*Grey blocks: different stations - Town Station (bottom near the depot), Suburban Halt (inside inner loop north of town), Country Halt (bridging narrow gauge and standard gauge), and Country Station (on long siding aka "the branch line".

*Black blocks: residential and commercial buildings

*Purple block: industrial building - probably a slate shed for the Bachmann slate trucks for OO9

*Green: a significant hill

*Blue: nominal for now, but I'm thinking of that being the "on-screen" edge of of an "off-screen" lake, which is what the OO9 passenger line runs to - chance for my wife to learn about glazing water! this would just be that North-Eastern edge

 

(This is all for maximised play/RPG experience, of course; though buildings etc will be in scale, and hopefully tastefully done, the whole layout will be very telescoped.)

 

In a couple of weeks I'm planning to buy wood, so need to make "final" decisions on the matter of baseboards etc. The big question re wiring seems to me to be this (for the wiring bods): how simple/stable would it be to run wires off the tracks and underneath, and then connect when in use? And are we talking crocodile clips or what for the latter?

Little Dunelm.jpg

Edited by Owen E

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Photo of some recent additions to the railway:

 

LNER Clerestory Coaches - actually Hornby(ex-Triang) GWR Clerestory coaches repainted and part converted by previous owner. They're really there so my son can run them behind the smaller LNER trains, and I got them for a very small fraction of the standard cost of 1 of the modern Gresley Suburban Coaches.

 

SR Olive Green Brake - waiting for a composite, too; this is R445 - most of the coaches I have from that era are pretty good. These are for Helen's use behind her olive green SR steam engines, particularly the smaller ones/those running the inner line. I'm also looking for an SR 4-Wheel Coach for that (I have a bid in on one) but they're usually much pricier than, say, GWR 4-Wheelers.

 

SR M7 - This is a dedicated fixer-upper, bought BECAUSE it was advertised as a non-runner - Helen had wanted a fixer-upper. It's missing some retaining screws for the body, and the motor windings look shot, but the one test I ran tonight did indicate continuity through the wheels/motor, so it'll be interesting to get it on the test track.

 

S1000004.JPG

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As I'm still waiting to lay track for the final measurements next week, I've only my engine work to show here.

 

Three of my collection of X03/X04 motored locos. The LMS Jinty (painted by a previous owner from a BR Jinty) is a Triang, possibly from as far back as the late 50s; the J83 and 57xx are 70s-era Hornby Triang. These three are all working very nicely with one or two small jobs to do. These will officially join the railway at launch as the "small engines" for three of the four companies - the SR currently has a China-built Holden 101, though I'll see if I can't surreptitiously get a Terrier on the cheap so it's a historical engine for Helen's railway.

 

All three took some work - the 57xx and J83 had a number of tired wires, the J83 and Jinty were both utterly filthy (the J83 had a staple in an axle bearing!), and the Jinty needed its power wire resoldering at the bottom after light use as the join wasn't very strong. I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far. One thing I like about the older second-hand stuff I've bought is - despite quality issues re previous owners - they've been easy to learn to fix. Open-frame, clear engineering, no funny or overfragile parts - these and the Ringfields, for all their flaws, have been a really positive education.

 

(I have another, hmm, 4 X03/04 engines - the M7 pictured above, which has a half-broken collector array that I think is going to need an effective rebuild, as I can't find the part online. Lots of shorting issues, though it did run briefly, though very badly, tonight. There's a "spare" 57xx and J83, which are currently acting as parts donors - chiefly for motors - and another engine that hasn't officially joined the shed yet.)

86754913_175826033705295_44856002784264192_n.jpg

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